Monthly Archives: October 2011

Rise/Sink/Float Week 8

Each week, we look through the Sunday NFL results to find one team that’s rising, one team that’s sinking, and one team that stays at the same level. You’ll see these changes reflected in our weekly Football Relativity comparison of all 32 teams.

RB Steven Jackson and the Rams ran all over the Saints, via stlouisrams.com

Rise – Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals took care of business in Seattle, taking an early lead and then getting two return touchdowns to run away with a 34-12 win. That’s an impressive victory, given the travel, Seattle’s rabid home crowd, and the Bengals’ reputation. At 5-2, the Bengals are a legitimate playoff contender, and if they can steal a game from the Ravens or Steelers, they’ll suddenly be in the thick of the AFC North race.

Sink – New Orleans Saints – After a dominating 62-7 home victory over the Colts in Week 7, the Saints fell behind the Rams in St. Louis and couldn’t mount a comeback. The 31-21 loss exposes the biggest problems with the Saints – the defense. Coordinator Gregg Williams’ attacking style is great when you’re playing with a lead, but it leaves you vulnerable in a way that doesn’t work as well when you’re trying to climb out of a hole. That’s the reason we didn’t bank on the Saints as a legitimate Super Bowl contender before the season; it’ll be interesting if this problem turns its ugly head again.

Float – Baltimore Ravens – The Ravens trailed the Cardinals at home 24-3 late in the first half, but rallied to take a 30-27 win. That wasn’t a great performance, especially the week after a stinker in Jacksonville. But it keeps the Ravens in position leading up to a key Week 9 game in Pittsburgh. If the Ravens can win this week and sweep the Steelers, they’ll be in pole position for not only the division title but a bye.

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Peterson leads Vikings to win over Panthers

For National Football Authority, we break down the Minnesota Vikings’ 24-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers. We analyze RB Adrian Peterson’s bad-turned-good day, compare the play of rookie quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Cam Newton, and more. Click here to read all about it.

QB Christian Ponder and the Vikings beat the Panthers, via vikings.com

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Week 8 Transactions

Each week, we note and comment on the NFL’s biggest transactions. Here are the transactions between the end of Week 7 and the beginning of Week 8. We’ll begin by focusing on four fascinating cuts.

Leigh Bodden, a player on the New England Patr...

Ex-Patriots CB Leigh Bodden. Image via Wikipedia

– Bodden, once a major free-agent signing, had fallen out of the lineup in New England, and he reportedly lost interest. So he was cut, even though the Patriots were also losing Dowling to injury. Bodden cleared waivers. Faulk moved right back into the lineup after missing the early part of the season.

Vikings (cut WR Bernard Berrian) – Berrian, once a high-dollar free-agent signing, had little production and a questionable attitude in Minnesota. The Vikings, who hit on something with Michael Jenkins and even Devin Aromashodu, had enough depth to just move on.

Bears (cut S Chris Harris) – Harris, who entered the year as a starter at safety for the Bears, got benched, then got pressed into emergency starting duty, and then got cut. He landed on his feet after the Lions claimed him on waivers – just before a Bears/Lions game in Week 10. Harris adds depth to a Lions secondary that isn’t up to the level of the rest of the team.

Cowboys (cut RB Tashard Choice, activate LB Bruce Carter from physically unable to perform list) – Choice, who had some nice moments in Dallas, got hurt, and the Cowboys waived him injured to move on to rookie DeMarco Murray. Choice was claimed on waivers by the NFC East rival Redskins.

Redskins (put RB Tim Hightower and TE Chris Cooley on injured reserve) – Hightower, the Redskins’ leading rusher thus far this season, was hurt against the Carolina Panthers. Cooley battled knee and hand injuries that ultimately ended his season. These injuries further depleted a Redskins offense that is struggling mightily.

Bills (put OLB Shawne Merriman on injured reserve) – A lot has gone right in Buffalo this year, but not the Merriman experiement. His knee hasn’t been right since he was in San Diego.

Buccaneers (put RB Earnest Graham on injured reserve) – Graham, who was filling in for LeGarrette Blount at running back and was also an effective fullback/pass-catching back, tore his Achilles against the Bears. It’s a big loss for a thin Bucs backfield.

Chargers (put OLB Larry English on injured reserve) – English, a former first-round pick, will miss the second half of the season with a foot injury.

Falcons (put FB Ovie Mughelli and OG Mike Johnson on injured reserve, add FB Mike Cox and OT Kirk Chambers) – Mughelli, one of the few fullbacks with a significant role in the NFL, suffered a knee injury that will cost him the season. Cox comes on board as a fill-in. Chambers adds depth for a banged-up offensive line.

Colts (put QB Kerry Collins on injured reserve) – Collins, who suffered a concussion during his effort to fill in for Peyton Manning, won’t be able to come back. This could be the end of a pretty good career.

Dolphins (put QB Sage Rosenfels on non-football injury list, add QB J.P. Losman) – Rosenfels, who is battling a nasty strep infection that won’t go away, had to give up on the season. Losman becomes the Dolphins’ latest emergency backup quarterback.

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Interview with Bills CB Terrence Wheatley

National Football Authority gave us the opportunity to interview Bills CB Terrence Wheatley. We asked him about what has made the Bills successful thus far, what it’s like to join a team as the season begins, and what Bills fans are like. Plus, Wheatley tells us about his Halloween fundraiser to support the Make-a-Wish foundation. Click here to read all about it.

CB Terrence Wheatley, via bostonherald.com

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Pick ’em Week 8

We continue to make progress in college picks and lose it in NFL picks. Hopefully we can make up some ground pro-wise with this week’s picks.

The Chiefs and Chargers face off in an AFC West battle, via chargers.com

NCAA picks
Michigan State +4 at Nebraska
Georgia -3 vs. Florida (Jacksonville)
Baylor +14.5 at Oklahoma State
Kansas State +14 vs. Oklahoma
Stanford -8 at USC
Clemson -4.5 at Georgia Tech

NFL picks
Carolina -3.5 vs. Minnesota
Buffalo -6 vs. Washington (Toronto)
New England -3 at Pittsburgh
Dallas +3.5 at Philadelphia
Kansas City +3.5 vs. San Diego

Last week: 3-2 college, 1-4 pro, 4-6 overall
Season: 26-16-2 college, 16-23-3 pro, 42-39-5 overall

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Preja vu: Ponder leads Vikings to face Newton, Panthers

For National Football Authority, we preview the battle between rookie quarterbacks Christian Ponder and Cam Newton as the Vikings visit the Panthers. We also talk about how RB Adrian Peterson needs carries, how a defensive end other that Jared Allen could impact the game for the Vikings, and how the Panthers may use CB Chris Gamble. Click here to read all about it.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, via nationalfootballpost.com

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Suicide Pool Suggestions Week 8

We’re on a major roll with our suicide pool picks. Last week featured three wins plus not one but two traps avoided. Let’s keep it going this week. Find out what your best option is among the Bills (against the Redskins), the Titans (against the Colts), the Texans (against the Jaguars), the Ravens (against the Cardinals), or the Giants (against the Dolphins) — and which of those games are traps to avoid. Click here to read all about it.

RB Chris Johnson and the Titans take on the Colts, via courierpress.com

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CB Asante Samuel, Eagles at odds

For National Football Authority, we break down the feud between CB Asante Samuel and his team, the Philadelphia Eagles. We look at who Samuel is blaming – and who he’s not. We also look at the good news of the situation for the Eagles, and where they may go from here. Click here to read all about it.

Eagles CB Asante Samuel (22), via sportsillustrated.com

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Should Bills re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick?

For National Football Authority, we look at the state of the Buffalo Bills and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Should the Bills re-sign Fitzpatrick, who will be a free agent after the year? Or do they need to make a different long-term quarterback plan. Click here to read all about it.

Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, via nflpassers.com

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Football Relativity Week 7

Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity comparison. On the comparison, the 10 level is reserved for the best teams, and the 1 level for the worst. We’ll note throughout where teams have moved up or down from last week.

Packers WR Greg Jennings and company beat the Vikings, via greenbaypressgazette.com

10 – Green Bay Packers – The Packers were tested in Minnesota – until CB Charles Woodson took advantage of rookie QB Christian Ponder not once but twice. Meanwhile, QB Aaron Rodgers was pitching a near perfect game. The Pack enters their bye 7-0, and they’ve served notice that the title defense is on in Titletown.

9 – New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints – The Patriots were on bye. The Saints broke out the whooping stick in a 62-7 home win over the Colts. It was a complete performance that highlighted what the Saints can be at their best. They’ll have a great chance at an encore next week in a visit to St. Louis.

8 – Atlanta Falcons (UP A LEVEL), Baltimore Ravens (DOWN A LEVEL), Houston Texans (UP A LEVEL), Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers – We’re temped to dock the Chargers after a poor offensive performance in New York against the Jets, but we’ll leave them be for now since that road trip was a tough game. But the Bolts need to bounce back and play better soon, because the Chiefs are on the charge in the AFC West. The Steelers took care of business in Arizona with a 32-20 victory, setting up huge home games against New England and Baltimore in the next two weeks. The Falcons got a win in Detroit and seem to have found themselves the last few weeks. That’s a good feeling as the Dirty Birds head to their bye. The Texans won a big game in the AFC South and did so in convincing style, 41-7 over the Titans. They have a chance to knock off another division foe next week at home against the Jaguars. The Ravens played those Jaguars this week and lost on Monday night. It was a horrific offensive performance as, for the second time this season, Baltimore laid a major egg on the road. They must bounce back against Arizona this week before facing off against the Steelers the following week.

7 – Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys (UP A LEVEL), Detroit Lions (DOWN A LEVEL), New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – We covered the Cowboys’ nice win and the Cowboys’ disappointing loss in Rise/Sink/Float. The 49ers, Giants, and Bills were on bye.  The Buccaneers lost in London to the Bears, and they were wracked by injuries to RB Earnest Graham and others. The bye is coming at a key time for the Bucs. The Jets put together a comeback win against the Chargers to move to 4-0. Gang Green has been up and down, but after the bye they need to learn to win on the road. The Raiders were embarrassed against the Chiefs, but they hope the upcoming bye week will help new QB Carson Palmer get ready to contribute.

6 – Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles – We covered the Bears’ win in London in Rise/Sink/Float, and the Eagles were on bye.

5 – Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals were on bye.

4 – Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs (UP A LEVEL), Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans (DOWN A LEVEL), Washington Redskins (DOWN A LEVEL) – The Chiefs went into Oakland and took advantage of bad quarterback play to shut out the Raiders. Suddenly, despite injuries, the Chiefs are 3-3, and if they can beat the Chargers next Monday night, they’ll control their own destiny in the AFC West. It’s an impressive turnaround after an awful start. The Browns beat the Seahawks 6-3 in a terrible aesthetic game. But the Browns are 3-3, which is a nice feat – even though the schedule has been favorable. The Seahawks competed on the road, but while the defense is pretty good, the offense ain’t. The Titans got blasted by the Texans in a key AFC South matchup, and there’s no question they’re now a step behind Houston in the division. The Redskins missed an opportunity in Carolina, falling to 3-3 and losing ground in the NFC East.

3 – Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars (UP A LEVEL) – The Panthers finally got a win with a 33-20 decision over the Redskins. They have a chance to build on that momentum at home against the Vikings this week, which would put them at 3-5 entering the bye. That would be a nice step forward for QB Cam Newton and company. The Broncos also got a win thanks to last-minute heroics from QB Tim Tebow, who isn’t pretty but still finds a way to deliver in the clutch. Denver hosts Detroit this week. The Jaguars followed a competitive performance in Pittsburgh with a win against the Ravens at home. Jacksonville’s defense is coming on, and that’s a good sign. Now rookie QB Blaine Gabbert must start to make progress too. Amazingly, if the Jaguars can win in Houston this week, they will be 3-4 with wins over both of their main division rivals – basically in the thick of the race.

2 – Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings lost to the Panthers, but Christian Ponder’s starting debut showed promise. The Vikings have an easier draw in Carolina this week. The Cardinals stuck around but ultimately fell victim to the Steelers. A trip to Baltimore this week is no easy place to bounce back.

1 – Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams – The league’s winless crew embarrassed themselves again. The Dolphins blew a 15-0 lead in the final three minutes of regulation against the Broncos. The Colts were blasted 62-7 in New Orleans. The Rams fell to Dallas 34-7. We don’t see any wins on the horizon, either.

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