Second Quarter Power Rankings

Every four weeks, we here at Kevbo Industries will be bringing you an updated set of power rankings. Unlike my preseason divisional power rankings, these editions will be of all 32 teams, top to bottom.

Note that Kevbo Industries consists of me, myself and I, so if you disagree with any of these team’s rankings, you can direct all hate mail to me. Thanks!

NFL Power Rankings – Second Quarter

1 – Denver Broncos
I saw little reason to change this from the first quarter. After four more weeks, Peyton Manning and the stampeding Broncos have been somewhat slowed by a couple of teams, namely the Colts, who pulled off a very narrow upset at home. Still, they’re playing better defense, and as we saw last week against the Redskins, they can win a game when their backs are against the wall.

2 – Seattle Seahawks
Again, no reason to alter this pick. They’ve won some ugly games since week 4, but they’ve won, and the return of Percy Harvin should be a major boon to the one part of the team that could be pointed to as a weakness, particular since Sidney Rice was just declared out for the year with a torn ACL. No team in the NFL has played better defense so far, but one has come awfully close…

3 – Kansas City Chiefs
On pace to break the single-season sack record as a team, the Chiefs are winning football games with an attacking defense and a patient, Alex Smith-led offense that doesn’t make costly mistakes. They’ve yet to lose, and while that may be attributed to their soft schedule to date, there is no such thing as a “free” win in the NFL. The Chiefs have paid the cost for 8 of them so far, which is more than any other team can say.

4 – San Fransisco 49ers
After hitting a rough patch early, the defending NFC champions have been rolling over the last several weeks. With offensive firepower to match a tough defense, the recipe for a Superbowl contender is still intact. But can they get past the Seahawks this year?

5 – New Orleans Saints
This year’s Saints looks an awful lot like the 2009 version that won the Superbowl, don’t they? The same high-octane offense with a variety of excellent weapons for Drew Brees to work with, and an opportunistic, attack-style defense that is playing above and beyond expectations.

6 – Cincinnati Bengals
Jumping up four spots from my first quarter rankings, the Bengals have won four straight, and with their 49-9 dismantling of the Jets last week, proved how good they can be when clicking on all cylinders. It is going to be a tall task for anyone in the AFC North (Baltimore) to get past them…but can they stay consistent?

7 – Green Bay Packers
Somehow, they’re playing better defense without their best pass rusher. Somehow, Aaron Rodgers is playing just as good without three of his top four targets. Somehow, they’re running the ball. The Packers have stiff competition in the NFC North, but at this point, they’ve proven to be above and beyond.

8 – Indianapolis Colts
Another team jumping up the rankings, the Colts played their best game of the post-Peyton Manning era when they beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The conversation on Andrew Luck is that this kid is the real deal, and that’s pretty much been the consensus from the day he was drafted. Sure is something watching him prove it on a weekly basis, though.

9 – New England Patriots
The feeling here at Kevbo Industries is that, due to a wide variety of injuries and lackluster play from their well known signal caller, many people are looking past the Patriots. Something tells me that the Patriots want you to look past them. Of course, the NFL isn’t looking past them, but they continue to win most of their games despite odds that would cripple most teams.

10 – Detroit Lions
They still have to prove a little bit of consistency, but a big win against the Cowboys, and a near-miss against the Bengals, has me a little higher on the Lions than some might be. I see the potential for a fight to win the NFC North here, but that potential has to maintain itself over the long haul.

11 – Carolina Panthers

While not all of October has been good for the Panthers, the past two weeks have shown me a team that has very suddenly and unexpectedly “clicked”. Cam Newton is playing like he’s been in the league for a few more years than he has, the running game is proving to be a threat, and the defense is stepping up and making plays. The NFC wildcard race is going to be crowded, but if the Panthers continue this trend, they’ll be thick in the mix.

12 – San Diego Chargers
Over their last four games, the Chargers have beaten the Cowboys and Colts, beat up on the Jaguars and lost a close one to the Raiders. The road ahead is bleak with the Broncos and Chiefs essentially lapping them in the division race, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Chargers are playing very good football right now, and have been for the better part of the season.

13 – Dallas Cowboys
After taking the Broncos to the absolute brink at the beginning of October, the Cowboys proceeded to knock off two divisional opponents before being brought to the brink, and ending up on the wrong side of it, last week against the Lions. Somewhere in the muddled mix of injuries, heated tempers, Jerry Jones quotes and Tony Romo gaffs is a team that has no reason not to win their division. Which isn’t saying a lot, but it isn’t exactly saying a little, either.

14 – Chicago Bears

The Bears have dropped in my estimation over the month of October, and the main reason for this is that two of their best players are sidelined. Can they continue without Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs for four or more weeks? It’s going to be tough, especially in a division that has serious competition coming from Green Bay and Detroit.

15 – Baltimore Ravens

If they keep losing, the Bengals are going to take this division by the end of November. It would be a long fall for the defending Superbowl champs, but not a totally unexpected one considering their miserable offseason and inability to stay healthy at key positions. If seven games haven’t yet proven it to anyone, Joe Flacco is not worth the money he’s being paid. Not by a long shot. He’s essentially Phil Simms with a bigger arm. If you think that’s a compliment, go and look at what Phil Simms did throughout his career.

16 – Philadelphia Eagles
The past two weeks have been a bitter pill for Chip Kelly and the Eagles faithful to swallow, but when your best QB is either out completely or hurt immediately, you can’t expect miracles. That the defense is playing 180 degrees better over the first 5 or 6 games is a sign of good things; now all they need is for Kelly to adjust to the talent he has on offense, and allow the NFL’s rushing leader to do what he does best in order to win some games down the stretch, regardless of who’s behind center.

17 – New York Jets
October has been a mixed bag for Gang Green, with a big win over their nemesis Patriots sandwiched between a tough fought loss to the Steelers and last week’s embarrassment against the Bengals. Which Jets team will we get going forward? The hard-nosed, never-say-die competitors? Or the team that reflects the roster and the numbers produced so far? I’m guessing the latter, but they’ll upset a few more teams before it’s all said and done.

18 – Arizona Cardinals
As lousy as they’ve looked all year on offense, they’ve managed to win half of their eight games so far due to a stout defense. Their offensive production has been akin to squeezing the last bit of juice from an orange…every single week. I doubt they’ll be any higher than this going forward, but as of right now, they are what they are: middle of the road.

19 – Oakland Raiders
Much like the Jets, the Raiders are proving a difficult opponent for every team they face. They’re firmly at the bottom of their division, sure, but at 3-4 have proven to be heading in the right direction. Terrelle Pryor has the makings of a Russell Wilson, and they’re not as far off as they were a year ago from being a legitimate postseason possibility. It just won’t be happening in 2013.

20 – Tennessee Titans
Three straight losses, three straight weeks with very little to show for what was a promising start for the football Titans. Injuries have played their part, but there is something else going on here that doesn’t quickly meet the eye, but is obvious if you’re watching the games; the lack of talent is being compounded by the lack of effective playcalling. This is a team that, as they are right now, might be able to contend for a playoff spot in a year, but I have serious reservations about them doing so with the current playcallers on the sidelines.

21 – Buffalo Bills
Right around here is when the rankings become 21A through 21C, as each of these teams have essentially proven the same things: potential without results. While the Bills are a talented team on paper, that talent seems to dissipate when it’s needed most. C.J. Spiller has been a huge disappointment this year, the defense is still weak under pressure, and their QB situation isn’t moving forward so long as E.J. Manuel is sidelined.

22 – Miami Dolphins
After wining three in a row, the Dolphins have nosedived into a four game losing streak. Lack of QB protection, some questionable decisions on that QB’s part, and a general lack of offense through the air or on the ground have allowed teams to either narrowly pull away with wins or simply trample their good-but-not-great defense. Joe Philbin and the rest of the Dolphins staff still have some major holes to fill before this team competes for a playoff spot.

23 – Cleveland Browns
While Brian Hoyer was giving Cleveland fans high hopes, the last month has consisted of Brandon Weeden keeping the factory of sadness spinning. I don’t think trading Trent Richardson was a mistake, but it was an obvious commentary by the front office on where this team is in 2013; not quite there.

24 – Washington Redskins
Each week, I’m baffled that the Redskins haven’t found the ability to put all of their pieces together. They do it in spurts, but even these are so short lived that you cannot make the claim that “they’re back”. RGIII is probably as close to 100% as he’s going to get, so you can’t look at him as the problem. The swiss-cheese secondary and surprisingly lackluster pass rush are the real culprits here, and with the team handcuffed by salary cap penalties this year, it’s not a surprise that their weakest parts from last year are now even worse off.

25 – St. Louis Rams
One week, the Rams look like they’re bottom feeders. The next, they’re taking one of the best teams in the NFL to the edge of defeat. Who exactly are these St. Louis Rams? Well, despite a somewhat respectable 3-5 record, the answer to that question is fairly simple. They’re nobody special, and need to build around the handful of excellent pieces (amongst which currently IR’ed QB Sam Bradford may or may not be) if they’re going to get over that hump.

26 – Houston Texans
Despite all of their hardships, injuries and completely lackluster play defensively, I cannot fully grasp the idea that the Texans aren’t a good football team. This is almost exactly the same team that has been in the postseason mix for many years now, and why they’re floundering the way they are is extremely difficult to place a finger on. Things won’t get much easier for them going forward, but their record should be closer to 8-8 than not by the end of the year.

27 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Climbing a bit out of the swampy abyss of nothingness with two much-needed victories, the Steelers were able to show a partial glimpse of the team they could be. Still, this is an aging roster with holes aplenty, and if it weren’t for Cleveland’s downward spiral, I’d still bet on Pittsburgh bringing up the bottom of their division at the end of the year.

28 – Atlanta Falcons
By far, without a shadow of a doubt, no team has fallen quite as far as the Falcons have in 2013. A chic postseason pick and a team that was one play from the Superbowl in 2012, this year’s Falcons have been the victim of major injuries, major inconsistencies and a near-total lack of urgency through seven games. With Steven Jackson and Roddy White back on the field soon, they might at least be able to salvage a 6-10 or 7-9 disappointment out of what has otherwise been an utter meltdown.

29 – New York Giants
Kudos for avoiding 0-16 by beating two teams asking to be beat. It showed that the Giants are still capable of winning games they look capable of winning, but beyond that, this is a team with far too many problems to expect much more from. 2014 is going to be a very intriguing year for the Giants. Will Tom Coughlin return? How many new faces will the defense have? Where will Hakeem Nicks be playing? Who’s going to be running the ball?

30 – Minnesota Vikings
It’s evident now, if it wasn’t last year, that the Vikings have to overachieve with their current roster if they’re going to succeed. So far this year, they haven’t done that, and that’s why they have a ‘1’ in their win column. The most glaring error the team made? Bringing Christian Ponder back without so much as looking forward at the position. Signing Matt Cassel is not looking forward. And where the heck has Adrian Peterson been? I take that back, actually. He’s been dealing with a tragedy I wouldn’t wish on anybody. The rest of this team, however, are in the process of making a tragedy of their own.

31 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
So, what keeps them from being the worst team in football? A decent defense that isn’t being utilized properly. That’s it. Greg Schiano is a sitting duck who is doing almost all of the wrong things, the team jettisoned their (apparently) franchise QB and lost their powerhouse RB for the season. Everything that could possibly go wrong in Tampa Bay, whether by fate or by incompetence, has.

32 – Jacksonville Jaguars
All that being said, the Bucs are still a notch above the league’s worst team. Why? Because they had to make mistakes to not win a game. The Jaguars haven’t won a game by simply taking the field, lining up, and proceeding to play up to the level of talent they possess. If this team isn’t in Los Angeles in the next few years, I’ll be positively shocked.

Tuesday Morning Double-Back

…Whoa. Did you see that? Another week of football just went buzzing by, and we’ve officially hit the halfway point of the season. Let me slow some things down for you.

No Fins No!

17-3 at halftime felt like a mirage, and a mirage it turned out to be. New England, as much as I dislike it, are simply a better coached team, and their halftime adjustments proved the difference as they scored 24 unanswered points to take the game. After three straight wins, four straight losses outweighs our early success, and we need to regroup and figure out how to play four quarters of football.

What We Learned On Sunday

You always learn something. I called every game right on the money this week, something I haven’t done in a long time, but many of the games played out in unexpected fashion nonetheless.

While I missed the telecast, the Cowboys and Lions seemed to spend three quarters sizing each other up before unloading in the fourth with 41 total points scored. Along the way, a certain wideout who has ties to the Transformers franchise had the 2nd-best performance in the history of the NFL at his position. And his team had an incredible last-minute drive to win the game, with his QB calling for a spike play with seconds left, only to dive over his (apparently) unknowing offensive line into the endzone. Undoubtedly the best game this week. Expected…and yet unexpected.

Kansas City is still undefeated, but most analysts seem to want to belittle the accomplishment for a variety of reasons. “They’re not playing tough competition”, they say. “They’re barely winning, not winning convincingly”, they say.

Similar things were said about the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. I’m not predicting a Superbowl trip for Andy Reid and his Chiefs, but the simple fact is, they’re the only undefeated team in the league. However ugly, however against the grain, they’re undefeated.

After avoiding the possibility of doing the exact opposite last week against the Vikings, the Giants went into Lincoln Financial Field (which is neutral ground for the “hometown” Eagles, who haven’t won at the ‘Linc’ since September…of 2012) and managed to score five field goals…and win. Whether this speaks to the improved defense of the Giants, or the work-in-progress that is Chip Kelly and his offense (doesn’t help when your top two QBs are out) being, quite simply, ineffective. At 2-6, the Giants are somehow still in a position to win the NFC East.

Mfw+two+front+page+posts+in+a+row+are+about+_a4bf4567d5cf6f779da19f4fd8c7e886I predicted the Bengals to beat the Jets, but not like that. That, my friends, was an absolute embarrassment for Geno Smith and his entire team. Everyone and their grandmother knew the Bengals defense were a must-start in fantasy leagues, and their two pick-sixes justified that easily…but Marvin Jones catches four touchdowns? The Red Rifle throws five? Who is Marvin Jones? See above picture.

The Oakland and Arizona wins were upsets in my eyes, but upsets I had a gut instinct on. The Raiders manhandled Pittsburgh defensively for most of the game, despite their offense’s repeated attempts at costing them the game. In Arizona, a not-so-good team closed the door completely on the Atlanta Falcons making the playoffs, which has to be the single biggest disappointment in the NFL in 2013.

Outside of Houston, at least.

I sat down and watched the Broncos-Redskins game, because I’m not afraid to say I am a rubbernecker when it comes to trainwrecks. It was a wreck, and a bad one, but not the 62-40 endzone fest I predicted; instead, the Redskins managed to keep themselves in the game until it was time for them to lose. It was almost like a switch went off somewhere on the Washington sideline, and Mike Shanahan let his team know “Okay, throw it”. I’m not belittling the team, not at all…the Broncos are the NFL elite, and to keep them at bay for nearly an entire game is a major feat. It’s just that giving up 31 points in one quarter, and not responding in kind to any of them, is just…scroll up and look at that picture again.

Sunday night turned out to be more of a game than I thought, and it started off in grand fashion, with rookie Cordarelle Patterson taking a kickoff 109 yards, tying a record that cannot be broken. While it never really felt like the Vikings were going to win, even after that play, they deserve a bit of credit for keeping it close for most of the game.

If you didn’t see this throw, then you might have missed one of the absolute best plays of the year. I still can’t fully comprehend how Rodgers managed this…

http://www.nfl.com/videos/green-bay-packers/0ap2000000271030/QB-Rodgers-to-WR-Nelson-11-yd-pass-TD

In case nobody noticed, the 49ers dismantled the Jaguars, embarrassing the worst team in the NFL in another country. The shame…the shame…

What We Learned On Monday

I’m not the biggest fan of Richard Sherman, but when he was asked whether the 14-9, skin-of-their-teeth win over the Rams was worrisome, his answer was exactly right.

“I think that’s how championship teams have to win sometimes.”

A win is a win, plain and simple. I can go back and reference the 2012 Baltimore Ravens again, but anyone who watches enough football knows that each year, the team that ends up hoisting the Lombardi trophy will have gone through some tough games along the way. Games they could have lost, games that hinged on a single play, a single player making a single act that ultimately decides the final outcome. That’s one of the great things about the NFL, and despite the lack of scoring, this was one hell of a game. Both defenses played above and beyond, Seattle doing it as expected and St. Louis doing it surprisingly, but in the end, they gave their respective offenses every opportunity to win the game. The better offense won, but they did so with less than 150 total yards of offense.

Expected…and unexpected. That’s football.

(No “It’s The Numbers, Stupid” segment(s) this week, folks. I’ve got a couple of articles coming later in the week that will be chock full of numbers, so don’t fret.)

What Are You Doing, Nndamukong Suh?

A week without a fine? Fine by me. Hell, he could have been punching fans while the Dez Bryant “tirade” was taking place; every camera and pair of eyes in the stadium were on the wideout at that point.

Weekly Awards

QB Of The Week: Cam Newton. The numbers don’t lie, and the circumstances in which he shines don’t, either: he’s learning what it means to be truly elite, and the rest of the NFL needs to take notice.

RB Of The Week: Andre Ellington. Dude pretty much carried the Cardinals to their victory. 15 for 154 and a big 80-yard touchdown run. Well done, young man.

WR Of The Week: Calvin Johnson. I almost wanted to give this to Marvin Jones, but Megatron was being shadowed by one of the best cornerbacks in the league (this year, at least) in Brandon Carr, and still managed to have one of the best games a receiver has ever had. This guy is about eight years of consistency away from being the undisputed best wide receiver in NFL history.

Offensive Line Of The Week: St. Louis Rams. They paved the way for only the 2nd 100-yard rusher (Zac Stacy) the Seahawks have allowed this year, and generally kept Kellen Clemens clean enough to at least attempt to make plays down the field. It was an inspired performance that ultimately wasn’t enough.

Defensive Performance Of The Week: I can’t pick just one, so I’ll just give props to Cincinnati, Arizona and St. Louis for playing absolutely outstanding defense this week. Seattle as well, but who actually thought they wouldn’t be able to handle the Rams and their backup QB? Being gashed by the run all night keeps them from the award.

Goat Of The Week: Matt Ryan. Your season is an inch away from being in the books halfway through it, and you throw four interceptions? Uncharacteristic, but perfectly summing up the entire Falcons team in 2013.

Coaching Performance Of The Week: Bill Belichick. I explained this already, and due to the lingering sickness in my stomach, I decline to explain any further.

What’s Next?

A short turnaround for my Fins as we host the Bengals this Thursday. I’m already crying inside.

The Panthers and Saints appear to have very winnable games this week, against the Falcons and Jets, respectively. While I don’t expect Carolina to pull away with the division in hand down the stretch, it should keep the conversation intriguing going forward.

A lot of so-so looking matchups for week nine, but the Steelers-Patriots has some nostalgic value and should be a physical, hard-fought win for New England. Monday Night will be the game of the week, with the Bears fresh off a bye preparing to face their division rivals without their starting QB or best linebacker. Can they pull off the upset?

Can Calvin Johnson do what he did to the Cowboys?

Final Thoughts

All final thoughts are honed in on a couple of special articles for this week, including my 2nd installment of 2013’s fantasy rankings, and a post highlighting my fantasy and pick ’em performance so far this year.

Still can’t get that Rodgers-to-Nelson TD pass out of my head, though.

Mfw+two+front+page+posts+in+a+row+are+about+_a4bf4567d5cf6f779da19f4fd8c7e886

Week Eight Primer

A month without a Flashback Friday?! Okay, okay. It’ll be back at some point, I’m sure.

Here’s what you need to know for week eight.

Week 8 Picks

Detroit 27 – Dallas 20

When two powerful offenses meet, I tend to gravitate towards the defenses showing up. The Lions have more to work with on that side of the ball, so they get the nod at home.

San Fransisco 34 – Jacksonville 13

It won’t be pretty across the pond, as the projected inclement weather conditions allow for a heavy dose of Frank Gore, Kaepernick option runs and a team that cannot stop tight ends facing up against one of the best in the league in Vernon Davis. The 49ers will no doubt win some new fans in England after this one.

Kansas City 20 – Cleveland 6

There is nothing about Cleveland’s offense that is going to shake the best defense in football. Yeah, I said it. If I had more readers, I’d almost expect Richard Sherman to let me know why I’m wrong.

New England 24 – Miami 21

It always pains me to pick against my Fins, but the Patriots are coming off of a somewhat humiliating divisional loss. Miami are doing the same, but which team has responded better in these situations lately?

New Orleans 30 – Buffalo 20

No, the Bills won’t just let this game get away from them. No, the Bills won’t stop the Saints from winning, anyway.

New York 26 – Philadelphia 21

The return of Michael Vick is something, but the Giants have the advantage of playing the Eagles in Philly, where they (the Eagles) haven’t won in a calendar year. I like the Giants to find a way to eat up clock and keep Vick sidelined long enough to pull away with this one.

Cincinnati 17 – New York 16

It’ll be one of those games in Cincinnati this week, where Andy Dalton looks average and Geno Smith tips the odds in the favor of the Bengals defense. This is a tough one to call, but I’m giving the home team the close win.

Oakland 33 – Pittsburgh 20

After the last two weeks, most people would consider this an upset. Pittsburgh is winning again, but an Oakland team that is better than even their fans realize will remind us of how old, worn down and obsolete the Steelers have become.

Arizona 27 – Atlanta 21

After the entire season, anyone watching football would consider this an upset. It’ll be a big one for the seemingly hapless Cardinals, who are only playing great defense while their offense slowly…veeeeeery slowly….learns how to manage Bruce Arians’ offense. Carson Palmer won’t suddenly look like Matt Ryan, and he’ll probably be the lesser QB in this game, but it shouldn’t matter when the final whistle blows.

Denver 62 – Washington 40

Yes, I’m serious.

Green Bay 35 – Minnesota 20

If the Vikings remember what Adrian Peterson did to the Packers last year, they might score another touchdown. Still won’t be enough. Don’t ‘Ponder’ this one too hard, folks.

Badabing.

Seattle 31 – St. Louis 13

Bradford or no Bradford, the Seahawks will not be swayed by the underachieving, lesser team on the big stage Monday Night. The Rams won’t have to contend with the 12th man, but they’ll have to look up at the fans piling out of their home stadium at halftime.

Fantasy Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

Terrelle Pryor – QB – Oakland Raiders
Russell Wilson – QB – Seattle Seahawks
Frank Gore – RB – San Fransisco 49ers
Stevan Ridley – RB – New England Patriots
Demarius Moore – WR – Oakland Raiders
Santana Moss – WR – Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed – TE – Washington Redskins
Tony Gonzalez – TE – Atlanta Falcons
Blair Walsh – K – Minnesota Vikings
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST

Sit ‘Em

Michael Vick – QB – Philadelphia Eagles
Ben Roethlisberger – QB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Maurice Jones-Drew – RB – Jacksonville Jaguars (Don’t just sit him, drop him)
C.J. Spiller – RB – Buffalo Bills (even if he’s active)
A.J. Green – WR – Cincinnati Bengals (Remember, I told you to sit Megatron the week he caught 3 for 25. I said the same thing the next week and that was a mistake. If Green is in this spot again next week, don’t listen to me. Please.)
Harry Douglas – WR – Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Rudolph – TE – Minnesota Vikings
Jared Cook – TE – St. Louis Rams
Mike Nugent – K – Cincinnati Bengals
New England Patriots D/ST

Tuesday Morning Double-Back

Did you see what I saw Sunday night? Did you see the Colts steal that game from the Broncos? What else did you see? Let me tell you what I saw…

No Fins No!

This was the worst loss of 2013 for my Fins so far, inexplicably losing in the worst possible way, but most expected; a Tannehill turnover caused by weak offensive line play. Something has to change up front, and soon, or this team that quickly went from 3-0 to 3-3 is going to end up in the same situation they were in last year; good, but not good enough.

What We Learned On Sunday

Football hurts people.

We all knew that already, but for whatever reasons, the Football Gods deemed week seven to be the week of bumps, bruises, muscle pulls and ligament tears. A particularly scary moment occurred in Green Bay, when TE Jermichael Finley took a vicious hit to the head and lie motionless on the field until he was carted off. He spent last night in an ICU unit in a local hospital, but all indications are that he should be fine and that the hospitalization was simply precaution. Still, nothing quite represents the true danger these men put themselves in as when something like this happens. Luckily, this one looked worse than it was.

One that looked as bad as it was? Brian Cushing’s sickening knee-twisting, leg-breaking, season-ending injury in Kansas City. As someone who has suffered a serious knee injury, watching them take place always causes a phantom wave of pain to shoot through the reconstructed joint. Cushing may never return from this, and even if he does, the odds of him being the same player are not good.

While the Rams went about tanking their season, Sam Bradford ended up tearing his ACL while trying to scramble for a few extra yards towards the sideline. Another season ended, and we here at Kevbo Industries wish him a quick and speedy recovery…and also wish everyone talking about the QB dilemma in St. Louis would stop making a big deal out of it. This team was going nowhere with Bradford, and would be in the same hole with Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees behind center.

The Bears are going to struggle going forward, with Jay Cutler projected to miss the next month with a groin injury, and All-Pro LB Lance Briggs for at least a month with a bum shoulder. Looking back at my pick (Bears winning and scoring 40 in the process), I pat myself on the back for being half-right…and pat the Redskins on their collective backs for pulling out a close one against a good team, however banged up they may have been.

The Bengals pulled off a great road win in Detroit, but paid a high cost when Leon Hall, their #1 CB, was lost for the season. Recent reports dictate that the team will look in-house for guys to step up, and 2nd year corner Dre Kirkpatrick is the most likely candidate to fill Hall’s shoes. A tall order, but he’s got the raw ability for the Bengals to overcome the situation.

The AFC North is a mixed bag at this point. The Ravens, despite playing solid defense, seem to be a completely different team after their Superbowl run last year. Losing to the Steelers, who seemed dead in the water before winning a week prior, is about the worst thing that Baltimore fans can endure. If they keep playing the way they are, they’ll have to look forward to enduring a losing season.

Keep winning, 49ers…you know why. My money is on you for a return to the Superbowl, and you’re playing consistently solid football. Keep it up.

What We Learned On Sunday Night

Where to start?

For me, and I think anyone else who watched the game at home can agree, the Broncos were two plays from pulling the game out. The first came when Eric Decker caught a sideline pass and dove into the endzone, in one fluid motion, losing control of the ball only after he had crossed the plane and landed out of bounds. The call on the field was an incomplete pass, and for some bizarre reason, Decker didn’t appear to fight the call or motion towards his sideline for a challenge flag. A huge, huge mistake, as the play most likely would have been overturned.

Later, when the Broncos were driving towards making it a one-score game, they inexplicably handed off to fumble-happy Ronnie Hilman on a straight run up the gut, where he proceeded to…fumble. The referees seemed to waste no time in calling it a turnover, but if you were watching the game and the replays, it was clear as crystal that Hilman reached out, grabbed the ball and tucked it under his chest, which would have instantly made him down by contact before a Colts defender pulled the ball back out.

With all the drama surrounding Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis, these plays seemed to get lost in the mix. I’m not trying to take anything from the Colts, mind you; they played an absolutely stellar game, particularly defensively, against the best offense in football. Robert Mathis was a man on a mission, and his sack-fumble on Manning seemed to cause the QB some distress as the game went on, as he didn’t have the same zip on his passes as he did earlier in the game.

In the end, it was a huge win for the Colts, and a loss that the Broncos should be able to take in stride going forward. These are two teams bound for the playoffs, and hopefully for us football fans, they’ll meet again before the season is finished.

Oh, and Reggie Wayne is out for the year with a torn ACL. Football Gods are cruel, cruel deities.

What We Learned On Monday

I’m not sure we learned much, beyond the fact that the Giants won’t go 0-16. I suppose you have to give credit to Eli Manning, who avoided throwing an interception for the first game this year. I’ll give more credit to Jon Beason, the ex-Panther who has managed to inject new life into the lifeless Giants defense.

For Minnesota, the Josh Freeman project got off to a very rocky start, but you almost can’t point any fingers at this point. He’s two weeks into the Vikings program, and has proven in the past he can be a solid QB. The consistency has to be there, and with a Vikings team playing poor football despite essentially lining up the same team that fought their way into the playoffs last year, it won’t be a surprise if Freeman doesn’t pan out in Minnesota.

It’s The Numbers, Stupid (Part 1)

It’s a little hard to believe, but each of Denver’s top wideouts has over 40 catches after seven games. There’s a very real possibility that the 2013 Denver Broncos will produce the first team in league history with three wideouts with 100 or more catches.

What Are You Doing, Bill Belichick?

All the controversy over the “push heard round the world” that gave the Jets another attempt to kick (and make) the game-winning field goal on Sunday lands on the HC’s lap, and for the first time in a very long time, the words “I was wrong” actually came out of his mouth. Needless to say, the Patriots were outplayed for most of the game, but there is honestly no excuse for allowing what happened to happen if your the Hoodie. This rule, which was instated just this year, was actually demonstrated by NFL officials to each team before the season started. I guess Belichick was off that day.

It’s the Numbers, Stupid (Part 2)

Nick Foles threw for a grand total of 80 yards during Sunday’s matchup with the rival Cowboys. He was taken out of the game in the 4th with a concussion, but…80 yards. In three quarters.

What Are You Doing, Nndamukong Suh?

Another apparent clean week…but hold on, last week’s “apparent” clean week was wiped out when the league fined him for a rough hit on Browns QB Brandon Weeden. I’ve seen the replay, and it was obviously to me that Suh’s intent was to simply blast Weeden. I can understand the mindset, but this Suh watch is basically just a for-fun witch hunt, so we have to dock him a week for it. Sorry, big guy.

Weekly Awards

QB Of The Week: Andrew Luck. The amount of pressure could have, and would have, broken lesser men, but the Colts answer to the “Do we pay Peyton after his injury?” question answered an even more vital question on Sunday night: “Is Andrew Luck a franchise QB?” It’s about time we give him the designation.

RB Of The Week: Roy Helu. Mixing time with Alfred Morris and increased designed runs for RGIII, Helu managed to punch in three scores and was the unforseen X factor that ultimately won the Redskins the game. Special mention to Matt Forte, who I knew was going to cause some havoc this week, but his efforts were canceled out by the loss.

WR Of The Week: Steve Smith. His touchdown turned the tide helped Carolina pull away from the Rams, but he gets my vote this week for his comments regarding St. Louis cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/carolina-panthers/0ap2000000266826/Steve-Smith-not-a-fan-of-Janoris-Jenkins

Offensive Line Of The Week: New York Giants. A completely decimated front five kept Eli Manning upright against a decent group of pass rushers, and managed to keep him from throwing any forced interceptions. I understand the Vikings front four have been underachieving most of the year, but this matchup had “bad news” written all over it, and the Giants proved me wrong.

Defensive Performance Of The Week: Dallas Cowboys. All week, pundits and experts (myself included) predicted the Eagles to pick apart the banged up Cowboys defense. The Eagles scored a grand total of three points. That’s all that needs to be said.

Goat Of The Week: Tyson Clabo. The Dolphins right tackle absolutely whiffed on Buffalo DE Mario Williams, allowing a sack-fumble that set the Bills up to win the game. For an offensive lineman, there cannot possibly be a more embarrassing and demoralizing thing you can do.

Coaching Performance of the Week: Chuck Pagano. With his owner making some foolish comments, and all the attention on the seemingly unstoppable Peyton Manning coming home to reclaim the stadium he essentially built, Pagano kept his troops in line and their attention focused on making sure all of the outside hoopla didn’t get in between the Colts and the biggest win of their season so far.

What’s Next?

Well, the Dolphins are playing the Patriots. I actually would have preferred to face a New England team fresh off a hard-fought win, but knowing them, they’re going to be absolutely in the zone after losing a divisional game. I’m holding my breath this week.

Many NFL writers claimed that week 7 was pretty stale for good matchups, but next week looks even worse. The one game that really strikes me as intriguing? Cowboys at Detroit. Calvin, Dez, Romo, Stafford and the potential for about 90 combined points…which will end up being a 10-6 defensive battle.

To be fair, the Giants and Eagles always make for an enjoyable game, despite both team’s struggles so far. It’ll be interesting to see if Peyton Manning can score more than seven touchdowns against one of the worst secondaries I can remember seeing in Washington…who’ll be without starting safety Brandon Merriweather due to a two-game suspension just levied by the league.

Final Thoughts

Oh yeah, there was a game on Thursday night, in case nobody noticed. The Seahawks played against a high school team masquerading as the Arizona Cardinals. It wasn’t pretty.

With a fresh set of power rankings coming up after next week, my football thoughts right now are on what’s changed in the last few weeks…and to be honest, I don’t see much that has. The Falcons and Texans, two teams we all had pegged for the postseason, are most likely out of contention already. The Giants stink despite their win over the equally bad Vikings, the Bengals are outclassing the NFC North, the Patriots are the Patriots, and the Broncos are still going to steamroll most teams they face going forward.

But how ’bout them Chiefs?

Week Seven Primer

For the third consecutive week, I have to apologize for the lack of a Flashback Friday. I haven’t dedicated the necessary time into the column, and that will be rectified in the near future, I assure you.

Now, and as always, here are my picks and fantasy advice for another week of NFL fun.

Week 7 Picks

Atlanta 23 – Tampa Bay 16

This game could go either way (a running theme this week, with plenty of hard-to-gauge matchups), but I am going to give the nod to the Falcons because they are playing at home and seem to have more to lose at this point. Their playoff hopes are almost totally destroyed, but there’s a certain amount of pride on the line for last year’s runner-ups in the NFC Championship game. If they can’t get past this dysfunctional Buccaneers team, then something is seriously wrong, beyond the injuries.

Carolina 30 – St. Louis 20

One of the league’s most potent rushing attacks faces off against one of the league’s leakiest run defenses in what shouldn’t be much of a game at all for anyone who isn’t a football purist at heart. Expect heavy doses of DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton on designed runs, and expect the Rams not to stop any of them.

Detroit 24 – Cincinnati 14

You’re seeing this Lions team start to put both sides of the ball together, particularly defensively, where their dominating pair of DTs is finally paying off on the heavy investments they represent. While the Bengals have a solid defense as well, a (close to) healthy Calvin Johnson and some underneath work involving Reggie Bush should be enough to get the Lions a solid win against a solid team.

San Diego 35 – Jacksonville 27

It won’t be as easy as the Chargers may expect, especially if the injuries to Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts don’t hold them out of the game. Still, San Diego has to be able to win this game, despite the cross-country trip and their tendency to play down to the level of their opponents. It may not be as high-scoring as I’m predicting if the Chargers decide they want to (and can) run the way they did against the Colts last week, but I can’t see them losing this. Well, I can, but I’m not going to change my pick based on a silly whim…

Miami 31 – Buffalo 24

Lamar Miller? Step on up, you’re chance is here to break out. The Bills, perennially terrible against the run despite having a stout defensive line, are going to be the litmus test for this Miami running attack. I predict Miller and the O-line will get the job done, not too flashy in the numbers column, but enough to balance the offense. With that balance, Tannehill can work off of play action, get Hartline and Wallace some good opportunities, and ultimately the Fins’ first divisional win in their first divisional game of the season.

New England 27 – New York 21

Another game where a whim exists, where I think “Hey, Rex Ryan and his Jets always give the Patriots a hard time, don’t they?”. They do, but they’ve lost five straight to Brady and Co., and I don’t see any reason why that streak should be broken this week. Injuries are depleting the Patriots’ roster, but they still find ways to win; it’s what great teams do. The Jets? Injuries or not, there’s no great team hiding behind all their troubles.

Dallas 31 – Philadelphia 24

With most analysts looking at the Eagles as the odds-on favorite at home, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the injury-riddled Cowboys find a way to win this game. The way? Jason Witten. While the Eagles’ D has been improving in different ways, they’re still weak against the pass, and against tight ends in particular. Dallas has to press this advantage in order to make my (kind of an) upset pick work. Otherwise, Nick Foles and Chip Kelly are going to end up on the right side of the scoreboard.

Chicago 40 – Washington 31

Yeah, the Bears are going to march into the Redskins’ home and put up 40 points. Or something close. The skins will attempt to keep up, but at the end of the game, fantasy owners are going to be loving Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and/or Alshon Jeffery and, most notably, Matt Forte, who will be the unstoppable X-factor in this sound road win for the Bears.

San Fransisco 28 – Tennessee 13

It won’t be as easy as they’ve made it look over the past couple of weeks, but this 49ers team is turning the corner in a big way after a shaky start and the Titans, with or without a banged up Jake Locker, are going to find themselves halted on too many drives to keep this game competitive after two quarters.

Green Bay 24 – Cleveland 20

This is the way Green Bay is going to have to start winning football games; where Aaron Rodgers frustrates his fantasy owners but feels the pressure ease when he hands off to a guy in Eddie Lacy who has the look of a real-deal workhorse. With the WR injuries the Pack are working with, you can’t expect many mismatches to be found when Joe Haden is hovering Jordy Nelson all game, but Jermichael Finley could provide a score or two. He’s needed right now, and that’s usually when he shows up.

Kansas City 25 – Houston 7

The Chiefs may put up another 10 sacks against an inexperienced backup QB and a Texans team that is, to put it lightly, coming apart at the seams. When the Chiefs are sitting on a perfect record and the Texans are out of playoff contention only a year after their roles were reversed…well…it goes to show you how awesome the NFL really is.

Baltimore 17 – Pittsburgh 13

In what may be the ugliest game of the season so far, the long-running bitter rivalry between these two teams will culminate in an intense defensive-based game where the Ravens manage to squeeze in the few points they need to stop a Steelers team who, while high off of their first win, still has more questions than answers.

Denver 44 – Indianapolis 31

This game was one of the games we all circled on our schedules at the beginning of the year. Peyton is coming back to the stadium he built, and even if Colts owner Jim Irsay doesn’t say the things he said this week, you can rest assured that his old QB is going to do everything he can to tear it down.

Minnesota 24 – New York 21

I’m looking at this game, at the matchups and all that, and I’m thinking, “jeez, both of these teams were at least playoff-worthy yesterday, weren’t they?” With one win between the two of them, I give the nod to the team that already got that particularly nasty monkey off their back. A week removed from the tragic situation Adrian Peterson has had to endure won’t suddenly make him a beast again, but against this team, I can’t see him not making the difference.

Fantasy Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

Cam Newton – QB – Carolina Panthers
Nick Foles – QB – Philadelphia Eagles
Matt Forte – RB – Chicago Bears
Lamar Miller – RB – Miami Dolphins
Victor Cruz – WR – New York Giants
Mike Wallace – WR – Miami Dolphins
Jason Witten – TE – Dallas Cowboys
Tony Gonzalez – TE – Atlanta Falcons
Graham Gano – K – Carolina Panthers
Baltimore Ravens D/ST

Sit ‘Em

Ben Roethlisberger – QB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Tom Brady – QB – New England Patriots
Doug Martin – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Johnson – RB – Tennessee Titans
Calvin Johnson – WR – Detroit Lions (Didn’t trust me last week? Don’t make the same mistake again.)
Andre Johnson – WR – Houston Texans
Rob Gronkowski – TE – New England Patriots (Yes, even if he’s active.)
Antonio Gates – TE – San Diego Chargers
Randy Bullock – K – Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans D/ST

Tuesday Morning Double-Back

Well, who saw some of these games going the way they did? I sure didn’t.

No Fins No!

As in, a bye week. Keeping my fingers crossed that we take the extra time to collect ourselves after two losses and change some things up in time for our first divisional matchup against Buffalo next week.

What We Learned On Thursday

The biggest thing I took from this game was that Brandon Jacobs is still capable of running like he’s a 265-pound wrecking ball, even if he’s often forgotten it during his career. The Giants put up a fight, but there are no “moral” victories in the NFL (god, that Jerry Jones quote has run the circuit throughout the NFL the past two weeks, hasn’t it?), and 0-6 is 0-6. Chicago had better step their game up; frontrunners for a division featuring powerful offenses like Green Bay and Detroit can’t let weak opponents sneak up on them.

What We Learned On Sunday

I learned more than I cared to. For starters, I learned that no matter how appetizing an upset looks, you can’t bank on them. Buffalo had a real chance to pull one away from the Bengals, but…well, the better team usually prevails.

But if that’s true, then how do you explain the hapless Steelers finding their first victory against a Jets team that myself and many others have been praising for having more fight than previously anticipated? You can’t tell me the better team won that game. On second thought…

The Ravens were beaten at their own game, losing by two to the Packers in a game that was uncharacteristic of both teams to the point where I could have sworn there were imposters dressed in those uniforms. Kudos to the Ravens defense, who continue to give an overpaid offense a chance to lose each game they play. The AFC North is looking a little shabby at this point.

The QB controversy (or curiosity, or whatever you want to call it) is heating up in Philadelphia after backup Nick Foles put up an absolutely outstanding performance against the only team he had ever previously beaten when starting a game. If Vick isn’t healthy enough to go against Dallas this week, and Foles continues to impress, does Chip Kelly really have a choice but to go with the hot hand? Fair or not, this is how the business works, and every player who signs a contract knows that going in. Still, some part of you has to sympathize with Vick, who’s had a solid season up until now and has never seemed to fully catch the break he’s required. Either that, or he’s just never been good enough to justify the hype. A little of both?

The Saints basically dared Tom Brady to do what Tom Brady is known to do, giving him numerous opportunities to pull off an upset in the last three minutes of the best matchup this week. What the Patriots defense,and Aqib Talib in particular, did to shut down Jimmy Graham was, in a word, remarkable. Bellichick displayed his defensive mind and outfoxed Rob Ryan’s hyped aggressive defense by showing adaptability and stressing situational football. If it weren’t for the Broncos blazing a path towards the AFC crown, I wouldn’t hesitate to say we might have seen a preview of this year’s Superbowl watching this one.

Props to the Titans for putting up a hell of a fight in Seattle’s backyard. They came up short, but I believe they’re showing they’re going to be real competition for Indianapolis in the AFC South.

Unlike Houston, whose only actual competition is themselves. They’re losing that fight. And the fans that cheered Matt Shaub’s injury? Take cornerback Jonathan Joseph’s advice and “don’t show the f*ck up” next time. You should be ashamed.

Condolences to Adrian Peterson, who lost his son to an (apparently) worthless human being who should be killed in the same manner he decided to end the life of a 2-year old, defenseless child.

Condolences to the Vikings, who were embarrassed by Carolina and are going nowhere fast. Is Josh Freeman the answer? If he can play QB and CB, maybe.

Kudos to Jacksonville for…well…for not losing as bad as they could have. I’m amazed that so-called experts are getting on television or writing that the Jaguars provided some sort of blueprint for stopping the Broncos. Maybe I was one of the few who noticed that they still put up 35 points? If that’s stopping a team, then I’m Peyton Manning.

Keep winning, San Fransisco. You’re making my preseason Superbowl pick look better and better each time.

What We Learned Sunday Night

I want to spend a good amount of time discussing the issues the Washington Redskins have, but instead I’ll just say this: they can’t stop anybody from scoring and they can’t keep up. This isn’t all at the feet (and reconstructed knee) of RGIII. This is a combination of mistakes, bad personnel decisions (forced by salary cap penalties, mostly) and a handful of underachieving “stars”. The skeleton of a playoff team is still there, but this team has to play a little harder than most others in order to show that on Sundays. The talent is there, but its mostly raw. Luckily for them, they’re still not out of the race, not by a long shot in a shamefully bad NFC East.

Keep that in mind, Cowboys, when you hit the field in Philadelphia this week. As good as you looked in all three phases of the game against Washington, these Eagles are going to push your defense much harder. If the Eagles win, they’ll be…in first place…after going 4-12 last year. What.

What We Learned On Monday Night

The Chargers have more to them that meets the eye, but how often they’re able to show it is the problem. They seem to play up or down to the level of their competition, a dangerous recipe but one that might suit them when they get into it with the two undefeated teams in their division. As good of a victory this game was, against a really good Colts team, they’re not quite there yet in that powerhouse of a division.

Yeah, I’m not saying that like I saw it coming. I expected Denver to have the division wrapped up by week 8, but despite how good they are, they have a for-real Chiefs team and an occasionally for-real Chargers squad to contend with.

And the Colts? They beat themselves offensively, and were steamrolled defensively. A bad combination. They’re still a likely wild card team and, considering their division at this point in the season, a good candidate to win the AFC South.

It’s The Numbers, Stupid (Part 1)

While we here at Kevbo Industries understand that touchdown passes aren’t all you pay a QB for, we decided to take a look at Joe Flacco’s salary and TD production so far this year. His salary for 2013 is a whopping 20.1 million dollars. He has scored 7 touchdowns in 6 games so far, while also throwing 8 INTs. At this rate, he’ll finish the year with about 16 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Compared to his salary, they are paying him over a million dollars per touchdown.

Please, don’t even bring up how many times “he” has made the playoffs, or how well “he” played during last year’s Superbowl run. Football is a team sport, and every win, loss and tie is a team effort. Focus in on Flacco’s individual contributions and you realize how drastically overpaid of a football player he now is, ring or no ring.

What Are You Doing, Nndamukong Suh?

Winning, and winning convincingly, and winning with consistent effort and strong disruption. Where’s the nastiness? Bubbling beneath the surface; we predict no more than two more games until he’s fined again.

And we’re not forgetting the elbow delivered to a Cardinals offensive lineman that the NFL decided was not worth fining. They were as wrong as Suh was.

It’s The Numbers, Stupid (Part 2)

The 1984 Chicago Bears hold the single-season sack record by a team with 72. After six games, they had accumulated 20 sacks. After six games, the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs have accumulated 31.

What Are You Doing, NFL?

It wasn’t the first time it’s happened this year, and until the owners and the league come together to seriously discuss the issue, it won’t be the last. The low hit on Randall Cobb during the Packers-Ravens game that ended up breaking Cobb’s fibula is a result of how defensive players are being taught to aim low to avoid contact with offensive players’ helmets. If the NFL wants to truly put “safety first” and not just look like they’re attempting to placate the thousands of ex-players who filed a joint lawsuit due to the whole concussion issue, they need to redefine the actual hit zone of a offensive player to above the knee and below the neck.

You know, the way they teach you to tackle in Pee-Wee football.


Weekly Awards

QB Of The Week: Nick Foles. As poor as Tampa Bay has been this year, their secondary is the least of their problems. All this young backup QB did was dice them for 298 yards, 3 TDs and zero turnovers. Congrats, young man.

RB Of The Week: Eddie Lacy. In a game where two of Green Bay’s most dangerous offensive weapons were sidelined with injuries, the rookie took the game on his back to the tune of 5.2 yards per carry on 23 rushes. This guy is the real deal, so long as he can stay on the field.

WR Of The Week: Vernon Davis. Technically a TE, also technically the most dangerous receiving weapon in San Fransisco, almost single-handedly beat the Cardinals on his own.

Offensive Line Of The Week: San Diego Chargers. Yeah, Rivers didn’t have the type of game you’d expect, but it wasn’t due to the Colts pass rush; it was due to the fact that San Diego’s gameplan called for heavy doses of Ryan Matthews, Danny Woodhead and as sound of a game from their O-Line as they could muster. And boy, did they muster, keeping Rivers upright all game and pushing back the Colts as Matthews and Woodhead kept the Colts offense off the field for the vast majority of the game.

Defensive Performance Of The Week: New England Patriots. A week after suffering at the hands of the best performing defense in week 5 (Cincinnati), the Patriots hosted one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL…and systematically threw them off of their game for 4 quarters. I can’t praise Aqib Talib enough for his efforts against Jimmy Graham, who was an absolute non-factor when, otherwise, the Saints most likely would have won the game.

Goat Of The Week: Brandon Weeden. I mean, did you see this?

Coaching Performance Of The Week: Mike Tomlin. You lose that many games in a row, and things have to start looking bleak. Tomlin has been level-headed and confident in his team each and every week, and it finally paid off in a game very few people expected the Steelers to win. I don’t think this is going to trigger some sort of miraculous road to the playoffs, but it gives the entire team a boost of confidence…the confidence that Tomlin has maintained after each loss.

Kev’s Fantasy/Pick ‘Em Standings

One in one league, lost in another, and neither roster is giving me much confidence going forward. Andrew Luck could have given me an upset in the league I lost in if he could have managed a 27-point performance but…well…that wasn’t going to happen, was it?

I only managed to break even on my picks this week, but what makes me feel a little less ashamed of that is that nobody else in my family pool did better. A whole lot of surprise wins this week.

What’s Next?

As I mentioned last week, Cardinals HC Bruce Arians was quoted earlier in the year that he didn’t “see the dominance” of the 49ers and Seahawks. He just saw half of it on Sunday, and on Thursday night he’s going to get the complete picture.

Cowboys traveling to Philly is always a great thing, as those Eagles fans show up in droves for one of the more bitter rivalries in the NFL. I like the Eagles with Foles, Cowboys if Vick plays.

Who thinks the Patriots are in for a let-down when they have to face the tough-fightin’ Jets in New Jersey next week?

Me neither.

I’m far more worried about my Fins. These divisional games are so vital, and the fact that we had to wait until week 7 to play our first one is either a blessing or a curse, depending on how you look at it. We’ll get a better look at that after the game.

Ravens and Steelers used to be a hot ticket, but considering the way both teams have played this year, a 15-9 outcome should be expected, with the win going to whichever team turns the ball over less than four times.

Honestly, the only game this week for the casual NFL fan to be truly pumped about has to be Indianapolis at Denver. Do I think the Colts have a shot? Absolutely. Will I be picking them to win? You have a better chance to see Eli giving one of his rings to Peyton out of simple respect.

Because, you know, the one is better than the other despite the jewelry.

Final Thoughts

The Giants are saying Hakeem Nicks isn’t on the trading block. They’re living in an alternate reality where they’re not 0-6, didn’t just pay Victor Cruz #1 money, and don’t need the extra draft picks the trade would bring to start retooling a very poor roster.

Josh Freeman era beginning Monday night against these same Giants? I hope so: Freeman not totally up to speed on the playbook is probably equal to Cassel or Ponder knowing it like the back of their hands.

The Broncos and Chiefs will both remain undefeated until their week 11 matchup, mark my words. And the more I see of both teams, the more I actually think Kansas City has the better team overall. My concern there is that they’re a team who isn’t used to winning. But they’ll keep doing it until Denver ends Andy Reid’s fun for a week.

C.J Spiller and Chris Johnson were each considered high-end fantasy draft picks this year by every expert I came across. I have both on one team. I also have Ben Tate on that team, who put up more points in a crushing defeat than both of these supposed “studs” did combined. So much for the experts…and so much for my so-called “expertise”.

Then again, I did tell you to bench Calvin Johnson this week. How’d he do again? 3 catches, 25 yards?

I’ve still got it, baby.

Week Six Primer

I have to, once again, apologize for the lack of a Friday Flashback this week. From what I can tell, my busy schedule should be cleared up enough to start bringing these articles back. But, as always, here’s your primer for another week of NFL football.

Week 6 Picks

Green Bay 27 – Baltimore 23

After they stumbled their way to a close win against Miami in week five, the Ravens will have to host a team that, despite their struggles, are clearly superior. Injuries to Green Bay’s defense will hurt them, but in the end Aaron Rodgers and a (hopefully) steady running game will make the difference.

Buffalo 24 – Cincinnati 17

This might be my biggest upset pick so far this year, but my gut is telling me that the Bengals will find some way to lose to their upcoming AFC East opponents after manhandling the Patriots last week. The Bills are starting a completely unproven QB, but if C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson can make a dent, it won’t matter.

Detroit 20 – Cleveland 13

I see this being an extremely physical, defensive game on both sides, with the hard-charging Lions front getting after QB Branden Weeden, who has been criticized often for holding onto the ball for too long. This should equate into a turnover or two, swinging the game in favor of the visiting Lions.

Houston 24 – St. Louis 9

If Houston is going to hit a stride that will result in postseason hopes come December, this almost has to be the game where it begins. Getting an underachieving Rams offense, at home, should have the Texans’ D licking their chops.

Kansas City 30 – Oakland 16

While the Raiders are playing better than expected so far this year, the Chiefs are playing better than that, and their undefeated streak should continue with Oakland coming into Arrowhead Stadium. Look for Alex Smith to quietly have one of the best performances of any QB this week.

Minnesota 28 – Carolina 13

The recent tragedy in Adrian Peterson’s life is going to fuel this entire team to rally around him and play highly inspired football against a team who has been far too inconsistent considering their on-paper talent. Peterson is expected to play, and speaking from a personal standpoint, if I could even imagine myself in his situation (which I can’t, not totally), I can imagine I’d want to take out an extreme amount of aggression in a healthy way. Lucky for him, he’s an NFL football player. One of the best ever, in fact.

New York 17 – Pittsburgh 10

This should be an ugly game, and an ugly win for the Jets seems to be their preferred style. I want to like the Steelers in this one, but MetLife Stadium is going to have new life in it after the Jets have shown their fans they’re not quite the pushovers most of us (including myself) thought they would be this year.

Tampa Bay 23 – Philadelphia 20

With all the problems in Tampa Bay (including a possible MRSA infection spreading throughout the team), at some point they have to put it all together and find a way to win. Their defense matches up favorably to the Eagles’ offense, and as long as the Bucs give Doug Martin a steady workload, they should be able to find their first win of the season.

Denver 52 – Jacksonville 31

For fantasy owners, the likes of Chad Henne, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts are going to bring smiles to your faces. They won’t be sharing them, however, when the runaway train out of Denver steamrolls the worst roster in football.

Seattle 27 – Tennessee 12

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a mixed bag, Chris Johnson is having another of his so-so years, and while the Titans have been playing good football, you don’t go into Seattle playing good football and expect it to be enough. Field goals will be all the Seahawks give up, and field goals won’t be winning this game.

New Orleans 31 – New England 21

This should be a great game, and I fully expect a much better Patriots effort (in all three phases of the game) than what we saw last week against Cincinnati. Regardless, these Saints are looking far too good, and Jimmy Graham is looking far too unstoppable, for the chemically-unbalanced Pats to keep up for 60 minutes.

San Fransisco 30 – Arizona 10

Earlier in the year, Head Coach Bruce Arians was quoted as saying he doesn’t “see the dominance” that San Fransisco and Seattle represent in the NFC West. Well, he’s about to see it up close. He’ll consider himself lucky that he’s not Carson Palmer, who’ll have the best (and worst) seat in Candlestick Park.

Dallas 38 – Washington 31

Ahh, Dallas and Washington. Cowboys and Indians. These two games are must-watch each and every year, despite how well either team looks during the other 14 games. I think RGIII will benefit from the week off and show off more of what he was in 2012, keeping the game close up until the Redskins defense (which needs more than a bye week to correct their issues) collapses in the face of a superior offensive attack. I will say this, however; if Alfred Morris carries the ball more than 25 times, I like the Redskins in this one.

Indianapolis 34 – San Diego 21

I don’t think this one is going to be close. The Colts are doing big things and not enough people are noticing just how they’re doing it. The key point is their 4th quarter play, which is essentially the best in the NFL if you factor in their offense and defense. Against a Chargers team with numerous bumps and bruises, they won’t need four quarters to seal the deal.

Fantasy Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

Start ‘Em

Chad Henne – QB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Alex Smith – QB – Kansas City Chiefs
Fred Jackson – RB – Buffalo Bills
Knowshon Moreno – RB – Denver Broncos
Justin Blackmon – WR – Jacksonville Jaguars
Pierre Garcon – WR – Washington Redskins
Kyle Rudolph – TE – Minnesota Vikings
Garrett Graham – TE – Houston Texans
Rob Bironas – K – Tennessee Titans
New York Jets D/ST

Sit ‘Em

Phillip Rivers – QB – San Diego Chargers
Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens
Bilal Powell – RB – New York Jets
Chris Johnson – RB – Tennessee Titans
Calvin Johnson – WR – Detroit Lions (I know, I know. Just think about it, though. Think.)
Desean Jackson – WR – Philadelphia Eagles
Antonio Gates – TE – San Diego Chargers
Greg Olsen – TE – Carolina Panthers
Nick Novak – K – San Diego Chargers
New England Patriots D/ST