No Sleep Till Football

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2011 NFL Football – Week 9 Best Games

After a couple of lackluster weeks of games in the NFL, the league doesn’t disappoint in Week 9! You could easily have 4-5 games be worth of the #1 spot on the list which makes this week potentially the best week we’ve had so far in 2011. This is a pivotal week in the NFL and keep any eye on a lot of these games. The week could go either way. We’ll either get a clearer picture of the playoffs for both conferences, or we’ll essentially be starting over for the contending teams. This should be a very exciting week indeed!

In case you are interested, the helmets this week are what the teams used in 1980! it’s 80s week baby! The exceptions are the Ravens & Titans. I used Baltimore’s earliest helmet although they didn’t exist in 1980. Since I had a Colts game this week I didn’t go back to the Baltimore Colts helmet the city had in 1980. For the Titans I used the Houston Oilers helmet that was worn in 1980. I thought it would be pretty cool to mix it up.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
I absolutely love this game! A lot of people will say Ravens/Steelers is the biggest game of the week and I get it, but Bears/Eagles has an entirely different kind of meaning. It’s very likely both Baltimore & Pittsburgh make the playoffs, but that’s not the case here. With two fairly dominant wins over the Redskins & Cowboys, the Eagles are now 3-4 with their 4-game losing streak looking a little out of character. They’ve yet to play the Giants and the Giants have New England today meaning the Eagles could be 4-4 and the Giants 5-3 and the end of play today. For Chicago, they are 4-3 themselves with their only losses coming to GB, NO & DET. The Bears certainly need to keep establishing themselves as a Wild Card team just below the elite level teams in the NFC. A win over Philly reaffirms that, but also puts them ahead of Philly in Wild Card tiebreakers. Neither team has an easy schedule from this point forward so a win here is crucial for playoff  viability. The Bears defense really is that good while the Eagles offense is coming alive. It’ll be interesting to see who wins this battle of wills.. EAGLES (-7.5)
To be fair this game should have probably been listed first because the subplots here are incredible. You have to start back at week 1 when Baltimore hosted the Steelers in the season opener & hammered them 34-7. Steelers HC Mike Tomlin thought that went a little too far & made mention that Pittsburgh would remember when Baltimore came to the steel city. With a rivalry this heated, those kinds of games can mean a lot when you play a 2nd time. The other thing to keep in mind is momentum. The Steelers are on a 4-game winning streak with their latest win coming against the Patriots which pushed Pittsburgh to 6-2 & currently the #1 overall seed in the AFC. The Ravens have struggled the past two weeks losing to Jacksonville & barely getting by Arizona. Lastly, there is some perception issues here. The win over New England was great for the Steelers because up to that point their 5-2 record was somewhat schedule based. Beating Baltimore here probably puts the Steelers in the driver’s seat for a #1 seed in the AFC. They still wouldn’t have won a huge road game, but if they are the #1 seed they’ll never have to. Huge game here, & don’t forget that if Baltimore wins they retake the lead in the AFC North & will have a 2-0 record against Pittsburgh this season. STEELERS (-3)
Another game that probably deserves the #1 spot on this list! To me this is the defining game for the Bills. With New England losing last week, the Bills at 5-2 now lead the AFC East & currently have the #2 seed in the playoffs which means a 1st round bye and a home playoff game. Buffalo could easily see themselves playing in the AFC Champinship game! On the other hand, this is just as a defining game for the New York Jets. After losing 3 straight, the Jets have won their last two including a win over San Diego last week. At 4-3, the Jets are just a game behind both Buffalo & New England. If the Jets win today they’d pull ahead of the Bills in the AFC East! A loss here probably kills their playoff chances as I don’t think the AFC East gets 3 playoff teams. This game probably doesn’t get ANY BIGGER! Just an amazing game, & one I’m really looking forward to! Keep in mind that the Bills are 4-0 at home this year while the Jets are 0-3 on the road! If that holds then Buffalo could be sitting as the #1 seed in the AFC by the end of the day. I absolutely LOVE the Buffalo story this year, but I love Rex Ryan as well so I can’t lose either way in this matchup. Buffalo has worked all year for this game. Are they ready to take the jump in 2011?  BILLS (-2.5)
There are massive implications for both teams. Vegas doesn’t think much of this game as the line started as New England (-7), but has since moved to NE (-9)! Clearly sports bettors don’t think the Giants can keep it within 7 points even fi Tom Brady has come out & said the Giants rush the passer better than any team in the NFL. It’s a huge game for New England as a loss here drops them to 5-3 which would effectively put them 2 games behind Buffalo if the Bills beat the Jets. If the Jets win that game then the East is a 3-way tie of 5-3 squads. According to Football Outsiders, the Patriots are the 3rd best team in the AFC East so I think NEP needs to win games like this to avoid head-to-head battles with their East rivals meaning so much. For New York, this is a wild one. A loss here pushes them to 5-3. Dallas likely beats Seattle & if Philly beats Chicago then both Dallas & Philadelphia are 4-4. A loss here probably doesn’t kill either team, but it sets up gigantic division games from this point forward. As a football fan I think I’d rather see the Patriots lose because it makes the AFC East a free for all. The Giants winning sets them at 6-2 and makes the Eagles & Cowboys roads that much tougher, but there haven’t been too many NFC East division games so that could still turn out wild. A great game here in a week full of them. PATRIOTS (-9)
Vegas doesn’t think much of this game as the line started as NO (-8) & has since moved a half a point higher. The NFC South is a mess. How can New Orleans beat the Colts 62-7 on Sunday night a week before losing to the Rams 31-21!? That doesn’t make any sense. From a statistical perspective, the Saints are still one of the best teams in the NFC & NFL as a whole, but they’ve been pretty inconsistent for the most part. They are 3-0 at home, but 2-3 on the road having played 5 road games in their first 8 without experiencing a bye week. Maybe they are simply tired at this point in the season. I don’t think Tampa Bay is that good of a team, but they’ve already beaten the Saints once this season so there has to be some confidence there. You have to assume that Atlanta is going to beat the Colts this week pushing the Falcons to 5-3. A Tampa win here pushes the Bucs to 5-3, but also 2-0 over the Saints. A New Orleans loss puts the Saints at 5-4 and way behind the Bucs with a ton of work to do if they want to make the playoffs. Luckily for the Saints, this is a home game so it’s likely they win, but there are some games on the schedule that don’t look like easy game & Atlanta is starting to play well. I think the Saints win, but they look more vulnerable now than ever. A loss here could mean a playoff absence. SAINTS (-8.5)
The Chargers aren’t that good of a football team, but if there has been a chink in Green Bay’s armor it’s their play on the road. The Packers are 3-0 at home with an average score of 38-20. They are 4-0 on the road with an average score of 29-20. The defense looks the same, but the offense is almost 10 points worse away from Lambeau! That’s crazy! The Chargers aren’t terrible, but they aren’t great either. The Packers are coming off a bye week so maybe it takes their rhythm off & San Diego gets lucky. The Chargers are coming off of a 2 road games where they’ve suffered back-to-back close losses. Regression to the mean might be in order here & going 16-0 is incredibly difficult. Could San Diego catch Green Bay napping this week? I don’t know, but the Rams did put it on New Orleans last week so anything is possible. The other side of the argument is that Green Bay is simply a machine, a bye week is going to rest them up & the Chargers simply aren’t any good which means a Packers blow out. I think Green Bay puts the hammer down, but the Bolts sure could use a win. At this rate they’ll barely finish ahead of Denver! PACKERS (-5.5)
There are a lot of great games on this week so the Bengals traveling to Nashville is a bit under the radar, but this game has a lot of meaning for both teams. The Titans rebounded a bit last week beating on the Colts after they simply didn’t show up against Houston the week before. They are only a half game behind the Texans & it’s looking more & more like the South is downright horrible. Anything can happen. What’s more interesting is the Bengals. The have a defense that is seriously for real while the rookie tandem of Andy Dalton & AJ Green have been incredible! The Bengals are 5-2 & in the playoffs if the season ended today. Both teams need the win, but a Bengals win has amazing considerations. Imagine this, if the Bengals, Ravens, & Jets win today, guess which team would have the #1 overall seed in the AFC? That would be the 6-2 Cincinnati Bengals! That’s INSANE! Even if New England wins, the Bengals would own the tiebreaker & be the default #1 seed. Given the transition that the Bengals went through with the Carson Palmer disaster, it’s amazing that a rookie QB could be leading them to a conference championship? If Tennessee wins then this discussion is for naught, but the Titans aren’t any good & if the Bengals are for real they win this game. I can’t believe Cincy is an underdog here. TITANS (-3)
What’s kind of amazing here is that the Patriots are thought to beat the Giants by a bigger margin than the Falcons are the Colts. Obviously I’m a Colts homer, or rather a Peyton Manning homer, so this is why the game is on here, but you have to think that a decent reason the Colts games are must see games is that Indianapolis has a legitimate shot at going 0-16. They are that horrible. Anyway, there is some interest in the game. Last week an 0-6 Rams team welcomed the Saints into St. Louis & sent the Saints home with a 31-21 defeat. This week another NFC South team takes on a winless team on the road so who knows what could happen!? At 4-3, the Falcons have a real shot at turning their season around. A win here puts them at 5-3 with a good shot at winning the South. Even if the Saints win today they’ll only be 6-3. Atlanta can’t afford to be Indy’s first victim. FALCONS (-6.5)
Wow the Seahawks suck! I think the Seahawks are actually interesting from a variety of perspectives. The Pete Carroll aspect is interesting enough. Carroll leaves USC because of scandal but also because he felt his legacy in the NFL wasn’t correct. He came to Seattle last year & in his first season won the NFC West & beat the defending Super Bowl champions in a wild card playoff game. Not too bad. But then changes occurred. The unstable Mike Singletary left the 49ers only to be replaced by a wunderkind coach in Jim Harbaugh who has San Francisco soaring. The Cardinals got Kevin Kolb at QB which seemed like it solved their QB issues at the time. Maybe that actually doesn’t work out. The Rams draft Sam Bradford who really does seem as good as advertised & the Rams are making fantastic draft choices. The opportunity to hammer the NFC West looked fantastic in Year 1. In Year 2 it looks terrible with Seattle having serious QB issues of their own. It would be interesting to see them grab Matt Barkley if given the chance. As for the Cowboys, this is a game they should win so I’m sure they’ll get it done. It’ll make them 4-4 and they’ll certainly be rooting for the Bears & Patriots today. COWBOYS (-11)
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November 6, 2011 - Posted by | Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans

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