The referees are back
It is about time. Three weeks of missed calls and unruly play was enough to get Roger Goodell and the NFL to finally finish their failure of an experiment with replacement referees. While the high school, Arena Football League and even Lingerie Football League referees did the best that they could, they were simply unprepared and unqualified for the job with which they were thrust. Now that this mess has been cleaned up, its time to watch some football, and be grateful for the men in black and white.
Thursday, September 5, 2012
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
The Browns are one of only two winless teams while the Ravens are coming off a big win against New England. Easy.
Joe Flacco, Torrey Smith and the rest of the Ravens will stay hot after beating the Patriots and they will dismantle the Browns in this Thursday night showdown. Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson will continue to improve but the wait for the Browns first win will continue.
The Ravens are coming off a close win against a solid New England team while Cleveland is coming off a bad loss to Buffalo. Flacco and Rice will be too much for the Browns as the strong Baltimore defense gets their job done.
Expect Baltimore to run all over the Browns on Thursday. Flacco is gonna go wacco while Rice is gonna be just too nice.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
The Patriots may not have been able to come out with the win in Baltimore last week but they are still one of the elite teams in the NFL and they will exploit the Bills defense.
Although this game will not come easy for the reeling Patriots, who have lost two straight, they will be able to pull out the tough road win. The Bills will be hurt by the injury of their explosive running back C.J. Spiller and will drop to 2-2 for the year.
Although Tom Brady has had a few struggles up to this point, the Bills' defense should be easy enough to figure out. Also, the young Patriots' defense should not be too challenged by the Buffalo offense. The Pats win.
Belichick and Brady will be able to rebound from their heartbreaking loss on Sunday night and will take advantage of the Bills here. Without C.J. Spiller, the Bills will be hard pressed to keep the ball moving and the clock running while keeping Brady on the sidelines.
San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Mark Sanchez is going to have a bad week against the 49ers' defense. San Francisco's loss last week to Minnesota did come as a big surprise but it won't happen again.
The Jets were lucky to have eked out an overtime victory against the Dolphins, as they were aided by two missed field goals by Miami kicker, Dan Carpenter. The loss of cornerback Darrelle Revis will hurt the Jets and the 49ers will bounce back strongly from their loss to the Vikings.
There is no way the Jets stop the San Francisco offense without Revis island. New York does not have enough defense to deal with the Niners but the Niners have plenty of defense to contain the very average Jets'offense.
Jim Harbaugh will be able to reorganize the troops while Rex Ryan's grasp on his team is slipping. With either Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow or Greg Mcilroy starting at quarterback, the Jets' offense will come up short to San Fran.
Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks great performance against the Packers was overlooked by the blown call at the last second but the win was not without merit. The Seahawks played a very good game and they will do the same in St. Louis.
Look for the stifling Seahawks defense to shutdown Sam Bradford and the Rams at home. The Seahawks will stay hot after getting the win (loss) over the Packers.
Even though the Packers should have beat the Seahawks last week, give Seattle credit for playing with the Packers for the whole game. I believe that Seattle is on the rise and really starting to click as a team. I like the Seahawks to win a close one over a pretty decent St. Louis squad.
The Seahawks will legitimately win a game here against the drastically improved Rams instead of being gifted a W. While St. Louis is greatly improved, the Seahawks defense is ferocious and will give Sam Bradford ﬁts.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
3-0 and rolling. The Falcons are the best team in the NFC right now and Matt Ryan may just be the best quarterback in the NFC right now.
After an awful performance against the Giants Thursday night, the Panthers will be out for blood. Much was anticipated from the offensively minded Panthers this year, but they have been unable to live up to the hype. This is a huge game for them as a win on the road against division rival Atlanta could turn their season around. The Panthers certainly have enough talent in Cam Newton and Steve Smith to pull off the upset. With extra time to prepare for the game, the Panthers will get the big win.
The Falcons have been one of the more impressive teams so far and I expect them to roll over Carolina. The Atlanta defense will confuse Cam Newton and shut down the Panthers' offense. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons' offensive attack will find a way to break the Carolina D.
The Falcons look like they're going to steal the show this year and seemed destined to do so. Matt Ryan is entering the conversation of elite quarterbacks while their defense is holding opposing offenses to the bare minimum. Cam Newton won't be able to get much against the Falcons at home.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
The Vikings are coming off a win against the 49ers, never an easy task, while the Lions lost Matt Stafford to injury. Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson are a formidable duo and the Lions defense will not be able to stop them.
After pulling the huge upset over the 49ers last week, the Vikings will stay hot and beat up on the under achieving Lions. Expect for AP and Christian Ponder to have big games against the soft Lions' D.
The Lions do not play much defense. I think the hot Vikings will stun Detroit and AP will run all over the Lions' defense. The Vikings will have to score to keep up with the Lions' offense but with the Lions' defense as bad as they have been, I think Minnesota can do it.
Matt Stafford is always a trooper and here he'll play despite a strained muscle and will push the Lions past the Vikings. While Christian Ponder and the Vikings' offense showed improvement last week, I don't see them repeating it here.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego has been inconsistent thus far but they are still on top of the division with a plus 12 point differential while the Chiefs sit dead last.
The Chargers were slaughtered last week against a tough Falcons team and failed to score a touchdown all game. Jamaal Charles looked strong last game against New Orleans, rushing for over 200 yards. Look for Charles to stay hot and key a big Chiefs victory.
The Chiefs put up over 500 yards of total offense as Jamaal Charles rushed for over 200 and yet, they barely won over Pittsburgh. This kind of offense cannot be put up every game and against a better San Diego team, even that kind of offense might not win them the game. San Diego wins this one.
The Chiefs shall overcome all odds and steal this one from the Chargers. Who knows why, but it'll happen.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans
The Texans currently hold both the best record and the best point differential in the league. Schaub is throwing well, Foster and Tate are dominant in the backfield and JJ Watt is leading the AFC in sacks.
The Texans could be the best team in the league after a strong showing against Denver last week. Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and the rest of the Texan offense will be too much for the Titans to handle.
The Titans only won last week because they were able to play a shootout with Detroit. Against likely the best D in the league Tennessee will not be able to score like they did against the Lions. Houston takes this one with ease.
The Titans weakness is pass defense. The Texans strength is everything on offense. Matt Schaub will go into beastmode, have a monster game and shred the Titans' secondary.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Bengals showed off their explosive offense in their victory over the Redskins last week. The Jaguars came out winners week three as well but Blaine Gabbert is still not at the level he needs to be for the Jags to be competitors.
Andy Dalton and the Bengals will edge out a victory over the Jaguars, who surprised a lot of people by beating the Colts last week. Blaine Gabbert will not have enough gas in the tank to keep up with the explosive Bengals.
Andy Dalton has been playing well lately, leading his team to a win last week. The Jags' defense will not be able to stop the Cincinnati offense and I think the Bengals' defense will find a way to keep MJ-D at bay.
The Bengals' offense this year has a lot of ﬁrepower and should be able to prey on the Jaguars. In a battle of jungle cats, the Bengals come out on top.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning needs to right the ship and no better time to do it than against the dismal Raiders.
Peyton Manning will put together a complete game and will avoid his third straight loss. Look for Manning to start playing in the first quarter, not the third.
Peyton Manning will absolutely exploit the Oakland defense. The rock-solid Denver defense also will focus on stopping Darren McFadden, and I believe, succeed. The Broncos win this game at mile high.
Peyton Manning ﬁnally gets a break and plays a team that isn't insanely good. The Raiders will miss Darrius Heyward-Bey and won't be able to stretch the defense and open up holes for Darren McFadden. Champ Bailey will pick off some of Carson Palmer's passes while Manning will throw for a few scores.
Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
The Kevin Kolb led Cardinals are surprisingly flying high at 3-0 and there is no reason that the Dolphins will be able to stop them.
The Cardinals' defense again looked strong in a big win over the Eagles. Look for the Cardinals to force rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill into several interceptions, and improve to 4-0.
I'm not quite sure how they do it, but the Cardinals so far are the real deal. Kevin Kolb has been great and I don't see then having any problems with Miami, especially with Reggie Bush out.
The Cardinals' defense is crazy good and will make Ryan Tannehill's head spin. The Dolphins have too many holes to overcome the Cards at home.
Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both teams won big week one but have now lost two in a row. The Redskins have an explosive offense but RG3 has been getting very little help while Josh Freeman's offense has been sputtering. RG3 wills the Redskins to a much-needed victory in Tampa.
RG3 and the Redskins will avoid a third straight loss and improve to 2-2. The Bucs' inconsistent offense will not be able to keep up with the explosive Redskins, who could get big play machine Pierre Garcon back this week.
The Bucs played a good Dallas team close last week while the Washington defense is beginning to fall apart. Tampa Bay is on the rise and the skins are beginning their usual decline. I give the edge to the Buccaneers.
Upset! The ‘Skins will protect RG3 better while improving on defense as well. The Redskin's secondary will close off passing lanes for Josh Freeman and the Bucs' will once again have to bull rush a kneel down in the closing seconds of a loss.
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers
Drew Brees and the Saints are about to be 0-4. Do I need to say it again? Because it is truly unbelievable, but they will not be getting their first win against the Packers.
The Saints will continue to slide and fall to 0-4 on the season. The Packers will be out to kill after a blown call cost them the game in Seattle Monday night. The Pack will take out their anger on the missed call on the hapless Saints.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' offense should handle the Saints' weak defense. Although the Green Bay defense is also not very good, I look for Rodgers to get the job done. The Pack win in a shootout.
Unfortunately the Saints will drop to 0-4. Clearly Sean Payton was much more important than many expected.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are not nearly as good as their 2-0 record shows. They are incredibly turnover-prone and their defense is mediocre at best. Their negative 19 point differential tells the true story.
With extra time to prepare and a three game win streak on the line, the Giants will steamroll the turnover prone Eagles, who are lucky to have any wins at all.
Michael Vick has not yet really played well this season. New York has proved they have a solid offense and defense so far, it's just a matter if putting everything together. I think Philadelphia fails to get their rhythm and the Giants bring home the win.
Michael Vick will be beaten up by the Giants' D-line and Nick Foles will start the second half. Maybe that won't happen, but the Giants' will force at least 3 turnovers.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
This will not be a high scoring affair that is for sure. The Bears' defense is too much for Romo to handle and while Cutler will have his own set of struggles the Bears will come out on top.
The Bears' D will shut down Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense in this Monday night showdown. The Cowboys only mustered 16 points last week against a mediocre Tampa Bay defense so look for the Bears to overwhelm the Cowboys at home.
The Cowboys have shown they are a good team but the Bears are better. The Chicago defense was outstanding last week and when that defense is paired with an above average offense, you get a team that is hard to beat. Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall tear up the Dallas D and the Bears take this game.
This will be a tough defensive battle, but in the end Brandon Marshall will pull it out with an acrobatic catch. Marshall will show Dez Bryant how a true diva wide receiver plays.
Jack Estrin. More »
Michael Gerbasi. More »
Jacob Buchholz. More »
Josh Schmidt. A swell fellow. More »