Thursday, October 22, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 7 Picks

Week 6 Review

Last weekend, all the morning games seemed to go as expected. The normalcy lasted only a few minutes into the afternoon games. A 14 point favorite Eagles, struggled mightily against the lowly Raiders. And the Jets could not hold on thanks to Mark Sanchez n his picks. On the surface these may seem like upsets. But there's always a reason for favorites to stumble.

For the Jets, it was a typical "rookie" outing for Sanchez. The golden boy finally had his "welcome to the big leagues" moment after a rather fast start to his rookie year the first 5 games. The solid Jets running game and the lauded Jets D did more than what they had to against the Bills, but Sanchez kept throwing to the wrong Jersey, keeping the Bills in the game. They were also not helped by another INT by the kick holder, after a bad hold on a FG long snap.

The Eagles, on the other hand, had their veteran McNaab under center, and yet faltered against the Raiders. Maybe, the Eagles were complacent and were thinking like me when I predicted a bye-week-like easy win for the Eagles. The Eagles loss had more to do with bad game planning / play calling than the players and complacency. The Raiders have one of the worst run defense in the league, and a decent pass defense. So what do the Eagles do? They throw 46 times and run the ball a meager 12 times (plus 2 QB scrambles which were not planned run plays). And they were never trailing by more than 7 points at any point in the game, which meant they were never forced to throw to make a big comeback or anything. The Eagles, or any team, cannot win when you have a horrible game plan like this.

I had to write about the Denver Broncos. I keep picking against them and they keep winning. But at least I had a close look at them Monday Night. They may not have any superstars on their team, but they all play with "superstar" sized hearts, especially their defense. Never did I see a player (even a lineman) stand idle even if the play was on the other side of the field. They were all playing till the whistle was blown each play. That's called commitment and a reflection of the coaching staff. Even though they do not have a formidable offense, their stout defense (which hadn't given up a single point in 4th Quarters from Week 2 to Week 5) and their special teams (not only Eddie Royal, but the blocking that made him take a kick-off and a punt back home for TDs) pulled them through, with some steady quarterbacking by Orton and some eye-popping play-making by Brandon Marshal and Brandon Stockley. I finally admit, the Broncos are for real!

Packer Corner:
If the Lions were not a favorite match up already, injuries to Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson made it all the more easier. The Lions had never won at Lambeau since 1991 and that streak was not going to broken. Yes, the Packers did shut out the Lions 26-0 on Sunday, but it was a far from impressive effort by the Green and Gold. The Packers offense was messy and of sub-par quality to say the least.

They not only left so many points on the field, but their quality of play was well below par. They could not run a lick against the Lions, except till garbage time in the 4th Quarter. The Offensive Line was the worst. Injuries were a reason, but all teams undergo injury issues. This time it was not only the poor protection, allowing 5 more sacks of Aaron Rodgers, but the pre-snap penalties were just all over the place. Totally the Packers committed 10 penalties for a whopping 130 yards, which was almost the total 149 yards gained by the Lions passing (71 yards) and rushing (78 yards). Clifton was again injured in the 4th Quarter, limping off the field to make matters worse for the O line outlook.

Obscure Packers stat of the Week: 26-0. It was the largest margin of victory in a shutout by any team whose passers were sacked at least five times since Green Bay defeated Tampa Bay, 27-0, in 1991.

The Packers Defense though stood their ground. Clay Mathews Jr. had his coming out party, with 2 sacks and a tackle for a loss, playing almost the entire game. The pass rush was steady all through the game. That was predominantly because Aaron Kampman was let to rush from the front rather than send him into coverage. The secondary was bolstered by the return of Bigby. But all these developments need to be taken with a grain of salt, as it was all agianst the Lions after all.

Week 7 Picks

Chargers (-4.5) at Chiefs
Chiefs got their first win of the season. It could potentially be their only win of the season. The Chargers after their usual slow start will try to pick it up in coming weeks. But this year they do not have the luxury of a Jay Cutler led Broncos team to choke away their division lead.
My Pick: Chargers

Colts (-13) at Rams
Peyton had a dinged up knee from 2 weeks ago. But the bye came at the right time to help heal it before the next game. The already formidable Colts have Bob Sanders and Anthony Gonzalez returning soon too. Doesn't bode well for the Rams. Still, watch out for Stephen Jackson, if he gets going, the Rams could keep the Colts offense off the field a lot.
My Pick: Colts

Vikings (+4) at Steelers
The 6-0 Vikings against the defending super bowl champs. Adrian Peterson running against the stingy run defense of the Steelers (2nd in the NFL giving about 80 yds a game). But it might just come down to which QB will score on the last drive, and both Big Ben and Brett are more than capable of pulling it off. But of late, the number of turnovers by the Steelers is making me lean away from them.
My Pick: Vikings
Update (23 Oct 2009, 11.13 am): Antoine Winfield is doubtful to start Sunday for the Vikings. This has to sway my pick the other way. the Vikings secondary is not the same without Antoine.
My updated pick: Steelers

Patriots (-14.5) at Buccaneers
Doesn't matter if there is going to be snow in London or not, there just might be the same level of onslaught by Brady and the Patriots this week.
My Pick: Patriots

49ers (+3) at Texans
Crabtree will be making his first start for the niners. FRank Gore will play. Yet, the outcome probably will depend on which Texans team that will show up Sunday. I am predicting the "good" Texans put on a show.
My Pick: Texans

Jets (-6) at Raiders
The Jets should stick to their plan of running the ball more against the Raiders, minimizing the drop backs of young Sanchez. If they follow their game plan, it should be smooth sailing.
My Pick: Jets

Bills (+7) at Panthers
I would have liked the Bills chances if Trent Edwards played. But with Fitzpatrick starting for the Bills, I like the chances of the Panthers. Especially if the Panthers stick to their ground attack against the sub-par run defense of the Bills.
My Pick: Panthers

Bears (+1) at Bengals
This is another intriguing match up for the weekend. Both teams have qualms about the way they played their previous game (both losses) and would want to set right their ship. The Bengals though lost Antwaan Odom for the year, which will translate to lesser pass rush. But Cedric Benson has bad blood with the Bears and will try rally his team for revenge against them.
My Pick: Bears

Falcons (+4) at Cowboys
The Falcons had an impressive win against the Bears and the Cowboys are coming off a bye. I predict the Falcons stopping the Dallas run, forcing Romo to try win through the air. And we know how that will end up.
My Pick: Falcons

Saints (-6) at Dolphins
Wild cat or no wild cat? On the road or at home? The Saints will continue their march of dominance. Drew Brees for MVP anybody?
My pick: Saints

Cardinals (+7) at Giants
The Giants D had a dismal showing against the Saints last week. They will try to rebound at home after that. And the cardinals are playing in the East Coast. Enough said.
My Pick: Giants

Eagles (-7) at Redskins
The Eagles will play for pride after their loss to the Raiders. And they probably do not have to play all that hard for a win either because they face the Redskins.
My Pick: Eagles

Packers (-9) at Browns
The Packers seem to be having a string of good luck with regard to their opponents. Last week, injuries to the Lions helped their cause. This week, a chink of the Browns players are said to be having flu- like symptoms. I am sure the Packers would like that good luck to rather hit their team with regard to health and play of their O Line. Mark Tauscher will not play till next week. Ahman Green was signed this week. He might be active for the game, but don't expect him to play either. After all, the Packers may not need extra help against hte Browns.
My Pick: Packers

Last Week: 8-6
Year to date: 63-27

No comments:

Post a Comment