Week Two was a rough one for me. I lost by mere decimals in Fantasy Football. Most of my picks blew up in my face en route to a 5-8 week. And finally, I went camping and was completely marauded by mosquitoes. I need a bounce back week almost as badly as the Saints do. Luckily I am writing this and not an interim author. Also, because of the aforementioned camping trip, I was only able to watch the three prime time games, which leads to an abbreviated First and 10. Lets just say I drew an offsides penalty.
First and 10 5
5. The Dynamic Duo Falls Short: A highly anticipated Thursday night matchup turned into a complete dud partly because of the utter ineptness of the Bear’s offense. With an injured Matt Forte, Chicago had to take to the air and Jay Cutler had to take to the air. He could not get in a rhythm with any of his receivers, most notably Brandon Marshall.
After being targeted a whopping 15 times in Week One, Jay Cutler threw in his direction only five times against Green Bay. That is less than Armon Binns, Mike Jenkins, Damian Williams, Josh Morgan, Brian Hartline, and Jeremy Wallace. It took me a couple minutes to think which teams those guys even play for (Cincy, Minny, Tennessee, Washington, and Miami for the record. Oh yeah, and I made up the last name.). There is no way, ever, that the 6′ 5″ all-pro Brandon Marshall should be getting fewer targets than the aforementioned receivers. Armon Binns for crying out loud. Even I, an NFL psycho, had never heard of Armon Binns before this week (the guy actually had a pretty decent college career and was even on the Biletnikoff watch list).
4. Megatron Can Be Stopped: Just kidding he can only be slowed down. But being slowed down has nothing to do with Calvin Johnson and everything to do with the Lions rushing attack. Detroit averaged an abysmal 3.2 yards per carry and only rushed for three first downs. Against such an awful rushing attack, San Francisco was able to play its two safeties deep. They allowed tons of underneath throws, but nothing over them. This “bend but don’t break” attitude on defense forced the Lions into four field goals, Detroit’s only touchdown came in garbage time. If this problem is not fixed soon, it may be another grim winter in Motown.
3. Man(ning) Down: After a sublime first week the Broncos and their quarterback could not have received a ruder wake up call than the one the Falcons delivered Monday night in primetime.
Atlanta used their long week to set up a variety of blitz packages to completely confound Manning and his line. These were not standard vanilla zone blitzes though. On almost every snap there were eight or nine Falcons players milling around the line of scrimmage. Then at the snap of the ball the defenders scattered in different directions, a tactic sure to confuse any QB. His first interception was just a bad through. He did not lead his receiver and the velocity of the ball was mediocre. On his second pick, the Falcon’s linebackers showed a delay blitz which may have flustered Manning into making a premature read. The final int. of the night was another bad through with mediocre velocity that Manning floated and let the safety make a play on. The Broncos will have to improve their protection schemes if they want a chance to go deep into the playoffs.
2. The Top 12: Lions, Steelers, Broncos, Chargers, Giants, Ravens, Eagles, Patriots, Falcons, Packers, Texans, 49ers.
- 1. The Picks:
Game of the Week: New England @ Baltimore
This matchup got even more intriguing when both of these teams lost last week. The Ravens and the Pats are two of the three best teams in the AFC and it could be huge in the battle for home field advantage which of these teams starts off 0-2. The Ravens offense against Philly was a far cry from what we saw two weeks ago on MNF. The Patriots offense was incredibly inefficient against Arizona, much different from what we saw against Tennessee. The biggest question in this game is going to be which one of these two teams shows up. John Harbaugh and Bill Belichick are excellent motivators who should have their respective teams fired up after embarrassing losses. This game may come down to which defense gets the final stop and I trust Ray Lewis and co. With that said the Belichick-Brady duo is historically formidable after a loss and I just cannot see this talented of a Patriots team fall to 2-1. 33-24, Pats.
Bears 27, Rams 13
Sam Bradford and his swiss-cheese offensive line are in for a long afternoon against a Bears pass rush led by Julius Peppers. The Chicago coaching staff was given a long week to prepare for this game and I anticipate the protection problems we saw in Green Bay will be fixed.
Matchup to Watch: Chicago blitzers vs. what in most cases will be nothing
Jets 23, Dolphins 13
The Texans have a really good defense. Loss. The Raiders have a really bad defense. Win. The Jets have a really good defense. (I’ll let you do the math)
Matchup to Watch: Reggie Bush vs. NYJ D-line
49ers 35, Vikings 12
Minnesota has had two close games… against quite possibly the two worst teams in the league. Blair Walsh is in for a big day, Adrian Peterson is not.
MTW (Matchup to Watch): Jared Allen vs. Joe Staley
Saints 24, Chiefs 14
The desperation bowl this year will be a close one between to on paper playoff teams. Kansas City is talented, but Romeo Crennel is still Romeo Crennel and Matt Cassel is not Drew Brees.
MTW: Jimmy Graham vs. Smaller, less athletic people
Bengals 33, Redskins 30
This should game should be a fun one. Two young QBs leading their teams up and down the field against two porous defenses. I think the team that wins the ground game wins this game and I still trust the Law Firm more than [insert Washington running back here].
MTW: BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Depleted Washington front seven
Lions 44, Titans 17
Tennessee’s horrendous defense will be on the field all day against explosive Detroit (that is not good for the Titans by the way) unless Jake Locker and Fake-Chris Johnson can covert on third down.
MTW: Calvin Johnson vs. Receiving yards in a game record
Jaguars 17, Colts 13
Most people will be taking Andrew Luck and the C well… Andrew Luck. Luck is pretty much alone while Jacksonville can pound Indy with Maurice Jones-Drew and a tough defense.
MTW: Why the hell would you be watching this game!?!
Eagles 27, Cardinals 24
This game is going to be weird. I’m taking the over on number of turnovers, replacement ref mistakes, and number of people who say they had the Cardinals going 2-0.
MTW: Patrick Peterson vs. Desean Jackson
Falcons 42, Chargers 24
Both of these teams may be 2-0, but they got to that mark vastly different ways. This matchup looks good on paper but, will not even be close. Norv Turner strikes again.
MTW: Falcons pass rush vs. Bolts O-line
Texans 31, Broncos 21
Peyton Manning and the Broncos got roughed up on Monday by a mediocre at best Falcons defense. Things will not be much better against what might be the best defense in the league on a short week.
MTW: Andre Johnson vs. Jonathan Joseph
Steelers 37, Raiders 20
Pittsburgh bounced back in impressive fashion against the Jets and now has a chance to get to 2-1. Oakland has the worst defense in the league; couple that with slinging Ben Roethlisberger and this one is sure to be a blowout.
MTW: Darren McFadden vs. Pitt run-D
Record: 10-14 (Last week: 5-8)
Buccaneers 30, Cowboys 27
The Bucs are my upset pick for the second consecutive week after nearly knocking of the reigning Super Bowl champions. This team held the versatile Panthers to 10 yards rushing and only was beat last week by a classic Eli Manning fourth quarter miracle. Tampa Bay can pound the ball up Dallas’ gut with Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount and stop the ‘Boys on offense. Also, Tony Romo, unlike Manning, is not known for his fourth quarter heroics.
Start: Jamaal Charles is playing the Saints who have allowed huge weeks from the Panthers and the Redskins.
Sit: Willis McGahee is playing on a short week against a rock solid Texans front seven.
Start: Antonio Brown is playing the Raiders and the Steelers are going to throw a lot with their messy RB situation.
Sit: Percy Harvin will not be doing much of anything against San Fran.
Start: Brian Hartline had a big game last week (I was laughing really hard when I wrote that sentence). Why not?
Sit: Julian Edelman. The loss of Aaron Hernandez is going to hurt guys like Edelman who were opened up most of the time because of Hernandez.
Last Weeks Starts: Darren McFadden (bust), Mike Williams (win), Stephen Hill (bust)
PPR Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders gets a fair number of balls thrown his way and catches most of them.
Follow @Bustasports on twitter for more daily sports updates.