Posted on: November 12, 2009 12:38 pm

Week 10 Picks

A solid 8-5 last week, which leaves me at 69-59.  I rarely give away the points in most games, but I had to take the Packers over the Bucs last week.  I mean seriously, who wouldn't?  Just goes to show you that Vegas knows more than us.  Anyways, here we go...

Chicago (+3) over San Francisco.  Everyone is counting the Bears out right now, but they should be able to get after Alex Smith.  Cutler got Greg Olsen active last week, and they're angry after their loss to the Cardinals.  With Cutler it's either all or nothing, and I think he'll have a very good game against the 49ers.

Atlanta (-1.5) over Carolina.  I was very surprised about this line, considering Atlanta has a very complete team.  Carolina's running game is something to be scared of, but I don't think their passing game is good enough.  Turner has been turning it on lately, too.

Tampa Bay (+10) over Miami.  I don't like how Chad Henne has been playing lately, and the wildcat offense has been very inconsistent.  Miami will in all liklihood win this game, but Josh Freeman impressed me, and I think he gives the Bucs a shot to win the game.

Detroit (+16.5) over Minnesota.  This should be a blowout, but I'm taking the points for two reasons.  First, this could very well be a trip-up game for the Vikings.  Second, the Lions have to realize that they need to get Calvin Johnson more active in their passing game.  Stafford won't throw 5 picks again.

Jacksonville (+7) over New York Jets.  I thought that this was a lot of points for a Jets team that is very inconsistent.  Yeah, the Jaguars do not deserve their 4-4 record, but seven points?  MJD can break an 80-yard run at any moment.  If the Jets passing game gets going, this could be a blowout, but I'm still taking the points.

Cincinnati Bengals (+7) over Pittsburgh.  Too many points again!  The Steelers usually win close games, so I'll take the Bengals fully expecting a Jeff Reed winning field goal.  For all we know, the Bengals might actually be better than the Steelers.

New Orleans Saints (-13.5) over St. Louis.  This is one of the highest lines you'll ever see me bite on, but here's my reasoning: even if Steven Jackson runs for 200 yards and three TDs, the Rams defense is bad enough to allow the Saints to cover.

Buffalo (+6.5) over Tennessee.  This is where the Titans short rally ends.  There has been enough film of Vince Young to understand that he's not a very good quarterback, and the Bills defense has been pretty solid this year.  I'm not sure that having Trent Edwards back helps too much, but they can score against this terrible defense.

Denver (-3.5) over Washington.  I think that the they're trying to get us to bite on the fact that Denver has lost two straight, but this is the Redskins we're talking about here.  I'll be shocked if this one is even close.

Kansas City (+1.5) over Oakland.  The Raiders are averaging less than ten points a game, and I think that at some point, Matt Cassel has to turn it on.  Acquiring Chris Chambers will help out that offense a lot, and I'm still looking for Jamaal Charles to show that he can be a starter in the NFL.

Seattle (+8.5) over Arizona.  I love that the Cardinals are getting so much credit here.  It's stupid.  Typical up and down team.  First, they beat a badly slumping Giants team, and then they tank a game against the Panthers.  They crush the Bears, and now everything thinks they're great.  I'm not buying at all.

Green Bay (+3) over Dallas.  The Packers are going to be very angry after that game, and the Cowboys still don't look very good.  Yeah, Miles Austin has emerged as a great receiver, but it can't last for too much longer.  Rodgers must get rid of that ball quicker, especially with Ware and Ratliff chasing him down.

San Diego (+2) over Philadelphia.  This goes against my picking strategy, but I had to take the Chargers here.  I just don't think that the Eagles are very good.  In fact, I don't think any team in the NFC East is very good.  Phillips to Jackson is just too easy.

New England (+3) over Indianapolis.  I hate this one.  It kills me to pick the Patriots in this game, especially because of the reaction that will occur with Pats fans if they do win.  But the Colts secondary is way too banged up.  I hope I'm wrong here.

Baltimore (-11) over Cleveland.  What an anticlimatic finish.  I really don't like anything about the Browns, so I'll go with the struggling Ravens instead.  Enough said.

Category: NFL
Tags: Picks, Spread, Week 10
Posted on: November 10, 2009 11:38 am

Week 9 Power Rankings

With no more winless teams left in the league, we shift our focus to those teams that shouldn't but could make the playoffs this year.  Are the Cardinals for real?  How are the Jaguars 4-4?  Are the Bears and Giants done?  Here are my power rankings after nine weeks in the 2009 NFL season.

32) Oakland Raiders (31).  I'm honestly sick of talking about how bad this team is.  Now with Tom Cable back in the spotlight, will he even make it through the season?  Who would want to with this bad of a team with that bad of an owner.

31) Cleveland Browns (30).  Mangini might give the reins to Brady Quinn, and let's hope he's not as terrible as Derek Anderson.  What happened to that team since their playoff run two years ago?  They're consistently one of the worst teams in football, and they're not getting any better.

30) Detroit Lions (29).  They stuck with Seattle for a bit, but ultimately gave it up.  Calvin Johnson needs to get the ball more, regardless of his injury problems.  At least they're putting up points.  Bolstering that defense is going to have to be their prime concern in free agency and at draft time.

29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32).  I certainly didn't expect Freeman to have such a great impact on their team in his first start, but wow!  He looked very efficient against an average Packers defense, and they forced turnovers.  It helped that the Packers offensive line is garbage, but they did what they needed to win.

28) Washington Redskins (27).  They wanted to grab a win after their bye week, but they only acquired injuries to key players.  Now with Portis and Campbell hurt, do they have any chance of putting up a decent amount of points?

27) St. Louis Rams (28).  Though they have two weeks to prepare, it will be very hard to beat an undefeated New Orleans team with their current personnel.  They might be able to catch the Saints sleeping, but I doubt it.

26) Kansas City Chiefs (25).  Amidst the drama surrounding the departure of Larry Johnson, this team doesn't seem to be going in the right direction.  With a loss to a below-average Jacksonville team, they'll contend with the Raiders for worst in their division.  Was Matt Cassel the answer?

25) Jacksonville Jaguars (26).  They've managed to get themselves to 4-4, and with a lot of luck could make a playoff run.  Two wins against the Jets and Bills could get the ball rolling, but MJD will need to have big games since Garrard isn't doing much.

24) Buffalo Bills (23).  Their next game against the Titans will be a gauge of how well this team will do the rest of the year.  Trent Edwards will more than likely be able to play this weekend, but do they really want him back?  Marshawn Lynch needs to step it up.

23) Tennessee Titans (24).  Make it two in a row.  Vince Young has given this team a spark, and they beat a decent 49ers team.  He must stay consistent as teams now have more film on his recent plays, and defenses will know more of how to stop him.

22) Carolina Panthers (21).  A valiant effort against one of the best two teams in the league, but they blew their lead.  I like that John Fox is going back to the run game, because the combination of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are almost unstoppable.  They have a tough three games coming up.

21) San Francisco 49ers (20).  After starting off with a good record, the 49ers find themselves way back in the division.  Alex Smith has looked a bit worse, and Frank Gore didn't help too much this week.  Now they have a short week, and face a furious Bears team who is in a similar position.

20) Seattle Seahawks (22).  This has been a rollercoaster ride for the Seahawks so far.  They started off well, but their offensive line hasn't protected well at all.  A win against Detroit may be just what they need going into the second half of the season, and may make a run at the Cardinals.

19) New York Jets (19).  With two weeks to think about that awful loss to the Dolphins, they'll be ready for the Jaguars.  In order to stay in playoff contention, a win is necessary, especially if the Patriots lose to the Colts.

18) Chicago Bears (17).  Another team with a rollercoaster season.  Their defense laid down for the Cardinals, even though Jay Cutler had a decent game.  Since Minnesota has all but won the division, they'll need to take the wild card route, and a win against the 49ers would help.

17) Miami Dolphins (16).  It was close, but their offense couldn't get it going when it really mattered.  It's pretty easy to get over this loss with Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Buffalo next on your schedule though.

16) Arizona Cardinals (18).  What a way to bounce back.  Kurt Warner looked like he was playing for the Greatest Show on Turf again, and Larry Fitzgerald make a huge impact, even with Boldin out.  This significantly helps their chances of winning their awful division.

15) Green Bay Packers (11).  That offensive line HAS to be fixed!  You have your great, young, franchise quarterback trying to make plays all game, yet he gets ravaged by a below average defense.  This is not a very good team, and their defensive play didn't help at all.

14) New York Giants (12).  Losing four in a row all but ruins their chances of making the playoffs, let alone the division.  Their upcoming bye week may help with their injuries, considering they need Aaron Ross back.  Their remaining schedule is just too tough, though.

13) San Diego Chargers (15).  And just like that, they've back in the division race.  They did what they needed to do to win, and the Rivers/Jackson connection gave them two big scores.  They face the Eagles next week, and then a huge second game against the Broncos.

12) Baltimore Ravens (8).  They needed that win against the Bengals, and can take their frustrations out on the Browns (what a terrible Monday Night game).  Joe Flacco needs to get the ball into the endzone more, but their defense is their biggest concern.

11) Atlanta Falcons (14).  Though it was only against the Redskins, that win was exactly what they needed.  With a win against the Panthers and Giants, they'll take another stab at the wild card race.

10) Philadelphia Eagles (9).  Their injuries really held them back against the Cowboys, in what was an ugly game.  They need Westbrook back, but now it appears he has an ankle problem too.  Can they bounce back against San Diego?

9) Houston Texans (10).  Despite the loss, I still like this team to make the playoffs.  They were a missed field goal away from bringing the best team in the AFC into overtime, and they also kept Peyton Manning down to human level.  That's saying something.

8) Dallas Cowboys (13).  They have strung a bunch of wins in a row, and now face a slumping Green Bay team, a bad Redskins team, and an even worse Raiders team.  But December is looming...

7) Denver Broncos (5).  Orton looked like his old self, and the rest of their team couldn't get it going.  Are they crashing down to Earth?  With only a one game lead in the division, that upcoming Broncos/Chargers game becomes much more important.

6) Cincinnati Bengals (7).  I guess they are for real after all.  Both Cedric Benson and the Bengals defense are big surprises this year, and have significantly helped Palmer return to great form.  Now the big question: can they beat the Steelers again?

5) New England Patriots (6).  That was a great division win, even if Brady didn't look great.  This is a huge Sunday Night game against the Colts, as it is every year.  They do, however, have an awfully difficult upcoming schedule, and must stay focused.

4) Minnesota Vikings (4).  Now that they're rested, they have a giveaway game against the Lions.  As long as they don't get too complacent, they should win their next 3 games and stay in contention for home field advantage.

3) Pittsburgh Steelers (3).  Isn't Polamalu just great?  Their defense is so much better with him in the game, and Mendenhall could very well be the future of their running game.  Their game next week against the Bengals will be for the division lead.

2) Indianapolis Colts (2).  A missed field goal kept them out overtime, and this team has looked a bit more vulnerable as of late.  They can't let this happen against the Patriots next week.  If they win this one, they can definitively be considered the best in the AFC.

1) New Orleans Saints (1).  They almost tripped over the Panthers, but (once again) their defense hardened.  With all cylinders working effectively on this team, it's hard to imagine another team challenging them for NFC dominance.
Category: NFL
Posted on: November 5, 2009 12:24 pm

Week 9 Picks

Another 6-7 week, and my record is slowly getting closer to .500.  These high lines have been ridiculous!  I'm at 61-54 right now, and could really use a good week here.  My Week 9 Picks:

Washington (+10) over Atlanta.  With two weeks to prepare, and plenty of film to see where the Falcons have been exposed, I think they have a legitimate shot at keeping it close.  The Redskins defense has actually been playing pretty well, and Turner hasn't been spectacular this year.

Arizona (+3) over Chicago.  Despite their loss to the Panthers last week, I still think the Cardinals have too many weapons on both sides of the field to lose to the BearsJay Cutler will be pressured, and their run defense should play well against Forte.

Houston (+9) over Indianapolis.  It'll be a tough one against Freeney, but Houston's offense has been clicking.  My downfall here could be that Owen Daniels is out for the season, but Kevin Walter may step it up here.  The Colts will more than likely win, but I'm a points addict.

Cincinnati (+3) over Baltimore.  The Bengals were able to more on the Ravens last time (though it was mostly due to stupid Ravens penalties), and I think it only gets better from here.  The Bengals defense is underrated, even with their injuries.

Kansas City (+6) over Jacksonville.  What a terrible game.  The Chiefs get the opportunity to see how Jamaal Charles will play, and Matt Cassel has had two weeks to prepare.  Plus, the Jaguars just aren't very good.

Green Bay (-10) over Tampa Bay.  The Packers are going to be angry after that loss, and they won't face too much pressure from the Bucs defensive line.  They haven't won a single game this year, and they won't come close to changing that this week.

Miami (+10.5) over New England.  I think the Patriots will win this game, but Miami usually keeps games close.  If they're able to control the ball, they might even have a shot at winning it.

Carolina (+13.5) over New Orleans.  I think this will be closer than most expect because the Panthers seem to have gone back to running the ball more, which they should.  The combination of Williams and Stewart is just too good, and the Saints defense might have their hands full.

Detroit (+10) over Seattle.  Ten points for a Seahawks team that's playing this bad?  No thank you.  If Calvin Johnson is back, the Lions will probably win.  It's unbelievable all the massive point spreads this week.

San Francisco (-5.5) over Tennessee.  The Titans defense has given up way too many points, and with a player like Frank Gore ripping massive runs on decent defenses, I'll go with the 49ers.  Yeah, Chris Johnson has done the same, but he won't against this defense.

San Diego Chargers (+3.5) over New York Giants.  The Giants haven't beaten the spread in forever, so I'm not going to start picking them now.  Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd will shred this secondary.

Dallas (+3) over Philadelphia.  The Eagles crushed a very wounded Giants team, whereas the Cowboys look truly hot.  Plus, Romo is great in November, and they're giving him more protection.  Watch out.

Denver (+3) over Pittsburgh.  Many people are jumping off the Broncos bandwagon, but look for their defense to stop the Steelers running game.  They're playing in Denver.  This one will be a defensive battle, so I'll take the points even though it's a small margin.
Category: NFL
Tags: Picks, Week 9
Posted on: November 4, 2009 2:24 pm

Week 8 Power Rankings

What a disappointing week for Giants fans.  I thought they'd be able to put pressure on McNabb with their sub-par offensive line, but they did nothing.  In other news... the Vikings all but locked up their division, the Broncos are mortal, and there's only one goose egg team left in the NFL!  All-in-all, a pretty fun week.  As for the power rankings...

32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32).  They're the only team left without a win, and they're not getting any better.  They've had two weeks to prepare for Green Bay, which helps, but the Bucs still don't have a very good offense... or defense.  When will their first win come?

31) Oakland Raiders (29).  I know bashing the Raiders is the popular thing do to, but how can you not?  The organization is a complete joke, their coach may be facing punishment from the league, their immature quarterback can't evolve into an accurate passer, and their draft picks continue to underperform.  The only thing they have going for them is their defense, which is only marginally better.

30) Cleveland Browns (27).  It kind of seems like the bottom eight teams just keep on revolving around the bottom, doesn't it?  I don't quite understand why Derek Anderson is starting anymore.  Maybe Mangini is trying to hide how bad Quinn is, so that he can still retain some trade value for him.  But Anderson is just awful.

29) Detroit Lions (26).  After that win a few weeks ago, they've only regressed.  Losing to the Rams is no easy feat, but they managed to pull it off.  That defense needs drastic improvement during the offseason, but they can look forward to Calvin Johnson being back this week.

28) St. Louis Rams (31).  They finally won!  Stephen Jackson was a beast, and their defense actually showed up against the Lions.  They can go into their bye week somewhat satisfied, but they'll need it since they play the Saints in two weeks.

27) Washington Redskins (28).  Hopefully this mess was solved during the bye week, though I doubt it.  They play the Falcons this week, who have lost two straight and are desperate for a win.  Good luck.

26) Jacksonville Jaguars (24).  What has happened to David Garrard?  A few seasons ago, he went half a season without throwing an interception!  If it weren't for MJD, this team would have been blanked by a team without a win!  That's not a very good way to treat a fan base that's already giving up.

25) Kansas City Chiefs (25).  Who knows what this team will be like as they come out of their bye week, but they do face a very bad Jacksonville team.  It will be interesting to see how Jamaal Charles will play as a starter now that Larry Johnson won't be playing.

24) Tennessee Titans (30).  Yeah, they only beat Jacksonville, but that win said a few very good things about this team.  First, they still have the desire to win.  Second, Vince Young might not be as bad as everything thought he was.  After teams get a few more weeks worth of tape on Young, though, we might see him return to his old form.

23) Buffalo Bills (22).  They hung in there against the Texans, but eventually it fell apart.  Their above average defense couldn't hold them off for too long, although Jairus Byrd stepped up big again.  This team has the tools to be better next year, but they have to keep their injuries to a minimum.

22) Seattle Seahawks (21).  I think we can officially say that this team isn't very good.  I thought they had potential, but their offensive line just isn't very good, and having Hasselbeck back just isn't enough.  With the Cardinals and 49ers losing, however, they still sadly have a chance in the always awful NFC West. 

21) Carolina Panthers (23).  They did what they do best: run the ball.  Also, what a great defensive performance, they literally picked apart Kurt WarnerJake Delhomme played much better than he has lately, and Steve Smith finally got himself a touchdown.  This team still could turn it around before it's too late.

20) San Francisco 49ers (20).  Nobody really expected them to beat the Colts, yet they still put up a valiant effort.  Luckily, they're in the NFC West, and a few losses really don't matter.  If their defense continues to play the way it did against the Colts, they could easily win this division.

19) New York Jets (18).  That's why you don't laugh at someone who says "special teams are 1/3 of the game."  They outplayed the Dolphins, but they couldn't stop Ted Ginn on kick returns, which ultimately cost them the game.  Now with two losses to the Dolphins, they can't afford to lose another game in the division.

18) Arizona Cardinals (12).  I am very inconsistent when ranking this team, but who knows what to do with them?  They're not great, but they play in an awful division.  We'll probably see them in the playoffs this year, just like last, but can they make a run like they did last January?

17) Chicago Bears (17).  They won a game they should have won.  Does this team have what it takes to make a run at the playoffs?  Remember, they did beat the Steelers early on in the year.  They'll need to beat the Cardinals next week in order to prove that they deserve a wild card spot.

16) Miami Dolphins (16).  It wasn't pretty, but they got the job done.  They're undefeated against their division, but we'll see if that stands against the Patriots next week.  If they win, they'll be taken seriously, but until then, they really need to focus on getting that offense to perform better than it did against the Jets.

15) San Diego Chargers (19).  They have all the tools they need to be winning their division, but they can't win any big games.  Now they face an underperforming New York Giants team, with a chance to put them out of their misery.  A win and a Broncos loss against the Steelers will put them back in contention.

14) Atlanta Falcons (13).  Not many people expected them to beat the Saints, but at least they made a game of it.  Just like the Packers, they're forced to take the wild card route.  Here are their big "wild card" games in the future: Week 11 vs. Giants, Week 13 vs. Eagles, Week 15 vs. Jets.

13) Dallas Cowboys (15).  They've finally put together a string of good games, and Romo has always been great in November.  This is now a statement game against the Eagles, considering the last time they played them, they were blown out and missed the playoffs.  Bottom line, they need to win a big game, and this is certainly a big game.

12) New York Giants (9).  This is no longer a "slump," it's a problem.  Their defense can't stop anybody, and Eli Manning was awfully inconsistent.  Now they face the Chargers, who have a very good pass attack and a quarterback who would like to prove that he is worth more than Eli Manning.  Plus, is Brandon Jacobs slower than usual, or is it just me?

11) Green Bay Packers (8).  They couldn't win against Favre in Lambeau, so they'll have to take the Wild Card route.  This is still a good team, despite their problems in big games.  Plus, you can pretty much give them the win against the Buccaneers, who were their former division-mates.

10) Houston Texans (14).  Are they really this good?  They've strong together some consistency, but face a very hard test against the Colts next week.  The Colts will all but clinch the division if they win, but the Texans' offense is clicking very well.  The loss of Owen Daniels is brutal, though.

9) Philadelphia Eagles (11).  Just when the critics were ready to pounce on the Eagles, they blowout their division rival.  McNabb played like his young self, and their defense came up with a bunch of turnovers.  Their Sunday night game against the Cowboys will be their second game in a row for the division lead.  A win here would go a long ways towards their run at the playoffs.

8) Baltimore Ravens (10).  They finally got their act together, and just in the nick of time.  The game was closer than the score indicates, but they still showed that they're to be taken seriously.  With a win against the Bengals, they're fighting for the top of the division. 

7) Cincinnati Bengals (7).  These next two games will tell us how good the Bengals really are.  If they're able to win one of the next two (against Baltimore and Pittsburgh), they should be set to at least grab a wild card spot.

6) New England Patriots (6).  Two weeks to prepare against the Dolphins is exactly what they need for this important division battle.  With a win from the Dolphins, this division becomes ridiculously close, and you can never count Miami out.  Their performance against the Dolphins defense will dictate who wins this game.

5) Denver Broncos (3).  They had to lose at some point.  The problem is that they face a very good Steelers team next week, and could be staring at two losses in a row.  This should be a very physical, defensive game.  Orton has to play better if they want to win, and the running game needs to be more consistent.

4) Minnesota Vikings (5).  Brett Favre continues to impress his critics and opponents, and the Vikings defense is just dominating.  This team hasn't even had it's bye week yet, and they're still going into games with as much emotion and passion as possible.  Despite their loss to Pittsburgh, they're one of the best.

3) Pittsburgh Steelers (4).  With two weeks to prepare for the Broncos, they're in a great position.  Being able to rest their players for a week, and giving Polamalu an extra week to get back to 100% will really help.  With a win against Denver, they could be considered the best in the NFL, even with 2 losses.

2) Indianapolis Colts (1).  They dropped a spot only because they did look slightly vulnerable against the 49ers defense.  Remember, this team barely won against the Jaguars in Week 1.  Okay, that's not fair, but the Colts are not perfect (though they are pretty close).  Huge game against the Texans this week.

1) New Orleans Saints (2).  They're the all-around best team in the NFL, and they showed it against the Falcons.  When one aspect of their game is off, they overcome it with another.  If you double team Colston, Shockey is open.  They also have a soft upcoming schedule.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 29, 2009 12:04 pm

Week 8 Picks

I was 6-7 last week, which brings me to 55-47, still above average.  Apparently last week was the worst weekend for Vegas in history, largely because of all the ridiculously good and bad teams in the NFL this year.  And of course, this week has it's fair share of huge lines.  Let's see if I can keep this ship above water:

Denver (+4) over Baltimore.  These guys still don't get any credit, and the Ravens defense isn't really all that good.  Plus, they get so many stupid penalties.  Kyle Orton has been ridiculously efficient, and the Broncos defense is allowing only 11 points a game.

Houston (-3.5) over Buffalo.  I don't really understand why the Texans dynamic offense is only favored by 3.5.  Yeah, their defense is pretty bad, but look at the Bills offense!  This might be different if Andre Johnson doesn't play, but still!

Cleveland (+13.5) over Chicago.  Here's our first huge line.  The only reason I like the Browns to keep it close here is that the Bears defense isn't very good.  You would think one of the Browns QBs would step up at some point, and why not against a non-conference team?

Seattle (+9) over Dallas.  What scares me most about this pick is DeMarcus Ware against the Seahawks terrible offensive line.  Regardless, I'm still not buying Dallas as an above average team, even if they win this game.  Why?  Wade Phillips.

New York Jets (-3.5) over Miami.  I love the wildcat, but I think now that Rex Ryan has had more experience playing against it, he'll have a better chance of defeating it.  This all banks on how well Sanchez can air out the ball, and use Braylon Edwards effectively.  They've had some very bad injuries lately, though.

San Francisco (+11) over Indianapolis.  I'm jumping all over the Alex Smith bandwagon here, and I think that the 49ers might actually keep it close in this game.  The Colts haven't even been challeneged by the garbage they've been playing, and I think a close game is inevitable.

New York Giants (+1) over Philadelphia.  Regardless of whether Westbrooks plays or not, I see this coming down to a last minute field goal to win it (as does Vegas probably).  With such a close line, I'll pick my Giants.

Detroit (-3.5) over St. Louis.  I think Steven Jackson finally has a breakout game here, but the Lions could easily put up 35 points on the Rams horrible defense.  If Stafford plays, I don't think the Rams can keep it close.

Oakland (+16.5) over San Diego.  This is, once again, a ridiculous pick, but there are a few reasons why I like the Raiders to keep it close.  First, their run defense is pretty good, and LT and Sproles haven't done anything.  Second, the Raiders made it a game against the Chargers early in the season.

Jacksonville (+3) over Tennessee.  I didn't think it was possible, but I could see the Titans going 0-7 here.  Their defense is terrible, and they might be starting Vince Young.  Garrard might be able to put up big numbers, especially with MJD backing him up.

Minnesota (+3) over Green Bay.  I don't care that they're playing at Lambeau, the Vikings are just a better team.  They all but won that game against the Steelers, who are a very tough team.  All around, the Vikings should outplay the Packers.

Carolina (+10) over Arizona.  A lot of people are drinking the Cardinal juice right now, but I think the Panthers will bounce back against them.  John Fox knows that he needs to run the ball more, which will hopefully keep the ball away from the Cards offense.

Atlanta (+10) over New Orleans.  I've grabbed the points in almost every game this week, so why not finish it off?  Night game, within the division?  I say the Saints win a close one.  Have a nice weekend.

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 28, 2009 12:21 pm

Week 7 Power Rankings

I just can't believe how unbalanced the league seems to be this year.  There have never been 3 undefeated teams at this point in the season before, and the bottom of the league is worse than we've ever seen it before.  I originally thought that critics were over-scrutinizing the parity in the league, but it definitely seems like there is a massive gap between the good and the bad.  Here we go...

32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (32).  Way to embarrass yourself overseas.  Couldn't the NFL have given the Brits a better game?  They certainly paid enough for it.  It kind of feels like the Buccaneers have nothing going for them, so they might as well start as many young guys as possible.  If Cadillac Williams can stay healthy and produce throughout the season, they'll at least have something to look forward to next year.

31) St. Louis Rams (30).  Steven Jackson is the only player on this team that could start on the Colts.  The fact that they held Peyton Manning to under 300 yards is extremely misleading, because the Colts didn't even have to pass the ball.  If they want to win a game this year, it might have to come next week against the Lions.

30) Tennessee Titans (31).  Hopefully their bye week gave them a chance to focus on a very important game against the Jaguars.  They still have a decent amount of talent, and could probably string together 6 or 7 wins if they get in a rhythm.  It has got to be time to start Vince Young in order to see if his talent has developed.  If he plays well over the next 10 games, maybe their future is intact.

29) Oakland Raiders (28).  Just when the win a game against a good team, they put up a goose egg.  That was just terrible.  JaMarcus Russell doesn't take responsibility for his poor play, yet Tom Cable still wants to start him.  McFadden might be back this week, but will it help them?

28) Washington Redskins (29).  Take away the dumb turnovers, the Redskins could have easily won this game.  Their defense gave up two big plays, which were the difference in the game.  The playcalling was only a bit better without Jim Zorn calling it, and their offense was once again inept.  Their main problem is their offensive line, which will hopefully be fixed in the offseason.

27) Cleveland Browns (26).  They need a good quarterback, and a good draft.  That's why they should have traded Brady Quinn, because he's rotting on the bench right now.  Many people will point to Eric Mangini, but he was given absolutely nothing to work with in his first season with the Browns.  Two years down the road, we'll see how good of a job he really does.

26) Detroit Lions (27).  They could easily pick up their second win of the season at home against the Rams.  If they lose, however, they will be back at the very bottom of the league.  Hopefully Matt Stafford will be able to play, because they seem like a better team when he's in.

25) Kansas City Chiefs (24).  They had a chance to win against a reeling Chargers team, but they completely faltered.  I had decent expectations for this team for the rest of the year, especially with Matt Cassel playing well.  One good thing is that with LJ's inappropriate comments, they can give Jamaal Charles a chance to show that he should be their feature running back.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars (23).  With a loss to the Titans this week, they could completely lose relavance in Jacksonville.  Their fans are already apathetic enough. 

23) Carolina Panthers (20).  What I hate the most about that loss is the playcalling.  Why would you pass the ball that much if your quarterback has bad accuracy issues, and a stellar one-two punch with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?  That shouldn't happen again.

22) Buffalo Bills (25).  With back-to-back wins against decent teams, is it possible they put up a game against the Texans?  I personally don't think so, but it will be interesting to watch.  Their defense is good despite their injuries, and Fitzpatrick is 2-0.  This would be a great win going into their bye week.

21) Seattle Seahawks (22).  What can we expect from this team coming off their bye, playing a revamped Cowboys team?  Their offensive line MUST play better than they did against the Cardinals, or else they're putting Hasselbeck in danger of being injured again.  They need a win to stay in contention with the Cards and 49ers.

20) San Francisco 49ers (15).  This was a tough one, because the level of talent significantly increases after the 21 spot.  Their defense gave up too many points, but they can be optimistic with the second half play of Alex Smith.  Plus, Crabtree made a somewhat significant impact on their offense, and didn't look rusty.  It's going to be a tough game against the Colts next week though.

19) San Diego Chargers (19).  That game could have almost been considered a bye week.  It's clear that they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, but they can't seem to put together good games against good teams.  Rivers is too fiery to let his team get too far behind the Broncos, and they have the Raiders to play next week.

18) New York Jets (18).  It's very hard to gauge how good a team really is after they blowout the Raiders.  Will they put up a fight against the wildcat next week?  They'll have to prepare better than they did last time.

17) Chicago Bears (12).  What a turnaround.  They got clobbered by the Bengals, and Jay Culter has not looked very good.  Is there any hope in the division?  Not much, considering their upcoming schedule is difficult (besides the Browns).

16) Miami Dolphins (14).  They couldn't keep a lead, largely due to their poor playcalling.  When you're up by that much, why don't you continue to run the ball with the wildcat, and eat up more clock?  If you give the Saints too much time, they'll beat you, plain and simple.

15) Dallas Cowboys (21).  They really needed that win against a good Falcons team.  They still in the thick of the NFC East, and have found a lot of talent in their young receiver, Miles AustinTony Romo looks very comfortable throwing to him, and their defense looked better. 

14) Houston Texans (16).  Could this be the year?  Their recent offensive performances have indicated so.  They face the Bills next week, which they need to win because their next game is in Indianapolis.  If Slaton can stop fumbling, they'll find themselves at 5-3.

13) Atlanta Falcons (8).  What happened here?  I thought they were one of the most complete teams in the NFL, but they couldn't keep up with Miles Austin and the Cowboys.  Turner has underperformed, and Matt Ryan looked average.  They need to win against the Saints if they want to keep pace in the division.

12) Arizona Cardinals (17).  Their defense is significantly better than last year, which gives them a great chance to win the division, and a decent chance to make a run at the NFC Conference Championship game.  They confused what used to be a good Giants offense, and managed to score against their blitz packages.

11) Philadelphia Eagles (13).  It wasn't all too pretty, but their defense showed up against the Redskins, leaving them tied for the division lead.  If they can fix their offensive line issues, they'll be a front-runner for the NFC East or Wild Card spot. 

10) Baltimore Ravens (10).  Can they bounce back after losing 3 straight?  It will be hard against the undefeated Broncos.  Their aged defense needs to stop making dumb mistakes and getting stupid 15-yard penalties.

9) New York Giants (6).  Their injuries are killing them right now, and the absence of Kenny Phillips has revealed large gaps in their depth.  CC Brown is just terrible.  They're tied for the division lead, and coincidentally play their rival Eagles next Sunday.  A loss on Sunday could direct them towards the Wild Card route.

8) Green Bay Packers (11).  This may be a bit of an overreaction, since they've only beaten the Lions and Browns recently, but I really didn't know who else to put here.  If they can beat the Vikings, they'll earn this spot.  That offense is just too good.  If their offensive line shows up, they'll be 5-2.

7) Cincinnati Bengals (9).  That was a statement game against the Bears.  Many people (like me) were quickly jumping off the Bengals bandwagon after their loss to the Texans, but they've showed us they're still very much in the running for the AFC North.  After their bye, they have two huge division games in a row.

6) New England Patriots (7).  They've demolished two horrible teams, so it's somewhat hard to gauge how good the Patriots are.  With a week to rest, they should have plenty of time to prepare for a huge game against the Dolphins.  If they can escape their next 5 games with 3 wins, they should be set in the AFC East.

5) Minnesota Vikings (3).  Despite the loss, they're still a very good all-around team.  Their offensive line didn't play very well at the end of the game.  The turnovers by Favre weren't his fault, but he still needs to be a little more accurate in the 4th quarter.  A win in Lambeau will all but wrap up the division.

4) Pittsburgh Steelers (5).  They're back!  What a fantastic defensive effort against a great Vikings offense.  Even though Big Ben and Mendenhall weren't clicking as well as usual, their defense made up for it.  Two defensive touchdowns sealed the game, but they're still keeping opponents in the game.  Hopefully they'll work on that in the bye week.

3) Denver Broncos (4).  They continue to sneak their way up everyone's rankings, and face a very tough conference matchup against the Ravens next week.  If Kyle Orton stays consistent (only one interception so far this season!) and their defense continues to shut down opposing teams, they'll easily reach 7-0.

2) New Orleans Saints (2).  What a stellar comeback against the Dolphins.  They continue to find different ways to win, and they're definitely the team to beat in the NFC.  They have to keep the ball rolling against the Falcons on Monday Night, which could be a trip-up game.  If they win, they'll be even bigger favorites to win the division.

1) Indianapolis Colts (1).  They didn't miss a step during their bye week, and schooled another sub-par team.  This will be a very interesting game against the 49ers, and we'll see if the dynamic Colts offense can keep the pace it's been setting.  With Alex Smith starting, putting pressure on the QB is crucial.  That's why they have Dwight Freeney!
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 26, 2009 10:03 am


Tie for the NFC East division lead, that is.  If the Eagles beat the Redskins tonight (which should happen, considering how terrible the Skins have been), the top three teams in the division will be at two losses, with the Giants on top because they haven't had their bye week yet.

Giants vs. Cardinals

And speaking of the Giants, how disappointing was that?  I went to bed feeling sick because of that loss last night.  Though it looked like Eli would drive back and tie the game, he uncharacteristically threw an interception in the clutch when Steve Smith wasn't able to wrestle the ball away.

Steve Smith actually had a fantastic day, making a few key 3rd down catches, and remains as Eli's safety net.  Kevin Boss took a HUGE shot but held onto the ball, gaining a ton of respect from me and many other Giants fans.  Nicks, despite the fact that his TD was very lucky, is emerging as one of the Giants better receivers, and I'm hoping he'll continue to improve.

But one guy I just can't stand is Mario Manningham.  I don't like his attitude, his effort, and most of all, his hands.  He dropped an easy touchdown pass which would have put the Giants down by 3, instead of having to settle for a FG.  Eli, who was shaky all game, threw a perfect pass to him, but he dropped it.  This guy had character issues in college, which is why the Giants were able to get him in round 3 of the 2008 draft, but he's dropped many key passes so far.  Give the ball to Nicks or Smith.


Six games this weekend were decided by more than 28 points.  Most surprising of all these games was the Bengals domination of the Bears, and Palmer's 5 TD game.  Many people (including myself) thought that the Jay Cutler acquisition would benefit the Bears greatly, but he's been wildly inconsistent over his first 6 games.

Also, I can't stand the fact that the Raiders still want to start JaMarcus Russell.  He was terrible, and at least Gradkowski gave people the impression that he could play above a 60 passer rating.  The worst part is that Russell doesn't take any blame, while the rest of his team does.

Eagles vs. Redskins

As a Giants fan, I would love to see the Redskins pull off an upset to take down the Eagles, but I really don't see that happening.  Andy Reid is too good of a coach to let his team lose back to back games to below average teams. 

Posted on: October 23, 2009 8:44 am

I Hope Cable Punched Randy Hanson

Just take a look at this guy.  I can't STAND him.

When the reports came out that Tom Cable might have punched assistant coach Randy Hanson, I thought "just another typical day at Raiders training camp."  But then I remembered Hanson's name somewhere... linked to Lane Kiffin, the Raiders coach who was fired mid-season in 2008.

Lane Kiffin suspended Randy Hanson when started criticizing the coaching staff at a meeting.  Kiffin had every right to do so.

Acting as Al Davis' little imformant, Hanson went to management and became a key player in getting Lane Kiffin fired weeks later.  The Raiders may not have been a good team, and Kiffin's performance might have warranted firing, but there was clearly something going on with Al Davis and Randy Hanson.

Al Davis re-instated Hanson, Kiffin was fired, and Tom Cable became their head coach.  And now Hanson has another problem with a head coach.  Something just doesn't add up with this guy, and it is clear that he has a very unique role in that organization with Al Davis.

This all stems from Al Davis, who is quite possibly the worst current owner in the NFL.  He used to be a mastermind, but he's living in the past, and it seems like he is undermining his own team by placing "Randy Hansons" in the coaching staff to make sure that no one is going against him.

To make matters even more interesting, after the incident with Cable, witnesses said that Cable never hit Hanson.  In addition, Hanson failed to immediately file a police report and didn't talk to police until the end of September.  Here's a quote from the district attorney: "Something happened, but even he doesn't know how it happened.  I don't even think he has a good idea."  What a little punk.

I hope Randy Hanson got punched by Tom Cable, he probably deserves it.  But I'm also very glad that Cable had no charges pressed against him.

Hopefully now, Cable can bring this team out of the dumps, but that will be extremely difficult with an owner that lives in the past and a coaching staff with questionable allegiences.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or