Week 12: The Last of the Byes

BYES: Bills, Bengals, Eagles & Seahawks

THURSDAY

saints Saints @ Falcons falcons – MONEY LINE: Saints — SPREAD: Saints (+7.0)

The Falcons are bad and their offensive line woes only make things even worse. The Saints got pretty lucky when Ahmad Brooks truck-sticked Drew Brees and was promptly flagged. The Saints are a top team in the NFC and are doing well on both both sides of the ball.

SUNDAY

png-6Buccaneers @ Lions png-13 – MONEY LINE: Lions — SPREAD: Buccaneers (+9.0)

downloadJaguars @ Texans texans – MONEY LINE: Texans — SPREAD: Texans (-11.0)

png-12 Vikings  @Packers packers – MONEY LINE: Vikings — SPREAD: Vikings (E)

chargers Chargers @ Chiefs chiefs – MONEY LINE: Chiefs — SPREAD: Chargers (-4.5)

png-3Panthers @ Dolphins png-22 – MONEY LINE: Panthers — SPREAD: Panthers (-4.0)

png-21Steelers @ Browns png-23 – MONEY LINE: Steelers — SPREAD: Steelers (+2.0)

png-15Bears @ Rams rams – MONEY LINE: Rams — SPREAD: Rams (-1.0)

images Jets @ Ravens png-4 – MONEY LINE: Ravens — SPREAD: Jets (+3.0)

png-20Titans @ Oakland png-16 – MONEY LINE: Raiders — SPREAD: Raiders (+1.0)

png-17 Colts @ Cardinals png-10 – MONEY LINE: Colts — SPREAD: Colts (+2.0)

png-1Cowboys @ Giants png – MONEY LINE: Giants — SPREAD: Giants (-2.5)

broncos Broncos @ Patriots png-8 – MONEY LINE: Broncos — SPREAD: Patriots (+2.5)

MONDAY NIGHT

49ers 49ers @ Redskins png-19– MONEY LINE: 49ers — SPREAD: 49ers (-5.0)

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UPSET ALERT:

  • BRONCOS
  • CHIEFS
  • BEARS
  • COWBOYS

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SURVIVOR PICK:

  • TEXANS
  • SAINTS
  • PANTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week 7: Unlucky Sevens?

The Broncos didn’t blow out the Jaguars and didn’t beat the spread. John Fox probably had money on that game, I mean honestly Peyton throws a pick-6 to the Jaguars? Don’t even get me started on the New York Football (but not really) Giants. Another above .500 week for the Money Line picks at 9-6, but this was my worst week for picks Against the Spread going 2-13. I don’t want to talk about it, but hey it happens.

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THURSDAY

png-2Seahawks @ Cardinalspng-10– MONEY LINE: Seahawks — SPREAD: Cardinals (+4.5)

The Seahawks didn’t look that great against the Titans and that was at home, that’s the second week in a row the Seahawks haven’t looked like the top dog, but this could be a bounce back week. I never really like them on the road to beat the spread. Percy Harvin may be only a couple of weeks away from contributing to this team, which would make them even more dangerous. The Cardinals turned the ball over too much to compete against the Niners and Carson Palmer has not excelled as many expected in Bruce Arians’ offense.

SUNDAY

png-8Patriots @ Jetsimages – MONEY LINE: Patriots — SPREAD: Jets (+4.0)

The Patriots pulled off a stunner with five seconds left in regulation at home against the Saints. Rob Ryan was disgusted when his defense gave up the last second touchdown to Brady & Co. Aqib Talib, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola (SHOCKER!) won’t be playing Sunday most likely. The biggest hit is Talib, and as you may remember he intercepted Geno Smith twice when they played in Week Two. The Jets stayed at home after losing an ugly one to the Steelers. Smith seems to play better every other game and he won’t have to face Talib, Wilfork and Mayo now. I like the Jets with the points at home.

chargers Chargers @ Jaguars download – MONEY LINE: Chargers — SPREAD: Jaguars (+7.5)

The Chargers stopped Andrew Luck from scoring a touchdown on Monday Night and the defense looked great, or was it the Colts’ play calling? No matter Philip Rivers looks like he’s refined himself and although he might not be the quarterback he used to be he has definitely matured into a leader and he has a new play-toy in Keenan Allen. The Jags are awful, but played up to the Broncos on Sunday in Denver. They will win a game at some point, but I don’t know when, but be warned. Call me crazy but the Chargers played on Monday Night and it’s a West Coast team coming to the East Coast, I smell a loss.

texansTexans @ Chiefs  chiefs – MONEY LINE: Chiefs — SPREAD: Chiefs (-4.5)

The Texans have now lost Matt Schaub to a gruesome ankle injury, and the Houston fans cheered. Seriously??? The Texans were embarrassed by the Rams 38-13 and another pick-6 was thrown by a Texans’ quarterback. Arian Foster looks rejuvenated, but he will have a tough test against the Chiefs’ defense allowing only 10.8 points per game. Alex Smith is showing why he has the label of a game manager, but Jamaal Charles looks like a typical Andy Reid running back and that defense is fierce coming off a ten sack game against the Raiders. Chiefs at home against the lowly T.J. Yates.

png-14  Bengals @ Lions  png-13 – MONEY LINE: Lions — SPREAD: Lions (-2.5)

The Bengals were up on the Bills and turned off the heat leading to a Bills comeback, but took it in overtime. The Bengals have been great on the road the past few years, but teams always seem to have trouble in Buffalo. The Lions exploded as Brandon Weeden handed away the game. The offense is getting better as Calvin Johnson is getting healthy and Stafford found himself a tight end in Joseph Fauria (WHO????!!!). I want to like the Bengals because of their away success, but it’s hard with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush healthy.

png-9Bills @ Dolphins png-22 – MONEY LINE: Dolphins — SPREAD: Bills (+10.5)

The Bills almost pulled off a stunner at home against a good Bengals team. Now they head to warmer weather to play the Dolphins coming off their bye. The Dolphins are getting Cameron Wake back, but might not have Dannell Ellerbe. Ten points is a lot to give a 3-2 team in a division game. I know the Dolphins will win and I would play their defense in fantasy leagues. Dolphins here but I don’t know about that spread.

png-15  Bears @ Redskins png-19 – MONEY LINE: Bears— SPREAD: Bears (E)

The Bears took advantage of more Giants’ turnovers on Thursday night and have had eleven days off to prepare for the ‘Skins. The bears defense is opportunistic and the offense is clicking. The Redskins defense is miserable, but played up to the Cowboys’ offense on Sunday Night on the big stage, but I expect Cutler and Brandon Marshall to have a field day. RGIII had more runs that made him look like himself as he is starting to heal even more, but the play calling and the clock management is simply horrendous. Bears here, but I smell an upset.

png-1  Cowboys @ Eagles  png-18 – MONEY LINE: Cowboys— SPREAD: Cowboys (E)

I don’t know why I picked them. Probably because of the talent on offense and how Nick Foles fell back to earth last year after a couple of good games, but this one’s a toss-up between the top two teams in the NFC East. Dez Bryant will feast on this bad Eagles’ secondary this weekend.

rams Rams @ Panthers   png-3 – MONEY LINE: Panthers — SPREAD: Rams (+6.0)

The Rams took it to the Texans as Sam Bradford only had to throw for 116 yards last week, but tossed three touchdowns. The Rams were the beneficiaries of bad Matt Schaub play. The Panthers took it to the Vikings as Matt Cassel kept turning the ball over. The Panthers are bipolar so don’t be surprised if they lose this one easily.

png-6  Bucs @ Falcons  falcons – MONEY LINE: Falcons — SPREAD: Bucs (+7.0)

The Bucs have yet to win a game. Are they due? Maybe. Mike Glennon has begun his tenure as the Bucs starting quarterback and he looked decent against the Eagles and things won’t get harder against the Falcons bad defense. Matt Ryan comes out of his bye and will not have Julio Jones, Roddy White and Steven Jackson. His offensive line is banged up and he can’t rely on his defense to keep opponents from scoring, so he is going to lean heavily on Tony Gonzalez, who came back for one last run at a title. So much for that!

49ers  49ers @ Titans png-20 – MONEY LINE: 49ers — SPREAD: 49ers (-4.5)

The 49ers housed the Cardinals last week at Arrowhead as Colin Kaepernick realized who his best receiver is, his tight end, Vernon Davis. They connected for 180 yards and two touchdowns as Vernon Davis showed us why everyone is always so high on him. The defense will enjoy this game against Ryan Fitzpatrick. When will the Kenny Britt saga end? Nobody knows, but what could they get in return for a guy who will be a free agent next year anyway?

png-23 Browns @ Packers packers – MONEY LINE: Packers — SPREAD: Packers (-10.5)

The Browns look a lot different and more turnover-prone with Weeden under center. They will probably be playing from behind most of the time so Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron will keep producing numbers. The Packers lost Randall Cobb (out for 6-8 weeks) and James Jones both to injury, even though Jones might play this week. The Packers are going to rely more on Eddie Lacy now with those injuries, but he looks more than capable. Also one of the more underrated plays I have ever seen was Eddie Lacy going down before the end zone against the Ravens to waste the clock last week.

png-4 Ravens @ Steelers png-21– MONEY LINE: Ravens — SPREAD: Ravens (+1.5)

The Ravens looked ugly against the Packers last week, but are the better team here and are getting points. They need to get the ball in Ray Rices hands 20-25 times a game and we all know that. Their defensive front will be feasting on Big Ben all day. The Steelers got their first win against the bipolar Jets in MetLife Stadium. Big Ben needs to be kept upright and Leveon Bell needs to keep pushing the pile. This is the best rivalry in football right now even with the Steelers being 1-4.

broncos  Broncos @ Colts png-17 – MONEY LINE: Broncos — SPREAD: Colts (+7.0)

Bad win for the Broncos as they failed to embarrass the Jaguars at home. But Peyton Manning is coming back to Indy this week and Jim Irsay’s quotes have just made this more memorable. Andrew Luck is coming off one of his worst performances of his young career. Trent Richardson is not living up to that first round pick price they paid. This will be a great game to watch but a more memorable one for Peyton coming back “home”. Also Von Miller comes back, and his workouts were ridiculous while he waited for his suspension to end.

MONDAY

png-12 Vikings @ Giants png – MONEY LINE: Vikings — SPREAD: Vikings (+4.0)

Josh Freeman is starting after a week to get the playbook. Adrian Peterson will probably be running a muck in MetLife. The Giants are in shambles even coming off one of their best games of the year, a loss to the Bears. Brandon Jacobs looked like Jacobs circa 2007, but he hurt his hammy and they signed Peyton Hillis. Desperation moves. Reuben Randle and Eli Manning need to get on the same page otherwise the interceptions will keep mounting.

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UPSET ALERT

  • GIANTS
  • BRONCOS
  • PATRIOTS
  • PANTHERS
  • LIONS
  • CHARGERS

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SURVIVOR PICK

  • SEAHAWKS
  • PACKERS
  • 49ers
  • DOLPHINS

Week 3: Let’s not Overreact

12-4 Week 2 money line, against the spread we got better going 7-8-1 rather than 4-12 in Week 1. I’ll get better at the spreads, that’s a promise, but let’s keep the ball rolling on the money line picks ’cause we’re on fire. I will reiterate we make picks with spreads based on opening lines from Sundays before the respective week.

Off to Indy!!!

Off to Indy!!!

THURSDAY

Chiefs @ Eagles – Money Line: Eagles — Spread: Chiefs (+3.0)

The Eagles high powered offense was outmatched by Philip Rivers? The one weakness of the Eagles is what Chip Kelly fears the most, the offense sitting on the sidelines. If their opponent can dominate the time of possession then the Eagles could see a bunch of losses. The Chiefs defense is underrated after a solid showing against the Cowboys in Arrowhead. If Alex Smith can be the 13-3 Alex Smith from two years ago the Chiefs are headed to the playoffs.

SUNDAY

Texans @ Ravens – Money Line: Texans — Spread: Texans (+1.0)

The Texans keep needing late game comebacks and that will only work for so long. Ben Tate has been outplaying Arian Foster, but has only been getting about 25% of the snaps that the overused Foster has. I’m not saying Foster has lost a step after missing training camp and the preseason, but it wouldn’t be outrageous to think so. DeAndre Hopkins might be emerging as the second option behind Andre Johnson the Texans have always desired. The Ravens’ defense looked much better against the Browns last week, but the offense still looks off without many weapons. If they could get Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on the field most of the time, they would be better off, but Rice might not play, tilting the scales.

Giants @ Panthers – Money Line: Giants — Spread: Giants (+2.5)

Eli Manning has 7 interceptions already and the G-Men have 10. Yikes. They haven’t looked like themselves, their pass rush can get no pressure leaving their somewhat surprisingly deep corners out on islands. The Giants need to give the ball to David Wilson and get over the fumbles, it’s time to turn the corner on it. They need to right this ship. Cam Newton and the Panthers seemed to find a stride somewhat against the Bills. We will see how the talent-less offense responds against the Giants’ defense at home. The Panthers front seven is surprisingly good, like the Giants on the road as dogs.

Rams @ Cowboys – Money Line: Cowboys — Spread: Rams (+3.5)

The Rams played catch-up and almost completed the comeback against the Falcons last week. The defense is probably seething after that embarrassing first half, which is bad for Tony Romo. I will repeat the Rams have speedsters all over the field on offense, so watch out Cowboys. The ‘Boys looked real good in the first quarter, especially the connection of Romo and Dez Bryant, but they strayed away from Bryant in the second half, leading to a bad loss. They will look to rebound in Jerry’s World, but don’t expect the run game to get going against this front seven.

Chargers @ Titans – Money Line: Titans— Spread: Chargers (+3.0)

The Chargers shocked the world with their first half performance against the Texans on MNF opening weekend. Then, they froze hell over and beat the Chip Kelly Eagles in Philly. Philip Rivers looked like vintage Philip Rivers, which is something we shouldn’t count on every week. With no run game and few weapons on offense the Chargers will have trouble finding more wins, but might not be hard pressed to find one in Nashville. Nothing to say about the Titans, except their in trouble with an unhappy Kenny Britt. The biggest challenge for the Chargers is the fact they traveled to Philly, back to San Diego, only to come back to Tennessee.

Buccaneers @ Patriots – Money Line: Patriots — Spread: Buccaneers (+7.5)

The Bucs look bad, but played the hell out of the Saints. Josh Freeman is in the doghouse of Greg Schiano and probably won’t find his way out until he starts winning some games. Darrelle Revis appeared to be there as well, but he claims they have smoothed things out. The Bucs’ defense isn’t their problem it’s the offense, but that’s the problem the Pats have right now. Tom Brady has looked pedestrian through the first two weeks and I doubt it will continue when Gronk comes back, but that probably won’t be this weekend. The defenses will keep this game close.

Browns @ Vikings – Money Line: Vikings — Spread: Vikings (-3.0)

Well this is awkward. The Browns have traded away their best player and are back into a rebuilding mode after having hopes for two games? Their defense has held up their side, but the offense has not been able to get going and won’t find any more success with Richardson gone (they have replaced him with Willis McGahee) and Brian Hoyer starting now. Adrian Peterson is salivating at the thought of his Vikings competing in a game, which results in more carries for him. Expect a heavy workload for Purple Jesus this week, but this team might need to turn the page on Christian Ponder soon.

Packers @ Bengals – Money Line: Packers — Spread: Packers (+1.5)

The Packers looked like the Packers of two years ago scoring in bunches against the Redskins last week. Rodgers looked like his MVP self and his weapons are pretty solid yet again. James Starks filled in quite nicely for Eddie Lacy as he was knocked out with a concussion (no pun intended). Their defense allowed the Redskins to make a game out of it, but shouldn’t find too much trouble against the Andy Dalton led Bengals. The Bengals defense had their way with the Steelers and Big Ben. The offense struggled yet again at the hands of Andy Dalton. All of his down-field passes seem to go out of bounds. I like the Packers offense to outrun the defense of the Bengals.

Lions @ Redskins – Money Line: Redskins — Spread: Redskins (-2.5)

The Lions lost a heart-breaker to the Cardinals in Arizona last week and now have to travel back to Washington to face an 0-2, but hungry Redskins team. Calvin Johnson exploded again on Patrick Peterson in a losing effort, while Reggie Bush came out of the game all banged up, but Joique Bell has and would fill in nicely. RGIII has not been called upon to run, but now every media outlet is saying that’s why the Redskins keep losing. We will see how the game planning has changed over the past week, but expect him to stay in the pocket a lot and sling the ball around against a bad Lions defense. This should be a shootout.

Cardinals @ Saints – Money Line: Saints — Spread: Cardinals (+7.5)

The Cardinals eeked out a late win after losing a late on against the Rams in Week One. Carson Palmer is having fun with this new offense he is playing under, but Larry Fitzgerald’s injury will not benefit him. The Cardinals defense is a solid unit, but I don’t know if they can stick with the Saints. The Saints defense has looked better, but now they just lost Patrick Robinson and are very thin every where on defense. Drew Brees will explode sooner or later, and might be in for a big game at home, but I’ll take the 7.5 points considering the Cards also play in a dome.

Falcons @ Dolphins – Money Line: Falcons — Spread: Falcons (+1.5)

Steven Jackson won’t play this week and nobody knows when he will be back, but that means Matt Ryan gets to have fun. The Falcons are 1-1 after losing a heart-breaker at the Thunderdome, but face another tough defense like last week against the Rams. The Falcons are getting thinner on the defensive side after losing Sean Witherspoon to the I.R. The Dolphins are surprisingly 2-0, having beaten the Browns and the offensive line-less Colts in Indy. Ryan Tannehill has looked improved and Lamar Miller looked better last week and will look good against a bad Falcons defense again this week. If Tannehill and Mike Wallace continue to build their rapport, this team could sneak into the playoffs.

Bills @ Jets – Money Line: Jets — Spread: Bills (+2.5)

The Bills inched out an exciting win at home last week. Now they face what’s turning into a typical Rex Ryan defense at MetLife Stadium. Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods are already on the same page as E.J. Manuel, spelling trouble for opposing defenses, especially if C.J. Spiller can get into the open field. The Bills defense just needs to stand its ground. The Jets lost an ugly one to the Patriots on Thursday Night in Foxborough. Geno Smith cannot keep making the mistakes he was baited into by Bill Belichick. The defense is how I’m going to make this pick.

Jaguars @ Seahawks – Money Line: Seahawks — Spread: Seahawks (-16.5)

The line has been at 20 as well, and I still would’ve taken it. The Jags look like the cream of the crap so far, and might be without Maurice Jones-Drew, good luck with that Jacksonville! The Seahawks had their way with the 49ers yet again last week even with Russell Wilson’s poor performance. The Seahawks might send out the backups after the third quarter in this one.

Colts @ 49ers – Money Line: 49ers — Spread: Colts (+10.5)

Post-Trent Richardson Trade this line has moved only half a point to a point. The Colts merely gave up a first round pick (most likely in the 20s) to get the former #3 pick overall from the Browns. They have massively upgraded their running back, but their line still sucks. Andrew Luck will now have a new play toy and a great 1-2 punch in Richardson and Bradshaw. The Niners were embarrassed on national television and I don’t think they liked it. I see them embarrassing the Colts to save face, but garbage time will see this game get closer.

Bears @ Steelers – Money Line: Bears — Spread: Bears (-1.0)

When a road team is favored, it’s never good for the home team. The Steelers can’t get much going on offense except from their speedy receivers on dink and dunk passes. The Steelers kept attempting to go to Jerrico Cotchery on Monday Night, which left me wondering what was Todd Haley smoking in Cinci. Their offensive line is horrendous and will struggle against a good Bears’ defense. The Bears offense pulled out a victory in the last seconds of their 31-30 win against the Vikings. The defense will have a better game against the mostly talent-less Steelers’ offense.

MONDAY

Raiders @ Broncos – Money Line: Raiders (just kidding, Broncos) — Spread: Broncos (-15.5)

CharlesWoodsonTackle_original

Charles Woodson made one of the best tackles I’ve ever seen on MJD last week to save a touchdown, but that’s all I can say about that game. Good luck, Raiders! Peyton Manning and the Broncos went into MetLife Stadium and dismantled the Giants and little brother Eli. The Broncos are firing on all cylinders already and Knowshown Moreno looks good right now and expect a lot of carries from him as the Broncos will be up early and often here. I can see the game finishing closer than expected because it is Monday Night Football after all.

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UPSET ALERT

This week I am putting the Dolphins, Panthers, Bengals, Titans and Redskins on Upset Alert. I know it’s a lot of teams but one of the most beloved things about the NFL is the parity every year.

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SURVIVOR PICK

This week let’s just say take the

  • Seahawks
  • Broncos
  • Vikings

No need to look at anyone else, the Vikings could lose, but the Browns will look bad this week.

PED Use Not Only a Problem in Major League Baseball but in The NFL Too

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In the wake of the Alex Rodriguez PED circus I thought that it would be relevant to discuss the NFL players that have been suspended for parts of the 2013-2014 NFL regular season.  Now understand that the MLB and NFL do have separate rules regarding PED’s but what it boils to is players trying to gain an edge over their opponents no matter the sport.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar – Linebacker- St. Louis Rams – 4 Games

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A Boston College graduate that was part of the New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl Champion team.  Dunbar was pegged to be the starting middle linebacker for the St. Louis Rams week one but his four game suspensions handed down from the league for PED use will put that on hold until week 5.  St. Louis’s defense is good but no team can afford to lose a guy who they are depending on to be a starter and I believe that the Rams will suffer from his lose.

Asa Jackson – Cornerback – Baltimore Ravens – 8 Games

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Jackson was an unknown on the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Champion team of 2012 and maybe the departure of a lot of defensive veterans pressure him to up his performance and take PED’s.  Truthfully I cannot tell you why Jackson took PED’s but what I can tell you is that he won’t be receiving a paycheck for eight weeks.  This is Jackson’s second violation of the NFL’s PED policy as he also tested positive for Adderall in 2012 serving a four game suspension.  When will Jackson get the message?

Bruce Irvin – Outside Linebacker – Seattle Seahawks – 4 Games

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Irvin is the best player on this list and the Seahawks are going to suffer from him not playing the first four games of the 2013 season.  Irvin is coming off his rookie season where he recorded 8 sacks and going into this year Pete Carroll was looking for Irvin to be the number one pass rusher on the Seattle front line.  Unfortunately that will have to wait until after the Seahawks week four matchup against the Texans to get on the field.

DeMarcus Love – Left Tackle – Minnesota Vikings – 4 Games

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The most Love has done in his career that is relevant to anyone is he protected Ryan Mallet’s blind side at Arkansas.  Love’s professional career has not gone well after being drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round of the 2011 draft.  He was inactive for the entire 2011 season and in 2012 Minnesota took Matt Kalil with their first pick in the 2012 draft and has not only taken Love’s position at left tackle but also gave Kahlil his number 75.  Don’t think the absence of Love is going to hurt the Vikings performance in the first four games.

Will Hill – Safety – New York Giants – Four Games

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Mr. Hill is also a second offender of the NFL’s and got off a little easier than Asa Jackson who I spoke about earlier.  Hill didn’t receive a greater punishment from the NFL this time because he violated a different violation of the leagues PED policy (whoopie!!!).  Last season Hill tested positive for Adderall and was suspended four games.  This time around it was a different drug that has not been named by the media or NFL yet but some speculate it is Marijuana.  Hill was looking to be in the dime packages for the Giants but now has to deal with this suspension.

Weslye Saunders – Tight End – Indianapolis Colts – 8 Games

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Weslye (no that is not a typo) is another second time offender of the NFL PED policy and he is not getting off as easy as Will Hill.  Saunders is being hit with an 8 game suspension for his second positive test of a drug that has yet to be disclosed but is definitely on the list of drugs that the NFL does not allow.  In 2012 as part of the Pittsburgh Steelers was suspended four games for using Adderall and following the newest 8 game suspension for Saunders he was cut by the Indianapolis Colts.  Struggling there buddy, try and work a little harder and maybe you’ll make a team.

Gabe Miller – Tight End – Chicago Bears – 4 Games

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Miller was recently signed by the Chicago Bears off of their practice squad to fill the hole left at third tight end spot on the depth chart.  The drug Miller was using to violate the NFL PED policy is unknown but if he’s taking it and he’s only on the practice squad than I would suggest pursuing a career in another field.  Miller is probably the most irrelevant guy on this list right in front of DeMarcus Love.

That rounds out the list for now but I am sure that I will be adding names to this list as the season goes on.  Von Miller is waiting to hear from the league about his appeal of his suspension for drug use in the coming weeks.

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5 Things We Learned: The Coach Is Here (In The Building) Edition

Judging from the title of this week’s blog post, you know exactly which coach and team I am referring to. So without further ado, I present 5 things we were able to take away from Week 5 in the NFL.

1) Drew Brees is capable of winning a game…as long as he knows Sean Payton is present. Raise your hand if you were shocked that the New Orleans Saints won this game? In the infamous words of Katt Williams, I say no more.

Truthfully, I am inclined to believe that most football fans knew two things were going to happen on this night: 1) Brees was going to break Unitas’ record for consecutive games with at least one touchdown thrown and 2) Brees and Co. would finally figure out how to win a game with head coach Sean Payton present. Is this a coincidence? No.

Call it a conspiracy, or call me crazy (and it wouldn’t be the first time today either), but there is something to be said about the Saints finally coming together and rallying behind their captain to win their first game of the season. Where has this fire been the previous four weeks? If the Saints can manage to put together a petition to have Sean Payton in the parking lot tailgating before and during games, they may be able to salvage the rest of this season and finish just outside of a NFC playoff spot.

2) You’re still having trouble justifying your first or second pick in your fantasy football league, on Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.

Through five weeks, Gronk and Graham have looked very average. In fact, neither one of them is on pace to replicate last year’s numbers. I believe the old fantasy adage goes, “Never pay for last year’s stats.” Fantasy owners are learning this the hard way with these tight ends. Gronk, so far, is ranked 4th in ESPN standard leagues points wise, while Jimmy Graham is closely behind at 6th. That is unacceptable at any point for someone whom you wasted a first or second pick on.

Meanwhile, the ageless wonder that is Tony Gonzalez is enjoying being matched up against single coverage due to his teammates being Roddy White and Julio Jones. Also, Vernon Davis and Owen Daniels are also having great starts to their season, while not being the focal point of neither of their offenses.

With respect to both Gronkowski and Graham, they appear to be suffering from what I like to call “Drew Brees Syndrome.” What is Drew Brees Syndrome you ask? It’s when the quarterback has so many different weapons that he never goes to a single guy too many times, and finds himself spreading the wealth a lot.

Last season’s MVP Aaron Rodgers also contracted this ‘virus’ if you will. It’s the type of illness that plagues you as an owner of a specific guy in a high-powered offense, unless you have that quarterback. Also, Gronkowski may have it worst than Graham going forward due to the emergence of Stevan Ridley (more on that later).

3) The Buffalo Bills defense is garbage. It’s getting to the point where you could round up 10 of your least athletic and nerdy friends, who spend countless hours in a basement playing mystical card games every day, and step onto the field vs. that horrendous defense, and score at least three touchdowns, while amassing somewhere in the ballpark of 400 yards in the process.

Over each of the past two games, the Bills defense has surrendered over 550 yards of offense to the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. Now, the Patriots are understandable, but giving up that many yards to an Alex Smith offense is utterly disgusting.

4) You are just as surprised as anyone to see the Minnesota Vikings leading the NFC North Division. If you were asked six weeks ago who was the favorite to be atop the NFC North division at any given point in the season, conventional wisdom would’ve told you to pick the Green Bay Packers.

If you were under the influence of alcohol, you would’ve been feeling a bit risky and selected the Detroit Lions (because no one picks the Lions soberly). You weren’t picking the Chicago Bears unless you stumbled into a Delorian and gunned it back to 2006, where a superb defense could carry the most average quarterback far into a season. All of this concludes that you were never going to pick the Minnesota Vikings no matter what!

Nevertheless, the Vikings find themselves sitting atop the NFC North a quarter of the way through the season. Along the way, the Vikings were able to pick up a tremendous win against the NFC contending San Francisco 49ers.

The Vikings have been able to win games despite not having Adrian Peterson play at the high level we have come to expect from him. Instead, it has been their defense and quarterback who have led the team to three straight victories. Christian Ponder has looked great in the pocket, while connecting many times with his veteran wide receiver Percy Harvin, and emerging tight end Kevin Rudolph. Also, he has shown that he can move the chains with his nifty scrambling.

This team is already turning heads, and as the season goes on, Ponder will only continue to get better. If Peterson can get back to 100 percent, the Vikings may turn themselves into a NFC contender.

5) Patriots have a legit running game? Pinch yourself. Click your heels together three times. Heck, try to emulate Peter Pan off the side of your bed. No matter what you do, the fact will remain the same: The Patriots are developing a balanced offense.

Not that they ever appeared to need one in the Brady era, it sure doesn’t hurt to keep the defense honest. The emergence of Stevan Ridley is a problem for the rest of the AFC. Teams already have a hard enough time stopping throw-happy Patriots week to week, with Ridley, teams are going to be forced to scheme differently going forward.

This past Sunday, Ridley rushing for 151 yards and a score on 28 carries. This was the third time he has gone over 100 yards in a game. If he can minimize his fumbling woes, the already number 1 total offense in football will only get better, and that’s a nightmare that even Freddy Krueger himself wouldn’t want to face.

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-Darryl Richardson will see pay dirt before Steven Jackson.

-Both the aforementioned running backs will see their first rushing touchdown’s before Titans’ back Chris Johnson does.

-2011 Cam Newton is to Steve Smith as 2012 Andrew Luck is to Reggie Wayne.

-The Bills will not give up more than 400 yards of offense this Sunday vs. the Cardinals.

-If the season ended today, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan would be your league MVP.

The recipient of Week 5’s McKayla is Not Impressed Award goes to Jets head coach Rex Ryan. There are times when a player takes sole responsibility for a loss, and then there are times like this past Monday night where the blame should be on Rex Ryan.

Prepare your team better! He promised the defense would be better, and it was, but where was the attention to the inexperienced wide receivers dropping passes all night?! You have got to get them more snaps during the week, so that sort of performance does not happen on game day. Also, you have Mark Sanchez under throwing Antonio Cromartie, who made a great double move on the play, on a deep route. How is that possible?

At what point does Rex say to himself, “Maybe I should give Tebow a drive or two to shake things up and fire up the team.” What he accomplished in Denver was not a fluke, but proof that when players believe in their quarterback, they go out and play at an even higher level on the field. If Rex doesn’t get it together, he will find himself as the former coach of a team that won’t be accumulating more than 6 wins this season.