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NFL week 9: Thoughts and Predictions

I’m sorry that I did not get this out before Thursday night football. It’s been an extremely busy week at the office. One of the big games in college football was Stanford versus Oregon. Everybody’s been hyping Andrew Luck as the greatest thing since sliced bread. We’ve seen this before. Now, while on national TV, he was 27 – 41. He threw three touchdowns and two interceptions as Stanford lost to Oregon 53-30. In order to win the Heisman Trophy, you really need to shine in these big games.

New Orleans Saints versus Atlanta Falcons – This is a huge game. Both teams really need this. I’m leaning towards New Orleans.

Tennessee Titans versus Carolina Panthers – Carolina because of Cam Newton.

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Cincinnati Bengals – Big defensive game. I don’t think that Andy Dalton is quite ready. Steelers should win.

St. Louis Rams versus Cleveland Browns – Cleveland, because they’re playing at home.

Buffalo Bills versus Dallas Cowboys – The Dallas defense must generate pressure against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s accuracy plummets when he’s under pressure. He’s only completing 50% of his passes when under pressure. The reason that the Buffalo Bills have been so successful this year is that their offensive line has really protected Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fred Jackson may be the best running back in the league. The Cowboys have to stuff the run in order to have an opportunity to win this game. Almost every time this year, the Dallas Cowboys have folded against a quality team. I look for them to put in a better effort and come away with a victory in this one. (Once again, Tony Romo must protect the football.)

Washington Redskins versus Miami Dolphins – Miami.

Arizona Cardinals versus Philadelphia Eagles – Philadelphia should win this one big.

Houston Texans versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Houston

Afternoon Games
Baltimore Ravens versus Seattle Seahawks – Baltimore.

Detroit Lions versus Chicago Bears – Huge game. Both teams need this one in a bad way. I simply don’t think that the Lions can run the ball without Jahvid Best. Chicago.

New York Giants versus San Francisco 49ers – Another big game. They’re playing in San Francisco. The Giants are coming off of a big emotional win. I think that San Francisco will make enough plays to win this one.

New England Patriots versus New York Jets – Another big game (this is the time of year when football gets really good). In spite of the Jets’ recent victories, I don’t think they have the type of defense that is going to put a lot of pressure on Tom Brady or be able to blanket all of their receivers. On the other hand, the Patriots secondary leaves a lot to be desired. Look for the Patriots to stay in the spread formation most of the game. In order for them to have big success, they’re going to have to run from this formation. No matter how hard I think about this game, I still come up with it being decided by turnovers. I’m leaning slightly towards the patriots.

Monday Night Football
Minnesota Vikings versus Green Bay Packers – Green Bay.

By |2011-11-13T08:41:35-04:00November 13th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL week 9: Thoughts and Predictions

NFL week 8: hits and misses

Cincinnati Bengals – Did you know that the Cincinnati Bengals are 5-2? Andy Dalton is playing just well enough with a quarterback rating of 82.7. It is their defense that’s keeping them on the field. Cincinnati is ranked fourth in overall defense. They are second in stopping the run.

Philadelphia Eagles – Every time I try to write off Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, they do something spectacular. Towards the end of last season and now for most of this season, we haven’t seen the pinpoint accuracy that Michael Vick showed in the middle of last season. Well, that pinpoint accuracy came back and dissected the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Reid had a genius game plan. He took advantage of a extremely aggressive DeMarcus Ware and pulled a tight end to block him out of the play as the Eagles successfully ran trap play after trap play.

Pittsburgh Steelers – After the Pittsburgh Steelers were destroyed on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens, everybody, including myself, wrote them off. Well, Mike Tomlin is proving to be a very resilient coach. He’s got the Pittsburgh Steelers playing at a high level. The Steelers play ball control offense and really controlled that game from the opening snap and kept the Patriots defense off-balance. Ben Roethlisberger played extremely well. This was probably his best game of the season.

Dallas Cowboys – It’s okay to get beaten on national TV. It’s not okay to get spanked by a division rival. The Dallas Cowboys were never in this game. Not for a minute. I watched this game a couple times. The Cowboys could not stop the run and they couldn’t stop the pass. On offense, they made several mistakes early, resulting in penalties and sacks. Once they punted the football to Philadelphia the first time and Philadelphia scored again, the game was over (14-0). Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg, long-time Dallas Cowboys announcers, stated that the Cowboys needed to forget this game and move on. I don’t think so. I think the Cowboys need to study this game. I know the rest of the league is studying this game and trying to figure out how they can replicate some of the plays. If the Dallas Cowboys defense doesn’t get this fixed, it’s going to be a long season.

Washington Redskins – What happened? As bad as the Dallas Cowboys were beaten, you could probably argue that the Washington Redskins were beaten even worse. Their offense was inept. Their defense was ineffectual. Their defense, as with the Dallas Cowboys, was supposed to be the strength of the team. Fred Jackson, arguably one of the best running backs in the league, ran for 120 yards. It was an embarrassing performance by the Redskins. I’m still confused as to why Mike Shanahan thought that Rex Grossman was the answer. Maybe he looks really, really good in practice.

New Orleans Saints – Just as I’m ready to jump on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon and was beginning to believe that they’re playing good football, they lay an egg. What was that? They made the St. Louis Rams look like a playoff team. St. Louis was beating them on both sides of the football. It was ugly. Drew Breeze had absolutely no time to look over the field. He seemed to be sacked about 100 times (it was only six). The Saints have some issues. They’ve got to get them fixed if they’re going to make a run for the playoffs.

Honorable mentions – I’m still not believing in Tim Tebow. As a quarterback in this league, you have to be able throw the ball accurately… He can’t or hasn’t. BTW, this has nothing to do with believing in him. It has to do with the hard work that it takes to throw the ball accurately. Eli Manning played well but I’m not sure why the Giants had to struggle to get a win over the Miami Dolphins. I don’t know what to think about Joe Flacco. I know that he has to play well in order for the Ravens to win. When you’re looking at Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow and some of these other young quarterbacks, you should compare them to Cam Newton, who is playing some really fantastic football. I’m not sure that San Francisco is as good as some people say their are. Let’s wait a couple weeks before we crown them, but I do tip my hat to anyone who’s played as consistently well as they have. I’m not sure what to make out of the Kansas City Chiefs. I do know that the San Diego Chargers are not playing that well.

By |2011-11-05T12:07:55-04:00November 5th, 2011|NFL|Comments Off on NFL week 8: hits and misses

NFL: Week Five (Al Davis and this week’s predictions)

Al Davis

Today it was announced that Al Davis died earlier this morning. Al Davis was the heart and soul of the Oakland Raiders for over four decades. Al Davis is one of the main reasons that the NFL is the entertaining money machine that we see now. He was an integral part in the merger between the AFL and the NFL. This was a guy who loved to win. He will be deeply missed. You can read more here, here and here.

Morning Games
Philadelphia Eagles versus Buffalo Bills – What happened to the Buffalo Bills last week? A lot of people are saying that the Cincinnati Bengals are a lot better than we thought. Maybe. I think the Bills just had a letdown after beating the New England Patriots. They just couldn’t get up for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Philadelphia Eagles have been everybody’s whipping boys (we can’t forget the Cowboys as long as we are piling it on). As I see it, the Philadelphia Eagles have two major problems. First, they’re having a lot of difficulty in their offensive line. They are simply not protecting Michael Vick. They’re running the ball a little bit better than expected, but this may be because LeSean McCoy is a really good and fast running back. I think the Buffalo Bills are going to win this one.

New Orleans Saints versus Carolina Panthers – Although Cam Newton is proving to be much better than anybody thought he was going to be this early in his career, the Carolina Panthers still need a lot of work. I think both their offensive and defensive lines are somewhat suspect. It appears to me that the New Orleans Saints are figuring out how they’re going to win this year. The New Orleans Saints must be thanking the football gods for Darren Sproles. How the San Diego Chargers let him go is beyond me. Drew Breeze is completing 69% of his passes. They have the number two offense in the league, scoring almost 32 points a game. I just don’t see how this trend is going to be changed by the Carolina Panthers. I look for the Saints to avoid mistakes and win this one fairly easily. As an aside, I really would like to see the New Orleans Saints defense tighten up just a little bit. I’d like to see them create more turnovers like they did two years ago.

Oakland Raiders versus Houston Texans – With the death of Al Davis, this game takes on a new dimension. I think the Oakland Raiders are a team to be reckoned with this year. I like the way that they’re running the ball. I really like the way that Jason Campbell is throwing the ball. The injury Andre Johnson sustained really does hurt the Texans. I think Matt Schaub is playing well. Of course, I said this early last year, only to have him collapse at the end of the year. Getting Arian Foster back will help mitigate the loss of Andre Johnson. Foster ran extremely well last week. I don’t think he will run wild this week, but I think he will probably grind out close to 100 yards. I think this is going to be a hard-fought game but I’m giving the edge to the Houston Texans playing at home.

Kansas City Chiefs versus Indianapolis Colts – Every week there is a game that makes you wonder why the NFL is actually putting these two teams on the field together. The Kansas City Chiefs had high hopes at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, their high-powered running attack took a huge blow when Jamaal Charles blew out his knee. Dexter McCluster is no Jamaal Charles. He’s somewhat small, so he’s not to be able to carry the ball 20 or 30 times a game. He is listed at 170 pounds. If the Kansas City Chiefs are going to play reasonable football this year, they need Matt Cassel to play better. He has to eliminate turnovers. The Indianapolis Colts are proving they’re not going to roll over. They played better last week that I expected but they still didn’t win. Curtis Painter played okay. He didn’t suck. Now, if he can play well, the Colts have an opportunity to win. I think that this game is a toss-up. It’ll be decided by turnovers.

Cincinnati Bengals versus Jacksonville JaguarsBlaine Gabbert versus Andy Dalton. Who? Cincinnati appears to be playing winning football for the first time in years. They’re running the ball the way Marvin Lewis wants to run the ball. Cedric Benson is more of a disappointment because… playing football is a privilege. Being placed in jail for five days for an assault charge is completely unnecessary. I’m giving Cincinnati a slight edge. Look for Cedric Benson to be suspended next week.

Arizona Cardinals versus Minnesota Vikings – Have you noticed that Kevin Kolb has happy feet? He doesn’t seem to be able settle down the pocket. He seems to be nervous and jittery, yet he does make some throws. The Cardinals are running the ball fairly well. Donovan McNabb is having some trouble with his accuracy. He is spraying the ball all over the place. He has done this before in his career, but he has always been able to shake it off and play well. He may start off rusty but by the third and fourth quarter he’s throwing darts. That was several years ago. Now, he’s missing wide-open receivers. Unless he can shake the rust off his game, I just don’t see how the Minnesota Vikings are going to win many football games. I’m picking the Arizona Cardinals in a close one.

Seattle Seahawks versus New York Giants – I know that everyone is saying that the NFC East is one of the weakest divisions in football. I disagree. I think NFC East will get their act together over the next several weeks. Philadelphia, New York and Washington will figure out a way to play winning football. The Cowboys will go as far as Tony Romo will take them. The Giants are really beat up on their defensive frontline. They just got Osi Umenyiora back from injury. Justin Tuck has been in and out of the lineup since the beginning of the year. In order for the Giants to win they need these two guys to be playing well. As long as Eli Manning doesn’t turn the ball over, the Seattle Seahawks don’t have a chance in Giants Stadium. I’m picking the Giants by at least a touchdown.

Tennessee Titans versus Pittsburgh Steelers – This is going to be one of the best games on Sunday. Can the Pittsburgh Steelers turn around? Are the Tennessee Titans a legitimate elite NFL team? I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is the problem with Pittsburgh. They can’t pass block and they can’t run block. Until Pittsburgh gets this fixed, their team is going to struggle. The Titans are solid both in offense and defense. Matt Hasselbeck has been amazing. I see the Tennessee Titans winning this one.

Afternoon Games

Josh Freeman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus San Francisco 49ers – I have no idea how the San Francisco 49ers are 3-1. I do know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seem to be playing better week after week. Josh Freeman seems to be learning at an exponential rate. I think there is an opportunity for him to become an elite quarterback. On the other side of the ball, Alex Smith has never impressed me. Frank Gore is running okay, but not great. The offensive line for the 49ers is mediocre. The San Francisco 49er receivers, Vernon Davis and Josh Morgan, are not making enough plays. On the other hand, Tampa Bay is running the ball very well. I think Tampa Bay is going to win this one.

San Diego Chargers versus Denver Broncos – To me, this game comes right down to the Denver Broncos defense. Can the Denver Broncos contain Philip Rivers? The simple answer is no. The Denver Broncos defense is giving up an average of over 400 yards per game. I know Antonio Gates is probably not going to play, but San Diego still has too many weapons on offense. I need to mention that the Broncos offense is somewhat anemic. I look for San Diego to win this game going away.

New York Jets versus New England Patriots – It is hard to say that you have a must-win game this early in the season, but I think that’s one of the great things about the NFL. In the NFL you don’t play 120 games or 160 games. With only a few exceptions, every game counts. The New York Jets have not been able run the ball the way they want to and they haven’t been able to apply that suffocating defense. They’re just not playing as well as they did last year on both sides of the ball. New England’s a little soft on defense, but they make up for it by being outstanding on offense. Unless the Jets can figure out a way to slow down Tom Brady, they’re looking at another loss. I’m marking this up as a win for the Patriots. (Can anybody stop Wes Welker? Revis can and has.)

Green Bay Packers versus Atlanta Falcons – Last week, I said that Atlanta had to win in order to stay close in their division. As a matter fact, I went so far as to say that Atlanta had to win in order to prove to the NFC that they were still an elite team. So, they won last week. They have to do it again. If Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers come in and destroy the Atlanta Falcons, I’m not sure that the Falcons are going to be able to recover. I don’t think that Atlanta is running the football as well as they would like. I don’t think that Matt Ryan is getting the time in the pocket that he would like. I think that the Packers are clicking on all cylinders. The only way I can see for Atlanta to win this game is to create turnovers and integrate them early. It is possible that Aaron Rodgers may be in his Tony Romo (3 interceptions in the 2nd half), giving mood. Possible, but unlikely. I look for the Green Bay Packers to chalk up another win.

Monday Night Football
Chicago Bears versus Detroit Lions – I think that this has the potential to be the best Monday Night football game of the year so far. Both of these teams like to play fast and hit hard. Both of these teams have a long history. I really don’t think the Detroit is playing amazing football but they’re winning. I think Calvin Johnson will be covered from the time he gets off the bus to the time he gets back on the bus. I think that Julius Peppers and the rest of the Chicago Bears are cooking up some exotic blitzes to get some pressure on to Matthew Stafford. I’m still not believing in Jay Cutler. He looks harassed. Look for his harassment to continue against the Detroit Lions. This is going to be a good game. I think the Jay Cutler is too accident prone for me to lean towards the Bears. I’m looking for the Detroit Lions to go 5-0. (Pretty mind-boggling. The undefeated Detroit Lions. Wow.)

By |2011-10-08T14:09:28-04:00October 8th, 2011|NFL|3 Comments
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