At least while watching NFL games you don’t have to get all down in the dumps about the depressing sameness of life. It’s all so new and fresh. Strange things happen every week. Freak plays. Odd moments. Quirky situations.
How else to explain a gust of wind in Cleveland blowing a partial playbook completely across the field during the first half of last week’s game, landing said object directly at the feet of Coach Marvin Lewis who proceeds to look through it and hand it off to an assistant for immediate translation.
The Bengals then promptly give up 27 second half points and lose by 10 to a winless team. What are the odds? (And when it comes to odd, nobody beats the Bengals!)
Packers at Rams – Can St. Louis make enough plays on offense to put the Green Bay defense on its heels? The answer at this time has to be not yet, and even if so, not for long enough.
The Rams’ defense has made great strides quickly, but the Packers still have too many good receivers and St. Louis will not be able to cover well enough to allow their front four to keep the pressure going on Aaron Rodgers to force enough mistakes.
It will be closer than most probably think, and the Rams are playing really well at home. Even though they are a .500 team, they don’t have the talent level to be in the top half of the league: Yet.
Saints at Buccaneers – Tampa Bay needs its defensive secondary at 100 percent full force and speed in order to take this one, and they just don’t have it. New Orleans really has only its pride left to salvage and they have to win divisional games to even stand an outside chance to sneak into the postseason. Strictly in terms of motivation, I give this one to the visitors.
Cowboys at Panthers – Dallas continues to make fools of us all, starting with the folks they see in the mirror every morning. Jerry’s World sure is a confusing place to be a football team. It sure is a big show but it’s not a winning football culture he’s got going on there.
Historically, the Cowboys own Carolina, and with Cam Newton’s well-chronicled struggles behind center (not to mention all over the rest of the field) that’s not likely to change. What’s also not likely to change is Dallas’ penchant for boneheaded, ridiculous-for-professionals, decisions (as well as the lack of them) at crucial moments.
I’m just going to go ahead and take the Panthers in a mild upset because if there’s any team out there worth being upset about it’s the pokies under the five-pointed hats. (Or is that stars?)
Cardinals at Vikings – Never underestimate the influence of defense on the road, and Arizona’s definitely got one. What they don’t got though is a running game or a quarterback who can be trusted with the ball. With Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder, Minnesota’s got that, and just enough defense to get the job done at home when they really need it.
Redskins at Giants – Can New York put two great, great performances together? Do they ever, this side of December I mean? I have to take the Giants at home in the division, but another RGIII spectacle should not surprise anyone. The Redskins are taking on an aura. It’s certainly not an invincible one, but it’s looking sturdy. They’re not the Hogs, but they’ve definitely got some boar DNA.
Jaguars at Raiders – Here is this week’s candidate for the So What Award. What else is there when you have 1-4 versus 1-4? The way things go in the NFL this will probably be the most entertaining, back-and-forth contest of the weekend, and it will take a whopper from Sea Bass at the 60 making the difference at the end. Sounds okay, but it seems more likely the Black Hole will be more entertaining than what happens on the field (not that any of us will be watching).
Jets at Patriots – New England will not only outscore New York by double figures, they will outplay them (and I mean that literally, they will run more plays) by about three to one. Until the Jets have a passing game that consistently gets them 275-325 yards per game, they have no chance to win against these guys because there is no way their defense is good enough now to stifle the Brady Bunch.
Steelers at Bengals – Pittsburgh is ailing, aging and increasingly dependent on Big Ben for everything to go well. They have not yet won a game away from home. It’s bad times for sure in Ketchup Central.
Cincinnati needs a win in the worst way after getting outplayed by two supposedly lesser opponents (Miami and Cleveland). They have a sure-handed, strong-legged running back, a decent young QB and lots of big, fast and strong receiving targets. Of course, they also have probably the worst defense this side of San Diego.
I’m sorry, but the Steelers own the Bengals. Always have. Cincy again finds itself in the position of having to steal the keys from Pittsburgh just so they can enter their own house. It’s pathetic really. Karma really doesn’t count for much unless you let it, but these are the Bengals we’re talking about. Please!
Lions at Bears – Chicago wins this with defense, which is all you need when you play Detroit.