AJ's Week 9 NFL Primer
The streak has ended as I suspected it would. Last week was a weird week in the NFL and I expect this one to be strange as well.
Kansas City at San Diego
How the Chargers didn’t fire Norv Turner after losing to the Browns is beyond me. They are regressing. They haven’t scored a touchdown in 6 quarters. They aren’t even capitalizing on turnovers. They are dropping wide open passes. Yet, they still have a good shot to beat the Chiefs on Thrusday night at Qualcomm. I dub this game ‘the battle of who cares’. Even with a terrible start the Broncos have this division locked up. It would be better if the Chargers lost, fired Norv and hoped for a high draft selection. Too bad the Chiefs are back to starting Matt Cassel.
Kansas City 12, San Diego 17
Carolina at Washington
Carolina was so close last week when I picked them. They had the game wrapped up if it wasn’t for Steve Smith falling down on that out route. They come in to face a Redskins team that was brutalized by the Steelers last week. This game could go either way. I’ll take the home team with a better offense. This one might be a high scoring affair and the Redskins excel at those.
Carolina 24, Washington 27
Arizona at Green Bay
Green Bay won last week against the Jaguars but it wasn’t pretty. They face a Cardinals team that was flat-out dominated on Monday night against the Niners. A short week doesn’t help a Cardinals offensive line with gaping holes or a running game that only managed to gain 7 yards last week. While Green Bay is winning unimpressively, they are at least winning and should easily handle the Cardinals at home.
Arizona 9, Green Bay 27
Detroit at Jacksonville
Is Detroit finally back on track? Probably not. I think they will finish the season .500 or below and Schwartz will be fired. Gruden would love to step in there. Jacksonville is playing without MJD…again. Teams are double and triple teaming Calving Johnson and this is leaving other receivers open. Either this trend will continue and Stafford will adjust or teams will stop and Calvin will be more open. You can’t hold down a passing game like this forever. The Jags are still the Jags, not much to talk about.
Detroit 27, Jacksonville 17
Chicago at Tennessee
I think that the Bears might be the worst 6-1 team I have seen. It’s not that they are ‘bad’ that makes me say that. They are a decent team, I will give them that. I am confused how their offense is so bad given that they have Forte and Marshall for Cutler to hand off/ throw to. The offense has been bad all season but especially ineffective the last few weeks. They were lucky to escape with a win in that Carolina game. It isn’t feasible for their defense to continue scoring so many points and when that stops, the wins will as well. That being said I think they can shut down Chris Johnson and Tennessee. Hasselbeck will need to have an amazing day for the Titans to win.
Chicago 23, Tennessee 13
Denver at Cincinnati
The wheels seem to have fallen off in Cincinnati. The offense is scoring as much and the defense is not longer very good at, well, stopping the opposition from scoring. Now they get to face a red-hot Peyton Manning. Even at home this doesn’t end well for the Bengals. Denver is playing well on both sides of the ball finally and can only get better. This could be a blowout.
Denver 31, Cincinnati 17
Baltimore at Cleveland
The lowly Browns scored their second win of the year last week against the Chargers. Not really an impressive feat, but an improvement for them nonetheless. They did it by scoring one touchdown and then playing lock down defense (and a couple easy drops by the Chargers). That probably won’t go as well against a high-powered Baltimore offense. Baltimore has been better at home than on the road this season but going in to Cleveland shouldn’t be a big challenge for them.
Baltimore 27, Cleveland 13
Buffalo at Houston
The Buffalo Bills might be the biggest tease in all of football. They have talent on both sides of the ball that choose to play some weeks and not others. Houston on the other hand has talent that consistently shows. Their defense should handle the Buffalo running game and their own running game should dominate the Bills. Houston is playing at an elite level and the Bills just aren’t.
Miami at Indianapolis
Shockingly, both of these teams would be in the playoffs if they started today. Both teams are lead by rookie quarterbacks playing well. The difference is, Miami has a drastically superior defense and more of a running game. Luck is playing better than Tannehill right now, but the Colts aren’t running the ball enough. Ballard and Brown could both be much more successful if they did and it would open up the secondary more for Luck. Hopefully they will realize this sooner rather than later. Until then, Miami gets the nod this week even though Luck and the Colts play great at home.
Miami 24, Indianapolis 21
Minnesota at Seattle
Was Minnesota a pretender all along? I don’t think so. They clearly weren’t as great as their start was but I think they can compete for the playoffs this year and should get in next year. AP is running out of his mind, but the passing game has fallen behind. Seattle’s last two games have been disappointing, but close losses. Their defense is still playing very strong, especially their secondary. The Niners were able to run very effectively against them and Minnesota has the skill to do so as well. I like Seattle at home in the Clink by a narrow margin.
Minnesota 17, Seattle 21
Tampa Bay at Oakland
I am becoming more and more of a fan of the Bucs. Their defense is solid and a starter or two away from being elite. Freeman has a strong arm and they think they have Ray Rice 2.0 in Doug Martin. They face an Oakland team that has been gashed by the run in the past. I think it will happen again.
Tampa Bay 27, Oakland 14
Pittsburgh at NY Giants
Everything screams that the Giants will win this game. I don’t think that they will. This seems like the perfect game the G-men lose. Coming off of a couple big wins against NFC opponents and playing at home against a good Steelers team. I think that Big Ben will continue to throw the ball well and this will be the big upset this week. Eli cannot sustain his level of 4th quarter domination every single week. It is just not feasible. Look for Dwyer to have a big game this week as well.
Pittsburgh 27, NY Giants 24
Dallas at Atlanta
Atlanta is the best team in football. I have felt that way since the beginning of the season. While they don’t have the defense of say the Niners or Houston, their offense can more than make up for it. Matt Ryan is likely going to be the MVP if he keeps this up. The defense is playing at a pretty high level as well. Dallas had a horrendous start to their game last week against NY, a good middle and then a poor finish. Who knows what you will get from Tony Romo on a weekly basis.
Dallas 24, Atlanta 31
Philadelphia at New Orleans
It is do or die for Andy Reid and Michael Vick. Fortunately they play against a terrible Saints defense and should be able to put up points….assuming Vick doesn’t turn the ball over a ton. As long as they put up points, they should both keep their jobs for another week. The real problem is the defense. Loaded with talent, can’t produce results. The Saints are the exact same way. They can score with the best of them but if your defense gives up 35 points a game it is tough to win. Where is my coin to flip?
Philadelphia 37, New Orleans 35