Week 5 in the books and 10 & Out is your recap HQ as the NFL passes the quarter pole and begins the second turn. A few remain unbeaten, a few remain hopeless, and the surprises are starting to shake themselves out. This next stretch of games is when the contenders emerge, and the pretenders submerge. Let’s get into it….Ready….BREAK!
What I learned this week…..
Andrew Luck is every bit as good as any other QB in the NFL right now. In the last three weeks he dispensed of SanFran & Seattle, both supposedly elite defenses. Somehow he still isn’t being talked about enough. Crazy.
Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 24 times in 5 games. That’s just too much time on his backside. Dolphins can play some defense but its never going to work long-haul if the QB is constantly hearing footsteps. Doesn’t matter how tall he is if he’s on the ground.
The Buffalo Bills went in hard for Josh Freeman, but he would’ve been a stop-gap until E.J. Manuel was ready again. Because Freeman is now in Minnesota (more on that later) and Jeff Tuel is just plain not ready to be an NFL QB the Bills are starting something called Thad Lewis at QB Sunday against a Cincinnati Bengal front-four that gave Tom Brady fits. I’m frankly surprised they didn’t do some homework on Tim Tebow. He’s gotta be better than a practice squadder. They did take looks at former West Virginia Mountaineer and Miami Dolphin Pat White along with former Eagle, Steeler and Oregon Duck Dennis Dixon, but Marrone says “Thad gives us the best chance right now.” Holey Doodie, that’s not good.
- For what its worth… The Chiefs, under Offensive mastermind HC Andrew Reid, have the best scoring defense in the league, by a lot. 58 points total in 5 games. That’s getting it done.
- Its time we stop talking about the Falcons. They’re the most talked about 1-4 team in the league. And they’re a steaming teeming dumpster fire. How can a team with these offensive weapons be a clown car in the red zone? Smittyball is costing them games, period. Again, they went for it on 4th down, and didn’t get it. They were so friggin’ lucky that there was a second left on the clock. But do they kick the FG on 5th and Goal? No, they run a 185lb RB into the line, and get stopped. That’s the 3rd time this year they’ve failed on 4th and Goal. 5th and Goal was a new one though. Gotta figure Arthur Blank is looking at Terry Robiskie and Mike Nolan and wondering….
- Hey, didn’t you used to be…Eli Manning? The Giants goober-faced QB has 12 INTs in 5 games, far and away the league leader. Three more on Sunday. And every time he throws one he looks like a kid who stepped in a puddle. Not like his defense is helping. They’ve allowed 30 or more points in every single game so far this year, but Eli’s turnovers aren’t putting them in good spots either: the offense has turned it over at least 3 times in each of their 5 games too. All-in-all, NYG are one of the worst two teams in football, and dead last in the NFC in anything. Just horrid, really. They go to Chicago Thursday night to try to wash this start away, but I don’t see it.
- Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are basically just treading water until Gronkowski, Amendola Vereen, Ridley and Edelman can all be on the field in the same game. A day after Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati Brady said “when some guys get healthy that will give us a little margin of error b/c we’ll have some real physical mismatches out there. But until that happens we’re going to have to continue to do what we can to grind it out.” When Welker, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Woodhead and Edelman were the offense there was always one guy to rely on. With a 1st & Goal from the one the Pats came away with a FG. That’s happened a few times this season already. It’s not been talked about at all but this Pats team misses Hernandez every bit as much as Gronk. Still, with weather playing a huge role, New England was one freak monsoon away from coming out on top again, with no Ridley no Vereen no Gronkowski and a limited Amendola. And, no Hernandez.
- Fan o’ the Week goes to whoever that guy was that went to the A’s game and stayed for the Raiders game.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugh
Good: Tony Romo. 506 yards and 5 TDs. For 57 minutes he stepped up and was slinging toe-to-toe with the great Peyton Manning. Cowboys and Broncos played a college game where last team with the ball would win. And it was going great too. Well, except for when Tony Romoed it.
Bad: Tony Romo. Only Romo could find a way to personally blow it and lose his best game as a pro, and one of the all-time great regular season offensive performances at the QB position. Time and time again this guy comes up with ways to barf the game away in the most crucial of spots. I wonder if he isn’t just a natural born loser. I mean if not for Schaub he’s in Roy Munson territory now.
Ugh: Matt Schaub is wretched these days and J.J. Watt has had enough. After Week 4 Watt said he can’t stand losing like this anymore: “This sucks. Nobody likes to lose, especially like this in your own building. This isn’t fun.” A clear reference to Schaub’s pick 6. After Week 5 Texans HC Gary Kubiak had to parry questions about backup QBs and even if his play-calling should be blamed for any of the INTs. At this point he has to consider dropping Schaub & going with T.J. Yates. When Schaub went down two years ago as the playoffs began Yates had a little run in him, getting Houston first into the playoffs and then their first franchise playoff win in 2011. They’ve also got local product, former Houston Cougar & my favorite college QB of recent years Case Keenum on the roster, albeit inactive. The division is quickly slipping away and a playoff spot is anything but guaranteed in this year’s AFC. The time to right the ship is now, or Kubes will be calling plays elsewhere next year.
With the Vikings signing Josh Freeman to a $3M deal, he now earns more than Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel combined. This does not bode well for either. Cassel filled in for Ponder last week in London and acquitted himself well: 16-25 for 248 and 2 TDs, 0 INT in the win over Pittsburgh. Of course Adrian Peterson being himself didn’t hurt either (140, 2 TDs). Must not have liked what they saw out of Cassel in practice and/or don’t think can Ponder return quickly.
W2W4: What to watch for…last week we gave you the Thursday Nighter and all that had was both QBs knocked out. One for the season and one for the fall. Incidentally, I mistakenly placed Brian Hoyer as an OSU Buckeye, when he was a Spartan. I always confuse him and Brian Hoying. This week its a great non-Conference matchup as 4:00 sees Drew Brees and the Saints go marching into Gillette. Will Gronk play? Can anyone cover Jimmy Graham? Will Brady get his footing (and timing) back? Two of the top coaches and two premier Franchise QBs lock up. Since 2009, Brady and Brees rank 1 and 2 in wins and passing yards, and the Saints and Patriots are 1-2 in points per game & yards per game. And no one is talking about two defenses playing great football right now. Should be a good one.
Locks of the Century of the Week…Last week we were 2-1, taking INDY and KC for wins, underestimating how good the Saints would be in Chicago.. This week, the important thing to remember is play everything as a parlay with Denver to win. Denver to win can’t pay but it gives any other wins a little bump. Very little, but a bump nonetheless.
GB @ BAL +3 Again, a team that has won some games getting points at home. Flacco won’t throw 5 INTs this week, that’s a guarantee. Packers are 2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road. I’ll take the points. Ravens +3
CIN -7.5 @ BUF Anything more than a TD is a big number. But Cincy’s front 7 played near-flawless football against Tom Brady and New England, and the Bills are starting a practice squad guy who was making wings at the Ralph last Sunday. Geno is going to feast, and Dunlap too. Bengals -7.5
NO +2.5 @ NE If Gronkowski plays it could be closer to a shootout BUT the Saints D is playing inspired football. Its amazing to see that its essentially the same group of players. Patriots Defense has been pretty damn good too, surrendering 70 points in 5 games, but this will be the best QB they’ve faced all season, and I can’t find anyone on that D to cover Jimmy Graham. Gimme the Saints +3
REMEMBER…parlay whatever you’d like with the Broncos to win. The number is so big that no one is going to lay the points (28?) so the money may bring this line down to 26.5 or so. Either way, add it to your plays.
You got a problem with my picks? YOU LOOKIN AT ME!? Get at me, @KCEsq
Topics: 10 & Out, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets