Hi there! I’m excited about this NFL week although my team is quite depressing (i’ll get there in a little bit). I feel like this is the part of the season where the NFL sometimes loses momentum, the excitement of the first few weeks is gone and we’re starting to figure some teams out. One quick interesting note before I get into game review and game preview: Los Angeles signed an agreement to build a stadium next to the Staples Center in downtown LA. I would hate to live in LA because the traffic is already legendary and add an NFL stadium it will be horrendous. But, I love the idea of big US cities having teams, LA not having a team is crazy. I can’t wait to start the speculation as to who will move (expansion will not be an option, the NFL has said they are not interested in more teams, it’s going to have to be a team moving). For the record, my money is on the Chargers or Rams. Rams would be much more interesting to me.
Denver 36, Oakland 6
Denver looked spectacular this week. Oakland is clearly not that good, Carson Palmer is not a good quarterback, the defense is not good, the receivers are lacking. However, let’s not jump on the Denver bandwagon all at once. The run game looked strong against Oakland and I still think that Peyton can’t be successful without a quality run game, Oakland has given up lots of run yards this year and I really don’t think Peyton can carry the team on his shoulders quite yet. It’ll be interesting to see how the Patriots/Denver game goes. I’m inclined to think it’ll be a shootout, I’m not that impressed by the Denver defense and clearly the Patriots defense is questionable. Will be too close to call (i’d not put money on it) but I think Denver might pull it off.
SF 34 Jets 0
Sigh, I guess I have to talk about this one. The jets are terrible. The defense is pretty ok, they can’t pressure the QB well but I was shockingly OK with Kyle Wilson over Revis. The 49ers are great. But—-the jets are terrible. As in, worst team in the league. Sanchez didn’t have any time and when he did he was scared and irratic, I’m finally throwing in the towel on Shonn Greene—-he can’t get out of his own way, the receivers can’t catch a ball….it was disgusting. They are the worst team in the league and they get to play Houston (who is easily top 3) in the bright lights of Monday Night. Oh yeah, they lost their best receiver, Santonio Holmes. This hurts less than Revis because Holmes was having a terrible season anyway, but he’s still the only receiver of any quality. Sigh. I really just hope that Rex doesn’t get fired for this—-he probably will but it’d be great if he didn’t. Also, if Houston goes as bad as it’s going to, look for Tebow time to start soon (when it goes terribly, I think that the season will end with Greg McElroy as our starting QB—that’s right, Greg McElroy…sigh).
Chicago 34, Dallas 18
Both Rex and Rob Ryan could be unemployed this offseason. The Cowboys really aren’t that good in any area. The defense had looked really impressive coming in to this game and to be fair, the Cowboys defense looked really good in the beginning of the game. If your offense can’t stay on the field, your defense will get tired and start making mistakes, it’s a proven formula (see the Jets/49ers game for another example of this). Really, the biggest problem with Dallas might be Tony Romo. Romo has a bit of Brett Favre in him that he will always trust his arm (this is the same characterization of Jay Cutler) and this can be really explosive and impressive when the passes go to his receivers (Cutler) and really bad when it goes to the other team (Romo). Dallas is not a super great team but they certainly could bounce back.
Carolina (-3) Seahawks
I gotta tell you, this might not be the most interesting game on the national level, but it might be my game of the week. Russell Wilson has been compared nationally to Cam Newton, he’s mobile, solid, and exciting. He’s also tiny compared to Cam. Cam has been in the news for sulking and being too emotionally invested in games. You know what ESPN….GOOD! I want my quarterback sulking if he did bad, I want Cam to be depressed if they lose. It’s absurd to want this guy to be a leader but then expect him not to take the loss hard. I’m excited about the prospect of Cam beating up on this Cam wannabe and the Panthers derailing the Seahawks bandwagon once and for all (to be clear, I was on it, I liked their defense, I still do, that’s the biggest obstacle in Cam’s path. The defense will be fine with Hustle Russell).
PICK: Panthers 23, Seahawks 13
Pittsburgh (-2.5) vs Eagles
You might think it’s strange that I’m previewing this game as I can’t stand either of these teams but I think there’s an important point to be made here. 1) the slate of games this week is not really tremendous, especially once you get the marquee Brady v. Manning out of the way. 2) I can be semi-objective in these NFL blogs. 3) Whenever I can make fun of Michael Vick, I will do so (thus eliminating point 2). Here’s the skinny: I really think that one or both of these teams is not as good as they appear. Right now they are both playoff teams. I don’t believe this is how the season shakes out and I think that at the end we’ll point to this game as the beginning of the downfall. I think it’s the Eagles who take their nose dive, especially with Pittsburgh likely to get back Harrison and/or Polamalu. Vick is not a good quarterback, he can’t complete passes consistently (except to the other team) and he’s constantly leading his WR into safety smash routes (please spare me the Mark Sanchez jokes, I’ve already recognized it). Now that I have Redzone (best 6 bucks I’ve ever made my Dad spend), I can gleefully watch parts of this while not committing the time to actually watch the game. The winner here is really me.
Steelers 35, Eagles 14
Top 3 teams
Same 3 teams as last week, little bit of movement. Here’s why: As much as I love the Panthers, they are a wild card at best and are about a year (maybe 2) away from being serious, serious contenders. That being said, the Panthers should have won that game against Atlanta. Atlanta is a great team, but they should’ve crushed Carolina. Houston, on the other hand, has the same problem I’ve been complaining about all season: they need to play someone credible. This is not going to get corrected this week as they will be fed (Ryback style) the Jets on Monday Night. It’s going to be a massacre, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Crusades. Houston gets the Packers the next week and while the Packers are not really as good as they were last year, that might be the first real test for the Texans.
Bottom 3 teams
The reason this blog is being posted on Thursday rather than Tuesday when I’m all full of emotion after the Monday night game is because of this part. I knew I had to do this and yet it was hard to do. So here it is, my admission: The Jets are the worst team in the NFL. This offense can not do anything, they have nothing going for them. The defense is OK, but it’s certainly not enough to allow Sanchez to be a game manager like Alex Smith is for the Niners. The Jets were destined to not be great this year, but the Revis and Holmes injuries, coupled with Dustin Keller having been hurt for weeks and the other receivers developing some kind of football allergy has made this offense and this team the worst in the NFL. The Titans have similar problems, their offense struggles anyway, but with Jake Locker hurt for at least a game, likely more, they lose all of the dynamic skill that has kept them in some games. The defense is worse than the Jets defense even if they offense is considerably better. Finally, the Raiders have finally proven me wrong on them. I picked them to be pretty good and was able to make excuses to their loss in Miami (Miami weather in Black jerseys) and San Diego (happens against a good team). One could argue they beat a decent Pittsburgh team and Denver is pretty good, but it’s not that they lost, it’s the way they lost. This team can’t help itself from being penalized constantly, replacement officials or not. They are sloppy on defense and have Carson Palmer under center, who is normally the most inconsistent QB out of USC in the league, but of course we have Marky Mark in New York so Palmer gets a pass on that one. This Raiders team has talent, but they gotta get it together. The good news for them is that Dennis Allen appears to be a competent coach, so while I think the other cellar dwellers in the bottom 3 will be here for the duration of the season, I could see the Raiders bouncing to mediocre.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out how to get NFLshop.com to help me customize my Matt Barkley Jets Jersey.