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NFL POWER 15 – WEEK 8 2014

#1 At this point the only team that can stop Denver is Denver. Their last 2 games have come against quality opponents in the 49ers & Chargers. Denver picked up a couple of wins by the combined score of 77-38. The defense is playing outstanding football & the only real issue for the Broncos is the running game. Ronnie Hillman isn’t doing a bad job though. As it always is with Peyton Manning, everything will come down to what he does in the postseason. Nobody would be shocked to see the Broncos finish the season 15-1, but if they don’t win the Super Bowl it won’t matter.
#2 That was fast! The Patriots have won 4 straight & are averaging about 40PPG en route to doing so. This actually makes sense really. Doesn’t it always come down to Manning v. Brady? The two teams will hook up this week in Foxboro and doesn’t it always seem like Brady gets home games against Peyton? I hate that. The one tinge of doubt you can have about New England is that their schedule is entirely too soft. Sure they’ve won 4 games, but the QBs they’ve beaten in those 4 games are named: Andy Dalton, EJ Manuel, Geno Smith & Jay Cutler. Not exactly Manning, Brees, Rodgers & Luck.
#3 Did the Colts just get hammered 51-34 by the Steelers? Yes they did, but if you are talking about the best teams in the NFL, it’s hard to think Indy isn’t part of the top-3 along with the Broncos & Patriots. Until the loss to Pittsburgh (on the road by the way), the Colts had won 5 straight. Andrew Luck is still on pace to throw for 5400yds & 44TD. That’s an offense that is going to be difficult to stop & despite the low output to the Steelers, the Colts defense I think is still on the rise. What the Colts have to be worried about more than anything is avoiding that #4 seed. There is no use in going to Denver.
#4 Ugly ugly win for Arizona, but give credit to the Cardinals for gutting out a penalty filled game. Arizona turned a Nick Foles pick into a FG which tied the game up at 17-17. Philly would kick another FG to give the Eagles a 20-17 lead but Carson Palmer hit John Brown with a 75-yard TD pass to put Arizona over 24-20. The Cardinals are somewhat of an afterthought when it comes to looking at NFC teams. We immediately start thinking about Green Bay, Seattle or San Francisco, but the Cardinals only loss has come on the road to Denver & they have wins now over the Giants, Chargers, 49ers, & Eagles! This team is for real & looking like NFC favorites.
#5 I’m not going to knock Philadelphia too hard for losing in Phoenix 24-20 on a last minute 75-yard TD reception. Philly’s only 2 losses have come on the road to the 49ers & Cardinals. Most teams in the NFL would drop those games. LeSean McCoy is starting to pick things up & don’t look now but Jeremy Maclin is turning into one of the most dangerous weapons in football! Maclin is on pace to get 1400+yds & 14TD on 89 receptions. The defense is solid & Nick Foles should find his road a bit easier with McCoy waking up. The Eagles get a couple of easy games before heading to Green Bay on November 16th.
#6 I don’t know what sort of voodoo the Bengals have over the Ravens but it’s amazing to me that Baltimore lost both of their games to Cincinnati this season! I really believe the Ravens are the best team in the AFC North & one of the best 3-4 in the AFC. The Ravens are 1-3 in close games with a TO margin of ZERO. Lady Luck isn’t completely screwing them, but she’s not helping them either. A lot of people talk of the Steelers/Ravens rivalry but the Ravens/Bengals is a pretty good one too. The Steelers lead Baltimore 20-17 in their all-time contests while the Ravens are up on Cincy 20-18. The big difference is that Baltimore has never faced the Bengals in the playoffs whereas the Ravens & Steelers have met 3 times. All wins for Pittsburgh.
#7 San Francisco is coming off a bye week which followed their loss to the Broncos. The 49ers can’t be happy about starting the season 4-3, but at the same time their schedule has been daunting & their defense has been torn to pieces with injuries. It’s a tough sell when Arizona is so far out in front & Seattle probably isn’t going to slump that bad, but the 49ers still have time to regroup. They get the Rams this week at home before traveling to New Orleans who will actually have a couple more days rest because of their Thursday night game with Carolina. It doesn’t get easier.
#8 Losing to the Redskins in OT at home is devastating. The possibility of losing Tony Romo for the year is season & potentially franchise altering. One thing that Jerry Jones doesn’t quite understand is that Jones took over the team in 1989 which was Troy Aikman’s first year as a QB. Jones lucked into Aikman and he lucked into Tony Romo as well. The time between Romo & Aikman was filled with players like Chad Hutchison, Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde & Drew Bledsoe. If Romo goes doesn, the Cowboys will have Brandon Weeden who couldn’t cut it in Cleveland. This could turn bad for Dallas. Very bad.
#9 A narrative game against the Saints that you knew deep down the Packers were going to lose. The Saints haven’t been that good this year, but they are still the same team most people were thinking was going to come out of the NFC. I don’t think that narrative changes all that much & at some point the Saints were going to have to start winning games. Unfortunately they are getting right at the time the Packers come into town. I wouldn’t put much stock into it. Eddie Lacy is heating up though which has to be reassuring for Green Bay fans.
#10 The Steelers were extremely impressive putting up 50+ on the Colts and it made me wonder how in the world did Tampa Bay come into Pittsburgh & escape with a victory over the Steelers!? The win over the Colts was downright amazing in the way Pittsburgh went crazy offensively, but the real test will be against Baltimore this week which could define the Steelers season. If Pittsburgh beats the Ravens they’d improve to 6-3 with a couple of easy games after that. That is 8-3 with 2 games against the Bengals in their last 5! I don’t think it’ll happen because Miami/San Diego/Kansas City has a say but we could see 3 teams from the North make the playoffs.
#11 And now we see the Saints starting to wake up a bit! I thought New Orleans would start accumulating wins against the Lions in Detroit, but they lost by 1 point to the Lions. This week they made good on their preseason expectations by thrashing an excellent Green Bay team 44-23 in front of the home fans. Although the win over Green Bay puts New Orleans at 3-4, they are 3-2 in their last 5 and let’s remember that 3 of their four losses have come by a combined 6 points! The Saints may be 3-4, but they are THIS CLOSE to being 6-1, which if were true would have me placing them at #2 right behind Denver. Look out!
#12 I happen to be one of those people who don’t think Carolina is very good so beating the Panthers 13-9 doesn’t really tell me much. Like the 49ers & Saints to a degree, the Seahawks have close losses on their schedule so they are probably a lot better than their 4-3 record might indicate. What is so interesting about the NFC is that there are quite a few sleeping giants lurking about. Seattle is lumped in with San Francisco & New Orleans as teams who are WAY BETTER than they’ve played. It will make for an interesting 2nd half of the season that is for certain.
#13 It sounds crazy because the Chargers started the season 5-1, but it might be time to start worrying just a bit about San Diego. They’ve lost 2 straight games, both to division rivals, and now have a road game against a Miami team that looks like it could seriously challenge New England for the AFC East. Losing to the Dolphins would drop the Chargers to 5-4! They don’t quite have the schedule KC did last year when the Chiefs took advantage of a very easy early slate, but the Chargers should get to 7-4 before the last third of their schedule which is mind-boggling. They play: @BAL, NE, DEN, @SF, @KC! All 5 could be playoff teams!
#14 Don’t look now but the Chiefs are heating up. They are 4-1 in their last 5 games and they should have beaten San Francisco which would have put them on a 5-game winning streak after dropping their first 2 games of the season. The win over the Chargers in San Diego was impressive but to then follow that up with a 34-7 beat down of St. Louis after the Rams beat Seattle is also a very promising sign. This is just a good football team and I think one of the teams that nobody really wants to play. They are playing well on both sides of the ball. Those calling for a huge down year in Kansas City have been wrong thus far.
#15 This is the team I’d be very scared of. The Dolphins have a borderline great defense that can flat out get after the QB. They also do a tremendous job stopping the run. Offensively, Miami has surprised me with their great ability to run the football. Knowshon Moreno goes down & Lamar Miller picks up the slack. Now the Dolphins have both to go along with targets Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline & Charles Clay. The one issues is that the O-Line could keep QB Ryan Tannehill upright a bit more, but even Tannehill is looking like a big asset under center. If they can win their games at home, this is a team that could finish 11-5.



Detroit Lions (Last Week #13): I can’t believe I have the 6-2 Lions outside of the Power-15 but if I’m being brutally honest, I would take every one of the top-15 teams over the Lions were they playing today! I just can’t get too excited for Detroit. Sure they’ve won 6 games, but their last 2 have come by a single point each time. Before that they were only able to put 17 points on Minnesota & before the Vikings game, Detroit dropped a home game to the Bills. I’m just not impressed.

New York Giants (Last Week #14): Would have loved to have kept New York in the Power-15, but they suffered back-to-back road losses to division rivals before being on bye this past week. They return from bye with a home game against the Colts. If they win that game, they’ll have another great chance at getting back into the Power-15.


November 2, 2014 - Posted by | Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFL Power 15, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Power 15, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Week 8

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