This is it folks, we have officially past the NFL Mid-Season hump. That means we've pasted the 'trade deadline', the London Game, and now here's where the real action starts. Where we see who are contenders and who are pretenders. This week's match up is highlighted by a showdown between two quarterbacks whose emergence in stardom can be traced back to that famous 2004 draft.
Last Week Record: 10-4
Season Record: 57-48
Team on Bye: New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns
Nothing like a good ol' 'Revenge Game' to make things interesting. Last time these two teams met back in Week 5, Baltimore won 23-16 more in part to their defense. This time around, they are without starters LB Ray Lewis and CB Ladrius Webb. Not to mention Joe Flacco's performance has significantly dropped since that game, throwing for 568 yards, 2 TDs, 3INTs and completing just 53.1% of his passes. On the opposite side, Brandon Weeden has thrown for 6 TDs and 915 yards and has built a strong connection with fellow rookie wideout Josh Gordon. Not to mention that Trent Richardson is also helped with the Browns ground game, including a 24 for 122 yards performance against the Chargers last week. And let's not forget, the Browns defense held Ray Rice to a mere 49 yards on 18 carries and kept him out of the end zone. Combined with it being a home game, you can't go wrong with the color of brown.
Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants
This will be another showdown between Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. Since they were drafted in 2004, both have won 2 Super Bowls apiece and have solidified themselves as top 10 worthy QBs in the league. That being said, you got a Steelers run game that has been shaky due to health (Starter Rashard Mendenhall and back up Isaac Redman) and a defense that's been hobbled by injuries (SS Ryan Clark with concussion and LB LaMarr Woodley with hamstring). All though Ben Roethlisberger has, he'll be going against a Giants defense that has an NFL-leading 24 takeaways, and getting a boost in the secondary with the return of Safety Kenny Phillips. All though the Giants have a shaky track-record in the second half of the season under Coach Coughlin's watch (28-36), they are still in the top 10 in offensive passing and scoring. It'll be a nail-biter for sure but if it comes down to one more drive and the Giants have the ball, expect Eli to work his 4th quarter magic.
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
Arizona Cardinals @ Green Bay Packers
Packers are 1-2 against the NFC West this season but the Cardinals are coming on a 4 game skid, which includes a 24-3 smackdown at the hands of the 49ers last Thursday night. Whether who is the QB of the Cardinals doesn't change the fact that they have allowed a league leading 39 sacks and going up against the Packers with Clay Matthews (2nd in the NFL at 8.5 sacks). Not to mention that the Packers offensive depth, especially at WR is too deep even for the Cardinal defense to cover.
Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
The Dolphins have surprised everybody with their 4-3 record, considering that that 2 of the 3 losses were in OT (23-20 vs. Jets and 24-21 vs. Cards). Not to mention that they are 3rd in rushing defense in allowing 82.0 ypg, they can shut down an already weakened Colts running game. Not too mention that they have a reliable backup in Matt Moore who can easily fill in while starter Ryan Tannehill recovers from his quad injury. Expect Dolphins Sack leader Cameron Wake to terrorize Andrew Luck in this one.
Monday 8:30 p.m.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints
Both teams need to win this game to stay alive. The Eagles are on a 3-game skid since beating the Giants 19-17 in Week 4 while the Saints are coming off a 34-14 beat down at the hands of the Denver Broncos last Monday Night. It'll be interesting to see how LeSean McCoy fairs against the 32nd ranked rushing defense. But it'll come down to QB play and unfortunately for the Eagles, Vick is still the starter while Drew Brees is more than eager to bounce back after an abysmal perforamce (22-42, 213yds 2TD, 1INT).
Best of the Rest
Thursday 8:20 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are very lucky that the Chiefs don't have a capable QB. Looks like Norv Turner will keep his job for one more week.
Chicago Bears @ Tennessee Titans
Pick: Da Bears
Denver Broncos @ Cinncinati Bengals
To be honest, this will not end well. Broncos have allowed just 2 TDs in the 4th quarter so far this season. Coming off a big statement win over the Saints, they got the momentum. Though the Bengals love the Dalton-Green combo, once that gets shut down you pretty much shut down their offense.
Carolina Panthers @ Washington Redskins
Eh. On one hand I want the Redskins to lose due to my Big Blue nature. On the other, Panthers have yet to show me anything. Plus Robert Griffin III is lighting it up in the air and ground.
Detroit Lions @ Jacksonville Jaguars
More like the battle of the pussycats if you ask me. The Lions at least have more bite to them.
Buffalo Bills @ Houston Texans
Mario Williams came out earlier this week and said that the Texans forced him to leave. Here's the question: Would you take Williams 3.5 sacks or J.J Watts 9.5 sacks? I think we know that answer and who will win this game.
Sunday 4:05 p.m.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Oakland Raiders
I wish this was a Monday night game just to hear John Gruden talk on and on about the two teams he used to coach and had success with. But the past is the past and the Raiders....well....they suck.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks
A depleted Vikings secondary vs. speed killer WR of the Seahawks. Thankfully for the Seahawks, it's a home game.
Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Dallas Cowboys @ Atlanta Falcons
For all the off-season hype the Cowboys generated, they....FUCK YOU JERRY JONES!
-Ryan L. Fox
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