Theres been a lot of Hater-ade being distributed around here. There are 5 weeks left in the season and were on the verge of history if all goes well. Love them, hate them, respect them or disrespect them; its your choice. The fact of the matter is that the New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL right now and theres nothing you can do about it.
You want to cry about them running up the score, then go ahead and cry. Who cares? So what? Get over it. Its not about being on the bandwagon or ridin the Pats, but what the Pats are doing is historic. Tom Brady is on pace to break the single season TD record by 12 TDs. Randy Moss is projected to have 26 TDs this season. The most hes had in a season is 17 TDs. The record is 20 TDs for a season, which is held by Jerry Rice. As a team, they have a total of 54 TDs. The record is 70 TDs which is held by the 1984 Miami Dolphins. With 6 more games left in the season, and two of those games are teams in their division, with losing records, that record may be shattered as well.
Now as some of you may know. Im not a big fan of the Pats either. I bleed crimson and gold (49ers), but as a fan of football, youve got to at least acknowledge that were seeing something that weve never seen before and may never see again in this lifetime. Do I want them to go undefeated? Yes, I would love it and so would some of you football fans out there also. Its all part of history.
How many times have you been around older fans and all they do is run their mouths about the 1972 Dolphins and their undefeated reign? Its our time, the new generation of football fans, to have our team that represents our generation. As much as you may hate them, this looks to be that team.
So go on a cry about spygate, and disrespect, and all of the other things you can find to dislike the Pats. All youre doing is adding fuel to the fire and watch them keep running up the score on squads. According to Brady, the Pats are trying to kill teams every Sunday on the field. Well I guest you can call them the Jay-Zs of the NFL because theyre tryin to murder everything movin, feel me? It looks to be a Hard Knock Life for the rest of the league this year because the Pats will not lose.
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Despite losing the Broncos on Monday Night, the Titans are still one of the top 5 defenses. The Bengals defense hasnt shown up at all this year, and there are a number of issues to address on that side of the ball in the offseason.
The Bengals can win this game if they can stop the Titans running game and control their time of possession. The Bengals have to do whatever they can to keep the Titans offense off the field. The Titans are the 4th best rushing offense in the league. Since the Bengals defense is ranked 27th in the league, it doesnt take much to wear them down and look for the big play. The Bengals have to make sure they dont allow Vince V.Y. Young and the Titans RBs to run all over them this Sunday if they want to pull off the win.
The Titans need to protect V.Y and allow him time to execute the play. The Titans also have to stop the Bengals passing game and prevent the big passing play. The Titans need to win to stay in playoff contention. The Bengals have nothing to lose, so theyll play the role of spoiler. Since the Bengals defense hasnt been visible this year, and the Titans are looking to rebound from losing their MNF game, look for the Titans to have all cylinders on go and pull off the win.
My Pick: Titans
Location: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland, OH
The Browns pulled off a win last Sunday against the Ravens thanks to kicker Phil Dawsons magical field goal. The Texans may have slowed since their hot start in the beginning of the season, but have managed to be in 10th place in the AFC. Theyre tied with the Chargers and the Broncos. The Texans are a team that is slowly on the rise and looks to make some noise in the next few years.
Even with a winning record, the Browns have the leagues worst defense and are ranked 12th in offense. The Texans are ranked 18th on defense and 8th on offense. You could easily give the Texans the game but its not as simple as you think.
The Browns like to get you in a shoot-out. QB Derek Anderson, WR Braylon Edwards, and TE Kellen Winslow, JR have chemistry similar to the Brady and the Pats WRs. If the Texans get into a shootout with the Browns, then the Browns will win this game easily.
On defense, the Texans need to put pressure on Anderson and take away the deep threats on the Browns offense. On offense, they have to protect QB Matt Shaub and give him time to throw the ball. With WR Andre Johnson returning last week from missing 7 games due to injury, the Texans offense is back to Week 1 form. Although the Texans have the better defense, the Browns offense is on a roll and its going to be a test for the Texans to stop the Browns passing attack.
My Pick: Browns
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Both the Chiefs and the Raiders lost close games last Sunday. When I was trying to figure out who would win this game, I did some research, looked at the numbers, and I stopped. Something else came to mind and heres my reasoning.
The Chiefs took the first game, 12-10. The Chiefs defense is ranked 10th in the league. The Raiders defense is ranked 21st. The Chiefs have dabbled in this years new NFL fad; the QB Shuffle. Herm Edwards has decided that it was time for the Brodie Croyle era to start at the QB position and has benched season starter, Damon Huard, for the 2 year veteran.
The Raiders have been in disarray all season long. There has been no stability at the QB position and rumor has it that rookie QB and #1 Draft Pick, JaMarcus Russell, could start as soon as Sundays game. What better way to get this kid ready for the NFL than to throw him into one of the NFLs best rivalries.
With all that in mind, the moves are moot. In a rivalry such as this one, you throw the numbers out of the window and you go for broke. These two teams have always had back and forth battles and this year theres no difference. The Raiders want to end the year on a high note and in a rivalry like this, now is the time and this game is the place to start.
My Pick: Raiders
Location: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
The Seahawks held off the Bears last Sunday to extend their lead in the NFC West. They better be careful though, theres a team in Glendale, Arizona whos right on their heels. The Rams won their 2nd game of the year against the woeful 49ers. With the way things are shaping up, it looks like its going to be a two team race for the NFC West. Right now, the Seahawks need to sweep the Rams to help their record for clinching the NFC West and a playoff spot.
The last time these two teams meet, the Seahawks demolished the Rams, 33-6, in Week 7. The Rams offensive weapons were hurting in the first match-up this season, now theyre back. It still wont help the leagues 27th ranked offense. Special teams and a good rush defense helped the Seahawks get the win in the last meeting. Look for the same in this game as well. Rams may have gotten their 2nd win of the season last week, but this is a better team this week and Seahawks have the playoffs and positioning in mind. Its time to start thinking about the off-season Rams fans, this game will be over at the coin toss.
My Pick: Seahawks
Location: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
The Giants defense is not taking any prisoners. The have been relentless since Week 3 and have no plans of letting up. Known for tanking the 2nd half of the season for the past few seasons, the Giants look to put an end to that streak and make a run for the playoffs.
The Vikes have been a back and forth team all season long and with RB Adrian Peterson still injured, it doesnt look like this is going to be a good day for the Vikes offense. Although RB Chester Taylor stepped in for the injured Peterson last week and did a solid job, the Giants8th ranked defense is too much for the Vikes 13th ranked offense.
The Vikes have to go after Eli Manning and disrupt the Giants offense. As always, if you force Eli to make mistakes, you have a good chance of keeping the game close and possibly winning the game. The Giants just have to go after the QB and try to shut down any attempt to pass the ball. Considering the fact that the Vikes having no passing game, ranked 31st in the league and the Giants are looking like a lock for the playoffs, look for the G-men to go 8-3 at the end of this game.
My Pick: Giants
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
The Redskins kept it close with the NFC East leading Cowboys last Sunday, only to lose by 5 points. The Bucs came back from their bye last week and dropped the hammer on the struggling Falcons. The Bucs are sitting in 5th in the NFC and 1st in the NFC South. The Redskins are in the #7 spot in the NFC and are in 3rd place in the NFC East. Both teams need to win this Sunday. The Bucs need the win to expand their NFC South lead. The Redskins need the win just to stay alive in the playoff hunt. This might be the game of the day.
The Redskins have to go after the QB Jeff Garcia. Hes the main person on the Bucs offense who can make things happen. If the Redskins can eliminate Garcia from the offense and put pressure on him, it will shut down their passing game and eliminate the big play. On offense, the Redskins need to move the ball on the ground to open up the passing game.
The Bucs need to exploit the Redskins depleted Secondary. With the Redskins, Secondary injured, Garcia should have a field throwing the ball all day. On defense, the Bucs have to make sure RB Clinton Portis doesnt kill them with the running game. With the playoffs right around the corner, the Bucs will get the win and the positioning they need for the playoffs.
My Pick: Buccaneers
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
How do you not have home field advantage at home? Ask the Panthers. The Panthers have not won a home game this season. All of their wins have been on the road and there havent been many. The Saints won 4 straight games before dropping 2 in a row. The Panthers won the Week 5 match-up, 16-13. Three days ago, Vinny Testaverde was penciled in for the start this Sunday. Now that hes still hurt from a previous injury, his status is questionable and he will be a game time decision.
Both of these teams have disappointed so far this year and will be lucky to make the playoffs. The Saints have an explosive offense, but with injuries in key positions on their offense, they havent played to their potential. Like wise can be said about the Panthers defense.
The Panthers need to get their defense rolling and stop Drew Brees and Reggie Bush from making anything happen. The Saints need to control the Panthers running game and stop them at the line of scrimmage. With the Panthers playing the QB Shuffle as well, the Saints have the upper hand in this match-up.
My Pick: Saints
Location: ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
The Bills were the latest victims of the Patriots onslaught of the league last week. The Jags fought off a somewhat resurging Chargers squad. The Bills are second in the AFC East and with a 5-5 record, have a chance to make some noise in the playoff race. The Jags need to win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive and try to catch-up with the Colts in the AFC South.
In order for the Bills to win, they have to stop the Jags running attack. They have to plug up the lanes a shut down the Jags run game. The Jags need to go after the Bills run defense. The Bills have the leagues the 22nd ranked run defense while the Jags are ranked 3rd in rushing offense. If the Jags get the run game going, they have this game on lock.
My Pick: Jags
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
The 49ers won the first meeting between these two teams back in Week 1 in the MNF opener. Since then, the 49ers have been 1-8 and their offense has been horrendous. The Cards on the other hand, have gone 5-4 since the Week 1 opener and are in 2nd place in the NFC West.
With QB Alex Smith sitting out of this game with an injured shoulder, the 49ers need to protect Trent Dilfer. Hopefully the re-hire of Ted Tollner will spark the lack luster 49ers offense. The Cards have been in it to win it and are looking to play spoiler for a few teams looking for a playoff spot.
The Cards need to let Kurt Warner loose this weekend and have him go for all of his big targets in the air. They also need to let RB Eddgerin James run all day on the 49ers defense. The 49ers may have won Round 1, but the Cards will finish this fight as the winner.
My Pick: Cards
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
The Broncos played great last Monday Night. They did everything right on both sides of the ball in the victory against the Titans. The Bears kept it close with the Seahawks last week, but didnt have enough fuel in the tank to finish the job. This weekend, the Broncos need to win this game so they can extend their lead in the AFC West.
The same Jay Cutler and Bronco offense that showed up last Monday needs to show up this Sunday. They have to move the ball the same way they did against the Titans and play mistake free football. Just because the Bears defense isnt the same defense from last year, it doesnt mean they cant hurt you.
The Bears have to force Jay Cutler to over think and make mistakes. Right now all signs are pointing to Rex Grossman starting again this Sunday; the Bears need Grossman to play like he did against the Seahawks. Although he didnt score a touchdown through the air, he still had a solid game. Grossman was 24 for 37 with 226 yards passing. Not bad in a losing effort. With the Broncos riding high from their win on Monday Night, look for them to carry that momentum into Sundays game and get the win.
My Pick: Broncos
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Between injuries, QB Shuffles, and poor defense; the Ravens and the Chargers are among the nominees for biggest disappointment award for the season. The Ravens would have to run the table for the remainder of the season if they plan on making the playoffs. The Chargers are tied with the Broncos in the AFC West and they need to win this game just to stay in the running for the division.
The Ravens defense needs to hold off the Chargers offense from making any big plays. The Ravens offense ended to control the clock and keep the Chargers offense from touching the field. The problem with that, unless the Ravens get the run game going, the Chargers will be on the field all day long because the Ravens cant move the ball through the air.
The Chargers are a mere shell of their former selves and can be stopped, but the explosiveness they possess on offense may be too much for a beat up and aging Ravens defense.
My Pick: Chargers
Sunday Night Game:
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, the Eagles come into Foxboro without their star QB. Donovan McNabb is out of this Sundays game. That means A.J. Freely will get the start. God help him.
Now theres really nothing to say about the Pats and what they should do to win the game. As I have written many times before, what do you say about an undefeated team that they dont already know? They must be doing it right if they are undefeated. Just bear in mind this, for the next 5 weeks; every game the Pats play will be considered a trap game. This game is no exception.
Look for the Eagles to work the mess out of RB Brian Westbrook this weekend to wear down the Pats defense. Surprisingly, the Eagles are ranked 9th in total defense and 6th in total offense. It still doesnt matter. The Pats still have too many weapons and too much chemistry for the Eagles.
My Pick: Patriots
Monday Night Game:
The I Could Care Less Game of the Week:
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Despite the loss to the Jets in O.T. last Sunday, the Steelers still have the leagues #1 ranked defense. This weekend they face rookie QB John Beck whos starting in his 2nd career game. God help him as well.
The Steelers have that loss still in their heads and with the Colts winning on Thanksgiving Night; they know the need as many wins as possible for that playoff bye. Look for the Steelers to throw everything they got at the woeful Dolphins. This game is going to look like the schools bully beating up the little guy for his lunch in the playground.
My Pick: Steelers