2015 Week 4 Update

As we head into week 4 of the 2015 NFL season, a few obsvervations:

  • 7 teams are still undefeated
    • AFC: Patriots, Bengals and Broncos
    • NFC: Packers, Falcons, Panthers and Cardinals
  • 4 teams were without a win
    • AFC: Ravens ( the Ravens managed to get out of that status with a win on Thursday against the Steelers in Pittsburgh)
    • NFC: Lions, Bears and Saints
  • 6 teams have 2 wins
  • 15 teams have 1 win

Last year, we were talking about a lot more teams with no wins at this time.  It would appear that more teams are getting close to the parity of the middle of the pack. It also appears that less teams are standing out at the top.

We have already seen a lot of teams decimated by injuries that keep their star players off the field. Some started the season (the 49ers) with a drastically changed line up because of retiring players, players getting cut because of trouble off the field (the Saints, 49ers) and some trading away some of their biggest stars (the Eagles & Saints) for some incomprehensible reason.

Week 4 is where the bottom dwellers must win to get out of the basement of their divisions. The Lions (0-3) play the Seahawks (1-2) in Seattle in a matchup that many analysts give Detroit no chance to win. The Bears (0-3) host a surging Raiders (2-1) team that has surprised many with wins over the Browns (1-2) and  Ravens (1-3). The Saints (0-3), who are hoping QB Drew Brees is healthy enough to play well Sunday night, host the Cowboys (2-1), who have not looked as good since losing WR Dez Bryant and QB Tony Romo to injuries in their first two games.

Some matchups that can alter division leads:

  • Buccaneers (1-2) host the Panthers (3-0) – the Panthers need this win to keep pace with the Falcons (3-0) who are favored to win their matchup.
  • Colts (1-2) host the Jaguars (1-2)
  • Cardinals (3-0) host the Rams (1-2) – while the Rams would not lead the division with a win, it would put them in a good position in a tiebreaker situation. The Rams have played well against division opponents, having defeated the Seahawks in St. Louis.
  • The Texans (1-2) are going to Atlanta to try and knock the Falcons (3-0) down a peg – a win by the Texans  would put the Texans in a tie for first place with either the Colts or Jaguars since the Titans (1-2) have a bye this week. The Falcons and Panthers, with a win, would still be undefeated and tied for the NFC South lead.

My picks for this week:

  • Steelers (I lost that one) over Ravens
  • Jets over Dolphins (in London) – division game, Jets play tough against Dolphins and Miami’s defense is struggling
  • Falcons over Texans – Texans won’t be able to stop Julio Jones
  • Bills over Giants – Bills defense will force Eli to throw some interceptions
  • Bears over Raiders – Bears playing desperate football
  • Bengals over Chiefs – Bengals are playing great at home
  • Jaguars over Colts – Luck is playing hurt and Jax has a punishing defense
  • Buccaneers over Panthers – Tampa will put together their first complete home game in 11 tries
  • Eagles (1-2) over Redskins (1-2) – this one could go either way depending on which Eagles and Redskins team shows up to play – each has been inconsistent this year
  • Chargers (1-2) over Browns (1-2) – the Browns have QB Josh McCown – need I say more?
  • Cardinals (3-0) over Rams (1-2) – hard to stop the Cards with that balance of high powered offense and opportunistic defense
  • Broncos (3-0) over Vikings (2-1) – Denver’s defense will have a tough time against the running attack of RB Adrian Peterson, but will keep QB Teddy Bridgewater from doing much in the air
  • Packers (3-0) over the 49ers (1-2) – can anyone stop the Packers this year?
  • Cowboys (2-1) over the Saints (0-3) – without Romo and Bryant, the Cowboys will rely on a strong running attack, which they have shown can keep opposing QB’s on the sideline for a long time – Brees will probably get hit a few times and his shoulder will cause him to throw some interceptions
  • Seahawks (1-2) over the Lions (0-3) – the 12th man makes opposing offenses look bad – the Lions already have trouble with the offense when playing against good defenses

What do YOU think? Comment below:

Pittsburgh Vs New England Opening Day Preview

The grind of the preseason is coming to an end and the even longer road of the NFL regular season is on the horizon. Football fans from all over the world are gearing up for what promises to be seventeen weeks of gridiron excitement, with many league stories already unfolding. Here are just a few interesting happenings around the NFL as we get ready for the first game on September 10. That game will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots
The game has numerous stories, not the least involving Tom Brady and whether he will play or not. Everyone is aware of the mayhem “DeflateGate” has caused and the most surprising thing about the story is it is still going on! They are endlessly debating Brady’s suspension for his alleged involvement in the controversy and it has not yet been determined if he will lead his team on opening night. There is over a week to figure it out, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this story continues through the beginning of the season.

Pittsburgh SteelersOn the Pittsburgh side, they are dealing with the fallout from their recent acquisition at the back-up quarterback position. Given their history, it would seem unlikely that the Rooneys and Michael Vick would ever come to terms. But come to terms they did and Michael Vick showed up in a Steeler uniform during a recent pre-season game in Buffalo. He did well that day but it is too early to tell if he will be embraced by Steeler Nation. There was quite a reaction from local fans when the announcement was made that he was going to play for the team. There were some demonstrations outside of Heinz Field and the local sports radio talk shows were focusing on it constantly.

There are other things that these two teams need to concern themselves with besides the inevitable distractions. The management, coaches and players should have only one thing in mind; how to get to Super Bowl 50. That should be the goal, because there are thirty other teams striving for the same trophy. This is a landmark year so hopefully the sideline shenanigans will take a back-seat to the more important business of playing the game. If only it was possible to return to the days of Lombardi and Shula, when it was more about the sport and less about the off-field indiscretions.

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