Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Week 9 Results

NYJ 26, Buffalo 17 (predicted: NYJ 17, Buffalo 21) - This game, although I didn't watch it, looked craptacular. The Bills did absolutely nothing on the ground while the Jets defense carried the game. When was the last time anyone uttered that sentence? Meanwhile the Bills, reminiscent of last season, have decided they don't want to go to the playoffs again this year and are on a 2-game slide.

Detroit 23, Chicago 27 (predicted: Detroit 20, Chicago 31) - So close to seeing both winless teams get win number 1 this week, but alas... Detroit showed signs of life and had a 10 point lead at the half before going scoreless in the second half. Rex Grossman made an appearance and rushed for a touchdown after Kyle Orton got hurt.

Jacksonville 19, Cincinnati 21 (predicted: Jacksonville 27, Cincinnati 13) - This one hurts. The Jaguars are in a lot more trouble than their record suggests, and are teetering on the edge of being out of the playoff race altogether. Serious problems in the run game and on defense are going to make for a long second half of the season.

Baltimore 37, Cleveland 27 (predicted: Baltimore 20, Cleveland 17) - I didn't know these two teams were capable of putting up 64 points. Moreover, how amazing (or pathetic, depending on how you look at it) is it that both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are playing this well as rookies? Derrick Mason apparently is still alive and able to run for 136 yards, while Ray Rice stole the show with 154 yards rushing.

Tampa Bay 30, Kansas City 27 OT (predicted: Tampa Bay 21, Kansas City 24) - Come on Kansas City. How do you blow a 21-point lead to a Jeff Garcia-led team at home? I love how Tyler Thigpen had a touchdown reception thrown by Mark Bradley (whoever that is). It's becoming painfully obvious that the Chiefs have the talent, they just need a coaching change. Badly.

Houston 21, Minnesota 28 (predicted: Houston 27, Minnesota 28) - What did I say in the prediction? Yeah.

Arizona 34, St. Louis 13 (predicted: Arizona 34, St. Louis 27) - Looks like Jim Haslett's honeymoon is officially over. Good thing he's a defensive coordinator, because it looks like the Rams need his expertise.

Green Bay 16, Tennessee 19 OT (predicted: Green Bay 17, Tennessee 20) - Not a bad game, but the Titans held on to win it in overtime. Chris Johnson got 24 touches compared to Lendale White's 8, including carries inside the 5. Hmm. Aaron Rodgers actually went for over 300 yards- you can pass on the Titans.

Miami 26, Denver 17 (predicted: Miami 24, Denver 31) - Never underestimate the ineffectiveness of a bad defense. Miami goes against the time-zone rule and wins in Denver. A lousy call negated a big would-be touchdown catch by Brandon Marshall. The thing I don't understand is why Denver was having trouble passing on Miami's secondary.

Dallas 14, NYG 35 (predicted: Dallas 17, NYG 28) - No surprises here. Brad Johnson underwhelms for the second straight week before being benched at halftime for Brooks Bollinger, while Eli Manning's stat line: 147 yards, 3 touchdowns, a pick-6, and 2 lost fumbles. What a weird game.

Atlanta 24, Oakland 0 (predicted: Atlanta 30, Oakland 21) - How pathetic. 77 yards of offense is understandable against a team like the....actually no. No excuse. Especially against the Falcons. Anyone playing fantasy: for a team that plays Oakland, start the #2 receiver that goes up against Dante Hall.

Philadelphia 26, Seattle 7 (predicted: Philadelphia 27, Seattle 14) - Well other than that ridiculous 90 yard catch and run by Koren Robinson the Seahawks' offense stalled while McNabb carved up the defense. However my favorite part of this game was the larger picture: with the Eagles' win and the Cowboys' loss, the Cowboys are in sole possession of last place in the NFC East.

New England 15, Indianapolis 18 (predicted: New England 24, Indianapolis 27) - Adam Viniateri coming through in a clutch situation for Indianapolis? Who would have guessed. The Patriots looked slow and lost to be honest, and Bill Belichick badly mismanaged the clock. I also don't really understand why Randy Moss only had 6 receptions for 65 yards. You'd think that they'd make more of an effort to get a consensus top-3 receiver involved, especially when being covered by essentially a nickel cornerback.

Pittsburgh 23, Washington 6 (predicted: Pittsburgh 20, Washington 17) - Big win for Pittsburgh, who is in good shape to win the NFC North (as if that's an accomplishment). Their upcoming schedule is fairly tough- the Colts, Chargers, Patriots, and the Cowboys (presumably the Tony Romo version) in the next 5 weeks, but if they can take 2 of those games plus the Bengals in week 12 and the Ravens in week 15 then they should win the division. The Redskins' loss denied them the opportunity to go a full game up on the Eagles and puts them 1.5 games behind the Giants.

10/14 this week, 78/129 on the season.

Week 9 Predictions

NYJ 17, Buffalo 21 - Hopefully Buffalo can turn it around after an embarrassing loss to the Dolphins in Miami in week 8. Both teams are coming off of games which exposed glaring weaknesses in the offense- the Bills have offensive line problems while the Jets need to fix Brett Favre's interception problem.

Detroit 20, Chicago 31- The Lions had a passable showing against the Redskins before faltering late in the game. A rested Bears defense should have a field day at home after crushing the Lions 34-7 in Detroit.

Jacksonville 27, Cincinnati 13- After last week's trap game loss to the Browns, the Jaguars shouldn't have similar problems for the Bengals who basically play without a defense. A team that is bad against the run won't fare well against Jacksonville against MJD, Fred Taylor, and David Garrard who apparently is being tagged as a big Randall Cunningham. With 3 teams in the AFC South sitting at 3-4, second place is still up for grabs...

Baltimore 20, Cleveland 17 - The Baltimore defense was all over the Raiders, who regressed from the home win over the Jets. Both teams look to build off of their week 8 wins, and with division leader Pittsburgh entering into the toughest part of their schedule the Ravens could make a run at the division lead.

Tampa Bay 21, Kansas City 24 - If Tyler Thigpen can repeat his performance against the Jets, the Chiefs actually have a chance. Arrowhead is a hard place to win on the road (just ask Mike Shanahan) and the low-powered Bucs offense should be manageable for even the Chiefs...

Houston 27, Minnesota 28 - It's pretty much a trend that a team will do really well for a couple weeks and then come crashing down to Earth. While Andre Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver in the league, the Texans are due for a loss. Against the Viking's run game and a defense that, despite a 48-point non-showing against Chicago, is usually stout, this one should be a Minnesota victory.

Arizona 34, St. Louis 27 - The Cardinals usually can't win on the road, but it's only the Rams. This should be a shootout, as neither team can stop anything through the air. Luckily for St. Louis the Cardinals don't have much of a ground game, and Kurt Warner is probably good for an interception or two to keep the game close.

Green Bay 17, Tennessee 20 - A beat up Packers team won't be a match for a healthy Titans defense. Despite the short week of rest, the defense should be stifling while Kerry Collins hands it off to Chris Johnson (who is already starting over Lendale White).

Miami 24, Denver 31 - Ok, the Broncos defense is horrible, but Mike Shanahan has had a week to prepare for Ronnie Brown and company. The Broncos are tough to beat at home under any circumstances, and teams are finally figuring out the Wildcat. This game is pretty much strength on weakness for both sides; the Dolphins run game vs. an atrocious run defense and the Broncos' passing game vs. a secondary that can't cover anything. Anyone want to place bets on how many carries Andre Hall gets this week?

Dallas 17, NYG 28 - I kind of hope Brad Johnson starts this one just so we can see how far the Cowboys' star has fallen. On the road against one of the elite defenses in the league, the Cowboys don't have many ways to win. Bump TO at the line and he's out of the play. Jason Witten has broken ribs. Marion Barber is still a great running back, but there's only so much he can do. Meanwhile the Giants just put the Steelers back in their place and are playing like defending Super Bowl Champions.

Atlanta 30, Oakland 21 - Michael Turner vs. the Raiders rush defense. Hmmm...

Philadelphia 27, Seattle 14 - Seattle beat the 49ers last week with short passes that turned into long gains. Don't count on that working against the Eagles.

New England 24, Indianapolis 27 - The Colts offense finally showed signs of life against the Titans, while the offensive line didn't give up a sack. Both teams play their best on national TV, so it should be a good game.

Pittsburgh 26, Washington 24 - The Redskins will have trouble putting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, which was the main reason he made so many mistakes last week against the Giants. I think he bounces back and has a good game against the Redskins.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Week 8 Results

Oakland 10, Baltimore 29 (predicted: Oakland 14, Baltimore 20) - What a dismal performance by the raiders. Granted, Baltimore is an elite defense, but a total of 47 rushing yards for Raiders running backs is unacceptable.

Arizona 23, Carolina 27 (predicted: Arizona 21, Carolina 27) - A 4th-quarter interception by Jon Beason killed the Cardinals' momentum as they now have all 3 of their losses on the road. Welcome back Anquan Boldin (1 rush for 30 yards, 9 receptions for 63 yards and 2 TDs). Steve Smith also had a nice game (5 receptions, 117 yards, 2 TD).

Tampa Bay 9, Dallas 13 (predicted: Tampa Bay 27, Dallas 20) - The Bucs had a chance late in the game but dink-and-dunk Jeff Garcia and the Bucs "offense" can't produce the horsepower to get it in the end zone. 28/44 for 228 yards, no TD and no INT is pretty much what you expect, but at some point you've got to take a shot deep.

Washington 25, Detroit 17 (predicted: Washington 31, Detroit 17) - Other than Jason Campbell losing a fumble, this game went pretty much as expected. Clinton Portis rips off his 5th consecutive 100-yard rushing game (MVP candidate?) and the Lions fall to 0-7.

Buffalo 16, Miami 25 (predicted: Buffalo 27, Miami 14) - Looks like the Buffalo second-half fade is in full swing. 2 turnovers (1 INT, 1 fumble lost) for Trent Edwards made the difference, and Buffalo couldn't muster any more of this season's fourth-quarter heroics to save the day.

St. Louis 16, New England 23 (predicted: St. Louis 17, New England 27) - The Patriots managed to scrape by despite allowing 163 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions to Donnie Avery. Seriously, why bother running on the Patriots when a rookie can torch them? Denver should take notes.

San Diego 32, New Orleans 37 (IN LONDON- predicted: San Diego 27, New Orleans 20) - Well, this turned out to be a great game for the NFL after all (minus the Chargers). A shootout between some of the league's best players performing at a very high level (Brees, Tomlinson, Rivers). Apparently the Chargers didn't pay much attention to the game tape of the Carolina game.

Kansas City 24, NYJ 28 (predicted: Kansas City 13, NYJ 27) - Well at least Kansas City made it interesting. There were two things I loved about this game: First that Brett Favre threw a 91-yard pick 6 and second that Tyler Thigpen was leading the league in passing for the week at halftime.

Atlanta 14, Philadelphia 27 (predicted: Atlanta 20, Philadelphia 24) - Oh look, the Falcons play a real team and they lose. Is anyone surprised? Huge game for Brian Westbrook with 167 yards and 2 TDs. Other than that ridiculous catch-and-run touchdown by Roddy White, the Eagles defense was great.

Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 17 (predicted: Cleveland 13, Jacksonville 20) - Seriously Jacksonville, losing at home to a 2-4 team? Unacceptable. At least you'll be friendlier with the Colts now that you've kept their playoff hopes alive by not going a game up on them in the wild card race.

Cincinnati 6, Houston 35 (predicted: Cincinnati 10, Houston 30) - Cincinnati has reached new lows. Bengals fans can pretty much sign off on the season until weeks 16 and 17, when they have a chance to beat the Browns and the Chiefs, respectively. Is Andre Johnson the best wide receiver in the league right now? The numbers certainly say he is.

NYG 21, Pittsburgh 14 (predicted: NYG 20, Pittsburgh 23) - Nice job throwing 4 interceptions against the defending Super Bowl Champions. Can we say overrated? The Steelers had a lead in the third quarter but blew it through stupid offensive playcalling.

Seattle 34, San Francisco 13 (predicted: Seattle 14, San Francisco 23) - Ouch. The 49ers got trounced by the Seahawks with Seneca Wallace under center. Mike Singletary has every reason to be livid about this one, but props for benching JT O'Sullivan and Vernon Davis for their underwhelming performances. Sadly, both teams still have a chance to win the miserable NFC West.

Indianapolis 14, Tennessee 24 (predicted: Indianapolis 13, Tennessee 27) - This was actually a really good game on both sides. The Colts offense showed some life, while the Colts defense played well against the run. Kerry Collins went beyond game manager, he dissected the Colts cover-2 and kept the Titans on the field for an absurdly long time. Looks like Tony Dungy can experience the thrill of the wild card chase this year.

8/14 for the week, 68/115 for the season.

Week 8 Predictions

Oakland 14, Baltimore 20 - The Raiders finally got a win against the Jets. But the Jets defense is pretty horrible and they got really lucky. The Raiders are also vulnerable to the run, so unless McGahee & Co. lay an egg on the magnitude of the Colts game, the Ravens should be fine.

Arizona 20, Carolina 27 - Well I learned the hard way last week about how West Coast teams traveling East for early games never win. Plus it's the Cardinals, who on their last road trip posted consecutive losses to the Redskins and the Jets. After holding Drew Brees and the Saints to 7 points, surely they can deal with Kurt Warner...?

Tampa Bay 27, Dallas 20 - Tampa Bay's defense is going to have a field day with Brad Johnson. If Dallas starts Tony Romo with his broken finger, Gaines Adams is the perfect candidate to break it again. Since the Cowboys learned that you shouldn't rush players back from injury (Safety Roy Williams went on IR last week after re-breaking his arm, which actually helps Dallas), I don't think Romo will start.

Washington 31, Detroit 17 - We'll see if Calvin Johnson can follow up on his monster outing last week, but I doubt it. Dan Orlovsky? Please. The Redskins have a history of losing to horrible 0-X teams though, so an upset would be pretty funny.

Buffalo 27, Miami 14- The retarded Wildcat finally lost some steam last week, and Buffalo dismantled the Chargers in week 7. They're also used to Chad Pennington, and the Bills have a good record against the Dolphins in the past couple of years. Then again, who doesn't?

St. Louis 17, New England 27 - The win over Denver was kind of convincing, but I wouldn't even be surprised if the Rams pulled the upset here. Both teams are still terrible.

San Diego 27, New Orleans 20 (IN LONDON) - If the weather doesn't cooperate (like last year) this will turn into another 10-7 stinkfest on both sides, further eroding European interest in the NFL. Why play it in London? Play somewhere interesting like Amsterdam or Paris. Anyway, both teams are coming off of big losses, but with Reggie Bush out for a month the Saints are in trouble.

Kansas City 13, NYJ 27- Kansas City let Lendale White (!) rush for almost 150 yards. I didn't even know Lendale White was capable of running that far in a season, let alone a single game. Look for lots of Thomas Jones and then a few play-action passes to put the Jets up big early.

Atlanta 20, Philadelphia 24- On the road against a good rush defense and a fairly good pass defense. Factor in a rookie quarterback and that Jim Johnson likes to blitz. Philadelphia should be able to wrap this one up, and if they can't they should just take knees for every play the rest of the season and not ruin their draft pick any further.

Cleveland 13, Jacksonville 28 - Yeah ok they beat the Giants. The Browns are still awful. At least we aren't subjected to the inevitable torture that is Brady Quinn.

Cincinnati 10, Houston 30 - The Texans will be good on offense as long as Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson stay healthy (hah, imagine that!). The Texans are severaly lacking on defense, but luckily they're playing the Bengals this week.

NYG 20, Pittsburgh 23 - I will concede that Pittsburgh has exceeded my low expectations despite a slew of injuries. The Giants were upset against the Browns on national TV in week 6 but seem to be back on track. The Steelers are good enough to match up with the Giants' weak secondary, and I like to think ben Roethlisberger is in a different league than Derek Anderson and JT O'Sullivan.

Seattle 14, San Francisco 23- I guess I have to pick a winner in this one, so I'll go with the home team. That and the Seahawks are awful. A recent column by one of the ESPN bloggers (I guess it was Mike Sando) blames the Seattle offense as being a major part of the defense's problems. I don't really buy into that, considering they played plenty of close games last year and still won the division. Sure they aren't scoring as many points and the defense is on the field longer, but it's definitely not the entire story. Offensive woes can't be blamed for 44-6 routs.

Indianapolis 13, Tennessee 27- Everyone gave the Colts a chance last week and they blew it. If they can't perform against a crappy NFC North team (it honestly doesn't matter which one) then they certainly aren't going to do it against a dominant Tennessee defense and ground game.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Week 7 Results

San Diego 14, Buffalo 23 (predicted: San Diego 30, Buffalo 20) - God, the Chargers are starting to piss me off. Who the hell knows who will win the AFC West, aka the AFC Minor Leagues. the Broncos can't beat the Chiefs, while the Chargers crush the Patriots and then lose to the Bills. How does that make sense?

New Orleans 7, Carolina 30 (predicted: New Orleans 35, Carolina 24) - Wow, I guess Drew Brees isn't that great after all. Trend: Player hyped up to do amazingly in their next game. Result: embarrassing loss. See: Redskins vs. Rams, Baltimore running game vs. Indy, Matt Cassell vs. anyone.

Minnesota 41, Chicago 48 (predicted: Minnesota 17, Chicago 28) - Uh, what? I checked the scores sitting in Heathrow's terminal 5 on my way back to Geneva and uttered an audible "WTF?" when I saw this one. I thought these teams were supposed to be defensive powerhouses? And considering the starting quarterbacks this could be the weirdest game of the week. Maybe even the season.

Pittsburgh 38, Cincinnati 10 (predicted: Pittsburgh 34, Cincinnati 14) - No surprises here. Not even ten thousand Men of Harvard could help Ryan Fitzpatrick / the Bengals.

Tennessee 34, Kansas City 10 (predicted: Tennessee 27, Kansas City 10) - 168 yards from Chris Johnson? Good lord...

Baltimore 27, Miami 13 (predicted: Baltimore 13, Miami 24) - Thanks a lot Miami. Way to play down to another opponent.

San Francisco 17, NYG 29 (predicted: San Francisco 20, NYG 31) - Maybe I'll have more comments after I watch the game, but at 2-5 the 49ers are in a precarious spot when it comes to making the playoffs. With JT O'Sullivan I think that they won't have to worry about their postseason matchups by week 8.

Dallas 14, St. Louis 34 (predicted: Dallas 20, St. Louis 24) - Yep, the Cowboys are falling apart. I'm waiting for the TO explosion.

Detroit 21, Houston 28 (predicted: Detroit 7, Houston 38) - I sat Calvin Johnson in a couple of fantasy leagues. Shit.

Indianapolis 14, Green Bay 34 (predicted: Indianapolis 27, Green Bay 17) - Colts aren't winning the division this year.

NYJ 13, Oakland 16 (predicted: NYJ 27, Oakland 10) - You know your team sucks when Javon Walker scores a touchdown from Jamarcus Russell and your only touchdown comes on a Leon Washington rush.

Cleveland 11, Washington 14 (predicted: Cleveland 13, Washington 28) - Weird score. Again I didn't get a chance to watch but Romeo Crennel probably coached a magnificent defeat.

Seattle 10, Tampa Bay 20 (predicted: Seattle 10, Tampa Bay 24) - Damn, almost got the score right on this one. Tampa Bay is making a strong case for the NFC South division winner.

Denver 7, New England 41 (predicted: Denver 34, New England 24) - This game was so retarded after the first half that I had to turn it off. First of all, Andre Hall- 2 fumbles. 2! How do the Broncos go from destroying teams in the first couple weeks of the season to losing to the Chiefs as well as putting up a lousy 7 points against the Patriots? Oh wait I know why, their defense sucks. 257 yards to the Patriots running game? Any conversation about Denver being a championship team needs to end. Now. That being said, don't think that Matt Cassell gets a free pass. If the Broncos put up any kind of resistance to the run game, the 6 sacks they got would have made a difference.

9/14 this week, 60/101 on the season.

Week 7 Predictions

San Diego 30, Buffalo 20- The Chargers look to be back on track after their 30-10 pounding of the Patriots at home last week. While the Bills defense played well in the first quarter of the season, their weaknesses were exposed in a humiliation 17-41 defeat to Arizona. With Terrence McGee probably out, an average secondary won't be able to match up with Gates, Jackson, and Chambers.

New Orleans 35, Carolina 24- Drew Brees is on pace for something like 5200 yards and 32 touchdowns this season. While I don't think he'll get there, the Panthers aren't going to prevent as much of a challenge to the passing game as Oakland. Brees showed no mercy against the Raiders and put up huge numbers (again), and his targets on the outside (Colston) and at tight end (Shockey) might return this week. The Panthers might be able to keep it close, but I don't see them being able to keep up.

Minnesota 17, Chicago 28- Gus Frerotte is 3-1 as the starter, but he hasn't shown the ability to beat good teams. The Chicago defense, while not quite back to 2006 form, has the ability to dominate- especially against the run. The Vikings running game has been a shadow of its 2007 self, while Kyle Orton continues to defy all expectations by putting up acceptable numbers.

Pittsburgh 34, Cincinnati 14- ESPN recently suggested the Bengals as the worst team in the league. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's becoming apparent that Carson Palmer's injury is not just a nicked up elbow. The Steelers, despite a long injury list, played last week against Jacksonville without skipping a beat. They should dominate the reeling Bengals.

Tennessee 27, Kansas City 10- Kansas City is horrible against the run. Since that's basically all the Titans do, look for Lendale White and Chris Johnson to have big days. The Tennessee defense is on top of the league, and the Chiefs certainly aren't going to change that.

Baltimore 13, Miami 24- Finally the general Joe Flacco love is fading. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have already doubled their win total from last year and are looking to pull even with the Jets and the Patriots in a 3-way tie for second place in the AFC East (if both those teams lose and the Dolphins win). Chad Pennington is no Drew Brees, but he is an accurate quarterback who doesn't make many mistakes. Throw Ronnie Brown and a surprisingly resilient Dolphins defense into the mix and not even the Ravens will be able to keep up.

San Francisco 20, NYG 31- After a week preaching how the team is greater than the individual, Tom Coughlin's Giants should be able to beat the sinking 49ers. Remember when San Francisco was 2-1 and JT O'Sullivan was making Mike Martz look good? Not so much anymore.

Dallas 20, St. Louis 24- Brett Favre's call to Tony Romo was touching, but come on. With a broken pinkie, Romo is just going to throw more interceptions and put more pressure on a shaky Dallas defense that just got worse with the indefinite suspension of Pacman (Adam) Jones. Roy Williams (the wide receiver version) won't play more than a few snaps as he hasn't learned the system yet, and Brad Johnson is Brad Johnson. There is trouble brewing in Dallas.

Detroit 7, Houston 38- It's the Lions. What more do we need to know?

Indianapolis 27, Green Bay 17- Look for a big day from Reggie Wayne, who probably will be covered by Tramon Williams most of the game. The Packers will probably try to run the ball and control the clock, and might even have some success as Aaron Rodgers can do some damage through the air. The winner of this game reasserts themselves in the race for their respective divisions.

NYJ 27, Oakland 10- Tom Cable/Al Davis' attempt to give JaMarcus Russell a real quarterback's workload failed miserably. Expect them to go back to what worked in the run game, although the Jets are going to stack the box and make Russell throw. Favre is probably good for 3 touchdowns and a couple turnovers against a decent Raiders secondary, but it won't matter because the Raiders won't score.

Cleveland 13, Washington 28- Washington has beaten the Cowboys and the Eagles, both of which I like to think are better teams than the Browns. The Giants clearly were not at their best and might have gotten caught expecting a pushover victory. Washington won't do the same.

Seattle 10, Tampa Bay 24- The Bucs have one of the best scoring defenses in the league, and always seem to get a turnover when they need it most. Seattle's patchwork receiving corps and Seneca Wallace starting under center should make this an ugly contest.

Denver 34, New England 24- The only reason New England scores 24 points is because the Broncos' defense is horrible. This is the week I think Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall get their act together, especially after seeing what Philip Rivers did to the Patriot's cornerbacks in week 6. However, a Patriots win would be a strong sign that they aren't going down without a fight. Too bad Matt Cassell won't be able to handle it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 6 Results

Baltimore 3, Indianapolis 31 (predicted: Baltimore 20, Indianapolis 31) - What? The Colts have a defense? They were due for a big win at home. Marvin Harrison used the bye week to cure his serious case of the fumbles, but in fairness we didn't see him get hurt since he was a full two yards behind Chris McAllister on his first touchdown. Let's not give them a free pass after one good week; wins in a similar fashion over the Packers and Titans would be more telling.

Miami 28, Houston 29 (predicted: Miami 17, Houston 28) - Finally someone stopped the ridiculous Dolphin's win streak at 2. The Texans still allowed them to put up 28 points, and who the hell is Patrick Cobbs? By the way, I hope nobody sat Andre Johnson in fantasy this week...

Chicago 20, Atlanta 22 (predicted: Chicago 24, Atlanta 20) - Atlanta has one of the strongest home field advantages in the league. Hahaha... just kidding. I still don't think they're a good team because the Bears clearly have a 4th quarter ailment that prevents them from winning. Michael Turner: 25 carries, 54 yards. Ouch.

Detroit 10, Minnesota 12 (predicted: Detroit 14, Minnesota 31) - Not that anyone actually watched this game, but Drew Orlovsky's casual romp around the end zone was absolutely hilarious. It's only 10 yards deep buddy! What a pathetic way to drop your 5th straight game. With the trade of Roy Williams to Dallas, now we get to see how Calvin Johnson does against double (triple) coverage.

Oakland 3, New Orleans 34 (predicted: Oakland 17, New Orleans 34) - Well I expected the Raiders to lose, but Tom Cable sure isn't making Al Davis' decision to fire Lane Kiffin look like a good one. Even under Kiffin the Raiders managed to put up more than a field goal, even though Janikowski missed his 76-yarder against the Chargers.

Cincinnati 14, NYJ 26 (predicted: Cincinnati 24, NYJ 37) - The Jets continue to be overrated and only manage 26 points against the awful Bengals. Carson Palmer may not be a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, but if there's one thing the Bengals need for [their version of] success, it's Palmer under center. Why does Marvin Lewis still have his job?

Carolina 3, Tampa Bay 27 (predicted: Carolina 17, Tampa Bay 24) - Carolina joins the overrated club and the Bucs defense is its typical stingy self, despite the age of Ronde Barber. Defense wins championships, and now that the Brian Griese experiment is on the sidelines the Bucs' prospects are good.

St. Louis 19, Washington 17 (predicted: St. Louis 20, Washington 38) - I guess the Redskins were due, but come on... the freakin Rams??? Just goes to show that any team can beat any other in a given week. Washington should hang their heads in shame.

Jacksonville 24, Denver 17 (predicted: Jacksonville 31, Denver 27) - As expected MJD burned the Denver defense for 125 yards. Denver's claim to the AFC West is on shaky ground thanks to a resurgence of the Chargers in their victory over New England. Looks like Marvin Harrison passed his case of the fumbles to Brandon Marshall. Protect the ball please.

Dallas 24, Arizona 30 (predicted: Dallas 34, Arizona 24) - About that Dallas defense... Anyway, the loss of this particular game doesn't hurt as much as the loss of Tony Romo for a month, leaving Brad Johnson under center for the time being. The Roy Williams (Detroit edition) trade to Dallas finally gives them the #2 wide receiver they've been searching for. Despite their recent troubles, if the Cowboys can make it through the next month and win 2 out of their next three games (at St. Louis, Tampa Bay, at New York Giants) and go into the bye with a 6-3 record, they'll probably be in second place in the division.

Philadelphia 40, San Francisco 26 (predicted: Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 24) - San Francisco's defensive troubles continue as McNabb and Co. set a season high for points. The 49ers really need to protect JT O'Sullivan. He's shown he can be a good quarterback, he just needs some time to throw.

Green Bay 27, Seattle 17 (predicted: Green Bay 24, Seattle 20) - Looks like the Seahawks dominance over the NFC West is over. At 1-4, they stand little chance of winning the division without a miraculous turnaround in the second half of the season.

New England 10, San Diego 30 (predicted: New England 28, San Diego 34) - Oops... Matt Cassell isn't a good quarterback after all. Thank you, Philip Rivers, for confirming that the Patriots defense is only good when they're playing with a 20 point lead. Deltha O'Neal got embarrassed, the defensive line got dominated, and the offense sputtered. Matt Cassell will not finish the season as the Patriots' starter.

NYG 14, Cleveland 35 (predicted: NYG 37, Cleveland 17) - Weird- I would only expect this type of performance from the Giants in the second half of the season at home. Eli Manning's 3 interceptions (against the Browns?) should end the conversation about which Manning brother is the preeminent quarterback in the family.

10/14 this week, 51/87 on the year.

Week 6 Predictions

Baltimore 20, Indianapolis 31 - The Colts look terrible. However, the Ravens secondary has been absolutely decimated by injuries to Samari Rolle and Dawan Landry, with Fabian Washington being banged up but still starting. I believe that leaves Corey Ivy on Anthony Gonzalez in a repeat of last year's matchup... the one where Gonzalez went off for something like 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last week's comeback victory over the Texans was huge, and might be enough to galvanize the team back to their usual winning ways.

Miami 17, Houston 28 - I'd like to think that Houston can finally get its first win against the Dolphins, who have beaten two of the preseason Super Bowl favorites quite handily. The Dolphins still are not a good team, and while Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown should have a pretty good day I think Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson will have bigger ones.

Chicago 24, Atlanta 20 - The Falcons at home are a handful, but the Bears actually have a rush defense this year. Surprisingly this is also a good game, as both teams are similar in that they've had impressive victories in addition to questionable losses.

Detroit 14, Minnesota 31 - News that Jon Kitna might be benched should be a huge relief for Lions fans everywhere. Everything about the Lions stinks. The defense. The run game. The passing game. Special teams. AD should live up to his nickname.

Oakland 17, New Orleans 34 - Somehow the Saints lost at home against the Vikings on Monday night despite 2 Reggie Bush punt returns for touchdowns. Note that they weren't rushing touchdowns. The running game should be a lot better against a weak Oakland front 7, opening up the passing game off play action for possibly the best quarterback in the league at the moment.

Cincinnati 24, NYJ 37 - While Brett Favre won't throw 6 touchdowns again (although he probably could against the crappy Bengals) expect this to be a high-scoring affair. Especially if Carson Palmer is in the lineup again.

Carolina 17, Tampa Bay 24 - Jeff Garcia awkwardly returns to direct the Bucs offense, but I think it's for the better. Despite his son's troubles, Monte Kiffin knows how to work a run defense, although the secondary is a little shaky. I think these teams play it close for a while and then break it open in the second half.

St. Louis 20, Washington 38 - Uhh, the Redskins just proved they were the class of the NFC East by beating both Dallas and Philadelphia on the road. That's hard to do. Now they get to play possibly the worst team in the league in front of a home crowd that hasn't allowed less than 31 points in a game yet this season.

Jacksonville 31, Denver 27 - Denver's defense showed up against the dynamic running duo of Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn, but they both still had decent games. I don't expect the same performance against MJD and Fred Taylor.

Dallas 34, Arizona 24 - These teams are eerily similar. Both have high-power offenses and suspect defenses. I wouldn't expect this to be low scoring, with a couple turnovers on both sides.

Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 24 - With Brian Westbrook confirmed out, the Eagles will be forced to throw to wide receivers more than they might want to. Reggie Brown is also out (for better or for worse), but it wasn't a problem for McNabb in weeks 1 and 2. McNabb seriously needs to get his act together. The Eagles should not be at the bottom of the NFC East.

Green Bay 24, Seattle 20 - Wow, talk about a fall from grace. Seattle, after "not being worried" about starting 0-2, now sits at a paltry 1-3. The losses weren't even close. There is something wrong with this team, and it's not (shockingly) the running game.

New England 28, San Diego 34 - I think this is the game where San Diego finally beats New England. I still am not buying Matt Cassell, and the Patriot ground game is beat up (another shocker). LT will be playing since it's not the playoffs, and numerous Chargers starters are healthier than they were in the AFC championship. If there was ever a time to start turning a season around, this would be the game for Norv Turner.

NYG 37, Cleveland 17 - Hey, remember when everyone thought the Browns were going to be amazing this year? Yeah. Now that everyone has hopped off that bandwagon as fast as they got on, this should be a boring Monday night game made even worse by the retarded commentary of Tony Kornheiser.

Week 5 Results

Tennessee 13, Baltimore 10 (predicted: Tennessee 23, Baltimore 20) - One of the better defensive games in my opinion, this one had pretty much the result I was expecting, although I'm still not sure how either team scored that much.

KC 0, Carolina 34 (predicted: KC 20, Carolina 27) - Wow. So much for the Chiefs/Broncos honeymoon. Apparently "Let's build on that! LET'S BUILD ON THAT!" didn't have the desired effect. 1-15.

Chicago 34, Detroit 7 (predicted: Chicago 33, Detroit 17) - Jon Kitna has reached new levels of incompetence. The Lions are bad at everything. Kyle Orton (!) had a career day against the defense. The run game sucked. The passing game sucked. The Lions are the worst team in the worst division in the league.

Atlanta 27, GB 24 (predicted: Atlanta 13, GB 17) - Aaron Rodgers had a chance to win it, but then threw an interception. On the bright side he is looking more like Brett Favre in that regard- Packers fans should be used to it. I really do not understand how you let Michael Turner burn you for that many yards. It's obvious the Falcons are a run-first team, just stack the line. Matt Ryan isn't that good...

Indianapolis 31, Houston 27 (predicted: Indianapolis 34, Houston 20) - This game was so funny for so many reasons. First to watch Peyton Manning's sad face the first 52 minutes of the game. Then to see Gary Kubiak calling pass plays instead of protecting the lead with a run game that had been working all day. Then to see Sage Rosenfels get hit end over end and fumble twice in the final minutes. Priceless. Well deserved victory/loss for the Colts/Texans.

San Diego 10, Miami 17 (predicted: San Diego 27, Miami 20) - The Chargers... Super Bowl Favorites still? How long is it going to be before teams figure out how to stop the Wildcat. Note to defensive coordinators: If Chad Pennington lines up wide, it's being direct snapped to Ronnie Brown. How hard is that to notice?

Seattle 6, NYG 44 (predicted: Seattle 24, NYG 31) - So much for Seattle getting impact players back at wide reciever. The Giants might be the best team in the league right now, but a 6 point showing is just sad. Mike Holmgren is lucky he's retiring at the end of the season, or he might have been forced out.

Washington 23, Philadelphia 17 (predicted: Washington 27, Philadelphia 31) - Donovan McNabb says that the Eagles keep beating themselves. Why won't he just admit the obvious and confirm that the Redskins are a better team? After the opening Eagles' drive and the DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown that should have been called back due to an illegal block by the Eagles, the Redskins played lights-out defense for the rest of the game and allowed 3 points while scoring 23. That's not the Eagles making mistakes, it's the Redskins dominating.

Tampa Bay 13, Denver 16 (predicted: Tampa Bay 17, Denver 27) - What happened to Denver's high-flying offense? Maybe it needs a shot of insulin. Still, Denver pulled out the win in Mike Shanahan's "Alamo," to paraphrase Dan Dierdorf. Oh, and Jay Cutler says he has a better arm than John Elway.

Buffalo 17, Arizona 41 (predicted: Buffalo 30, Arizona 24) - Way to get knocked out of the game with a concussion Trent Green....err, Trent Edwards. Didn't watch this game, but the score tells you everything you need to know. Reality check for Buffalo.

Cincinnati 22, Dallas 31 (predicted: Cincinnati 13, Dallas 34) - Carson Palmer again starts to re-emerge from the early-season drudge he was in. Will he stay healthy enough to turn the Bengals' offense into something teams worry about? By the way, the Bengals just signed Cedric Benson. I'm pretty sure that the AFC North is really worried about that.

New England 30, San Francisco 21 (predicted: New England 17, San Francisco 14) - Matt Cassell and Randy Moss finally get it together and lead the Patriots to victory. Quarterback controversy brewing in New England?????

Pittsburgh 26, Jacksonville 21 (predicted: Pittsburgh 24, Jacksonville 27) - Jacksonville, you disappoint me. Losing at home to a team without its top 2 starting running backs and a sieve for an offensive line, and you still lose? Come on. Odds are good that you'll be playing Pittsburgh again (in Pittsburgh) in the playoffs, so start figuring out why you failed miserably now.

Minnesota 30, New Orleans 27 (predicted: Minnesota 20, New Orleans 38) - What a weird game. Drew Brees puts up 330 yards and Reggie Bush returns two punts for touchdowns, yet the Saints still lose. And no, it wasn't because of the Vikings defense.

8/14 this week, 41/73 for the year.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

NFC West at the Quarter Mark

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) - Apparently the Cardinals can't win against good teams on the road this year, either. After losing Anquan Boldin for a week in a pointless play against the Jets, the Cardinals play the Bills and Cowboys before their bye. After riding the bubble for two weeks, opinion on Kurt Warner's ability as a quarterback have come back down to Earth. Gunslinging only works against crappy teams. It also pleases me that all of the preseason talk about how good the Cardinals defense was going to be has since ended. The Antrelle Rolle experiment at FS was a dismal failure. Karlos Dansby is having an average year so far, but he's not the Shawn Merriman everyone thought he was. Without a top defense and a very, very one dimensional offense, the Cardinals "success" won't last long.

San Francisco 49ers (2-2) - So, my first question is whether or not the 49ers reformed offense is a result of the addition of Mike Martz or the addition by subtraction of Alex Smith? I'm going to guess the latter. Smith has done absolutely nothing of note in his time in San Francisco. Whaa whaa he had to learn x different systems in x years, guess what... so did Jason Campbell, and Campbell was still a passable starter. JT O'Sullivan has been sacked a lead leading 19 times or something ridiculous like that. Clearly the offensive line has to protect him better lest we endure an awkward return of the Alex Smith show. Oh wait, he's on IR again. No surprises there. Even Shaun King is a better alternative anyways. Frank Gore is finally living up to his potential, but the defense has shown no improvement from last year.

Seattle Seahawks (1-2) - Things are looking up for the Seahawks. The early bye gives key starters an extra week to heal (before they get put on IR like the rest of Seattle's receivers). The defense is doing well stopping the run but rank 25th against the pass. Good thing they signed Marcus Trufant to that multi-year deal in the offseason, because it obviously helped... Shockingly, the Seahawks are ranked second in run defense. And this is with Julius Jones as the starter. Did anyone see that coming? I guess his 2-season Dallas attempt to tell us that he sucks was actually just a bluff.

St. Louis Rams (0-4) - The Rams are by far the worst team in the league. Firing Scott Linehan? Ok. Hiring defensive coordinator Jim Haslett? What? The Rams haven't allowed less than 31 points this season. Meanwhile Chris Long is doing nothing, and Steven Jackson is just starting to get back into rhythm. The offensive line is still horrible despite having numerous starters healthy, which many people used as an excuse for last year. However all hope is not lost (yet) as they play in the weakest division in the league. Playing the NFC and AFC East doesn't help though, and all of the teams in the NFC West are pass-happy. It could be a long season for the Rams again.

NFC South at the Quarter Mark

Carolina Panthers (3-1) - Convincing wins over the Chargers in week 1 and the Bears in week 2 have the Panthers on top of the division. The power running game as well as the revitalized throwing arm of Jake Delhomme has taken the Panthers back out of the dregs of the NFC. We've yet to see the return to form of Julius Peppers, although he should get plenty of chances to prove himself against the likes of Arizona, Oakland, Detroit, and Atlanta. The defense is performing adequately, but will have to improve (especially against the run) if they expect to go far into the playoffs. Oh, and Steve Smith has to avoid punching someone else on his team. He must have landed a good hit on Ken Lucas- noses aren't the softest part of the body.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) - The Bucs have always been good on defense, but this year they're not doing so hot especially against the pass. Most of that can be attributed to the aging cornerbacks who have clearly lost a step on their younger opposition (see: Ronde Barber vs. Greg Jennings). When any defense lets Brandon Lloyd hit the century mark, its time to take a look at the problem(s). On offense Jeff Garcia got benched after the week 1 loss to the Saints. Brian Griese has filled in and won three straight despite throwing a dangerously high number of interceptions. That obviously won't be a winning strategy for long. The Bucs have a very manageable schedule, but I think they miss the playoffs this year.

New Orleans Saints (2-2) - Oh look, it's 2006 again without the excitement. For all the noise the Saints made in bringing Jeremy Shockey to New Orleans he's done exactly nothing. Actually, that's not true... he found his way to the injury report (surprise) and has 16 receptions for 151 yards and no touchdowns. Not bad numbers for a tight end, but I still don't understand the hype. First round pick Sedrick Ellis is out with an injury for a month, which means Jonathan Vilma will be seeing more offensive lineman pretty soon (just like in New York!). In the secondary basically everyone good is injured, which isn't saying much. Luckily for the defense Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and can put enough points on the board to keep them off the field. Reggie Bush, despite being unable to run anywhere between the hashes, is having a great season so far due to his receiving ability. Deuce McAllister is back (tentatively). We'll see how long he lasts. I could see the Saints as a playoff team, but defense wins championships and they don't really have a chance.

Atlanta Falcons (2-2) - First step: win a road game. Next: beat a good team. Final: beat a good team in a road game. Seriously it's like night and day with the Falcons. At home they're unstoppable (against the Lions and the Chiefs...) but on the road against good teams they can't even score a touchdown. Matt Ryan looks like a rookie no matter how you swing it. However, I do think the Falcons have a great nucleus of young players to build around: Ryan, Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Sam Baker (who despite his "reach" tag in the draft isn't playing terribly). Their #13 ranking in pass defense is only because opponents know they can't stop the run, and there isn't a defensive starter outside Keith Brooking that anyone would consider irreplaceable (and even he's arguable). Looking at their schedule, I see enough games remaining that the Falcons could finish 8-8.

NFC North at the Quarter Mark

Green Bay Packers (2-2) - Ah, from the best division in the league to one of the worst, and what better place to start by the center of football hype 2008? Aaron Rodgers clearly is not the under-the-radar phenom everyone was saying he was after beating amazing teams like the Vikings and the Lions. Reality check folks... even the Falcons destroyed the Lions. Yes, the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan Grant hasn't earned a penny of his big contract extension to date, and now Aaron Rodgers is hurt and could end his starting streak at 4. So much for replacing Brett Favre. Meanwhile I heard something about how Favre had an OK game against the Cardinals this week. The Packers should still win the division but lets face it; only because the NFC North is so awful as a whole. Whoever makes it to the playoffs is just going to be first-round fodder. The Pack has a lot of questions going into week 5 other than Rodgers and Grant with a season ending injury to DE Cullen Jenkins and a semi-severe spleen injury to Al Harris who will miss at least some time recovering. If the offense can't move the ball when faced with good defenses (like Tampa Bay, who were really only threatened by Ronde Barber's sudden loss of balance) Green Bay is going to fall far short of the high offseason hopes.

Chicago Bears (2-2) - Kyle Orton? Really? We'll see how long he lasts. The Bears were flying under the radar in the race for "most retarded QB controvery in the league" this past offseason, but Orton managed to beat the Eagles and the Colts, two teams who traditionally aren't as bad against the pass as one would think. On the positive side, Matt Forte looks like the real deal. He's like a Deuce McAllister, except with two good knees. However like 2006 Larry Johnson, worries are surfacing about his workload. The defense has improved by leaps and bounds from last season, aided by the return to health of many key defensive starters. For now at least, the defense should be able to mollify at least a portion of the inevitable offensive bumbling.

Minnesota Vikings (1-3) - Brad Childress. Look, the guy even has the important part of "Child Molester" in his last name, and he even looks the part. Calling time out to throw the challenge flag and lose another time out? Come on. I will give credit where it's due for benching Tarvaris Jackson after he clearly regressed from the final four games of last season, but you have to look at it differently because Jackson is African American. Gus Frerotte won't last a full season anyways, so we'll see Jackson again soon enough. Meanwhile, where's that defensive front four that even scared the commentators in the preseason? Jared Allen has done an adequate job, but I don't think you could find one person that knows anything about the game to say he's lived up to expectations. The pass rush can't be that great if the Vikings keep getting killed through the air. And running (literally) a ball control offense doesn't work if nobody fears your quarterback(s).

Detroit Lions (0-3) - At least the Matt Millen era is over. On one hand it's unfortunate because you could count on him to draft the most hyped up player available and watch him fail miserably. Roy Williams worked out (kind of, he's not good enough to lock into a long term deal apparently) and Calvin Johnson in my humble opinion hasn't lived up to his #2 draftee status, although he's not a bust by any means. Jon Kitna was even keeping it close with the Packers until he threw two pick-6s in the fourth quarter. No, the problems with the Lions start and end with the defense. You'd think that Millen, a former linebacker, would be able to draft at least a couple of decent ones. Yet Ernie Sims is the only one that has worked out, and the Lions' front 7 holds less water than a sieve. While they're not wretched to the degree of the St. Louis Rams, they're pretty close. Luckily they still have several division games left, so 0-16 should be out of the question.

NFC East at the Quarter Mark

New York Giants (3-0) - Looks like the Giants are off to their traditional solid first half of the season. With Plaxico Burress out serving a (somewhat bizarre) team-levied suspension, the Giants will be facing a tough Seahawks run defense with Amani Toomer as their #1 wide receiver. Quite frankly, the Giants virtually have to go into week 7 undefeated in order to safely consider themselves a playoff team. Week 7 starts a series of brutal matchups against Dallas, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Arizona, Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas again before finishing the season with Carolina and Minnesota. The Giants probably need 12 wins to win the division, and losses to either Seattle, Cleveland, or San Francisco would be a serious setback in a division that does not give playoff berths willingly.

Washington Redskins (3-1) - Jason Campbell truly looks comfortable directing the Redskins offense. He hasn't thrown an interception or fumbled yet this season, and it's not like he's just handing off to Clinton Portis (OK, he does a lot of that too). I always thought the Redskins didn't get enough credit for what amounted to a good showing last season despite a first-round elimination in the playoffs. Santana Moss even looks like the #1 receiver everyone has said he could be, and as a bonus he has consistently had big games. Who saw that coming? It's a far cry from the last time he had to take himself out of a game for dropping the ball 5+ times. Like any team in the NFC East, the Redskins have a good shot at winning the division, and expect the week 16 matchup vs. the Eagles to have playoff implications for both teams. If they can go into Philadelphia and win, they'd have a huge advantage in a tiebreaker situation nearer the postseason on both Dallas and Philadelphia.

Dallas Cowboys (3-1) - Dallas' epic fail against the Redskins clearly has them in a little bit of a tizzy. Terrell Owens is getting uneasy. The Redskins put the Cowboys into panic mode early, and it showed in the playcalling. 8 carries for Marion Barber? Are you serious? It's not like TO was lighting up the show or anything. Unlike last year, I think that the Cowboys will not have the luxury of taking weeks 16 and 17 off and I think it will actually help them. I still expect them to win the division, but laying a few more eggs like they did in week 4 will definitely come back to haunt them. The Cowboys have shown the league 2 years in a row that they aren't mature or disciplined enough to win in the playoffs. This is the year that they have to show otherwise. Wade Philips knows it....

Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) - I'll give McNabb a free pass on the Chicago game due to Brian Westbrook being out, but Buckhalter did fine in his stead. After the ridiculous Monday night game in week 2, the NFL learned that the Eagles were back. McNabb is healthy, and if he and Westbrook can make it through the season (not exactly the "if" statement any Eagles fan wants to hear) the Eagles could go far into the playoffs. If DeSean Jackson wasn't such a moron, the Eagles could very well be sitting at 4-0 right now. The defense is playing beyond their abilities, first against the rush, 11th against the pass, and 7th in points allowed. Those are Super Bowl caliber numbers (except they won't win, because it's Philadelphia).

Treasures from Bill Simmons

Normally I can't stand ESPN Page 2. DJ Gallo is a retard. Patrick Hurby and Dave Fleming are both huge morons. But Bill Simmons' latest article has some real treasures. Among them:

1) I actually had seen this beforehand, but he posts this link about a near-murder over fantasy football points. My favorite sentence in the article is "Additional charges of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence were added to Ward's arrest" - I guess his battery was running low.

2) On Scott Linehan: "This seems like a good time to mention that when your defense has given up 147 points in four weeks, firing the head coach and promoting the defensive coordinator isn't exactly the best way to fire your fans up." Glad I'm not the only one that thinks so.

3) On the Pittsburgh Steelers: "Here's something you won't hear on Sunday night: 'You can't make those kinds of mental mistakes against Mewelde Moore, he will KILL you.' "

4) "VEGAS (-120) over anyone dumb enough to do a 10-point, three-team tease
San Diego killed you in Week 1. Miami killed you in Week 3. Kansas City killed you in Week 4. These were not accidents. Just stop. No more."

Super Bowl memories, anyone?

Link to full article.

Friday, October 3, 2008

AFC West at the Quarter Mark

Denver Broncos (3-1) - Just like last year the Broncos can't stop the run a la Indianapolis. I guess that happens when you have a small defensive line and only average linebackers. In the secondary, both Dre Bly and Champ Bailey have been stinking it up and as a unit the secondary allows in excess of 250 yards per game through the air. Offense is a different story, as Jay Cutler has announced his breakout season in a big way. Brandon Marshall responded to his suspension with 166, 155, and 77 yard games with a touchdown in each. The running back platoon is effective when Mike Shanahan feels like using it.

San Diego Chargers (2-2) - I guess we should call it Norv Turner syndrome. Philip Rivers is still immature, and played horribly against the Raiders. LT has also started slow, partially due to a toe injury and partly due to the Chargers general bumbling around on offense. Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson seemed to have emerged as viable threats at wide reciever. It's a miracle what getting out of Miami will do for you. The defense is the problem. The Chargers are getting killed by the pass, and while Antonio Cromartie is certainly getting enough balls thrown his way to repeat his league-leading interception performance of last season he's not making good on them. I don't see why San Diego is a Super Bowl favorite as of right now. Talent alone won't do it.

Oakland Raiders (1-3) - As usual the Raiders are a mess. Firing Lane Kiffin for Tom Cable only seems like a lateral move, as the real problem is at the top. Al Davis continues to ruin the Raiders, and as long as he's in charge nobody should expect great things from them. Jamarcus Russell has improved from last year and the running game is strong even with the temporary absence of Justin Fargas. Like the Broncos, however, the lack of a pass rush and large bodies in the middle hurts the entire unit.

Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) - With a league-leading 17 rookies, the Chiefs surprised the Broncos last week at Arrowhead. If Larry Johnson can return to 2006 form and become a legitimate running threat, the Chiefs might even have a chance to improve on last season. Now that I think about it, none of the 4 teams in the AFC West have a great run defense, which doesn't bode well for them. Damon Huard and Dwayne Bowe are a very underrated QB/WR tandem that isn't going to make headlines, but it is effective. Look for the Chiefs to make some noise in 2-3 years.

AFC South at the Quarter Mark

Tennessee Titans (4-0) - The Titans finally admitted to themselves and the rest of the league that Vince Young is not a good quarterback and benched him for Kerry Collins. The Titans haven't lost yet. Coincidence? I don't think so. I am ready to admit that Chris Johnson instead of a wide receiver was an excellent first-round pick, as Johnson is a huge home-run threat but has also shown he can grind it out inside the 10, catch passes out of the backfield, and run between the tackles. So basically he's a better version of Reggie Bush. The Titans defense is elite. With Albert Haynesworth in a contract year and several other veterans playing at an extremely high level, the Titans are early favorites to take the AFC South title away from the Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) - After their 0-2 slide at the beginning of the season, the Jags seem to have gotten back in gear with big division wins over the Colts and the Texans. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are living up to their reputation as one of the top running back tandems in the league. David Garrard has made smart choices on the field- scanning his options and scrambling when he has none. The weakness is the defense, which I still don't think can be counted on to step up when the game is on the line. A win against the Steelers at home would make a very strong case for the Jags to make a second consecutive playoff appearance.

Indianapolis Colts (1-2) - The Colts have not looked like themselves so far this season, and everyone knows it. Key injuries on the offensive line and the loss of (surprise!) Bob Sanders until after midway through the season have degraded the Colts ability to control the clock and stop the run. Marvin Harrison is obviously in the twilight of his career and seems to have a serious case of the fumbles. Coming off an early bye should get some more starters healthy, but none of it matters if the defense can't get off the field. Peyton Manning is going to have to finish more of his drives in order to win games. On the upside, the last time the Colts played like this they won the Super Bowl.

Houston Texans (0-3) - The Texans are an 0-3 team that really shouldn't be. The loss to the Jaguars in the final minute was a pity, because it was a good game on both sides. Matt Schaub finally figured out what his problem was (as did Andre Johnson) and both returned to form. Unfortunately they play in the most competitive division in the AFC, and a loss to the Colts in week 5 could end their playoff aspirations early and even put a winning season in jeopardy. Most of the serious problems are on defense, as the Ahman Green situation has been solved in the form of Steve Slaton.

AFC North at the Quarter Mark

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) - Despite the record, the Steelers do not look good. Even after four games their brutal schedule has taken its toll, with the top backup running back and guard out for the season in addition to Willie Parker's absence for one game so far (and probably another in week 5). The "F" in "FWP" might as well stand for "fragile." While the defense is still strong and will continue to be so as long as Dick Lebeau is calling the plays, there are major questions on the offensive line that in turn limits what the Steelers can do in terms of scoring. Don't expect Roethlisberger to throw 32 touchdowns this year, he barely has time to dump it off to Mewelde Moore.

Baltimore Ravens (2-1) - After their freak week 2 bye, the Ravens might be the surprise team in the league so far this year. The return to health of key defensive players like Chris McAllister and Ray Lewis is making the difference, as the Ravens are at the top of the league in defense. Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco is doing an adequate job, but the fumbles have to stop. The running game is doing well with Willis Mcgahee and rookie Le'Ron McClain. While the defense is nowhere near that which carried them to a Super Bowl victory in 2000, the Ravens could sneak into a wildcard spot if their physical style of play doesn't put all of their starters on IR first.

Cleveland Browns (1-3) - As expected (by me) the Browns are folding to good teams. Just like 2007. Derek Anderson is taking most of the blame, but really it's everywhere. Offseason acquisitions have done pretty much nothing (has Stallworth even played a game yet?), while we're at risk of seeing the beginning of the Brady Quinn era before November. Braylon Edwards, the "budding superstar" can't play for more than a quarter before collapsing due to lack of breath. The Browns need to figure out their problems and do it fast, because with their schedule life does not get easier.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-4) - The only good thing about the Bengals this year is that people finally stopped talking about how they were "on the bubble" of making the playoffs. How on Earth has Marvin Lewis kept his job this long? The Bengals look terrible in nearly every area of play. Carson Palmer showed flashes of his former self against the Giants before a somewhat mysterious injury sidelined him for week 4. The running game is so bad that they just signed Cedric Benson. The defense is its usual terrible self with the exception of rookie Keith Rivers. Chad Ocho Cinco has not compensated for his pouting in the offseason, and if he wants a trade he should start proving that he's worth it.

AFC East at Quarter Mark

Buffalo Bills (4-0) - The Bills were a sleeper team in the offseason after consecutive 7-9 starts. While I won't attribute the losing record in total due to injuries, having their young starting defense healthy certainly helps. The Bills look good on both sides of the ball, they just need to come out of the gate faster and put up more points in the first half. Trent Edwards has been a consistent, mistake-free quarterback who also can make some big plays (see: Lee Evans). Marshawn Lynch is arguably one of the top 5 running backs in the league, and he has the offensive line to have a huge year. Buffalo is a very balanced team and is looking like an early playoff contender after beating the Seahawks at home and the Jaguars in Jacksonville. However I do think that the team's youth will be a factor if they make it that far.

New England Patriots (2-1) - The Patriots have managed to win two games despite losing Tom Brady for the season. Of course, the two teams they beat were the Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) and the New York Jets (2-2) before getting routed by the Ronnie Brown. Matt Cassell looks lost in the offense much like he did in the preseason, while the single season touchdown record holder Randy Moss has only one touchdown and around 170 yards. The Patriots are not capable of winning shootouts without Brady, as their defense is clearly aging and finally having their weaknesses exposed when not playing with a 20 point lead. If the Patriots plan on playing in the postseason, they are going to have to take a long look at their quarterback situation and ask themselves if Matt Cassell is really the answer. Unless he turns it around in a big way against the 49ers, I wouldn't expect Cassell to hold his job.

New York Jets (2-2) - After three weeks of handcuffing Brett Favre with 4-yard dumps and screens, the Jets finally let him do what he does best- throw the ball downfield. Apparently the Cardinals defense isn't as good as everyone thought, and got gashed for 56 points and 6 touchdowns by Favre. The defense still is not playing up to their potential, but if there is one team in the division that should improve by leaps and bounds it's the Jets. The next meeting with New England should be totally different.

Miami Dolphins (1-2) - Single-wing formation aside, the Dolphins still got destroyed by two very mediocre teams in the Cardinals and the Jets. The victory over the Patriots was impressive, but the Dolphins are going to have to do it again before people start to take notice. The secondary is awful, and the offense outside of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams is ineffective. The Dolphins have a serviceable quarterback in Chad Pennington (and Ronnie Brown), but he needs a little help from his limited options on the outside.