by Ryan Meehan & Coach Ryan
Week three in the NFL has passed, and we find ourselves at the last weekend of September football. Tuesday we woke up to news that Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm in two places after a car crash at 2:25 in the morning in Farmington Hills, MI. The story is that he was trying to prop up a couple of pizza boxes that were in the back of his 2009 GMC Yukon. According to the police lieutenant that arrived on the scene, that story checks out so maybe it’s legit. Either way it sucks ass for him because not only did he not get to eat the pizza, he also might be out long enough to put the Lions out of the playoff picture as by the time he gets back it could be too late. You know who I think should get to eat the pizza? The stripper who clocked Jacoby Jones over the head with that bubbly tipper. It’s only fair. But in all seriousness, it never ceases to amaze me how some of these athletes continue to invent new ways to injure themselves. It’s almost becoming this bizarre exercise in creativity.
Thursday Night Football: San Francisco 49ers (1-2) -3 at St. Louis Rams (1-2) (41.5)
Meehan: Why are we having a team that played the late game on Sunday play again on Thursday night? When there’s this little time to prepare, I think that’s a fair question. Especially since the team in question here has to fly East after living in the Pacific time zone. In the end, I have to believe that it won’t matter much. After seeing that dogpile the Rams dropped against Dallas last week, it would be hard for me to believe that a team who came within one score of winning the Super Bowl could lose this game. I don’t think they will. With all of the “What’s wrong with the San Francisco 49ers?” questions floating around sports radio and television, people seem to be forgetting that their schedule has not been easy. All three teams they have played so far made the playoffs last year, and one of them may be the overall best team in the league. That being said, during San Francisco’s Super Bowl run last year it’s important to remember that they never beat St. Louis once. They’ll get it done and be back to .500 by the time we’re eating dinner, but it will be much closer than you’d expect.
Meehan’s Prediction: 49ers 25, Rams 21
Coach’s Prediction: 49ers 24, Rams 17
New York Giants (0-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) -4.5 (44.5)
Meehan: Take the over. I’m dead serious. The New York Giants are unspeakably bad – just a pathetic excuse for a football team. To put this into perspective here – all of the horrible things I’ve been saying about the Steelers can apply to Big Blue. To make matters worse, the game is in Kansas City and outside of Seattle that’s becoming the hardest place in the league to visit. To use a phrase that I absolutely hate, shit’s about to get real on the New York Giants. (And you could make the argument that moment’s already come) The Chiefs will now be 4-0 and tied with the Broncos for first place.
Meehan’s Prediction: Chiefs 31, Giants 6
Coach’s Prediction: Chiefs 31, Giants 24
Cleveland Browns (1-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) -4 (42)
Coach: Cincinnati is coming off of one of the most impressive wins so far this season. A lot has been made about Aaron Rodgers having a “bad” game (most quarterbacks wish 244 yards was a bad game) but you have to give some credit to the Bengals defense. I realize they still put up 30 points but this is the Packers and considering the AFC North hardly ever gets to match up against Rodgers and company any way you can sneak out a win is impressive. So far the Bengals have shown that they are the team that is most deserving of the division crown and they have done it with a good passing game and a defense that although not dominate has shown to be very tough. If the Bengals can stay healthy and stay out of trouble…oh why HELLLLO Pac Man Jones. Apparently Pac Man giving a speech at to all the incoming rookies around draft time just wasn’t enough for him to actually listen to his own advice and once again ended up getting arrested for disorderly conduct. Even though I don’t think Jones is going to be much of a distraction this week for the Bengals you have to wonder what kind of stripes he’ll be wearing in the coming weeks.
What a week it’s been for the Cleveland Browns and their fans. Last Wednesday night as this blog was being published they thought it would be a good idea to trade their most popular offensive player in Trent Richardson for a first round draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts and then somehow go on the road and beat the Minnesota Vikings. As a fan of the orange and brown I can tell you that I spent the majority of Wednesday night debating whether or not I wanted to drive to Cleveland to punch someone in the face to Sunday afternoon jumping and cheering with a room full of fans who only hours earlier moped around the room like Richardson was the second coming of Lebron James.
After having time to think about the trade I honestly have changed my tune and think that it was the right move for the Browns. I know Cleveland fans are STARVING for a winner especially when it comes to the Browns but the problem since ’99 has been lack of faith and stability in the organization. Can you name another organization that has had close to the turnover Cleveland has? Seriously the team has had three head coaches in the past FIVE years. Both Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmer were given two years to turn things around, two. Say what you want about either of those coaches but two years isn’t enough time to turn around a high school team let alone an NFL franchise. The Browns actually have sported one of the better young defenses in the league, it’s their offense that has had the trouble and as much as everyone loved Richardson he wasn’t AP.
The Browns now have ten picks in the upcoming draft and basically need to turn those ten picks into three players: a quarterback, clear cut number one receiver, and a running back which they can get in the third through fifth round. I really like Hoyer and the way he played in Minnesota but you know that this regime wants a Bridgewater or Cousins directing what will be the new look offense for the upcoming years. The difference moving forward is Cleveland has an owner who believes in stability and you have to believe that the current coaching staff will remain in place for the long term. The days of the new regime every two years are gone and you have to believe that trade will lay the foundation for stability and a team that will be able to grow together into hopefully something resembling an actual football team. Stay strong Browns fans our day is coming!
Sorry for the tangent there but I had to use my resources here to at least touch on the trade and my thoughts about it, just be happy I limited it to only a few paragraphs. Onto Sunday and this AFC North rivalry, the Browns and Bengals are actually both feeling good after winning last week. You know what screw it Bengals favored by 4, I’m taking the homegrown Hoyer to beat the Ginger Dalton for no other reason outside of that’s what I want to happen. If you all have bet the spread the way I’ve told you the past season or so I’ve already made you money so I’m going Browns. (Please keep in mind that at this time that Browns have not announced a starter and if it’s Weeden bet Cincy).
Coach’s Prediction: Browns 17, Bengals 13
Meehan’s Prediction: Bengals 26, Browns 13
Arizona Cardinals (1-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) -3 (41)
Coach: Can anyone explain to me why Tampa is favored in this game or at all this season? Actually the only thing they should be favored in is most likely to end up a soap opera (or against the Steelers). For a few years now I actually thought Josh Freeman was a good young quarterback. (Editor’s note: Right before this article went to press, Freeman was benched) Sure I knew that he wasn’t going to be Peyton Manning but I thought he was serviceable. Now I’m not so sure. Yes he’s had some good stats but don’t forget Tampa is a team that has some talent both young and veteran but they can’t seem to do anything right, including kicking field goals. A lot of blame has to fall on the shoulders of Greg Schiano who is possibly the most hated coach in the NFL by his players. Certain styles of coaching just don’t work in the NFL and unfortunately for him unless something drastically changes I don’t seem him keeping his job next year. I wouldn’t even be shocked if he doesn’t make it to the end of the year.
Arizona is coming off a blowout loss to New Orleans which shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Arizona is another team dealing with having playmakers but still not being able to get it done this year. One of their major flaws so far has been their pass defense. Luckily for the Cards they are going to deal with one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL. So far this season Josh Freeman is ranked dead last with a quarterback rating of 59.3. As much as I try to not to get wrapped up in ratings or how they come up with them it is nearly impossible to ignore the fact that Freeman has only completed 45.7 percent of his passes which is over 8 percent less that the next quarterback on that list (Geno Smith at 53.9). At the end of the day I don’t think Arizona is going to blow out the Bucs but at the same time I just don’t see Tampa winning this or very many matchups. The spread on the game is -3 to Tampa and although the odds makers are drinking the Pirate Juice I will continue to pick against Tampa until they give me a reason not to.
Coach’s Prediction: Cardinals 20, Buccaneers 17
Meehan’s Prediction: Cardinals 29, Buccaneers 10
New York Jets (2-1) at Tennessee Titans (2-1) -3.5 (39)
Meehan: This game will be a lot more interesting than it was at first glance. Nobody really expected either of these teams to be over .500 by the time they met, and I happen to be really surprised by Jake Locker and Geno Smith thus far. Now this doesn’t mean either of these squads are effective playoff teams should either of them somehow sneak in. I have to take Tennessee here, because the game is there and overall they do have the better roster. Their defense is going to need to pace themselves well, and they should be okay. Think neither of these teams matter? The Jets are 6th in overall defense, and the Titans are seventh in rushing yards. I suppose Tennessee doesn’t have much of a choice though, as Jake Locker has only thrown for three touchdown passes so far. So maybe both these teams won’t matter in three months, but they do matter now.
Meehan’s Prediction: Titans 24, Jets 16
Coach’s Prediction: Titans 27, Jets 20
Washington Redskins (0-3) -2.5 at Oakland Raiders (1-2) (44)
Meehan: Who doesn’t love a good comedy movie? Back in the eighties, Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder combined to make for a perfect team that was guaranteed to make you laugh. This is sort of like that, only it won’t be funny and the comedians will be David Alan Grier and Paula Poundstone. And if you’re familiar with their work – unlike an eleven year old Pakistani kid let’s just say it won’t be their first time bombing.
The Redskins and their fans have to be startled by what they’ve seen in the first three games: They lost to a below average Eagles team in the first Monday night game, got spanked by the Packers and abused by the Lions. They’re ranked 31st against the pass AND the run, and the only team that’s giving up more yards on the ground is Jacksonville. The Raiders got carved up by Peyton Manning on Monday night, but so would 92% of the teams in the league so that’s no reason to bag on them. I still think Terrelle Pryor has a shot at being somebody, no matter what Dubsism may tell you. Believe it or not, I actually believe that the Raiders will win this game. I’m not sure that they are the better team, but they should win.
Meehan’s Prediction: Raiders 23, Redskins 22
Coach’s Prediction: Redskins 16, Raiders 10
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) -1 at Minnesota Vikings (0-3) (42)
Coach: As I spent last Sunday (and well into Sunday night) making my rounds through the local sports bar scene I noticed something felt off. There was something different, something kind of nice and calming. As the day turned into night I finally realized that what had made this particular Sunday more enjoyable than many (outside of the Browns winning) was the lack of Steeler fans running around waiving towels at anything that moves. To be dead honest I saw maybe two Pittsburgh fans sitting quietly by themselves the whole day not talking to anyone just sipping their beers and for once minding their own business. As a Browns fans I hear all the time how people are astonished at the sheer number of fans we get at our local Browns Backers and we haven’t exactly been the royalty of the NFL. Over the same time period I have noticed the amount or Pittsburgh fans growing and growing all around the country. After doing research I have discovered a few things about the growing Steelers population, first the city of Pittsburgh’s population grew by 152 people in 2012 (thank you census bureau), second these “die hard” Steeler fans lacked the ability to drink Iron City Beer, and they also lacked the ability to use “yinz” in a sentence. Meaning Professor Ryan concludes that we had a serious case of Bandwagon jumping which apparently can be cured by two accused rapes, the leaving of one Mike Wallace, and a 0-3 start.
Now that we have that out of the way onto the game, both these teams have identical records of not winning anything although each team has also lost to two teams who have playoff aspirations and both have a bad loss as well (Pitt vs. Tenn & Minn vs. Clev). The difference for me in this game comes down to the fact that so far Minnesota has been able to put up way more points than the Steelers (81 to 42). The Vikings also put up 30 points on a very good defense where the Steelers only put up 9 week one against the Titans. To keep this preview short and sweet I just think that the Steelers at the moment are the worst team in the NFL this side of Jacksonville and maybe the Giants. Are they going to go winless for the season? No, rest easy Steeler “fans” you will have a chance to waive those towels at some point this season but I’m going against the 1 point spread and taking the Vikings.
Coach’s Prediction: Vikings 17, Steelers 13
Meehan’s Prediction: Vikings 26, Steelers 20
Chicago Bears (3-0) at Detroit Lions (2-1) -3 (47)
Coach: If there is one division I still feel like we don’t know a whole lot about it has to be the NFC North. Although the division has an unbeaten team along with a winless team I still don’t feel like the gap is that big between them all. Sure the Packers are going to be the Packers but after that you have a lot of question marks with just how good or bad everyone else is. As I don’t think the Vikings are 0-3 bad I’m still not sold on if the Bears are 3-0 good. Both these teams are coming off of wins in Week 3 but they both played teams with a lot of question marks as well. The one thing that we have at this point to compare these teams to is they both were able steal a win against the Vikings although it took the entire game for Chicago to find Cardiac Cutler to get it done. Teams like the Bears often benefit from knowing how to win late in games and if they keep it going could make the playoffs. I still think the Bears need a game to give them a reality check and with them currently letting up almost 300 yards passing a game I expect Megatron to go big with around 125 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. The spread on this game is Detroit -3 and although I think the Bears will once again mount a comeback this is one I just see them falling a little short on.
Coach’s Prediction: Lions 21, Bears 20
Meehan’s Prediction: Bears 27, Lions 17
Indianapolis Colts (2-1) -9.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) (42.5)
Meehan: The only team that the Colts have lost to is the Dolphins, and that’s not a bad resume at this point in the season. Andrew Luck put together one hell of a road game and shocked the world on Sunday when he basically went into Colin Kaeprnick’s house and made him his bitch. If he can do that, he should have absolutely no problem whatsoever doing the same to Jacksonville no matter who they’ve pulled off death row to start this game. Nine and a half is an awfully small line for this game, as Seattle made sure that everybody who took them to cover against the Jags got mad money last week.
Meehan’s Prediction: Colts 34, Jaguars 16
Coach’s Prediction: Colts 33, Jaguars 6
Seattle Seahawks (3-0) -2.5 at Houston Texans (2-1) (41.5)
Meehan: This is the case of the “won’t haves’ in this matchup. Seattle won’t have their 12th man, as this game is on the road. And Houston won’t have the luxury of playing an AFC South caliber team. I definitely would avoid gambling on this one at all costs. What’s interesting here is that the Texans’ loss to the Ravens last week should have been exactly the wake up call they needed. It had to have been eerily similar to when the Seachickens won by only 5 points against Carolina to start the year. Since then they’ve destroyed the other two teams they’ve played, but now will be facing a team that likely had the same realization that they did. Truth be told, the Seahawks are the frontrunner in the NFC. It would be really hard to argue that with as good as they have looked the last six quarters. They are also quicker at the corners than the Texans, and that will be the difference in this game. Seattle will win, but it won’t be like any of the blowouts that they’re getting so accustomed to.
Meehan’s Prediction: Seahawks 32, Texans 27
Coach’s Prediction: Seahawks 33, Texans 24
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) at Denver Broncos (3-0) -12 (57)
Coach: Last week we had a close to 20 point spread in Seattle and this week we have a 13 point spread in Denver. I’m glad the odds makers are bringing the Eagles back down to Earth because they just aren’t a very good football team. I don’t think you can put all of the blame on Chip Kelly. You can scheme and invent the second coming of the shotgun but if you don’t have the talent around you to pull it off it doesn’t mean anything. The Broncos on the other hand aren’t just good, they’re scary good. Peyton Manning is off to arguably one of the best starts in NFL history already throwing for 1143 yards, 12 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. I don’t want to sound like John Gruden who spent this past Monday talking funny due to his lips being permanently stuck to Manning’s ass but the guy is just picking defenses apart. Granted the Broncos haven’t exactly played a great defense yet but I don’t know many that will be able to give them a hard time. Speaking of bad defenses in come the Eagles who are in the bottom third of the league in yards given up in both passing and rushing. Luckily for Philly Denver’s secondary has once again shown signs of struggle unluckily for Philly they have Michael Vick at quarterback, Denver in another landslide.
Coach’s Prediction: Broncos 35, Eagles 10
Meehan’s Prediction: Broncos 32, Eagles 18
Baltimore Ravens (2-1) -4 at Buffalo Bills (1-2) (44)
Coach: Oh Buffalo just when I start singing your praises for doing a good job you have to go out and make Rex Ryan look like he knows what he’s doing. As a Browns fan I tend to feel for the Bills this week as they are also a beaten franchise who coming off a bad loss to the Jets has to play Baltimore. I don’t think for a second that the Ravens are at all a great football team this year but their front seven still is able to get it done which should spell bad news for rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. Unfortunately in fantasy news even though C.J. Spiller has been off to a great start this season I think that the Bills will be relying on him too much this week against a Ravens defense that is only letting up 74 yards a game including holding Arian Foster to only 54 yards last week. The spread on this game is -4 Ravens and unfortunately I just don’t see it going any other way. Hopefully for the Bills the game will be like this write up, short and to the point.
Coach’s Prediction: Ravens 24, Bills 17
Meehan’s Prediction: Ravens 20, Bills 13
New England Patriots (3-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-2) -1 (50)
Coach: I know the season is young but I can’t help and be surprised at how the Pats have been able to get it done and the Falcons haven’t. I wrote last week about how injuries would really be hurting Atlanta against the Dolphins and that will continue to be the biggest question mark going into this game against New England. News just came out that Stephen Jackson will be missing 2-3 weeks for the Falcons which spells bad news for Atlanta as their running game is going to continue to suffer until he is able to come back and play at a high level. New England is also bringing in one of the better pass defenses in the league although that could all change as one thing about Atlanta is they are going to bring their “A” game and will be completely relying on Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to have a big day. Sure New England’s pass defense has been good but you have to put a lot of that on who they are playing. I understand they have had two win against division opponents but Geno Smith is no Matty Ice. This game has shootout written all over it but in the end I think that Atlanta will rise to occasion in the Georgia Dome and will somehow cover the -1 point spread to upset the Pats.
Coach’s Prediction: Falcons 33, Patriots 30
Meehan’s Prediction: Falcons 21, Patriots 20
Dallas Cowboys (2-1) -1 at San Diego Chargers (1-2) (46.5)
Meehan: Dallas is coming off of a big time home win against the St. Louis Rams in a game that showed they can be a dominant team. The Chargers could literally be undefeated right now and…well, no one would care. Look, both of these teams are going to continue having problems closing games, but in this one I think San Diego has the upper hand. I see Dallas making a mistake late and then Rivers finally putting them away when it counts. Dallas can’t possibly be as good as they looked last week…there’s just no way.
All that said, Dallas HAS to win this game. It could dictate the way the entire rest of their season is going to go and if they can’t win games like this, then there’s no way they belong in this “postseason” they keep hearing such great things about.
Meehan’s Prediction: Chargers 30, Cowboys 27
Coach’s Prediction: Cowboys 21, Chargers 17
Miami Dolphins (3-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-0) -7 (48)
Meehan: Now this is what I’m talking about. This right here is a Monday Night game – two undefeated teams looking to cement their excellence by knocking the other one off. In this one, the combination of having the game in your own backyard and also having the experience to know how to get the job done. Whatever you do with your free time and money isn’t really any of my business, but I would seriously advise against betting on or against the Miami Dolphins. They still have a young quarterback that only had 20 college starts at that position, and although he looks good that whole thing could fall apart at any moment. I hope for their sake that it doesn’t, because I think the Dolphins are an interesting team and I want to see more of them.
Meehan’s Prediction: Saints 27, Dolphins 23
Coach’s Prediction: Saints 31, Dolphins 30
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.
Meehan & Coach