Thursday, October 29, 2009

NFL Week 9: Not the Quiet Week It's Supposed to Be

NFL Week 8

The NFL takes a step back the week it is up against the beginning of the World Series, and that would be the scenario for week 8 for 2008 as Sunday night will feature game 4 in Philadelphia, but despite the high profile teams competing in the Fall Classic, the 8th week of the NFL season will not go away quietly.

How’s this for irony? The Yankees will be in Philadelphia to battle the Phillies Sunday night, but across the parking lot at 1:00, the New York Giants will play the Philadelphia Eagles in a battle for first place in the NFC East. The two Philadelphia sports venues share the same parking lots. Might there be some crazy tailgating and drunken fights between the Philadelphia boys defending their turf against guests from New York? Bring on the brotherly love baby!!!

Guess whose coming to dinner at Lambeau Field Sunday? Brett Favre, the prodigal son returns. Anybody wonder what the atmosphere will be like at Brett Favre’s steakhouse blocks away from the stadium?

Speaking of good timing, how fortunate are the Washington Redskins to enjoy the week off after their total meltdown last week? The Skins have lost all dignity as the 2009 season has played out. Jim Zorn tenuously holds on to his coaching position, and given the way upper management clipped his authority taking away his play calling, what is the sense of him hanging on? While Washington might not be able to hire his permanent successor during mid-season, the current situation puts both ownership and the coach in positions of ridicule. The entire Washington organization needs a full housecleaning top to bottom from team President to the coaching staff. They need an architect who can build a new team and turnover the roster. The Danny Snyder years have been an embarrassment for an organization that was the finest example of class and success during the first Joe Gibbs era. That Joe Gibbs had such limited success during his second tenure indicates how fractured the Redskins organization had become.

New England enjoys the bye week as a chance to enjoy their souvenirs from their visit to London last week while Tampa Bay fans likely hope some of their players got lost as excessive baggage on the flight home. Ravens’ fans should note that Cincinnati is enjoying their week off and will be well rested to face them on the banks of the Ohio River the following week making this must win match up even tougher for the Ravens. Upstream, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the week off, so do the Kansas City Chiefs who many would suggest have been off all season.

With six teams sitting out, let’s look at the games that start November.

Denver at Baltimore (-3 ½)
Believe it or not, the 3-3 Ravens are favored against the undefeated Broncos who have already beaten New England and Cincinnati, both teams have beaten the Ravens. They’ve also beaten Dallas and San Diego. Both teams are rested from the bye, but the Broncos look exceptionally healthy. We will count on the hostile environment in Baltimore and hopefully a recharged defense to bring home the win.

San Francisco at Indianapolis (-12)
San Francisco will be taking notes on how to fight a major powerhouse as the Colts will obliterate them in this showdown.

Miami at New York Jets (-3 ½)
Pity the Jets. They’ve played so well this year, but with the Yankees in the World Series and the Giants playing Philadelphia too, this game will be in the backseat even though they should play an exciting game against their division rival from Florida. The Jets should win.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-3)
Minnesota showed they can lose and let a commanding lead get away the week before against Baltimore only to squeeze out the win perhaps only on a Ravens’ missed field goal. While Green Bay gets the one field goal nod for home field advantage, we believe the Vikings have more ways to beat their opposition than Green Bay. All eyes will be on Brett Favre returning to the team that shunned him in soap opera fashion in the summer of 2008. Favre will be out to prove them wrong while the Packers will be trying to show, “We didn’t need you, chump.”

Houston (-3 ½) at Buffalo
Buffalo has been showing some life in recent games but still isn’t a team to start picking to beat much of anybody just yet.

Cleveland at Chicago (13 ½)
Chicago needs to gather forces and play a solid game after their embarrassing loss to the Bengals last week. Cleveland should provide them that chance. The fans will be jumping for joy and everybody will be happy in Chicago as they pound the Browns into the turf. Lots of love from the fans and a solid win will help make the horrible game last week fade into history.

St. Louis at Detroit (-4)
Motown will accomplish another milestone this week, their second win. Detroit is further along rebuilding than the pitiful Rams who have much to put together before they hop out of the cellar.

Seattle at Dallas (-9 ½)
This will be the kind of game Jerry Jones expected when Jerryland opened this fall, a packed stadium with joyful cheering fans watching “them Cowboys” kick ass.

Oakland at San Diego (-17)
San Diego will slaughter the Raiders. The big challenge for the Raiders is to avoid more negative press and more football analysts establishing Jamarcus Russell is not a NFL caliber quarterback. There are some awful teams this year, but there’s something about the Raiders and Redskins that look particularly ugly in their misery.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3)
The odds makers are picking the winless Titans to beat the 3-3 Jaguars. Vince Young will start at quarterback for Tennessee. Perhaps the thinking is the Titans are just too good to remain winless this long. You know Jack Del Rio will attempt to use that as motivator for the big cats. With Georgia playing Florida in Jacksonville this weekend, how many northeast Floridians will even know this game is being played. Another loss will send Nashville into a mad frenzy.

Carolina at Arizona (-9)
Here’s a fascinating 2008 playoffs rematch where the Carolina Panthers difficulties suddenly became so visible. They’ll get scorched in the desert for sure.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (pick)
No odds on this game, wow. We’ll give the Giants a slight edge. They have less self-destruct in them that the Eagles.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-10)
Atlanta is an up and coming team for sure but reality is a little tougher this year after their breakthrough season last year. Meanwhile, New Orleans has arrived in 2009 and by now must be considered one of the NFC’s top teams. It would seem only injuries and over confidence could do in the Saints now.

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