>Tuesday Lunch: …I Got Nothing

Posted: October 12, 2010 in nfl
Tags: ,

>By Will Robinson
 
Sorry, no pun. Week 5 is in the books, and I cannot distinctly remember a weirder, more parity-filled start to a season. There are no undefeated teams remaining, which is apparently the first time since 1970 that there has not been at least one time standing through five weeks. Let’s get to the action.

 
Not-So-Quick-Hit-Thoughts
· I hate the Bills. I thought they could beat a struggling Jacksonville in Buffalo, but they proved my wrong. They are running away with the “worst team of the year” award.
· As bad as Buffalo is as a team, Carson Palmer is equally as bad of a quarterback. Palmer threw a decisive pick with under a minute remaining, which led to the Bucs quickly driving down the field, and kicking the game-winning field goal. Props to Tampa Bay, though. I projected them to win a high of six games this year, and they are already half way there. Definitely in contention for “most surprising team (positively)” with KC.
· Another impressive showing from Atlanta, as they ran behind Michael Turner’s 140 rushing yards en route to a 20-10 road victory in Cleveland. Roddy White also had a nice game, but Matt Ryan needs to show more consistency. He has been up and down, and while he didn’t make any critical mistakes against Cleveland, he could have done a lot more. Peyton Hillis was slowed down in the run game, but he did contribute some SICK highlights. Browns’ QB Seneca Wallace apparently suffered a high ankle sprain, which means my pre-season prediction for them may come true (Colt McCoy starting)!
· What happened, Sam Bradford? You handled decent teams up to facing the Lions, and your team couldn’t score a touchdown against them! Granted, Mark Clayton suffered a season-ending injury, but other teams have been able to produce against Detroit. Congratulations to the Lions though, on two special teams/defensive touchdowns, a strong showing from Shaun Hill, and their first win on the year.
· Even though they lost, I was very impressed by Kansas City. No one had them keeping the Colts in check on the road, but they did. They prevented Peyton Manning from throwing a touchdown in a real, competitive game (week 7, 2009 vs. SF). The Chiefs should be the favorites to come out of the AFC West, especially with the way San Diego has played this year.
· I’m slightly concerned with my Super Bowl pick this year, Green Bay. With the exception of Brandon Jackson’s long run, their run game has posted pedestrian-esque stats so far this year without Ryan Grant. Aaron Rodgers may miss this upcoming week with a concussion, which means it’s Matt Flynn time! Clay Matthews has still been great on defense, as has the entire unit, but they need to get their offense going. It’s nearly time to put Greg Jennings on some milk cartons. Good job though, Washington. Luck is a large part of an NFL season, and it has been going your way in close games so far.
· If any of you had Todd Collins with a passer rating in the single digits, power to you. He was horrendous against a Carolina secondary that has been suspect this season. Fortunately for Chicago, Matt Forté had a killer game (against the Panthers AND my fantasy team). Forté had two touchdowns in seven and a half minutes. Julius Peppers also caught a nice pick against his former team, in a revenge game of sorts. The Bears can be dangerous in the strong NFC North.
· The Ravens performed as I thought they would, rolling my beloved Broncos, but Kyle Orton did a great job of picking apart the Baltimore defense. Orton threw for 314 yards on 38 attempts (a very solid 8.3 yards/attempt average) and two 40-yard-plus touchdowns to his new favorite target, Brandon Lloyd. The running game still had its woes, rushing for an awful 39 yards on 13 attempts. Ray Rice and Willis McGahee’s longest runs of the game (18 and 30 yards) outgained the Broncos on two rushing attempts. Rice showed why he is one of the best running backs in the game, posting 2 touchdowns and 150+ yards from scrimmage. Solid game for Baltimore, not so much from Denver.
· Why must you do this to us, Houston? WHY!?!! Every year you try to convince the league and public that you are legit, and then your great offense drops 10 points. Schaub looks bad so far to start the year, and Foster was completely shut down against the Giants’ D. the outside rushing combo of Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck combined for three sacks on Schaub, as Eli Manning threw 3 TDs. Next week’s game of KC and Houston should be a very solid one, and closer than anyone would have thought before last week.
· I don’t know what it is with me and my Max Hall predictions, but so far, I am 2/2! Granted, Hall’s Cardinals recorded two defensive touchdowns, but he didn’t throw the game away like his counterpart, Drew Brees. Brees put up more touchdowns and yards, but threw three interceptions to Hall’s one. Larry Fitzgerald finally showed some signs of life, as he hit 93 receiving yards on 7 grabs. New Orleans’ matchup with Tampa Bay next week is scarier than it appeared in the pre-season. New Orleans needs a win there to keep afloat in the NFC South.
· Despite losing, I hit another bold prediction that Dallas would finally get the run game going (23 attempts, 141 yards as a team). However, Tony Romo didn’t like that idea so he threw three interceptions. Miles Austin turned in another amazing game, with 166 yards and a touchdown. Austin is on pace for 1896 receiving yards for the season, which would be phenomenal, but very unlikely. Chris Johnson silenced critics who called him “burnt out” as he had a typical CJ2K game with 132 yards and two touchdowns. Vince Young is continuing to be a solid game manager with a two touchdown, zero interception performance at Dallas. I think Tennessee will start a decent win streak, with Jacksonville next week, Philadelphia the week after, and then San Diego. I like them in all three of those games.
· Please, San Diego defense, your quarterback needs help. Philip Rivers was great again and Malcom Floyd was a monster, but Rivers’ defense and special teams couldn’t keep the Raiders’ down. Keep going strong, Phil. Maybe one day your defense will be able to do something on the road.
· Kevin Kolb filled in very nicely for Michael Vick, going on the road to defeat the 0-5 Niners. LeSean McCoy played crazy-good with his fractured ribs, compiling 138 yards and a score. San Francisco’s owner texted ESPN and said he still believed his team would win the division. With the way Alex Smith has played (sporadic at best), I find that hard to believe. But, what is harder to believe is how the defense has not been amazing this year. They have great talent, but are playing very mediocre. If they want a chance at the NFC West, the defense has to step up big time.
· The Jets turned in another dominant performance on their way to a 29-20 victory against the Vikings. New/old Minny’s WR Randy Moss found the end zone in his debut, but the game was about Brett Favre. There has been controversy about alleged salacious photos he sent to Jenn Sterger, but just like Brett Favre likes to do, he threw a game-deciding interception with 1:30 left in the game. The Jets look like the most complete team in football, and I am very scared for Denver next week.
 
Most Impressive Team: Detroit Lions
Where did that come from? I know the Lions have been competitive in virtually every game this year, but they lead a BEAT DOWN on the Rams. If the score had been, say, 20-6, then this doesn’t go to Detroit. But, 44-6? Wow. They shell-shocked Sam Bradford and Shaun Hill has filled in very nicely for Matthew Stafford. Flat-out impressive, no matter which teams are playing.
Honorable Mention: New York Jets, New York Giants
 
Most Impressive Offensive Player: Matt Forté
Forté carried the Bears to a dominant win against Carolina, despite no quarterback. Offensive coordinator Mike Martz adjusted the offense to utilize Forté without Cutler on the field, and Forté responded very well to the tune of 166 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Lloyd, Philip Rivers, Malcom Floyd, Miles Austin
 
Most Impressive Defensive Player: LaRon Landry
Landry intercepted Aaron Rodgers in overtime, which led to the Redskins driving down and kicking the game winning field goal. Landry also forced a fumble on Donald Lee, which he lost. Landry was drafted so he could be paired with the late Sean Taylor, and is now coming into his own.
Honorable Mention: Umenyiora/Tuck, DJ Williams Israel Idonije
 
Most Unimpressive Team: Houston Texans
Following what I said about earlier, the offense has been very inconsistent. In their two losses, they have only scored 10 points in each game. They need to step it up if they want to make the playoffs from the four-way tied AFC South.
Dishonorable Mention: Saint Louis Rams
 
Most Unimpressive Player: Drew Brees
The reigning Super Bowl MVP was rocked by Arizona, throwing three interceptions. New Orleans has had a tough start to the year, and is still the focal point to his team. The Saints live and die by Brees, and on Sunday, they were horrifically murdered in a seedy alley at night. Brees needs to get his stuff together. He is the Saints’ only hope.
 
Denver Complaint of the Week
Besides the run game, which I have complained about a lot so far, I was not surprised by how they performed against Baltimore.
 
Best Game per Time Slot of Week 6 (Excluding Sunday/Monday night)
10:00 AM PDT
Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
The red-hot Ravens travel to Foxborough to take on the Randy Moss-less Pats. This is probably the marquee matchup of the weekend, but there are other solid games in the morning worthy of watching.
Honorable Mention: Atlanta Falcons vs. Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
1:00-1:15 PM PDT
Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Both teams are in desperation mode, so this should be an interesting matchup. Both have electric passing games, and underachieving defenses. I like this to be a shootout.
 
Best Game of Week 6
Baltimore vs. New England
 
Most Interesting Game of Week 6ben-roethlisberger
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
This is undeniably the biggest story of week 6: Ben Roethlisberger’s return to the field. The Steelers performed admirably with his absence, going 3-1. I think Ben has a slow start to this game, but ends up performing very well. Pittsburgh has missed his big arm to throw deep to Mike Wallace. If he come back, and shows that he has not regressed in time out, Pitt HAS to be considered the strongest team.
 
Most One Sided Game of Week 6
Seattle Seahawks vs. Chicago Bears*
*Predicated on Cutler playing
 
Bounce Back Performance of Week 6
Dallas or Minnesota
It’s 99% guaranteed that one of these two teams will move to two wins on the year after this game. Each coming off a loss, it constitutes as a bounce back performance when one wins.
 
Down to Earth Performance of Week 6
Kyle Orton
While he has been on fire so far this season, and he did well against Baltimore, I am not confident Orton performs well against the best defense in the league. He could, with Revis being crippled, but the Denver line has not performed well outside of Ryan Clady. It can’t be good for him.
 
Bold Predictions of Week 6
· Drew Brees throws another three interceptions against Tampa.
· Peyton Manning looks like he did last week against Washington.
· Green Bay’s running game keeps going well against Miami.

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