Ladies and gentlemen it’s the time again to take a look at what has
happened in the wonderful world of the NFL. This past weekend contained some
pretty stunning upsets and one blow out that greatly surprised me.
I should note that when the news of Al Davis’ death hit the airwaves, I
changed my Houston pick to the Raiders. There was no way they would lose that
game. With that change, I went 8-5 on the week bringing my overall total to
Now let’s look at what we learned in Week 5.
The Steelers roared back after Week 4’s lackluster play and soundly defeated
Tennessee so don’t count the Steelers out yet. Their schedule has the Ravens
and Patriots coming up but they get to glide out with games against Arizona this
week, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Cleveland, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Tennessee isn’t in bad shape either. After the bye, they get Houston, Indy,
and Cincinnati at home before playing at Atlanta and Carolina. 10-6 isn’t out
of the question for the Titans and they may just be enough to win the AFC South.
The Jaguars are just plain bad. The Bengals were able to move up and down the
field at will and their defense kept points of the board until garbage time in
the fourth quarter.
The Saints and Panthers had one heck of a game. The Panthers were one minute
away from hanging on for the victory. The Saints looked good offensively but
their defense performed how I thought they would against the offensive onslaught
unleashed by Carolina. (Yeah I can’t believe I wrote that last sentence
either) Scary thought, if the Panthers defense was any good at all, they
probably could beat anyone in their division.
To borrow a Davis phrase, “Just win baby!” The Raiders did just that. It
wasn’t pretty by any means but they kicked enough field goals and picked off
Matty S. at the right moments to hang on for the win. Houston is starting to
look like the Houston of old. Without Johnson playing and Arian Foster not
having a great game (he appeared hurt on the sidelines throughout the game),
they bumbled through what should have been a win. This year is their year if
they are ever going to win the AFC South and it looks like they might let it
slip through their fingers to the Titans.
Now is the time to panic in Philadelphia. I have a feeling that the defensive
coordinator is going to be fired before season’s end. That defense is terrible
and the offense didn’t help matters. The Eagles are one loss away from kissing
their season goodbye. There is no way this team can go on a run and be 10-6
because that’s what it is going to take. A loss to the Redskins on Sunday will
virtually eliminate them from the NFC East Divisional Championship race. I must
give kudos to Buffalo for their effective use of the running game on Sunday.
Fred Jackson made the Eagles miss tackle after tackle. It took the pressure off
Fitz and balanced their overall offense.
The Vikings finally played a complete game and it can be attributed to AP.
McNabb still played horribly but they road AP for 29 rushes and 3 TDs. The bench
McNabb cries are put off for a week but realistically should be louder than
ever. When AP gets hurt, and at this rate of 29 touches per game it will happen,
they’ll be left with his passing game which has been less than stellar since
he left the Eagles.
The Colts collapsed. This week’s crazy double digit come from behind victory
goes to the Chiefs. The outcome of this game proves the Colts have no heart.
They were way up and allowed the Chiefs to come back and win. That proves how
gutless they are. Next game…
Even worse than the Colts collapse was the Sea Chickens beating the Giants in
the New Meadowlands. How is that possible? Tarvaris played decently until he was
injured, then Charlie Whitehurst came in and put the salt in the wound for the
win. Eli Manning looked like lost, clueless Eli and threw 3 INTs. Thanks New
York for getting me kicked out of my survivor pool.
I knew the 49ers would win Sunday but 48-3? How is it possible an NFC West team
did this? I’m speechless. However I would not jump on their bandwagon just
yet. They do have some tough games coming up visiting Detroit, Washington, and
Baltimore before closing out the season with the Rams (2x), ‘Zona, Seattle,
Norv’s Chargers nearly collapsed because Tim Tebow came in and almost led the
Broncos to an improbable comeback. I have a feeling Tebow will beat the Dolphins
now that he’s the starter but after that, I expect him to be annihilated. In
the pocket, his feet hopped all over the place and he underthrew several passes
because he would not get set. After the Dolphins, the Broncos host Detroit and I
can guarantee Fairly and Suh are foaming at the mouth to attack him.
The Jets need to regroup. Their offensive gameplan stunk on Sunday. The Pats
have one of the worst secondaries in the league and rather than air the ball on
them, they chose to run the ball and the New England front seven stuffed them
most of the day. New York better get it together or the playoffs will be out of
reach due to Buffalo’s ascent.
The Falcons stink. They are so overrated its baffling people fear this team.
Their defense is soft and Matty Ice froze due to the pass rush. The Packers sure
have the easiest schedule in the NFL. It’s looking more and more likely the
Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions will decide the fate of the NFC North. Who
would have ever thought we’d be able to say that?
The Lions annihilated the Bears. Cutler spent so much time on his back you would
have thought he was paid to be there. I’ve been on the Detroit bandwagon all
season and will continue to be. Go Lions!
Now that we have examined Week 5, let’s look ahead to Week 6.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
How Atlanta is getting four points to Carolina is beyond me. Atlanta’s defense
has played like garbage all season. Think about this: Atlanta let Tavaris
Jackson torch them for 300 yards and the Packers defense shut them down in the
second half. Carolina will be able to score on the Falcons and will pull off the
upset win in Atlanta.
Winner: Carolina by 7.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Indianapolis Colts
After the Colts blew a comfortable lead to the Chiefs, I have to take the
Bengals at home here. Painter played decently but the Bengals defense is much
better than KC’s.
Winner: Cincinnati by 5.
Detroit Lions vs. San Francisco 49ers
Wow, what a tough game. I tend to think the 49ers defense is a game managing
offense meaning they won’t make many big plays. They will grind it out, run
the ball and catch you off guard with short slant patterns. Against the Lions,
the running game will disappear. The Detroit defensive line is going to clog up
running lanes and force Alex Smith to pass which could end disastrously.
Winner: Detroit by 7.
Green Bay Packers vs. St. Louis Rams
The Rams come off a bye and give the Packers a free win.
Winner: Green Bay by 14 at least.
New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills
Gosh, after the New York collapse to Seattle this one becomes harder to pick.
Buffalo’s defense is still a little suspect and New York should be able to
score decently on them. The problems come up with can their defense stop both
the run and passing of the Bills? The Bills schedule is very much shaping up to
look like a 9-7 year. The Bills do not need this win as badly as the G-Men.
Winner: New York Giants by 3.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Winner: Pittsburgh by 21.
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles must win this game to stay alive. The Redskins are currently one game
ahead in sole possession of first place with a 3-1 record. The Eagles are
currently 1-4 and really cannot come back if they fall to 1-5. That said, this
game does have questions. Can the Washington defense create enough havoc coming
off the bye week? Can Rex Grossman be “Good” Rex and not “Bad” Rex? Will
Batman escape the clutches of the Riddler in time? Oh wait, wrong article. In
all seriousness, you can flip a coin on this. It’s a pick’em game. If
Washington wins, they are for real. I tend to think the bye will give the edge
Winner: Washington by 2.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns
Oakland is still coming off the emotion of Sunday and that momentum should push
them past the mediocre Cleveland.
Winner: Oakland by 3.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans
The Texans are riddled with injuries and Baltimore is coming off a bye.
Winner: Baltimore by 10.
New England Patriots vs. Dallas Cowboys
Conventional wisdom says New England should have no problems here. The problem
is the Cowboys will throw the ball 40+ times in the game because I think they
are smart enough to exploit that terrible New England secondary. The question
becomes, can the Cowboys stop Tom Brady and Wes Welker? If it is a horse race,
my gut says New England. If the game settles down, Dallas will grind it out. New
England’s schedule tilts in their favor. Coming off the bye they play in
Pittsburgh. After that, they get the Giants, Jets, Chiefs, Eagles, Colts,
Redskins, Broncos, Dolphins, and closing out with the Bills. Currently, they sit
at 4-1 and realistically after the bye should win 7 of their last 10 barring
injuries. Dallas is in a must-win situation. Much like the Eagles, they need a
Winner: Dallas by 1.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints are playing well and Tampa is reeling coming off the humiliation of
the 49ers game.
Winner: New Orleans by 7.
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings
I think the Bears should pull this out. The Vikings have played like garbage all
year and rode AP all day against ‘Zona. Against the Bears, they will have to
pass because AP can’t win the game on his own.
Winner: Chicago by 3.
New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are coming off the bye but look horrible. The Jets need a bounce
back win to get some more confidence.
Winner: New York Jets by 7.
Premature Playoff Picture:
Definite NFC Teams: Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Detroit Lions.
NFC Maybes: Washington Redskins, San Francisco, and New York Giants.
Definite AFC Teams: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, and San Diego
AFC Maybes: Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, and Buffalo
Games of the Week: Washington vs. Philadelphia for the storylines with both
teams, New England vs. Dallas for the intrigue, and Detroit vs. San Francisco
for obvious reasons.