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.

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