Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Week Nine's Annual Epic

Here were go again.   As we approach Brady Manning number sixteen, we look at this week's other games as well -

Panthers over Saints - Last week's New Orleans win was a needed win for the beleaguered Saints, but this week they go on the road to a more-desperate Panthers team that is still smarting to a bitter loss to the Seahawks.

Browns over Buccaneers - There seems no way the Bucs can seize any kind of momentum this season as they travel to a Browns team that has a lot of momentum going for it.

Bengals over Jaguars - The Bengals got back on track by sweeping the Ravens and now get a Jaguars team that's shown some fight but isn't in anyone's league.

Cardinals over Cowboys - The illusion of the almighty Cowboys got stomped, and a former NFC East opponent comes in with a bearing on the conference's #1 seed.

Eagles over Texans - The Texans have been playing better this year but face an Eagles squad smarting from a tough loss.

Chiefs over NY Jets - The Chiefs are in better shape that I thought they'd be at this point of the season and the Jets are in even worse shape than anyone could have imagined.

Chargers over Dolphins
- Miami has shown real improvement this year, but San Diego saw one get away from them and want to get back into the race.

Redskins over Vikings - Minnesota pulled off a shocker last week, but Washington's shocker carries more meaning entering this contest.

49ers over Rams - This is no lay-up pick, for the Niners have real internal issues and the Rams are starting to pick up some fight.

Patriots over Broncos - Amid all the varied analyses, one angle overlooked is that Denver has struggled to close out games - they outlasted Indianapolis, barely escaped Kansas City, barely escaped a very bad Jets squad, and even in scoring 35 against San Diego never looked in complete control of that game.   Moreover their vaunted defensive improvement has been a mere four points per game from 2013.  Meanwhile the Patriots are surging in scoring and in stopping opposing offenses - of 177 points allowed, 74 came in two games.   The issues of O-line and receivers have been rectified and the Patriots' revamped O-line has taken over the line of scrimmage.   The Patriots run defense has been bad (over 1,000 yards, 4.6 yards per carry allowed), but Denver has allowed more touchdowns on the ground (five) than the Patriots (four).   The Broncos on the ground have not been better either - 710 rushing yards to 845 for the Patriots.  

Seahawks over Raiders - The Seahawks enjoy for themselves the closest thing to a second bye week - a free shooting match against the hapless Raiders.

Ravens over Steelers
- The Steelers showcased a level of firepower we can't remember them ever showing before in the win over Indianapolis.   The Ravens, though, can match that firepower and need this win to keep pace in an increasingly torrid AFC North race.

Colts over NY Giants - The Colts come in smarting from the loss in Pittsburgh and get a mediocre Giants team to turn it around against.

We thus await the annual Brady Manning slugfest.

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