The Pat's sweet road win over the Atlanta Falcons was marred by the loss of stud DT Vince Wilfolk for the season, due to a torn Achilles tendon. But, fretting about what took place last week is counter productive. So...next man up, and let's move on to Week 5, with the "Game of the Week" being:
1.) (4-0) Seattle Seahawks @ (3-1) Indianapolis Colts (+2.5): This battle between second year star QBs, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck, should be interesting to watch. After falling behind last week to the Texans, 20-3, the Seattle came from behind to win in OT, 23-20. They did so without both starting OTs, Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini, and starting center, Max Unger. All three likely will miss this game as well. After a stirring win in San Francisco, the Colts destroyed the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville. But, Indy lost first-round draft pick, OLB Bjoern Werner, for the next 4-6 weeks. Werner suffered a torn plantar fascia (the ligament that connects the heel to the toes) in his right foot. Fullback Stanley Havili will miss at least Sunday’s game against Seattle with a sprained ankle. Though I hate to go against Andrew Luck in Indy, the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC: PICK: Seattle;
2.) (2-2) Buffalo Bills (+4.5) @ (2-2) Cleveland Browns: Buffalo's top RBs, C. J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are banged up, and will likely miss this Thursday night game: http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/bills-nfl/bills-may-be-down-to-third-choice-at-rb-20130930. Since installing ex-Patriot Brian Hoyer as their QB, the Browns have won two straight. Thus far, ex-Bills' RB Willis McGahee has done a fine job replacing the departed Trent Richardson: PICK: Browns;
3.) (4-0) Kansas City Chiefs @ (3-1) Tennessee Titans (+3): Coming off an impressive thrashing of the NY Giants, the Chiefs'main concerns are the health of CB Brandon Flowers (knee), at rookie stud LT, Eric Fisher (possible concussion): http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/30/4519731/chiefs-reid-says-colquitt-charles.html . Tennessee crushed the Jets last week, but lost starting QB Jake Locker for 4-6 weeks in the process, due to a hip injury. Former Bills' starter Ryan Fitzpatrick replaces him. In what should be a tight defensive battle decided by a FG: PICK: Titans;
4.) (2-2) Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ (3-1) Miami Dolphins: Thanks primarily to five (5) Joe Flacco interceptions, the Ravens managed to lose at Buffalo, 23-20. But, it wasn't all Flacco's fault. The Ravens' pass protection was attrocious, and their ground game was so ineffective that it was abandoned. During one stretch of play, Flacco threw 31 straight passes! This horrendous team performance raised the ire of coach John Harbaugh: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bs-sp-ravens-john-harbaugh-critical-1001-20130930,0,4281439.story . Baltimore now goes to Miami to face the seemingly improved Dolpins...who had a rough ride in the Big Easy last Monday night, as Drew Brees and company took them apart, 38-17. The commission of four turnovers, including three Ryan Tannehill picks, and having to play without stud pass-rusher Cameron Wake (sprained knee), certainly didn't help the cause. Since the Dolphins' "D" couldn't contain RB Darren Sproles coming out of the backfield, look for the Ravens to employ RB Ray Rice in a similar fashion...assuming that Rice is healthy: PICK: Ravens;
5.) (0-4) Jacksonville Jaguars (+12) @ (1-3) St.Louis Rams: These are two terrible teams, heading into oblivion. Much more was expected from Jeff Fisher's Rams. The Jaguars refusal to give up on their awful starting QB, Blaine Gabbert, is proof positive that they are tanking to secure the #1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. Time for the Jags to trade frustrated RB Maurice Jones Drew to a contending team: PICK: Rams;
6.) (4-0) New England Patriots (+2) @ (2-2) Cincinnati Bengals: The Cincinnati Bengals appear to be a team brimming with talent. So, why aren't they winning? Bengals' fans are demanding an answer to this question, after seeing their loveables lay an egg in Cleveland, losing 17-6. The answer folks is that QB Andy Dalton is not the answer. He's overrated, and inconsistent. The other problem in Bengalville is that they are coached by Marvin Lewis, who is a defensive version of Norv Turner. Give BB the Bengals' roster, plus Tom Brady, and some of the accolades being hailed on the Horseface would be leveled on that squad. Despite the presence of Lewis and Dalton, the Bengals are still a tough out, especially on their home field. Look for them to try to establish a running game against the Wilfolk-less Patriots. They'll likely will also try to use their TEs and RBs coming out of the backfield, in a fashion similar to what the Falcons did, last Sunday. As for the Pats, look for BB to take away stud WR A. J. Green, and employ screens and the quick slants to blount the Bengals' ability to pressure Tom Brady. If the Pats can establish some remnants of a running game and protect Brady, they'll get it done: PICK: Patriots;
7.) (3-1) Detroit Lions (+7) @ (1-2) Green Bay Packers: This one should be a shoot-out. The Lions mediocre at best secondary took a blow last week, as starting CB Chris Houston went out with a hamstring injury. Their other starting CB, veteran Rahean Mathis, who appeared to suffer a concussion last week, should play. The Packers have both injury and depth troubles. They are still waiting on defensive backs Casey Hayward and Jarrett Bush, fullback John Kuhn, and outside linebacker Clay Matthews to heal up from their respective hamstring injuries. RBs Eddie Lacey and Johnathan Franklin should play, but are dinged up. At WR, the Packers are down to just four on their roster. TE Jermichael Finley is out (concussion). Coming off a pasting of the Bears in Detroit, the Lions are in a prime position to take control of the NFC North with a win over the depleted Packers: PICK: Lions;
8.) (4-0) New Orleans Saints (+1) @ (3-1) Chicago Bears: This game drew consideration for "Game of the Week" honors. The Bears were lit up by the Lions last week in Detroit, while the Saints are hitting the road in high gear after exposing the Miami Dolphins, last Monday night. The season ending injury to DT Henry Melton appeared to have a very detrimental effect on Chicago's "D", as the Lions served them with a 40 burger. To slow down the Saints' offense, a "D" must contain RB Darren Spoles, and TE Jimmy Graham. Last week, Detroit RB Reggie Bush slashed and gashed the Bears. Bush is a player with skills very similar to Sproles. The other thing that the Bears must do is to establish a running game to set up play action, and do a better job of protecting QB Jay Cutler from an aggressive Saints' defense. In what should be a very exciting game: PICK: Bears;
9.) (1-3) Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) @ (0-4) NY Giants: Though the Eagles can score, their defense is a joke. As for the G-men, this game could be their the Battle of the Bulge, where they turn back the hordes and salvage their season...or their Waterloo. They MUST win this game: PICK: Giants;
10.) (1-2) Carolina Panthers @ (2-2) Arizona Cardinals (+2): Cards' head coach Bruce Arians knows that his team was extremely fortunate in escape Tampa with a win. His offense is one of the worst in the NFL. The Panthers are coming off a bye week. Having two weeks to prepare for the popgun Cards seems unfair. That said, Carolina's offense is nothing to write home about either...though they did plant a 38 spot on the Giants in their last game. If the Panthers can't beat the Cards, it could cast a pall on their season: Panthers;
11.) (2-2) San Diego Chargers @ (1-3) Oakland Raiders (+4.5): QB Aaron Prior should be ready to return this Monday night. But, RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) likely will not. Though I like what I've seen from Prior, the rest of his team is lacking. But for a couple of boneheaded plays, the Chargers would be 4-0 this season: PICK: Chargers;
12.) (4-0) Denver Broncos @ (2-2) Dallas Cowboys (+7): How more TD passes will the Horseface hang up, against the Cowboys? In a shoot-out between Tony Romo and Peyton Manning, who would you hang your hat on?: PICK: Broncos;
13.) (2-2) Houston Texans (+7) @ (2-2) San Francisco 49ers: What appeared to be a marquee match-up at the beginning of the season is now a battle between the best 2-2 teams in the league. Houston should have beaten the Seahawks last week, and they know it. That loss prompted a players' only meeting. Meanwhile, Texans' fans were busy burning Matt Schaub jerseys outside of Reliant Stadium...as Schaub has now thrown a pick-6 in three straight games. After being embarrassed in back to back weeks by the Seahawks and the Colts, the 49ers appeared to regain their mojo, by crushing the Rams last Thursday night, 35-11. In what should be a very physical contest: PICK: Texans;
14.) (2-2) N.Y. Jets (+9) @ (1-3) Atlanta Falcons: Beating the Falcons in Atlanta was a nice win for the Pats. But, these Falcons are not the (13-3) Falcons of last year. Injuries on both sides of the ball have depleted this team. Against the Titans, Geno Smith played like the turnover machine that he is...with two picks and two lost fumbles: PICK: Falcons.
BEST BETS: Broncos, Rams, Falcons, Patriots.
As always, your comments and opinions are welcome...especially with regards to the Pats' game. Have a great week my friends!