Who Am I?

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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

2014 NFL SEASON WEEK 6




  
WINLESS WATCH

Jaguars (0-5): at Titans
Raiders (0-4): vs. Chargers


MUST WATCH GAMES

Colts at Texans

This is suddenly a good matchup and could provide the NFL's Thursday Night Football package something they haven't had in a while: a close game.

The closest games on Thursday Night has been the Kickoff Game between the Seahawks and Packers, and the Week 2 matchup in Baltimore between the Steelers and Ravens. Both those games were decided by 20 points.

Because these games so far have been blowouts, I have been spending my time volunteering for Democratic candidates in Colorado. Specifically I have been phone banking to keep Senator Mark Udall in the Senate and put former Speaker of The Colorado House Andrew Romanoff in the US House. When I get home, I see that game has already been decided and flip over to The Daily Show/Colbert Report.

Maybe this time when I come home, the game between these two teams will be as close as their games were on Sunday.

Andrew Luck passed for a touchdown and ran in another to put the Colts up 20-6 with 9 minutes left in the game. The Ravens scored a touchdown to pull within 7. An Ahmad Bradshaw fumble gave the Ravens the ball late and the Colts defense held to keep the team's 3 game winning streak alive.

The Texans gave it their best shot in beating the Cowboys at Jerry World. Running back Arian Foster ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns, one of which tied the game and was part of the Texans ten point comeback to send the game into overtime.

However (comma) in the overtime period the Texans drive stalled. Houston was 4-13 on third down conversions and that was not helped by their passing game. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was completed 16 passes on 25 attempts, but yielded 154 yards, no touchdown, and one interception.

Houston's defense gave up 456 yards, but they did get a sack, interception, and a forced fumble.

The Texans aren't that bad of a team. Again they are already halfway to my prediction of six wins through the first five games of the season.

Since the creation of the AFC South in 2002, the Indianapolis Colts have won the division 8 times and made the playoffs every year except in 2011 when then-Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was out with a neck injury. In the Colts Manning era, the team won the division in 7 times in 9 seasons. In the Colts Andrew Luck era, they have only won the division once in 3 seasons. In 2011 and 2012 the Texans were on top in the division, but the Colts appear to be wanting to start a new streak of AFC South dominance.


Broncos at Jets

The last time the Broncos were in the New York Metropolitan Area for a game…


I think the Broncos played a complete game in their win over the Cardinals. If the Broncos play more games like these, then MAYBE 9 News' sports anchor Drew Soicher's claim of the Broncos will win the Super Bowl will come true.

(key word is MAYBE)

Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught 8 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns. If you started him on your fantasy team, bravo. If you didn't, shame (like the guy I was playing against).

As for the Jets, they were shutout in San Diego.

Why do I have this listed as a game to watch? If the Broncos aren't careful, this could be a trap game. Denver had a great game in handing the Cardinals their first loss while the Jets made a mockery of the game in their loss to San Diego (which I am glad because I had Chargers D/ST on my fantasy team).

The Jets had 151 total yards of offense in the game. Geno Smith started the game but was pulled at halftime for Michael Vick. Smith completed one third of his passes for 27 yards and an interception resulting in a quarterback rating of 7.63. Vick was better… going 8-19 for 47 yards resulting in a rating of 49.67… so… PROGRESS!!!

Combined the Jets quarterbacks in that game had a passing rating of 33.40 for the game. I had to look up to see who had a better quarterback rating than the Jets last week.

Anquan Boldin, 49ers WIDE RECIEVER, attempted 1 pass and had a better quarterback rating (39.6) than the 2 Jets quarterbacks. Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles had a better QB rating (52.0) than the Jets. Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in the blowout loss to Green Bay had a better QB rating (45.8) while Matt Flynn who came in to relive Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (best rating of the week, 138.7) was worse than the Jets with a rating of 30.8.

To further emphasize the Jets QB's ineffectiveness, a perfect quarterback rating is 158.3. If 158.3 was a perfect score of 100, Smith would have a score of 4.81 while Vick would have a score of 31.37.

As right now, Peyton Manning has the fourth best passer rating among qualified players. Geno Smith is ranked 32nd behind Blake Bortles and ahead of Matt Cassel who is last. Ranked by team passer rating, the Broncos are ranked fourth in the league while the Jets are last.

The Broncos might not take the Jets seriously like everyone else. After watching the game film, the Jets may prove to everyone else that they are not the team that got shutout by the Chargers. They did win their first game of the season (home against the Raiders) and led in Green Bay 21-3 before the Packers realized they were playing the Jets.

If Denver is not careful they may leave New Jersey the same way they did in February: with a loss.


Steelers at Browns

In Week 1 it looked like the Steelers were headed towards another blowout of their division rival Cleveland in Pittsburgh.

Then in the second half, the Browns scored 24 points to tie the game. Pittsburgh needed a Ben Roethlisberger led drive to put kicker Shaun Suisham in position to win the game with a 41 yard field goal. Suisham made the kick and the Steelers avoided the embarrassment of losing to the Browns.

Pittsburgh has started the season 3-2. They had a dominating win on national television against the Panthers in Week 3 and their defense led them to victory last week in Jacksonville. Their Week 4 loss at home was indescribable. According to Pro Football Reference, Pittsburgh had a 94.3% chance of winning the game after Tampa turned the ball over on downs with 1:44 left in the game. Then Pittsburgh failed to run the clock out and a bad punt gave the Buccaneers excellent field position to drive for the game winning score.



The Browns are a surprising 2-2. Could they climb out of the AFC North cellar this season? They upset the Saints and lost to division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore by field goals at the end of their respective games. In their game at Tennessee last Sunday, the Titans were up by 25 at one point. At the half the score was 28-10 and Tennessee had a 97.4% chance of winning. When Cleveland got their first lead of the game with 1:15 left in the 4th quarter, Cleveland had a 69.7% chance of winning the game.

As a starting quarterback for the Browns, Brian Hoyer is 5-2, has completed 62.1% of his passes for 1,008 yards and 6 touchdowns vs. 1 interception. Though the Browns' plan is to eventually start Johnny Manziel, Hoyer is the starting quarterback of this team and is making the Browns a very tough team to beat this season.


Jaguars at Titans

This might be one of two chances the Jaguars have to get a win this year.

It is kind of hard to believe that the Titans opened the season with a 26-10 win over the Chiefs in Kansas City. Since then, Tennessee has lost every game including blowing a 25 point lead at home against the Browns and it was the third largest blown lead in the regular season in NFL history.

Jacksonville gave it their best shot against the Steelers, but two Blake Bortles interceptions one which was returned for a touchdowns kept the Jaguars among the ranks of the winless. Before the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that Bortles reminds him a lot him and described him as the most NFL ready. In Roethlisberger's rookie season, the quarterback started 13-0 and led the Steelers to the #1-seed in the AFC. Their season ended at home in the AFC Title Game against the Patriots. In his second season, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh in that 2004 season had a Bus and a defense that was ranked in fewest points given up, fewest yards given up, and top 5 in expected points contributed by all defense.

Jacksonville does not have those.

I wish that we could pick tie games, but unfortunately our rules say we can't so I have to pick a winner here. Go Tennesseeville Jagutans. Beat the Jacksonsee Titanars.


Packers at Dolphins/Patriots at Bills

In nationally televised primetime home games last week, the Packers and Patriots silenced their critics.

As I pointed out in my Week 4 picks, the Packers have started their last two seasons 1-2. After their loss at Seattle in 2012, Green Bay was 1-2. They won 10 of their last 13 games to win the NFC North and their season ended at San Francisco. The next season the Packers started 1-2 and things got interesting. They won 4 straight, lost 3 straight, tied the Vikings, got creamed by the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, beat the spiraling Falcons and Cowboys, lost to the Steelers… AND… beat the Bears on the last day of the season to win the division.

And their season ended with a loss to the 49ers in frigid Green Bay.

In 2014, the Packers have started 1-2. Since then they have knocked off the Bears in Chicago followed by their blowout win at home over the Vikings to bring their record to 3-2. Even though the Packers are tied with the Lions for the division lead, they would lose the tiebreaker due to their Week 3 loss.

After their blowout in Kansas City, the Patriots dynasty was declared over. Then they responded by knocking the Bengals from the ranks of the undefeated and preserving the 1972 Dolphins undefeated season for at least one more season. As I stated in my Week 5 picks, never count this team out in the Brady-Belichick era.

Both the Packers and Patriots are traveling to AFC East teams. The Packers are taking their talents to South Beach to face the Dolphins while the Patriots are headed to Western New York to take on the Bills.

Both the Dolphins and Bills opened the season with upset wins, but so far have not lived up to those surprising wins. The Dolphins are coming off of a bye week and before that beat the Raiders in London to bring their record to 2-2. Buffalo started 2-0, but have lost two of their last three. Journeyman quarterback Kyle Orton won his first game since the final week of the 2011 season when he led the Chiefs to a win at Denver.

If the Packers and Patriots keep on winning, this is the only thing their critics will have to say.


Cowboys at Seahawks


Now that unpleasantness is addressed and out of the way, let's talk about the current matchup.

After opening the season with a dud against San Francisco, the Cowboys have reeled off 4 straight wins. This is in part due to the Cowboys discovering they have a running game. Running back DeMarco Murray was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Month for September. Murray leads the NFL with 670 rushing yards and 5 rushing yards. At this pace, Murray is on pace to break the single-season rushing yard mark of 2,105 yards set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.

One flaw with Murray is his fumbling. Seattle's defense so far has only one fumble this season and are looking to add to that total.

Another matchup that is intriguing is the one between Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. This is one of those times that NFL Films should have both players mic'ed up.

As of now Seattle has given up 83 points for fifth best in the league, but has given up the fewest yards.

On Monday Night against Washington Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 201 yards, rushed for 122 yards, and scored 3 total touchdowns. If you started him in fantasy (like I did), good on you.



And this is Wilson's third season in the league.

All those teams that passed on Wilson in the 2012 draft are probably kicking themselves right now.




Giants at Eagles/Rams at 49ers

Divisional matchups close out the Week 6 schedule.

Since starting the season 0-2, the Giants have won 3 in a row and are one game behind the Eagles in the division who have been winning through offense, defense, and special teams.

Turmoil seems to make the 49ers thrive. There have been stories circulating that the 49ers will let coach Jim Harbaugh go even if they win the Super Bowl. Bleacher Report has a list of four assistants and one college coach who could replace Harbaugh. Despite this, the team has won two straight games.

The Rams have some moral victories. They had an 18-point led against Dallas before losing that game by 3. They trailed the Eagles 34-7 before scoring three touchdowns to make the game respectable. Quarterback Austin Davis has passed for over 300 yards in both games. The problem with moral victories do not turn into real victories. Those real victories might be few looking at the Rams schedule as their next 6 games are against teams that either made playoffs or won 10 or more games from last season.


And now the picks.

Kickoff times are mountain time, games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN), and picks are in BOLD.



Me
WEEK 5
13-2
12-3
13-2
TOTAL
48-28
49-27
47-29


BYE WEEK
Chiefs, Saints


THURSDAY NIGHT, CBS/NFL 6:15 PM
Colts at Texans


FOX 11AM
Patriots at Bills (DEN)
Lions at Vikings
Packers at Dolphins
Panthers at Bengals

CBS 11AM
Broncos at Jets (DEN)
Jaguars at Titans
Ravens at Buccaneers
Steelers at Browns


FOX 2PM
Cowboys at Seahawks (DEN)
Bears at Falcons
Washington at Cardinals

CBS 2PM
Chargers at Raiders


SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:15 PM
Giants at Eagles


MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:15 PM
49ers at Rams

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