By: S. Davis
Thus far in this short season we’ve seen the new 33-yard NFL PAT conversion rate come in at a robust 94.1 percent (64/68). Last season it took about eight or nine weeks to get to four misses on the 1-point kick so I guess this is the result the league wanted.
I still don’t like the new kicking distance – and when a marquee team loses a playoff game because of the change there will be a hailstorm facing the league. Last year I said the proposed – at the time – rules would add drama in the place of player safety. They’re almost, no they are, forcing the hands of the team scoring a touchdown into a corner where they have to try for two. I’m still waiting for the play when a MAJOR star suffers a devastating injury because there just wasn’t enough “drama” last season after a touchdown score.
With Dez Bryant coming out of surgery with the same injury that sent Julio Jones to the season-ending injured reserve last season how in the world will he be able to return this year? Will he heal in two months and return at his athletic best? Sometimes I really wish all injuries could be avoided in sports – I usually disable them in video games – so we can get teams at their absolute best. Although I’m not being completely objective because I did pick the Dallas Cowboys to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl; it seems I might need another NFC representative.
Denver 23 @ Kansas City 21: I don’t know how much gas Peyton Manning has in his arm but core – and lower-body – strength is far more important. He was overthrowing receivers last week…and that’s a good thing.
Houston 13 @ Carolina 20: Does it matter that Ryan Mallet will start over Brian Hoyer? Maybe they should both take the field at the same time and see how that works for the Texans’ offense. They should have held on to Andre Johnson at least for one more season as Arian Foster is out and J.J. Watt doesn’t take offensive snaps exclusively (yet).
San Francisco 20 @ Pittsburgh 24: DeAngelo Williams totaled 127 yards on the ground against the Patriots in surprising fashion that, shall it continue, will make the addition of Le’Veon Bell almost like a free agent signing once he returns.
Where’s the gold trimming on those blackout 49er jerseys? Colin Kaepernick’s regression of last year seems to have been reversed (for one game at least). He was patient, did not look to run as soon as his first two reads were covered and looked very confident as the play began to falter. When he’s on, operating as a true dual-threat – and not an athlete playing quarterback – he makes it hard on a defensive scheme, he can be terrifying.
Tampa Bay 13 @ New Orleans 24: The Saints should win this game, right?
Detroit 20 @ Minnesota 17: I’m going with a lot of road teams this week – and I’m less confident in this pick as the weekend draws near.
Arizona 20 @ Chicago 17: Cardinals.
New England 17 @ Buffalo 16: Rex Ryan has everyone eating out of his palms and following blindly. He’s going to improve the Bills but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Ryan usually coaches up a masterful strategy against the Patriots and I find this contest no different. I’ll take the champs but if the Bills remain strong, I may take them in the rematch up in Massachusetts. Yeah, I typed that.
San Diego 20 @ Cincinnati 27: Memo to the Bengals: Make sure you play all FOUR quarters. (Ask the Lions about last week.)
Tennessee 28 @ Cleveland 6: Titans. The best thing about the Browns was their classic jerseys and they’re gone.
Atlanta 27 @ NYG 30: The Giants need to change the headlines being written about them in the New York papers. Julio Jones has another monster game in his quest to win the wide receiver championship belt.
St. Louis 27 @ Washington 13: Another week where the trade that Washington pulled off with St. Louis that netted a certain mobile quarterback will be dissected.
Miami 20 @ Jacksonville 12: I don’t see any good coming out of Jacksonville this year. I’m just talking about the professional football team.
Baltimore 26 @ Oakland 10: Ravens.
Dallas 24 @ Philadelphia 28: I was so pumped up for this game until the Bryant foot injury. I’m still elated to see it but the luster isn’t as shiny. I will focus more on the Cowboys’ pass defense more than anything else.
Chip Kelly will flood the area of the field in the 10-15 yard range – and the outer boundaries – where Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne reside. I think Zack Ertz, Darren Sproles and DeMarco Murray have a few explosive plays in this one.
Seattle 20 @ Green Bay 23: Do you think Kam Chancellor will be wearing a foam cheese hat on his couch while keeping a close eye on his cell phone as this game is played?
NYJ 18 @ Indianapolis 24: The Jets could open some eyes with a win but Ryan Fitzpatrick is…Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Last Week: 11-5