Congratulations to Ms. Roberts on her record last week.
MUST WATCH GAMES
Falcons at Saints/Bengals at Bills/Browns at Broncos
The Falcons have exceeded their win total from last season and could pass the record that Carolina had to win the NFC South last season (7-8-1) in two more games: at Titans and home against the Buccaneers. The Saints will be no slouch but this could be the last gasp for the quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Peyton. After an 0-2 start, FiveThirtyEight began to sound the alarm of it was time for the Saints to part ways with Drew Brees in part due to his high cap number. Interesting enough, this was one of the reasons why the Cowboys cut ties with Troy Aikman after the 2000 season – that, and he was getting his brain bashed in. Also, several key components of the Cowboys 1990s Super Bowl run were let go because of the salary cap. The overtime win over Dallas might have revived the Saints’ playoff hopes, but after a 39-17 loss at Philadelphia certainly reminded people that the Saints might not be as good as advertised. Since their playoff win at Philadelphia in January 2014, the Saints are 8-14.
The Bengals are 5-0 and the last time they achieved this mark was in 1988 when they played in their last Super Bowl. I am not sold on the Bengals until they can win a playoff game.
If you listen to the press in Denver, you would think that the Broncos were 0-5. Well, they are not; they’re 5-0. The defense has played a key role in every one of the wins so far this season. The thing that has the Broncos faithful tweaking is the offense; Peyton Manning has thrown 6 touchdowns vs. 7 interceptions and in each game he has thrown at least one interception. Denver’s running game, which was expected to be coach Gary Kubiak’s forte, is averaging 71.6 yards per game – ranked for 3rd worst in the NFL.
Cardinals at Steelers/49ers at Ravens
The Madden NFL 16 intro jumps the player into Super Bowl 50 between the Cardinals and Steelers.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that both teams could play in the Super Bowl again. If you recall, the Steelers and Cardinals played in Super Bowl XLIII in January 2009.
Arizona is 4-1 and is coming off a road win against the Detroit Lions. Two weeks ago in the desert, Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed for 146 yards. I expect Le’veon Bell will give the Cardinals defense the same issues. On Monday night, Bell rushed for 111 yards and grinded out the game winning touchdown against San Diego.
San Francisco (or rather Santa Clara) is the site for Super Bowl 50 and it is becoming very unlikely that the Ravens and 49ers will meet again this season. The Ravens are off to a 1-4 start for the first time in franchise history while the 49ers might be succumbing to the Home Field Curse. No team has ever played in a Super Bowl in their host stadium. The two teams to have played in Super Bowl close to their home stadium were the 1979 Los Angeles Rams (Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl) and the 1984 San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl XIX at Stanford Stadium).
Even more daunting for the 49ers is that since that Super Bowl XIX appearance is that only four teams who had a Super Bowl in their home stadium made the playoffs: Cardinals last season, Buccaneers in 2000, and the Dolphins in 1998 and 1994. The Rams made the playoffs in 1986, but Super Bowl XXI was played at the Rose Bowl. All those teams played in the first weekend of the playoffs. The 1994 and 1998 Dolphins won their playoff game while the others lost.
Panthers at Seahawks
The last three regular season meetings between the Seahawks and Panthers have been low scoring, defensive affairs. 2012 was the highest scoring game between these two teams in this time period: a 16-12 win by Seattle in Charlotte. The schedule makers placed this regular season matchup in Seattle for the first time since December 2010 which the Seahawks won this game. You would think that Seattle would be favored in this game given that it is being played in Seattle… but here is a little nugget of knowledge: Carolina is 2-7 all-time against the Seahawks including the current 5-game losing streak against the Seahawks. Carolina has existed as an NFL team for 21 seasons and has never beaten the Seahawks in Seattle.
Patriots at Colts
Ballghazi, Ballgate, Deflategate… whatever you want to call it… Here is an analogy to the Democratic debate on what I think about this.
I am sure everyone is tired about this issue. I expect the Patriots will do everything they could to run up the score as they are in pure F-you mode.
And now the picks.
Kickoff times are Mountain Time
Sunday afternoon games airing in Denver are noted by (DEN)
Picks are in BOLD
Buccaneers, Cowboys, Raiders, Rams
THURSDAY NIGHT, CBS/NFL 6PM
Falcons at Saints
Broncos at Browns (DEN)
Chiefs at Vikings
Bengals at Bills
Texans at Jaguars
Dolphins at Titans
Bears at Lions
Cardinals at Steelers
Washington at Jets
Chargers at Packers (DEN)
Ravens at 49ers
Panthers at Seahawks (DEN)
SUNDAY NIGHT, NBC 6:30 PM
Patriots at Colts
MONDAY NIGHT, ESPN 6:30 PM
Giants at Eagles