Week 7: Average now Acceptable

Where’s Patches O’Houlihan when we need him?

Eleven teams currently sit at 3-3 in the NFL, and only two are better than that in the AFC. Take it in for a second, there’s never been a more average year. Last week I went 10-4 again and this week should only produce strong results as I try to continue this roll.

THURSDAY

Seahawks @ 49ERS – I’ll preach it again, it’s just becoming repetitive now, this is a letdown game. Great teams don’t have these, but a scrappy and average team like the Seahawks do. Tom “Terrific” couldn’t seal the deal on them last week and they were able to pull out what seemed to be another miracle win. The Niners were punched in the face by the Giants and will be looking to take some shots themselves.

SUNDAY

Redskins @ GIANTS – The Redskins offense looks great, but the defense is banged up. RG3 looks like the real deal and he can most certainly fly. Their receiving options are nothing to write home about when Pierre Garcon is hurt. The Giants are coming off a statement win in San Francisco, which snapped Eli Manning’s streak of 24 straight games with over 200 passing yards. Last year the Redskins had the Giants number and the Giants always play down to their opponents, especially at home. I believe the Giants will win because it is a must win in a division match-up if they lose they fall to 0-3 in the division.

Titans @ BILLS – How did this Titans team beat the Steelers? Beats me. The Steelers’ defense has been awful this year and Shaun Suisham missed the game winning field goal near the end of the game. Matt Hasselbeck is going to be under pressure this Sunday from a Bills’ defense that may be starting to turn the corner. Ryan Fitzpatrick simply cannot turn the ball over, he’s got a two-headed monster in the backfield now and should just rely on them.

Browns @ COLTS – Big win, Browns! Bad loss, Colts! Andrew Luck is poised to take down a worse defense than he just faced. The only problem is the weapons on the Browns overshadow those of the Colts, but guess who the home team is? Andrew Luck had a bad, BAD, game and many don’t expect to see consecutive ones of those too often and who better to keep that from happening against?

PACKERS @ Rams – The Packers just stomped out the Texans, in Houston. Rodgers showed why he was the MVP last year by tossing six touchdowns and no interceptions against one of the best defenses in the NFL . How bout a little Championship belt? The Rams played an ugly game in which they were heartbroken by the Miami Dolphins. This team has been feisty all year under Coach Fisher’s control. Don’t expect a hangover from the Pack.

The Doublecheck!

Cardinals @ VIKINGS – The Cardinals are finally coming back down to earth. They have no running game and their defense is solid, but not enough to carry them past their offensive woes. The Vikings still sit in second in the NFC North. This team ran into Hurricane Robert, who ran all over them like they were the football field, but I expect a bounce back game here against a falling Cardinals team.

SAINTS @ Buccaneers – A bye week is a nice gift after your first win during what has already been a long season. This team needs to fix its defense, and what better way than to get the leader of the defense back from injury. We will have to see how big of an impact Jonathan Vilma has in his first game of his dramatic 2012 season. The Bucs looked great last week against the Chiefs, but after all it was the Chiefs. The Bucs have not left Tampa in three weeks now, nice life. This match-up provided two great games last season, I expect no less this weekend.

COWBOYS @ Panthers – The Cowboys have to win this game, otherwise they will start to challenge the Saints for the biggest story this season, and don’t expect Jerry Jones to remain quiet. Cam Newton is defining “Sophomore Slump” right now and runs into a good Cowboys defense. The Panthers, I don’t even know. There’s so much talent on this team, but they simply don’t look like a team is the biggest problem. Cam is trying to force his throws and the defense needs to step up against a week Dallas offensive line.

Ravens @ TEXANS – The Ravens took so many hits last week in the win against the Cowboys: Injuries to Ray Lewis, Ladarius Webb and Haloti Ngata. Now they have to rush Terrell Suggs less than six months removed from an Achilles tear.  Now the weight of the team actually drops onto the shoulders of Joe Flacco. The Texans were shellacked by the Packers at home. They’ve had some time to digest it now and stay home and you better believe they’ll be ready to play the Ravens without their leader (don’t the Texans know how this feels) and their best cornerback.

Jaguars @ RAIDERS – These Raiders seem close to being able to compete in the AFC West. They went to the wire with the undefeated Falcons and played great defense the whole game against a high-powered offense. Carson Palmer is turning the ball over less, and they need more production out of Darren McFadden. The Jaguars don’t look good. Gabbert is definitely progressing, but not much. Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the best running backs in the NFL and proves it weekly, but Gabbert has no protection and gets scared when it falls on him. They also don’t have much of a defense.

Jets @ PATRIOTS – The Jets had a great win. Sanchez threw for less than 90 yards, but their was a Shonn Greene sighting. Don’t expect the same this week. Sanchez will have to throw the ball much more. The Patriots are not a happy bunch right now. A very tough and heartbreaking loss in which Tom Brady was “owned” by Richard Sherman. Expect a lot of scoring from the New Englanders.

Steelers @ BENGALS – This is the toss-up game for me. The Steelers have looked plain crappy. The defense is the worst part and as usual their offensive line can’t stay healthy and Big Ben doesn’t have a lot of time in the pocket. Rashard Mendenhall is hurt again. The Bengals offense has looked great as I said last week, but last week Brandon Weeden tore up the defense. This will be a physical game as it always is, but I will take the home team.

Lions @ BEARS – The Lions were able to pull off an upset against the Eagles with some last minute and overtime heroics. The Lions were a great team last year, but do not seem to be half that team last year. If they are going to win, Stafford will have to make the throws he made last year be mistake free against a Bears defense that takes advantage of any mistakes. The Bears have looked like a complete team, mostly on defense. Cutler, of course, has been under fire for his turnovers, but that’s Jay being Jay. This will be a great Monday Night game.

UPSET ALERT – I am putting the Giants (because of what they are capable of each year) and the Bears on upset alert. Division games are always played harder than the rest of the games, because they actually do mean more.

SURVIVOR PICK – This week I like the Patriots over the Jets as my lock. (If used already: Packers and Cowboys). 

Week 5 – Keep on Rolling

12-3 Last week …

BOOM

Not to brag but sitting better on my picks this season than SI’s Peter King. The first three weeks were tough, but this past week I started 11-1 before Sunday night and went 0-2 on Sunday and Monday night. Let’s continue this strong showing.

THURSDAY

CARDINALS @ Rams- Last week I correctly predicted that the Rams would upset the Seahawks, although both teams should have been 1-2 going into that game. The Rams defense played much better than their offense as they seemed to be shying away from their #1 asset in Steven Jackson. This Rams defense is underrated and is flying under the radar more than these Cardinals. The Cardinals didn’t look like the same team in the first half against a less than average Dolphins team. The Cardinals had to make an emotional comeback and outlast the Dolphins in overtime to stay undefeated. That’s why I find this a very tough pick and think it might be the biggest toss-up game of the week.

SUNDAY

Browns @ GIANTS – The Browns are the only winless team left in the NFL and they will stay that way after this weekend. They haven’t looked great, but they’ve stayed in some games that they had no right to be in. Brandon Weeden has played like a rookie, unfortunately he’s seven years older than most rookies and has looked worse than a few of them. The Giants came within a 54 yard field goal of beating the Eagles and moving to 3-1 instead of the other way around. Still no Hakeem Nicks for the Giants, big blow to the offense, but Eli finds ways to get ‘er done and will continue Sunday.

Dolphins @ BENGALS – The Dolphins looked pretty solid in their almost overtime upset against the Cardinals Sunday, but they fell short, per usual these days. The Dolphins run defense has looked great, considering its #1 right now in the NFL, the problem is the Bengals have been throwing a lot, and for good reason, with weapons like stud receiver A.J. Green and dangerous slot man Andrew Hawkins, along with red zone threat in Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals defense hasn’t been the same as last year, but they should continue their winning ways this weekend.

PACKERS @ Colts – The Packers won a squeaker in which they were helped out by the referees (consolation for the Seahawks game?). Greg Jennings will not be playing yet again this week, which does hurt the Packers offense, but Rodgers will most certainly spread the wealth just fine. Andrew Luck will see a healthy dose of Clay Matthews in his face and he will not like it! The Packers will go into Indy and show Andrew Luck how it’s done.

RAVENS @ Chiefs – The Ravens have looked really good so far, but almost allowed the Browns to win that game on Thursday night. Flacco threw a bad interception but was pretty sharp after that and they seemed to keep the ball out of Ray Rice’s hands, chalk that up to the short week. That will change this week now that they’ve had a week and a half for rest. The Chiefs just won’t stop turning the ball over. They haven’t looked awful but their turnovers are head scratching with 15 of them, and the sledding won’t get much easier as they face the Ravens defense.

Eagles @ STEELERS – The Eagles played an offensive ugly game against the Giants until they started running the ball to the outside. They almost lost the game, but were able to pull it out after a bad offensive pass interference on Ramses Barden of the Giants. Vick looked better seeing as he didn’t turn the ball over. The Steelers are coming off of their bye, with a full load of healthy starters coming back: Polamalu, Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall. In state foes, but one needs the win more and that is the home team and that’s why I pick the Steelers.

I’M BACKKKKK

FALCONS @ Redskins – I don’t believe this will be an easy win for the Falcons and they can actually lose this game. The Falcons have looked like a complete team and Matty Ice actually lived up to his name because he was ice cold in that comeback win over the Panthers. The Redskins controlled the entire game against the Bucs until they let them take the lead by backing off the gas in the second half. Then, Robert Griffin marched his offense down the field and Billy Cundiff did what he couldn’t go all game long, hit a FG, and a clutch won at that. Falcons win here because of their weapons and the caliber of their defense right now.

Seahawks @ PANTHERS – The Panthers should have gone for it on Fourth down last week and the Falcons wouldn’t be sitting undefeated anymore, but hey that’s why they play the game. The Seahawks did not look good against the Rams, besides Lynch who has the most yards in the NFL this year. I think the Seahawks have a good physical defense, but it stops there, their offense is atrocious. The Panthers D looked good getting pressure on Ryan all day, but clearly they needed to double Roddy White, good thing is there is no one close to Roddy’s talent on the Seahawks.

BEARS @ Jaguars – I know everyone saw what the Bears did to Romo, imagine what they could do to Gabbert. The Bears defense was unstoppable and Romo is evasive, Gabbert is known for playing scared, so watch out. Cutler played pretty well in the Cowboys game against a good Cowboys defense. Maurice Jones-Drew is doing all he can, as usual, to carry this team, but it won’t be enough this Sunday.

Titans @ VIKINGS – Never thought I’d see the day where I was picking the Vikings while Christian Ponder was still their starting Q, but here I am. Adrian Peterson is going to have a field day and Ponder will continue his game managing ways. The Titans took step backward with Jake Locker’s shoulder injury and Kenny Britt’s setback. Chris Johnson had a good game against a tough Texans defense, but it’ll take more than one good game to get back to where he used to be, and the Vikings run defense has looked good so far.

Broncos @ PATRIOTS – I would like to pick the Broncos, but the Patriots can just light up a scoreboard no matter how good your defense is and how well your team has been playing. The Broncos Joe Mays will be coming back from a suspension and their defense is pumping on all cylinders now, but this is the wrong team to play when you start to. Peyton Manning has not thrown an interception since the first quarter debacle against the Falcons, not a bad stat. Tom Brady turned in a Tom Brady performance, but the biggest surprise was the explosion of the Pats run game, which we should all keep an eye on, because if they become two dimensional …. eek.

Bills @ 49ERS – The Bills had control of the Patriots in the first half forcing turnovers and not allowing Brady to slice ’em and dice ’em. Then it simply got ugly. The Bills have two solid running backs, possibly the best 1-2 punch in the NFL this year, but the 49ers don’t give up rushing yards to many. The 49ers looked great against the Jets, especially the defense and good news for them Fitzpatrick turns the ball over a lot. The 49ers defense are going to have their way with the Bills, but keep an eye on the other side.

Chargers @ SAINTS – The Chargers are playing quietly good and the Saints are playing noisily awful. Rivers has been carrying the team and Jackie battle bruised his way last week to a couple of scores. The Defense has looked good as well, but now they go into the Superdome, to play a battered Saints team. Here’s the difference maker, Sean Payton will be at this game. This will be one of those games where daddy shows up for the first time for little Johnny’s football game, and little Johnny goes HAM (Insert “Little Giants” movie quote here, please).

MONDAY

TEXANS @ Jets – Is there a team more depleted by the loss of two players, one on each side of the ball. The Jets looked like an FBS school against the 49ers last week and Santonio Holmes reaffirmed how selfish he is by throwing the ball into the hands of Carlos Rogers when he hurt his foot. HOLD ONTO THE BALL WHEN YOU GO DOWN! The Texans could be the most complete team in the NFL and they couldn’t have picked a better team to face to stay undefeated than the Jets. Tim Tebow might be looking mighty good after this game if Sanchez can’t do well with his now patchwork receiving corps after rookie Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller won’t play … OUCH.

 

UPSET ALERT – As I said be way of the Rams, (they already beat the Cardinals). Another upset to keep an eye on is the Redskins over the Falcons, just depending on how well the Skins defense plays. I’m not saying it’ll happen but let’s not forget that Arrowhead is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL and the Ravens can falter just don’t expect it. I also wouldn’t call this an upset, but the Broncos CAN beat the Patriots.

To Survive!

SURVIVAL PICKTexans over the Jets is a lock, but most have already used the Texans I’m sure so the next best thing is the Bears over the Jaguars.. (If picked already: Vikings and Giants )