NFL Week 7 Picks: The Weakening of the Weekening…

Woopz.
#reallifeisreal

Late to the game, should be benched but I’m too valuable. Plug me in, Coach! We’re in redux:

Jets at Pats
I know; how do you know I actually took the Pats? Because I did and just like most everyone else didn’t think it would be close because of how outrageously bad New York had been. Except that didn’t turn out to be true and the Pats held on for dear life as the Jets showed some spirit. But you know, I really thought the Pats were gonna roll…
Pats

Vikings at Bills
The Vikes are struggling on offense even in spite of a bevy of nice options and their defense is getting left out on the field too long because of it. Unfortunately for them, Buffalo and its badass D is playing at home and will likely win the game by controlling the clock, tempo and scoreboard.
Bills

Dolphins at Bears
The Dolphins looked pretty solid last week and it took last moment heroics from A-Rod to doom them. This week they play a similarly built team in that the Bears can light up the scoreboard… while not being able to put anyone away on the other side of the ball. At home, their defense to play better than the very average level they usually do and secure a win.
Bears

Saints at Lions
This has the makings of a burner but I think the Lions shut the Saints down altogether. Brees hasn’t looked himself through six weeks and now he has to try and get it done without Jimmy Graham. Granted Stafford has looked befuddled without Megatron to toss jump balls to and not having Reggie at 100% doesn’t help, but they have the overall #1 defense in the NFL and I think that wins, especially since they are home.
Lions

Panthers at Packers
Superman is in the building. Just when you thought he was too banged up off the kryptonite, Cam turns in a crazy comeback performance to drop near 40 points on what was supposed to be one of the league’s best defenses. With no running game, a rookie X receiver and a late-blooming TE lol The Pack are tough to beat in Lambeau and right now Eddie Lacy is desperate for a big game making Carolina’s bewilderingly porous run defense all the more of a match up issue. The Pack with balance is near the very top of the NFL in terms of offensive power.
Packers

Bengals at Colts
The Bengals are stumbling into this game whether they want to admit it or not. They are missing their top receiver, haven’t won in three weeks (granted there was a bye in there as well) and, most troubling of all, their defense is utterly broken. A bad recipe to take with you into Lucas Oil where Andrew Luck is having a Tecmo Bowl season much like his predecessor was last year (and to a lesser degree, again, this year). The Colts defense has been playin’ better as of late, too. Yuck.
Colts

Seahawks at Rams
The Seahawks in must-win territory? NAW MAN, you’re out of your mind! Or am I. They are 3-2 in a division with two other really good teams, have the second lowest production league-wide from their wideouts and just traded arguably their most talented receiver for being a bad presence. Sure, the champs are still probably going to be a winner more weeks than not but this team is staring at potentially doing the traditional next-season-stink. Not to worry much about it this week, they’ll come out with fire to shut the naysayers up and trounce the Rams. (though it may actually be much closer than that…….)
Seawhawks

Titans at Redskins
Hard to tell what goes down here. The Titans have been awful and barely (and miraculously) avoided handing Jacksonville their first win of the year. The Redskins have not won a game with Kirk Cousins at the helm and they’ve looked awful during that stretch. The Titans have been awful against the run this year and even though they stumped the Jags last week, Alfred Morris has been pretty good. Jake Locker isn’t likely to go.  Tough to roll with a team as in bad condition as the Skins but
Redskins

Browns at Jags
The Jags came awfully close to their first win of the season last week. By all estimations, it’s arguable they should have had it. Oh well, things don’t get easier this week as the surprising 3-2 Browns come into town looking to add to their strong start to the season. The Browns have been suspect through the air at times this year and Blake Bortles has shown a disposition to chuck it so there could be some upset value here. But really, Hoyer y’all
Browns

Falcons at Ravens
There’s been a break in Atlanta’s trend of looking bad on the road and good at home. Maybe that means something? Probably not. They don’t look at all competitive on the road defensively, no pressure on the QB and even their offense looks sluggish. Ravens coming off a big win and going against a terrible defense. What Will Joe Do?
Ravens

Chiefs at Chargers
Chargers are due. They eked by Oakland last week after their defense was shredded in the air by Carr and Holmes and will again have to hope for another big day for Philip Rivers and the receivers. He has been on a ridiculous roll and it could very well come to an end this week as a letdown from ageless Antonio Gates as the swiss army be-all safety valve for Rivers doesn’t get it done. Or naw.
Chargers

Giants at Cowboys
More divisional awesomeness. The Cowboys have been pretty good, almost the best team in the league. They return home to take on a fierce divisional rival in the Giants though coming off a thorough dismantling by Philadelphia. Big Blue can respond in one of two ways, either emphatically on point or pathetically regressive. Or maybe there’s a third way, somewhere in between. That somewhere in between isn’t good enough to beat these Cowboys in Big D.
Cowboys

Cardinals at Raiders
There is no doubting it; Carr is the best young QB the Raiders have had since… well, Ken The Snake Stabler. I mean let’s face it, we aren’t used to having good young QBs in Oakland so this is fun. The coaching change clearly shifted this team’s energy level and focus. They looked far more comfortable last week and were playing much better against a very good Charger team. The ruthless schedule, however, continues and now come the equally good Cardinals. And again, with all the storylines involved (Palmer, Veldheer, looking for their first win, etc), the Raiders likely come out on the shot end yet again. Though this is as good a week to get your first win as any, it’ll be interesting to see how they defend against Arizona’s pass happy offense with two of the statistically worst corners in the NFL.
Cardinals (heart tells me RRRRRRAAAAAAAAIIIIDERSSSSS)

Niners at Broncos
The de facto Game of the Week in full Sunday evening prime time. It will be a very interesting test for both teams. The Niners want to see where their defense really is and test their offense in must-score-to-keep-up competitions. The Broncos want to see if they are defensively sound to deal with dynamic QBs like Kaepernick and strong running teams. Peyton likely breaks Favre’s record and pull out another close win at home against a worthy opponent.
Broncos

Texans at Steelers
So the Texans are actually more legitimate than we were giving them credit for. They’ll need that and more panache from Fitzmagic to beat a frustrated Steeler team in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s offense has been reasonably stymied these past few weeks and will be looking to break out in a big way, especially on the ground. The Texans showed much more bend against Indy but then again, typically the Colts Offense breaks teams so that’s forgivable. Still, the real question mark continues to be the Texans’ passing game as it is increasingly clear that a better option at QB would take this team to the next level and on the road, it is hard to bet on that.
Steelers

Dig it.

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NFL Week 6 Picks: This Whacky Game

Last week’s roll call was an easy one straight up; all you really had to do was pick mostly the Vegas favorites and you could have run a dozen correct picks easy. I came in at 13-2 with my only miscalls being Detroit’s unlikely meltdown and New England’s epic exorcism.

In a season that has otherwise been a temporal storm of uncertainty, that was one easy lineup of games to wrap your head around.

Now let’s get back to the TUFF STUFF.

Colts at Texans
The most impressive thing about Indy’s win against Baltimore this past weekend was how energetic and active they were on defense giving Joe Flacco fits all day. Elite talent or not, playing active defense is a recipe for success; just ask Peyton or Tony Dungy about Super Bowl XLI. This defense reminds me of that unit. The Texans, overall, have a top flight defense for sure but they are not that good against the run and not good enough against the pass to matter with Luck chuckin’ it around the way he has all season. I don’t like Fitzpatrick to keep up with Luck tossing five TDs or something ridiculous like that as the game wears on. Unless the Texans jump out to a very quick and big early lead, this one is a lock.
Colts

Bears at Falcons
The Bears are such a statistical nightmare to evaluate. They are practically league average in every efficiency cat across the board whether it be offensively or defensively, in the box or in the secondary. Strangely, they just keep losing games and won two questionable ones and could very easily have a much worse record. Now they go on the road to play a Falcons team that is completely different at home in a must-win situation. Not that they’re any good but the Falcons will do what the Packers did and outscore them faster on the way to a victory.
Falcons

Patriots at Bills
One of the contenders for Game of the Week. As much as I would like to call for a letdown by the Pats after their statement game on Sunday night and pick the Bills and their elite defense at home, I don’t trust Kyle Orton. He got away posting a nice stat line while playing a mediocre game because of the volume. Still, to be fair, he gave Buffalo a slightly better chance than EJ had been and for that, you gotta give him credit. I think the Patriots are going to harass him to no end. And if rediscovering the dual TE scheme is working for Brady, that might be enough to outscore the Bills readily on the road in a key AFC East battle between two 3-2 rivals.
Patriots

Panthers at Bengals
Whatever you want to say about these two teams, here is something that must be said: these are two defenses that are in need of showing up big this week. I believe they both do meaning this will be a sludgy, grungy low scoring affair. With AJ Green hobbled or out entirely, the Bengals are going to pound the rock with Gio and Hill against a Panthers team that has looked susceptible to the ground game. The Bengals’ D will have much to prove after getting smacked by the Patriots. Fortunately for them, they don’t have to worry about Carolina’s rushing (fortunate because that is Cincy’s biggest weakness defensively) since they have about one and a half healthy bodies back there. If Cam is forced to catch up through the air on the road, it may be a long afternoon. Or Superman, I dunno.
Bengals

Steelers at Browns
The AFC North is really tight and at the bottom of the division are the 2-2 Cleveland Browns, a team that maybe ought to be 3-1 or maybe even 4-0 right now were it not for a last second meltdown/FG against division rival Baltimore and a really sluggish start to the season against these same Steelers a month ago. In fact, the Browns have won or lost all four of their games by less than 3 points! Which means they’re just as likely to be 1-3 or even 0-4! Hahaha this whacky game that we love. Anyway. I love what the Browns are doing this year and can’t wait until they get their full roster but they are going to get shredded in the air by Big Ben who, along with Antonio Brown’s epic season, has been a monster. The Browns are fortunate to have an offense that can clearly move the chains when it needs to (and that did storm back on the Steelers in Pittsburgh before falling just short). But I just don’t know if they can hold them under 30 with an already tore up secondary now also missing CB Joe Haden.
Steelers

Jags at Titans
While the Titans have a win on their season and the Jags are winless, these are two teams with significantly different outlooks. The Jags are clearly going through growing pains but have an exciting young QB throwing the ball to a couple of exciting young athletic receivers. Their run game leaves a lot to be desired and their defense has been getting wrecked but they showed a little life last week. This week they visit a Titans team that is in such disarray, it is hard to figure out how they got there. More and more it is starting to seem like their week 1 triumph over the Chiefs who have since then improved in all areas was fluky at best and that this team is more or less the team that hasn’t been able to win since (and looked like shit while at it). They have an irregular commitment to the run game which isn’t doing well anyway and can’t keep their starting QB on the field. That is a recipe for disaster. And what is more disastrous than the Jags getting their first win against you in your own house?
Jags

Packers at Dolphins
The Dolphins certainly had plenty of time to prepare for the Packers with the bye and all. They’re also at home this week. And it still won’t matter a whole lot. The Packers are coming in scoring points unhindered, have rediscovered their run game and despite giving up a lot of yards defensively, also force an impressive amount of turnovers (tied for tops in the league). Tannehill does make mistakes from time to time and I think the Packers dictate the tempo of the game, force aforementioned mistakes and ultimately outscore the Phins. By a lot.
Packers

Lions at Vikings
There is a real temptation here to roll with the home team. Minnesota is getting Teddy Bridgewater back in action and that instantly boosts this offense’s value to around where it was when it shredded Atlanta en route to that beatdown. The Lions defense surely is not the Falcons defense … but there’s something seriously wrong with the Lions offense and that may very well be the determining factor of this game. They weren’t able to put up all that much in the way of points against Buffalo although Buffalo sports a pretty snazzy defense themselves. Still there has to be concern about a team without Megatron, without a healthy Reggie Bush and with a struggling Matt Stafford. Expect the Vikings to finally get Patterson and Wright going at the same time and more semblance of a running game than they showed last week. If they can score points against Detroit’s defense at home in Minny, look for the Vikes to win.
Vikings

Broncos at Jets
What can we say here? Yeah, yeah, Any Given Sunday, That’s Why They Play the Games, These Are All Pros… should I dig up anymore antiquated NFL clichés to describe the 2% chance the Jets pull off this upset at home? They’d have to break Peyton’s neck in half for that to ever happen. The Jets can stop anybody’s run game… but what if they are playing a team that doesn’t even run the ball because they have Peyton and his fifty good-to-great receivers? Why am I still typing?
Broncos

Ravens at Bucs
I was thinking about this one for some time. The Ravens are heavy favorites in terms of being picked to win no matter the line. They are one of the most solid teams in the league, no doubt. And yet I am still rolling with the Bucs at home. They have looked entirely different the past two weeks and barely lost in OT against an absolutely desperate Saints team. Fact of the matter is the Bucs are headed back to Tampa for the first time in nearly a month, are likely to play much stauncher defense at home and will square off with a Ravens team playing their second road game in a row. That is a recipe for a monumental upset. And don’t forget; these same Bucs pulled an equally impressive upset of the Steelers just a couple weeks ago. Roll em.
Bucs

Chargers at Raiders
Should I be the only not-completely-insane person to pick the Raiders here? After all, you’ve got a home game coming off a bye against a divisional rival that you have played tough in other purported lopsided matchups in the past. A game against a team that has been on such a profoundly good roll, it is almost inevitable that they are overdue for the sort of clunker that a team like the Raiders can take advantage of. There’s also this whole new coach thing and the ball he buried. You know, this is the perfect game for the Raiders to stomp the Chargers. You know… that game that I will be rolling Saturday Night on Madden when I play pretend that I am the new head coach/GM of the Oakland Raiders. Utterly STOMP.
Chargers 

Redskins at Cardinals
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins looked much better last week against the top defense in the league than they did against the rival Giants the week before. It just didn’t matter because they were utterly outmatched. That said, they have a far more manageable match up this week against a team that is just riddled with injuries and missing players. The funny thing is that even with all those injuries, the Cards are good enough defensively, especially against the pass, that it could make all the difference in the world at home. Especially with the Redskins coming to town on a short week. There’s also the matter of Arizona possibly getting Carson Palmer back and that would be a huge boon to an offense that was already finding ways to win with Drew Stanton under center.
Cardinals 

Cowboys at Seahawks
A contender for Game of The Week. It has been a nice little roll that the Cowboys have been on. They’ve won games that got out of control for their opponents and they won games that were close and tenuous. Impressive thus far, the Cowboys travel to the toughest place to play in the league to play against the best team in the NFC and possibly still the best team in the entire NFL. Unfortunately, this is where their run temporarily ends. I just don’t see them going into Seattle and beating this defense (especially when Dallas’ bread and butter these days is running the rock with Demarco Murray and the Hawks are now one of the better run D’s around) let alone being able to stop Russell Wilson who right now looks to be about as dominant a QB as you can be without spending a majority of your time in the pocket. Wilson makes throws that don’t make any sense given where he is and where the play is. The Redskins found out the hard way that the guy has about 50 eyes and they are all over the STADIUM let alone anywhere on his head. And Marshawn Lynch is probably the best overall running back of the past half a decade. Nice run but no dice this week, Dallas.
Seahawks

Giants at Eagles
This will be fun. Another contender for Game of The Week (I should have just titled this blog entry GAME OF THE WEEK, amirite?). Most of the nation is split 50-50 on the outcome of this one; that goes to show you just how unpredictable this game will be. That said, common wisdom suggests that in such a push, the home team is the one that has the ever so slight edge and while I am normally inclined to give that notion tread, these are two teams giving me entirely different impressions right now. The Giants look confident, dialed in and able to beat you with a suddenly reliable and balanced offense. Even without Jennings running the rock, rookie Andre Williams has looked strong and bruising bludgeoning in between the tackles in his stead. The return of Odell Beckham Jr. and the emergence of Larry Donnell gives Eli Manning four legitimate weapons in the passing game with which to rip apart a porous Eagles defense. On the flip side, the Eagles are an interesting dichotomy. While it is impressive that they have been scoring in a bunch of different ways, the fact they aren’t scoring consistently on offense is alarming. Even though they finally got LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles a lot of meaningful touches and they moved the chains a bit, neither scored… leaving the Eagles to build a large lead on blocked kicks and turnovers. While that works against crappy teams, these are not reliable ways to beat good teams. Home team or not, I expect the Giants to go all BIG BLUE on the Eagles and their cute little all black unis they plan on rollin’ out on Sunday.
Giants

Niners at Rams
This is one game the Rams won’t be able to climb back into if they fall behind big early on. Unlike the Eagles, the Niners will collect turnovers like Disneyland Pins. Good running football teams are great road teams because they can quiet the crowd and control the tempo by pounding the rock. The Niners, now that they’ve returned to their rushing strengths, are that kind of team and I expect them to control the game, harass Austin Davis and put up a healthy amount of points on the road on the way to a 4-2 record. Lock it up.
Niners

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Week 6 NFL Power Rankings

We’ve got some movers and shakers!

Let’s go.

  1. San Diego Chargers –Well, why the hell not. Owners of the best point differential (and share of record) in the league, the only real knock here is that they have played a soft schedule (the win over Seattle notwithstanding) that fortuitously now takes them to Oakland.
  2. Seattle Seahawks –That was a clinical dismantling of Washington although it should have been a much bigger day for the Hawks. They have serious penalty issues… but then again, they won the Super Bowl as the most heavily penalized team in the league so…
  3. Denver Broncos –They just keep rolling. There’s utterly no reason to doubt that they’ll keep this pace en route to another playoff run; just that they better hope they do because the Chargers don’t seem at all in a hurry to give back the AFC West.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – I would be inclined to dump them even further for the stinker they put up against New England but let’s face it, Belichick and Brady were going to bounce back, the game was in Foxborough and the Bengal receivers were guilty of uncharacteristic drops that completely changed the timbre of the game early on. They, too, will bounce back.
  5. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck is locked-in… in a really scary way for any secondary on their schedule. Very much the early MVP favorite. Oh, and Indy’s defense suddenly looks SOLID.
  6. Dallas Cowboys –Finding ways to win in spite of struggling to move the rock against quality defenses is the sign of a team that is learning to win games where they normally would have lost them before. Told ya the boys were for real.
  7. San Francisco 49ers –The Niners are also finding ways to win despite an uncharacteristically porous (temporarily, of course) defense and some questionable mental lapses. They are running the ball well now and seem to be set to keep up with the Hawks and Cards while they wait for much-needed reinforcements. Furthermore, as their MLB counterparts the Giants are showing, this is one of those teams that only needs to get to the postseason to make a run.
  8. Green Bay Packers –The Pack is back. The surprising thing about their defense is that while they give up a ton of yards and will concede points, they also force a ton of turnovers. And they keep scoring points in buckets so, yeah, the Pack is Back.
  9. Detroit Lions – The problem for the Lions is that while they have vastly improved on defense this season, it has come at the expense of their offense. Unreliable placekicking is one thing; not being able to move the ball without Megatron is a much more serious issue.
  10. Arizona Cardinals –The bad news for the Cards is that their injury woes continue to plague them. The good news is they may finally be getting Palmer back. A point differential of 0 is kind of alarming, though…
  11. New York Giants –The Giants are rolling now that Eli has really got a handle on this offense and its quick fire tempo. Losing Jennings to an injury hurts but Williams looks mighty capable. Getting the rookie ODB at this point in the season seems stupid fortuitous for a team already finding its passing game. The NFC East just got all the more interesting.
  12. Philadelphia Eagles –I’m unimpressed. They are giving up an unnaturally high number of points for a 4-1 team and have a stalled offense. They’re scoring points in all sorts of ways, none of which are reliable. Which isn’t sustainable. And why they aren’t in my top ten. Sidenote: they did get their running game goin’ a little better last week but they need production from there.
  13. Baltimore Ravens –A tough loss last week on the road against a suddenly rejuvenated Colts defense that frustrated them to no end slips them down to 13. They are running the ball well enough given there’s no lead horse in the stable but will need more consistency from there to sustain their season.
  14. Buffalo Bills – The Bills switch out QBs and win in Detroit? No idea how that happens (ok, I do have an idea but still) and with that they find themselves, at least tentatively, in first place. Strong defense (third best overall efficiency in the league) has been their foundation. I just don’t know when the other shoe clunks for Kyle Orton.
  15. Houston Texans –The Texans really hung tough with Dallas and for a moment looked set up to win the game. They still are playing the kind of defense that masks just how unreliable Fitzpatrick is but one wonders how long that will last.
  16. New England Patriots –Guess Tom isn’t done afterall. Games like this past SNF ought to be taken with the same grain of salt that the previous MNF game ought to have. The Patriots weren’t that good and the Bengals weren’t that bad. But it is clear the Patriots have identified their problems and are well on their way to fixing them.
  17. Carolina Panthers – That was a very nice comeback win. It’s good enough to bump them up this far. The defense still doesn’t seem right but Cam is finding ways to win even without any manner of rushing threat. If they ever get that going, they’ll start firing up this list.
  18. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs looked good early on against the Niners and then got completely shut down the rest of the way. They should have had a bigger day and were it not for some bonehead work down the stretch, may have actually won that game. That boneheadedness also includes Andy Reid.
  19. Pittsburgh Steelers –The Steelers do not look reliable. They give up as many points as they score and while it isn’t a lot either way, it makes for dramatic, unpredictable game. Not due to Big Ben, though. He has been one of the better slingers this season.
  20. Atlanta Falcons –This team keeps fading and doing it fast. Their defense is just so empty at times, it feels like opposing WRs are always sitting in open space. The Falcons are really awful on the road too and until that changes, they are not going to make any noise.
  21. Cleveland Browns – Another great comeback by Hoyer and company. But when will this team realize that they can start scoring earlier in the game so they don’t have to shorten their head coach’s lifespan? Their defense is still an issue but they are close to turning a corner in what is now a very competitive AFC North (where all four teams lie separated by a single win).
  22. New Orleans Saints –The issue with the Saints lies strictly in the one place we are not accustomed to look at for trouble; quarterback. Brees’ throws look to be significantly missing some zip and there is even some uncharacteristic accuracy issues. Mark Ingram will be back soon which should help but the Saints are not the Saints of recent memory. Losing Jarius Byrd sucks.
  23. Minnesota Vikings –The Vikings are having some serious issues on offense. Granted, Christian Ponder has never been a banger but there was utterly no rhythm or fluidity to that offense and for all of Norv Turner’s profound offensive brilliance, he can’t seem to utilize his most powerful asset in Cordarelle Patterson. And it doesn’t get easier for them…
  24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – This team is hot all of a sudden lol They lost to the Saints in OT but there is no denying it, the Bucs are a much better looking team with Glennon under center. As their defense improves, they’ll be a tough out the rest of the way.
  25. Chicago Bears – I’ve been saying it and I will continue to do so; don’t be fooled by what you remember about these guys… they’re just not that good. They still can’t utilize Forte effectively, Cutler still makes way too many mistakes (and suddenly has no deep ball) and there’s no answer to their defensive issues. Kyle Fuller is nice but the rest of this defense may as well not play. Oh wait, they already don’t.
  26. Washington Redskins – Kirk Cousins was decent enough against the best defense in the league to have put up some points in what seemed like a close game if you were only looking at the boxscore. But the Hawks should have had way more points. The Redskins are still not there yet.
  27. Miami Dolphins – There is only one way to know if this team didn’t just look good because they beat up on the Raiders. They will have to look competitive against the vastly improving Packers. Knowshon Moreno may be back.
  28. Tennessee Titans – The nosedive continues for the Titans. I always thought of Wisenhunt as a solid NFL coach but I’m starting to wonder about that. Not only did he abandon the run in the second half in favor of having Charlie Whitehurst chuckin it with an 18 point halftime lead, he still won’t run the rock with Bishop Sankey even after acknowledging that he should. The Titans look terrible.
  29. St. Louis Rams – How they were able to climb back into an Eagles blowout has less to do with Austin Davis and Brian Quick and a lot more to do with Philly and their ineptitude. The Rams still can’t hit the QB for nothing and injuries to their running game is going to hinder what little offense they were able to muster up to this point.
  30. New York Jets – In a lot of ways, they are the worst team in football. If it weren’t for Chris Ivory being a monster and their run defense possibly being the most elite unit in the nation, this is a worthless team rife with drama. Both the Jags and Raiders have better Quarterbacking with young, exciting rookies. The Jets? Just look at their last boxscore. It’s really a mess.
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags were able to finally get some defense going for the first time this season. That is an excellent sign. In fact, they are in a position right now to win their first game of the season and get out from behind some of these other putrid teams (Titans, Rams, Jets) on the ranking.
  32. Oakland Raiders – This is where they are right now. There’s a decent chance they can turn things around and look competitive the rest of the way. The weird thing is their overall defensive efficiency has been better than half the league including being among the league leading units in tackles for a loss. They are also surprisingly among the best in red zone defense as well (they give up soulcrushing big plays on the reg, instead). Offensively, while they’ve been putrid at moving the ball (they are the second worst at rushing the ball and the only reason the Chargers are worse is because they have only one healthy back and a red-hot QB so there’s no reason to run it) and just as horrible at scoring in the red zone, they are among the league leaders in not being tackled for a loss and amongst the best at not committing penalties lol The Raiders are one of the most disciplined teams in the NFL! If they are able to start moving the chains and scoring points, they won’t be half-bad. *drops mic to floor*

Dig it.

NFL Week 5 Picks: What a Comeback Looks/Smells/Tastes/Sounds/Feeeels Like…

Just getting warmed up.

Even with a couple of 8-8 duds to start the season, I am at 36-25 overall in my office pool so I’m coming in at just about the same clip as a majority of the nation. But I don’t intend on being average…

Time is of the short variety this week so let’s get straight to them.

Picks:

Vikings at Packers
The Vikes surprised everyone last week by running shod over and through the Atlanta Falcons defense. But that game was at home. Teddy Bridgewater is gonna try and go all banged up on a short week visiting the Pack at Lambeau. He will likely have to rely heavily on the run game which at this point is the plodding, uninspiring Matt Asiata and the explosive yet unproven rookie Jerick McKinnon. All the while trying to keep up with A Rod and company. Too much firepower on that offense to keep up with them for four quarters. Packers run away with it eventually.
Packers

Texans at Cowboys
The Battle for Texas between a couple of 3-1 teams is going to come down to an utter bloodbath. The Cowboys have been one of the best teams in football on both sides of the ball and are going to be at home in a statement game. The Texans have been playing a little over their heads and have had some soft match ups. This week is maybe a bit too big a test for Fitzpatrick and company to overcome.
Cowboys

Bills at Lions
This may have looked like a really exciting match up a few weeks ago when the Bills seemed atop the world. Now with Kyle Orton under center, while they can’t be any worse offensively than they had been the past couple weeks, the Bills are going to have to do business with one of the top three defensive units in the game. On the road. Yuck. Lions win big.
Lions

Browns at Titans
The good news for Tennessee is that they are probably getting Locker back and are planning on running the ball early and often with underutilized rookie Bishop Sankey. That should open things up a bit for them. The Browns are getting healthy on defense and get their opening day starting RB back which means they now have three quality backs to roll out. The Browns are due for a win especially after the debacle that was the final few minutes of the Ravens game and have had two weeks to prepare for the Titans.
Browns

Ravens at Colts
One of the best games this week as we have yet another matchup between 3-1 teams. The Ravens have looked balanced so far this season with much improved offense thanks to Steve Smith Sr. stretching the field for big armed Joe Flacco. Can they keep up with Andrew Luck and the Indy offense on the road? That’ll ultimately be the question. In such a tight contest, one is well served to roll with the home team as I think Luck is nearly unstoppable late in games.
Colts

Bucs at Saints
The Bucs stunned the Steelers last week and must be flying high and feeling increasingly confident in running Glennon out there under center. Unfortunately for them, they run into a struggling Saints team at the wrong time. Nobody really knows what’s going on with the Saints which bodes poorly for Tampa. It just looks like a funk. A funk that Brees and company will break out of in a big way at home. Not quite as big as Matty Ice and the birds did but enough to win this one by two scores.
Saints

Falcons at Giants
Speaking of the Dirty Birds, they came crashing down to earth last week against the Vikings. Granted, they ran into an underrated defense but there has to be concern about their sieve of a defense. Eli has finally got a handle on things and I feel that keeps clicking, especially in this potential barn burner. Still, I am waiting each week for the Giants defense from late last season to show up. If they do, the Falcons are going to have a hard time on the road (for a second straight week) keeping up with Big Blue in New York on ten days rest.
Giants

Rams at Eagles
Eagles will bounce back in a big way this week following not only their first loss but one of the uglier losses you will see. 21 points and not a single one on offense. Philly’s offense is already one of the most explosive units in the game and at home, it is even more so. The Rams have an even tougher defense than San Francisco’s so it is possible they frustrate Foles and company but fortunately for Chip Kelly’s boys, the Rams simply cannot keep up on the scoreboard meaning even if they were to limit the Eagles, they are unlikely to outscore them.
Eagles

Bears at Panthers
That Panther defense just isn’t what it used to be. They’ve been getting gouged left and right and I don’t see an end to that in sight. Luckily for them, the Bears’ defense is even worse. Cam Newton has been limited and the Carolina run game nearly nonexistent. Still, they are due for a win and are at home and I expect Newton to go off.
Panthers

Steelers at Jags
This may be Jacksonville’s first winnable opportunity. And it also might be the wrong time to catch an explosive Steeler team on the heels of an embarrassing loss and some bonafide Tomlin rage. The Burgh will be in fine, amped form against the Jags who are on the cusp of getting out the cellar but will have to wait a little while longer to get there.
Steelers

Cardinals at Broncos
I tried to reason with myself as to how Arizona could come in and take this from Denver on the road but I can’t get over how difficult that would be without Carson Palmer. Hell it would be difficult even with Palmer. The Cards have been one of the more surprising stories this year given all their injury issues but I just don’t see it happening. Peyton and the Broncos have been resting and preparing for this game for two weeks. I get that the Cards are coming off a bye too lol But this is Peyton we are talking about and so in a lot of ways, the Cardinals are doomed because of that alone.
Broncos

Jets at Chargers
Yikes. A team with a red-hot QB taking on a team that is having some serious problems in their secondary with bad coverage assignments. This is a recipe for a home win for the Chargers who, so far, have looked like one of the top ten teams in the league. The Jets will have to stay very disciplined and not turn the ball over to have any kind of chance in this one on the road.
Chargers

Chiefs at Niners
Hard to tell what happens here. The Chiefs are clearly coming off a huge win against the Pats in which they showed off their running game, stout defense and up-n-coming star TE. And that was against a decent defense. Well, the Niners showed off a more than decent defense last week in shutting down one of the most explosive offenses in football. That is very much worth noting. This will be a great game especially given the storyline of Alex Smith returning to SF to play Kaepernick and the Niners but I don’t see the road team winning here.
Niners

Bengals at Patriots
Oh boy. So everybody is signaling the end of Brady’s career and of the Patriots’ run. That may be just a slight bit overblown. We have simply come to expect too much from them due to a decade of domination, that a 2-2 start is like an 0-4 for most other teams. Monday night’s game has awakened this sleeping giant, trust. The Patriots coming off that loss and heading home to host the de facto best team in football is the perfect recipe for a monumental upset. And it is entirely possible. Except I’m still rollin with the Bengals. Because they are the best team in football and I believe they are licking their chops at an opportunity to prove they are for real by passing this very tough test.
Bengals

Seahawks at Redskins
After what the Giants defense did to Kirk Cousins, it is really hard to imagine him finding much success against this Seahawks defense even if the game is being played in the nation’s capital. Most weeks, I am not entirely sure what is going on with the Redskins who get away with being the Raiders of the East Coast but are never nearly as blasted for it. They have talent but much less of it than Seattle does. And it is a Monday night game. Hook. Line. SUNK.
Seahawks

On Bye: Oakland (thank god), Miami

DIG IT.

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

Listen, these are the rankings you want to follow… not the overrated, bloat content that the “experts” run out with their heavy pre-season biases and morning cocktails. These are rankings based on how teams are playing… right now.

Let’s go.

  1. Cincinnati Bengals – There is absolutely no reason not to consider them the best team in the NFL right now. Their defense has been lights out, their offense creative and explosive. And they are undefeated in what has become one of the top divisions in the league.
  2. Seattle Seahawks –We don’t do power rankings based on last year’s performance or what we expect of a team pre-season. And therefore the defending champs with all their awesomeness come in 2nd because they lost to the Chargers.
  3. Arizona Cardinals –The only other undefeated team left in the league, the Cards don’t lose a top 3 ranking due to a bye week. The mere fact they have been able to win with Drew Stanton under center and the myriad of injuries they have endured on the defensive side of the ball is proof these guys are for real. Bruce Arians may be the best coach in the league right now.
  4. Detroit Lions –Boom diggity, watch out for the Lions. They, once again, have a high flying and explosive offense that showed this past week can still rip the top off a defense even if Megatron can’t go hard. And the scary thing is that their best feature is now their defense. Possibly the best run D in the game and their pass D is not far behind.
  5. Denver Broncos –There’s little doubt this placement will rub some folks the wrong way but the Broncos have not handily beaten anyone and the competition, while good, hasn’t been stellar. Their toughest game ended in a loss and it looks like Peyton is out there doing it all by himself. Everything is ok so far but that is not sustainable.
  6. Baltimore Ravens –Rankings are hard early on in the year because of the small sample size so it’s difficult to determine whether the 5, 6 and 7 slots can’t be shuffled in some other order but the Ravens have looked like one of the best teams in the NFL. Their only loss was to the beasts from Cincy and have otherwise shown a strong backbone in the face of media distractions and backfield uncertainty. Also, Steve Smith Sr.
  7. Dallas Cowboys –Yeah, they belong here and if you don’t think so, you’re not paying attention. They run the ball better than nearly everyone else, Romo is spreading the ball around and their defense is nothing like the unit they fielded last year. The SNF win over New Orleans is no fluke, neither.
  8. San Diego Chargers –The Chargers weren’t supposed to be this good, neither especially with their ruthless schedule. But whaddya know, they’re 3-1 and aren’t even bothering with running the rock. If the Chargers can get through the Jets and the Raiders the next two weeks with a couple of wins, they get Ryan Mathews back while sitting in first place. WTF.
  9. Philadelphia Eagles –They don’t play good defense and typically don’t start playing until halftime. They were utterly atrocious against the Niners and scored a pathetic 21 first half points off blocked punts and interceptions (tossed by an overrated QB). And their best trait is their offense! Which is so good, it’s good enough for a 9th
  10. Indianapolis Colts – They’re like the Falcons of the AFC except it looks like they might be capable of playing slightly better defense. It really does seem like Andrew Luck is going to throw for 400 and 4 every game. As long as all his weapons stay healthy, there shouldn’t be too many teams that outscore them.
  11. Houston Texans –I didn’t want to give their young season too much tread because their offense is still led by Fitzpatrick and that just doesn’t seem like a good thing. But they are winning games and getting production from their main offensive weapons. Which apparently includes JJ Watt who is probably right now the best overall player in all of football. He’s just simply stupid ridiculous right now. I would like to see them line him up at fullback in goaline situations and have him just bowl through humans.
  12. Green Bay Packers –The Pack are one of those teams that is tough to figure out and whose ranking may be slightly more speculative than others. That said, they still have looked more like a 3-1 team than some of the 3-1 teams. They weren’t going to beat the Hawks in Seattle and they lost a shitshow to an underrated Lions team. The Pack still look and feel like a big time team.
  13. San Francisco 49ers –That was a nice win albeit ugly. Signature win for this team’s rough season start. With all the BS drama floating around, the Niners went, stared down a must-win and won it against a team that had been lighting opponents up offensively. The Niners recommitted to the run and voilà. When they start getting guys back midway through the season, they will start to climb the ranks. Their defense and Kaepernick’s inconsistency keeps them here for now.
  14. Kansas City Chiefs – What did we learn from their epic MNF beatdown? They are pushin’ a formidable defense, an unstoppable running game and Alex Smith tossing the rock to Baby Gronk. To be fair, they haven’t been able to really unleash Jamaal Charles thus far and Alex Smith is trying to do his best with what he has to throw to and so they’re middle of the pack at this point. But from all indication, the combination of a healthy Charles, Knile Davis and Travis Kelce looks like a pretty decent outlook.
  15. New York Giants –Rankings are about trends and the Giants are trending upwards and FAST. Looks like Eli finally got the whole of McAdoo’s playbook down and the rest of the offense is falling into place. Donnell has been a great revelation. Jennings is one of the top backs in the NFL. In a wide open, high scoring NFC East, the Giants look strong. Don’t forget, this defense looked really strong down the stretch last year. Giants may be on to something.
  16. Minnesota Vikings –I know, I know. Somehow and despite all logic, they lose Adrian Peterson and manage to keep putting up monster rushing numbers. Teddy Bridgewater is a clear upgrade at QB over Cassel or Ponder. They have a functioning running back tandem. They’ve unleashed Jarius Wright. Cordarelle Patterson hasn’t even taken off yet. And their defense is real.
  17. Atlanta Falcons –Just when these guys looked like they were atop the world dropping near 60 burgers on the Bucs, they go and get crushed by a Vikings team that wasn’t supposed to be able to run the rock and a rookie QB who wasn’t supposed to assume the reigns just yet. But they just don’t play good defense and especially against the run where they let Matt Asiata look like, well, Adrian Peterson. Matty Ice can sling it and has a million offensive weapons but this team’s defense is a real problem.
  18. Pittsburgh Steelers –The Burgh was higher up before their meltdown against Tampa. Tampa, coming into the week, was my pick for worst team in the NFL and the Steelers utter collapse against them in the waning moments of the game was just pathetic. Still, Antonio Brown looks like possibly the most underrated receiver ever and LeVeon Bell is one of the top backs in the league. The Steelers can score with the best of them but can’t stop anyone from doing the same and combined with their penchant for penalties, offer a very mediocre outlook.
  19. New England Patriots –Their defense hasn’t been half-bad; until MNF. The real issue with the Pats is their offense. The line isn’t what it used to be, Brady seems to be losin some zip and accuracy and his receivers aren’t developing. Gronk and Edelman can’t do it by themselves. Everybody wants to hit the panic button and understandably so. But hold that thought.
  20. Buffalo Bills – It’s hard to figure out what the Bills are all about. Granted, both the Chargers and Texans are underrated and good looking squads right now but their schedule doesn’t get any easier and now that EJ Manuel has been benched, Orton needs to step it up if this team will turn the corner.
  21. Carolina Panthers – Whoa, whoa… whaaaat? Yes, the Panthers have fallen very quickly. They are decimated in the backfield and Cam is banged up and isn’t nearly as dynamic as he’d normally be. This has negated how raw the defense would normally be and how exciting rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin is. They still have the talent to turn things around but it doesn’t look good.
  22. New Orleans Saints –Don’t look good for these guys either. You always get this feeling that the Saints’ offense is going to get untracked but it seems like Payton’s game has been figured out and he isn’t adjusting it. And so much for upgrading the defense.
  23. Cleveland Browns – I’m gonna go ahead and say it: The Browns have no business being at 23. They should be higher. This team got shafted by the NFL and their stupid drug policy. All three games thus far have been decided by a field goal or less. They are as close to being 3-0 as they are to being 1-2. I’m tellin’ ya, rank 23 is way too low but fair for what they’ve put up.
  24. New York Jets – The Jets have been on the unfortunate side of Geno Smith’s continuing growing pains or otherwise would be at the very worst, 2-2 (all three of their losses have been by one score and considering how many picks Geno has thrown, that’s an amazing stat). They outplayed the Bears, and while they probably weren’t going to beat the Pack or the Lions, they showed they were right there in a position to compete. Their secondary is just a mess though.
  25. Chicago Bears – The Bears are really hard to peg but they had no business beating the Niners on the road and would have lost the Jets game had anyone else been playing QB for New York. Their defense gets shredded every week and while they look strong on offense, they haven’t gone off just yet and it’s mostly because of Forte’s lack of involvement. Good news for the Bears, they got him involved albeit in a losing effort to the Packers. To me, they’re bearly not an 0-4 team.
  26. Miami Dolphins – This team is a mess. In fact, the only team that could make them look good was the one they absolutely trounced in London. Tannehill survives another week but they come out of the bye with back to back offensive juggernauts that won’t be as accommodating as the Raiders. They’ll be 2-4 before you know it.
  27. Washington Redskins – Kirk Cousins doesn’t look like the answer to all their problems. He is probably still better for this Jay Gruden offense than RG3 is but Cousins looked awful staring down his receivers en route to a four pick night. The Redskins make no sense.  They have all the weapons in the world, a serviceable defense and a smart, young coach. And they’re still a dumpster fire at the bottom of the East.
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Speaking of dumpster fires. Whatever happened against the Steelers is mostly Pittsburgh’s fault. It was nice to see Tampa play better defense finally (something we expected with all their studs and Lovie Smith coaching them) but Glennon is going to give us both good times and bad times for at least the duration of this season. But it can’t get any worse. So begins their steady rise up the rankings.
  29. Louis Rams – Unsure what to make of these guys except that their offense is putrid. They won a game they really didn’t have any business winning with a guy who was on the practice squad earlier in the day but that’s just how it goes, sometimes. Their defense will keep some games close but their vaunted defensive line hasn’t done nearly as much damage or terrorized any QBs this season and that won’t get them much higher than 29thany time soon.
  30. Tennessee Titans – The season started off so promising for Tennessee. Since their solid 26-10 beatdown of the Chiefs, they’ve scored 35 points in three games. They have no idea what they’re doing with their run game and they have receivers walking their routes. Charlie Whitehurst started at QB because Locker is hurt. Again.
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars – The future is actually kind bright-ish in JAX. Bortles is a beast. He’s a rookie but a beast. The game against SD proved just that. He’s going to sling the ball around and make all his weapons effective and meaningful but he’ll force some rookie decisions and lose to veteran, more talented teams like the Chargers. Their defense still gets ravaged but this team is going to be better sooner than the…
  32. Oakland Raiders – I don’t want to say anything about this.

Dig it.