In it I’ll cover the Oakland Raiders’ and Carolina Panthers’ off-season, and do a quick preview of the top Quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
In it I’ll cover the Oakland Raiders’ and Carolina Panthers’ off-season, and do a quick preview of the top Quarterbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
A couple of observations of the NFL at this quarter season mark. Most teams have played four games and we’re starting to get a sense of who these teams are (or aren’t)
1. Anyone who picked Seattle vs Denver for their pres-season Superbowl looks smart thus far
These teams are better than everyone else, and they are in vastly different ways. Peyton Manning is putting on a clinic for the NFL on high-octane offense production. He dropped 50 on Philadelphia with 26 minutes of possession. That means the Eagles had 33 minutes. Lets think about that. Here’s the Eagles TOP for the previous 3 weeks: 20, 19, 27. Other than the Redskins game, where the Redskins offense was so inept for the majority of it that the Eagles kept getting the ball, they’re almost averaging a 2-1 TOP differential. Peyton flipped that on them and, more importantly, did it in a way that didn’t destroy his defense’s legs. He’s the best quarterback in history and he’s here to show you why one more time.
Meanwhile the Seahawk’s don’t look pretty on offense, but this defense is very legit. No one has a secondary like them. They can physically play with any receiver group, and they still don’t have a full complement of pass rushers. 5 sacks against Schuab on Sunday, to go with 2 interceptions (one for the equalizing touchdown). They were down 20-3 (apparently with a 2% chance to win at one point) and came back on the road. They’re nearly unbeatable at home and if the NFC has to go through them there then look out. I’d feel more comfortable being Seattle at home in the playoffs than Denver where Peyton has shown a history of struggles in outdoor, late season situations.
2. Running is not dead in the NFL
If you think the age of the running back is dead in the NFL, rethink that philosophy. I had a friend tell me a little more than a year ago that he believed there would be a resurgence in the importance of running backs in the NFL. I kind of thought he was crazy, being a Vikings fan and in the midst of Adrian Peterson’s 2000 yard season, but here we are, four weeks into a new season, and the importance of a running game is so preposterously evident that it’s hard not to at least agree with his assessment. Look at the Giants and Steelers. Two teams who have thrived on strong run games and deep passing. Take out their rushing attack and these teams are hopelessly lost. Eli is an MVP quarterback with any form of a rushing attack, but without it he looks lost. Ben Roethlisberger’s is a scrambling magician, but when teams can just key up on the pass and stay disciplined on the back he looks like a petrified animal trying to elude captors. And it’s not just these teams (but they are the most salient examples).
New England has 14 rookies on their starting roster, and I a good chunk of them are receivers, but they continue to win because they show the ability to take the ball out of Brady’s hands and put it into Steven Ridley’s. Anyone looking at that game plan would have to scratch their heads, but Brady has shown a tremendous ability to operate out of play action. They use the run game to actually make defense back off of Tom Brady…. a hall of fame quarterback with multiple Superbowl rings and passing records! We could go down a list of teams that can and can’t run, and I think it’s a direct correlation to success in this NFL. The days of one guy carrying the rock 30 times are done, but the NFL requires a rushing attack in order for a team to be really successful.
3. The AFC is down this year
Sure the Broncos are juggernauts, but look past them and it’s hard to see any real challengers to that claim. Sure the Patriots are 4-0 and the assumption is that they’ll be better as the season goes, but with Wilfork, the premiere 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL, down for the season, its hard to figure them holding Peyton back when it comes to it.
Kansas City has probably the best hope against Denver, but while Alex Smith has been efficient and careful, he is also too careful. He doesn’t take many shots down field and eventually a defense is going to start forcing him to take some of those chances while playing for the 4th quarter. They may win those games, but with Peyton putting up 35 a game it’ll be hard for the Chiefs to keep up with him playing a conservative game like that.
The Colts and Titans are both solid teams, with serious long-term questions. Locker is now down and on IRDR (Injured Reserve – Designated for Return), which means that they’ll be winning defensive games for the foreseeable future (unless Fitzpatrick is back to his $50 million form). The Colts have a progressing offense, but are still inconsistent. They’re better, but again think of them against Peyton Manning and it’s hard to imagine them being able to withstand that assault.
The AFC North is…. woof.
So its Broncos or bust thus far… of course subject to change. I’d give the Colts and Chiefs best odds at rising up to rival them, but if Peyton continues to run like this, I can’t see them stopping short of NYC.
4. The Jaguars look worse than the 08 Lions
At times, it seems to me that the Jaguars are playing a different sport than the rest of the NFL. I like Gus Bradley and I think he’s a great hire for that team, but this is a horrendous start. They’re averaging less than 10 points a game. Yes the Buccaneers are only slightly above that at 11 PPG, but 31 points in 4 games is … ugly. Justin Blackmon is back this week, so that might help, but defensively they’re even worse than that. They’ve given up 129 points which is more than every team except the Broncos have scored and third worst in the league (Eagles and Giants ahead by a little). They’re Tanking for Teddy, or whoever is the best player available, but this team needs a massive infusion of talent across the board. I can’t honestly see too many people who should remain on this team through this year.
5. Biggest Surprise: 1-3 Atlanta Falcons
Look they’ve had a hard schedule thus far. At New Orleans, vs Rams, At Miami and vs New England, but this team is far too talented to be 1-3 right now and it starts from the running game (another team without a strong one underachieving! It all ties together!). Their leading rusher is Jacquizz Rodgers with 134 yards. They’re averaging 82 a game, which doesn’t look terrible, but there is just a woeful lack of presence there thus far which is keeping teams back against the pass. Matt Ryan has had a very nice start thus far, but has been unable to really take his shots and put up some big points. I would also say their offensive line is under performing thus far.
6. Pleasant Surprise: 2-2 Cleveland Browns
There are a couple of teams I didn’t think would have as good of a start (Kansas City, Miami, Tennessee) but the way Cleveland has finally started to capitalize on a solid defense wins this prize. I liked the staff hires in the off-season. Norv Turner is an excellent offensive mind and Horton is my kind of aggressive on defense. I will also admit that I felt the Trent Richardson trade was a little reckless, but with the running back position (not running game) devalued, they should be able to find a solid running back later than the 1st round (they have 1 2nd and 2 3rd round picks next year as well). They’ve also managed to secure two draft picks to make a play for a quarterback if Hoyer doesn’t continue to impress. That being said, he’s impressing. He’s playing like there’s nothing to lose, and there really isn’t. I’m not sure he’s the long-term answer, but he might make them less desperate to move up and could get a slightly better value down the road. He could also be the real deal. Too soon to tell, but the Browns being somewhat relevant is good for this league. They’ve been at the bottom for far too long.
7. Offensive line play is down…. but why?
I’m not sure I have a good explanation for this, but it seems to me that offensive line play is down thus far. This also ties into the lack of prominent run games. It could be a result of the lack of physical practices in the off-season, or maybe that today’s players are focusing on their pass protection, but it’s hard to point to a really good offensive line this year. The Texans are struggling because they have not be able to run the ball as effectively. The Vikings / Adrian Peterson are struggling (if you can call it struggling for All Day) due to poor blocking. Flacco just threw 5 interceptions – a career high – because he was being hit all day. Eli Manning has been hit all season and is turning the ball over like a machine. Go down the list and you see a wealth of poor offensive line performances.
I think San Francisco should have the best line, but they seemed unable to get going until this week, and maybe that is because they finally recommitted to a rushing attack. The Bears are improved, but show periods in which they revert to previous seasons. The Lions and Broncos seem to force defenses into limited blitz situations because they have so many weapons to cover.
Like I said, I’m not sure I have an answer here, but something about offensive lines and running games strikes me as off thus far.
8. Three teams we’ll find out a lot about in this next stretch of four games
Indianapolis Colts: Next 4 – Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Bye, (Houston)
I like the Colts and I think this is a playoff team, but if they’re really in it to win it, these next few games will be a good indicator. They’ve already knocked off the 49ers, and they’ll get the undefeated Seahawks next. At home they have a very good chance to win. They also get the Broncos at home, in Peyton’s return. The emotions will be running high and they are one of the few candidates to compete with the Broncos down the road.
Cincinnati Bengals: New England, Buffalo, Detroit, New York Jets
The Bengals dropped one to Cleveland and suddenly look stagnant on offense. The Patriots game plan better than any team in the league, and how they defend the Bengals will be very telling (I’m guessing rolling coverage on Green with some extra attention to the run game). Buffalo is an up and coming team that already knocked off their division foes. Detroit will test their defense and Rex Ryan will bring a high pressure defensive scheme in. 2-2 is reasonable in this stretch, but any worse could be trouble down the road, particularly with two games against Baltimore, and another against Cleveland still to come.
Dallas Cowboys: Denver, Washington, Philadelphia, Detroit
The Cowboys have slipped under the national radar recently, along with the rest of the NFC East (except for the Giants who are being talked about for all the wrong reasons). The next four games will be a good indicator if they are the class of this division or not. Washington and Philadelphia should be wins for this team, so 2-2 is a good expectation, with hopes to get a third at Detroit. It would also help to have a good showing against the Broncos, but I wouldn’t hold out hope for any team right now.
9. This Josh Freeman thing is getting ridiculous
How have they not cut him yet? If you’re an NFL GM whose not on the Buccaneers, why would you send them anything? Let me count the reasons. Firstly, the Bucs continue to show he has no value to this team by de-activating him on game day. Add in that Freeman has a career completion percentage of 58.2. It has been going down since 2011, when he was at his peak at 62.8. Last year was 54.8 and this year was 45.7. Finally remember that upon being benched, he began to pout. He refused to talk to the media, and I would not be surprised to learn that much of information leaking is coming from his camp. Oh and the odds of Freeman dropping his cap number for another team is very slim.
That being said, Schiano is looking very much like a tyrannical dictator. Kiffin was recently fired, shortly after everyone learned he was unaware of a players only meeting. Tampa Bay had a players only meeting to discuss issues with Schiano, presumably. Both of those stories show major rifts between players and staff. Whether or not Schiano is a good coach is hard to tell, and I think he reminds me of Bill Belichick time in Cleveland. You need to earn your stripes before you can command the disciplinary respect to do some of the moves Belichick does. Schiano is trying to just waltz in and have that respect without earning it.
Both parties need to walk away from this situation. Keep Freeman is useless to the team, useless to Schiano’s reputation with the remaining team, and has to be causing distractions for the rest of the team. Cut him.
10. Power Rankings
1. Don’t sleep on Buffalo vs New England
Whenever talking heads say “I’m not going to say it’ll happen but what for x to happen” I get annoyed, but I’m going to do that right now… it’s my blog, not yours! I won’t say Buffalo will win, because I’ve long learned not to underestimate the Patriots with Brady and Belichick, but I think there’s a chance Buffalo can sneak out a win here. Brady is still working on chemistry with his new receivers, and the Pats defense still consists of Vince Wilfork and not much else. They’re sound, but not the old stalwart defense that Brady won a couple Superbowls with. Meanwhile Buffalo has a lot of unknowns to deal with, an underrated defense (though play-making safety Jarius Byrd is not playing), and an electrifying running back (when healthy and he is today at least). Spiller is a game-breaker and Marrone is going to get him his touches.
2. Jacksonville will not look nearly as incompetent as they have in recent years
My favorite coaching hire last season was Gus Bradley to Jacksonville, and, if his pre-season offense is any indicator, this is a group that will improve exponentially from last year. This up-tempo offense looks like a good fit for Gabbert (though I think they’re on the new quarterback train this coming off-season), and their defense will benefit from Bradley’s innovative concepts. I won’t take them over KC this week because I think the Chiefs are an elite team this year with Reid and Alex Smith settling the only weakness this team had, but I will expect the Jags to win several games most won’t this year.
3. Tennessee beats Pittsburgh
I won’t be wishy-washy on this one, I’m taking the Titans in Pittsburgh. I love the way the Titans have approached this off-season. Their line is menacing and the Steelers vaunted run defense is not ready for this group… hell no one may be ready for them. Levitre and Warmack road grading? I’m not blocking that! Meanwhile, the coaching staff has been working Locker out of play-action and boot-legs and he looks better. He’s still got a shotgun for an arm (in that he’s inaccurate not that he’s strong though he has a good arm too), but it should allow for some shots down field. I think their defense is good enough and the Steelers have no run game right now. Sets up for a surprise win I think.
4. My favorite game of the week is Washington Vs Philadelphia
I’m taking the Redskins, but only because I’ve seen the Eagles defense play and I don’t think its good. This is going to be a great display of innovation on offense I think. The Eagles will be winding up the speed, while the Redskins are going to be a balanced nightmare. I’m very interested to see how Vick operates this offense and who will be the big targets for him, while I want to see RG3 make strides as a thrower. Most intriguing will be how Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan handle this up-tempo in their pursuit of the quarterback.
5. How is Atlanta-New Orleans on at 1pm?
Giants vs NY is a great game, I get that. Same with Phi and Wash. I don’t know, I just want this game to be prime time. This rivalry is like what Baltimore-Pittsburgh was a few years back. It’s constantly thrilling, but with points this time! Matt Ryan needs to finally step into the light of the elite quarterbacks. Now that will happen in the post-season but if you can take a win in New Orleans week 1, wow! Big stuff. Meanwhile, the Saints have that feeling of the 2007 Patriots. ‘We got hammered by the league so now we’re going to win every game’ sort of feeling. Sean Peyton is back and he is the greatest play caller in the league right now (Jim Harbaugh is number two if you’re curious), and Drew Brees is in perfect synch with this system. If Rob Ryan can find a pass rush, this team is scary good. This game is must see. No excuses, watch like a champion today!
1. Teddy Bridgewater is your 1st overall Pick next April (or is it May now?)
This guy is incredibly polished as a passer already. He shows incredible guts to take a shot while delivering down field. Eastern Kentucky isn’t the biggest bully on the playground, I understand, but they made it a point to blitz Bridgewater early and often and he stood in there and fired to the tune of 23-32 for 397 yards and 4 TDs.. oh and 0 interceptions. That kind of poise is tough to find. Yes he needs to keep this up against the big guns on the schedule… like… um… well… Templ…. okay well maybe there aren’t any big guns on the schedule. At Kentucky next week is probably the biggest name, as well as a couple of sleeper Florida teams (FIU and USF). Okay Louisville is probably running the table…so when he plays ‘Bama we’ll really see!
2. Pick the biggest lame duck coach: Rex Ryan, Lane Kiffin, Mac Brown
Mac Brown is the only one who might survive a bad season, but frankly if he does it’ll be a minor miracle. His Texas squad has under-preformed massively since the departure of Colt McCoy and it cannot be because of recruiting. If anything they are drowning in too much talent, but so is every Florida team and the Gators, Miami and FSU all look good this year. Ash was the 6th rated quarterback of his recruiting class according to rivals. McCoy was 24th (but the brother of a successful one). Brown’s inability to develop a progression and under performing in the high expectations of Austin looks likely to run him out.
Meanwhile, Kiffin has refused to pick from two very mediocre quarterbacks and I think most coaches would tell you that while you can have a lengthy battle for a job, but if you don’t settle on one it wears down and causes both to tighten up instead of play, which is exactly what I think we’re seeing with USC. Here’s some numbers for you:
Cody Kessler: 8-13 41 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT (returned for a TD)
Max Wittek: 3-8 13 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT (returned for game winning FG)
Sure, I wouldn’t want to pick between those two, but you have to. Personally I believe this reluctance is because Kiffin wants Wittek but Wittek is not capable of doing the job right now. Kessler looks petrified of making a mistake (though both do) and with Marquis Lee on the outside there should be better numbers here. These two didn’t complete a pass beyond 8 yards (other than the pick 6) and are quickly running Lane Kiffin out-of-town… but don’t worry he’ll probably land a job coaching the New England Patriots because that’s just how he seems to roll.
3. Cam Cameron (and I cannot believe I’m saying this) has fixed the long dormant LSU offense
Remember all the days of sweating and stressing and cursing and bemoaning close games involved with LSU? They appear to be gone. Cameron’s arrival has given this offense rhythm and precision that I would not have thought capable of an offense run by him (having studied him extensively at Baltimore). Zach Mettenberg has become ruthlessly efficient behind a multi-headed running back group and that should scare a lot of SEC teams. LSU has always thrived on defense and if they can finally put points up it’s going to make for some very interesting games late season at Georgia, Bama, Florida, and Texas A&M. It’s a tough road, but they could also spoil a lot of hopes.
4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Notre Dame needs to get off its high horse and join the Big 10, not the ACC
Anyone watching last nights finale in Michigan missed an excellent game and a perfect reason why so much of realignment sucks. Since we’re trapped in that world however, I will again stand on my soap box and say the Irish belong in the Big 10. Let’s rattle off some major rivalries that this would satisfy: Michigan, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Michigan State, and somewhat Northwestern, Penn State and if you really look deep, Nebraska. Are those more important than Stanford and USC? No, and I get that, but with the Big 10 you maintain so much more of that class of history and you can’t tell me the Big 10 wouldn’t be willing to allow Notre Dame to play at least one of those other big rivals a year. You could probably get at least a rotation of two every year. Is NBC a problem? Yes. Can Notre Dame continue to survive alone? Yes. Is their arrogance that they deserve their own everything annoying? You betcha, but last night was a game to remember and I’d like to keep those going. It’s what makes college football beautiful. History, not championships.
5. Miami’s win was the biggest of the weekend for any program
Al Golden has been… well not quietly but not loudly enough… lamenting the shadow of sanctions over his program for a long time. We’re several years in on what looked like an open and shut case for sanctions against Miami, and yet because of NCAA incompetence we’re still waiting for it. Will they have to wait 5 years for the statute to wear off before Miami can go out there and recruit? Johnny Manziel’s case is settled in almost a week and Miami’s is still going? You either have the evidence or you don’t. Meanwhile Golden continues to fight Florida and FSU telling those high-priced Florida recruits that Miami will be ineligible soon and knocking off Florida was a great way to keep the U alive in that battle. It wasn’t electric on offense, but it was good enough and on a big enough recruiting stage for this to echo for a while.
New York Jets @ Buffalo (1pm)
Cole: The Jets are still reeling a bit, but I’m still not sold on Buffalo as an elite team. This is a game elite teams dominate and it’ll be a good test of Buffalo. I think the Jets will pull this one out late because the Bills defense is not rock solid. 20-17 New York
Andy: This game will be a real test of if Buffalo is an actual playoff contender. I think they’re a much better team at home, and the defense will get the late game turnover to seal it. 27-24 Buffalo
Seattle @ Dallas (1pm)
Cole: I like betting against the Seahawks because they don’t really do anything well. T-Jack has been better recently though and Dallas certainly isn’t lighting the world on fire. I also don’t see the Dallas team as one that rallies when they’re pushed to the brink, which they are now. Still they are much more talented than the Seahawks, which should get them over the edge. 24 – 13 Dallas
Andy: Two struggling teams, but at least Dallas occasionally shows flashes of good play. Seattle…not so much. 27-20 Dallas
Atlanta @ Indy (1pm)
Cole: Run the ball with Turner, play action passing. Simple strategy will achieve victory. 27 – 13 Atlanta
Andy: No Peyton Manning, no victory…I’m sticking to it. 34-14 Atlanta
Miami @ Kansas City (1pm)
Cole: Kansas City is a team that rallies when pushed apparently. They continue to fight back from that hole they dug early. And with Miami coming to town, I see their run continuing. 20 – 14 Kansas City
Andy: I have to admit that I have maybe underestimated Kansas City. I still don’t think they’re a particularly good team, but Miami seems to find ways to lose games. This week is not an exception to that. 27-17 Kansas City
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (1pm)
Cole: Two teams that know each other pretty well and that are starting to get scrappy. Throw the Falcons in this mix and you got a little rumble going. Tampa doesn’t play particularly well on the road, and New Orleans will certainly be looking to rebound from an embarrassing loss to the Rams. 27 – 19 New Orleans
Andy: New Orleans has been bad on the road, but is still blowing people away at home. They need this win badly, and I think the Superdome gives them the advantage. The Josh Freeman comeback is always a danger though. 28-24 New Orleans
San Francisco @ Washington (1pm)
Cole: The shine is off of the Washington quarterbacks. Their offensive line is atrocious, and the vaunted Shanahan running game isn’t there this year. Also San Francisco is playing very well on the east coast this season. I think they continue to win in D.C. 26 – 17 San Francisco
Andy: John Beck shouldn’t be an NFL starter, and neither should ‘Sexy Rexy’ Grossman. San Francisco has a winning formula, and there is just no way I can see Washington getting in the way. 27-13 San Francisco
Cleveland @ Houston (4:05pm)
Cole: Houston doesn’t get Andre Johnson back yet, but they shouldn’t need him against a very predictable, vanilla offense and a poor defense. 31 – 12 Houston
Andy: Cleveland’s offense is much like Peyton Hillis…MIA. Even if the defense does well by only giving up 20 points or so, I still can’t see them winning. Expect a heavy dose of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. 28-14 Houston
Cincinnati @ Tennessee (4:05pm)
Cole: Two of the top defenses in the NFL. Neither offense is explosive right now, but has potential. Cincinnati gets Benson back today, and AJ Green is a legitimate number 1 already. I’ll take Dalton in a low scoring affair here. 16 – 13 Cincinnati
Andy: Tennessee’s offense is a mess without Kenny Britt and with Chris Johnson being non-existent on offense. Cincinnati’s defense continues to play well, and Andy Dalton does enough to win games. 21-18 Cincinnati
Denver @ Oakland (4:05pm)
Cole: Oakland doesn’t have their big time play maker in McFadden, and Carson is still learning the ropes. He had a nice bye week to prep for this game, but he still won’t have chemistry or familiarity with the playbook. Denver’s defense has been improved (excluding last weeks blowout), and could keep this close if Palmer struggles without Run DMC. Still Oakland is a much better team and Tebow is awful. 17 – 7 Oakland.
Andy: God Tim Tebow is bad…that’s all I have to say. 27-7 Oakland
New York Giants @ New England (4:15pm)
Cole: The Patriots say that no one rushes the passer like the Giants. We’ll see if that’s the case. New England’s offense has sputtered a bit as of late, but this is an elite unit that can handle a weakened secondary. It’ll be up to Eli to keep them in the game. High scoring, like all New England games, and should feature some big time quarterback numbers. This is my upset of the week. The Giants will keep Brady honest enough for Eli to sneak one out. 28-27 New York
Andy: The Giants are missing their two best offensive playmakers in Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks. That’s not a winning formula going into Foxboro against a Patriots team coming off of a loss. 31-20 New England
St. Louis @ Arizona (4:15pm) (Zoloft ULTIMATE Game of the Week)
Cole: “Buzz, your girlfriend! Woof!” This is just a brutal match up. Kevin Kolb might not play, and that’s not actually a bad thing for Cardinal fans. AJ Feeley is riding high on his Saint’s win. Flip a coin here. 20-17 Arizona
Andy: Grab your anti-depressants; this is our Zoloft ULTIMATE game of the week. Who will suck least? My guess is Steven Jackson. That’s enough for a Rams win. 24-20 St. Louis
Green Bay @ San Diego (4:15pm)
Cole: Good looking game here. Green Bay is the best team in the league, but defensively still hasn’t stepped up into the elite category. San Diego is not looking very good, but has so much talent. Phillip Rivers needs to up his game and is risking falling out of the elite standing with this season. And Norv Turner has to be on the hot seat now. 34-20 Green Bay
Andy: San Diego is in a rut, and Phillip Rivers has been playing poorly. Green Bay continues to steamroll the NFL, and I don’t think San Diego will stop them. 34-24 Green Bay
Sunday Night Football
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (8:20pm) (Game of the Week)
Cole: Best rivalry in sports, certainly football. These teams are the same, they think the same, they fight the same, and they loathe each other. The Steelers spent all the off-season bad mouthing Flacco, who torched them week 1 in a rare blowout. He quickly turned back into Mr. Inconsistent, while the Steelers rebounded against adversity and are back in the media limelight following a beat down of New England. Don’t expect a blow out tonight, but instead a close game featuring a play late for the win. And if a team is coming back late, 8 out of 10 times its Big Ben doing the comeback. 20-17 Pittsburgh
Andy: In my opinion, probably the best rivalry in football. The Ravens started the season looking like the best team in the AFC, but have had 3 awful offensive halves of offense against two bad teams (Jags and Cardinals). Meanwhile, the Steelers are gaining momentum, playing better each week. Even with key defensive players out, I think the Steelers’ momentum and their desire for revenge for that week 1 beating will carry them to a win. 24-21 Pittsburgh
Monday Night Football
Chicago @ Philadelphia (8:30pm)
Cole: Chicago has been strong against Vick, but Vick and the Eagles are starting to build some momentum. This should be a good back and forth game if the Bears can keep Cutler upright. If they can’t could go just like Dallas did last week. 24 – 20 Philadelphia
Andy: Chicago’s cover-2 gave Vick fits last year, but I think an improving Eagles defense and an improving Vick is too much for the Bears at Lincoln Financial. 27-21 Philadelphia
Cole: 70-46 (.603)
Andy: 80-36 (.690)
And now, our predictions for week 3. A new feature: each week we highlight our Game of the Week, now we will also highlight our ULTIMATE Game of the Week (sponsored by Zoloft):
I’m sure Cole will add his picks soon…
New England @ Buffalo (1pm)
Jacksonville @ Carolina (1pm)
San Francisco @ Cincinnati (1pm)
Miami @ Cleveland (1pm) (Zoloft ULTIMATE Game of the Week)
Detroit @ Minnesota (1pm)
Houston @ New Orleans (1pm) (GAME OF THE WEEK)
New York Giants @ Philadelphia (1pm)
Denver @ Tennessee (1pm)
New York Jets @ Oakland (4:05pm)
Kansas City @ San Diego (4:05pm)
Baltimore @ St. Louis (4:05pm)
Green Bay @ Chicago (4:15pm)
Arizona @ Seattle (4:15pm)
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (4:15pm)
Sunday Night Football
Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis (8:20pm)
Monday Night Football
Washington @ Dallas (8:30pm)
So we’ve foolishly decided that we will hold ourselves accountable for our weekly predictions. This means looking back and seeing just how wrong we were…which it turns out was pretty damn wrong.
I’m going to make this into a blog-able post because I want to. Hell there’s some news in this, but it’s mostly because I want to alert everyone to an incredible and awesome phenomenon occurring in Texas.
As many of you might be aware, the Texas Longhorns struggled against BYU Saturday. Incumbent quarterback Garrett Gilbert was 2-for-8 with 2 picks before getting pulled in the Longhorn’s come from behind win. His replacement was sophomore quarterback Case McCoy. Yes, McCoy… as in the younger brother of former Longhorn’s quarterback Colt McCoy.
Case McCoy brought the team back going 7/8 for 57 yards. It’s not a wow line, but it was much improved. The Longhorn’s ran the ball and McCoy managed the game and utilized Freshman receiver Jaxon Shipley for 3 receptions for 39 yards.
Yes, Jaxon Shipley…. brother of Jordan Shipley, current Bengal slot receiver. Former Longhorn wide receiver and best bud of Colt McCoy.
That’s right sports fans. The Texans are bringing back the National Championship hook up of McCoy to Shipley.
It’s a rare occurrence and one I find hilarious, awesome, and I honestly hope it works out like the previous did. Hard not to root for a combination like that.
That’s all. Just enjoy that news for a bit.
While we all remember the far more important events of this morning 10 years ago, this afternoon will provide some comfort and allow us to let this day be one that can be remembered in a fitting member: with joy as well as sadness. Like it or not, the NFL and NCAA seem inextricably tied to the image of the United States, both here and abroad. In that sense, it only seems fitting that the country’s most beloved sport be occurring to comfort us and provide a means of escape after a long morning of rememberance.
Well, being a Baltimore fan, I must admit that I am finally excited to write a piece about my favorite team, and have it be a somewhat positive one. Today the Ravens traded for Buffalo WR Lee Evans in exchange for a 4th round draft pick. This was a crucial pickup for the Ravens, who needed a second veteran receiver to go along with Anquan Boldin. Additionally, Lee Evans is a deep threat and a good compliment for Anquan’s ability over the middle and Ray Rice’s ability out of the backfield.
Some credit goes to Ozzie Newsome for acquiring Evans, a 2-time 1,000 yard receiver, for only a 4th round pick, but the main reason that the price was so low was that no one else was expressing a great deal of interest in him. Every team that he had been linked to Lee Evans, namely the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers, had expressed their lack of interest in Evans. The Bills wanted to unload him, and since the demand was fairly low, Ozzie was able to obtain him for a low price.
This move also provides cover for the two rookie WRs, Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss. Doss is a large possession receiver (who has shown to have excellent hands sofar) and Smith a burner, but both have had little practice with the team and need practice running routes and learning the NFL game. I personally believe Doss will be the better of the two, but both are in a better position to contribute positively with Evans on the team.
Assuming the Ravens do not lose WRs to injuries, this helps solve one of the big problems that the Ravens have had. The biggest problem, however, is still on the offensive line, where the position of RT is a huge question mark and there is no good alternative for recovering C Matt Birk. If the Ravens make any other moves, I’d expect it to be the signing of an O-lineman.