Tuesday, October 18, 2016

NFL Week Seven Rolling Seven

With Week Six behind us, the NFL hits Week Seven and suddenly the season has gotten noticeably more interesting with quite  a few upsets and semi-upsets in Week Six.   A look at this week's games -

The New York Jets - well, they're the New York Jets again.   It used to be the Arizona Cardinals were the worst franchise in the history of the league; how times change for everyone except the Jets

Bears over Packers  -  Not that the Bears are any great shakes at 1-5, but they have gotten some decent play out of Brian Hoyer while the Packers once again faltered when they fell behind by two scores and didn't look like they knew where the ball was at times - of course they didn't since at the worst possible time they once again gagged it up (presently minus-3 in turnover differential). 

NY Giants over Rams (London) - Putting a team in Los Angeles was supposed to boost the biggest TV market without an NFL team - and the opposite has happened.   The Giants have begun to get something going and Odell Beckham's kicking net antics have now become a source of comedy, and not the low kind.  The Giants, though, are an atrocious minus-10 in turnover differential.

Chiefs over Saints -  The Chiefs got out of a recent funk beating the Raiders and they get a Saints team that can't defend anything despite being plus-2 in turnover differential but has scored at least 32 points three straight games.   The Chiefs are tenth in fewest points allowed and despite the padding by the Jets game still plus-five in turnover differential.

Vikings over Eagles -   Suddenly Carson Wentz has faltered the last two weeks and the Vikings come off their bye having advanced in the division without playing a single down in two weeks.

Titans over Colts - The Titans are now 3-3, have authored their first winning streak in three years, and are a respectable 12th in points allowed, though minus-3 in turnover differential.   They've also scored at least 28 points the last two weeks and catch a reeling Colts team that is 2-4, is 7th in scoring but 28th in points allowed (though oddly are plus-one in turnover differential), and is 0-2 in the division, and also 1-3 in the AFC.    They've been bitterly competitive a lot in their games against the Colts over the years, so playing them tough hasn't been an issue; finishing is the issue and lately they've been finishing.

Bills over Dolphins  -    Though the Dolphins stormed to an eye-opening win against the Steelers, they get a Bills team that is now flying, presently fourth in scoring, fifth in points allowed, and an eye-popping plus-eight in turnover differential, where the Dolphins are minus-six despite no turnovers last week.

Lions over Redskins  - The Redskins have clawed to 4-2, are plus-one in turnovers, and they get a Lions team that's minus-one yet has only five turnovers all season and is 3-3 with a two-game win streak.   Matthew Stafford's passer rating is now at 106 while Kirk Cousins has made good plays though his passer rating is 86.  There's no particular reason why the Redskins can't win this one; the edge the Lions would seem to have is homefield plus recent momentum, so this game should be a taut affair.

Browns over Bengals - Though the Browns are 0-6 they've actually played some good football with Cody Kessler and his 93.8 passer rating, four touchdowns, and just one pick. The Titans game last week showed there's fight in the Browns where the Bengals gave up and started playing dumb football again last week, though the much-condemned Vontaze Burfict hit on Martellus Bennett wasn't as egregious as some made it sound.

 Ravens over NY Jets - The Ravens have faltered the last few weeks and still don't look like a playoff contender, but they've played competitive football while the New York Jets now have a quarterback problem with the obvious flameout of Ryan Fitzpatrick, poor play in garbage time by Geno Smith (there's been a Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu sighting), and the question of why Bryce Petty hasn't seen any action.    Fitting that twenty years ago the Jets spent a then-record $70 million on free agent and rookie talent - and won just one game, and it's happening again.

Jaguars over Raiders - The Raiders pulled it off traveling to the East Coast at Tennessee and Baltimore, but this is a Jaguars team that pulled off a stunning comeback win on the road last week and one wonders how much, if any, starch has been taken out of the Raiders with the Vegas stadium confirmation.  

Chargers over Falcons  -  The Falcons came up short amid controversy at Seattle, so there is still fight in the Falcons, but they face a Chargers team whose defense is completely different with rookie Joey Bosa now up and running.   The Chargers still have issues with offensive playcalling and finishing games, so this could turn on a dime.

Buccaneers over 49ers -  Colin Kaepernick came out of self-important exile and promptly showed he has no clue with just thirteen completions out of 29 throws - five coming in his final eighteen.   The Bucs come to The Santa Clara Stick needing the win to regain some momentum, especially for the competitive well-being of Jameis Winston, who had eight picks the first four games.   Regaining of momentum started with Tampa Bay's 17-14 grinder over the Panthers where Winston didn't throw a pick.

Patriots over Steelers - Astonishingly people were scared of the Steelers even though the Patriots have won ten of the last fifteen meetings, six of them with a healthy Roethlisberger.   Now with Tom Brady back, the Patriots have exploded to 68 points the last two games and they are second in the league in fewest points allowed; the Steelers meanwhile are minus-two in turnover differential.   Roethlisberger struggled against the Patriots and with him out Landry Jones - good luck.  

Cardinals over Seahawks - The Cardinals have clawed to 3-3 after starting 1-3 and the Seahawks have quietly raced to 4-2.   Carson Palmer has been banged up lately and the Seahawks have erupted in points since being held to three against the Rams.   The Seahawks, though, do not appear to have the same fight they've had and still have a homefield frontrunner reputation, though that's nowhere near what it was under Mike Holmgren.  

Texans over Broncos - Brock Osweiler returns to the team he won five games for in 2015, and he comes after a statement comeback against the hated Colts. The Broncos meanwhile have faltered, unable to score (just twenty-nine combined points the last two games) and Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch both showcased flaws in their game in recent outings. This is the classic case of a team with momentum vs. one that's been in a slide.

So we await Week Lucky Seven.

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