After last Sundays game against the Colts, Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy met in the middle of the field for the ceremonial handshake that most coaches do after a game. If you look closely at the video from the game, youll notice that Dungy tried to say something to Belichick during the handshake and Belichick blew him off. Was it intentional? Thats anybodys guess. Can you blame Belichick if it was intentional? No.
Since the spygate incident, head coaches in the NFL and other sports have blasted Belichick and the Patriots for cheating. Now if you believe he was the only coach, and that the Patriots were the only team that was doing such a thing, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you for a dime. He wasnt the first, and if there are other ways of stealing signals, he wont be the last.
The fallout from this, Belichick and the Pats are considered the black sheep of the NFL and they use it as their motivation. Every team has the attitude of nobody likes us, everybody hates us. Its a form of motivation. The truth is, a number of teams dont like the Pats at all. And they know it. Its not just mental motivation for them, its the truth, and they will use that against their opponents every Sunday until the end of the season. Just ask the Dolphins and the Redskins.
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
The last time these two teams met, the Packers won 23-16 in Week 4. That was the day Brett Farve broke Dan Marinos record for Most Career TDs. Its always good to see a member of the AARP achieve such an accomplishment.
Since the Packers like to throw the ball so much, they should have no problem throwing the ball against the Vikes this Sunday. The Vikes have the 31st ranked defense against the pass. The Packers are ranked 5th in the league in passing offense. Look for the Packers to go to the air on 70% of their plays this Sunday as they try to embarrass the Vikes Secondary.
R.O.Y. (Rookie of the Year) Adrian Peterson ran for 112 yards and 1 touchdown in the last game. Look for the same in this game. Peterson is the leagues top rusher with 1036 yards rushing. And lets not forget his record breaking performance from last week against the Chargers. (296 rushing yards, NFL single game record) The Vikes are the ranked 1st in rushing offense while the Packers are the 8th ranked team in rushing defense. Since the Vikes have no passing game and theyre currently having issues at the QB position, look for the Vikes to work Peterson on the ground like his name was Kunta Kinte. With the Packers having the 11th ranked defense and the Vikes having the 22nd ranked defense, the advantage goes to the Packers.
My Pick: Packers
Location: LP Field, Nashville, TN
In Week 1, the Titans beat the Jags 13-10 by putting up 282 rushing yards. Since that game, the Titans have had the 1st ranked defense against the rush in the league while the Jags have had the 5th best rushing offense in the league. Both teams can run the ball, so dont look for too many points through the air. This is strictly a game for the RBs.
Both teams have their own dynamic duo at RB. The Titans have Chris Brown and Lendale White while the Jags have Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. It looks like the team that can stop the run, will win the game. If thats the case, the Titans have this game won. They have the better D-line and LBs and are able to plug up running lanes easily.
The Titans defense is really making some noise and looks to make a serious run for the playoffs. The Jags are still picking up their faces after getting spanked by the Saints last week. The Jags are coming into this game with vengeance on their minds from their Week 1 loss and the motivation to get back on track from last weeks trouncing. With the Colts looking to have the lock on the AFC South, whomever and however this game is won may determine who gets one of the Wild Card slots for the AFC.
My Pick: Titans
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
This is the 1st of the 2 games between these two AFC West rivals. Thankfully for the chiefs, theyre playing the first game at Arrowhead. Arrowhead is one of the most underrated stadiums in the league when it comes to the 12th man. On that note, with the injury to Broncos QB Jay Cutler and the Broncos having the 26th ranked defense in the league, the Chiefs have the upper hand.
Chiefs RB Larry Johnson may miss Sundays game with a sprained ankle, which means Priest Holmes will start for the Chiefs. Considering that at the start of the season he wasnt expected to play football again due to a back injury, it looks as though Priest Holmes has taken a page out of Ra’s al Ghuls book and has found new life. The Chiefs need a good, smart game from QB Damon Huard. The Broncos may be ranked 26th in total defense, but they are ranked 8th against the pass. That doesnt help the Chiefs, who are ranked 17th in passing offense.
If Cutler doesnt play, then QB Patrick Ramsey will get the start. That means one thing; the Broncos will most likely run the ball for the majority of the game. Broncos RB Travis Henry sat out of practice this week with swelling in his knee, so hes questionable. That means Rookie RB, Selvin Young, would get the start against a Chiefs rush defense thats ranked 14th in the league. It may be a long day for the Broncos this Sunday.
My Pick: Chiefs
Location: Dolphin Stadium, Miami, FL
The 1972 Dolphins hold the only undefeated record in the league. The 2007 Dolphins looks to hold the only defeated record in the league as well. Unlike the winless Rams, it is hard to find one thing about the Dolphins that can give them a chance of winning. If the Dolphins go defeated for the season, maybe the league should put an asterisk next to their record and the footnote should read, *had no heart.
The only thing one can suggest is that they try and show some heart. You can sit here all day and mention what they should do on offense or defense, but unless they have heart, it wont do you any good. So, they only way the Dolphins will win this game; will be when they show some heart.
The Bills just have to keep playing they way they have been playing. They have the better team on both sides of the ball. From QB, to RB, to coaching, the Bills shouldnt have a problem putting this game away early.
My Pick: Bills
Location: Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Writing about 2 winless teams, back-to-back, is just wrong and mean spirited. Why hast thou forsaken me, Lord? The Rams do have a chance of winning a game this year, and this may be that weekend. QB Marc Bulger is back, RB Stephen Jackson is back, and they still have their WR corp. The Rams are ranked 16th in the league in passing. Thats not great, but its not bad. Theyre in the middle of the bunch and thats manageable in the NFL.
What the Rams need to do is stop Drew Brees. Thats it. Reggie Bush is banged up, so he may not have too much of a presence on offense this Sunday. Hell probably have a limited role. If the Rams Secondary can shut down the Saints WRs, then they have a good chance of winning on Sunday.
The Saints have been running on momentum for the past 4 weeks and it wont stop this Sunday. The Saints need to put pressure on the Rams O-line and disrupt every play they possibly can to win this game. Considering the Rams O-line is weakened due to a rash of injuries, that shouldnt be a problem for the Saints this weekend.
My Pick: Saints
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
This is going to be a good game this weekend. The Steelers have the #1 ranked defense in the league while the Browns have the #4 ranked offense in the league. On the flipside, the Steelers have the 8th ranked offense in the league while the Browns are ranked dead last in total defense in the league. Also, the two teams met in Week 1 with the Brown beating the Steelers 34-7. Oh thats not good. You know the Steelers are coming into this game with one thing on their minds, vengeance.
The Browns have to find a way to tire out the Steelers defense with their running game. The problem with that, it hardly exists. The Browns are ranked 17th in running this year. With their running game a little weak, their have to throw the ball again this weekend. The problem with that, the Browns are ranked 17th in passing and the Steelers have the #1 ranked passing defense in the league. Thank God the Browns are playing this game in Pittsburgh and not Cleveland because the Dog Pound would look like a kennel.
My Pick: Steelers
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
The Eagles are just having an awful season this year. There has been too many distractions off the field to keep this focused. At some point, as a team, you have to turn it around and this weekend may be that opportunity.
The Eagles have a better QB, RB and D-line than the Redskins. The Redskins have the better coach. Game management is such an intricate factor in sports nowadays; you need a coach with a clear head to focus on the rights and wrongs of the game. Theres too much going on in Philly right now and it will be hard for any coach to focus on the game this Sunday or any Sunday at this point. If they lose, the Eagles season is all but over. Personally, it was over in the preseason.
My Pick: Redskins
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
The last time the Falcons played the Panthers; it was in Week 3, the Falcons lost the game because their Secondary was getting use by the Panthers WRs, and CB DeAngelo Hall threw a Kanye tantrum that embarrassed his team and mostly himself. Hopefully, hes matured within the last month and a half, and is focused in turning around his teams misfortunes.
Last week, the Falcons ran the ball effectively and they won the game. Good for them. They need to do the same this Sunday. The Panthers are the 20th ranked defense against the run. Thats a far cry from Panthers defenses of the past. The Falcons need to run so they can throw off the Panthers defensive schemes with pass action and play action formations. The Falcons have to try and confuse the Panthers defense.
The Panthers know the Falcons running and passing game is weak. So they will come after QB Joey Harrington from every angle. They also know how to get in the heads of the Falcons secondary. Thats the advantage the Panthers have going into Sundays game. As Larry Zbyszko would say, now it is interesting to watch, as the combatants play this game of human chess.
My Pick: Panthers
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
When the Bengals beat the Ravens in the MNF opener, we all thought that this was their years to make some noise and bring the fun back to the NFL. But the joke was on us, as both teams have been plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball and neither team has lived up to their expectations.
WR Chris Henry has returned to the Bengals from his 8 game suspension, so QB Carson Palmer has his big 3 WRs. Thats scary for any defense since the Bengals are ranked 5th in passing on offense already. Now that the Bengals have Henry back, the Ravens Secondary has their work cut out for them.
The Ravens need to protect QB Steve McNair and open running lanes for RB Willis McGahee. If McNair can make it through the game without injuring or reinjuring any part of his body, (whats left to injure on this mans body?), then he can make it happen through the air and on the ground. And since the Bengals defense is so weak, the Ravens need to just run the ball with McGahee and tire the defense out. The Ravens are tight with the loss to the Steelers last Monday night and they remember Week 1 with the Bengals. Best believe theyre coming into Sundays game with a chip on their shoulders as big as M&T Stadium.
My Pick: Ravens
The I Could Care Less Game of the Week:
Location: McAfee Coliseum, Oakland, CA
The Raiders lost a game that they should have won through their defense. The Bears didnt lose last week because they were on their bye. Bet you they were happy about that. Both teams are now playing for pride. Good for them because you got to have goals.
The Bears are the 26th ranked offense in the league. The Raiders have the 16th ranked defense and have the 4th best passing defense. That will make things interesting considering the Bears have the 14th ranked passing offense. The Raiders have the 4th best rushing offense. Thats not good for the Bears who are ranked 26th against the run. Its going to come down to Special Teams and coaching to determine the winner of this game. If thats the case, the Bears have the upper hand.
My Pick: Bears
Location: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When the G-men and the Boys played in Week 1, the Giants lost by 10 pts. It was also speculated the QB Eli Manning, DE Osi Umenyiora, and RB Brandon Jacobs would miss a significant amount of time due to injury. Since then, the G-men have won 6 straight games, are 1 game behind the NFC East leading Cowboys, and have been playing good, fundamental football.
The Giants and Cowboys are ranked 7th and 8th in total defense in that order. Offensively, the Cowboys are ranked 2nd while the Giants are ranked 15th. So on paper, the Cowboys have the upper hand. But the Giants have been on a roll for the past 6 weeks and with momentum on their side, I going with the Giants. If the Giants Secondary can hold off the Cowboys WRs by taking away QB Tony Romos big targets and stop RB Marion Barber. They have a good chance of winning.
The Cowboys defense just has to rattle Manning and force him to make big mistakes. Get in his head and make him over think. Once he starts to over think situations, he wont notice the targets right in front of him and try for the big play as a last minute move. The Cowboys defense is getting better, but the Giants momentum will the Cowboys stomach aches this Sunday.
My Pick: Giants
Location: Cardinals Stadium, Glendale, AZ
4 more wins and Jon Kitna will fulfill his promise of 10 wins. I know you all are probably tired of me keeping count, but for anyone to make the promise he made, for the team he plays for, and to be so close to cash it in; youve got to give them their props. What the Lions are doing this year is special. Everyone is impressed with how well their offense is clicking. Wish you can say the same about their defense. The Lions have the 28th defense in the league. So you can tell that its their defense thats keeping them in the game.
The Cards defense is ranked 9th in the league. Theyre ranked 13th against the pass which is what the Lions do very well. The Cards will keep it close with the Lions, but the Lions are starting to get their running game back with the return of Kevin Jones. The match-up to look out for is the RBs for both teams against the D-lines. Jones and Cards RB Edggerin James are very good and whichever team that can stop the run will win the game.
My Pick: Lions
Sunday Night Game:
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
The Chargers let Vikes RB Adrian Peterson run up and down on them like they were a Pop Warner Team. The Colts had a hard fought battle against the Patriots last Sunday. Honestly, the Colts have the edge. They have the 3rd best offense and the 5th best defense in the league. Theyre the 2nd strongest team in the league and with the way the Chargers defense has been playing lately, you cant rely on them to stop Peyton Manning and all of his weapons.
If this was last years Chargers team, you could say this would have been the 3rd best game of the season. But since the Chargers defense has been so lack luster, for lack of a better term, it doesnt look like this game is going to be too exciting. Manning and the Colts are going to come in to San Diego mad as hell, and theyre not going to take it anymore. Remember, the Colts have a championship to defend.
My Pick: Colts
Monday Night Game:
Location: Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
The 49ersoffense is deader than Elvis. It showed the last time the 49ers played the Seahawks. The 49ers lost that game 23-3 and were sacked 6 times. That was also the game the 49ers QB, Alex Smith, was knocked out of that led to him missing 2 games with an elbow injury. Well, Smith is back and it doesnt mean squat because the 49ers still has no protection for Smith on the offensive line. OT Jonas Jennings is out for the year, so its going to be a long day for the 49ers offense as they try to protect Smith without one of their linemen. If youre O-line cant protect the QB, then they cant open up lanes for the RB. Dont look for big numbers from Frank Gore either.
The Seahawks will be without RB Shawn Alexander this Sunday. That means RB Maurice Morris will get the start. With the 49ers having the 26th ranked rushing defense, look for the Seahawks to run down the 49ers defense and put points on the board from the ground game. Its going to be a Quest at Qwest Field for the MNF crew to make this game interesting to watch.
My Pick: Seahawks