NFL: Week 9

By: Shawn Davis

In two of the most entertaining games on Sunday, the Packers defense held on (barely) and the Patriots’ defensive unit was carved up by a Manning. Eli Manning gets them in a way that was eerily similar to Super Bowl 42; burned them! On to the games:

Baltimore 23 @ Pittsburgh 20:

As this game reached halftime, the score was 9-6 in favor of the Steelers and it was so exciting. Purists LOVE low-scoring, defensive contests (with two passes being thrown the whole game) but I don’t. I like scoring, deep passes, long running plays, interception returns, kickoff/punt returns, etc. Seeing the scoreboard move makes my heart flutter and this game had it all.

Flaccoerased his last two erratic performances (Jacksonville and Arizona) with a game to quiet his critics. He was masterful and looked calm the entire game even as the Steelers (and James Harrison) harassed him all night. He led the Ravens to convert on 14 of 21 third-down situations. Huge!

After a critical drop, Torrey Smith holds on to sweep the Steelers.

Both quarterbacks hit the 300-yard mark but it was an in-your-face-get-what-you-can-earn type of fight and I won’t be surprised to see these two meet in January. I sure hope so. Games like these are why I care more about this sport than any other!

Next week: Bal @ Sea (2-6); Pitt @ Cinn (6-2)

NY Giants 24 @ New England 20:

Eli Manning feels that he’s in the class of Brady/Brees/Big Ben/older brother/Rodgers as an elite quarterback. Performances like Sunday’s without his top receiver and running back (which is getting no attention) put him on the list – and it’s deserved. The other elite-level guys have titles and so does he…by killing the Patriots bid for the perfect season in Super Bowl 42.

New England has their 20-game regular season home streak snapped – which is hollow because they haven’t won a home playoff game in four years so I’ll leave it alone. Brady did turn the ball over but I won’t put the entire blame on his shoulders. They do not stick to running the ball and they make themselves easy to defend because their plays don’t stretch the field. The routes are short (based on timing and rhythm) and the Giants were awesome at disrupting New England’s timing passing attack.

Belichick’s defense is taking it on the chin! That’s what happens when you drive past the city YMCA, give the most-athletic looking guy a jersey – and then start him in the secondary!  That didn’t really happen, I think. The Pats gave me a loss this week in my league but I’m not too mad as the game was thrilling.

Next week: NYG @ SF (7-1); NE @ NY Jets (5-3)

Green Bay 45 @ San Diego 38:

There are times you look at a teams’ schedule to try to see where they can be defeated. This was that game for me when I saw the Chargers as the Packers next opponent. As much as I thought about taking San Diego in my pick-league…no! I couldn’t come to take them. Why? Aaron Rodgers is a whole different quarterback.

Philip Rivers had his team on the move with six touchdowns, although I have to add that two of those were to GB defenders. Additionally, he threw three interceptions which brings him to 14 on the season; not a stat anyone wants after eight games.

The Packers gave up 460 total yards but some of that has to be negated when their defense takes two takeaways in for touchdowns. With that said, someone is going to knock them off because there will be a game where Rodgers will play like a human, right?

Next week: GB hosts Minn (2-6); SD hosts Oak (4-4)

NY Jets 27 @ Buffalo 11:

Ryan Fitzpatrick looked confused the entire afternoon and when the Jets defend like that – you see why Rex Ryan won’t shut up. They put on a performance (only overshadowed by the Sunday night game) that can definitely (or finally) get them that Super Bowl they’ve been on the cusp of winning. There are still too many times in the course of a game where Mark Sanchez looks lost but he does just enough.

Next week: Jets host NE (5-3); Buf @ Dal (4-4)

Tampa Bay 16 @ New Orleans 27:

The reason Philip Rivers is leading the league in interceptions: Darren Sproles. The Chargers let him walk and the Saints are reaping the benefits. Anytime he touches the ball, good things happen for the offense – which was bad for the Buccaneers.

Brees lead the Saints attack to a win they needed to have in an important division contest. The Bucs have come down to earth from last season and they need to address the defensive side of the ball once this season is over.

Next week: TB hosts Hou (6-3); NO @ Atl (5-3)

Miami 31 @ Kansas City 3:

No one wants to win the AFC West, I guess. In defense of the Chiefs, they gave everything they had in last week’s game with the Chargers. Aside from that? They were horrid on Sunday. There’s a reason the talking heads on television feel the Dolphins won’t be able to draft Luck: It’s because they play HARD! They could have easily had 3 or 4 other victories this season.

Matt Moore threw for 244 yards and three tds to pace the Dolphins attack. Reggie Bush played like the talent he was drafted to be and it was great to see them get in the win column.

Next week: Mia hosts Wash (3-5); KC hosts Den (3-5)

Seattle 13 @ Dallas 23:

The Seahawks hung around in this game because the Cowboys like to scare the hell out of their fans. Also, I think they’re actively trying to give Jerry Jones an aneurism so they don’t have to deal with him.

Rookie DeMarco Murray rushed for 139 yards and turned four receptions into 47 yards; he’s good. When Felix Jones returns he will be splitting time with the kid because Murray plays in a fashion that will make it hard to deny him touches.

Next week: Sea hosts Bal (6-2); Dal hosts Buffalo (5-3)

Cleveland 12 @ Houston 30:

The Browns knew that Andre Johnson was out this week, right? They knew that they had to focus most of their energy into stopping the Texans’ run game, right? They knew they had to hold Arian Foster to under 100 yards, right?

Wrong! Arian Foster and Ben Tate, both, ran for over 100-yards and a touchdown a piece.

Someone needs to tell Colt McCoy that Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones are in the 2011 draft. They are! Colt isn’t the biggest issue; he needs some skill players around him. Real ones! Hey, Browns officials? Draft the guy some help!

Next week: Cle hosts Stl (1-7); Hou @ TB (4-4)

Atlanta 31 @ Indy 7:

The Falcons won and the Colts lost…again! There were fans in the stadium with Andrew Luck customized Colts jerseys. Foreshadowing? I don’t think it is when you see how much quit has rained over this football team.

The Dolphins are actually trying to play out of drafting Luck whereas the Colts seem ok with taking the money from the fans who attend their games.

Next week: Atl hosts NO (6-3); Indy hosts Jacksonville (2-6)

San Francisco 19 @ Washington 11:

Detractors of the 49ers feel that if a team forces them into a shootout, he’ll fold. I don’t feel that way at all. He’s comfortable in a system that he manages well and he’s used to flinging the ball around when he’s asked to. I mean I could be dead wrong but I want the guy to succeed so stop laughing at me.

Washington? Okay, thanks for coming out.

Next week: SF hosts NYG (6-2); Wash @ Mia (1-7)

Denver 38 @ Oakland 24:

Another loss in my pick-league! Tebow played his type of game and is 2-1 as a starter so far. The results show that he can play in this league but the offense needs to feature his strengths without focusing on his misgivings.

This division is all over the place so maybe no team in it wants to bubble up and take control of it. Carson Palmer had the bye-week to come out and show that he was worth the haul the Bengals received for trading him. In the six quarters he’s played since having on a Raiders jersey, his drives have produced nine punts, six interceptions, three touchdowns and one field goal. Worried?

Next week: Den @ KC (4-4); Oak @ SD (4-4)

Cincinnati 24 @ Tennessee 17:

The Bengals are 4-1 on the road this season, that’s not a typo. They’ve beat almost every team that was placed on their schedule and you cannot fault that at all. Problems are on the horizon because they have yet to go through the gauntlet games with Pittsburgh and Baltimore– and they have the Steelers coming to town next week followed by a visit to the Ravens.

We will find out how good they are in the next few games. Keep an eye out for the Bengals.

Next week: Cin hosts Pitt (6-3); Tenn @ Car (2-6)

St. Louis 13 @ Arizona 19:

The Rams beat a heavily favored Saints team last week and then lost to a Cardinals team without Kevin Kolb. Arizona is bad with Kolb under center, by the way. Both teams are playing for next year. Thank you Rams for costing me another win in my league, ugh!

Next week: Stl @ Cle (3-5); Ari @ Phi (3-5)

Chicago 30 @ Philly 24:

The sky has fallen and it’s time for the Eagles to face the music and quit with the excuses. At 3-5 it’s going to be hard for them to get the double-digit wins they will need to qualify for the playoffs. Like the Ravens-Steelers game, this was an exciting contest to watch and I’m glad that I did. There are those that will say that the Eagles blew the fourth-quarter lead (for the fourth time this year) but I won’t.

Chicago came out determined to take this game by surviving two fumbles by Matt Forte who had his usual strong showing with 133 yards on 24 carries. When the Bears call the short, precise routes they look like a tough out. The offensive line held up and has been masterful at protecting Jay Cutler. Over the first five games this year he’s been sacked 18 times but over the last three contests, he’s been sacked only three times. Short passing attack!

Next week: Chi hosts Det (6-2); Phi hosts Ari (2-6)

Week 10 is upon us – and that means these weekly pieces will take on a somber tone as the season is winding down (and my depression begins). Be well.





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