Thoughts from Hispandrix
SEA@ARI: These two teams started playing each other after the division realignment in 2002. This is the 29th time they play each other, and the Cardinals hold a 15-13 record over the Seahawks. Seattle is 4-2 since 2010 against Arizona, but have lost the last 2 road meetings in the Desert. It’s hard to figure out which Seahawks team will show up in Arizona. It’s fairly easy to figure them out at home (see Russell Wilson’s perfect record). Give Larry Fitzgerald mad props for playing through an injury last week against the 49ers. I mean every insider was pretty confident he wouldn’t play whatsoever. I’m sure the bitter taste of a 58-0 loss to the Seahawks last December isn’t too distant from the Cardinals memory, so they should likely play much better. The Cards are 2-0 at home, beating the Lions & Panthers. Lots of pressure is on Seattle to keep pace with the Saints. Each road game the Seahawks have had this season has been decided by 5 points or less. Seahawks, in a squeaker.
TB@ATL: The Bucs aren’t going to beat the Falcons. Count on it. Even if the team is banged up, the Bucs are just bad. If that doesn’t work, the Falcons have won 7 out of the last 9 against them. They need the victory to even attempt to pull even with Carolina.
STL@CAR: This matchup got quite more interesting with these respective teams winning road matchups last week. The Rams (3-3) just came off a huge win against the Texans on the road. Are we reading too much into the win though? Aside from the victory over the Texans, they have beat the Jaguars & Cardinals. They have finally found a run game with Zac Stacy, and their defense looked as good as ever. The Panthers (2-3) have looked awful in losses, and dominate in wins. In their two wins, the Panthers have outscored their opponents 73-10. It’s tough to pick here, but I’m just going to go with the Panthers.
CIN@DET: The Bengals limped off the field victorious in Buffalo. They had trouble containing rookie Thad Lewis. That’s right, the defense that held Tom Brady without a touchdown, and the Patriots to 6 points. WHAT!? Did someone quietly overlook this as the matchup of the week? The battle of the 4-2 teams is sure to have a nice draw. Both teams need this game to stay on top of their respective divisions. I like how the Lions are playing, and you gotta love the fact that Megatron played through pain. Not to mention, how does one top Joseph Fauria’s endzone dances? Go Lions!
SD@JAC: Can Rivers eclipse 6TD & 500 yards? I don’t even give Jacksonville a fighting chance, even if they did do something against Denver.
BUF@MIA: ‘Bad Luck’ Buffalo signed Matt Flynn. That’s really all I have to say. Seriously, there’s some type of unspoken curse that exists for the Bills. I will say that a week removed from the bye is a great thing for the Dolphins. I fully expect them to win here, and keep a ‘pace’ with the Patriots in the AFC East.
NE@NYJ: It just seems like the other week we saw these two square off on Thursday Night Football. Well, back in Week 2, Tom Brady was severely frustrated at the hands of his young receivers (see what I did there?). Geno Smith looked just like a rookie QB last week facing Dick Lebeau’s defense. At any rate, the Patriots got their huge confidence boost with a thrilling last second touchdown catch. Tom Brady hasn’t really flashed a ton on the stat sheet, and will likely be without Gronkowski & Amendola (but that’s nothing new, right?). I honestly feel some type of blow up game is coming for Brady. Sorry Jets, back to reality.
DAL@PHI: Suddenly, this game has a ton of meaning, as the winner will have a nice grasp on the NFC East afterwards. Both teams are 3-3, and 2-0 in divisional play. These two hate each other, period. This will be the 104th meeting between these two squads (Dallas leads all-time series 57-46). Philly is actually 4-6 (including the playoff matchup) in the last 10. With Nick Foles at the helm, the Eagles played exceptional, blowing up Tampa. As for the Cowboys, they jusy beat the rival Redskins, with guys off the street on defense. Tony Romo was very unimpressive on the day, as he passed for only 170 yards, and only tossed one touchdown. Yet, the Cowboys still put up over 30 points. Dallas is playing better as of late, and I like to think they will keep it going here, even though it will be a little closer than most think.
CHI@WSH: Everything about RGIII & the Redskins is off. There’s nothing going right. Everyone in DC felt real good after the Raiders win (of course, that was Matt Flynn), and then they get handled by Dallas. The big problem is their defense, who again, surrendered over 400 total yards, and are still one of the worst units in giving up yards per game. Chicago responded to their loss against the Saints by beating the Giants on Thursday Night Football. It was their defense who caused fits for Eli & company, and Cutler found Brandon Marshall for a couple of scores. If the Redskins learned anything from the Giants, it’s that the Bears can be run on. I doubt they’ll find a secret sauce to beat the Bears, however.
SF@TEN: The Titans are 3-3, and have lost their last two matchups after Jake Locker went down. Apparently paying all that money for Ryan Fitzpatrick’s beard proved to be a bad investment. True, the Titans haven’t been beat by much (9 points to the Chiefs, 7 to the Seahawks). However, the 49ers are finding their groove after starting 1-2. It’s almost as if they aren’t missing Aldon Smith either. I look for the 49ers to keep it going.
CLE@GB: The Browns are falling from grace after their strong start, and now they play the nearly ‘receiverless’ Packers in Lambeau. Sad to say that Brian Hoyer would have made this a game, and likely would have posed a huge problem for the Lions last week. The Packers will roll at home, even if they don’t have any of their linebackers.
HOU@KC: Let me get this straight. Case Keenum will play his first game of his career on the road, at Arrowhead. That’s just cruel & unusual punishment. The Chiefs are proving to be huge monsters in the AFC, and their defense should be taking full advantage of preying on ‘fresh meat’. I can’t even begin to give Houston a chance.
BAL@PIT: Pittsburgh finally broke their losing skid last week on the road against the Jets. Now, they face the task of playing their most hated rival, the Ravens. It’s meeting number 38 between the two (Steelers lead 22-15), and honestly a win is what both teams need right now. If you believe in such things, the last time the Steelers won at home against the Ravens was 2009. They got their first win of the season against the Jets on the road last week, as the Ravens offense looked horrid against the Packers at home. A win by Baltimore would help propel them in the AFC North, while a win by the Steelers would make the division race even more interesting. I can’t really get excited over the Steelers performance last week. I mean, Dick Lebeau deserves the credit for making Geno Smith’s life hell. The Ravens really need to show up this week, and I’m banking on their defense to help them out here.
DEN@IND: Like I said, this matchup is stealing the headlines for the week, as Manning returns home to Indianapolis. Manning never got a proper send off from the Colts, and this could be a sweet homecoming for him. I don’t understand how the Colts go from losing to the Dolphins, beating the 49ers & Seahawks, and then lose to the Chargers. I’m not taking away from the Chargers, it just baffles me that they beat such talented teams (when in all honesty they weren’t picked to do so), and can’t beat the others. As for Denver, they were held to a modest 35 points last week, which is their lowest total of the season. I can’t tell you that the Broncos will run all over the Colts, but the emotions out on the field, Manning may be liable to make a mistake or two. Still, the various weapons of the Broncos should be enough to overcome ‘young gun’ Andrew Luck and company.
MIN@NYG: This game is really tough to call here. I mean, Matt Cassel had the chance of a lifetime to prove he could be a starter, and he just blew it. Enter Josh Freeman, who is set to start. Adrian Peterson should get tons of love here, but honestly, I have to go with Eli Manning and company. It’s time to start to right the sinking ship of the Giants.