Sunday, October 14, 2012

Questions During the Hiatus

Hey guys. Sorry for not being so involved the last few weeks. Been under a lot of stress from law school; haven't had much time. I still don't have enough time for a lot of analysis, but I'm gonna answer some questions from people who have been emailing me.

Yo JD, where you been? - John
Have you ever seen "The Paper Chase?" That's my life. Law school is not fun.

What did you think about the Saints big win against the Chargers? Do you think the presence of Sean Payton was a factor? - Every person in NOLA.
It was a much needed step for the Saints. The Defense seems to be coming along, but I think they did get a little lucky that game (due to Gaither's injury). Still, the team, overall, is moving forward and that's a great sign.
As for Sean Payton, I don't think he created a HUGE factor, but I think there was some morale building there. I think Drew's record, more than anything, helped them.

Hey JD, I'm a big fan of the Rams. How do you think they're doing? I think Sam Bradford is our future. Do you agree? - Schafer
Hey Schafer. Happy to have you along.
I raved about the acquisition of Jeff Fisher as head coach in the offseason. He's a defensive mastermind and a Hell of a coach. You should feel reassured to have him there. His defense looks electric. I'm also a big fan of James Laurinitis and Chris Long. Oh, and your CB tandem, Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, is one of the best in the league. I LOVE Jenkins, he's gonna be a phenomenal player if he can get disciplined.
I honestly can't tell you if Sam Bradford is the future, but I can tell you this: If the Rams don't get him some offensive weapons, there will be no future for ANYONE at QB.

What do you have against USC QBs? - Brian
Haaaahahaha. No offense to the Trojans, but USC QBs just have a bad track record and I have to exploit it. Just to name a few: Sanchez, Leinart, Palmer, Cassel. There are approximately a dozen more and none of them are in the HoF. Palmer is the best one of them all and I find him to be less than mediocre.
If it makes you feel any better, I'm a fan of LSU, and our QBs are just terrible also.

What do you think about the two undefeated teams (Falcons and Texans)? Do you think we'll see them in the Superbowl? - Brandon
Hey Brandon. Good question (and nice name).
I think they're both playing at a high level. The Falcons have superior offensive weapons, and if they had a QB who was actually elite, they could go undefeated this season. The defense is playing well also. The Texans are monstrous, but Andre Johnson is on the decline and Schaub has lost his step as well. If Foster gets stumped, the Texans will have issues. However, the defense is great, hands down. I am a HUGE fan of J.J Watt; I think he takes DPoY.
I honestly don't think either go to the Superbowl. Even if the Falcons go undefeated in the regular season they choke in the playoffs and there are a ton of phenomenal teams in the NFC. I can't see the Falcons making it past the first game.
The Texans actually stand a very good chance. They only have two who, I think, can really beat them: The Ravens and the Patriots. It's between those three.

You said earlier that Welker is going to be gone next year, yet he's leading the Patriots' in receiving yards right now. Still stand by what you said? - Dylan.
Hey Dylan. Glad to see you've been reading!
Yes, I still think he is. Welker is an integral part of the offense, but he's going to be too expensive and the Pats have a ton of offensive weapons. They already spent a ton of money locking down their two TEs, and if Lloyd shoots off, consider Welker gone. Plus, I think Edelman and Salas can be adequate replacements for a much cheaper price.
I love Welker, I really do. But the Patriots have a history of trading players just as they are in/leaving their prime.

That's all the time I have right now. If you guys want some guys to consistently follow, try Hispandrix and Jrad. Great guys with some good knowledge. Also, y'all can get some quick updates if you follow me on that Twitter thing @The_JurisDoctor.

Good talking to y'all guys.

Juris Doctor. Out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Week 4: Predictions

Good morning football fans! I'm sure this football season has most of you just as confused as I am. At start of this season, I don't think anyone would ever imagine that the Saints would be 0-3, the Cardinals be 3-0, the Patriots & Packers would be 1-2, or that the Bears would be leading the NFC North. I'm currently sitting at a record of 23-25 in predictions, so I need to get a lot of these right to catch up. Here's my expert opinions:

Cleveland (0-3) at Baltimore (2-1):
Alright. Two of my "no-brainers" last week ended up going against me. BUT...this is a no brainer. The Ravers have done well against even great QBs like Tom Brady and Michael Vick (OK, he's not doing great, but still...). I can't imagine Brandon Weeden having a great game against them. Still, it'll be interesting to watch the Browns' emerging defense against the Ravens' new offense, and divisional games are always fun. I also can't wait to see Trent Richardson vs. Ray Lewis/Haloti Ngata.
Ravens stomp the Browns: 28-3.

Carolina (1-2) at Atlanta (3-0):
So the Falcons are 3-0 and looking strong, while the Panthers are 1-2 and looking inconsistent. The Falcon's defense is looking solid and the offense is looking...well still dink-and-dunk, but the weapons are making things happen. However, their run game has fallen off. If the Panthers want to win this one, they need to do two things: 1) Convert on third down (the Falcons aren't great at stopping it); and 2) Keep Cam Newton focused and poised. If the Panthers fall behind, consider this game over.
Give me the Falcons: 31-14.

New England (1-2) at Buffalo (2-1):
Who would have guessed that the Bills have a better record than the Patriots? These games are always fun to watch and the rivalry is pretty intense between these two. Remember, the Bills upset the Patriots last year. Still, I can't see Belichik dropping 3 in a row, it just doesn't seem like him. However, the Pats have to get pressure on Fitzpatrick or he will pick them apart. Watch for Wes Welker to have a big day.
Patriots for the win: 24-20.

Minnesota (1-2) at Detroit (1-2):
The Vikings are coming off of a huge win over the 49ers while the Lions are coming off of a huge loss from the Titans. However, I think the Lions' offense is a lot more explosive than the 49ers'. It'll be interesting if Shaun Hill is still in but, even if he is, Megatron alone can beat the Vikings. Watch the Lions' D-Line. They were without a sack last week and need to get to punishing the QB. Believe it or not, I think this game becomes a shootout. However, I don't think momentum carries the Vikings this week.
I give home field advantage to Detroit: 34-28.

Tennessee (1-2) at Houston (3-0):
I'm going to be much more careful about declaring teams curb-stomping the Titans. However, I think the Texans are going to curb-stomp the Titans. Its all about stats here. Both teams' star players are their RBs. Chris Johnson has 98 yards in 3 games, while Arian Foster has 294. The Texans allow almost 68 rushing yards per game, while the Titans allow over 150 rushing yards per game. Actually, it goes more or less down to each teams' O-Line, but the Titans' line has been bad all season. Look for J.J. Watt to eat Jake Locker alive.
I'm never drafting CJ2K in fantasy ever again. Texans take it: 34-13.

San Diego (2-1) at Kansas City (1-2):
So the Chiefs are coming off their first win of the season while the Chargers are coming off their first loss. Honestly, I still think both teams are sub-par. The Chiefs boosted their stats with a huge win last week over the Saints, so I'm not really going to look into their stats too much. Still, the Chargers allow about 67 yards on the ground; that should be enough to stop Jamaal Charles. 
Ehhhh...give me the Chargers: 21-17. I'm not really comfortable with this pick.

San Francisco (2-1) at New York (Jets) (2-1):
One of these teams has an excellent defense and an offense that is just good enough to deal with the other team's pretty good defense. The other is the New York Jets. The 49ers offense looked dismal last week, but the Jets' offense probably looked even worse. The Jets lost their best defensive player for the season and they still have a USC QB. This is probably going to be a defensive slugfest, but I think the answer is pretty simple.
Give me the physical, pissed-off 49ers: 24-10.

Seattle (2?-1?) at St. Louis (1-2):
The ?s mean that the Seahawks shouldn't have won, by the way. I really don't see St. Louis winning this one. The Seahawks' run game is tearing teams a new one and the Rams run defense isn't fantastic (120 yards per game). Meanwhile, the Seahawks' defense is on fire. Right now, I'd say its about 2nd best in the league, and I'm probably underestimating them. I can't see the old and decrepit Steven Jackson or the lack-of-rhythm Sam Bradford doing anything against them.
Seahawks on the road: 17-7.

Miami (1-2) at Arizona (3-0):
This is going to be more interesting that most people would think. The Dolphins' defense isn't half bad and the run game is coming along. If I were the 'Fins, I would focus on stopping the pass all the time. The Cards haven't ran it much and the 'Fins defense can stop the rushing attack with just 4 rushers. The eyes on both teams' QBs. The game depends on which of the young QBs does better. Thats my hypothesis. Aaaaaaand I think the Cards defense shuts down Tannehill more than the Miami shuts down Kolb.
I give the edge to the Cardinals simply because they have Fitzgerald: 21-13.

Oakland (1-2) at Denver (1-2):
This is another good divisional game. The Raiders are coming off of a tough win, while the Broncos seem to be struggling a little bit; mainly Manning struggling with his arm strength. The Raiders further proved last week that if they can get the running game going, victory is far more certain. The Broncos are decent against the run so it should be interesting. However, I think the pass rush will get to Carson Palmer, who is notorious for mistakes. Should be an interesting matchup.
Buuuut. I've got the Broncos on this one: 24-17.

Cincinatti (2-1) at Jacksonville (1-2):
Jaguars got by with a lucky win last week. I don't think Mike Zimmer and the Bengals let that happen to them. If the Jags want to win this contest they're going to have to put up points, and lots of them. The Bengals defensively haven't been very good in the red zone. The Jaguars cannot afford to waste any opportunities to score. I would look for Justin Blackmon to do something, as he has been nonexistent so far this season. The Jags also need to stop AJ Green.
Too many "ifs" for me to side with the Jags. Bengals take it: 27-13.

New Orleans (0-3) at Green Bay (1-2):
This is another game thats intriguing in its own right. At the beginning of the season, these two teams were viewed a title contenders. Now they're not looking so great. Both teams need good coaching for this game: The Saints to keep morale, the Packers to move on from the win that was stolen from them last week. The Packers showed that they had a week offensive line last week, but the Saints' D-Line isn't strong enough to take advantage of it. The Saints are weak against the run, but the Pack don't have the greatest run game either. Then again, I think even the weakest run game stands a chance against the Saints. I also have to wonder how rookie CB Corey White is going to deal with Jordy Nelson. He's been struggling so far this season and Nelson is one of the best slot corners in the game. The Saints are going to have to game plan this one better or they will lose. Watch out for Clay Matthews. The Saints distraught O-Line has to stop him and the rest of the Packer pass rush if Brees wants to do anything.
Ugh. This goes against my team. Packers: 41-30.

Washington (1-2) at Tampa Bay (1-2):
I'm actually pretty excited to see this one. This will be a real test for RGIII, as the Bucs have one of the best run defenses in the game (allowing less than 50 yards a game). They shut down Cam Newton pretty handily, and he and his RBs are more experienced than the rookie QB & RB on the Redskins. Then again, Josh Freeman of the Bucs has looked absolutely atrocious this year and the Redskin's defense isn't horrible. This one should be interested. My gut says go with the Bucs, but my gut was wrong twice last week.
Therefore, go 'Skins: 28-24

New York (Giants) (2-1) at Philadelphia (2-1):
Man. I feel bad for both QBs here. Both of these D-Lines are, arguably, the best pass rushing D-Lines in the game. Expect to see both Eli and Vick on their backs constantly. Both have stud WRs, both have solid secondaries, both have sub-par line back corps. This game should actually be intense. I give the edge to the Eagles here simply because they have a good RB in Lesean McCoy, where the Giants' run game is The G-Men aren't great at stopping the run and it will be difficult for them to accout for both McCoy and Vick.
Just a little for the Eagles: 30-24.

Chicago (2-1) at Dallas (2-1):
This game is all about match ups. DeMarcus Ware vs. J'Marcus Webb (Battle of Marcuses?); Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery vs. the tough Cowboys secondary; Sean Lee vs. Jay Cutler. I put more pressure on the 'Boys' Defense and the Bears Offense. If one of these falters, the other wins the game. It'll also be fine to watch DeMarco Murray against Brian Urlacher, and the Cowboy's shaky offensive line against Julius Peppers, who's been relatively quiet this season. Should be a fun matchup, but both teams need a win to stay atop their division.
Its a tough match, so I'll go with home field advantage. Cowboys: 24-20.

So theres my match ups. No power rankings this week, but I'll be sure to get them next week.

Hope you guys enjoy your weekend of football. I'll be posting my next blog right after the Saints game on Sunday.

To get more up-to-date info on the NFL, be sure to follow me on that Twitter thing @The_JurisDoctor.

For other expert opinions, feel free to take a look at my comrades below.

Jrad: Week 4 Predictions

Juris Doctor. Out.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 3: Analysis

Oy. Painful week for me. Made a few risky picks and none of them paid off. Let's just quickly recall that I had an overall record of 17-15 last week. I have to apologize as my comments will be a lot shorter this week (as you may be able to guess, law school takes no prisoners, not even on awesome NFL analysts). I'll still give a short synopsis and try to give some insight. Honestly, if you have any questions pertaining to any of the games, you guys are always welcome to leave a comment or send me a message. It's a more apt was for me to respond to you guys anyway.

Giants at Panthers: My Prediction 24-30; Actual Score: 36-7
I have to apologize for getting this one drastically wrong. Apparently the Giants decided to defend the run while the Panthers decided not to defend...well...anything. Quick hits time:
1. Giants play incredibly well with replacements; have great depth.
2. I like this Andre Brown guy. I would honestly try to trade Bradshaw and have Wilson sit behind Brown.
3. Cam Newton cracks under pressure. 3 horrible INTs. Gotta work on his poise.

St. Louis at Chicago: My Prediction: 13-27; Actual Score: 6-23
Not too surprised about this. Looks like Rams took a step back while the Bears were lucky Cutler didn't lay on his back all game. Still, Rams defense didn't look horrible. Quick hits time:
1. Cutler still didn't look great; not using his potential.
2. Michael Bush didn't really look like a good replacement for Matt Forte.
3. Bears defense is still formidable.
4. I still can't find Steven Jackson...
5. How is Danny Amendola a #1 receiver?

Buffalo at Cleveland: My Prediction: 17-7; Actual Score: 24-14
This is hardly a good win. Bills lost CJ Spiller. This is HUGE, as he was having an amazing start to the season. Brandon Weeden still has work to do, as does Trent Richardson. Browns defense has got to step up (No INTs, No sacks).
1. Tashard Choice didn't look half bad.
2. Ryan Fitzpatrick actually looked efficient against a solid defense.
3. D'Qwell Jackson was non-existent this game.

Tampa Bay at Dallas: My Prediction: 10-28; Actual Score: 10-16
Not really impressed with this win. Cowboys offense did not look very good. Then again, the Bucs was much worse. I honestly can't see either of these teams going very far at this point.
1. Cowboys are trying to rely more on DeMarco Murray than they are Tony Romo. Probably a good thing.
2. Josh Freeman look horrible. 10/28? Someone get these guys a new QB.
3. Cowboy's D looks solid. Sean Lee is coming along, corners are solid, and DeMarcus Ware is still a monster.
4. I think Aqib Talib and Mark Barron are the only players on the Buccaneer defense.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis: My Prediction: 14-20; Actual Score: 22-17
Colts blew this one. I thought Chuck Pagano would call better defensive plays on that last drive by the Jags (if you can even call that a drive). Colts still almost won it had it not been for Aaron Ross. Tough loss for Andrew Luck.
1. The play by Cecil Shorts shadows over the amazing performance MJD had (177 yds, including a 59 yarder with a TD).
2. Colts only got 1 sack? You have Mathis and Freeney. You have to do better than that against the Jaguars' O-Line.
3. Reggie Wayne is one helluva go-to guy.
4. Colts looked very good on 3rd down, not so good on penalties.

New York (Jets) at Miami: My Prediction: 13-7; Actual Score: 23-20
This game was closer than it should have been. Dolphins should be kicking themselves for calling that timeout prior to the block. Then again, they should probably use that kick to know Dan Carpenter upside his head for blowing it.
1. Jets lost Revis for the year. That is EXTREMELY painful for them.
2. Fins lost Reggie Bush, but I like the way Daniel Thomas is running (when he isn't fumbling).
3. Both QBs looked just horrible, but I put more blame on Sanchez here. He isn't a rookie.
4. Jets produced 0 sacks. What happened to that vaunted defense?
5. Dolphins actually looked solid on 3rd down (52%).

San Francisco at Minnesota: My Prediction: 31-3; Actual Score: 13-24
Upset of the week. 49ers looked atrocious all game. I say the 9ers lost this one more than the Vikings won it, but I have to give Leslie Frazier props on excellent game planning.
1. 3 turnovers and 2 punts in the 4th Quarter. No chance of comeback there.
2. This game shows that if you slow down Vernon Davis, the 49ers suffer.
3. I would stop giving Toby Gerhart the ball (2 fumbles). You have AP anyway. Christian Ponder can run that ball too!
4. Chad Greenway was everywhere. I've always liked him, but he looked especially vicious this game.
5. How about that Randy Moss guy?! I'm just kidding. He's sucking so far.

Kansas City at New Orleans: My Prediction: 28-31; Actual Score: 27-24
Look at my blog (and rant) for more on this game. Refs made some horrendous calls, but what else is new. Saints look dysfunctional in every which way but backwards.
1. Brees hasn't looked comfortable all season. Thank the O-Line.
2. Saints defense actually had flashes of good play (4 sacks, 2 turnovers) but still aren't good enough to hang (Gave up 510 the Chiefs...).
3. Chiefs completely shut down the Saints in the 4th quarter. Can play in the clutch.
4. Jamaal Charles looked good, but don't jump on the bandwagon yet. He ran over the 32nd ranked rush defense. That's not much to be proud of.

Detroit at Tennessee: My Prediction: 41-10; Actual Score: 41-44
Another big upset. Don't know where the Lions defense was that game. Then again, they only stood a chance because the refs helped them out. Scoring swings were imminent, neither teams' defense looked good.
1. Matt Stafford injured again. Lions will not go far without him.
2. Mikel LeShoure looks like an animal.
3. I give up on Chris Johnson. He's officially a "has-been."
4. Lions got 0 sacks. With a D-Line like that, how does that happen?
5. Locker aired the Hell outta that ball and didn't turn it over. Props.

Cincinatti at Washington: My Prediction: 14-24; Actual Score: 38-31
Good game. Was good down to the last minute. Don't feel bad RGIII, I couldn't get a first down on a 3rd-and-50 in a million years and I don't think many QBs could.
1. RGIII still looks good on both the run and in the air, but he has to lighten up on these hits. You don't want to end up like Michael Vick.
2. Andy Dalton looks like he may be able to avoid this sophomore slump after all.
3. Where the Hell did this Michael Johnson guy come from? 3 sacks? Goodness...
4. The 'Skins are missing Brian Orakpo. Pass rush is not nearly as efficient.
5. Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis is not the answer for the Bengals' running attack.

Philadelphia at Arizona: My Prediction: 28-17; Actual Score: 6-27
Wow. Where did the Cardinals come from? Eagles got their ass whooped. Plain and simple.
1. Kolb looked sharp. Very sharp. He's a good game manager on that defense-led team.
2. Vick looked bad. 2 crucial fumbles (one for a TD) and completing less than 50% of his passes.
3. That Eagles O-Line is pitiful. 5 sacks? We'll be seeing Nick Foles pretty soon.
4. Why does Damaris Johnson have far more yards than any other receiver on that Eagles' corps for this game?
5. In case you didn't notice, Fitz is back.
6. Besides Demeco Ryans, the Eagles linebackers are garbage.

Atlanta at San Diego: My Prediction: 24-17; Actual Score: 27-3
Just an outright beating. The Falcons looked dominant the entire game.
1. Matt Ryan looks very efficient. This dink-and-dunk system is giving the receivers a lot of YAC.
2. This William Moore guy is a beast. Thomas Decoud is doing pretty well for himself as well.
3. Robert Meachem looks like he has no rapport with Rivers and Gates looks like he's washed up.
4. I'm not sure if I would call the Falcon's defense "dominant," but the Falcons are +10 in the turnover ratio. That's an accomplishment.
5. The Falcons are were also 61% on third down. Talk about efficiency.

Houston at Denver: My Prediction: 24-28; Actual Score: 31-25
I took a shot on this one for fun and blew it. The Broncos defense should be ashamed of themselves on this one. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning threw the ball 52 times. I wonder how his neck feels?
1. Matt Schaub threw 4 TDs on 17 completions. He looked pretty darn good.
2. Manning looked desperate. No other way to put it. Never really looked comfortable.
3. The Broncos' defense looked confused multiple time. Maybe the loss of now-retired veteran safety Brian Dawkins is being missed.
4. Props to Eric Decker for showing up to play. I think he was the only player on the Broncos who did.
5. I like this J.J. Watt guy. He's a beast.

Pittsburgh at Oakland: My Prediction: 34-14; Actual Score: 31-34
The Steelers just blew it. I think everyone thought the Raiders were the worst team in the league. Guess the Steelers aren't what they used to be.
1. Prayers for Heyward-Bey. That was a brutal hit.
2. Big Ben actually did great. I put more fault on the lack of a running game than I do on him.
3. Carson Palmer threw 3 TDs. That's how you know that Steelers' defense was sucking.
4. I'll be fair here. Both the defenses were horrible.
5. Run DMC gets going, the Raiders win. Coincidence?

New England at Baltimore: My Prediction: 23-31; Actual Score: 30-31
WHAT A GAME. I loved this game from start to finish. Physical, gritty, and a hell of an ending.
1. The refs seriously needed to call some penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was getting brutal out there.
2. Huge props to Torrey Smith. Playing the game of his life with an incredibly heavy heart. My thoughts and prayers out to him and his family.
3. Did Joe Flacco just outshine Tom Brady? I believe so.
4. Glad to see Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd are starting to get involved. Pats fans should hope it stays like that.
5. Pats defense needs some pass rush. Badly.
6. That kick was good. I'm sorry Pats' fans, but it was good. Barely, but good.

Green Bay at Seattle: My Prediction: 28-14; Actual Score: 12-14
Take everything that has been said on twitter, Facebook, and ESPN about the officiating of this game and just slide my opinion in with that group. I'm going to choose not to talk about it because I want to focus on the other 59 minutes of the game. Just gotta say, big upset. An undeserved upset, but an upset nonetheless.
1. Seattle's defense is the real deal. 8 sacks in the first half and they were still terrorizing Aaron Rodgers throughout the game. Props.
2. Give Russell Wilson a break. He didn't play half bad.
3. Seahawks need to get better on third down to continue these drives (only 18% this game).
4. Golden Tate I don't care what you say. You're a cheater.
5. I stand by my previous statement (In the analysis of the Chiefs-Saints game) that officiating does not directly change the outcome of a game 99% of the time. However, this is that 1%. No doubt.

So I was 6-10 this week. I would have been 8-8 had I not taken any risks, but I stand by my picks as always. This makes my official record so far 23-25. Looks like I've got some catching up to do.

Also, I just heard that the old refs are back. This calls for a celebration for sure.

I'll have my picks for week 4 later today.

Got any questions or comments? Feel free to leave them or send me a message. Also, be sure to read some of the articles from my other colleagues listed below.

J-Rad's Onside Punt
The Mind of Hispandrix

Also, follow me on that Twitter thing @The_JurisDoctor

Take it easy ladies and gents.

Juris Doctor. Out.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chiefs at Saints: Analysis

Before we being, I'm going to go on a rant. So bear with me here.

The officiating of this game was terrible, horrific and outright absurd. I've never seen so many blown calls, delays and just erroneous decisions by the officiating staff in my entire life. This is pathetic. Goodell needs to get off of his pillar and beg the old officials to come back. They may not have been perfect but they are FAR better than what is out there now.

With that being said, I REFUSE to place the blame of any loss of any team on the referees. It is simply impossible to do. Officiating is an uncontrollable aspect of this game that will never be fully justified. Just like messed up fields, crowd noise and weather conditions, this is an aspect that neither team can really control and it is something every team and fan must deal with. 99% of the time it does not come down to the referees, it comes down to the team. If the team didn't put themselves in the position to lose, then the decision wouldn't matter. I don't care if it erased a touchdown off the scoreboard, that still doesn't mean the team would have one. The game could have gone a completely different way even if the call went your way, you just never know. I'm not doing this to say that the officiating is fine and we should simply obey it; in fact, I suggest you use your first amendment to complain to the NFL front office and I think you have every right to criticize these guys who get paid to officiate. However, I do not believe you should blame the referees for the fallacies of your team. Look at your team first. If they did everything right and nothing wrong but still lost, then you can blame the refs. If not, go jump on your team. End of story.


Chiefs at Saints: My prediction: 28-31; Actual score 27-24.
Pathetic. Simply pathetic. The Saints blew an 18 point lead in the second half, at home, to a team that has been nothing short of atrocious. Normally this is where I say what was good about the game and what was bad...but there isn't enough good for me to justify anything. This time, I'm going to break it down by 4 sections: Offense, defense, special teams and coaching.
Offense: We are very far away from the Saints of last season in terms of offense. Drew Brees has not looked comfortable, especially in the second half. Our offensive line is getting blown out the water. Our receivers are not getting open and are dropping passes everywhere. Where do I begin? Well you always begin with the O-Line.
Our tackles are struggling severely. Zach Strief got destroyed multiple times and allowed 3 sacks from Justin Houston. Houston is not a wily veteran, nor is he an elite 1st round draft pick. He's a 2nd year 3rd rounder with 5.5 sacks in his career. One sack is understandable, maybe two. But 3 sacks? Including one for a safety? You have got to be kidding me. But its not just Strief, it's the entire line. Our guards kept getting backed up by guys like Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey. Maybe it's a Louisiana homecoming thing, but that is just ridiculous. Our running backs continually had no lanes to run and were just destroyed. Maybe putting Aaron Kromer at head coach was a bad idea. He needs to focus more on his line...a lot.
Then again, it really doesn't help when your receivers blow so many opportunities. Jimmy Graham dropped two passes that were very much needed at the time. This gives Graham 3 crucial drops in the last 3 games. That's only crucial ones. He's making Devery Henderson, who had some great catches this game, look like Cris Carter. I think Jimmy may be letting some of his fame go to his head. I know Payton would jump on him, but what about Kromer?
With a struggling O-Line and receivers that just can't seem to get open, Drew Brees struggles. He's looking very uncomfortable and hasn't executed like he normally does. Not to mention, he's trying to overdo things a lot. I fear for this offense. A lot.
Defense: The defense actually showed some flashes of improvement, but flashes don't win games. The truth is, they gave up 510 yards to the Chiefs. We have further proved that we couldn't stop the run if we built levees in front of the opposing team's offensive line. Jamaal Charles ran for over 220 yards. Sure, Jamaal Charles is good. But he hasn't been good all season. Pathetic.
Also, it looks like Greer is still struggling with injury. I noticed that he was out on a lot of plays, leaving Patrick Robinson and Corey White starting on the outside. Not good. For some reason Corey White has moved over Johnny Patrick over the depth chart so Saints fans need to get used to his...uh...skill? P-Rob also looks like he's taking a step back. He shows flashes of good plays, but when he messes up, its big. I think he's just having some growing pains, but those pains are coming at an inopportune time.
The D-Line actually got some pressure today! But it wasn't enough. We can't just get some pressure. We need consistent pressure. Spags needs that pressure.
I'll be honest here: With the personnel we have, I would prefer Gregg Williams' defense. Hear me out. At least with Gregg WIlliams' heavy blitzing scheme we at least stood a chance at stopping the opponent. Its true, you live by the blitz and die by the blitz, no doubt. But at least we got some good plays out of it. Hell, our overall regular season record with Williams was 37-11. And even then we didn't give up this many yards. I don't think our personnel matches what Spags needs and I don't think we're gonna get it anytime soon. But, like I said earlier, I'm gonna give him the Juan Castillo approach, I'm gonna give him time.
Special Teams: We had one touchback from kickoffs all game. Garret Hartley missed an easy kick. We allowed an average of 13 yards on punt returns. Do I need to go on here?
Coaching: Between the play calling and the overall coaching I am just disgusted. I'm not even going to look at the play calling, but I am going to look at the attitude of the coaches. Spags is more fiery than Kromer. I know the interim interim head coach has to keep his cool, but he also needs to get in some refs' faces (I could give two shits about the NFL fines), and get his players in line. I saw him chew out his O-Line after the safety today. That was beautiful. But he's not getting on anyone else's case. Kromer needs to pull Jimmy out to the side and get his head in the game for dropping those passes. He needs to smack Corey White upside the helmet and tell him to play a little more up. He needs to give his D-Line a pep talk and get them energized to rush the passer. He needs to do something. I pray that during these meetings he calls out every single player who messed up and fixes this team. And I can only hope that Vitt will do a better job when he returns.

Overall, the Saints are a mess in every way, shape or form. For you fans who have had your hand over the panic button, I wouldn't blame you if you pressed it at all. However, I still have faith in this team. I don't think we will make the playoffs at this rate. Hell, I honestly only see us going maybe 6-10 or so. But I still have faith. I still love this team. And I'll stick with them through thick and thin.

Still, this team needs fixing. Just give it time guys. Let them work this out. All else fails, we will have a high draft pick next year and get ourselves a wonderful OT or a WR or something. Gotta stay positive when you can.

I know I probably missed a few things, and probably offended a few people. But I'm fired up today. I'm ready to debate. If you'd like to discuss anything feel free to comment or message me on here. Or if you're on that twitter junk, follow me @The_JurisDoctor. I'd love to talk with you guys.

Chin up guys. See ya next week.

Juris Doctor. Out.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Chiefs at Saints: Keys to the Game

This game is an essential one for both teams. I put more pressure on the Saints here, who have been expected to be much better than they've been playing and have a tougher stretch down the schedule. Not to mention, Saints' fans haven't been used to losing since 2005. This almost a "must-win" situation. Here are my keys to the game. I believe if the Saints can get things going in these areas, there shouldn't be a problem:

The Saints need to dominate the time of possession. I have no worries about the Saints in the 1 quarter, as they normally come firing out on all cylinders. Its the 2nd and 3rd quarter that could lead to the downfall of this team. They need to use as much time as they can to give their defense a break. I've noticed that when the defense comes on after a three-and-out, especially if they just came off a long drive, they simply fall apart and start making brutal mistakes. 3rd down efficiency is critical here. Its nice to score quickly, but it we're up by a bit, it may be better to take the Matt Ryan approach and just matriculate down the field. I put 75% of this weight on the receivers. Drew can get the ball to them, they just need to get open.

Spags has got to make the Chiefs one-sided, and preferably the pass. Allowing the Chiefs to have balance will lead to a quick "L" in the Saints record. Spags has been outsmarted both games so far, so the best way to establish an efficient strategy is to take out an element: Either the run or the pass. We know the Chiefs are going to try and run between Jamaal Charles (if he decides to show up) and Peyton Hillis. This team hasn't been a relevant run offense just yet, but they are going to try desperately to establish some balance. Who better to do that on than a defense that's ranked dead last in the run? Spags has got to get it together and shut down the run and let the playmakers in the secondary do something. Greer has been solid so far and I think Patrick Robinson is coming along. Johnny Patrick should be back so Saints fans should rejoice that they won't be seeing much of Corey White. The real question is the D-Line. They HAVE to get better in almost every area.

This is gonna be a fun one, but I think its Malcolm Jenkins. Since the D-Line is struggling, its going to be up to the linebackers and safeties to make some of these plays. Curtis Lofton is the only LB I don't have doubts about, but he can't do it all. Expect to see Jenkins in the box quite a bit to stop the running attack. Furthermore, he's also going to be playing coverage on Moeaki (did I spell that right? too lazy to check) early and often. That is not an easy feat. Finally, if the Saints can stop the run, expect to see Jenkins playing some deep, center-field coverage. This is where apprenticing under Darren Sharper can help you out a lot. I still believe Jenkins is a playmaker, but he has to play strong and play smart. Rack up some tackles for loss, some pass breakups or even an INT and Jenkins could help wrap this game up.

My colleague @Hispandrix calls this a "must-win" situation for the Saints and I almost completely agree with him. (Check out his blog below). With as much drama as the Saints have had this offseason, they can ill afford to fall behind and lose all their morale. Gotta take it one week at a time, one game at a time, one quarter at a time, one play at a time. It's time to stop thinking about the Superbowl and just playing for the "W."

I've still got the Saints in this game. A close one: 31-28.

Want some other insightful opinions? Check out my colleagues below.

Hispandrix: Keys to the Game

Oh yeah, and follow me on that Twitter thing. I just got one of those.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Week 3: Predictions and Power Rankings

OK. I've done my research and I'm ready to make my predictions. I'm 17-15 so far this season so I really need to get some of these right. I'll give my prediction of the outcome, the score, a brief reason why and, sometimes, and excuse to get me out of it if I lose. Following all this, I will give my power rankings for the teams. Here goes nothing!

New York (Giants) at Carolina:
This one is going to be tougher than it seems. The Giants defense has looked sloppy all season, especially against the run game. Meanwhile, the Panthers' defense has really stepped it up. However, I don't think their secondary can handle the likes of Hakeem Nicks AND Victor Cruz. Not to mention, Martellus Bennet has caught fire since he left Dallas. I think Cam and his RBs tear the Giants a new one, but I think, overall, the Giants out pass them and keep themselves in it until the 4th quarter when Eli Manning will probably rip them to shreds. If Hakeem Nicks is out this could change drastically, but I think he'll still be in.
The stats say that the Giants should probably win this one. For some reason, my gut says otherwise. In a tough Thursday night matchup I think the Panthers take the upset: 30-24. I will probably regret this on Friday.

St. Louis at Chicago:
Two teams in, what seems to be, competitive divisions this season. I love what Jeff Fisher has done with the Rams while I'm still wondering what new OC Mike Tyce is doing with the Bears. As of right now, the Rams offense is actually ranked higher than the Bears', but thats because the Packers had an absolute field day with them. I think the Bears rebound after a tough loss and use Michael Bush to lay some ground and pound on the Rams. Meanwhile, I think Chicago's corners are going to give the lacking Rams receivers a little more trouble than Washington did. Not to mention, the Bears still have one of the best pass rushers in the game known as Julius Peppers. He's been quite this season, I'm waiting for him to do something. On a fun note, I'm hoping Brandon Marshall gets in a fight with Cortland Finnegan.
The Bears take out the Rams: 27-13.

Buffalo at Cleveland:
This one is a tough one. The Bills' main offensive weapon is CJ Spiller, but I see D'Qwell Jackson of the Browns eating him alive for much of this game. If the Bills want to win, they're gonna have to go to the air, which the Browns are more vulnerable with the loss of Joe Haden. Mario Williams needs to make his presence be known in this game and scare the rookie out of Brandon Weeden. I can see some different alignments in the D-Line coming to avoid Williams from getting double-teamed. Trent Richardson is another guy the Bills need to watch out for, but I don't see him being that much of a problem.
It'll be a gritty game, but I think Fitzpatrick has enough poise to score through the air and get his team the W. The Bills take it on the road: 17-7.

Tampa Bay at Dallas:
This one is more simple than it seems. Yes, the Cowboys dropped the ball last week and, yes, the Bucs looked competitive both weeks, but I think the 'Boys still take this one. The Bucs can stop the run very well, but they are worst in the league at the stopping the pass. We saw that when Eli piled up over 500 yards on them. They are opportunistic and can force turnovers, but I don't think Romo will fall for that this week. The Bucs defense is not even close Seattle's defense. Plus, the Cowboys have got to be mad about getting stomped by an NFC West team last week. Not to mention, this is the Cowboy's home opener. Look for the Bucs to run the ball as much as they can, but once they fall behind I see Josh Freeman making a lot of mistakes, especially when he's gonna be chased by Demarcus Ware.
Cowboys goes back up the roller coaster ride that is their record: 28-10.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis:
MJD has to get going for the Jags to win this matchup. The Colts did a nice job of containing Adrian Peterson so I don't think this is going to be an easy feat. Furthermore, Chuck Pagano is going to send pressure at Blaine Gabbert like it's nobody's business. Jacksonville's defense was supposed to be solid, but the Texans proved otherwise last week. I'm not say that the Jags won't stop Andrew Luck and the offense, but I don't think the defense is what it was presumed to be (they're not who we said they were?). If the Colts can get the run game going, it's over. Period. However, I think this is doubtful. Overally, I think Luck is just good enough to take the win at home.
Colts nudge the Jaguars: 20-14.

New York (Jets) at Miami:
Miami put up a solid offensive showing last week. However, that was against the Raiders, not the vaunted a vaunted Rex Ryan defense. Not to mention, Reggie Bush only has one breakout game per season. The rest are mediocre. Revis, who could probably shut down all three of the Dolphin's receivers at the same time, should be back from his concussion. Not to mention, Tannehill hasn't seen a defense like this yet and those exotic blitz packages are going to ruin him. Expect to see more of Tim Tebow this go around. We all saw how he obliterated the 'Fins in the 4th quarter last year. It's time to give that Dolphins 4th ranked rush defense another test.
Defense is the key in this one, and I'll almost always give a Ryan the win on defense. Jets stay tied as the leaders of the division: 13-7.

San Francisco at Minnesota:
Yeah. This is the blowout of the week. I'm not going to go into much defense at all. The Minnesota vikings look good by their rankings, but they've played the Jaguars and the Colts. The 49ers, in my view, are the best team in the NFL right now. Not to mention, I don't think Peterson stands a chance against the 6th ranked run defense of the niners.
Blowout of the week goes to the 49ers: 31-3.

Kansas City at New Orleans:
The good news is: One of the these teams is going to have their first win of the season. The bad news is: The other will probably be thrown into a world of panic. The Saints are currently the worst defense against rushing and not much better in any other defensive category. Meanwhile, the offense has been sloppy all around, even their elite QB Drew Brees. The Chiefs have had their own problems. Castle's play is inconsistent and the defense isn't what it used to be. Not to mention, Jamaal Charles is still hurting from his knee. The key here lies in the Saints' defense. If they can stop the run without forsaking the secondary I can see a victory. Also, the Saints' offense has got to stay consistent and not disappear in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. This game is going to be closer than most people believe.
With that being said, Chiefs' fans: Get ready to hit the panic button. Saints take it at home: 31-28.

Detroit at Tennessee:
Another blowout here. Tennessee is producing a whopping average of 28 rushing yards a game. The Lions' D-line is going to eat them...almost literally. Mike Munchak has got to get his team in line or his young QB may end up like Jay Cutler. Oh, did I forget about the Lion's ridiculous offense? No. It just doesn't even need to be stated.
Better luck next week Titans' fans. Lions win: 41-10.

Cinncinati at Washington:
RGIII has been the most productive rookie QB so far this season. I think this trend will continue against a Bengal's defense that gave up a crap ton of yards and the Browns. Plus, I don't think the Bengals' can handle a dual-threat QB. Kerrigan and Orakpo will be missed by the Redskins but I think Jim Haslett will find a way to make up for it. The match is probably more complex than I'm making it out to be, but to save time and space, I'll just give you my prediction.
RGIII for Offensive Rookie of the Year: 24-14.

Philadelphia at Arizona:
This game intrigues me. Both 2-0 coming off huge victories against elite teams. Not Starter vs. Turnover Machine. Emerging Defense vs. Defense that should have been dominant last year. This is going to be intense. But, if you look at the stat sheet, the Eagles' offense will decimate any offense the Cardinals can try to create. I also like the playmakers all over the Eagles' defense to terrorize the inexperienced QB. This is not the same defense Kolb saw when he left Philly. I love the way the Cardinals have been playing, but the buck stops here.
Eagles for the win on the road: 28-17.

Atlanta at San Diego:
Another matchup of two undefeated teams leading their division. Philip Rivers seems to have recovered from his slumber last year and the Falcons look efficient on offense and defense. Both these teams have had solid numbers so far this year. But the difference is that the Falcons have played tougher teams so far. The only thing for the Falcons is that they have to stop the Chargers on third down or they will lose this game. Their defense is not meant to handle long drives. Still, the Chargers don't have the skill players to make enough plays and I still don't know if Gates is even gonna be in the game.
Atlanta moves to 3-0: 24-17.

Houston at Denver:
Now here's a matchup I can sink my teeth into. Peyton Manning didn't get to play the ridiculously improved Texan's defense last season. The benefit to Denver is that they're defense does a good job at stopping the run. However, the Texans are flexible and return to the pass if they need to. Denver's defense is very similar and can do the same thing, but I don't think they have the firepower to do it. Not to mention, I don't care how good Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter is, Andre Johnson is a physical specimen that can tear any corner apart. It'll be a close one. The key for both teams is to not allow the other team to dominate the time of possession (Texans have been good at that this year). But despite all my arguments here, my gut still tells me Denver takes it at mile high.
I'll probably regret this one too. Broncos hold on to win: 28-24.

Pittsburgh at Oakland:
I don't see any reason to analyze this one too much. You've got the struggling Oakland Raiders with a has-been of a quarterback, a dominant running back whose line can't block for him and a defense that is in dire need of help. There's no way the Steelers' receivers don't light up that maligned secondary and there's no way that defense doesn't eat Carson Palmer's lunch or his lack-of-skill receivers. 'Nuff said.
Steelers: 34-13...and I'm being generous.

New England at Baltimore:
THIS is the matchup of the week. I've been waiting for this since Billy Cundiff shanked that field goal in the AFC Championship last season. Despite losing to the Eagles, the Ravens look better than ever and if Flacco can get the hang of the hurry-up offense the Patriot's defense is in some serious trouble. I like the Pats' running game in Steven Ridley but I don't think he can deal with that Ravens' defense. Not to mention, we all know Bernard Pollard, the Ravens' strong safety, is very good at injuring Patriots' players (see Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski). I also think the Ravens are still seething from that last minute loss to the Eagles while the Patriots are going to be crying over their upset from the Cardinals. Not to mention, Aaron Hernandez is out. Thats a flexible piece missing from the machine that is the Patriots' offense.
This will be a fun one to watch. Thank God its a primetime game. Ravens at home: 31-23.

Green Bay at Seattle:
Another interesting matchup. The Seahawks have definitely taken a step forward while it looks like the Packers have taken a little step back. The problem is, the Packers are so far apart from the 'Hawks that you're going to need more than one step from each of them to make them equal. Russell Wilson hasn't seen a defense like the Packer's have: One that dials up pressure at the right time and is very opportunistic on the back end. Seattle's defense is great but it can't handle with the likes of the Packers' receivers or the skill of Aaron Rodgers. If the Seahawks want to take this one home, they will have to get Marshawn Lynch running early and often to keep Rodgers off the field. They better buy a ton of skittles to keep him motivated.
Still, it should be fun to watch. Packers win: 28-14.

Power Rankings:
Here's my first edition of power rankings this season. I'll probably do these once every 1-2 weeks. I'm not going to explain them, so if you want me to tell you my reasoning you'll have to comment or message me.

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Houston Texans
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. New England Patriots
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Denver Broncos
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Detroit Lions
11. New York Giants
12. Chicago Bears
13. Arizona Cardinals
14. Seattle Seahawks
15. Dallas Cowboys
16. San Diego Chargers
17. Carolina Panthers
18. New Orleans Saints
19. New York Jets
20. Washington Redskins
21. Cincinnati Bengals
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. St. Louis Rams
24. Indianapolis Colts
25. Buffalo Bills
26. Minnesota Vikings
27. Kansas City Chiefs
28. Miami Dolphins
29. Cleveland Browns
30. Tennessee Titans
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Oakland Raiders

That's about what I've got. Wish me luck on my picks and I'll be sure to make fun of myself next week.

Juris Doctor. Out.

NFL Week 2: Overall Analysis

Happy finish of Week 2 everyone!

For those who don't know this is how this works. I give a quick review of every game (sometimes not every game) of the week, some more in-depth than others. I then tell you if I called it right and brag about my psychic abilities. Just to refresh your minds, my record for Week 1 was 10-6.

Chicago at Green Bay: My Prediction: 24-31; Actual Score: 10-23
The score really doesn't represent the slaughter that occurred. The Packers gather 7 sacks against the O-Line maligned Bears. Poor Jay Cutler spent more time running from Clay Mathews than he did examining the Packers' defense. To make matters worse, Matt Forte would leave the game with what looks like a high ankle sprain. For those of you who don't know, that is a pain to come back from (literally). On the bright side, the Bears defense wasn't that bad. And it looks like Urlacher is recovering well from that injury. While Phil Emery (GM) did a great job of snatching up Brandon Marshall for a cheap price from the Dolphins, he needs to DESPERATELY address that offensive line.
Meanwhile, the Pack looks much better than it did against the 49ers. Cedric Benson got going averaging over 4 yards a carry. Benson looks to be the tough runner that Packers offense desperately needs to give some balance. Clay Matthews looks like he did in 2010, registering 3.5 sacks (compared to his 6.5 last year). But don't get too excited Packers' fans, it was Chicago. Even the Saints got 7 sacks last year and their D-Line is just pitiful.
Interesting side note: The Packers were very successful against a decently tough defense without Greg Jennings. For those of you who don't know, Jennings is in the last year of his contract. With Aaron Rodgers, B.J. Raji, and Matthews all in need of new contracts coming up and great depth at WR, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jennings walking in free agency in the offseason. Or, maybe, Ted Thompson (GM) will look into a trade...

Kansas City at Buffalo: My Prediction: 24-14; Actual Score: 17-35
So the Bills recover from their beating they receiver from the Jets while the Chiefs continue to falter. C.J. Spiller looks great. I remember his first season when people were counting him out by week 4. But not anymore. C.J. lit it up again with another triple-digit game and tacking on 2 more TDs. Spiller is not only an adequate replacement for Fred Jackson, he's the real deal. Remember how it took Darren McFadden a few seasons to get the hang of it? I think it's the same deal here. Look for Spiller to tear it up consistently. This lets Ryan Fitzpatrick sit in his favorite position: Game manager. Meanwhile, the defense is getting some good pressure on the Chiefs. 5 sacks on a team who's O-Line isn't the Chicago Bears is a good sign.
The Chiefs just can't seem to get it right. Matt Cassel is actually looking like a real QB this season, throwing for over 300 yards and a pair of TDs. Furthermore, Dwayne Bowe is looking the second half. But where is Jamaal Charles? 6 rushes for 3 yards? I wonder if he's caught the CJ2K disease...(more to come on that). I know Peyton Hillis had a decent game, but let's be real. Jamaal Charles was the man 2 seasons ago. The Chiefs need to get him back to speed. Meanwhile, the defense does not look good. I remember a lot of analysts saying that the Chiefs were going to win the division (I didn't, I had Denver all the way) because of their defense. The loss of Brandon Carr (now in Dallas) has left them very vulnerable and the Chiefs did not give efficient pressure on Fitzpatrick. Romeo Crennel did a great job with this team towards the end of last season. He needs to get them focused now.

Naturally I'm skipping the Saints at Panthers because I have a whole article on that. Go look at it on the page if you want my opinion (which I think is dead on).

Cleveland at Cincinatti: My Prediction: 7-24; Actual Score: 27-34
Y'know, this game wasn't half bad. I honestly expected a boring battle between the two, but they proved me wrong. Andy Dalton actually looked pretty damn good this game throwing for over 300 yards with three TDs. Brandon Tate and Andrew Hawkins are emerging as pretty good secondary options for Dalton and A.J. Green isn't letting Dalton have a sophomore slump. Remember, the Browns defense is actually pretty good. I'd say the Bengals rebounded well from their face being curp-stomped by the Ravens.
I would like to apologize to Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson for laughing at them last week. Although they didn't win, the Browns looked like an actual team. Weeden looked solid, throwing for over 300 yards and 2 TDs with no picks. Thats very important for a guy who arguably had the worst rookie debut ever. Not to mention, the defense looks pretty damn good, getting 6 sacks and playing very physically. D'Qwell Jackson is the man. I believe he's going to emerge as one of the elite LBs in the league.
Honestly, the Browns probably would have won if: 1) Joe Haden wasn't suspended; 2) there hadn't been that fumble; or 3) Pacman Jones was still suspended.

Minnesota at Indianapolis: My Prediction: 24-21; Actual Score: 20-23
Congrats to Luck on his first victory! The Colts did a great job of avoiding turnovers and looked pretty efficient against the Vikings. I was actually surprised how well the Colts line fared against Jared Allen and the Vikings' D-Line. Donnie Avery came out of no where and jacked up some serious yardage for Luck while Reggie Wayne still continued to be Luck's go-to guy. If the Colts could actually get a run-game this offense may even be somewhat formidable. O.K. I take that back. They were against the Vikings. I'm gonna wait before I make outlandish statements like that. Oh yeah, and 4 sacks (only one of which was from Robert Mathis) for the Colts AND they did a good job of limiting Adrian Peterson. Nice job.
Poor Vikings. Had a tough win against the Jags last week and a tough loss this week. Vikings fans should be optimistic though. Ponder completed 77% of his passes. I know Indy's defense isn't the best, but take what you can get. Meanwhile, Percy Harvin is back in action, even on special teams (a 50 yard return). Let's just hope he avoids those headaches. The defense kinda blew this one. The secondary does not look good and the linebacking core isn't much better. I can see a major defensive overhaul this offseason.
The Vikings could have won this game if: 1) Ponder didn't make that one costly fumble; or 2) Peterson could have actually got started.

Houston at Jacksonville: My Prediction: 28-7; Actual Score: 27-7
Damnit! I was one point from guessing this one right...anyway, I hope this final score didn't come as a surprise to anyone. Arian Foster was, well, Arian Foster and Ben Tate kinda looked like Arian Foster too. Matt Schaub looks like he's accepting his role as "only throw it to keep 8 people out of box guy." This is much to my dismay (I have Andre' Johnson on my fantasy team...). However, Texans fans should be excited about this. Even if Foster is getting stuffed, you can count on Schaub to still be a good QB. Schaub is far more than just a game manager. The defense looks just where it left off from last season. Don't say "Oh, but it was the Jaguars, it doesn't count." Division rivals put a ton of game planning against each other and MJD is nothing to spit at. Holding any offense under 150 yards is an accomplishment. Oh, and by the way, J.J. Watt is a BEAST.
For all of those who thought Gabbert was going to be good based on the pre-season, this is me laughing at you. Blaine Gabbert looks just as terrible as he did last year and Henne didn't look any better. That O-Line of the Jags clearly cannot pass block. Not to mention, being 0% on 3rd down (out of 9 attempts) won't get you very far in the NFL. Maybe the Jags should just hand it off the MJD the entire game. Seems about right to me. Oh, by the way, did I mention that no one hates the Jags more than MJD? And I don't know what happened the Jags' defense. I had them being a top defense this year, but they're proving me otherwise. They made the Vikings look good and they let the Texans run over them. No sacks, no turnovers, not defense this game. Someone call Jack Del Rio and tell him he can have his job back. Hey, here's some good news for ya Jags' fans. Your punter, the guy you drafted in the 3rd round, looks good. He had a 60 yard punt. Nice. You're going to need him to keep you guys in the game.

Oakland at Miami: My Prediction: 17-7; Actual Score: 13-35
There's two things I love most about football: Fights between Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson and USC quarterbacks looking like garbage. I'm just kidding, the two things I love most about football and cheerleaders and more cheerleaders. But seriously, no one saw this coming. I didn't think Miami would get a win until week 8 or so this season but, once again, Reggie Bush has proved me wrong about something. Ryan Tannehill actually looked decent in his first NFL victory and Reggie Bush played like he was in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs playing against the Cardinals (Don't know what I'm taking about? Learn your history). I still don't think the Fins have any good players at receiver, but I can't deny that Brian Hartline had a good game. It would be wrong of me to forget the Fins defense. They're secondary still looks lacking to me, but they shut down Run DMC and got some pressure on the Raiders. Unfortunately, that won't really help them when they face their AFC rival Patriots but, for now, they played well. You know whats funny, the Dolphins are tied for first in the AFC East. Who saw that coming?!
I think the football community expected more out of the Raiders. In the offseason there was a ton of optimism about new head coach Dennis Allen and the return of Darren McFadden. I'm still sold on McFadden, but I'm not sold on the defense. The Raiders defense last year was formidable, but inconsistent. This time they allowed 263 yards rushing on top of 200 yards passing from a rookie QB who struggled last week. Yikes. Only one sack and no turnovers. Not a good sign. Now it's time for my favorite part of this article: Let's make fun of Carson Palmer. Last season I literally cracked up laughing when I saw that the Raiders traded away a 1st round pick for ex-USC quarterback. Not because I don't like the Raiders (I am totally ok with the Raiders for the record) but because that is simply inconceivable. Palmer looked horrible last season, more horrible in the preseason, and only decent this season. He's had an entire offseason with the team and is still struggling. I know he threw for almost 400 yards, but with only 50% completions he was just trying to make something happen. Then again, the Raiders' skill positions are just "eh" and the line is in need of some help. I give my same advice to the Raiders that I did to the Jags: Just let your RB do something (well...until he gets injured). Oh, did I mention that the Raiders were 1/12 on third downs? Yeah. That gives your defense little to rest and is not good for your team.

New England at Arizona: My Prediction: 35-0; Actual Score: 18-20
Upset of the week! Yeah I know I predicted this one wrong but I am absolutely OK with that. I love it when David beats Goliath and this is the perfect example. The funny part is I still don't know how they did it. Oh wait, yes I do! The Patriots' kicker channeled his inner Billy Cundiff (too soon?). OK, OK, seriously. Enough with the joking. Anyway, the Cards didn't exactly have a stellar game. They didn't have stellar yardage (245 net yardage), didn't do well on 3rd down (28%), lost the turnover battle, barely got Larry Fitzgerald the ball (1 reception for 4 yards) and started Kevin Kolb (15-27, 140 yards, 1 TD). Yet they STILL pulled it off. The one thing the Cards offense did do well: The Red Zone. They were 100% in the red zone and wasted no opportunities. The same cannot be said about the Patriots. Oh, and the Cards secondary looks pretty dang good. Just wunna give a shout out to LSU product Patrick Peterson for a RIDICULOUS interception on a tipped pass. The NFC West is looking very competitive this season...(Aliens?).
Well, it was nice knowing Stephen Gostkowski. We all know that Bill Belichick doesn't much like kickers who choke in the clutch. On a good note, Steven Ridley still ran well and if the Pats wouldn't have fallen behind I'm sure he would have had another 100 yard game. Gronk looked as usual and Welker was actually involved this game (albeit a little late). But the Pats were 1/3 in the red zone. Wasted opportunities like that will kill you. And that defense is still a bit lacking. I know last week I said they were emerging, but I'm going to hold my tongue. I still think they have a little bit of work to do.
Ok, the obvious thing for me to say is; "The Patriots would have won if Gostkowski made the FG." But theres more to it. Did anyone else notice that Belichick was very conservative in the play calling? This is unlike him. My guess: He's a bit fearful of the Cards' defense.

Tampa Bay at New York (Giants): My Prediction: 17-31; Actual Score: 34-41
This was a helluva game. For those of you who have NFL Game Replay (which I do) I suggest you watch this game. Eli Manning once again asserts himself as the Comeback King of the NFL with a nice 4th quarter comeback. I'm not going to give him too much props (he kinda put them in that situation with 3 picks), but making that kind of comeback and throwing for over 500 yards is nothing to spit at. It's nice to see that Victor Cruz does more than just drop the ball and Hakeem Nicks showed why he's the real #1 receiver on the Giants. And this guy named Andre' Brown showed up. Don't know who this guy is, but he looked better than both Ahmad Bradshaw (who left with an injury) and 1st round pick David Wilson. However, I'm still giving the defense the stink eye. They looked even less effective than they did against Dallas, especially in the secondary. They're D-Line is also not performing to their standards. Tuck, Pierre-Paul and Umenyiora are All-Pro defensive linemen. That pass rush just isn't consistent enough to me.
The Bucs have got to be frustrated on this one. The D-Line shines at some points and disappears at others and the secondary can't seem to work under pressure. I give them a pass here because of the new coach and because they shut down Carolina last week. The offense on the other hand could be so much better than it is. They have good weapons in Vincent Jackson (who actually showed up), Mike Williams, and Dallas Clark, but for some reason Josh Freeman just can't do it. I had questions about Freeman when he came out in the first round and I stick by it today. I don't think he's going to progress enough to satisfy his new head coach.
A quick side note. In the offseason I gave Greg Schiano (the Bucs head coach) serious brownie points for signing Eric Legrand to his team. But after his team purposely charged the Giant's offensive line on a QB kneel at the end of the game I'm taking them back. To make matters worse, when Coughlin got on him about it he tried to defend yourself. That's bad sportsmanship Mr. Schiano. Why don't you take your team's inappropriate attitude and stick it up your sore-losing ass. Sorry. That was unsportsmanlike of me.

Baltimore at Philadelphia: My Prediction: 24-21; Actual Score: 23-24
Ok, so the Bucs v. Giants was a good game, but this was the game of the week. How Michael Vick has all these turnovers and still wins the game is beyond me. Regardless, it appears that the Ravens' stalwart defense struggles against good TEs and WRs that are faster than their corners. Props to Brent Celek on a great game. I hope next time he calls me and lets me know he's going to light up one of the best defenses in the game (he's on my fantasy team...'s bench...). And Desean Jackson looks like he's earning his paycheck. The Eagles were also pretty dang efficient on 3rd down (46%). If Vick would stop turning over the ball the Eagles would be a much better offense. The defense looks solid. Demeco Ryans is proving his worth (6 Tackles, 1 pick, 1 sack) and the secondary is playing like they should have been last season. I think this defense is going to be the best in the NFC East, quite possibly a top 10 defense. Then again, they should have been there last season.
The Ravens have got to feel robbed. I know Baltimore fans will disagree with me, but it wasn't a fumble. I know Vick wasn't throwing the ball, you know Vick wasn't throwing the ball, Vick knows he wasn't throwing the ball, but his arm was moving forward. Poor, poor Ravens. Anyway, the moment I say "This is going to be Joe Flacco's year," he always manages to make me re-think it. I don't know what it is, but Joe just seems like he's missing something. Someone send me a message and tell me what it is. The defense is just one Vick tackle away from a victory in my view. Can I just say that the Ravens have the best safety pair in the game? Ed Reed is, well, Ed Reed and Pollard can make plays in coverage AND lay out ridiculous hits on people. Poor Ravens...just poor Ravens...

Dallas at Seattle: My Prediction: 17-14; Actual Score: 7-27
Aaaaand goodbye bandwagon Cowboys' fans! This was assumed to be an easy win after the 'Hawks barely lost against the Cardinals and 'Boys manhandled the Giants, but I had a feeling Seattle would respond well. Russell Wilson looked efficient, completing 75% of his passes with a TD and some rushing yards. I know he's not lighting it up, but he's doing what he needs to do to keep his team competitive with skill-challenged receivers. Can someone give Marshawn Lynch some skittles? That man is a monster! I love his tough running style (except when he plays the Saints in the playoffs) and his explosion. And I know Pete Carroll loves it too. The defense looks nice as well. I predicted that the Seahawks' defense would be in the top 10 this season. I stick by it. That secondary is pretty dang good. Ask Tony Romo. By the way, did anyone see that hit Golden Tate gave to Sean Lee?! Oh my goodness! I didn't think a 5' 9" receiver could sit so hard. Hell, I think he hit Sean Lee harder than I've seen any Notre Dame product hit anyone since...well...ever. On the not so bright side, he's going to be getting a letter in the mail from Goodell.
I didn't know how long it would take the Cowboy's inconsistency to hit, but it looks like it decided to come early this season. Romo did not look comfortable for most of the game and DeMarco Murray just never really got rolling. Then again, that line is so bad I'm not surprised. Dallas has, arguably, the best group of skill position players in the NFL but they're line is one of the worst. I think I know what they're going to be addressing in the draft. Just kidding. It's gonna be a new QB when the Cowboys don't make the playoffs (oops...spoiler alert). That defense needs to work on its tackling. I saw a lot of broken tackles, bad angles, and just poor play. Rob Ryan can't be happy about this. I don't care if you're corners are awesome. If you can't tackle anybody up the middle then the opposing offense is going to let you cover their receivers all day.

Washington at St. Louis: My Prediction: 24-17; Actual Score: 28-31
Nice game for both teams here. The Rams have made leaps and bounds in improving every aspect of their game. Their offense looks efficient with Sam Bradford leading the way and their defense has stepped it up, especially newly acquired Cortland Finnegan. Bradford was extremely efficient, completing 74% of his passes for 310 yards and 3 TDs. They also compiled 151 yards on the ground with a rookie named Daryl Richardson leading the way (an heir to Steven Jackson's throne? He has the hair for it!). Danny Amendola looked like an All-Pro receiver as well, gaining 160 yards and a TD. I never thought I would ever have "Danny Amendola" and "All-Pro receiver" in the same sentence. Just to put the icing on the cake, this offense was 7/12 on 3rd downs (58%). This is all against a defense which stifled an offensive juggernaut, known as the New Orleans Saints, just a week ago. If the Rams can give Bradford an actual receiver who's a consistent threat with good size, the Rams could be a strong offensive team. But as much as the offense has improved, the defense has grown even more. The Rams were becoming a tough defense last year, but Jeff Fisher's defensive genius has elevated it to another level. Cortland Finnegan is looking good in both pass coverage (2 INTs in the last 2 games) and the run game. James Laurinaitis is still dominating in the middle and newly acquired LB Jo-Lunn Dunbar is making a name for himself. At this point, I can only see this defense getting better throughout the defense. On a quick side note, since when did all these NFC West teams get such dominant defenses?
Dear Redskins fans: You need to find Josh Morgan, beat him, and tar and feather him. I don't care what any player does or says to you. YOU DO NOT THROW A BALL AT A PLAYER AT ANYTIME, BUT ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR TEAM IS TRYING TO WIN/TIE UP THE GAME WITH ITS LAST DRIVE. For those of you who don't know, throwing a football at somebody after the play is a personal foul. For those of you who don't know, personal fouls are bad (mmmmkay). Yes, I know Finnegan is a douchebag (pardon my inner Terrell Suggs) but you still can't do that. I still give props to RGIII and the gang for a good game. Griffin still looks to be making an easy transition into the NFL with the help of Mike Shanahan's offensive strategy and the rookie RB Alfred Morris. Griffin shouldn't hang his head on this loss. He was in a position to at least tie up the game before Morgan decided to be an idiot. The defense still looked solid as well. They get consistent pressure on the QB (or at least did) and the whole team constantly flocks to the ball. Not to mention, they still produced 3 turnovers. A shout out to London Fletcher, who at 37 (and 5' 9") can still play like a madman (6 TKLs, 1 INT, 1 FF). On a not-so-bright side, it looks like Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, the team's premier pass rushers, are facing season-ending injuries. This is devastating to say the least. Still, don't let this get you down 'Skins fans. Your team is going to be just fine.

New York (Jets) at Pittsburgh: My Prediction: 10-30; Actual Score: 10-27 close again. So much for all the Jets hype. I'll admit I was impressed by Sanchez's opening game but I knew it wouldn't last for long, at least not against a Dick LeBeau defense. The Steelers played with some intense animosity out there. The Steelers have always been a physical team but I think they were still a little pissed about getting decimated by Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. In fact, they were almost a little too physical...but I'll get to that later. The Steeler's passing game was one word: Efficient. Ben Roethlisburger has the best of both worlds in his receiving corps: Size and speed. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown torched the Jet's vaunted secondary and consistently gave Big Ben open targets. However, the run game was non-existent. This is to be expected against a Rex Ryan defense, but I think the loss of Rashard Mendenhall is much more profound than people believe. Still, the offense is moving along just fine right now. This is normally where I compliment the defense, but there's really no need. I'll save my compliments for when they play a team that is more formidable.
Well it looks like the real Mark Sanchez is back and at it again. Completing 37% of your passes is generally frowned upon in the NFL, but I can't really blame him. His run game was nonexistent and his best receiver the last two weeks has been Jeremy Kerley. It's only a matter of time before Santonio Holmes starts chewing Sanchez out again and creates another distraction. So sad. On the bright side, Tebow had a good run. Maybe they should let him do that more often. Not throw. Just run. Anyway, the defense looks a lot worse when Darrelle Revis isn't there. Let's hope he has a speedy return. The defense can still stop the run without him, but those blitz packages don't look nearly as creative, or effective, when Revis island isn't around.
I just wanted to say that both these teams are very physical every time they play. But it seemed like both teams were being a little too rough, especially on passing plays. I kind of like the idea of the refs just letting the game play, but there might want to be a little more attention here.

Titans at Chargers: My Prediction: 14-31; Actual Score: 10-38
Well Phillip Rivers is having a rather good start to his season while Jake Locker is struggling as a starter. Rivers is much improved since his atrocious season in 2011. Him and Malcolm Floyd are in-sync with each other and Jackie Battle appeared to provide a solid running game...this week. I still have questions about the Chargers' defense, who has looked only average against two teams who have failed offensively. I suppose I'll have to wait until the Chargers play the Broncos to see what they can really do.
Meanwhile, the Titans' woes are only growing worse. CJ2K continues to be a non-factor (much to the dismay of my fantasy football team...) and Locker is having some growing pains. I thought CJ2K would struggle this season, but I thought Locker would be better than this. He hasn't played overly difficult defenses and should be more prepared. I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Hasselback take back the reigns for a little while. But to be fair, where was Kenny Britt? You're the star receiver, you need to get involved in the game. All these receivers don't look so hot to me, but Kendall Wright has some upside. The defense isn't looking too bad though. I liked the way they rushed the passer in the preseason and they're consistently getting pressure now (4 sacks, 3 FF). Outside of Michael Griffin, though, the secondary isn't looking so great. I think the Titans miss Cortland Finnegan a lot more than they thought they would. Now all they really have is Jason McCourty, and he's only average or so. With that being said, can someone give Michael Griffin a raise? 16 tackles in a game? He's have to make up for all the corners who let their receivers run past them. Get that man a new contract.

Detroit at San Francisco: My Prediction: 20-24. Actual Score: 19-27
Can I just say I was very sad that there wasn't a fight between Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh? Oh well. Unsurprisingly, the 49ers completely stifled the Lions' offensive attack. Limiting the Lions to only 296 net yards is certainly an accomplishment. The best part about the defense is that its seamless. There is no weakness, from the D-Line, to the LBs, to the CBs, to the Safeties, its all flawless. Shutting down both the Packers and Lions in two weeks is nothing short of exceptional. Meanwhile the offense has taken new life. Alex Smith is starting to prove that he deserved the #1 overall pick back in 2005 and is efficiently making throws to players who are not named Vernon Davis (though he is being targeted a lot too). I also love the way Frank Gore is running. If he can avoid getting injured this team will do just fine.
The Lions offense shouldn't hang their heads too much...OK they should but they need to stay optimistic here. Calvin Johnson made some plays but has yet to find the in-zone this season. Kevin Smith is a reliable and flexible back in this pass-first system. But the O-Line is the primary weakness of this offense. They can't block well enough for Smith and they are still struggling to keep the pressure off of Matt Stafford. The defensive line of this team looks great. Suh is arguably the best aggressive 4-3 DT in the game right now (when he's not suspended) and, with the help of Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, get great pressure on the QB. But it looks like the Lions' D-Line isn't able to recognize when its a pass and when its a run, thus leaving huge holes for the RBs. To make things worse, the LB corps doesn't give them that much support and the secondary can't even average receivers. This defense still has some work to do. The thing I'm waiting to see is how Schwartz keeps his team focused. We all know the Lions have discipline problems. Can Schwartz keep them from falling into a slump and keep them in contention with the rest of the NFC North? Remember, every single team in their division is 1-1 right now. They need to stay competitive.

Denver at Atlanta: My Prediction: 28-14; Actual Score: 21-27
I'm gonna say that the Broncos did more to lose this game than the Falcons did to win it. However, Atlanta looked strong in some areas. Roddy White proved that he hasn't been replaced by Julio Jones...yet...and can still show up in key moments. However, he and Tony Gonzales were the only offensive players to really show up. Michael Turner, for the second week in a row, had a sub-par game and the explosive Julio Jones was locked down for most of the game. With that being said, I think this offense does well when the defense plays well. My question is: What's the offense going to do when they need points quick and can't use this "dink and dunk" system they've been using thus far. I don't know if Matt Ryan can execute those throws down the field when the Falcons need it most. I'm really going to sound like a Falcons hater (not arguing it) by saying this, but the defense was only good, not great. Peyton Manning handed two of those interceptions over on a silver platter (I'll have more on that later) and the defense seemed to slow down towards the end of the game. However, the thing they did do well was stop the Broncos on third down in key situations. I give them props for that. They stepped up when it counted. While the Falcons are, currently, the most consistent team in the NFC South, I'm not going to crown them just yet.
If Peyton Manning throws one less pick, of Moreno doesn't fumble that ball, or if Eric Decker didn't recover that fumble for the Falcons (no, you read that correctly) then the Broncos could have won this game easily. I'm going to dissect Manning's INTs real quick: 1st one) Great play by the Falcons DB. I didn't even think that guy could get it; 2nd one) Good read, bad throw. Decker was wide open on that corner route...if you don't under throw him there; 3rd one) Bad throw. Just plain and simple. I don't know how he thought he could force that one in. Anyway, besides that the offense for Denver looks good. Willis McGahee is showing he still has skills for an old man and Decker and Demaryius Thomas look stellar (great catch by Thomas, by the way). The defense looks good as well. Tracy Porter was a huge addition for the Broncos and Von Miller is still showing why he was defensive rookie of the year. I see this team going far, especially in a division that is just plain bad.
On a BIG side note, the officiating in this game was GHASTLY. And I don't mean the Pokemon (trademarked, not by me). I mean they were just terrible. The phantom pass interference call, taking 20 minutes to decide who recovered a fumble, and then somehow giving that recovery to the Falcons when it was abundantly clear Eric Decker had it. This game had garbage officiating all over the place. Missed holding calls, wrong penalties, wrong spotting, all over the place. If I were the NFL Office I would call the old refs in, pay the Drew Brees type money, and get them back on the field. It's been an ugly 2 weeks and I have a feeling its about to get a lot uglier.

So, this week my record was 7-9, bringing my overall record to 17-15. So far, not so good. But hey, 19 teams in the NFL are currently .500, I'm still doing better than them!

Later today or tomorrow I'll be releasing my picks and my power rankings for Week 3. This season has been full of surprises it's just heating up. I can't wait.

Thanks for reading guys.

Juris Doctor. Out.