Two of our very own had the pleasure of going to the Pats/Seahawks game over the weekend, so expect a lot on that matchup. Under dogs came up huge again last week, pending if you really considered the Redskins an underdog with RGIII a debate heading into Sunday (they went 11-3 in week 6). The word “parity” is thrown around every day in football talk, but it’s only because it’s so fitting. Can we trust any mid-tier team to cover a spread of four points or more? Let’s find out.
From week 6, here’s our results.
Which takes us to..
“4th and Goal”
Home Cooking: The 12th man experience in Seattle (Joe)
So I had the pleasure of accompanying Erwin to the Seahawks-Patriots game over the weekend, and if anyone watched the game all I can say is “Wow”… What a game. My football observation, I am in awe of how good Tom Brady truly is; it was a totally different feel watching him dissect a defense live. We all saw what the Seattle defense did to Aaron Rodgers, so I have to give props to the NE O-line, they gave Tommy Terrific more than enough time for the majority of the game, but they did give up one huge sack.
On the Seattle side of the game, how big did they come up in the 4th quarter? After literally zero pressure the whole game they finally stepped up – 2 picks and one big sack sealed the deal. I’m a big Russell Wilson fan, and I’m glad he was finally able to air it out. His scrambling ability (although called back) showed his versatility and athleticism. Nothing was crazier than to hear how loud the stadium got after the Rice touchdown. My personal favorite comment of the day was from fans sitting behind us,
“Welcome to the team Braylon Edwards”
after he made a highlight reel TD reception. In terms of the 12th man, there weren’t many offside calls on NE, I only really remember 2, but the stadium was LOUD. I could totally see how this would affect teams at the LOS. The one play that stands out where crowd noise played a factor was on one of NE’s last drives where Branch or Lloyd (I don’t remember) just couldn’t get the play right. Brady had to intervene and direct him, AND he got an illegal shift penalty.
Now I know Erwin will say NE should have won that game, and they did outplay the Seahawks on the offensive side of the ball, but the defensive problems that NE has been facing for the past couple seasons, specifically the secondary, is really showing now. This was evident on the game-winning touchdown when Sidney Rice split BOTH safeties on his way to the end zone – they literally watched him split between them. Let’s give credit to a perfect ball thrown by Wilson as well.
Before I start rambling I’ll just leave this with a few comments about the week. How unpredictable is the NFL right now. Houston AND SF being blown out, ATL should have lost to Oak, the resurgence of the Jets running game. The biggest surprise so far, the AFC East being in a 3 way tie at 3-3….the AFC East is starting to look like our fantasy pool standings.
…Any given Sunday indeed.
Ray Lewis: Leading on the sidelines (Mark)
13 probowls, Superbowl XXXV MVP, and 2X defensive player of the year, no one will ever argue against the fact that Ray Lewis is one of the best linebackers to ever play the game. Still the face and emotional leader of the franchise, the possible career ending injury Ray Lewis sustained this past weekend was probably the best case scenario for the Ravens. Lewis obviously isn’t the same linebacker as he was 10 years ago, Baltimore’s 26th ranked run defense is a testament to that. Unable to adapt to the high octane passing offenses of the NFL, Lewis was struggling just as much against the run as he was the pass. As much as it pains me to say this, Ray Lewis is probably better served on the sidelines as an emotional leader. At 37 years old, it’s safe to say that Lewis’ career is over.
Losing Ladarius Webb for the season with a torn ACL will have a much bigger impact on this defense than losing Lewis. Jimmy Smith was drafted to be Baltimore’s “shut down corner” for the foreseeable future. Often compared to Darrel Revis while in college, Smith is going to infuse some much needed size and physical presence into a Baltimore defense that is desperate for playmakers to help stop the run. Luckily for Baltimore fans, the team finally has an offense that can bail the defense out of games, hell, they aren’t going to have a choice if they want to win that division.
San Diego Chargers (Rob)
I’ve suffered through many years of the Chargers beating Oakland, especially during the LT era, but I have completely enjoyed the melt down over the past two years where things seem to be getting worse and worse by the week. Heading into this past off season, fans and analysts alike didn’t give Norv Turner a chance of coming back, but they kept him and six weeks deep, are regretting it immensely. But the Monday night debacle all fell on the shoulders of QB Philip Rivers. Up 24 heading into the second half, the Broncos reeled off 35 straight points to finish the game, mostly in part to Rivers throwing four picks, and losing two fumbles. It’s hard to imagine what kind of turnover will happen over the summer if the Chargers end up 7-9 this year, but the bottom line is they are tied with the Broncos at 3-3 atop the division heading into the bye week, with their next two against the Browns and Chiefs. So by week 10 there could be a whole different narrative. The frustration is that Monday night isn’t an “exception” or “rare” occurrence; the Chargers find ways to shoot themselves in the foot consistently. Two interesting stats before leaving, just to hand Chargers fans another shovel, between this year and last, they have lost eight straight games in the months of October and November, and in the history of the NFL, teams leading by 24 or more were 439-3. Yikes!
Until next week!
View last weeks picks here.