What an interesting week in the NFL. There were a few
upsets, some non-surprises, and some flameouts.
Last week I went 9-5 yet again making me 87-43 on the
Now let’s look at what we learned in Week 9.
Dallas isn’t back. Seattle just isn’t very good.
Indianapolis is reaching new lows in the “Suck for Luck”
campaign. Curtis Painter is a disaster. This week really is their last chance to
win a game because from here out, they are done.
The Jets are finally looking like the Jets team I was
ready to ride into the Super Bowl. They ran the ball, Sanchez looked fairly
competent, and they dominated the Bills. Told you people were going to fall off
that Buffalo bandwagon left and right.
Houston dominated Cleveland which isn’t saying much. The
Browns are the worst 3 win team in NFL history. They do nothing well at all.
San Francisco’s wins are all starting to look the same.
They grind it out, don’t make mistakes, and win by 7-10 points in low scoring
affairs. Sadly, this one was against the Redskins but what can you do? The
Redskins were winning early in the season because they were healthy and when
injuries started piling up they fell in the NFL’s dumpster.
New Orleans thoroughly trounced Tampa Bay. Good for
them. Tampa overachieved last year and are back to where they should be now.
Kansas City was whipped by the Dolphins. Told you they
weren’t back yet. The smoke and mirrors were shattered a week earlier than I
Cincinnati has officially surprised me. I really did not
think they could come back after being down 10 points against the Titans.
Tennessee is about out of it. Without Britt, Hasselbeck doesn’t have enough
weapons and Chris Johnson is turning into the biggest contract bust since Ryan
Well, here’s an interesting thing that happened in the
AFC West. Every team in the division lost except for Denver which still has the
slimmest of chances of catching up to everyone. There is also a 3-way tie for
first place in the division. How ridiculous is that? Tebow played alright and it
looks like Denver is smartening up and designing an offense around him. They
used a spread option type offense like he had at Florida and it worked. If they
can pull it off in the NFL look out. Defenses are not used to having to cover
the quarterback as a runner. For Oakland, if Palmer would cut back on the
interceptions, Oakland would be in good shape. He went 19-35 for 3 TDs. The
problem, 3 INTs. You can’t win doing that.
I will point everyone back to my column last week at
this time in reference to the Giants-Pats game:
“Eli has quietly been having his best year in the NFL
with a bunch of no-name receivers. New England’s defense is godawful and I never
thought I’d say this but the Steelers laid the blueprint to beat the Pats every
game for the rest of the season. Harass Tom Brady, throw passes of 8 yards or
more, and watch the points go on the board. Also, New England does not need this
win. Right now, they are tied with Buffalo at 5 – 2. Their upcoming schedule
looks like this: at Jets, KC, at Philly, Colts, at Redskins, at Broncos, Miami,
and Beefalo. Realistically, they will at least go 5-3 or 6-2 on this stretch.
That should be enough to win the AFC East. Now, looking at the Giants, they have
the most brutal stretch in the NFL: at San Fran, Philly, at New Orleans, Green
Bay, at Dallas, Washington, at Jets, Dallas. The Giants need this win to start
the stretch because if the skid starts, it’ll skid hard.”
Game, set, match sir.
Arizona vs. St. Louis. Yeah, I don’t want to talk about
San Diego did a good job hanging with the Packers on
Sunday. All other teams should take note that to beat the Packers, you must get
in the horse race with them. Their defense is resting on the laurels of the
league’s best offense. At some point this season a defense has to shut them down
to keep them out of it, don’t they?
Every Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore game is an instant
classic. This one was no different. It was smash-mouth, hard-hitting, and even
all the way to the end. I’ve given Flacco a lot of flack (you see what I did
there) this season and for good reason. The Ravens lost games because he played
horribly. Against the Steelers, he was nearly perfect. He made no bad mistakes
and he marched his offense down the field for the winning touchdown. Hope to see
this matchup again in the playoffs.
Once again, I told you so concerning Chicago vs.
Philadelphia. Chicago controlled the pace with their running game, the offensive
line held strong, and their defense contained Michael Vick excellently. I never
thought I’d say this but Chicago looks like a playoff team and Philly looks like
a hopeless cause for the season. The Eagles' run defense is atrocious and they
can’t win unless they can at least slow down offenses.
Now let’s predict what’s going to happen in Week 10.
People are actually reading this column because I had several emails asking for
an easier format on the week’s matchups. The masses have spoken so from here
out, I will use Visitors @ Home in my predictions.
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
Carson Palmer has been a bit shaky and Phillip Rivers
has been hit or miss all year long. Of all the games this week, this is the most
unpredictable. Currently, McFadden is still out for the Raiders so the game is
on Palmer’s shoulders. My gut says to take the Chargers at home. The Raiders run
defense has been terrible all season and the Chargers would be smart to hand off
to Mathews and Tolbert all game and only make Rivers throw to keep them
Winner: San Diego by 7.
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Matty Ice has this tendency to win at home every time I
pick against him. I want to pick the Saints, I really do but Atlanta has
discovered they can run the ball and the Saints can’t stop the run at all. The
Falcons defense is pitiful as well so Brees should be able to score at will. I
hate doing this but here goes…
Winner: Atlanta by 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
I can’t in good faith pick the Bengals here. Sure
they’ve had a great season thus far but they have to play four games combined
against the Ravens and Steelers. They might win one of them but more than
likely, they lose all four.
Winner: Pittsburgh by 7.
St. Louis Rams @ Cleveland Browns
Kiss your sister because here we go. The Browns do
nothing well. The Rams can run the ball.
Winner: St. Louis by 1 in a 7-6 win.
Buffalo Bills @ Dallas Cowboys
The shine is off the Bills. They are an 8-8 team at
best. Dallas can win against average-mediocre teams but cannot yet hang with the
elite teams again.
Winner: Dallas Cowboys by 3.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
If Indy is going to win a game this season, this is it.
Blaine Gabbert is terrible, Jacksonville’s defense is not very good, and the
only thing going for the Jaguars is Maurice Jones-Drew. If it’s going to happen,
this is it.
Winner: Indianapolis by 1.
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs showed against Miami how fluky they’ve been
all year. Denver is hitting some sort of stride and I expect another win here
Winner: Denver by 7.
Washington Redskins @ Miami Dolphins
All of you know by now, I’m a Redskins fan. I never like
picking against my team but what do you do here? Miami just thumped KC 31-3 but
hasn’t yet won a game at home. The Redskins have a roster filled with injuries
and neither Rex Grossman nor John Beck is very good.
Winner: Miami Dolphins by 3.
Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles
Arizona is coming East on the road? Pick them to win?
Winner: Philadelphia by 14.
Houston Texans @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Houston has been proving me wrong. They probably are
going to win the AFC South now.
Winner: Houston by 7.
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
Tennessee should be able to score against a weak
Carolina defense but the Panthers are coming off the bye week. Unless Chris
Johnson gets his legs back Carolina should pull this out.
Winner: Carolina by 3.
Baltimore Ravens @ Seattle Seahawks
This is a classic trap/letdown game for Baltimore.
However, I’m not confident Seattle is good enough offensively to score on the
Winner: Baltimore by 7.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears
Yikes. What to do here? The Bears are really good. The
offensive line was outstanding against the Eagles, Cutler played well, and the
defense handled Michael Vick. Detroit has had ample time to prepare for the
Bears but their lack of running game will cause them to lose.
Winner: Chicago by 7.
New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers
Here’s where the 49ers can show if they are ready to
hang with the big boys or not. San Francisco has not yet beaten a truly elite
team in the NFL. The Giants, after beating New England, are an elite team. Look
at who San Fran has beaten thus far: Seattle, Dallas, Cincinnati, Philadelphia,
Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, and Washington. Other than Detroit and
Cincinnati, none of those teams are in real contention for the playoffs. The
Giants on the other hand have beaten St. Louis, Philadelphia, Arizona, Buffalo,
Miami, and New England. The Giants are in the same boat regarding beating up on
weaker opponents. This is going to be a tricky matchup either way because the
49ers offense will have to score more than 20 points to win. The Giants really
have flown under the radar thus far but I think they can get the job done
Winner: New York Giants by 3.
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
The Sunday night game will feature these two teams in
what should be a competitive matchup. However, the Jets are more consistent
right now. The Pats have not had a 3 game losing streak in a very long time.
Guess what, there’s a first time for everything.
Winner: New York Jets by
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
Minnesota’s defense is pretty terrible. If their
secondary could stop anything they would have a chance. That being said, their
secondary is awful and Aaron Rodgers is a machine.
Winner: Green Bay by 10.
Games of the Week: Giants @ 49ers, Pats @ Jets, and
Detroit @ Chicago.