Current record 52-25 (67.5%)
Last Week 9-4
Panthers at Falcons - Has continued to disappoint this season. With all the added talent to the offense, they still are producing like they did even a year ago. The Falcons are 21st in scoring at 20.8 points per game, but that number is a little misleading. The Falcons basically have scored 28+ points every other week. Conversely on the in between weeks they are only scoring two touchdowns. So what gives? I have stated before that I think they falcons are too unbalanced in their play calling. Atlanta in years past has been a run first team, but this year they have completely abandoned that philosophy. Atlanta is throwing the ball at a clip of 39.2 times per game, which is enough for #2 in the league. However they are running the ball only 23.2 times per game, which puts them at 27th. I know Turner is not having a monster season, but the team is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and that is good enough for 9th in the league. If the Falcons want to save their season, they need to get back to running the ball. The Falcons do get back to some semblance of balance against a weaker opponent and beat the upstart Panthers 28-21.
Eagles at Redskins - It's the over - under match. No, I don't mean gambling or the odds. I mean it is the over achievers versus the under achievers. The Eagles have buckets of talent and the Redskins are one of the leagues pleasant surprises. You have to think the Eagles will get it right and start winning, but does it happen this week against the Redskins? I don't think it does. Jim Haslett has had 2 weeks to prepare his defensive game-plan for Michael Vick, and I think it is the difference. I think this is a close game because of the Eagles firepower, but the Skins can slow them down enough in the first half to win a close one. Skins win 24-21.
Rams at Packers - This game is a major mismatch on paper. The Packers are the hottest team right now and Aaron Rodgers has just made it look too easy. Enter the Rams who are not only struggling, but you know they are hit hard by injuries when 36 year old former Packer Al Harris is their top corner. Rodger's and company could be in for an early day against a team that just won't be able to keep up in any phase of the game. Packers coast 37-14.
Colts at Bengals - Curtis Painter has been improving each time he gets the opportunity to lead this team, but he will have a tough task ahead of him this week when they travel to Cincinnati. The Bengals have been playing very well especially on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 6th in points, 7th in rushing and 8th in passing. The Colts have already struggled with running the ball and it doesn't get fixed this week. Expect Andy Dalton and AJ Green to continue their development. The Colts put up a fight, but the Bengals defense holds on as they win a close one 20-17.
Bills at Giants - The Bills have had a great start to the season at 4-1 and a lot of people wonder why they are having so much success. But when you really look at the numbers you realize that Chan Gailey and his staff are just not over complicating things. They are making their game-plans simple, and it is working. The Bills have been very different offensively from game to game as they have simply targeted the oppositions weakness. Against teams like the Raiders and Patriots, Fitzpatrick threw the ball over 40 times. Those ended up being track meets with a scoreboard. In other games they were more balanced or they focused on the run. Too often coaches end up out smarting themselves, but I like the way this staff is handling it. This week they face a Giants defense that is 18th in passing and 21st in rushing, but they are leading the league with 18 sacks. The Bills have been great about protecting Fitzmagik and they will continue to do so, by play calling as much as by the oline itself. Bills will stay balanced in this game, but in the end it will not be enough. Realize that the Giants could be 4-1 right now if not for 1 tipped pass. Eli did not play as bad as the 3 picks would suggest, and he rebounds and leads this team by the Bills 31-28.
Jaguars at Steelers - The Steelers have been up and down this season, but the Jaguars are just not a very good team right now. Even a banged up Pittsburgh squad will be just fine against the Gabbert lead Jags. The interesting matchup here is how well the Steelers can run the ball. The Jags are 10th in rush defense, but a lot of that was from the first two games of the season. I expect a healthy Mendenhall to show up ready to play after watching his replacements have success last week. The Jaguars have no answer for the Steelers. Steelers win 27-13.
49ers at Lions - This could be one of the best matchups of the weekend. The 49ers are quietly having one of the best defensive seasons of any team in the league right now. They are 2nd in scoring, 13th in total defense, 23rd in passing, and 5th in rushing. Now that 23rd in passing is a bit misleading. They have given up the 23rd most yards, but they are much better than the 23rd pass defense. They have recorded 12 sacks, and have picked off more passes (8) than they have allowed touchdowns (7). They also have allowed the 4th lowest QB rating for opposing quarterbacks at 75.4. You add this to the only team that has yet to allow a rushing TD and overall have the 2nd best TO ratio in the league, and it is a strong unit. But this week they will be facing a red hot Lions squad led by Matthew Stafford. I think the second home game in a row benefits the Lions a lot as they have been on the road 3 times already this season. If Stafford can settle in and get a few easy completions under his belt early, this game could get ugly quick as San Fran just doesn't have the weapons to keep up. I think the only way the Niner's could win this game is through special teams and defensive scores. But it won't happen, as I expect Schwartz and Linehan to have a gameplan designed to help get this offense rolling early, to avoid the late start that has plagued the Lions so far. Lions roar to victory, 34-17.
Browns at Raiders - I love the Raiders, because to me they are a throwback type of team. They have a whole bunch of no name guys that are making plays and they love the power running game. The Browns should be healthier than they have been and they could rack up some points against a vulnerable Raiders defense, but their own defense concerns me. The Browns are allowing an average of 4 yards per carry by opposing running backs, but the more telling statistic is that they are seeing an average of 31.5 runs per game. To me this screams two things. First, they do not respect your offense and they are able to slow cook you. Secondly, that this defense is not making impact plays in run defense. It means no tackles for loss or no gain. Typically teams do not run the ball over 30 times a game unless they are moving forward consistently. I think this is a favorable matchup for the Raiders rushing attack and they win convincingly over the visiting Browns, 37-24.
Texans at Ravens - I am not sure why no one is talking about the Ravens. They are boasting a defense reminiscent of years gone by. Currently that old and slow defense is ranked 1st in scoring, 3rd overall, 8th in passing, and 2nd in rushing. Age does not seem to be a factor as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed continue to shut down opposing offenses, and they are backed by an offense that is ranked 6th in scoring. I like the Texans, but not this week at the Big Crabcake. Arian Foster will not have a big game and it will negatively impact the Texans play action passing game. I think this is a game that the Ravens can and will run away with. Ravens big over Houston, 38-17.
Saints at Buccaneers - The Saints are the least talked about elite team in the league in my opinion. I think people forget that they were right there with the Packers all game in Week 1. The Saints come to Tampa to face the underachieving Bucs. The Bucs lost last week, as I predicted, when they traveled to the West Coast. This week they are at home and put up a much better fight, but they just don't have the talent to match up with the Saints offensively. No matter how "youngry" they are. The Saints win an important NFC South game easily 28-14.
Cowboys at Patriots - Tony Romo is going to put up huge numbers this week against the Patriots. Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Felix Jones are all healthy and will provide him more options than he has had in 3 weeks. But it will not be enough to stop the bleeding as Tom Brady leads the Patriots #1 passing offense past the 'Boys in Foxboro. Dallas is finally getting healthy, but their secondary is still rather thin, so expect Wes Welker to have another big day. Patriots ride to 5-1, as they beat Dallas 34-27.
Vikings at Bears - I hope, for at least one week, Jay Cutler is getting the credit he deserves. Most people don't like Cutler because his personality is quirky and it doesn't resonate well with them. However, anyone who watched the Bears - Lions game on MNF should have a new respect for the man. He took an absolutely brutal beating and still carried his team all night. He escaped a collapsing pocket play after play, firing off-balance back footed throws that were on target all night. If this organization want to appear at least competent, they need to surround Cutler with more talent. That being said, I think the Bears rebound at home against the Vikes. Adrian Peterson could have a huge day against a Bears defense that just isn't the same anymore, but McNabb will not be able to do enough to carry them. This won't be a cakewalk for Cutler either, as Jared Allen is an early season defensive player of the year candidate. Bears slip past Vikings 23-17.
Dolphins at Jets - The Jets end their 3 game skid this week on Monday Night Football. Look for the Jets to have a "statement" game and really beat up on the Dolphins this week. Matt Moore will look lost against this motivated Rex Ryan defense. The Dolphins have allowed an average of 107.5 rushing yards per game, but don't think that will stop the Jets from pounding the ball. I expect the Jets to run the ball over 30 times this week. Jets ground and pound the fish, 24-10. Bye Week - Cardinals, Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Seahawks, Titans
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