Revisiting the Weekend

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Revisiting the Weekend

Well, I predicted four games last week and came away with a 3-1 record, not bad huh? Although this upcoming weekend isn’t as flashy as the last, don’t worry, week 6 is right around the corner and the matchups are outstanding. Baltimore will visit Minnesota, New Orleans will host the Giants. Chicago will go to Atlanta for the Sunday night game and the Chargers will try to reclaim the division when Denver comes to town on Monday night. Even the Houston at Cincinnati game will be a battle.

Next weekend isn’t as jam-packed with the five-star matchups as this past weekend was so instead of predicting next Sunday, I’ll just revisit the action in case you may have missed it.

 

New York Jets vs New Orleans Saints

What I predicted …

Saints 28-17

What I said would happen …

“The Jets have a premier cornerback, a premier nose tackle and upper echelon players in their linebackers corps and secondary. This could be a low-scoring game Saints wise that may end in the 20’s range. Anything past that and it will be hard for New York to keep up with a rookie quarterback playing only his second road game”

What actually happened …

The Saints won 24-10. New Orleans defense was everywhere, scoring two touchdowns and forcing rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez into four turnovers. The Jets defense held the explosive Saints offense to 10 measly points but their offense couldn’t help them out. New York cornerback Darrelle Revis continued his shutdown of the league tour and held another premier wideout in check. The Saints Marques Colston was held to two catches for 33 yards and Drew Brees was limited to 190 yards passing.

My reactions …

New Orleans won a game in which their offense was pretty much shut down and that’s encouraging to the Saints’ Super Bowl aspirations this year. Their defense played an excellent game and if New Orleans can get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they’re going to be hard to beat.

Sanchez is still a rookie quarterback and it showed on Sunday. I don’t know how for real Sanchez is but the Jets defense might be the best unit in the league. Revis’ cover abilities allow New York head coach Rex Ryan to do a lot of things with his pressure schemes. Revis has held Colston, Randy Moss and Andre Johnson to a combined 10 catches for 92 yards. If that’s not shutdown corner worthy, I don’t know what is. If the Jets can continue to play outstanding defense and run the ball well, a playoff birth should surely be in the works.

 

Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots

What I predicted …

Patriots 31-24

What I said would happen …

“The Patriots are slowly transitioning into an all-around solid team that can beat opponents with the run game, pass game or defense. They’re going to need all three phases this week to slow a hot Baltimore squad.”

What actually happened …

The Patriots won 27-21. There were a few questionable calls and no-calls in the game that caught a lot of controversy but that really didn’t affect the outcome. New England’s defense held the Ravens, who came in averaging 34.3 points a game, to 14 points. Although a dropped pass was the only thing that kept the Patriots defense from losing the game, they did a pretty good job of containing Joe Flacco and the Ravens attack. The Baltimore defense struggled to stop the Patriots but continued their bend-but-don’t-break philosophy. Aside from holding Cleveland to three points, teams are averaging 25.6 points against the once-feared Baltimore D, something they will have to look at.

My reactions …

Baltimore is for real. Although they were outplayed for much of the game, the fact that they had a chance to win it late just proves how good the Ravens are this season. Flacco is a premier quarterback in the league and the run game and his big arm compensate for Baltimore’s lack of a game-breaking wideout. As evident by Mark Clayton’s drop, the Ravens are an elite receiver away from being a Super Bowl favorite, they still may go this year but the receiving corps aside from Derrick Mason are going to have to step up.

New England continues to have the rules shaped in their favor and that’s beginning to irk people around the league. Two calls against the Ravens for unnecessary roughness might not have been called if it were another team and another quarterback. Regardless, the rules are here to stay for this season at least and defenses will have to adjust. Other than that, New England played a nice game. They still aren’t clicking on offense yet and that’s pretty scary considering they scored 27 against Baltimore. The defense isn’t as stout as it used to be but head coach Bill Belichick is compensating for a lack of talent with effective schemes.

New England and Baltimore may meet up again in the playoffs and the outcome could be the same considering Baltimore hasn’t beaten New England since they were the old Cleveland Browns. But Baltimore has never had a quarterback of Flacco’s caliber before either. Stay tuned.

 

Dallas Cowboys vs Denver Broncos

What I predicted …

Cowboys 24-13

What I said would happen …

“If the Broncos want some respect, they can earn it this weekend but this game is too important to let get away for the Cowboys, who trail Philadelphia and New York in the division”

What actually happened …

The Broncos won 17-10. Denver earned their respect by stifling the Dallas offense and limiting Tony Romo to a 67.1 quarterback rating. The defense played remarkable and the offense didn’t make mistakes. Rookie running back Knowshon Moreno lost a fumble but the defense recovered nicely, holding Dallas to 10 points. Dallas missed the presence of the injured Felix Jones and Marion Barber, who started the game but left after a quad injury tightened up on him. Barber was effective in the first half when the Cowboys were running the ball well but his absence in the second half led to Romo throwing the ball 42 times.

My reactions …

I questioned the competition of Denver’s opponents before the game and I’m still not sold on them but they are 4-0. Quarterback Kyle Orton hasn’t thrown an interception all season and receiver Brandon Marshall is a big play waiting to happen. I’m not sure how far Denver will go this year but their undefeated start is the feel good story of the season, considering the absolute mess they went through during the offseason.

It seems like the league has caught on to Tony Romo. Romo was unbelievable just a couple of seasons ago but maybe the void left by Terrell Owens departure and weight of the Cowboys’ mystique might be too much for the young qb. Dallas definitely needs a receiver to step up and make defenses pull a safety out the box. Teams are now putting seven and eight defenders in the box and daring Romo to beat them. When Owens was in Dallas, he opened the field up for Romo to find tight end Jason Witten for big gains over the middle and even though Owens expressed his displeasure about that very topic, his abilities made the Cowboy offense a lot more fearful than it is now.

Dallas has an elite run game to power them into the postseason but if Barber and Jones continue to be hobbled, the Cowboys are going to have to lean on the aerial attack and without T.O., games against the Giants and Broncos have already showed that may be too large of a task.

 

Green Bay Packers vs Minnesota Vikings

What I predicted …

Vikings 31-20

What I said would happen …

A lot of talk will be made about the battle amongst the student and the teacher between Favre and Rodgers but star tailback Adrian Peterson will probably end up being (get this) the “star” of the game. Minnesota’s game plan is to run Peterson first and rely on Favre’s arm second. Neither of the last two offensive lines nor the running backs are as good as what Green Bay will face on Monday and if the Packers couldn’t contain the 13th and 14th ranked rushing offenses, it could be a long night in Minnesota”

What actually happened …

The Vikings won 30-23. Although Peterson wasn’t the “star” of the game, he certainly affected the Packers game plan. Green Bay dedicated their defensive game plan to stop AP and by doing so allowed Favre to go off on them. Favre passed for three touchdowns and the usually respectable Green Bay secondary got abused by selling out to stop the run. Rodgers was efficient when he had time to throw but the Vikings sacked him a ridiculous eight times on Monday and picked him off once. Minnesota’s defense was relentless in their pursuit of Rodgers and the Green Bay signal caller still managed to throw for 384 yards and two scores. Green Bay is going to have to shore up its pass protection if the Packers want to compete with the big boys this season.

My reactions …

Minnesota, New Orleans and the Giants are all undefeated and all look really good. The Vikings in particular, have the best running back in the league and defenses have to respect that. If Favre can keep making teams pay for crowding the box then Minnesota is going to be nearly impossible to beat, especially at the Metrodome. The Vikings defense is a top notch unit, you can’t run on them and the pressure they can bring with just their front four puts Minnesota as the driver in the NFC race.

Green Bay has a lethal offense but is a liability on the defensive side. It’s a tough job to ask them to take away both the run and the pass so they usually commit to just stopping one or the other. The problem is, when they contain one, they really give up big plays in the other. Rodgers is a bonafide star but his pass protection is horrible. Luckily, he’s mobile enough to evade the rush and rarely makes mistakes. If the Packers pass protection and defense can improve then Green Bay will have a successful season, otherwise, they’ll be picking in the top ten again in next year’s draft.

 

 

 

 

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