Saturday, September 10, 2011


OK, here goes.

1.) Baltimore Ravens at home (-1.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Love these games, but the Steelers have owned the Ravens. The Ravens have added new weapons like Lee Evans and added a real fullback like Vontae Leach. Can the Ravens protect Joe Flacco? Yes, but the Steelers defense sems to get to him when it matters. Home or not I'm not comfy with the Ravens until they get over the hump with the Steelers. Maybe this is the game, but not worth the pick.
2.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home (-1.5) vs. Detroit Lions
This game is blacked out in Tampa so I won't see. That's a shame because it promises to be one of the better games this week. The Bucs loss to the Lions last year kept them out of the playoffs and landed the Packers in the 6th spot. The Bucs defense is better overall than the Lions and will be a stout test for that Lions bandwagon everyone is on. They will get to Stafford.  Led by SUH, the Lions will pressure Josh Freeman, but right now the Bucs are better and deeper on both sides of the ball and that ought to be enough.

3.) Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Chicago Bears 
I'm not sold on Julio Jones until I'm certain he won't drop the ball, but the addition of Ray Edwards opposite the aging John Abraham will add pressure on the Bears softy QB Jay Cutler. The Bears dealt Greg Olsen away strangely enough, sign inconsistent WR Roy Williams and cut Chester Taylor who mishandled in Chicago all of last year anyway. The Bears can't block and if they could they don't have a legit #1 wideout.
4.) Kansas City Chiefs at home (-5.5) vs. Buffalo Bills
The Bills keep letting talent out the door. Posluzny? (their leading tackler) Gone! Lee Evans? Dealt to Baltimore. So much for a WR for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Donte Whitner? Also gone. Matt Cassell may not start but Buffalo can't stop Jamal Charles.

5.) Houston Texans (-9) at home vs. Indianapolis Colts
By default, the Houston Texans will get over the hump and beat the Colts. I'm not sold on them overall, but the Colts are not built on either side of the ball to handle a full 60 minutes without Peyton Manning. Kerry Collins can and will I suspect get it done, bur the Colts have no serious running game to turn to and their defense was built to hold a lead.

6.) Philadelphia Eagles (-4.0) at St Louis Rams   
This is one of the more intriguing games of the week and a possible upset for the Rams. The Rams will seek to establish the run and eat up the clock. After all, Michael Vick can't hurt you if he's on the sideline. The Eagles will bring the rush and the three CB's will easily match up with unspectacular RAMS WR. If I were the Rams I would start out dink and dunk and seek to exploit the young Eagles LB's. Conventional wisdom is that Steve Spagnola, a disciple of Jimmie Johnson's zone blitz scheme will blitz early and often. That's likely the case, but remember the zone blitz is also designed to disguise coverage. Show blitz, drop into coverage. I suspect as much as they will test the Eagles OL, they will try to force Vick into his hot reads prematurely and look to force turnovers. That said, barring fatal OL play or turnovers, I think the Eagles will be prepared and make adjustments. An upset is a REAL possibility and it would not surprise me if the RAMS won.

7.) Cleveland Browns at home (-6.5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals  
Who in their right mind would pick the Bengals? The Carson Palmer debacle? Rivalry or not, we should ship anyone who picks the Bengals off to an asylum.

8.) Jacksonville Jaguars at home (-1.5) vs. Tennessee Titans
Really? The Jags are the favorite? They cut David Garrard and start recently signed journeyman QB Luke McCown? Huh? Former Eagle and Jag, Hugh Douglas said this week that of all the head coaches in the league Jack Del Rio was "the one that most deserved to be punched in the face". Matt Hasselback can still play and Chris Johnson well is the best.

9.) New York Giants (-3) at Washington Redskins
The Giants have lost 3/4 of their secondary and MLB. Umenyiora's out for a couple weeks at least and Justin Tuck is not 100%. But the good news for the Giants is that the Skins are starting Rex Grossman at QB. Not good enough for the Giants. Grossman does not have anyone to throw to, but they can run the ball and get after the QB on defense. A rivalry game where the home team is the underdog?   

10.) Arizona Cardinals (-7) at home vs. Carolina Panthers
The best thing that happened to the Panthers was not drafting Cam Newton, but rather the rookie salary cap that made it possible for Panthers to keep a core around Newton. They have a long way to go, but the Panthers will benefit from that new cap in the long run. The Cardinals are too much for them.

11.) San Francisco 49ers at home (-5.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks
Hmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!! Alex Smith vs. Tavaris Jackson. A true CLASH OF THE TITANS. We'd be better off with Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier at QB. Flip a coin? 
12.) San Diego Chargers at home (-8.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings   
The Vikings are better with Donovan McNabb at QB, but blocking is an issue. So is defense. But then there's Adrian Peterson and the Chargers notorious slow starts. Many say the Chargers are chomping at the bit. OK, but I'll side with history and AP

13.) New York Jets at home (-5.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys
I'm not fond of the line. I don't like the Cowboys run game and they'll need one. I'm less satisfied with an appalling OL. The Jets DEFENSE will eat them up.

14.) New England Patriots (-7) vs. Miami Dolphins
This is a rivalry but not much of one lately. The Dolphins do not have a reliable running game and an anemic passing game. The Pats have issues on defense, but have weapons on offense.
15.) Denver Broncos at home vs. Oakland Raiders
John Fox will make the Broncos better and this is a real rivalry. Kyle Orton or Jason Campbell? Orton easy, but the Raiders have Darren McFadden and have the Broncos really improved their run defense that much? But the absence of Asomugha in the Raiders secondary does matter. 

1 comment:

  1. Ravens


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