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2014 NFL WEEK 9 – GAMES OF THE WEEK

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For the last 15 years it almost always seems like it is Brady v. Manning. Should 2014 be any different? The Patriots are playing out of their minds at the moment on a 4-game winning streak that has seen New England beat their opponents on average by the score of 40-22. The only thing I worry about there is the Patriots schedule. Those 4 wins have come against the Bengals, Bills, Bears & Jets. You could take the best players from all 4 teams and still probably not beat Denver. One thing to remember here is that I think it will be tough to be either team twice in one season so the loser here could benefit.
Tony Romo isn’t playing which makes this seem like a decisive win for the Cardinals. On the other hand, Brandon Weeden wasn’t awful last week and look at what Colt McCoy is doing in Washington!? Dallas actually might have a chance at this one with it being in the Big D! Unfortunately there is more turmoil coming out of Cowboys camp this time involving backup RB Joseph Randle throwing WR Dez Bryant & DL Josh Brent under the bus. Dallas has become somewhat of a circus and although they’ve been that way in the past, it was a lot easier to look away from when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls.
The Steelers are turning into the Colts of the Peyton Manning era. Roethlisberger is Manning. Le’Veon Bell is Edgerrin James. Antonio Brown is Marvin Harrison & Markus Wheaton is a young Reggie Wayne. Even Heath Miller doubles as Dallas Clark! Those Colts teams always seemed to disappoint in the playoffs, but they also win 12-13 games a season! The Ravens are still a fantastic team. How they’ve lost to Cincinnati twice this season is beyond me, but Baltimore has the chance to beat Pittsburgh twice after today. If the Steelers split with Cincy then the division is a real mess! These 2 are the best in the North.
This is a big time narrative game for me. Before the season everyone thought (including me) that New Orleans would run away with the South. Atlanta & Tampa Bay weren’t very good and the Panthers were bound to take a step back. That opened the door for not only the Saints to win the South but to really challenge for the NFC Title because they might have gotten homefield advantage. The homefield advantage thing could be gone because of Green Bay, Philly or even Arizona, but the Saints are going to win the South. They make their move this week by taking down the Panthers in Carolina.
You could really argue this is the best game of the week. According to Football Outsiders Team Efficiency rankings, the Chargers are the 9th best team in the NFL. The Dolphins are the 10th! The Chargers are coming of back-to-back losses. The Dolphins are coming off back-to-back road wins! What’s amazing here is that there are a lot of possibilities. The Chargers are gunning for a wild card berth & a loss here hurts them because they’d lose any tiebreakers with Miami when selecting Wild Card teams. Also it doesn’t make sense for the Chargers to lose 3 straight games. For the Dolphins a win here would put them at 5-3 & if the Patriots lost to Denver, they’d be a half game behind New England with the H2H advantage after Miami beat the Patriots in Week 1. There is a lot going on here. Even on the road I think San Diego gets a win here, but if the Dolphins win this game, then we all need to start recognizing that Miami is a serious contender for the AFC East & the AFC Championship both.
After the Colts gave up 51 points to the Steelers, the Giants have to be frothing at the mouth for a chance to see how Ben McAdoo’s uptempo West Coast offense does against a defense so porous! Indy is lucky they play in the South because even a loss here doesn’t doom them. For the Giants their next 4 games are critical. At 3-4, they can’t allow Dallas & Philly to get too far ahead. Their next 4 are against Indy, Seattle, SF & Dallas, but 3 of those are home games. NY is capable of winning their last 5. If they can split their next 4 & win out they’d get to 10-6. That might not be enough, but it’ll be close to getting to the playoffs. The game is also important for Indy in the same way. The South might be theirs but they need the #2/#3 seed & avoid the #4. Who wants to play in Denver after a Wild Card game?
This game is mostly interesting from Cleveland’s perspective. If the Browns win today they’ll be 5-3 & really there are just 2 more games on the schedule where you would think Cleveland couldn’t win, road games against the Ravens & Bengals. That’s 11-5 if they win the other games! I think all the talk of benching Hoyer is nonsense! The Jaguars loss hurt badly as it could have meant the Browns starting the season 6-2 & in first place in the North. Still, Hoyer has thrown 2 picks all season long. He’s not turning the ball over which for this team is keeping them in games & helping them win. Why mess with that?
The Texans are 4-4 but their wins have come against Washington (3-5), Oakland (0-7), Buffalo (5-3) & Tennessee (2-6). The win over Buffalo was OK but it was in Houston & they 23-17. Nothing to write home about. The Eagles are coming off a loss to Arizona & it doesn’t make sense for the Eagles to drop to 5-3! That would be a disaster. LeSean McCoy is heating up over the last 3 weeks. He’s not dominating yet but the signs are there. Nick Foles should get better too once that happens. Philly’s offense hasn’t been great but the defense has & that will be just too much for Houston to handle at home.
I really hope Rex Ryan gets a chance to be a head coach somewhere else. I think he’s a good HC but has been saddled with HORRIBLE QBs his entire career with the Jets. The fact he got to 3 AFC Championship games with Mark Sanchez is a testament to that. If you think Sanchez was bad, Jets management decided to do Ryan one better by giving him Geno Smith! That not enough for you? OK, we’ll make Smith’s backup Michael Vick! Oh, and for on of those years, let’s sign Tim Tebow! Ryan deserves so much more than this. Maybe the Jets can sign a local HS QB for the rest of the season? Chiefs roll.
If you take out the games against the Vikings & 49ers, Rams QB Austin Davis is 113/165 (68.5%) for 1252yds/9TD/3INT. That’s not horrible & you could even argue it might be better than what they would have gotten out of a healthy Sam Bradford. I don’t expect the Rams to win this game. The 49ers need to win this one & they already beat the Rams earlier in the season 31-17 in St. Louis. I don’t think they’ll fare better in San Francisco. Still, the Rams are an interesting team because they are so young & if things are going their way they can win games. Just ask the Seahawks who lost to the Rams 28-26!
Robert Griffin makes his return which means the Redskins are likely in for a loss. The Vikings are 3-5 and while you can make a case that Minnesota hasn’t beaten anyone good, the teams they’ve lost too have all been having great seasons. I also want to point out how well the Vikings are setting up their squad. We all know about Teddy Bridgewater. It remains to be seen whether or not he’s the answer but how about the other young players the Vikings have drafted? RB Jerrick McKinnon has been great. Rookie LB Anthony Barr has played like a Pro Bowl LB. DL Sharrif Floyd is playing really well. 2012 1st Rd. S Harrison Smith & 2013 1st Rd pick Xavier Rhodes are starting & the Vikings actually have a pretty good defense. If Bridgewater isn’t the answer then they better find one. The defense is getting too good to be completely wasted. It’s almost like the Jets except not as bad.
Winning covers over a lot of things & the drama with Marshawn Lynch doesn’t seem as bad when the Seahawks are destroying the league en route to a Super Bowl championship! The Seahawks are 1-2 in their last 3 and the win was a 13-9 squeaker over a Carolina team that isn’t that good. Oakland comes along at a good time, but the rest of the schedule is murder for Seattle so they need to get in gear or else they could miss the playoffs entirely! This is still an elite team although I would love to seem them run the ball 60% of the time instead of passing the ball around 55% of the time. It’s weird.
I don’t think Cincinnati is very good but they’ve beaten Baltimore twice which is almost inexplicable! At 4-2-1, the Bengals get a couple of home games against the Jaguars & Browns. Assuming they win both they’ll be 6-2-1 after 9 games which is significant because they need the wins given the backend of their schedule. The Bengals last 4 games are: PIT, @CLE, DEN, and @PIT. They could easily lose all 4 which means the best they could be is 9-6-1. They also have a road game against the Saints which would knock them down to 8-7-1. They should hammer the Jags but don’t overlook Jacksonville. Just ask Cleveland.
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November 2, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Big Games, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Must See Games, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Week 9

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