Thursday, October 22, 2009

NFL 2009: Week 7 -- Vacation Time

Six teams take the week off while two others travel to jolly old England...
These are unhappy days for NFL fans on the shores of the Chesapeake as our beloved Ravens have the week off and no game for us this weekend to overcome that sore feeling of having lost three straight games any one of which were a play or two away from victories. Meanwhile, heading down I-95 closer to the Potomac, there’s no joy in Landover. Coach Jim Zorn twists in the breeze stripped of his play calling duties as mandated by upper management turning the duties over to Sherm Lewis. Players don’t know who is in charge. QB Jason Campbell looks hopelessly lost. Owner Danny Boy Snyder further outraged Washington fans going after in court season ticket holders who couldn’t afford to renew their seats because of the bad economy for what amounted to breach of contract. How’s that for warm, fuzzy public relations? Win or lose, the Ravens will not lose their integrity. Of course, that was once the hallmark of the Redskins organization back in the days of Joe Gibbs first reign as head coach before dastardly Dan arrived.

Week Seven is loaded heavily with byes perhaps anticipating post season baseball conflicts, but guess what? The World Series doesn’t begin until Wednesday, and unless somehow the Angels hold off the Yankees to a game seven, the playoffs will be over. We guarantee two things, Denver will remain undefeated and Tennessee will remain winless. Fans also will note a real curiosity, a new annual event on the schedule, NFL action in London, England. Our friends across the big pond will adopt the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their home team playing host to the New England Patriots. By half time, who knows how high the Pats will run up the score considering what they did to the miserable Tennessee Titans, who one might think better than Tampa Bay, last week. So grab a warm beer, some fish and chips, and let’s look at the 2009 season’s 7th week English style.

Chicago at Cincinnati (-2)
Here are two teams that have generally played good defense this year and might have some folks seeing both teams improved. Cincinnati was on a roll having already beaten both Pittsburgh and Baltimore but did last week’s loss to Houston prove them over-achievers coming back to earth or did they just take the game too lightly?

We’re giving “Da Bears” a slight edge.

Green Bay (-7) at Cleveland
This one belongs to Green Bay all the way as the Cleveland Browns found something that could make teammates feel even sicklier than working with their head coach, the swine flu. How many players might be impacted by this on Sunday?

San Francisco at Houston (-3)
The 49’ers must win games like this to prove they are once again contenders in the NFC. Coach Mike Singletary has these guys fired up, but they’re still a work in progress with Michael Crabtree ready to come on board. Give them a slight edge over Houston.

San Diego (-4 ½) at Kansas City
San Diego just can’t take this game for granted. Kansas City has a ways to go before they can beat top tier teams unless they show up sleeping.

Minnesota at Pittsburgh (-4)
How good are the Vikings? This game will show a lot. Going on the road to Pittsburgh will test just how effectively Brett Favre has mastered his new offense. The Steelers are getting health and mean. They’ll win this game at home much to the chagrin of Ravens fans.

Indianapolis (-13) at St. Louis
Memo to Payton Manning and the boys… head west 250 miles. Smack down the Rams, turnaround and come home. Mission accomplished.

New England (14 ½) versus Tampa Bay at Wembley Stadium, London
What a sick exhibition this will be for the British fans who will be watching the game with the broadest point spread of all this week’s game. The fans in London get to see the NFL’s best showcase team of the last decade. It’s too bad they won’t see a competitive game.

Buffalo at Carolina (-7)
Carolina will hardly look like a team that lost its first four games as they should have no trouble carving up Buffalo burgers for the Charlotte faithful on Sunday. Call it a picnic in the park for the Panthers.

New York Jets (-6) at Oakland
Oakland might stink but if a foe doesn’t take them seriously, they can rise up and hurt you. Ask the Philadelphia Eagles. With the game in memory, the Jets would be well-advised to take this game seriously especially after not being psyched up for Buffalo. That failure against the Bills should register with them to make them ready to slap to snot out of Oakland.

Atlanta at Dallas (-4)
Yes Dallas is supposed to win. Yes they still get lip service for being a good team. Still, they’ve fallen flat so many times in recent times. Atlanta is well-motivated and coached. They will see this game as a great forum to show themselves for the up and coming team they are. One has to wonder how long the Wade Phillips/Tony Romo show will last.

New Orleans (-6 ½) at Miami
Can we say New Orleans is the hot team for 2009? They sure look like it given their impressive victories, some tallying up viciously high scores en route to their undefeated mark so far. All the wildcats that can be cut lose in Land Shark Stadium won’t be hungry enough to upset that momentum.

Arizona at New York Giants (-7)
The Arizona Cardinals just don’t look like the opportunistic team that got to last year’s Super Bowl. The Giants win this nationally televised game handily.

Philadelphia (-7) at Washington
How bad can it get for the Redskins? Since facing the Giants to open the season, the Skins have faced St. Louis, Detroit, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Kansas City. They beat St. Louis and Tampa Bay, but looked horrible doing so. Between these five teams, they share a total of four wins. Philadelphia will have four wins for the season when they smack down the Redskins for the Monday Night matchup. If there’s any energy left to rally the Redskins, this would be the time for character to triumph, but let’s be real. Who knows where the Skins will be a week from now besides 2-4 while the media performs their autopsy on another miserable game.

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