– NFL Preview –
- Much has been made of the San Diego drought, not lack of rain, but the Chargers inability to win in Miami, but that ends Sunday morning. Yes it has been 32-years since San Diego won there, though the Kellen Winslow game, the overtime playoff game in the heat and humidity of the Orange Bowl, was a memory for a lifetime. But this is a depleted Dolphins franchise, with a rebuilt offensive line, subpar running game, and a 2nd year quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, having good days and bad. Last week for example, they trailed Jacksonville, and at one point the Jaguars had the edge in total offense (199-3). Dolphins WR-Mike Wallace summarized it quickly this week, ‘our offense is bleep.” Tannehill has WRs Mike Wallace and Jarvis Landry to throw to, but he’s been sacked 17-times, and his run game does not scare people. Philip Rivers has 20-TDs though his team is trying to snap a 2-game losing streak, and streak into their bye week with a (6-3) record. RB-Donald Brown returns from a concussion as does CB-Brandon Flowers, but Jason Verrett may be gone for the season, with a torn left labrum, after having right labrum surgery in early spring. The Bolts will win and get more time off to get injured people healthy.
- What a matchup, Peyton Manning-Tom Brady, Peyton Manning-Bill Belicheck. The Broncos are (6-1) firing on all cylinders. The Patriots, after struggles early with the WR corps and injuries at RB, are (6-1). Brady and Manning have combined to throw 40-TD passes so far this season, and a total of nearly 4300 yards in half a season. Brady is (10-5) in games against Manning. Belicheck, as a coordinator, then as a head coach, is (12-10) against Manning. Both are ailing at running back, with Stevan Ridley gone for the year for the Pats, and Ronnie Hillman suddenly ailing with a shoulder, while Montee Ball recovers from a groin problem. The Broncos defense is rock solid and tough, the Pats defense still has injury woes. New England has won 33-in a row at home against AFC-teams. Can you say last guy who touches the ball wins? I think Denver snaps that Patriots home stadium streak this weekend.
- How long does Tony Romo play, can he take a hit, does the bruised back bother him? That is the storyline. RB-DeMarco Murray (1010R) cannot put monster numbers up against this Cardinals defense. Carson Palmer must not throw picks this weekend. I don’t know that the Big Red has enough firepower, and I do know the Cowboys have lots of different weapons to use, if Romo can stay on the field. Dallas in a very tough game.
- Robert Griffin III returns as starting quarterback against a poor Minnesota team. Can he play without getting hurt? 3-major injuries in 2-years makes you wonder if he is brittle? Teddy Bridgewater’s learning curve continues to be tough with sacks and interceptions disrupting his growth. Take Washington’s toughness with RB-Alfred Morris as the difference maker.
- That was some passing night for Ben Roethlisberger (522P-6TD) last weekend. He goes against a tougher Baltimore defense this weekend, though without CB-Jimmy Smith and 2-other DBs, the Ravens are thin there. Joe Flacco will likely face some big time blitzes, but he will bounce back from last weekend’s (199P-2 int) day. Baltimore wins, even if Roethlisberger announced this week it was “Crow hunting season” in Western Pennsylvania.
- QB-Blake Bortels is taking sacks and turning the ball over, but Jacksonville is staying with him at QB. The numbers are gruesome (15-turnovers-18 sacks-21 quarters) but he can make some big plays. Not this weekend against the Bengals pass rush. QB-Andy Dalton has WR-AJ Green back so that should help.
- Tampa Bay (1-6) is trying to paint a positive picture that better days are coming. Don’t know when. QB-Mike Glennon is getting pounded, RB-Doug Martin is not the same back as a year ago, and they tried to trade WR-Vincent Jackson. The Browns are playing power ball with Ben Tate and Ike Crowell to take pressure off QB-Brian Hoyer. Browns bury them.
- Nick Foles threw two picks all of last year, this year, 9-already. Really bad footwork. He looks panic-stricken at times. Here comes JJ Watt and Jadaveon Clowney. Granted the Eagles have tons of skill people and will likely prevail, but you wonder about Foles regression.
- The New York nightmare has lost 7-in a row heading into Arrowhead. Geno Smith benched; aging turnover machine Mike Vick to start. Unhappy RB-Chris Johnson. WR-Eric Decker’s wife ripping the fans. The GM saying blame me and the media does. Rex Ryan, how’s your life these days? Now the Chiefs arrive on a roll. Here’s the question, does Vick turn it over before he gets sacked by Tamba Hali and Justin Houston? KC kills them.
- Poor St. Louis. Rookie QB-Austin Davis taking a beating. RBs, OL hurt. Just lost another WR, and lots of people on defense dinged up. Rams thinking about 2015 already and that high draft pick. 49ers thinking about making a statement, getting injured people back healthy too. San Fran can-and does.
- QB-Derek Carr is not caving in, but he has no help because the roof is falling in on the roster. The Seahawks are not the same team any longer on defense with injuries and defections, but are too good for this to be anything but ugly. Oakland to go (0-8), halfway home to a perfectly bad season.
- This would have been an Eli Manning-Andrew Luck matchup made in heaven, but the Giants have so many injured players, it might not be much of a game. The Colts need to bounce back from last weekend’s beating and they will against a New York team running out of defensive players.
Thursday Night Football:
- New Orleans-W-Carolina (28-10)…Saints defense 4-QBX-Cam Newton..Newton (10-28) passing-interception-fumble…RB-Mark Ingram (100R)…QB-Drew Brees (299P)