by Ryan Meehan and Coach Ryan
This week in the NFL has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride to say the very least. There’s so much going on that it’s hard to take in all at once, so I’ll just go ahead and start the article so we can get down to business. This is what we think will happen in week ten…
Thursday Night Football: Washington Redskins (3-5) -2.5 at Minnesota Vikings (1-7) (50)
Meehan: I hope you’re into scat, because Minnesota continues to find new and inventive ways to eat shit. (If you don’t know what that means, don’t Google that. Please) I think that the Redskins now know they have their head close enough to the surface that they can get back on track, especially against the Vikings who are due for yet another disappointing loss. Griffin threw one bad pass that cost him seven points, and had he not done that last week’s goal line debacle with the Chargers at the end of regulation wouldn’t have seemed so important that they needed to get to overtime to win it. When asked about the victory, Robert Griffin III said “The way we won the game, that can be a turning point for us”. He might be right…but it could also give the Redskins false confidence that could prove to be troublesome on the road and easily turn into a loss, which would leave them at 3-6 and asking the New York Giants for a ride to the adult bookstore “video booth” if you get my drift. I’m taking Washington to cover but I’d exercise extreme caution when picking this game – it could really go either way.
Meehan’s Prediction: Redskins 20, Vikings 16
Coach’s Prediction: Redskins 23, Vikings 17
Philadelphia Eagles (4-5) +1 at Green Bay Packers (5-3) (47)
Coach: What a difference a week makes in the NFL. This game should’ve be a definite win for the Packers a week ago but that was before Nick Foles threw for 7 touchdowns and Aaron Rodgers went down with a shoulder injury. At this time it isn’t known exactly how bad the Rodgers injury is but one thing is for sure the Packers are in big trouble if he’s out for a significant amount of time. Luckily for the Pack the next three opponents have a total of seven wins on the season but that being said a team without a quarterback is a team that is in trouble every single week. That being said deciding this game comes down to whom you have more faith in; Seneca Wallace or Nick Foles. After last week it’s easy to say Foles who had a Hall of Fame day against a pretty good defense but how much of that was a flash in the pan? Remember after Week 1 when the Eagles beat Washington on Monday Night the entire sports world was ready to anoint Chip Kelly’s offense as unstoppable. Since then the Eagles have lost to the Giants and are under .500 with inconsistency on both sides of the ball. This is a really hard game to pick especially not knowing how hurt Rodgers is and considering how beat up the Packers defense is. I have to think that the experience of the Packers will overcome the flash in the pants of the Eagles. The spread is -1 Green Bay and although I think the Pack will cover this should be a tight one.
Coach’s Prediction: Packers 24, Eagles 20
Meehan’s Prediction: Eagles 27, Packers 18
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8) +12.5 at Tennessee Titans (4-4) (41)
Meehan: The Titans looked decent last week in their 28-21 victory over the Rams, and all they will have to do in this one is look decent and they should be okay. Plus as long as the San Diego Chargers keep shitting the bed, the Tennessee Titans are going to be hanging around just waiting for teams like them and the Jets to bite it in hopes they can sneak in and grab any remaining playoff space that’s floating around. The lone bright spot on Jacksonville’s roster this year has been Justin Blackmon, who has been suspended for the remainder of the season due to yet another substance abuse violation. In other words, things are going from bad to worse in North Florida. I expect this game to be pretty boring. And with any game that features the Jaguars, a majority of the viewing audience is just tuning in to see how many points Jacksonville can score and once again they will be sorely disappointed. Games like this one show us just how sad compulsive gambling can really be – if you’ve got money on this one you’re just setting your cash on fire. Saudi Arabia will let women show up to get a driver’s license dressed in nothing but a bra and a strap-on setup before the Jaguars win a meaningful NFL football game. Take the points or don’t. (How’s that for killer wagering advice?)
Meehan’s Prediction: Titans 27, Jaguars 13
Coach’s Prediction: Titans 30, Jaguars 19
Buffalo Bills (3-6) +3 at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-6) (43)
Coach: As I was watching both these games last week I was impressed at how they both were able to hang with the Chiefs and Patriots. Although the way their seasons have gone fans of both these teams had to have the sinking feeling that they were going to let their respected games slip away, and they did. Heading into Week 10 neither the Bills or the Steelers appear to be heading anywhere but a top ten pick in the draft but both teams still have a lot to figure out. EJ Manuel has just been cleared to play but at this time it still isn’t known whether it will be Manuel or Jeff Tuel who struggled all game against the Chiefs last week. I have to go with the opinion that if the Bills can start Manuel they should as they need to take the rest of this season and see just what kind of quarterback they have. For the Steelers QB is the one area where they don’t need to worry. Ben Roethlisberger is the quarterback in Pittsburgh and one losing season isn’t going to change that. Where the Steelers may be in trouble this week is with their run defense, as the ‘Steel Curtain’ is currently letting up over 131 rushing yards a game, good enough for 31st in the NFL. Although as bad as Pittsburgh has looked this year this is definitely a winnable game for them if Big Ben is able to throw like he did last week against the Packers. The spread on the game is -3 for the Steelers and I’m going to take the Bills with the upset on the strength of their running game in a close game.
Coach’s Prediction: Bills 27, Steelers 24
Meehan’s Prediction: Steelers 31, Bills 20
Oakland Raiders (3-5) +9 at New York Giants (4-4) (43.5)
Meehan: This one should be pure comedy. If Nick Foles threw for seven touchdowns last week against this defense, Eli Manning should be the mayor of Oakland by halftime. But much in the same way that Foles owned the Raiders at every turn, OAK also put up 560 yards of offense. Granted they only got twenty points out of it, but you can definitely see how this would be of some concern to a Giants fan. For a team that struggles in making third down stops this could end up being a trap game for New York. And with David Wilson likely out with a neck injury, you have to wonder just how much offense they can produce. Even with all of that, I think it’s crazy that a 2-6 team can end up being a nine point favorite against anyone. If the Raiders weren’t so inept in the red zone, maybe I’d have a different outlook on this game – but they are so I don’t have to. I wouldn’t take the Giants to cover because it’s hard to trust any team that doesn’t put up a W until October 21st.
Meehan’s Prediction: Giants 24, Raiders 21
Coach’s Prediction: Giants 27, Raiders 24
St. Louis Rams (3-6) +11 at Indianapolis Colts (6-2) (43.5)
Coach: In only his second year Andrew Luck has continued to cement himself as a quarterback who can win in about any situation in about any environment. Never was that more apparent than last Sunday Night when Luck led a 4th quarter comeback on the road in Houston in a game that I for one had counted them out of at the half. St. Louis on the other hand is just another NFL team that has lost its leader for the season and now appears to be on a downward spiral. Not that the Rams were going to win any post season awards as it was but they are a team that although good against the pass can’t stop the run at all. I don’t think that Indianapolis has a great running game by any stretch of the imagination but Trent Richardson might actually be able to get above 3 yards a carry this week against a defense that is obviously frustrated. At this point in the season (especially after the Bengals laying an egg last week in Miami) I have to think that the Colts are at worst the second best team in the AFC and until they prove me wrong I have to keep picking them. The spread on the game is -11 Colts and I’m going to go with the Colts to cover the massive spread.
Coach’s Prediction: Colts 33, Rams 17
Meehan’s Prediction: Colts 31, Rams 15
Seattle Seahawks (8-1) -7 at Atlanta Falcons (2-6) (44.5)
Meehan: The Seahawks are raising a lot of questions about their longevity, and by “longevity” I mean “ability to pull wins out of their ass from week to week”. Although they can turn it up when needed, there is a very young, lazy, overconfident vibe that tends to surround this team until the middle of the second quarter, and that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they get something together before they head into the locker room. And by the way, at some point Russell Wilson needs to put half of this team on its back and silence the doubters by showing the world he has what it takes to lead a team like this through the wilderness that will be the 2013-2014 NFC playoffs. This year has been far from his finest hour, and I have to say if they didn’t have Marshawn Lynch that team would be in some serious trouble when it comes to generating points.
Now we all know the Falcons’ story: Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy takes girl up to the edge of a cliff and proposes to her, she says yes, they hug and kiss and then a helicopter whizzes by and blows them both to their death. But even after all of that, even after they got worked by FIVE TOUCHDOWNS in the Carolina game, even after the fact that they’re just one year removed from almost going to the Super Bowl. And even if they would have gotten there, they wouldn’t have won – The Ravens would have beat them. (Speaking of which the Ravens are 3-5 this year) The point of all this nonsense is that a lot can happen in one year, and the Seahawks don’t want this to be a repeat of last year. Which I believe it will be, aside from the ending.
The mere thought of even picking a team that’s as dilapidated as the Falcons to finally rally to get a win here tells me more than I need to know about the Seahawks. It tells me not only that, but also that I’m not willing to admit that they are that vulnerable. They are 8-1, no doubt, but eventually they will run out of “Luck” (only team that they have lost to is the Colts) and in the playoffs all it takes is one bad quarter and you’re fucking toast. I don’t believe that it will happen here – So I expect the Seahawks to sneak up at the last minute and steal this one on the road, if for no other reason other than that seems to be their gameplan for every game, NOT just on the road.
Meehan’s Prediction: Seahawks 26, Falcons 24
Coach’s Prediction: Seahawks 24, Falcons 20
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3) EVEN at Baltimore Ravens (3-5) (44.5)
Coach: For both the Bengals and Ravens this AFC North matchup is a must win, or at least should be treated like one. The next two weeks for the Bengals gives them both the Ravens and Browns and thus gives them a chance to essentially lock of the division and start focusing on what needs to be done to make a deep playoff run. The Ravens who have just lost to the Browns for the first time in six years have now lost three in a row including two in a row in the AFC North to Cleveland and Pittsburgh. If they aren’t able to take care of the Bengals at home, any chance to salvage the season is all but gone. Unfortunately for Ravens fans, Joe Flacco’s contract has led to a rebuilding process instead of Ravens teams of past years which were able to build on an already solid team. I have to think that this team is several years away from being dominant again because they aren’t going to be able to sign major free agents and rookies don’t develop overnight. The spread on the game is -1.5 for the Bengals and even with the game in Baltimore I think this game is way too important for Cincinnati to blow.
Coach’s Prediction: Bengals 27, Ravens 24
Meehan’s Prediction: Bengals 31, Ravens 22
Detroit Lions (5-3) +2.5 at Chicago Bears (5-3) (50)
Meehan: The Bears are coming off of one of the most devastating drives that you will ever see in regular season football. Their fourth quarter stomp against the Packers showed just how calculated a team can be when working the clock. That was pretty incredible and the way they devastated the Packers at the end of that game shows just how mental football can be if you physically force the other team to confuse itself.
Be it luck, be it skill, I think that whatever it is it runs out for the Bears this week even though they host this matchup. Don’t get me wrong, it will be a high scoring affair but you’ll see Calvin Johnson have a field day against a secondary where he is clearly the superior physical specimen.
When it comes down to it – I really have to ask myself the most exhausted cliché question in all of sports: Who would you rather have with the game on the line? In this case, you’d have to be crazy to say that you’d take Mathew Stafford over Josh McCown with the Bears on a short week and the Lions coming off of a bye. If there’s any team built for a bye week, it’s Detroit and even though this is on the road it’s not like the temperature will be 40 below zero. As for the spread, it’s all over the place on this one. As of Tuesday Night, BETONLINE.ag has the Lions as 2 1/2 point favorites and Fantasy911.com has them as seven point underdogs. We roll with 5Dimes, and I don’t agree with their assertion that the Bears are 2 and a half points better than the Lions when Stafford is a legitimate starter and McCown is second string. He’s played well so far, but he’s a backup in this league for a reason so think twice about where you put your money here.
Meehan’s Prediction: Lions 38, Bears 28
Coach’s Prediction: Lions 30, Bears 27
Carolina Panthers (5-3) +6 at San Francisco 49ers (6-2) (42.5)
Coach: Welcome to the best game of the week that most football fans will pay little to no attention to. Carolina is very quietly becoming a playoff contender in the congested NFC sitting right now in the final playoff spot, one game behind San Francisco. I know it’s a little early to be talking about where teams are sitting in the playoff picture but not for teams like the Panthers that have been overlooked and underestimated all year. The story of this game is going to be the Niners running game against the Panthers rushing attack. San Francisco is leading the NFL in rushing yards per game while the Panthers have the second best run defense including holding Adrian Peterson to just 65 yards rushing in Minnesota. Both of these teams are bringing impressive winning streaks with the Niners winning five in a row and the Panthers sporting a four game streak of their own. Even with the win streaks both teams have difficult schedules the rest of the way out which makes this a very important game when looking ahead to playing in January. The spread on the game is -7 for San Fran but I’m actually going to go against the grain and go with the surprising Panthers to pull off a major upset this week based the strength of their front seven and a big game with Cam Newton running the ball. This game is either going to be a shootout or a battle for field position and either way it should be a game you pay close attention to the rest of the way out.
Coach’s Prediction: Panthers 29, 49ers 27
Meehan’s Prediction: 49ers 27, Panthers 22
Houston Texans (2-6) +1.5 at Arizona Cardinals (4-4) (41.5)
Meehan: The Texans are having a rough week. They were headed into halftime of their Sunday night matchup against the red hot Indianapolis Colts when their coach Gary Kubiak dropped to the turf and went straight to the hospital. Then they blew a hearty 15 point halftime lead in the fourth quarter while giving up three touchdown passes to the same receiver in one half. As for the Kubiak thing – For a moment this was really scary. Actually, I felt a little bit guilty that I was distracted by the action that was the rest of this football game. But the show must go one and thankfully Gary was released from the hospital this week. But the Texans’ problems remain and they are plentiful at the very least.
The Cardinals are .500 – They don’t have that “Leg Chair” look to them at all…We’ve previously discussed how Carson Palmer is never going to smell like Dan Marino’s collection of designer gloves, but he can get the job done. However they can’t run the football at all, and that’s a good reason why they are only .500 this season.
Nevertheless, they should win this game and cover the spread which is a ridiculous 1.5 points. Case Keenum may have impressed some so far, but he ain’t that good.
Meehan’s Prediction: Cardinals 34, Texans 23
Coach’s Prediction: Texans 24, Cardinals 21
Denver Broncos (7-1) +7.5 at San Diego Chargers (4-4) (57)
Coach: I have to think that this year’s AFC West is the most interesting conference in football. Yes, a good argument could be made for the NFC West and the NFC North but with every team in this division either surpassing everyone’s expectations or showing signs of great play it makes for great division matchups the rest of the way. It also seems that the Chiefs, Broncos, and Chargers all have FIVE division games the second half of the season. That means that even though the Chiefs are sitting on top of the standings this division could still go several different ways and remember with the way key players are dropping like flies this season anything is possible. The first major AFC West matchup happens in San Diego as Denver is coming off a bye and the Chargers off a very disappointing overtime loss in Washington. Out of all the division matchups the West has remaining this one has the potential to be one of the most funs. Both the Broncos and Chargers are sporting a top passing attack and a vulnerable secondary. In other words this should be a good old fashion western shoot out. The question still remains on how Denver will adjust to the news that Head Coach John Fox will be missing significant time with heart surgery but if I was going to bet on this game I would have to think the Broncos will respond much like the Colts did a season ago, by just winning. The spread on the game is -7.5 Denver and I’m expecting them to just barely cover in a game that also comes in with the highest over/ under of the week.
Coach’s Prediction: Broncos 41, Chargers 31
Meehan’s Prediction: Broncos 44, Chargers 19
Sunday Night Football: Dallas Cowboys (5-4) +7.5 at New Orleans Saints (6-2) (53.5)
Meehan: I can’t wait to see this for two reasons – 1) The Cowboys can’t seem to prove to anybody that they are even anywhere near being considered elite and 2) The Saints are a team that should really be undefeated, with both of their losses coming to AFC East interconference opponents and both of them technically very close games. So to see them play each other should be a lot of fun, plus I’m a huge Pantera fan. (You may have to do some research to find out why that joke works) It shocks me that with all of the television pull that Jerry Jones has that this game isn’t in Dallas, especially for a guy who probably spends all of the offseason trying to talk the competition committee into the Cowboys getting twelve regular season home games a year.
Ah yes…the game. The Cowboys are coming off of a game where they had to rely on a last minute drive from Tony Romo which was very impressive. But the more that I think about it, the more I can’t figure out why they were in that situation against Minnesota to begin with. The reason for that of course is the fact that the Cowboys really AREN’T an elite NFC team, and just because they will probably end up winning a division that they will only win because the level of play is so poor.
The Saints are led by Drew Brees, who I’m sure has been informed that the Cowboys secondary is next to last in the league in yards allowed. They are looking to avenge their loss against the Jets last week by coming up big at home before they have to host San Francisco who I’m sure is well aware where the circuit breaker in that building is located. (Too soon?) The Saints are 26th against the run, but that shouldn’t matter here because the Cowboys can’t run for shit anyway. I look for Dallas to go back to being the same team that has showed up in all of their AFC West matchups this year (they’ve lost all three) and New Orleans turning them into dust fast. I expect them to cover 7.5 easily because in reality they are about ten to fifteen points better than the Cowboys are on average. But this shouldn’t be an average week, and I hope this ends with a Saints victory and Dez Bryant stomping around the sidelines like a seventeen year old kid that just got his first speeding ticket.
Meehan’s Prediction: Saints 31, Cowboys 13
Coach’s Prediction: Saints 31, Cowboys 24
Monday Night Football: Miami Dolphins (4-4) -1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-8) (41.5)
Coach: Last week both these teams showed signs of life after basically being written off. Granted the Tampa Bay Bucs showing signs of life still involves a loss but when you’re taking Seattle into overtime IN SEATTLE than you have to be doing something right. Miami definitely gets the “Most Attention” of the week award after not just beating Cincinnati last Thursday but also challenging the Bucs for “Biggest NFL Drama of the Year” award after Richie Incognito was suspended indefinitely for bullying teammate Jonathan Martin much to the “surprise” of teammates and Head Coach Joe Philbin. A lot has been made about this story this week and as strange as it is to have a story about bullying at the NFL level the bottom line is racist worthless human beings exist in all facets of life and I’m going to leave it at that. I really want to pick Tampa in this game although it’s Tampa and they just can’t win this year, at all. The spread is -1 Miami and I see them squeaking it out to go back over .500 and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Coach’s Prediction: Dolphins 20, Buccaneers 17
Meehan’s Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Dolphins 20
Cleveland Browns (4-5)
Coach: The Browns are entering their bye after their biggest win of the 2013 campaign. Yes they beat the AFC North leading Bengals but for some strange nothing ever goes right for Cleveland reason the win against Baltimore felt bigger. Maybe it’s because they hadn’t beaten the Ravens in six years or that they’re the defending Super Bowl Champs. It might be the way they dominated the game but the Browns enter the bye with a little more swagger than they’ve had since Brian Hoyer went down with a torn ACL. Jason Campbell is not the answer at quarterback for the Browns but he has been able to manage the offense close to how Hoyer could and light years past the capabilities of Brandon Weeden. The Browns will come off the bye traveling to Cincinnati followed by hosting the hated Steelers in two games that if the Browns can win will bring excitement to the fan base not felt in years. It also could put the Browns in the thick of the Wild Card chase. Don’t laugh in the jumbled AFC Playoff picture the Brownies sit second in the division and within striking distance of the 5-4 Jets, a team they play in the second half. Is it a long shot? Absolutely but this Browns team, especially on defense is a team that you should pay attention to for some second half upsets. They’re also a team that could be laying the foundation for a strong run in the next year or two.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)
Meehan: It’s very unlikely that you’ll ever see another NFL team at 9-0 get the lack of respect that the Chiefs have gotten up until this point. You’ll notice that I didn’t say “disrespect” because that’s not the term that’s being tossed around here. In this case, the lack of respect is what Kansas City has fallen victim to.
I’d like to sit here and list all of the things that Kansas City needs to do on their bye week in order to stay fresh, but the reality is that they can’t play a seventeenth game so there is really nothing they can do to keep their momentum going here. They are 29th in passing (which they’ve been able to cover up because they’ve had a great running game and excel at special teams) and they are 25th in rush defense. (which they’ve been able to hide because their secondary is straight vicious)
But the one thing that they won’t be able to hide from is coming back from all of this idle time to face Peyton Manning on Sunday Night Football the following week. It’s an away game for them, and one that they will most likely be exposed in. So the only thing that they can really do here would be to setup some kind of flag football game where they came scrimmage each other on Sunday to simulate at least a few of the movements that they have been so accustomed to and that have found them undefeated to this point.
New England Patriots (7-2)
Coach: One thing about this NFL season is that it just hasn’t gone the way that a lot of people expected, except when it comes to the Pats. This season has seen teams disappear from relevance like the Steelers and Ravens while the Chiefs sit undefeated. Yet in all the ups and downs the one
team that is the poster child for consistency is the Patriots. They sit at 7-2 and although I still highly doubt this team will make a far playoff run I have learned not to doubt Bill and Brady, at worst they will easily win their division and give some team all they can handle. Looking ahead on their schedule I can’t help but be excited for their first two games after the bye both taking place on Prime Time. First up they’ll head to Carolina on Monday and see how they are able to react to the Panthers lights out defense followed hosting the Broncos in what is sure to be an old time Sunday Night Peyton versus Brady matchup. You might not like the Pats but you have to give them
credit and if anything thank them for giving us two great prime time matchups in the next couple weeks.
New York Jets (5-4)
Meehan: So this is the part where I’m supposed to jock the Jets because they beat the Saints at home a week after they got crushed by the Bengals… Well, I’m sorry but it’s not going to happen. I get it – Geno Smith has had a hell of a year so far. But in the games he’s lost, he’s also looked awful and it only takes one come January. But in their defense, due to all of the instability occurring in Miami at the moment the rest of their schedule is a cakewalk aside from Carolina. Which is a weird sentence, but to be quite honest I can see them easily taking care of the Raiders, Bills, Browns, and Ravens with little to no effort. If they get in they won’t do much when they get there, but as much as I hate to admit it they are probably better than people give them credit for.
Meehan’s take on the Richie Incognito situation:
I am doing a two part series of articles about the Richie Incognito debacle, the second of which should be available on Sports Blog Movement while you’re reading this piece right here. The most damning thing to me about all of this is how many African American players have not only been cool with this whole thing, but that a couple of them have actually defended him and used the excuse that it’s part of the football “culture”. If you know me, you know I think that’s a bullshit excuse for anything so it’s just not going to fly with me.
I do think that it is a little weird that Incognito had almost an entire day to beat Toronto mayor Rob Ford to the “I was drunk” defense and he failed. If I was handling damage control for that douchebag, that’s the first thing I would have put out regardless of whether or not it was true. And it would have worked, too…because I think we can all agree that when it comes to tolerating substance abuse, at least America still leads the world in something.
This is another point I’d like to make before I go: If you’re going to make the whole “culture” argument when it comes to NFL locker rooms and say that because they grew up listening to hip hop everything is different now – I can do you one better. All of these analogies seem very prison-like to me, so what’s wrong with me making a prison analogy myself? You know the oldest way to get respect in prison – You walk up to the biggest guy in the yard that day and you punch him as hard as you possibly can. It exerts your dominance and although it’s probably going to get you shanked the following week, it’s better for you in the long run because the prisoners are going to have a certain amount of respect for you – they speak the language of violence. Plus, getting stabbed is better than getting raped because therapy is extremely expensive nowadays.
Martin could have prevented this hazing right away as soon as he was asked to pay that $15,000. The second that Ritchie demanded the money for the trip Martin should have walked right up to Incognito in their crowded locker room, thrown a crumpled up five dollar bill at him and said “You want my money? Pick it up bitch, cuz’ that’s all you’re gettin’…You wanna threaten me and tell the rest of these people of the same ethnic background that I am what you called me in your little voicemail message? Go ahead…tell ’em! I’m here to win football games, so if you ain’t on board with me and the rest of these guys stay your fat fucking hillbilly ass on the other side of center OR I’LL KILL YOU.”
And I guarantee you the rest of the locker room would have collectively got up and said “Holy shit, this kid’s for real”. (Or at least they would if they realized that winning football games is the most important thing here) That hypothetical scenario occurs, Miami really gets their focus and shows the rest of the league that they mean serious business, and maybe we’re sitting here talking about the Dolphins being undefeated instead of the Chiefs. Jonathan Martin could have stopped all of this in its tracks by doing just that. Instead, he allowed this situation to propagate itself and get progressively worse.
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Meehan and Coach Ryan