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Wild Card Disaster, Part 2

I chose the Cincinnati Bengals to beat the resilient Houston Texans. I figured it would be difficult if not impossible for the Texans to win with a third-string rookie quarterback. The Texans were also missing their star defensive end, Mario Williams. I thought that, for the most part, Andy Dalton has been protecting the football and playing more like a veteran and less like a rookie. I thought the Bengals would find a way to get AJ Green free from suffocating double coverage. Finally, I thought that the Cincinnati Bengals defense would shut down the run and force the Houston Texans to pass.

I knew that the Houston Texans had an excellent defense, but they really suffocated the Cincinnati Bengals. They forced three Andy Dalton turnovers. Besides that, they simply crushed the running game. The Cincinnati Bengals’ running backs (Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott) combined for 13 attempts for 25 yards. That’s it. AJ Green, Andy Dalton’s favorite receiver, had five catches for only 47 yards. But that’s only half the story. The offensive line for the Houston Texans simply dominated. One would figure that the Cincinnati Bengals wanted to stop the run, but they simply couldn’t. Adrian Foster ran for 153 yards on 24 carries. He was brilliant and so was the offensive line.

I’m not sure if I underestimated the Houston Texans or overestimated the Cincinnati Bengals. Either way – congratulations to the Houston Texans.

By |2012-01-13T02:11:49-04:00January 13th, 2012|NFL|Comments Off on Wild Card Disaster, Part 2

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

NFL week 13: A Few Predictions and A Few Thoughts

New Orleans Saints versus Cincinnati Bengals – in theory this game should be a blowout. The New Orleans Saints should easily be able to handle the Cincinnati Bengals. But, then again, the New Orleans Saints should’ve easily handled the Dallas Cowboys and had to depend on a fumble late in the game to win. If Cincinnati can find the ground game, they may be able to pull this game out. I’m still giving a slight edge to the New Orleans Saints. (Where is Cedric Benson? He is only averaging 3.6 per rush.)

Chicago Bears versus Detroit Lions – Detroit has played surprisingly well down the stretch but seems to find a way, sometime during the fourth quarter, to lose a game. The Lions have been playing extremely hard. I’m still not convinced that Jay Cutler has the discipline to consistently win in the NFL. Somehow, after 13 weeks of football, the Chicago Bears are 8-3. Shaun Hill, the second string quarterback for the Detroit Lions, is out for this game. No matter who is playing quarterback, the Chicago defense should be able to him. Chicago wins this game.

San Francisco 49ers versus Green Bay Packers – I thought Green Bay’s offense let them down last week against the Atlanta Falcons. They had at least two drives stall inside the red zone. They have to be able run the ball. Is Troy Smith the man for the 49ers? I don’t know. I know he’s played pretty well over the last couple of weeks. I look for Green Bay to figure out a way to win this game.

Denver Broncos versus Kansas City Chiefs – are the Kansas City Chiefs for real? They can go a long way in proving that this season has not been a fluke by beating the Denver Broncos. I’m choosing Kansas City in this one.

Cleveland Browns versus Miami Dolphins – if Chad Henne can avoid interceptions, the Dolphins have an opportunity to win this game easily. By the way, who is going to play quarterback for the Browns today? McCoy may give the Browns the best chance to win.

Buffalo Bills versus Minnesota Vikings – the Buffalo Bills had a heartbreaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last week. The Minnesota Vikings have all kinds of turmoil but they also have all kinds of talent. I think if Brett Favre can avoid turning over the ball the Minnesota Vikings should roll.

Washington Redskins versus New York Giants – Donovan McNabb can keep the Redskins in the game but he really needs some more weapons on offense. The New York Giants seemed to have snapped out of their zombielike state during their game against Jacksonville last week. Turnovers have killed the Giants this year. If the Washington defense can rattle Eli Manning early, the Redskins have an opportunity for victory – a slim opportunity. The New York Giants are simply a better team. I look for the Giants to figure out a way to win… And hang onto the football.

Jacksonville Jaguars versus Tennessee Titans – With all the turmoil that’s been going on in Tennessee, you would figure that they were out of the playoff hunt. Not true. If they can figure out a way to beat Jacksonville, they are definitely in the playoff hunt. Kerry Collins will start today a quarterback. He still has some juice left in his arm. Chris Johnson has not had the season that the Titans were hoping for. On the other side of the ball, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been led by an erratic David Garrard. He is had moments of brilliance (near-perfect performance against Dallas). He is also looked totally lost (fourth quarter against the Giants). I think the Titans are simply a better team. If the Titans can fix their quarterback trauma, they can still go deep into the playoffs. I’m picking Tennessee in this one.

Late Afternoon Games

Oakland Raiders versus the San Diego Chargers – the San Diego can take your the ball, they should be able to defeat the Oakland Raiders easily.

St. Louis Rams versus Arizona Cardinals – this is a tossup. Neither team has a proven quarterback. Good luck.

Dallas Cowboys versus the Indianapolis Colts – This game should be an easy victory for the Indianapolis Colts. Then again, maybe not. Peyton Manning has thrown nine interceptions in the last three weeks. The Colts are hurting at receiver. Their receivers are simply not getting open. People are double and triple teaming Reggie Wayne. The Dallas Cowboys secondary a suspect. They have been burned many times this year. On the other hand, Dallas should be able to run the ball. If they’re able to run the ball effectively with Felix Jones, they can keep the ball away from an ailing Indianapolis Colts offense. Run the ball early and often. Run the ball straight at the Indianapolis Colts and the Cowboys have an opportunity to win this game. The Colts linebackers are too fast to try to pitch out and out run them. Dallas does have an opportunity to win this game. I am hoping that they will win this game. The smart money is on the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.

Carolina Panthers versus Seattle Seahawks – I’m going with Seattle. Carolina is simply awful. Will John Fox keep his job?

Atlanta Falcons versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – this matchup this should be one of the best matchups of the afternoon. The Falcons play great at home but this game will be played in Tampa. Tampa Bay has lost some very close games over the last couple of weeks. I don’t think they’ll be able to pound the ball very well against the Atlanta Falcons defense. Josh Freeman is going to have to throw the ball and make plays down the field. I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to do this. On the other hand, the Atlanta Falcons must run the ball effectively. I think they should be able to do this. I’m choosing Atlanta in this game. Matt Ryan has been playing very well over the last several weeks.

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Baltimore Ravens – This is the night game. As I predicted, earlier this season, the Ravens do not show the same intensity that they did five or six games ago. They seem to be a step slower on defense. I think that the Pittsburgh Steelers should be able to pound the ball and move the Ravens defensive line. This will set up play action pass and expose the ravens secondary. I think this is going to be an excellent game. I’m going with the Steelers.

Monday Night Football
New York Jets versus New England Patriots – I simply don’t like the New England Patriots. I think that Bill Belichick is cocky but then again, when you win three or four Super Bowls I guess you can be cocky. Over the last several weeks, Sanchez has been outstanding in the clutch but average the rest of the game. I look for the Jets to pound the ball early and often. If they can avoid turnovers, they can stay in this game. The defense of the New York Jets has been good but not great. The safeties can be exploited. I look for Tom Brady to use his young tight ends to expose some of the Jets issues at safety. This is some of the best football that the NFL has to offer. I look forward to this game. In the end, I think the Patriots win this game.

By |2010-12-05T08:33:14-04:00December 5th, 2010|Sports|Comments Off on NFL week 13: A Few Predictions and A Few Thoughts
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