5 Things We Learned: Suggestions Are Welcome Edition

1) The AFC belongs to the Houston Texans. The Texans embarrassed their competition on Sunday, in the form of the Baltimore Ravens by hanging a 40-spot on them. The Texans are in a class of their own. There are only two other teams in the AFC that may be able to give Houston a run for its money and they are the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos. Thankfully for Houston, they face the Patriots in a couple of weeks, and we will get to see a (hopeful) preview of the AFC Championship Game.

2) Cam Newton equals Vince Young. Both men enjoyed great success on the field during their college football days. Both saw themselves go very high in the draft. But as we are all witnessing, neither of them knows how to deal with losing a few games.
Cam’s post-game interview had “I’m about to lose my mind if we win again,” all over it. The fact is, the guy is not ‘The Guy.’

He is used to being coddled, and now that he is being asked to step up and be a leader, he is having a difficult time playing a different role. Cam couldn’t lead me to the water at a beach, let alone lead his teammates in a game for 60 minutes.
3) Just give Robert Griffin, III the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award now! Is this even up for debate? Nope, didn’t think so. The guy is putting his team in a position to win week in and week out with very average wideouts. Had it not been for the subpar coverage of cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, RG3 would have come in the house of the defending champs and shown up Mr. 4th Quarter himself, Eli Manning. If the Redskins get a themselves a good wide receiver, who can stay healthy (Yes, I’m talking to you Garcon), they will have a great offense for years to come.
4) No one wants to play vs. the Chicago Bears defense right now. And you can’t blame them! That defense is making quarterbacks around the league fearful to snap the ball on long plays, knowing that the fast pass-rush is headed their way. Over their last 4 games, the Bears have held their opponent your scoring 3 times. This defense looks eerily similar to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a 2006 Bears group that was able to carry the franchise all the way to a super bowl trip. Stay tuned…

5) You can confidently pick up the quarterback playing vs. New Orleans, and the runningback facing Buffalo each week and be confident in them going off! The Saints rank 30th in net passing yards per game, while the Bills are dead last on the NFL in rushing yards per game. The rankings speak for themselves. Feel comfortable acquiring each of these position players vs. these two teams going forward.

#BookIt
-Cam Newton will be asking for even more suggestions after the Chicago Bears are done with him.
-If Michael Vick has another 3 turnover game, he’ll be benched.
-The Falcons will NOT be undefeated after Sunday.

This week’s recipient of The McKayla Is Not Impressed Award goes to the human suggestion box, Cam Newton. No one feels sorry for you. Not because you are making millions of dollars playing a recreational sport, but because you lose like a 5-year-old in a game of Red Light, Green Light. You put on that sulky Jay Cutler face and expect people to feel sorry for you. Keep your chip up and learn to lose like a man, instead of whining to the media that you are running out of solutions. Here’s a suggestion, learn to hit your wide-open receivers in the red zone.

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5 Things We Learned: The Highly Debatable Edition

When we reflect back on the season, Week 6 will be one of the most talked about and remembered. We learned an awful lot.

1) The New York Giants love when the world picks against them. The G-Men went into this game as slight underdogs in Vegas, but were hearing all week by football experts that they were not going to beat San Francisco. Needless to say, they went in there and stomped them out 26-3. The pass-rush looked like its former self; the same guys who continually put (Matt) Ryan, Rodgers, (Alex) Smith, and Brady on their butts last season en route to the franchise’s 4th Super Bowl win.

Alex Smith looked uncomfortable in the pocket all game, and that’s a position where the Giants defense thrives. Coming into the game, Smith had only thrown 1 interception on the season. He left Sunday afternoon’s game with a season total of 4.

When the Giants get front-four pressure like they did on Sunday, they are a difficult team to move the ball on. They force you to speed up your reads, and that internal clock for a quarterback to get rid of the ball reaches it’s limit much faster than he would like.

Keep in mind that Eli had a very quiet day as he ended his streak of 24 consecutive games with at least 200-yards thrown. The ground game showed up for a second week in a row as well. And when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for over 100 yards, the Giants don’t lose.

As fictional coach Gordon Bombay would say, “That wasn’t a game, that was a statement!”

2) The Patriots’ cockiness is annoying. If you watched the game as a Patriots fan, you have every right to be especially upset by this loss because it was a very winnable game. I do understand that Seattle is a good team, with a very elite defense, but the Patriots handed the game over. The Patriots offense is an enigma. You truly never know which one of their offensive personalities is going to show up.

On the one hand, you have this Patriots offense that can move the ball very efficiently with 5-10 yard routes and draw plays, all the way into the end zone with ease. Then, you have their arrogant offense which swears they can run any ole play at any given time and it will magically work for them. This is what fans saw during the last two drives of the 4th quarter. It looked like offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had already declared victory, and started picking plays out of a hat.

The Patriots didn’t lose that game because they were offensively inept, they lost because their offense became arrogant with a lead that was anything but insurmountable.

Hats off to their defense though, who have been keeping them in every game so far (especially defensive lineman Chandler Jones).

3) The Atlanta Falcons are the last undefeated team left in the NFL…but they look beatable. 4 out of the Falcons 6 wins have been by a combined 18 points.

On Sunday, they were able to pull out a late fourth quarter win, despite Matt Ryan throwing 3 interceptions in the first half vs. the Raiders. The Raiders are one of the worst teams in terms of getting sacks and turnovers, so I’m certain their defensive scheme will be used as a blueprint for remaining opponents. They aren’t overpowering teams, but doing just enough offensively to secure the W and move on to the next game.

4) The Baltimore defenders are dropping like flies…or in this case birds. MLB Ray Lewis is potentially out for the season with a torn triceps, though the team won’t rule out a late season return. Corner back Lardarius Webb is also out for the season with a torn acl, and safety Ed Reed told a local Baltimore radio station that he has been playing with a torn labrum. But have no fear Ravens’ fans, outside linebacker and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs is back on the practice field.

The long and short of that previous paragraph is that the Ravens will now have to rely on Joe Flacco more than ever. His game-managing quarterback style will no longer life them to wins this season, because he will not have that tremendous defense to fall back on. The question is: Can Joe Flacco be the elite quarterback he has been telling everyone that he is?

5) Aaron Rodgers had Aaron Rodgers on his fantasy team. Every now and again, someone in the NFL goes off and has a monstrous game out of the blue. Brian Hartline had one for the wide receivers, Jamaal Charles for the running backs, and that only left one offensive position to go, quarterback. Aaron Rodgers was ‘the guy’ on Sunday Night Football.

Now, it’s arguable that he didn’t need six touchdowns to win his team the game, but he was out there trying to make a statement. As Coach Reilly in The Mighty Ducks said, “It’s not worth winning, if you can’t win big!”

The Packers are not going down this season without a fight in them. They sense the weakness in their division, and understand that despite their slow start, they could still win it by multiple games.

Rodgers joined a special group of players that night, as one of only four quarterbacks to throw for over 330 yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and no interceptions in NFL history. The last person to accomplish this feat was Tom Brady, and he did it twice.

#BookIt
-The Giants are primed to go on a run, and have the schedule to do so.

-The Ravens aren’t winning the AFC North division anymore.

-Brady is due for one of THOSE GAMES vs. the Jets this weekend (you know what I’m talking about).

-The fight for USC quarterback Matt Barkley will come down to two teams who don’t need him: Jacksonville and Cleveland.

-CJ2K is going to get his first touchdown this Sunday! (Football gods help him if he can’t score against that horrid Bills defense)

The McKayla is Not Impressed Award for Week 6 goes to Eagles Management for firing Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo, following the Eagles defense blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter vs. the Detroit Lions.

Why am I not impressed? Because it was a bailout move. Why not fire the offensive coordinator who continues to let Vick have the ball in his hands each and every play? The Eagles have a top-3 running back in McCoy, and yet they vastly underutilize him.

Juan Castillo is out of a job for his guys blowing another fourth quarter lead, meanwhile, Steve Spagnuolo is coordinating the worst defense in the NFL right now in New Orleans, and his job seems in tact. He doesn’t appear to be on the hot seat whatsoever.

Meanwhile, in New England, Josh McDaniels is standing there giving off the impression that he asks Madden for his conservative play-calling advice, and his job security feels just fine too.

This all leads me to believe that the this is part 1 of 3-step process:
Step 1: Fire the defensive coordinator to buy your offense more time to get things rolling.
Step 2: Release Michael Vick at the end of the season because he will no longer ‘fit’ into the plan that the franchise has going forward.
Step 3: Fire Andy Reid because heaven knows this has been long overdue.

5 Things We Learned: The Refs are Back, Jack Edition!

Let’s get right into another wild week of lessons we learned in Week 4 of the NFL.

1) Your ‘favorite’ zebra-striped officials are back and better than the same as ever. One week removed from being screwed over by a blatantly obvious bad call by the refs on Monday Night Football, the Green Bay Packers found themselves benefitting from blatant bad calls in their games vs. New Orleans. A key fumble by Darren Sproles went the way of the Packers, despite replay showing otherwise. If refs aren’t getting calls right with replay, we’re in trouble going forward.

If you watched any games this weekend, compare the reactions the fans gave the refs at the beginning with the jeers they received towards the end. The officiating wasn’t top-notch, but I am willing to cut them slack…they were rusty.

2) Tony Romo is never going to turn the corner. Every season, all the experts tell us that this is Romo’s year to breakout and show the world that he is one of the elite quarterback’s in the NFL…and then he steps on the field and has a game like he did Monday night vs. Chicago. It’s the type of game that makes you scratch your head and wonder why Jerry Jones and Co. are actually considering giving an extension to this guy.

I’m sure Tony is a stand-up guy off the field, but on the field he’s a sit down guy, as in all he usually does is throw picks in crunch time and goes back to sitting down on the bench. Romo played in his Super Bowl opening night when Dallas took on the Giants. The Cowboys actually haven’t looked that good since Week 1 too.

3) If the New Orleans Saints keep this up, Sean Payton should be a unanimous choice for Coach of the Year. This is coming from the same school of thought that Peyton should’ve won MVP last season because of his team’s abysmal performance all season long. The Saints should be able to go out and win games in spite of the absence of their head coach. This should be firing them up if anything.

The complete opposite is occurring though. They are playing well enough to keep their fans hopes alive until the waning moments of the fourth quarter. The play-calling doesn’t appear to be different from the naked eye. Drew Brees is doing the same thing he did last season: Brees drops back, checks his reads, throws a strike to (insert Saints wide receiver here), and then repeat; it’s like the cycles on a washing machine. For a man that is making 40 million dollars this season, Brees should have his team in a complete “us against the world” mentality, thus using Bountygate as bulletin-board material. Instead, they look more “woe is me.”

4) A quarter of the way through this NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals look better than people expected. Regardless of whether or not the Cardinals beat the Rams this evening, they have looked solid throughout the first four weeks of the season.

No one can use the excuse that they haven’t played anybody good because it would be dishonest to say so. The Cardinals handed the New England Patriots a loss at Gillette, a feat not many teams have accomplished during the Brady/Belichick era. On top of that, they convincingly beat down the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Their other two wins have come against the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins, the latter of which has one of the stingiest run defenses in this early season.

I’m not saying they are Super Bowl contenders just yet. Looking ahead, the Cardinals could very well be undefeated going into their match-up vs. San Francisco in three weeks. Not that NFL teams will admit to looking that far ahead, but I am sure the Cardinals understand that game will be their measuring stick for how where they rank amongst the class of the NFC.

5) The beef between Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora is over…and by over I mean it was never really much of a ‘beef’ to begin with. Leave it to major sports outlets (mainly ESPN), to overhype something that never had much air under it.

Tupac and Biggie had a beef. Magic and Bird had a beef. Jay-Z and Nas had a beef. I could go on, but you get the point: those were actual feuds between two individuals who just did not get along. Osi and LeSean exchanged comments about each other through Twitter of all places. That alone is by no means an outlet that people will take you mildly serious on.

Kudos to them both though for providing the media, and both Giants and Eagles fans, entertainment to get us through the week leading up to the rivalry games these past two seasons.

#BookIt

-Brian Hartline is gone in every fantasy league you are in.

-Mr. Hartline is going to disappoint you big time this weekend coming off that monster game vs. a relatively sound Cardinals secondary. Cincy will be ready!

-Tebow will be starting for the Jets by/if not before Thanksgiving

-CJ2K is NOT back, and Sunday vs. Minnesota will show that his overdue 100-yard rushing performance was a fluke.

-RG3 WILL run away with the Rookie of the Year award, literally.

Week 4’s recipient of the McKayla is Not Impressed award goes to the New England Patriots. Let’s not run amuck declaring the Patriots offense is back and here to stay after they hung 52 points on the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. The Jets hung 48 on them for crying out loud! If you didn’t expect the Patriots to go out and do the same thing, then I would question your football knowledge big time. The Bills are about as good on defense as the Phoenix Suns, and what is that saying? Absolutely nothing!

I reiterate, on behalf of NFL fans around the world: No one is impressed that the New England Patriots did something that was on par with an accomplishment that the New York Jets achieved in their season-opener vs. the Buffalo Bills.

With that said, if the Patriots come out and put on an offensive clinic against the Denver Broncos, then we can start saying the Patriots have found their offensive mojo once again.

Editor’s Update: The Cardinals may still have their San Francisco game circled, but they will not be undefeated going into it.