Saturday, October 22, 2011

NFL 2011, Week 7 -- Some prosper, some rest, some die...

The bye weeks continue as six more teams recover. Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, and San Francisco enjoy a week off.  Only the Green Bay Packers remain undefeated at 6-0 with Detroit, 5-1 in the field of teams with one loss. All the others lead their divisions, Baltimore, New England, San Diego, and San Francisco. Indianapolis, Miami and St. Louis are the two winless teams so far where talk has already sprouted concerning the sweepstakes for the coveted #1 draft choice next spring presumably for Stanford QB, Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, two high visibility teams expected to be contenders are increasingly under pressure to start making a strong showing before the top teams in their division develop more separation, The New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets aren’t as great as their coach boasts them to be while the Cowboys don’t live up to the media’s hype when many see them as a mediocre team led by an overrated quarterback.

Clearly, the Green Bay Packers are the choice of the field so far, but there is much rumbling about the Baltimore Ravens who suddenly are playing the kind of absolutely earth-shaking defense that earned them their Super Bowl victory after the 2000 season. If their game on offense solidifies, they could become unstoppable in the AFC.

Here are our right-minded predictions for week seven.

Washington @ Carolina (-2 ½)
Washington got off to a strong 3-1 start but disassembled last week playing the desperate Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx field last week. The sore spot appeared to be horrible play of QB Ken Grossman who lost control of his game tossing up interceptions as freely as t-shirts from the t-shirt guns. John Beck takes over at QB while Cam Newton is poised for another win as his game improves with Carolina.

San Diego (-1) @ New York Jets
San Diego faces the problem of flying cross country to play in a hostile environment but of all the West Coast teams seems to be the team that’s able to overcome that the best. The Jets have to step up their game on all fronts to beat the toast of the AFC West to keep their playoff hopes alive. San Diego should have the edge.

Seattle @ Cleveland (-3)
Cleveland needs to play mistake free and solid getting a good game from Colt McCoy and if they do, Seattle will be put away and sent home miserably.

Atlanta @ Detroit (-3 ½)
Atlanta would have to find something they’ve not shown in what’s been a very disappointing 2011 season. Detroit will be anxious to push behind their loss to San Francisco last week to demonstrate they are a true contender this year. Too bad for them, they’re in the same division as Green Bay.

Chicago (-1) @ Tampa Bay
While Vegas gives Chicago a one point lead, playing at home and being more intense should give Tampa Bay the win over the hard-to-predict, inconsistent Bears.

Denver at Miami (-1)
Miami is favored by one point largely for the home field markup, but Tim Tebow is starting and no matter how much pundits are quick to point out his limitations, he brings a level of intensity and determination that the erratic and confused Dolphins cannot master. What would make this game the one where Miami finally rallies and tries to salvage something of this season. They’re not there yet.

Houston @ Tennessee (-3)
Houston still cannot pull all parts of their game together and having a lot of aching players further complicated by being flattened in the 2nd half by the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee should have enough of an advantage to sustain their lead in the AFC South and drop Houston two games out. Houston will be falling further out of the possible playoff pack without rolling out some victories soon, but tomorrow is not likely.

Pittsburgh (-4) @ Arizona
Pittsburgh is playing in a soft part of their schedule now which masks speculation if the 2011 team simply isn’t up to the championship potential the team has shown for the last several years. Their win tomorrow will still keep the questions open until they play tougher competition like New England next week leading to their home showdown against the Ravens on November 5th.

Kansas City @ Oakland (-4 ½)
Oakland installs QB Carson Palmer as they attempt to march on and challenge San Diego for the AFC West title. KC must find the magic they had just one year ago that took them to round one of the playoffs.

Green Bay (-9 ½) @ Minnesota
It wasn’t long ago when this match up was a hot rivalry, but this year it marks the doom of another aged quarterback, Donovan McNabb, who will be carrying the clipboard as the Vikings continue their losing ways moving the Packers to 7-0.

St. Louis @ Dallas (-13)
Dallas will look like a brilliant, championship time team, and folks could marvel at what a Hollywood QB Tony Romo is living up to the hype that follows this team through out the media world, but like Hollywood, this victory is all but staged playing the hapless (but improving) Rams.

Indianapolis @ New Orleans (-13 ½)
Even those who hate the Colts almost have to feel sorry for what’s going to happen Sunday night as they go to 0-7 in the noisy Superdome. Drew Brees and company should have a blast branding the hobbled ponies who are little more than dog food without their leader, Peyton Manning.

Baltimore (-8) at Jacksonville
The Ravens take a cheap Monday Night Florida vacation as they face the Jacksonville Jaguars, the least supported team in the NFL. Jack Del Rio, former Ravens coach, fighting to hang on to his job might gaze nostalgically across the field remembering when he helped pilot the wicked purple and gold beasts who should have their way with the Jags.

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