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NFL Week 6 2009

By: Nick Popyack

[Have a comment? Click the title of this article and go crazy!]

       After a week full of lopsided victories, strange calls and a full blown abomination to the game of football as we know it, I have to once again voice my opinion about extending the regular season from 16 games to 17 or 18 games. The most likely course of action would be to take away one or two of the preseason games and turn them into regular season games. Sure, a longer season may produce more games like the Jets-Dolphins game, a game with five lead changes in the fourth quarter, but it would more likely provide games like [But hopefully, better than] the Bills-Browns game, in which the Browns had two complete passes and almost twice as many punting yards as total offense [Yet they won… More on that later]. While this comes from poor managing on both sides, it speaks volumes to me regardless. Why should teams have to endure even longer losing seasons? Why should players risk injury even more, especially the high profile ones? If a team has clinched their division or home field advantage, what’s stopping them from putting in their back-ups, resulting, more than likely, in the same thing as a preseason game, the very thing Roger Goodell is trying to eliminate? I couldn’t be more against a longer season, as, after five weeks, some teams are already clearly on their way to sub-.500 years [Or a .000 year]. Enough ranting; here’s week 6.

St. Louis Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars
[Sunday 1:00]

       What in the world is wrong with the Jaguars? They are the most inconsistent team in the NFL right now, and are a terrible team to pick for/against. For two weeks, they can’t score more than 17 points. Then they score more than 31 two weeks in a row! Then they can’t score even one [or three]. I honestly don’t know what to say about Jacksonville other than they need a more consistent passing game. In their two wins, David Garrard completed 67.1% of his passes. In their three losses, he’s completed only 53.9%. That is a monumental difference, and a failure to be reliable will lose a quarterback his job. The Rams, on the other hand, are still the worst team in the NFL. They’ve scored the least amount of points and they’ve allowed the second most. This gives them the lowest net points in the league [-112], and their competition isn’t really that close [Raiders, -81]. Though the Rams might win this one, I think their defense will keep them out of it. And as far as Rush Limbaugh owning the team goes, it’s good that he’s out of the picture now. With even the question in African-American’s minds about whether or not they want to play for Limbaugh, they wouldn’t be able to compete in the free agent market of a league that is largely black. Alright, I’m done.
Jacksonville Jaguars

New York Giants @ New Orleans Saints
[Sunday 1:00]

       In an undefeated matchup at this point in the season, you can expect both teams to be ready to live up to the hype. Two of the top three offenses in the league meet with the Saints and the Giants going head to head in this sure to be exciting matchup. Something that surprised me when I was looking at the team stats was how close these offenses were inside the numbers. Both have top five rushing attacks and quarterbacks with passer ratings above 100 points. This game will clearly be a telling one for both teams, and defense will be the key. When the Saints played the Jets, their defense won the game for them, something it couldn’t do in the past. Eli Manning’s team will face a much tougher [And rested] defense than they have in the past three weeks. While both teams are playing superb football, I have to go with the more formidable passing threat of Drew Brees and Co. While the Giants have been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks, I expect Brees to make them pay.
New Orleans Saints

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
[Sunday 1:00]

       Raheem Morris should be ashamed. His quarterback did the best he could in his second start, and even delivered two touchdowns after being forced to throw the ball 50 times. With an inexperienced quarterback, the most important thing to establish is the running game, and when your team is winless, you should take all opportunities to score that you can. Morris made his team go for it on fourth down twice in the first half instead of going for the field goal [Hint: they didn’t make either of them], and at the end of the half, trailing by two scores, elected to pass with six seconds left, resulting in an interception. I really don’t like what Morris is doing with this team, and it’s obvious that he deserves to be winless. The Panthers, on the other hand, listened to me and ran the ball last week to earn themselves their first win of the season. They’ll face a much softer defense this week in Tampa Bay, and should get back on track.
Carolina Panthers

Baltimore Ravens @ Minnesota Vikings
[Sunday 1:00]

       The Ravens, after a great 3-0 start, have lost their last two games by a total of nine points. These games haven’t been lost due to their defense playing not playing well, but rather not closing games. Against both the Patriots and the Bengals, after getting go-ahead scores, they allowed the game winning points and couldn’t make anything happen. The Vikings, however, have excelled in two tough games, one of them the most memorable of the year, with Brett Favre’s connection to Greg Lewis in the final minute. Minnesota has been winning close games as well as blowouts, and really have an excellent team. They just plain score points. In a close one, I like the play of a veteran quarterback.
Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers
[Sunday 1:00]

       Green Bay really needs to address this offensive lien issue. Yes, it’s an issue. They have a great, young offense that’s agonizingly close to 4-0. If they could block their opponents’ best pass-rushers, we’d be looking at the best offense in the NFL. Unfortunately, they haven’t fixed this issue and will suffer if it becomes their identity. On another note, how much better do the Lions look from last year? What an incredible difference. If their top two offensive weapons [Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson] were healthy, I could see them beating the Packers. However, they aren’t, and the real stat to look at here is the Packers’ seven interceptions versus the Lions’ three. Green bay is winning this one.
Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals
[Sunday 1:00]

       Here’s an interesting matchup. The Texans, after a slow start, are on fire, and will be serious contenders if they can finish games. These characteristics of theirs was personified best in last week’s game against the Cardinals; they trailed by 21 points, rallied for three touchdowns of their own, but couldn’t make it happen against Arizona’s epic goal line stand. This is what I’m looking at more than anything else, because of one player on the Bengals offense: Carson Palmer. Palmer has five weeks in a row lead his team on fourth quarter marches for the go ahead score. He’s simply beating teams in the final two minutes. However, they’re also dangerously close to 0-5. That said, Palmer will once again be the key to this game.
Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
[Sunday 1:00]

       Ugh. How do you win a game with only two completed passes? Like I said last week, the Browns are going to miss Braylon Edwards’ mere presence on offense, and 2 of 17 for 23 yards is the result. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn aren’t necessarily bad quarterbacks, they just had their best player on offense [Kellen Winslow] traded in the offseason, and their next best player [Braylon Edwards] traded to a better team. They better hope they have a great draft, because they are in definite need of some rebuilding. There really shouldn’t be any doubt about the Steelers winning this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs @ Washington Redskins
[Sunday 1:00]

       For whatever reason, the Redskins just can’t score points. They are consistently failing to produce points, even with a number of Pro Bowlers on offense [Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley, Santana Moss]. Jim Zorn has yet to impact the offense in a good way, and I’d be ready for a new coach if I was a Redskins fan [thank the Lord I’m not]. The Chiefs, however disappointing an 0-5 start is, have shown a lot of development. They’ll be better with Todd Haley as a head coach and Matt Cassel as a quarterback. It’ll take some time for their defense to get started, though. If they let more players rack up 250 receiving yards against them, they can say goodbye to the hope of winning a single game. As much as it pains me to do this, I have to take the team that’s won a game [or two].
Washington Redskins

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
[Sunday 4:05]

       Seattle shocked everyone last week with their second shut out of the season. After the Jags scored 37 points against the Titans, they couldn’t score one against the Seahawks. Interestingly enough, the Seahawks’ two shutouts are their only wins. They take the phrase ‘all or nothing’ to a whole new level. Anyway, they’ve finally gotten their main off-season acquisition, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, involved into their offense with his first two touchdowns of the season last week. Matt Hasselbeck delivered a win the Seahawks needed, but they’ll need even more this week against the Cardinals. The funny thing about the Cardinals is their run defense is first in the league and their pass defense is last. This will probably end up in a shoot out, and you know who I’m taking in that case.
Arizona Cardinals

Philadelphia Eagles @ Oakland Raiders
[Sunday 4:05]

       I have to agree with NFL.com writer Michael Lombardi on a comment he made about the Eagles last week: It doesn’t make sense for Mike Vick to be in Philadelphia. He was brought to Philly for the specific reason of jumpstarting the offense. After the last few weeks, I think the offense can be considered jumpstarted. Not only are the starters doing fine without the Wildcat, but backup Kevin Kolb threw for over 300 yards in both of his starts, and I don’t think it was because the opposing defenses feared the Wildcat. Their conventional offense is working fine, and unless the Eagles plan to make a 50-50 split of conventional offense and Wildcat offense like the Dolphins, they shouldn’t include it at all. I’ll admit, I was a fan of what the Wildcat might bring, but I barely saw any Wildcat [Excuse me, ‘Spread Eagle’] in the first half. After the game was in hand, they brought it out more regularly. It simply doesn’t make sense. Anyway, all I have to say about this game is second highest scoring team against second lowest scoring team. Good luck, Tom Cable.
Philadelphia Eagles

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
[Sunday 4:15]

       Man. It’s incredible that a team can win a game with only two completed passes, but how the hell do you LOSE a game when the team only completed two passes? Somehow, Buffalo managed. After a promising start with the no huddle offense, the Bills couldn’t even outscore the Browns. Now that is bad. The Jets, on the other hand, added another playmaker to their offense and are trying to stay alive in an exciting AFC East [Besides the Bills]. Braylon Edwards is a great addition for New York and should be a bigger help when he learns more of the playbook. With Jerricho Cotchery’s hamstring still tweaked, you can be sure to see plenty of him. Oh yeah, and their defense isn’t bad either.
New York Jets

Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots
[Sunday 4:05]

       They did it. The Titans are so desperate for a win that they’ve brought in the very man they benched last year in order to go 13-3: Vince Young. Honestly, I think he could help the team. While Kerry Collins filled in and exceeded expectations last year, it’s about time to find out if Young can deliver a win for the 0-5 Titans. He adds the running dimension, he was selected as a franchise quarterback, and last time he was put in mid-season, he rewarded Tennessee with a rookie of the year-worthy performance. If he could do that for the Titans, I’m sure they’d go with him. Unfortunately, their problems lie mostly in their poor pass defense. Tom Brady might not be back to full strength, but he’s sure to have enough in him to beat the ailing Titans.
New England Patriots

Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons
[Sunday 8:20]

       Now this is going to be a good game. Matt Ryan vs. Jay Cutler. Michael Turner vs. Matt Forte. Roddy White vs. … Earl Bennett? Well, he’s the leading receiver of the Bears. When I look at their offenses, it’s obvious that they both have stars on their team. Both teams have strong-armed quarterbacks and stud running backs. The Bears have the best special teams return unit in the league, but their pass defense has been shredded. The Falcons defense is allowing only 15.8 points per game, but their defense has allowed a whole bunch of yards. These teams are so even, it’s ridiculous. The deciding factor is going to end up being the passing game, and Atlanta has the advantage just slightly because of Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White, though this game will probably go down to the wire.
Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
[Monday 8:30]

       Before I talk about how great the Broncos played against the Patriots, let me say that it was absolutely classless the way Josh McDaniels behaved after beating his mentor. Sure, celebrating with the fans is encouraged, and hugging players that gave their all is perfectly acceptable, but it is so LOW for an NFL head coach to not even look for their opponent, win, lose or tie, for a handshake, hug, any exchange at all. Remember what we all did as kids? Playing soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey… Go ahead, name your sport. At the end of the game, everyone said ‘Good game’ to their opponents, whether they meant it or not. The worst I’ve seen is the cold, no eye-contact handshake by the aforementioned Bill Belichick. Head coaches give each other handshakes at the very least. It’s a maturity thing, and not even looking for the other head coach is a terrible thing for a coach to do. Yeah, he met some assistant coaches, but that just makes it worse! Ugh. I just don’t like Josh McDaniels, which is unfortunate, because he doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere. His defense has allowed the least amount of points in the league, and they’re second in yards gained. Truly, their defense has been carrying them, but their offense is starting to take form as well. Brandon Marshall has finally gotten his head on straight, and he’s having a field day with all four of his touchdown receptions coming in the past three games. San Diego can score points as well, as the nation watched them put up 28 points in the final 22 minutes of their game against Pittsburgh. The real thing to watch in this game will be how well the Chargers can contain the Broncos rushing attack and play-action to Marshall. In a toss-up, I’m picking against the Broncos again, hoping they don’t make me pay again.
San Diego Chargers

Recap:
Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints
Carolina Panthers
Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers
Cincinnati Bengals
Pittsburgh Steelers
Washington Redskins
Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles
New York Jets
New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons
San Diego Chargers

Bye weeks: Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers

Last week’s winner: Three way tie… Nick, Kavik, Pat [8]
Season totals:

Nick: 48
Kavik: 45
Pat: 41

       Every week, I participate in 610 WIP’s “Suicide Pool”, in which you must pick a team every week that you think will win. The only catch is you can only pick each team once the entire season, meaning, if you last the entire season, you will have picked 17 different teams. Last week, my pick was:

Week 5 Suicide Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

History of Picks: San Diego, Minnesota, Baltimore, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

Fantasy Football: The story of Team Nate Kaeding [0-4]

       Dropped Redskins D/ST and RB Derrick Ward for TE Mercedes Lewis and K Matt Prater. Don’t worry, it’s just because Nate Kaeding had a bye week. Come next week, Prater is gone. I didn’t start Roddy White, who earned 33 points and would have won me my first game. Going into the Sunday night game, I was losing by 11 points with WR Pierre Garcon on my team being the only player left. 309 yards Peyton Manning throws for, and only 9 go to Garcon. I lost, 64-75.

For those of you unfamiliar to my blog, I post every week on Eaglesmix and my Facebook page. Thanks for your support!



       This week’s unfounded rumor: Inspired by Denver’s terrible throwback uniforms, the league has changed the Pro Bowl uniforms to a completely original design, inspired by some of the “best” uniforms seen recently. They’ll play wearing jerseys that are lime green on the bottom half [Seahawks], baby blue and yellow on the top half [Eagles throwback], a left yellow and brown sock [Broncos throwbacks] and a bright orange right sock [Dolphins]. The helmets will be navy blue and gold [Jets throwbacks], and the pants will be solid hot pink to raise awareness for breast cancer. Chad Johnson will design the shoes.

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