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.

Week 6 … They Are Who We Thought They Were

After 12-3 we had a 10-4 showing. So let’s keep this baby rolling now that teams have come into their own, but some nice surprises are still shocking the NFL World, say the Vikings and the Cardinals. On the other hand we have disappointments like the Steelers and of course the ‘Aints (Saints).

Let’s get right into it:

THURSDAY

STEELERS @ Titans – This game is already over, but I’d be completely lying to you if I told you that I had even thought of picking the Titans. Chris Johnson is still playing like crud and Matt Hasselbeck’s arm just isn’t the same anymore. Mendenhall is back, not anymore seeing as he left this game and Big Ben has been playing great, but without Polamalu this defense just isn’t the same and they showed that by allowing the Titans to march down field with 45 seconds left in the game.

SUNDAY

Raiders @ FALCONS – Matty Ryan and his Falcons keep on rolling, but they almost slipped up last week at Washington until RG3 was knocked out with a concussion. They might have escaped one of their trap games and can breathe a sigh of relief and can now refocus as they head home to play an inconsistent Raiders team, which has played the Chargers and Steelers tough, but got wiped out by the Broncos and the Dolphins. Let’s see which Raiders team shows up, but it shouldn’t matter.

BENGALS @ Browns – The Browns came out firing against the Giants last week and looked good until they came back down to Earth and Eli Manning did his thing. The Bengals had a disappointing outing last week against a pretty solid Dolphins’ defense, but their offense this year has really been the story compared to their defense last year. The Browns are hurting having to play some unexpected wide receivers, but Brandon Weeden seems to be inching along. These two teams have already played this year and it was a close game at Cincinnati, this probably won’t be much different.

Rams @ DOLPHINS – Both of these teams have been somewhat surprising. Sam Bradford has regressed more than anyone I’ve seen (maybe not Cam Newton). Their strength for years has been their running game, but they’ve been playing solid run defenses and that doesn’t change this week against the #1 ranked run defense of Miami. All the scouts and experts are saying Ryan Tannehill’s progression is amazing, especially considering a few years ago this guy was playing Wide Receiver at Texas A&M, and I agree even though the numbers may not.

Colts @ JETS – This is now a let down game for the Colts. An emotional comeback win for Chuck Pagano against many people’s Super Bowl favorite. Now they have to go on the road to New York, where Jet fans are always loud. The Jets just played their hearts out against a very good Houston Texans team, without their two best players in Revis and Holmes. This fire and this heart leads me to this pick, also no Mathis for the Colts and Freeney is still clearly rusty. Sanchez might throw over 50% this weekend.

Only a matter of time …

Lions @ EAGLES – This is a must win for the Lions and that’s why I can see them winning this game, but the Eagles are coming off an ugly loss to the Steelers in which Vick turned the ball over three more times. The Eagles defense has been sound through the first five games, but the Lions are coming off a bye in which I’m sure Jim Schwartz has gotten his team focused. Stafford has not played anywhere near the level he did last year, but don’t expect that to last very long especially when you have Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to.

Chiefs @ BUCCANEERS – Both of these teams have been disappointing and now Matt Cassel is out with a concussion, apparently to the bliss of Chiefs’ fans. Brady Quinn who hasn’t played in a football game in almost three years, must now take the reigns against a Buccaneers team coming off their bye at home. Josh Freeman has to play better in order for the Bucs to win or even keep up with the way Jamaal Charles is running, and Romeo Crennel has said that his workload will not dwindle.

Cowboys @ RAVENS – The Cowboys are coming off their bye and the Ravens are coming home from one of the ugliest football games I’ve seen against the Chiefs, a 9-6 barn-burner win. The Cowboys looked horrific in their Monday Night game against the Bears in which Romo hurled five interceptions. The road doesn’t get easier against an always ball hawking Ravens defense. The Baltimore crowd is extremely loud and the Cowboys have enough problems on offense, forget not being able to hear. Joe Flacco must have a better showing than last week if he wants us to truly believe he has taken that next step. P.S. Did anyone hear them saying Ray Lewis isn’t playing at the same level?  The guy is 37 … get over yourselves.

Bitch, please ….

BILLS @ Cardinals – The Bills have been real bad the last two weeks against the 49ers and the Patriots, especially their defense. Fitzpatrick cannot keep throwing the magnitude of interceptions that he always does, but now they have a healthy two-headed monster in the backfield and the pressure can be taken off of his shoulders as long as their expensive defense can keep the Cardinals offense off of the field, which shouldn’t be all that difficult with the running backs the Cardinals have lined up for this week’s game.

PATRIOTS @ Seahawks – The 12th man will be the quietest it’s ever been this weekend when Tom Brady and his video game offense hit the field in Seattle. The Patriots have been playing to prove they are the top tier team in the AFC, and the past two weeks have done just that. Hopefully Bill doesn’t punish Wes Welker for his public joke about “shoving it in Bill’s face.” The Seahawks’ games have all been just pure ugly, and anyone can sit here and argue with me on that, but it’s true. Russell Wilson is having a better year than Mark Sanchez, not saying much but for a small rookie it’s a plus playing with the offense he has. Pats in a blowout of course.

GIANTS @ 49ers – I will tell you why I am picking the Giants to win this game in two words … Road Warriors. The Giants go on the road and win big games, it’s just what they do. They came up short against the Eagles, literally, but they played two great games against the 49ers last year and don’t expect anything different from these two this year. The Niners have played complete football all year long and their offense went off last week against the Bills defense, but who hasn’t this year? It’s tough to pick this game, but I’ll go with the G-MEN!!!

Vikings @ REDSKINS – The Vikings have looked good and may still be overachieving. Ponder has been good, despite throwing two interceptions last week (his first two of the year). Peterson hasn’t looked the same, but who can blame him. Harvin has looked like a complete player, seriously what can’t he do? Roger Griffin III has just been concussed and may not remember who he is, but let’s go ‘Skins! Alfred Morris has been running lights out and the Skins offense is as high-powered as any with RG3 under center. Even Kirk Cousins hit Santana Moss on a wide open post last week. This game is a toss-up to me, but usually on close games I go home team. Side note: Billy Cundiff is no longer kicking with the ‘Skins (every Ravens fan curses his name with pure hate).

CHEEESEEEE!!!

PACKERS @ TexansThe Packers are hurting and now their without Greg Jennings and Cedric Benson. They can’t keep Aaron Rodgers straight-up. Rodgers hasn’t looked like his MVP-self either, although it is tough to reproduce his performance from last year. This feels like a must-win for the Pack. The Texans are also hurting without Cushing now and Ben Tate is banged up. Cushing is the center of their defense, even with the emergence of JJ Watt. The Packers will be pissed, again, after another disappointing loss.

MONDAY

BRONCOS @ Chargers – The Chargers unfortunately ran into the Saints at the wrong time as Sean Payton looked on and Drew Brees broke the consecutive games with a TD pass record. Peyton Manning looked good against the Patriots, but just couldn’t keep up with Tom Brady in the first half, which seems to be a reoccurring theme for Peyton this year. His team gets behind and he brings them back, but cannot pull off the comeback. The Chargers had finally gotten that good start to the season they wanted, but after losses to the Falcons and to the Saints they need a bounce back game, unfortunately it’s against a good division rival Broncos team that sits under .500.

UPSET ALERT – The Colts are on Upset Alert going into Metlife Stadium after a big emotional win, this is letdown time! I am also putting the Vikings and the Cardinals on Upset Alert. The Vikings have been solid, but the Skins can score a ton of points with the play of RG3. The Bills can also score a lot and the Cardinals offense can’t keep up with many teams if their defense allows points.

To Survive!

SURVIVOR PICK – Falcons, hands down. The Raiders have already gutted me once this year when I picked the Steelers against them. The Falcons have now traveled back and forth from San Diego, Washington and now back home. The good side of this is they’re playing at home. (If Picked Already: Bengals and Patriots even though I don’t like away teams.)

These are my two cents … cash ’em in!

Anthony (T Catz)