Quick Pick: Buffalo at New York (Jets) (Week Ten; 2015)

Buffalo had a huge victory over Miami last week. However, I feel that Miami is starting to lose the thunder they once had against AFC South teams after they got trampled by New England. Not to say it wasn’t an impressive victory, but most predicted it (I didn’t).

Both of these teams are interesting defensively. They used to be powerhouses. Buffalo had an elite defensive unit last year, while New York had an elite defensive unit up until the Oakland game a few weeks ago. Now, these two defenses look a little straddled; like they aren’t tapping into their full potential. I feel these two defenses are almost at equal standings in this match-up, with the edge leaning slightly to New York, as they’ve given up less points than Buffalo.

Thus, I’d have to go by the offensive side of the ball, where New York has more talent on their side of the ball. Willie Colon was put on Injured Reserve, which is a huge blow to their offensive line, but they haven’t given up many sacks this year. If only they could allow Chris Ivory some room to run, though. He hasn’t played well the last few weeks. They got FitzMagic. They got Brandon Marshall. They got Eric Decker. Hell, if Ivory doesn’t run well, FitzMagic could run himself. He just needs to not kill himself doing so.

I’m sure Rex Ryan’s plan of action will be to run the ball, run the ball, and then run the ball some more. He’s got the firepower to do it. Tyrod Taylor’s a great athlete. LeSean McCoy is a great athlete. Karlos Williams has shown to be a reliable back. New York’s front four needs to play stout against Buffalo’s running game. Sammy Watkins also plans to test the waters of Revis Island. Not much aside from him, though. Robert Woods, maybe?

New York is also playing at home. I gotta say, they’re looking like the better choice here. And who am I to bet against FitzMagic? He just needs to stay in the game. Stay in the game and win it. I expect about 10 sacks tonight.

And the Color Rush uniforms look bad. That is all.

Winner: New York

Impressions from Week Nine of the 2015 NFL Season

It was truly a week of upsets. Many experts (and me) incorrectly guessed a number of match-ups with teams favorited to win by a large margin. Because of this, their (and my) pick ’em records suffered tremendously. Nevertheless, the 2015 NFL Season chugs along without a care in the world. There are still three undefeated teams (Oops, spoiler) and the margin of efficiency between the teams in the league looks quite a bit like Arena Football. The winners win and win and the losers lose and lose.

There were also only 13 games this week, the least there will be in a week for the entire season (until Playoffs, of course).

[Cleveland @ Cincinnati]

  • (Watched, correct)

PRIMETIME. Good win, Dalton. Good win.

Not much to say on this one. Johnny Manziel had an okay performance, but his receivers dropped a lot of catches. His head coach also wanted him to stay in the pocket… and so did the opposing head coach. Anyone see anything wrong with that?

[Miami @ Buffalo]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Whaddaya know? Miami still kinda sucks. I guess anyone could look good against the AFC South.

Buffalo had quite the revitalizing win after being embarrassed by Jacksonville in London last week. Tyrod Taylor only missed one pass the entire game… though he only tossed the ball 12 times, while they ran the ball 30-somethin’ times. It’s all they needed to do; they trampled Miami with their run game and with the deep pass.

I’m sure Miami misses Cameron Wake at this point. They didn’t get much pressure or stop the run at all. I didn’t want to speculate early on in the season, but now that we’re at the mid-way point… Ndamukong Suh’s contract looks a little extravagant. I guess Miami’s used to it. See: Mike Wallace.

Ryan Tannehill had quite the completion percentage. I suppose that’s what happens when you have Jarvis Landry catching anything and everything within five yards from the line of scrimmage. Jarvis Landry’s longest reception of the day? 24 yards. Without it, he had 10 catches for 45 yards. Quite the weapon he is.

[Green Bay @ Carolina]

  • (Watched sporadically in between breaks, incorrect)

As much as people give Aaron Rodgers shit for choking at the end, he was close enough to tying the game to worry Carolina fans. And he did it with next to no offensive weapons. Eat your heart out, Cam.

Cam Newton only completed 50% of his passes, but still scored 4 touchdowns to make the game a lot more high-scoring than I would’ve expected. Green Bay’s defense is starting to fall apart. Why? Who knows? They looked fine for the first five games. Then they let Philip Rivers throw for 500 yards. Then let an aging Peyton Manning throw all over them. Newton only threw for 50% of his passes, but 3 touchdowns through the air? With his receiving corp? Green Bay, what is going on?

Aaron Rodgers has also been sacked 11 times in the last 3 games. With as many Pro Bowl players as he has on his line, that’s unacceptable. It’s just been a case of inconsistency all-around for Green Bay on both sides of the ball.

Or hey, maybe Carolina’s just fuckin’ awesome?

[Jacksonville @ New York (Jets)]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

[St. Louis @ Minnesota]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

One of the hot topics of Week Nine’s slate of games is this one, where Lamarcus Joyner supposedly elbowed Teddy Bridgewater full-force right in the noggin, knocking him out for a few moments. Many are crying that this was a dirty move and Joyner should be suspended. Will he? From reports, not likely, but a fine is certainly coming his way. People are also speculating that the move was premeditated, as St. Louis’s defensive coordinator is none other than Gregg Williams, the one who instigated BountyGate with New Orleans back from 2009 to 2011.

Controversy aside, the game was interesting. St. Louis’s offense basically consisted of Greg Zuerlein’s leg, while Minnesota’s offense basically consisted of Adrian Peterson’s legs. Both defenses played spectacular and it was a game everyone expected: low scoring and run heavy. Nick Foles and Teddy Bridgewater are very similar: both kinda suck, and both rely too heavily on their defense and running game. In this case, Bridgewater’s running game and defense were the better options and that’s all there is to that.

[Washington @ New England]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Need I say anything here? New England’s really, really good, despite its shortcomings. Washington isn’t there… yet(?).

[Tennessee @ New Orleans]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

1 of 3 upsets this week that next to no one saw coming. New Orleans’ defense simply took a shit on the kitchen floor and didn’t clean it up by the time their mothers came home. And once again, Tennessee shows it’s not a force to be reckoned with on defense. It pulled through. It’s certainly better than New York (Giants)’s defense.

Drew Brees had another lovely game (plus a pick, but when does he ever not throw one?), but his running game was pretty bad. His offensive line has been very sporadic this season, giving up 21 sacks on the season at the halfway point. Their running game has also been either really good or really bad, depending on the defense they face. Many people thought New Orleans was a team on the rise, but it seems their defense just won’t let them get off easy.

A moral victory for Tennessee, but certainly not season saving. It’s nice for them to get a win when everyone was against them. I still don’t think they’re even close to the worst team in the league (I would argue Detroit, San Diego, and Jacksonville are all worse), but they aren’t getting anywhere near a winning record. I expect them to win 1, maybe 2 more games this season, but they’re destined for another top 10 pick in the 2016 draft. Maybe next year, eh?

[Oakland @ Pittsburgh]

  • (Watched final Oakland/Pittsburgh drive, incorrect)

Ben Roethlisberger is injured. Again. Now we get to watch Landry Jones start another game before a bye week. Hopefully he plays better than he did in his last start.

Both of these teams’ offenses played their hearts out. Antonio Brown had near 300 receiving yards and 17 catches. Derek Carr threw 4 touchdowns for the second week in a row. Both of these teams are good teams, but Pittsburgh was able to squeeze it out at the very end. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen as much support for a losing team as I have for Oakland this season. They’re 4-4, but people are super excited for their future, it seems. A future powerhouse of a team. Let’s just hope this isn’t just a one year thing.

Pittsburgh typically has an okay defense, but even against New York (Jets)’s defense, Oakland blew the cap off ’em. So perhaps Oakland’s offense is just that great. I’m sure it was a fun game to watch, it’s a shame I couldn’t. Now Pittsburgh needs to worry about Roethlisberger’s health, while Oakland has to worry about something completely different.

[New York (Giants) @ Tampa Bay]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

The funniest part about this game was the final few moments, when New York took a meaningless fumble back for a touchdown on Tampa Bay. It was a nice period for a bad sentence by Tampa Bay’s offense, which contributed to, like, 40 drops by its receivers. Tampa Bay had a chance the entire game, and its defense even stepped up by picking off Manning twice, but they couldn’t get it together. Probably because they suck, but whatever.

New York relied on Odell Beckham far too much. Again. Their offense stalled quite a few times during the game. They need to pick up the slack if they think they can take on New England next week. And their running game. Rashad Jennings is big and bruising, but he doesn’t get a whole lot of yards throughout the game. New York’s running game has been putrid this season. They need to shore that up. Quickly. Their defense isn’t exactly amazing, either. Maybe JPP can give them a little boost in the weeks to come. Maybe. I don’t know.

[Atlanta @ San Francisco]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

1 of 3 upsets this week. Atlanta has fallen far from their previous 5-0 record with great publicity. Now at 6-3, people are starting to call them out for their mediocre play, on offense specifically. Matt Ryan’s a top 10 quarterback, but he sure isn’t playing like one. Or maybe it’s his offensive line, as Devonta Freeman ran 12 times for 12 yards this game, making Ryan have to throw it just to catch up. San Francisco’s defense is pretty good at home, though.

And then, the controversy. 4th and Goal at the 1 yard line. Atlanta had been moving the ball pretty well against the defense for the entire drive. Down 4, Dan Quinn decides to kick the field goal instead of going for the touchdown. How did that result? His team lost by one… because he decided to go for the field goal, as the defense couldn’t stop San Francisco from getting first downs on their final drive. Ouch.

By the way, who was the starting quarterback for San Francisco? This guy:

  • 6-22 starting record
  • 25/26 TD/Int ratio
  • 53.4% career pass completion
  • 67.1 career quarterback rating

That must really sting.

[Denver @ Indianapolis]

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Tfw a perfect team loses to a shitty team:

The last of 3 upsets this week. On the bright side, Andrew Luck’s kidney exploded during the game, so now we get to see Matt Hasselbeck’s last hurrah as a starting quarterback for the next few weeks. Hopefully it goes more smoothly than Peyton Manning’s last year.

[Philadelphia @ Dallas]

  • (Watched, correct)

At this point, I was 5-6 in picks. I was at a serious risk for my first losing week of the season. I was nervous as hell coming into this game, but I was confident that Philadelphia would pull this out. And they did… in overtime. After giving up 27 points. Philadelphia’s defense? Are you home?

Nolan Carroll looked a lot like Bradley Fletcher in this game covering Dez Bryant. By that I mean he wasn’t even there. Dez Bryant had a good game, despite him being still slightly hurt. Matt Cassel also played a good game, kinda like how people expected him to play past 2010 in a Kansas City uniform. Alas, he couldn’t get it done, as Sammy Bradford was the hero of this game: by being okay during regulation, and great in overtime. Boy, oh boy.

Both defenses played “eh” this game. Dallas’s offensive line was predictably fantastic (except Tyron Smith, who struggled with Brandon Graham), allowing Darren McFadden to run all over the defense. Philadelphia’s offensive line also played pretty well. But then again, Greg Hardy is Dallas’s only true pass-rushing threat. It was simply a battle of possessions, as the offenses scored on nearly every drive in the second half.

It’s also nice to see Dallas lose. I really don’t like Dallas. I’m not afraid to admit it.

[Chicago @ San Diego]

  • (Watched, correct)

I was 6-6. If I lost here, I suffered the losing week. I was more shaky on this pick than the previous pick, as many others had San Diego beating Chicago, and I could perfectly understand why. Philip Rivers is elite. He has a few weapons left (not anymore). Chicago’s defense has a tendency to give up a lot of points to pass-happy teams, especially on the road (see: game at Ford Field). It looked like San Diego was the better team here, but once again, I believed in Chicago. Much like I believed them beating Kansas City on the road, I thought they could beat San Diego at home. I had a feeling. I went with it.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Nice to see Zach Miller have a great catch. I use that guy in Madden sometimes. He’s a cool dude. No, not this Zach Miller, this Zach Miller. Otherwise, Chicago played like they wanted it more, complete with a composed Jay Cutler and a constant “prevent” defensive scheme. I feel bad for Philip Rivers, as I like him, too, for the type of team he plays on. He clearly deserves better, but one man can only do so much. Needs a little more dosage of Woodcock, maybe.

San Diego’s season is over. There’s no way they’re making the playoffs with Denver at 7-1 and a rising Oakland team at 4-4. Not to mention, Philip Rivers has Danny Woodhead and Antonio Gates left as valuable offensive weapons. Stevie Johnson? Maybe. He didn’t exactly help his cause in the 4th quarter last Monday. He’s in a similar situation as Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco, except with a worse offensive line. Philip Rivers is a dead man walking. He’ll probably still throw for 5,000 yards. What else is he going to do?

Chicago looks okay. They’re 3-4 with Jay Cutler starting. If his defense was good, he’d probably be 5-2; 4-3 at the very least. Their season is far from being saved, but they have a good future.

  • Week Nine Pick ‘Em record: 7-6 ( ‘ .’)b
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 84-48

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Nine; 2015)

Just not feelin’ it.

[Miami @ Buffalo]

Winner: Miami

[Green Bay @ Carolina]

Winner: Green Bay

[Jacksonville @ New York (Jets)]

Winner: New York

[St. Louis @ Minnesota]

Winner: Minnesota

[Washington @ New England]

Winner: New England

[Tennessee @ New Orleans]

Winner: New Orleans

[Oakland @ Pittsburgh]

Winner: Oakland

[New York (Giants) @ Tampa Bay]

Winner: New York

[Atlanta @ San Francisco]

Winner: Atlanta

[Denver @ Indianapolis]

Winner: Denver

[Philadelphia @ Dallas]

Winner: Philadelphia

[Chicago @ San Diego]

Winner: Chicago

Quick Pick: Cleveland at Cincinnati (Week Nine; 2015)

Cincinnati better put on their big boy pants, because they’re playing 3 PRIMETIME games in a row. 1 tonight, 1 next Monday, and 1 the following Sunday. Andy Dalton is 3-7 in PRIMETIME games. However, 2 of his 3 wins were at home, so he has a good chance here. After all, who are they facing?

Cleveland? Oh.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: the last time Cincinnati faced Cleveland in PRIMETIME, they lost 3-24. At home. Dalton threw 3 picks and didn’t even complete 1/3 of his passes. Cincinnati was clearly the better team, but they blew it anyway. This should make this game very, very interesting.

But that was last year. This is this year. Cleveland’s defense is not what it was last year and neither is Dalton. I took a chance with Dalton last week against Pittsburgh on the road and he didn’t disappoint, but looked a little shaky. I think it’s safe to say that Cincinnati should wrap this game up without a hitch.

But then again… PRIMETIME.

Winner: Cincinnati

Impressions from Week Eight of the 2015 NFL Season

Another quick wrap-up, as I’ve some things to do.

[Miami @ New England]

  • (Watched, correct)

New England is perfect. A few big games against two AFC South teams isn’t going to suddenly make you a threat, Miami. Please try again.

[Detroit vs. Kansas City] (London game)

  • (Watched final two minutes, correct)

Jim Caldwell should be fired. Andy Reid? We’ll see.

[San Diego @ Baltimore]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

San Diego’s defense should be fired.

[Arizona @ Cleveland]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Carson Palmer is an MVP candidate, at least in my mind. Larry Fitzgerald is a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year.

Cleveland’s defense is still shaky.

[Minnesota @ Chicago]

  • (Watched one drive in third quarter, correct)

Jay Cutler is not bad. Chicago’s defense is not bad. They just aren’t good.

Teddy Bridgewater is the same way.

[Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Not to rain on Dalton’s parade, but would Cincinnati have won if Le’Veon Bell didn’t go down? Just some speculation. Regardless, Cincinnati’s defense can play. And even Dalton can come up clutch against division rivals. Let’s see if he can do that in PRIMETIME tomorrow night.

[Tennessee @ Houston]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Ken Whisenhunt should be f—

Oh, wait.

[New York (Giants) @ New Orleans]

  • (Watched final half of fourth quarter, correct)

Drew motherfuckin’ Brees. I knew these two teams’ defenses were bad, but holy moly! This was not what I expected at all. 101 total points? What a heartbreaker for New York.

[San Francisco @ St. Louis]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Jim Tomsula is willing to start Blaine Gabbert.

Jim Tomsula should be fired.

[Tampa Bay @ Atlanta]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)
Atlanta.

[New York (Jets) @ Oakland]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Oakland seems to be the real deal.

At some point in the game, FitzMagic went out with an injury. He was declared out. Then, Geno Smith got injured… so they put FitzMagic back in there! And then after two passes, they put Geno Smith back in there! I found this hilarious. Todd Bowles should be f—no, he shouldn’t.

[Seattle @ Dallas]

  • (Watched, correct)

Seattle beat a Matt Cassel-led offense by a single point. I mean, I know Seattle’s offense kinda sucks and Dallas’s defense is okay, but really? The game really shouldn’t have been that close. To be fair, though, I was surprised Dallas scored more than 3 points offensively.

[Green Bay @ Denver]

  • (Watched, incorrect)

Congratulations, Green Bay. You aren’t as good as everyone thinks you are. I should’ve known after they struggled with San Diego. At home.

But how about that Denver defense? Wonder if they’d have the same success if Green Bay had any actual weapons.

[Indianapolis @ Carolina]

  • (Watched, correct)

Carolina almost lost to Indianapolis at home. They’re good, but at the same level as Atlanta is good. Kind of like, y’know, decent, but look better against lesser teams. Ah, well. 7-0.

  • Week Eight Pick ‘Em record: 10-4
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 77-42

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Eight; 2015)

[Detroit vs. Kansas City] (London game)

Detroit put up a decent fight against Minnesota last week, but came up short when it mattered. Not to mention, they had held Adrian Peterson to just 16 rushing yards early in the third quarter. If it wasn’t for a rare good solo performance by Teddy Bridgewater, Detroit may have had a chance. Well, Detroit’s defense also gave up 82 rushing yards to end the game, so it seems the defense just kind of imploded. Much like they have all throughout the season.

Kansas City won for the first time since Week One against Pittsburgh last week. It was against a third-string quarterback, but that doesn’t stain Alex Smith’s decent performance against a fairly good defense. Not to mention, they had a great running game without Jamaal Charles! Well done, West.

In London, both teams are technically on the road. In this case, I like to think of it as playing on the pond. Who will float? Personally, I think Kansas City has the edge here. They have a better defense and a more, well, consistent offense. Though, I don’t expect this game to garner a lot of points (unless Detroit’s defense implodes late in the game again), seeing as both offensive lines are pretty putrid. Maybe some pick-sixes or fumble returns, but not a lot of offensive fireworks this game.

Winner: Kansas City

[San Diego @ Baltimore]

I saw this game on the schedule and initially I wanted to pick San Diego. However, seeing Baltimore’s performance against Arizona last week gave me a little confidence in them. Not to mention, San Diego’s performance last week against Oakland dulled my impression of them, especially their defense.

San Diego has won only 2 games out of 7 so far this season. Both of those wins came at home, with close games against mediocre teams. Baltimore has won only 1 game out of 7 so far this season. It came against Pittsburgh with Mike Vick starting. In overtime. All of their games have been decided by 8 points or fewer. Baltimore can’t seem to close out games when it matters, and it’s understandable. They have little weapons outside of Steve Smith. Their secondary doesn’t have any true playmakers. This is the result of a team who let too much go in free agency. It stripped the team of its tenacity and talent.

A lot of people believe Baltimore will win this game, though barely, but I think otherwise. When you stack it all up, even with San Diego’s awful defense, I think San Diego has a better chance of winning; bad offensive line and all. Not to mention, Baltimore has a tendency to lose when it counts. Philip Rivers, as error-prone as he’s been this season, will keep San Diego in the game.

Winner: San Diego

[Arizona @ Cleveland]

I’m actually kind of nervous about this game. I shouldn’t be, but I am. Cleveland isn’t a good team (it’s Cleveland, after all). Though, Arizona kept the game close, at home, against Baltimore. Y’know, a lot of people believe Atlanta is one of the more overrated teams in the NFC, and I agree with them, but I would also put Arizona in that place, too. Their two losses this season were against St. Louis (bottom 10 in passing offense) and Pittsburgh (let third-string quarterback throw 2 touchdown passes to take the game). They have one of the highest-scoring offenses… against Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Otherwise, they’re barely putting up 20 points. Their defense is good, but it’s the kind of defense that’s good for preventing touchdowns, not big plays. It’s not the kind of dominating defense that Seattle used to have.

Despite all of this, Cleveland is still Cleveland. It’s had some good offensive games this season, but their defense has been very sporadic as of late, especially their run defense. Chris Johnson should take full advantage of that. At least they’ll likely get Joe Haden back this week. Will it make a difference? Not likely, but it’ll probably prevent Fitzgerald from some receiving yards. I trust Arizona’s defense more than Cleveland’s. And their quarterback. And their running back. And their offensive line. Yeah.

Winner: Arizona

[Minnesota @ Chicago]

Chicago will be a little tougher to beat at home than Detroit. After all, they have competent coaches.

That’s not to say I think they’ll win, as I have full confidence in Minnesota’s defense, but I believe it will be closer than with Detroit. Jay Cutler, for as much shit that’s tossed his way, has played fairly well this season. He’s thrown some picks, but who hasn’t? He’s made a shitty offense into something to prepare for. They’re obviously not elite; they don’t have enough pieces for that. But for what it’s worth, he’s in a similar circumstance as Cam Newton: few weapons on offense. They rely on a powerful run game and one or two key receivers.

Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs is starting to become a trusted #1 receiver. It’s fortunate for Minnesota, as none of their wideouts this year has shown that kind of production in any game, even the incredible Mike Wallace! However, they still have Adrian Peterson, who doesn’t seem to be very rusty after taking a year off, ready to pound through Chicago’s flimsy front four. I’m more looking forward to seeing how Minnesota’s offensive line plays.

Defense will be key in this game. Minnesota clearly has the edge here, but don’t let Chicago’s performances against Arizona and Detroit fool you… they can be good when they want to be. Much like Detroit’s defense: usually good against the run, usually bad against the pass. I smell another good day from Bridgewater.

Winner: Minnesota

[Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh]

Oh, how I wish I could watch this game in real time! This is, by far, the most interesting match-up this week, as well as the most divided. Cincinnati has been on a tear so far this season. Pittsburgh is a good team that’s getting its star quarterback back from injury. It should be a game filled with points… at least from one offense, and that will be the key.

Can Andy Dalton prove to be the quarterback he’s been all throughout the season against a team he’s historically played badly against? And on the road? Oh, the suspense is so delicious. This is like Dalton’s coming out party. If he can beat Pittsburgh on the road without throwing 7 picks, people might finally start taking him seriously. And then the week after, he gets to play in primetime! If Dalton wants to prove himself, he needs to do it within these two games… and the playoffs, but we’ll worry about that later.

Pittsburgh is an all-around good team. However, their offensive line has lost some key pieces in the last few games. Carlos Dunlap has 6.5 sacks in 6 games. Geno Atkins has 4 sacks in 6 games as a defensive tackle. I think Cincinnati has an edge defensively from its stout defensive line. Their secondary will certainly be tested though.

It’ll be close, unless Cincinnati’s offense sputters, but I’m taking a chance here. I think Cincinnati will pull through.

Winner: Cincinnati

[Tennessee @ Houston]

What an ugly game.

This is like watching two deformed and diseased rodents squaring off. It will be gross.

Which of the 2 is the lesser evil? Personally, I think Tennessee has a better defense. Houston has a better offense, offensive line, quarterback, wide receivers, J.J. Watt, and running backs, even without Foster. This is an easy choice.

Winner: Houston

[New York (Giants) @ New Orleans]

Hrmm. Here’s another choice for overrated NFC team: the New York Giants. They played a great game offensively in the first few weeks, but they’ve slowed down since falling to Philadelphia, only scoring 20 offensive points in the last 8 quarters. Not to mention, their defense is worst in the league when it comes to passing defense. Who are they facing next? One of the more pass-happy teams in the league. They have the quarterback to do it, too.

All signs point to New Orleans winning this game. New York’s pass rush is abysmal, their offense off-key. They still won’t have Amukamara for this game, which will likely mean lots and lots and lots of points. Drew Brees isn’t Matt Cassel. He’ll score touchdowns.

In New York’s defense (no pun), New Orleans’ defense is, well, yeah. It’s probably not much better than New York’s. New York will likely score lots’a points against it, too. Still, in a likely offensive battle, New Orleans has the clear edge, if not for their offensive line.

Winner: New Orleans

[San Francisco @ St. Louis]

Winner: St. Louis

[Tampa Bay @ Atlanta]

This really shouldn’t be a close game, but it likely will. Atlanta’s been playing scared since is got essentially blown out by New Orleans. At least they still have a swell defense.

Matt Ryan needs to play better. He’s thrown 3 touchdowns (not including garbage time touchdown in late 4th quarter of New Orleans game) to 4 interceptions in the last 3 games. This isn’t the Pro Bowl Matt Ryan we expect to see. Is it a lack of weapons? A shitty offensive line? Maybe. Whatever it is, he’s not helping his team’s reputation.

Speaking of reputation, Tampa Bay’s is, well, awful. They gave up a huge lead last week against Washington and people (at least in football forums) are calling for Lovie Smith’s dismissal. To be fair, Lovie Smith has never been an offensive guy. Even in Chicago, his offenses were typically in the bottom 10 in the league. So, that leaves him with defense. And Tampa Bay’s defense, as shown last week, is really bad. Yeah, I can understand the frustration.

This is an easy pick. As “overrated” as Atlanta may be, it’s not Tampa Bay levels of bad. Should Tampa Bay find a way to score 30 points, Atlanta will score 31 in the closing seconds.

Winner: Atlanta

[New York (Jets) @ Oakland]

The second-most interesting match-up this week. New York has an undeniably good defense. Their offense actually seems competent, too. Almost as if it were, I don’t know, magic. They’re one of the better teams in the league, and their record shows that.

Oakland on the other hand is also a rising team. They’ve had tough losses against Denver and Chicago, but they easily handled Baltimore and San Diego, showing they aren’t bottom of the barrel. But their next opponent isn’t Baltimore or San Diego.

Being at home is a plus for Oakland, who typically performs better there. Though, against a strong defense, I’m not sure how this offense is going to play this out. They could try running the ball, but New York has Calvin Pace, Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and Sheldon Richardson. They could try throwing the ball, but they have Darelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Marcus Gilchrist. On all fronts, New York seems prepared. It should be a fun game. If only I could watch it.

Let’s not overlook Oakland’s defense, though. It’s performed well throughout the season. They have a good pass rush in Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith, along with secondary weapons like Charles Woodson and… well, Charles Woodson. They aren’t as many household names as there are on New York’s defense, but it should perform well enough. Still, I think New York has the edge in this game.

Winner: New York

[Seattle @ Dallas]

Is Tony Romo starting yet? No? Okay.

Winner: Seattle

[Green Bay @ Denver]

Third most interesting match-up this week. It’s a high-powered offense with a good defense against a high-powered defense that used to have a high-powered offense. Aaron Rodgers looked human against San Diego, perhaps in part to his lack of weapons on offense. Now, he’s against an elite defense and on the road. This should prove a valuable test for Green Bay’s offense.

Denver, on the other hand, shouldn’t fair much better against Green Bay’s defense, which has stepped up tremendously from last year. Peyton Manning has among the lowest quarterback rating in the whole league and has more interceptions than touchdowns. Not looking like a good send-off to retirement, huh? Denver’s offense just hasn’t clicked. Their offensive line is most likely to blame. Couple misses (or injuries) on offensive linemen in the draft plus an already depleted starting line-up equals broken Manning and whoever starts at running back.

Green Bay has the edge here. Not as good of a defense, but clearly better offense, starting with the quarterback. I don’t think it’ll be a blowout, simply for Denver’s defense, but I don’t see Denver scoring many points either.

Winner: Green Bay

[Indianapolis @ Carolina]

Ahem.

I believe this will be a complete repeat of last Sunday Night. Except Newton doesn’t throw as many picks. Luck will do that for him, assuming Carolina’s defense hasn’t sacked him nine times by the third quarter.

Carolina is head and shoulders better than Indianapolis. It shouldn’t even be close.

Winner: Carolina

Oh, and happy Halloween everyone!

Impressions from Week Seven of the 2015 NFL Season

For this week, I’m going to be a little artsy. I will represent each game with an accompanying gif (I apologize to anyone whose devices can’t handle twenty gifs in a confined space) and a small sample of what it means. This isn’t to say that I’m lazy and I don’t want to write out more than I have to, just that I really enjoy gifs. Enjoy. (Some may be smaller than others.)

[Seattle @ San Francisco]

  • (Watched final quarter, correct)

Look at that big ol’ bully, Seattle. Pushin’ around San Francisco when they don’t have the means or the strength to defend themselves. Even at home in red and gold, the dastardly birds won’t even flinch. They grin from ear to ear knowing that can still push around their NFC West neighbor. At least they can with them.

[Buffalo @ Jacksonville]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Jacksonville won. They got up by 21 points, then almost blew it, but took the lead in the final minute. I’m both elated because I secretly root for Jacksonville because they suck so hard and stunned to see Buffalo’s defense play so unlike last year. They can’t finish games. Rex Ryan should resign right now. Oh, baby.

[Cleveland @ St. Louis]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Sometimes my hunches are great and lead me to pick teams that not many others would expect to win (see: Week Five- Chicago @ Kansas City). Sometimes, they have me pick the team that loses 6 to 24. And, according to NFLPickWatch, 95% of experts chose against my pick. Perhaps I was playing it a little too cute.

[Minnesota @ Detroit]

  • (Watched five minutes of third quarter, correct)

I can’t imagine the type of blood boiling in Detroit’s organization right now. Especially after an 11-5 record last year. I suppose firing Joe Lombardi and a few others is a start, but will it merit anything? The gif is a fantasy; longing for the days when the Lion’s roar actually meant something. Ho-hum. Here’s to another top 10 draft pick.

[Houston @ Miami]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

41-0 at halftime. Dear Lord, have mercy!

[New Orleans @ Indianapolis]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Well, Indianapolis, you did it. You have lost to New Orleans… at home. Drew Brees had a crappy day and New Orleans’ defense is shaky, yet you couldn’t score when you had to. This team outside of its division, I swear. Either Andrew Luck actually sucks or someone’s putting him in a stranglehold, because this is just bizarre. The season isn’t even halfway over yet.

[Pittsburgh @ Kansas City]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Good job, Kansas City. Really. You beat a team starting its unproven third-string quarterback. Even Baltimore beat this team once this season with Mike Vick at the helm. I hope you feel really good about your season’s chances. You’re the prettiest girl at the bar this week.

[New York (Jets) @ New England]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

You will never beat New England. No one will ever beat New England. You will never wake up. You will never triumph.

[Tampa Bay @ Washington]

  • (Watched final Washington drive, correct)

You like that?

[Atlanta @ Tennessee]

  • (Did not watch, correct)

Atlanta. Please. You’re better than this. What is it with you against bad teams? You had a close call with Philadelphia, Washington, and now Tennessee. Matt Ryan is playing like shit right now, leaving Devonta Freeman to clean up the entire mess. If it wasn’t for a much improved Atlanta defense, they’d be looking at a 4-3 record right now. Props to Tennessee for making me think they’re an okay team again, though. Ho-hum.

[Oakland @ San Diego]

  • (Did not watch, incorrect)

Probably should’ve used this gif for the Miami game, but it’s still funny and also applies here. San Diego got their asses handed to them by a team that went 3-13 last season. Now it looks like San Diego is destined to go 3-13. How did the roles reverse so quickly? Good drafting, good free agency pick-ups, good coaching? Maybe all? Nevertheless, Oakland is no longer the “instant W” team as it used to be. San Diego? Getting there. Also, Philip Rivers’ stats are overinflated. He put up most of those numbers in garbage time.

[Dallas @ New York (Giants)]

  • (Watched, correct)

Don’t worry, Dallas fans. Tony Romo should be back within a month. Until then, enjoy these swaying gorillas stomping your team into mediocrity. (I have no idea what the hell this gif is.)

[Philadelphia @ Carolina]

  • (Watched, correct)

Go on, Philadelphia fans. Gaze upon the team that your coach has created. Sam Bradford was a steal, your defense is stout, and DeMarco Murray is among the best running backs in the league. How could this team ever be anything less than 10-6? Cam Newton threw 3 interceptions? Get those guys on offense, ’cause the receivers weren’t helping Bradford much at all. What another ugly offensive game by Philadelphia. And to think, this team was putting up points like crazy against New Orleans. It’s like they’re only good against bad defenses or something.

[Baltimore @ Arizona]

  • (Watched, correct)

Hey, look! The refs fucked up! Again! Oh, how this sport is turning into a firestorm of viewer complaints. Nevertheless, I feel bad for Flacco. He’s just out there having fun and these mean ol’ people keep bringin’ him down. Little do they know that he’s waiting patiently to prove them all wrong. To show once and for all that he is ELITE.

It just won’t be this season.

It was a funny week. This shows with this entire entry. I made it a reflection of the week in general, get it? Regardless, I enjoyed it. I hope you did, too. I’ll be back next week with more words. I’ll see you then.

  • Week Seven Pick ‘Em record: 9-5
  • Overall Pick ‘Em record: 67-38

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Seven; 2015)

[Buffalo vs. Jacksonville] (London game)

Buffalo’s been struggling recently. If not their defense against powerful offenses (such as last week against Cincinnati), it’s their offense against mediocre defenses. Their starting quarterback, one starting receiver, and one starting defensive tackle are all out. They have to be pretty thankful that they’re facing a team like Jacksonville in London instead of, say, Green Bay. Maybe a win this week will get their heads back on straight.

But I won’t completely disregard Jacksonville. Despite the fact that they have let me down considerably all season, they’ve had some close games against superior teams. Namely Indianapolis at home with Hasselbeck at quarterback and Carolina, but nevertheless. I don’t think they’ll get blown out, but I certainly don’t think they’ll win. Blake Bortles may have a lot of passing yards and touchdowns this season, but a lot of those are in garbage time, trying to catch up with his opponent’s two-score lead.

I like E.J. Manuel. I like his chances against Jacksonville’s defense. I think he’ll pull through. To be frank, though, if Buffalo loses here, it might be worse than Miami’s loss against New York in the same stadium a few weeks prior.

Winner: Buffalo

[Cleveland @ St. Louis]

This is a tough cookie. Cleveland has been very good offensively lately, even against good defenses. St. Louis is coming off a bye-week and Todd Gurley has shown to be very talented player. Not to mention, Cleveland has given up quite a few rushing yards in the last few weeks. St. Louis has very few weapons on offense to pass to. Tavon Austin may have a big game… rushing and returning.

Both teams are missing a few key players. Cleveland is without Joe Haden. St. Louis is without Chris Long. Both of these players, while good, are one of many good players at their position for their teams. Their respective defenses probably won’t falter without them. Josh McCown actually had one of his worst games of the 2013 season against St. Louis. Will it repeat? Probably not. He’ll probably have a similar performance as he did against Denver last week.

The only thing is: it’s St. Louis. I have no idea if they’ll be really good or really bad. They have little talent on offense, with great talent on defense. Sometimes their offense creates fireworks; sometimes their defense allows fireworks. They’re grossly inconsistent. I can’t really trust any pick I make in regards to this team, but I’ll definitely try.

Winner: Cleveland

[Minnesota @ Detroit]

Detroit got its first win of the season last week. Good for them! Now they get to face a defense that is actually considered “good.” If they call the same aggressive plays as they did last week, they may make this a high-scoring game, which is actually what they need to do. Detroit’s defense has been struggling against the pass, but is fairly good against the run. Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t play well when Adrian Peterson doesn’t play well. But with Detroit’s pass defense thus far, maybe he’ll turn it around. Who knows?

Matt Stafford and his offense should not be having as bad a season offensively with all of their weapons. Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Ameer Abdullah, and Theo Riddick. He has plenty to throw to, but the play-calling seems to favor quick releases and possession plays. Gotta say, that may work better if they had any threat of a run game or a good offensive line, neither of which Detroit has.

Detroit got the better of Chicago last week in a game that was supposedly very badly officiated. Assuming the referees aren’t clamoring for a Detroit victory, I think Minnesota’s defense will keep the game close if necessary. Regardless, Bridgewater will probably have a decent game against them. I kinda miss seeing Kyle Rudolph, too. I’d like to see him have a giant game.

Winner: Minnesota

[Houston @ Miami]

They ain’t no Jacksonville anymore.

Houston had one of the most one-sided games of the season against Jacksonville last week. Brian Hoyer looked like Tom Brady against the weakling Jacksonville squad. But Miami had a similar result against another AFC South team last week. They’re looking like a team that many had expected them to be since the beginning of the season.

Miami finally had a running game last week. They’ll need that against Houston as their passing defense is (or was last week) okay. Ryan Tannehill, despite leading his team to 31 points, threw two interceptions, which is worrying, to say the least. His completion percentage was pretty good, though. But he wasn’t the star of their win last week. The star was Cameron Wake, who had 4 sacks against Tennessee’s lowly offensive line. While I don’t think he’ll have the same results against Houston, I think he, Suh, and Vernon will all have good days. Miami’s defense looks to be spirited after a lopsided win.

After what happened with Miami last week, I don’t think this game will even be close. I shouldn’t assume that, however, as it’s proven me an idiot before (especially last week). I still believe Miami is too good of a team to be losing to a struggling Houston. It’ll probably be another AFC South beatdown.

Winner: Miami

[New Orleans @ Indianapolis]

Drew Brees beat an undefeated team that didn’t take their crazy pill last week. As much as Indianapolis has been struggling lately, I think they’ve somewhat recovered from their offensive flushing last week after a good showing against New England (in the first half). Not to mention, New Orleans is on the road. They kinda suck on the road.

Andrew Luck didn’t turn the ball over last week. That’s good news for someone who had turned the ball over about 10 times through 3 starts. He seems to have found his footing again, but still can’t seem to stop forcing in balls when he’s behind on the scoreboard. At least his offensive line has played better since switching guys around. That may not be as impressive, knowing they were almost complete shit before that.

New Orleans could win this game. Of course, any team could win any game. But I think Indianapolis will bounce back and start winning again. They have to, right? Andrew Luck’s back, the offensive line is better, Frank Gore’s playing hard. I don’t see how Indianapolis’s offensive struggles will continue, especially against New Orleans of all teams. Right? Right?

Winner: Indianapolis

[Pittsburgh @ Kansas City]

Landry Jones is starting for the first time in his career! He only had to wait for what seems like 6 years or so. (Actual number is 2.4.) He played magnificently in relief of Mike Vick, who looked… defeated last week against Arizona’s rough defense. Though, I’ve seen this scenario before. A back-up’s back-up comes in a plays well in relief, but once he actually starts, he ends up being less than people expect. It happens. I don’t expect Landry Jones to play the way he did last week, but we’ll see what happens.

Kansas City’s defense is pretty good, too. Maybe not as good as Arizona’s, but they definitely have some very good players. They’ve allowed less than 20 points in the last 2 weeks. Neither of the last two games were a win, however, as Kansas City’s offense is very, very bad. No Jamaal Charles. No arm for Alex Smith. No weapons outside of Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. It’s amazing how little Kansas City’s defense has given up with how inept their offense is. It’s kinda sad.

Kansas City’s offense is the deciding factor in this game. If they can get something going, their defense could hold Jones and co. in check. However, with all the weapons Pittsburgh has on its offense (Brown, Bryant, Bell, Miller), I feel they have a much better chance at putting up points than their opponent, even with a 3rd-string quarterback in his first career start. Pittsburgh’s offensive line may be crumbling, but Kansas City’s has already fallen. It should be a very sack-happy game, assuming Andy Reid doesn’t call screens every other play.

Winner: Piitsburgh

[New York (Jets) @ New England]

Ohhhhh. This should be a fun game. Shame I won’t see it.

With everything considered, with New York’s good defense and New England’s great offense, I expect a tough, close, physical game. However, I fully believe that New England is the best team in the league. The kicker? They’re at home. If they’re going to lose this season, it won’t be at home. I highly doubt New York will beat them on their own turf, but I’m sure they’ll give them a run for their money. Here’s to FitzMagic pulling off the 0.1% upset!

(I love this video far too much.)

Winner: New England

[Tampa Bay @ Washington]

Another tricky match-up. Interesting.

Kirk Cousins has been playing like a back-up quarterback the last few weeks. However, in those games, he never had any running game, either. I think this should change against Tampa Bay. Their defense isn’t, well, great. I also think this is the week that Washington bounces back, especially when their defense allows them chance after chance to get as many points or throw as many interceptions as possible. I really don’t believe in Tampa Bay’s offense.

It’s a real shame, too. Tampa Bay’s offense, if not for their alright offensive line, has some good players. Mike Evans, Doug Martin (sometimes), Vincent Jackson, and what-not. I’m not saying they should be putting up 30 points a game or anything, but I don’t think the connection is there with Jameis Winston. He’ll have to improve his play considerably if I want to take his team seriously. The game against Jacksonville didn’t help much: he threw the ball less than 20 times. I’d like to see him with something on the line. Against New Orleans was impressive, but, eh, it’s New Orleans.

But wouldn’t it be funny if Washington lost this game by 3 scores and head coach Jay Gruden decided it was time to go to Colt McCoy, only to lose the next three games, so he goes to RG3 and loses every other game of the season? That’d be hilarious. That could never happen.

Winner: Washington

[Atlanta @ Tennessee]

Atlanta, you had a tough loss against New Orleans last week. You fucked up considerably and let yourself be trampled on by a lesser team. But that is no reason for you to go out and lose to Tennessee against their back-up quarterback. You cannot fuck this up. Stomp these losers I thought were actually kinda decent but are actually very, very bad. Look up Ken Whisenhunt’s head coaching record since 2012. Go on, look it up.

Winner: Atlanta

[Oakland @ San Diego]

Hmmm. San Diego’s without Eric Weddle. Oakland has shown that they can be pretty good offensively. They’re coming off a bye-week. Their defense has held their opponent to less than 23 points in their last 2 games. Derek Carr is a hot, young quarterback with quite a few weapons. The head coach has history in this division. Their offensive line is very good. They’re an up and coming team.

On the other hand, Philip Rivers threw for 500 yards against Green Bay.

Winner: San Diego

[Dallas @ New York (Giants)]

See, now, had this match-up included Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, I would’ve picked Dallas in a heartbeat. However, they are not playing this game. Instead, we have Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Jason Witten, and Matt Cassel.

New York looked like Jacksonville against Philadelphia last week, despite Philadelphia also looking like Kansas City offensively. They had one good drive… and man, that drive was really good. However, they’re in their snug and adequately-lighted abode this week against a defense that isn’t as punishing as Philadelphia’s. I suspect Eli Manning will have a good game, assuming Odell Beckham plays. Their defense shouldn’t have much of a problem against… uh, yeah. Matt Cassel.

But I’m being unfair. Matt Cassel has made some big plays in the past (even recently) and can win games as a starter. He has more losses than wins, sure, but he can still win! The only thing here, though, is he’s only been with Dallas for, like, three weeks? Remember what happened with Josh Freeman when Minnesota tried to start him a week after they traded for him? That was hilarious. While Matt Cassel is no Josh Freeman (thankfully for Dallas fans), I don’t think he has the type of big-play weapons to score a lot of points. Then again, New York’s passing defense is awful and their defensive line likely won’t get much against Dallas’s awesome offensive line. This game will probably be pretty high scoring.

Winner: New York

[Philadelphia @ Carolina]

After what Cam Newton did to the Legion of Boom at home, combined with Philadelphia’s most recent offensive performance, I don’t see how anyone could genuinely think Philadelphia could win this game. Carolina is a much, much better team. Injure all of Carolina’s starters, maybe?

Winner: Carolina

[Baltimore @ Arizona]

This should be a fun match-up to watch. And by fun, I mean one-sided. It may be close, seeing as Monday Night games tend to be, but like with Philadelphia, I don’t see Baltimore winning this game. Their secondary is too bad. Their offense is too depleted. Arizona eats defenses like Baltimore’s for breakfast. Just don’t ask the same of them against Pittsburgh or St. Louis. Maybe Baltimore will get lucky and heave a few touchdown passes Steve Smith’s way. I just expect Larry Fitzgerald to triple whatever Steve Smith gains.

It’s so nice seeing Fitzgerald’s renaissance right now.

Winner: Arizona

Quick Pick: Seattle at San Francisco (Week Seven; 2015)

This is interesting. Very interesting, indeed.

San Francisco tends to do better at home, at least defensively. Seattle tends to do worse on the road. Seattle also seems to do really well against San Francisco. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

Initially, I wanted to pick San Francisco. They have the better defense (at home) and Colin Kaepernick has been playing well in the past two weeks… against New York (Giants) and Baltimore, but nonetheless. However, their offensive line has gotten him sacked at least twice in basically every game this season. Seattle’s defensive line is better than most. Not to mention, Bobby Wagner’s coming back this week. Bobby Wagner seems to have fun against San Francisco.

Both of the teams’ offensive lines are bad. I would argue that Seattle’s is worse, but Seattle has a better defensive line and string of linebackers. The only thing that worries me is Seattle’s secondary, which has been lacking in the last few weeks. It was against Carolina and Cincinnati, sure, but San Francisco has some deep threats, like Torrey Smith. Not to mention, Seattle’s run defense has also been sporadic thus far.

Both of these teams are just far below par. San Francisco’s wins came against Baltimore and Minnesota. Seattle’s wins came against Detroit (controversially) and Chicago without Jay Cutler. San Francisco really does seem like the more logical choice, but Seattle has a much more talented roster. Mrmm.

Y’know what? I think I’ll take Seattle. Kaepernick hasn’t proven himself against a better (kinda) defense thus far. It won’t start tonight.

Winner: Seattle