Saturday, October 8, 2011

NFL 2011 - Week 5 -- Byes for some, goodbye for 13 more teams.

The byes slip in with six teams sitting out the competition this weekend. The following teams do not play:
·         Baltimore
·         Washington
·         Dallas
·         Cleveland
·         Miami
·         St. Louis

With one quarter of the 2011 season complete, all four division leaders are 3-1, North – Baltimore; South – Houston, Tennessee; East: New England, Buffalo; West – San Diego. Of the 2-2 teams, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets are the ones that most likely have the talent to compete for playoff spots. Oakland, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are more likely to fall. Jacksonville, Denver, and Kansas City at 1-3 must show huge improvement to have any hopes for this season, It’s already #1 draft pick sweepstakes for Indianapolis and Miami.

The Detroit Lions are 4-0. That’s right; the Lions are 4-0 while their baseball buddies eliminated the Yankees as the Tigers soldier on. The Green Bay Packers, the defending champs, likewise are 4-0 and their big city neighbors to the south, Milwaukee, the cheesiest baseball team moves on in the MLB playoffs. The south and east are both led by two 3-1 teams with New Orleans and the upstart Tampa Bay Bucs leading the south while in what would seem upside down to some, Washington and the New York Giants lead the east. Jim Harbaugh has San Francisco 3-1 in the West. The Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, and the Dallas Cowboys, all in the playoffs last year are 2-2 with Dallas being the most embarrassing of the field coughing up leads grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. Why do the national media barkers still make excuses for Dallas and consider Tony Romo a great quarterback. They suck! The biggest disappointment in the NFL this year could well be the Philadelphia Eagles, last in the east sharing that mark with Carolina, Arizona and St. Louis. Minnesota might be making Mike Shannahan’s decision to bench Donovan McNabb late last season not look so brash since the Vikings stand at 0-4 and look terrible on all counts. Seattle, who snuck into the playoffs with a miserable 7-9 rccord then blew up their roster, are also 0-4.

Would it be unreasonable to think the AFC Championship could be Baltimore versus Buffalo and the NFC Detroit versus San Francisco?  The Harbaugh brothers will have something to say about their brother’s fate going head to head in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.

New Orleans (-6 ½) @ Carolina
Panthers QB will take another bold step in his maturation facing the tough division rivals, New Orleans Saints. Considering where things stand with the Panthers, it’s okay to speak of moral victories. That’s the best they can achieve.

Arizona @ Minnesota (-3)
We’ll go against the odd makers ad pick Arizona. There’s something about the Vikings that seems especially blighted this year.

Oakland @ Houston (-4)
This game should be Houston’s all the way. It is worth noting the maverick owner, Al Davis, who has led Oakland since its early days died yesterday. The character of the team will never be the same – for better or worse.

Philadelphia (-3) @ Buffalo
The Eagles should play better than they’ve shown so far this year, and Buffalo isn’t likely as good as the 3-0 team they started with. This game is really in the hands of the Eagles’ defense. If the can stifle Buffalo’s offense, they’ll win.

Seattle @ New York Giants (-9 ½)
This game should be the Giants, no contest.

Cincinnati @ Jacksonville
This is a tough pick. Las Vegas didn’t post. Let’s give the win to Jacksonville, slight home field advantage. Those empty seats can make a lot of noise.

Kansas City @ Indianapolis (-2 ½)
The Colts have played close against the Steelers so perhaps here’s their first win unless they’re sandbagging already for draft pick considerations.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh (-3)
Playing at home and feeling a sense of urgency, the Steelers are well motivated to beat Tennessee, but the Titans have beaten Baltimore making this a tough game for Pittsburgh. The howling about the Steelers officially being in decline will become very loud if they lose this one and there’s a good chance they will.

Tampa Bay @ San Francisco (-3)
This game features two teams hot on proving themselves. Harbaugh inherited an undisciplined chaotic club house but appears to be getting them focused. Give the Niners the slight edge here.

New York Jets @ New England (-7 ½)
For the Jets and their verbose coach, Rex Ryan, yes it really is that serious. If they lose, as expected to New England, they’d be two games behind their division rivals with a three game losing streak after being mauled on national television by the Baltimore Ravens last week. While the Belehick boys might not be the most potent team New England has ever fielded and their defense I soft compared to Baltimore’s, Tom Brady, Wes Welker and crew are good bets to ground the Jets.

San Diego (-4) @ Denver
Denver’s a mighty unhappy place for Broncos fans whose whimpers will turn into outright violent sobbing with a few chants of “Tebow! Tebow” thrown in as the Bolts blasat them.

Green Bay (-6) @ Atlanta
Hey wasn’t Atlanta supposed o be a contender this year? Tomorrow’s menu – peaches smothered in cheese.

Chicago @ Detroit (-5 ½)
This is a great game for Detroit to show they’re for real and go 5-0. The Bears have only been inconsistent this year. A likely loss puts them two games behind Detroit and probably Green Bay too.

It’s a tough sport, ain’t it?

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