Friday, October 03, 2014

Week Five's Coming Chaos

It's been awhile since a Monday Night Football game's analysis has lasted as long as it has, but the Patriots loss to the Chiefs brought out a wave of angry analysis attacking Bill Belichick et al and a widespread sense of loss of faith in the organization, shown in a Shalise Manza Young report claiming receiver Aaron Dobson was benched for what amounted to insubordination - a piece immediately disputed not by the Patriots but by writer Steve Balestrieri; the Patriots themselves then made a point of rebutting the Manza Young piece - unusual of them but a telling act to making sure outside noise is dealt with.   The rebuttal then led to some media analysis that more properly reviewed Dobson, noting his continuing recovery from foot surgery.

It would seem Manza Young and others fooled themselves by making massive assumptions based on little information and assuming the worst about the team.

With all that, Thursday Night Football saw an ugly 42-10 Packers rout of the punchless (and all but quarterback-less) Vikings.   We nonetheless have more games to go this week - and yours truly hoping to rebound from a hideously bad week of picks -


Lions over Bills - Kyle Orton has replaced E.J. Manuel and that's a dismal sign that the Bills are once again making a panic move instead of riding out the storm.   Manuel's play hasn't been all that good but Orton is no improvement.

Ravens over Colts - This is my first out-on-a-limb pick of the week, for the Colts have owned the Ravens since the Ravens started.   But the Ravens offense is looking potent and Andrew Luck has yet to have the winning effect against the Ravens that Peyton had.

Titans over Browns - Continuing out on that limb, the Titans come in 1-3 with a bad first impression of Ken Whisenhunt and after the ugly one-game Charlie Whitehurst experiment at Indianapolis.  They host a 1-2 Browns squad that's a lot better than that record.   Jake Locker will start against the Browns; that he played poorly in his two losses is obvious, but he also has shown he can improve.  

Panthers over Bears - Two 2-2 teams clash with both coming off awful losses.   Jay Cutler is a proven stats whore who doesn't win when it matters, so take Cam Newton here.

Jaguars over Steelers - This is an upset pick of mine, as the Jaguars are 0-4 yet have shown some improvement while the Steelers have shown once again to be the inconsistent flailer whose loss to an overrated Bucs team coupled with mediocre play over all is a bad sign going forward.

Saints over Buccaneers - The Bucs have shown improvement and the Saints are a baffling 1-3.   Drew Brees is the better quarterback by far here; go with him to start turning New Orleans' season around.

NY Giants over Falcons - The Falcons have faced two road games and have lost both by a combined score of 65-38.   It won't get better against a rested Giants squad that is now starting to get its new offense going - and big.

Eagles over Rams - The Eagles shockingly stumbled at San Francisco - I'm not seeing them doing that again against a Rams team looking more and more hopeless.

Texans over Cowboys - The Wade Phillips Oiler Bowl sees two surprisingly good squads.   Don't buy the hype for Tony Romo, though Houston's run defense hasn't been all that stout (allowing 5 yards per carry so far) and the ground game is where the Cowboys are right now hitting stride.

Cardinals over Broncos - Remember that limb above?  I'm back on it here.   The Cards offense hasn't put up volume stats but it has executed, while the defense is presently second in fewest points allowed.   The Broncos come in 2-1 and with a mediocre effort at closing out games, this despite the game-tying comeback against the Seahawks.  That it's Peyton Manning is the ace the Broncos hope to play.

Chiefs over 49ers - Don't believe that Colin Kaepernick or the Niners are on a rebound; they have shown some legitimate cracks to doubt they can carry through a run.   The Chiefs have rebounded from a poor start and are flying high.  

Chargers over NY Jets - The Jets have become the Jets again, while the Chargers have shown more firepower so far this year.

Patriots over Bengals - A lot of people have lost faith that the Patriots can rebound from last week, but the issues the Patriots have are correctable issues.  The slaughter of the defense last week may see some semblance of a continuation given how strong the Bengals offense has been, but the Patriots do get Brandon Browner back and given the shock of last week I'm doubting the defense will be caught as unawares as last week.   The offensive line (the universal discussion point entering last week's game) showed improvement despite the loss, as did Brady in terms of engaging more receivers into the offense.  That the Bengals beat the Patriots last time they met remains on everyone's mind in Foxboro - and should drive them not to allow a repeat.

Seahawks over Redskins - Last week's meltdown by Kirk Cousins was as surprising - and ugly - as we've seen in years.   The Seahawks continue to play at elite level, though I think Cousins and company put up more of a fight here given it's the defending champs coming to FedEx Field.

So we thus await Week Five.

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