Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Talbuc's Take - Week 4

The Texans are the real deal.  They run the football whenever they want and have several standouts on a defense led by one of the better defensive minds in the game in Wade Phillips.  The Jets shouldn’t put up much of a challenge this week, as most of the focus in this one will undoubtedly be on how awful Mark Sanchez looks against the Texans defense.  Houston’s best tests come in weeks six and seven when they host the Packers and Ravens.  Those should be great games.

I think Baltimore is the second best team in the conference.  They just went through a brutal four games in eighteen days stretch and went 3-1.  They’ll go to KC this week and host the Cowboys next week before traveling to Houston for that huge week seven matchup.  That one could go a long way in determining playoff seeding for the conference.  You’ve got to be happy for Torrey Smith.  He followed up his emotional 127 yard and 2 score MNF game against the Patriots with another TD and nearly 100 yards against the Browns.  Joe Flacco really trusts him.

Don’t piss off Tom Brady.  After getting behind 21-7 to the Bills early in the third quarter, it looked like the Patriots were going to drop to an unspeakable 1-3.  Mr. Brady wasn’t having any of that.  He led the Patriots on six straight TD drives, including an amazing 35-0 run.  I don’t think this team is perfect (especially without Hernandez), but they got too much heat for being 1-2 (prior to blowing out Buffalo).  They lost by two to the undefeated Cardinals in a game that doesn’t look nearly as bad now, and they lost on to Baltimore by one point on that questionable game ending FG.  They host the Broncos this week, and I think this one might end up a one sided affair for the home team. 

I think the Steelers come out and have something for the Eagles this Sunday.  Pittsburgh had the early bye, but it worked out a bit in their favor with them getting back both James Harrison and Troy Polamalu for this one.  I like Pittsburgh to roll Philly this week.

Kansas City is probably the team that has disappointed me most so far.  Yes, Matt Cassel sucks, but we can’t change that.  It’s the defense that’s been the bigger disappointment.  Far be it for me to defend Cassel, but in the Chiefs three losses, they have scored 24, 17, and 20 points.  You should win two maybe all three of those games if you give your defense that many points.  They conceded 40, 35, and 37 in those losses.  Yes, Cassel turns it over like it’s his job (7 INTs, 4 fumbles), but a good defense has to pick up a bad offense. 

Back to the Jets for a moment.  They’re awful, and they haven’t reached rock bottom yet.  I see things getting a lot worse, regardless of who’s under center the rest of the way.  The Tebow trickeration isn’t going to work on this team.  They have absolutely nothing besides a raw rookie Stephen Hill at receiver now with Santonio Holmes out, and their running backs are minor league caliber.  The defense was declining and has to play the rest of the year without Darrelle Revis.  They’re 2-2 and barely beat Miami in OT.  After they lose to Houston this week they still have to play at New England, Seattle, and St. Louis and host New England, Arizona, and San Diego.  Maybe they get lucky, but that’s another six losses which has them looking at 8-8 at best this year.  They’ll probably lose half of those remaining games which would have them at 5-11, which I think is a pretty accurate projection at this point.  I’ll watch it play out with a smile.

I really like what’s going on in the NFC.  It’s still early, but this has the looks of a great playoff race. 

Teams that have special seasons have several special moments along the way.  Atlanta may have had their first this past Sunday in that dramatic comeback win against the rival Panthers.  Carolina brought everything they had for the Falcons, and Atlanta took it on the chin, fought back repeatedly, and emerged with a memorable win.  Can they keep it up?  The thing I find really odd is their schedule.  They alternate home and away games from the first week of the season through the seventeenth.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen another team’s schedule play out like that.  Will not getting comfortable at home be a good thing or a bad thing for this team?  They’re playing at a high level and still have an incomplete defense.  There’s room for this team to get even better.

Anyone think San Fran is going soft?  Jets fans?  Yeah didn’t think so.  The Niners responded to the week three upset at Minnesota with a 34-0 whooping of the Jets.  They ran the ball (245 yards) and prevented the Jets from doing so (45 yards).  They should beat Buffalo this week in a game that I see resembling the 27-19 week two game against the Lions that wasn’t really as close as the score suggests.  I’m already looking forward to next week’s conference championship rematch against the Giants. 

Ok, the Packers won, but should we feel any better about them now?  They’re in a similar boat as the Patriots in my opinion.  The panicking is for naught, because, where are they really trying to come back from?  They lost by eight to what might be the best team in football and were victims of the Seattle screwjob.  Still, they didn’t look great against the Saints; couldn’t close the game out and needed a penalty and missed FG to escape with a win.  Their offense is out of rhythm, and they’re allowing large chunks of yardage on the ground.  I just said I’m not worried about them, but I am concerned about this week in particular at Indy.  This will be the first of a three game road stretch; a game that precedes a marquee matchup with the Texans. 

Arizona is the feel good team so far.  No one, including Ken Whisenhunt, thought this team would be undefeated after four weeks.  They’ve beaten three quality teams and had a nice come from behind win last week against the Dolphins.  How much longer can they run this thing out?  Their next three games aren’t the toughest on their schedule.  They go to the Rams, host Buffalo, and head to Minnesota.  Now I’ll be surprised if they emerge from that stretch unscathed, but if they do, they’ll be 7-0 when they host the Niners in what would be the franchise’s biggest game since Super Bowl XLIII. 

I think the Eagles are a bit of a fraud.  If Ramses Barden doesn’t mug Nnamdi and Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride scrap that crap last drive play calling the Eagles are 2-2 and four points from being 0-4.  As I mentioned previously, I think they lose convincingly this week at Pittsburgh and return home for a key game against a beatable Lions team.  If Philly loses this week and then slips up at home against Detroit, they’ll be 3-3 heading into matchups with Atlanta a nothing-to-lose Saints team, and division matchups with Dallas and Washington.  I’m more concerned about how they perform in that Detroit game than this one at Pittsburgh.  Like Baltimore, this team is at its best when it’s featuring their feature back.  LeSean McCoy is the glue of this offense, and I think they’re most dangerous when they consistently run the read option with him and Vick.  In my opinion, making that the staple of their offense would be the best thing they could do to establish consistency on this side of the ball.

I like what Minnesota is doing.  Christian Ponder isn’t making mistakes with the football, Percy Harvin continues to show why he’s one of the most dangerous offensive talents in the game, Adrian Peterson continues to prove he’s superhuman, and the defense has been solid.  I’m especially impressed that they got up for a game at Detroit a week after knocking off the Niners.  I’m still not sure they’re any better than the third best team in the division, but they’ve already matched last year’s three game win total.  Watch out for these guys.  They start a very winnable stretch of games here against the Titans, Redskins, Cardinals, Bucs, Seahawks, and Lions.  If we’re still talking about them at that point, they’ll be enjoying a much needed by week before taking on the Bears, Packers, and Texans in four of their last five games of the season. 

New Orleans will win this week.  They showed a lot of guts last week in the loss at Green Bay, and I don’t think they roll over after the way that one ended.  Drew Brees put the team on his back and racks up some numbers against the Chargers on SNF.  The Saints obviously aren’t going to be one of football’s elite teams this year, but their four losses are by a combined 20 points.  They could have legitimately won the first two games against Washington and Carolina if a couple (and I mean a couple) of calls go their way.  They blew the huge lead against the Chiefs and lost by one on a last second missed FG.  I’m not saying they go on a run here because they have one seriously brutal schedule, but these guys aren’t quitting. 

Best and Worst

Elite Eight
1 – Houston Texans (1)
2 – San Francisco 49ers (2)
3 – Atlanta Falcons (3)
4 – Baltimore Ravens (4)
5 – Green Bay Packers (5)
6 – New England Patriots (7)
7 – New York Giants (6)
8 – Arizona Cardinals (NR)

Out – Seattle Seahawks (8)

Funk Bunch
1 – Jacksonville Jaguars (1)
2 – Cleveland Browns (2)
3 – Oakland Raiders (3)
4 – Indianapolis Colts (5)
5 – New York Jets (NR)
6 – Kansas City Chiefs (NR)
7 – Tennessee Titans (NR)
8 – Miami Dolphins (4)

Out – St. Louis Rams (6)

No comments:

Post a Comment