This blog is officially closed. It has been inactive for some time and stands now as an archive of past ruminations. CrabAppleLane has created a new blog and the new blogging software allows only a limited number of authors.
This blog is officially closed. It has been inactive for some time and stands now as an archive of past ruminations. CrabAppleLane has created a new blog and the new blogging software allows only a limited number of authors.
Because I think this game is going to get fairly sloppy and fairly ugly fairly fast, here's what I'll be looking at and looking for when I'm looking.
QBs - When Drew is in: Looking for fast tempo, some chain moving, maybe a touchdown, and get him out of there. When Chase is in: Fast tempo, chain moving, completed passes, maybe a touchdown or two. When Canfield or McCown are in: If I'm still watching, anything positive at all.
RBs - Would like to see some diversity on offense regardless of the running backs that are in there. With PT and Sproles, the Saints are comfortable running or passing. They need to get Ivory and Ingram more involved in the passing game so they can be comfortable with them the same way. Last year, if Ingram or Ivory were in, the Saints were running.
WRs - Fewer drops would be my goal and find a replacement for Meachem. Colston, Moore, and Henderson are locks. Would like to see more from the others. Disappointed I won't get to see Nick Toon play this weekend.
TEs - Would like to see Jimmy Graham take a step up. As great as he was last year, he still ran the wrong route on occasion or had footballs clang off his shoulder pads because he wasn't looking for them. This guy can totally redefine the tight end position. Dave Thomas, when healthy, has a lock on the 2nd TE position. I'll take pretty much anything positive from anyone else they have.
OL - Consistency, cohesion, improvement. These guys have a dream quarterback. He alerts them to where the pressure is. He gets rid of the ball quickly and accurately. He makes them look better than they really are. They need to keep him clean and maybe open a few holes in the running game. Would like to also see some significant improvement in the backups but I doubt I'll be watching long enough too see it.
DL - Improvement across the board. They were not particularly good at stopping the run or the pass last year, particularly on first and second downs. Would like to see them be a little more stout against everything in just their base defense. Would like to see Cam Jordan step forward. Also anxious to see what Martez Wilson can do at DE. We know he has the speed to help the pass rush but can he defend against the run?
LBs - Also would like to see improvement across the board and here is where I think the Saints made their best moves this offseason. This position has been upgraded. They've gotten younger and more athletic. I think Scott Shanle can still contribute but he's a guy that just does his job. He's not much of a playmaker. Lofton, Hawthorne, Casillas, and Chamberlain can all be playmakers.
DBs - With Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson unable to play, the Saints don't have any decent way of covering Larry Fitzgerald tomorrow night. Hopefully, the Cardinals aren't game-planning for that reality. Greer and Robinson make a decent tandem if you can keep them on the field. Tracy Porter will forever hold a place in my heart because of a play he made that is seared into memory permanently but the Saints were right to let him walk. Robinson is a better player at this point and a whole lot less fragile. Tracy was injured and missed games every single year. Roman Harper has got to improve in pass coverage and Malcolm Jenkins needs to play smarter. No way he should have let Vernon Davis run by him last year on that last drive. Take a fucking penalty if you have to. No one gets behind you in that situation, especially one of their only two playmakers. This is a big year for the safeties. If these guys don't play better than they did last year, it is time to replace them.
On special teams:
Thomas Morstead is outstanding at punting and kicking off. Sproles is an outstanding return man although I wouldn't mind if someone like Joe Morgan was able to replace him this season. The return teams are adequate. I'd like to see them just give their offense or defense decent field position with the occasional big play like a turnover, a blocked kick, or a big return thrown in. That's all. :)
The main goal tomorrow night, though, is to get out of the game without any significant injuries.
32 days until football season ...
This season will be my 18th year of playing fantasy football. The last several seasons would suggest that you probably shouldn't listen to what I have to say and I'd agree with that. I think I know the Saints, though.
Quarterbacks: Drew Brees is a superstar in the NFL, in fantasy football, in real life. He should be the first quarterback taken in any draft and should go for the most in fantasy auction dollars. He does well in any scoring system. He throws for a lot of yards, a lot of touchdowns, and a lot of completions. If that weren't enough, he also completes a lot of long passes for the leagues who reward those. If you can get him, he'll pay off. Fantasy starter.
Running Backs: The Saints go four deep at running back. Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Chris Ivory will all get touches this season if they all stay healthy. They represent the new thinking in the NFL. There are not that many workhorse running backs in the league so more and more teams are going to the committee approach. These four guys are hardly ever on the field for two consecutive plays. You will be disappointed if you grab any of them expecting consistency. I would rate them in this order. Sproles, Thomas, Ingram, Ivory. Sproles and Thomas will get you some rushing and receiving yards and touchdowns. Ingram and Ivory are mostly involved in the running game. Any of them could surprise you with a big game. It is hard for me to tell anyone what to do with these guys. Fantasy spot duty.
Wide Receivers: Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, and Lance Moore will get most of the snaps in the Saints offense. Colston is, by far, the most productive and consistent of the bunch and he should be a mid to high number 2 WR on most fantasy football rosters. Moore and Henderson will have some good games but they are not as consistent. It's not their fault. The Saints offense is just very diverse. The fourth and fifth WRs are still to be determined but I wouldn't take them unless there is an injury on one or more of the other three or unless there is an unexpected emergence in training camp. Don't laugh. Colston was an unexpected emergence. Colston is a fantasy starter. Moore and Henderson are fantasy spot duty. Everyone else is iffy.
Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham is a superstar tight end already and he is going to get better. He still thinks too much, still runs the wrong route occasionally, and still has footballs clank off of his helmet or shoulder pads because he's not looking for it when he should. His regular season numbers were 99 receptions, 1310 yards, and 11 touchdowns. Those are big numbers for a wide receiver. They're gigantic numbers for a tight end. He should be the first taken. He's better than the Pats' Gronk. Graham is a fantasy starter. The other tight ends on the Saints roster aren't worth talking about.
Kicker: Garrett Hartley and John Kasay will have a competition this training camp. If that competition is over when you go to draft/auction, it's still not safe to pick the winner. The Saints don't kick as many field goals as other teams. They kick more extra points but you don't really want that in a fantasy placekicker. I'm giving Kasay the slight edge here. Hartley has the stronger and younger leg but he's also apparently a bit of a knucklehead that they can't keep on the field. The pattern has been that Hartley starts the season and has a rough spot. The Saints call in a veteran to either help him through it or to take over. If that's not frightening enough to keep you from grabbing these guys, let me add this: The Saints have almost zero patience with kickers. Hartley has made two game winners and missed two game winners. The two misses were awful. Fantasy spot duty.
Defense: They figure to be somewhat improved but they also figure to be in some shootouts. They give up a lot of yards and points, regardless. They haven't done much in the turnover department since their Super Bowl year. I suppose all of this could change this year under Steve Spagnuolo but I wouldn't count on it. Fantasy spot duty. at best.
Special Teams: Sproles is a good punt and kickoff returner. The coverage units are pretty good but not great. They benefit from Thomas Morestead kicking off and punting. He leads the league in kickoff touchbacks pretty much since he's been in the league and he's a pretty decent directional punter. Fantasy starter.
If your league combines defense and special teams, I'd relegate the Saints D/ST to fantasy spot duty.
45 days until football season ...
- There is little to report since last time. Drew Brees is still not signed. If you're looking for a reason for that, just browse the internet. You'll find several thousand theories. I'd add mine but I have several swirling in my head, too. There are four people who really know what's going on. They are Drew Brees, Tom Condon (His agent), Mickey Loomis and Tom Benson. Everyone else is just guessing. Here's mine: He'll get signed soon. The pressure is mounting on both parties. Both sides need a deal.
- The Saints are in hot water with the league again. This time over a scuffle that broke out AT PRACTICE. The new CBA limits contact at mini camps and OTAs. This is something the players wanted but it looks like it's going to be a stick the NFL will use to beat them. As I understand it, the scuffle broke out when linebacker Curtis Lofton grazed quarterback Chase Daniel on a pass play. Daniel then threw the ball to the ground at Lofton's feet and the two subsequently got into each others grill. Others jumped in. Some pushing and shoving followed between offensive and defensive players but no punches were thrown. BFD. Aside from football being a very emotional activity, jobs are at stake, money is at stake, pride is at stake, and it's hot and humid as hell in Louisiana in June. Tempers flared. It's football. This happens at every level from teeny tots all the way up to the pros. The Seahawks were penalized two OTAs last week for a similar incident. This is ridiculous. I'm OK with the new rules but common sense has to come into any judgement. If the drill or the activity is designed to where hard contact is inevitable, do something about it short of penalizing the team. If the activity is designed well and still results in unintentional or incidental contact, just ignore it.
- The whole bounty thing is finally starting to wind down. I don't expect there to be any changes to the Saints outlook for the season. The suspensions of Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt will not change. I also don't think Jonathan Vilma's or Will Smith's suspensions will be reduced. The Saints have pretty much already replaced Vilma with Curtis Lofton. Smith's absence in the first four games will be a problem but I think they can overcome it. This team has championship talent. Rumors of their demise are premature. There are differences of opinion on this, though. For instance, Darren Woodsen of ESPN has them finishing 3rd in the NFC South.
- The Mickey Loomis wiretapping story has lost all of its luster. It had a two day shelf life before someone at ESPN noticed that there probably wasn't an ounce of truth to it. It has completely disappeared from ESPN's reporting. Mickey should sue ESPN. They are not a credible source of sports news any more. The New York Post has a nice rundown of some of their ridiculous mistakes and shoddy reporting. It's a shame. When they were just a little sports outlet on a cable channel, their reporting was second to none. Their reporters had extensive knowledge of every sport and every league. They're now littered with personalities and ex-jocks rather than reporters. Like their fantasy football website, though.
88 days until football season ...
The NFL handed down punishment to four present and former Saints players for their roles in the bounty scandal. All four will undoubtedly appeal although none of them have yet. As of now, I think the NFL is done with meting out punishment. Originally, I expected a few suspensions and a lot of fines. I suppose fines could still be coming for other players involved but that doesn't seem likely now. Except for the appeals, which probably are futile, it's over. This Saints fan is glad and is ready to move on.
Before I move on, though, I would like to say that this scandal will not be remembered as the biggest scandal in NFL history as it is being portrayed now. Once the punishments have been served, hardly anything about this will be remembered in a few years. There was a lot of smoke here but very little fire. It was mostly theater. The NFL put on a nice play for a future audience (The courts). They'll undoubtedly forget it, too.
Time for the Saints to get down to business. The offense returns with at least two new faces. Ben Grubbs will replace the departed Carl Nicks at left guard. Nicks is slightly bigger and better but I think Grubbs will do a good job. Someone will have to replace the departed Robert Meachem. There are several candidates already on the roster to throw in with draft pick Nick Toon. Meachem is better than all of them but I think they'll still be fine at wide receiver. Assuming the Saints finally get quarterback Drew Brees signed, the only real offensive loss this season will be head coach Sean Payton. He is a brilliant coach and a motivational maniac. He'll be missed.
The defense is in for a makeover with a new coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo and a few new faces. Gone is Super Bowl XLIV hero, cornerback Tracy Porter. He'll be replaced by Patrick Robinson, who I think has surpassed Porter with his play. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma will also be gone due to suspension. The Saints obviously saw that one coming and picked up a few potential replacements in free agency. They'll be fine at linebacker. They'll lose Will Smith for the first four weeks due to suspension. They lost him last year for the first two weeks and went 1-1 in those two weeks. His loss will be felt but I think the defense will have enough players to cover it up for that period. Because they know how potent their offense is, the defense has many options on how to play. They can play conservative and just try to get off of the field or they can go for broke and try to force mistakes and turnovers at every opportunity. Hopefully, they'll mix it up. Gregg Williams ALWAYS went for broke. I think it cost them a Super Bowl last season.
Special teams will be fine. The return coverage teams are aided by a great kicker in Thomas Morstead. He's a great punter and usually leads the league in touchbacks on kickoffs. Darren Sproles is always a danger on returns.
Despite the losses of players and coaches, this team is a Super Bowl contender. Without those losses, though, they'd be a Super Bowl favorite. They are a veteran team with extensive leadership and playoff experience. In addition to that, the commissioner has bestowed upon their shoulder a chip the size of the SuperDome.
On a personal note, I'd like to see the Saints adopt a NO PUNT philosophy. Once the offense crosses their own 30-35 yard line, they're in "four down" territory. That would change the way everyone has to play them on third downs, where they already have more success than everyone in the NFL. If they convert 50%, I think the successes will result in more touchdowns for the offense than the defense will give up on the failures. If they convert more than 50%, which I think likely, they will break every offensive record they set last season and a few more ... and they'll find themselves in the Super Bowl again.
123 days until football season ...
It's looking more and more like the punishments handed down to the New Orleans Saints over their "pay for performance" program will be upheld on appeal. Anyone surprised by that? I thought not. The Gregg Williams tape, released just before said appeal, pretty much guarantees it. Kudos to the NFL for a very well-orchestrated campaign. For those unfamiliar, it went something like this:
The NFL claims to have first heard about the Saints program during their Super Bowl year. With no whistleblower and mostly hearsay evidence, the league thought it so heinous as to issue a "knock it off". Properly swept under the rug, the investigation ceased, the skies turned blue, and there was much joy in the universe.
Just before the Saints-Lions playoff game here in 2012, the NFL tells the Saints their investigation has been re-opened. Whistleblower(s) had come forward. The NFL then compiled a mind-boggling 50,000 pages of documentary evidence. I wonder if, as someone commented later, "Were they using 72pt font?". Rather than sweeping it under the rug again, the commissioner sees opportunity. There are a lot of lawsuits coming up against the NFL from former players relating to the violent nature of the game and what they might or might not have known about head injuries. Here's an opportunity, in the form of a small market scapegoat, to show the league is serious about changing the "culture" of violence in the NFL.
On Friday, March 2, the NFL announces publicly that their investigation into the Saints "bounty" program has been completed and that discipline will soon be announced. The sports media, message boards, and sports blogs light up and run wild for almost a full three weeks. For their part, the idiotic Saints played right into the league's hands by not cooperating with the investigation and not being forthright. Unbeknownst to the Saints, the offense that rated a "knock it off" two years ago had escalated to a "throw the book at 'em" now. On top of that, it pissed Commissioner Goodell off. Never a good thing to piss off a hanging judge.
On March 22, the punishments are announced and they are surprisingly severe. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams suspended indefinitely, Head Coach Sean Payton suspended for the entire season, General Manager Mickey Loomis suspended for 8 games, Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt suspended for 6 games , and the Saints fined $500,000 and penalized a #2 draft pick this season and next. Player suspensions haven't been announced yet but are also expected to be severe.
The Saints and their fans are stunned. While the sports media and most fans cheered on the commissioner, the Saints and their fans seethed. These punishments had three components:
1) Rule violation
2) Insubordination and obstruction
3) Make an example and send a message to the other 31 teams that the league is serious about this
The Saints and their fans have no problem with 1 or 2. It's the 3rd one for which they're having issues. Number 2 contributed mightily to the severity of Number 3 in my opinion.
On March 30, everyone, except Gregg Williams, appeals their sentence. Might seem ridiculous to some to appeal a sentence to the same person who issued it but there it is. It bought some time for the organization to make contingency plans for the 2012 season. I don't think anyone thinks punishments might be reduced.
On Thursday, April 5, the day the appeals are to be heard, a tape of Gregg Williams' last pre-game speech was released. Said speech was given on the night before the Saints playoff game with the 49ers. It is colorful and inflammatory and people are shocked, shocked I tell you, at the very nature of it. He mentions players by name and very specific injuries those players may be concerned about. How much of it should be taken figuratively and how much of it should be taken literally is the obvious question. A lot of people are taking quite a bit of it literally today although there is no evidence the players took any of it literally. There were no untoward or illegal head shots on Alex Smith, Frank Gore, or Kyle Williams and, certainly, no illegal knee shots on Michael Crabtree that I saw.
That's where the campaign stands at the moment.
One of the players and his injury that Gregg Williams mentions in his speech, Kyle Williams and his history of concussions, was also mentioned by Giants players after their playoff victory the following week. In fact, they made it public first. This doesn't necessarily mean ALL teams try to exploit their opponents' injuries but it does mean that the Saints are not the only team that does. In my opinion, the number of teams that target specific players in this manner is much closer to 32 than it is to 2. The favorite analogy being employed now is the old "It doesn't matter if 32 cars are speeding. You're the one who got caught." The problem with that analogy is that a police officer can usually only catch and pull one over. Officer Goodell can pull all 32 over if he's so inclined. If he was truly concerned about player safety, he would do exactly that. He's not and he won't. There is a mountain of evidence if he was so inclined. Where, you ask? I'll tell you.
It's in the NFL Films library. If this scandal escalates any further and criminal prosecutions commence, that library will surely be subpoenaed. Watch a Sound FX episode if you have the NFL Network. Even the sanitized, NFL-approved, PG-Rated footage that is shown contains rhetoric that is not much different than what is on that Gregg Williams tape. Imagine what is on the raw footage.
All of this said, I think it best for the Saints to go ahead and take this hit without any further resistance. This really does need to go away. They should take this hit because they violated a league rule. They should take this hit because they ignored the commissioner. Finally, they should accept the scapegoat role and accept the punishment for the entire "culture" even though they only represent one thirty-second of it. No, it's not fair.
To say I was a little disheartened at today's decision regarding the New Orleans Saints would have been an understatement. Now that it's had a chance to soak in a bit, I think it best to take it as is and move on.
There is one thing left to be done. Get Drew Brees under contract ... NOW. The organization, the players, and the fans need someone to rally around. Drew is the guy. It's right in his wheelhouse, too. Just do it.
Those writing off the Saints chances to contend for a Super Bowl next season in the SuperDome are seriously underestimating them. There are quite a few of them including Don Banks and John Clayton. The offense will be fine next season and the defense will go as far as the new defensive coordinator takes them. This team has a lot of talent and the commissioner just placed a fairly large chip on their shoulder. That combination can do some wondrous things. What kind of reception will Roger Goodell get in New Orleans when he comes here for next year's Super Bowl, I wonder? Wouldn't bother me a bit if he had to present that Lombardi to someone with a Fleur-De-Lis.
Full disclosure (In case the blog name didn't tip you off): I am a lifelong Saints fan.
I'm talking today about the so-called "BountyGate". The NFL is looking into the Saints "Pay for performance" pool. Not sure where the term "bounty" got thrown in but it seems to be inescapable now. The NFL was first alerted to it in 2010 after the Saints-Vikings NFC Championship game. At the time, ESPN's Kevin Seifert said that game was "easily the most dramatic and hard-fought game I’ve ever seen in person". Unfortunately, I didn't see the game in person but I was wrung dry afterward. Give both teams credit for that epic contest. It is one of my greatest memories.
Now, the Peter Kings and Mike Florios of the sports world want to taint that memory. The game was played in front of a full NFL officiating crew, a sellout crowd, and a huge television audience. It was reviewed later by the NFL. Flags were thrown and fines were issued. The game is over. The Saints won. My memory will always be a happy one.
A lot of people were not pleased by that outcome, though. Some of them, most notably Peter King and Mike Florio, even whined so loud that the overtime rules were changed. One other thing about that game: It was fairly obvious to just about everyone that the Saints were going after Brett Favre. Everyone except Brad Childress. Why didn't the Vikings adjust? Why didn't they leave Visanthe Shiancoe or Chester Taylor in to block? It was obvious the Saints defensive line was mauling the Vikings offensive line. Bottom line: The responsibility to protect Brett Favre belongs to the Vikings, not the officials and not the league.
So the league has some information sometime after that game that the Saints were running a "Pay For Performance" pool in violation of league rules. The NFL told them to knock it off. They didn't and, for that, they should be punished. No problem here about that.
Here's my problem: What the Saints do in their locker room is not much different than what every other team in the NFL does. I'm not remotely fashioning a "everyone does it" defense of the Saints. What I'm saying is they all say things in the locker rooms, in the meeting rooms, and on the field that are overblown and exaggerated to fire themselves up. People are getting hung up on the terms "cart offs" and "knockouts" but those are just words. In football, we regularly say this guy "blew up" or "destroyed" that guy. Or "kayoes" as Peter King states below? What difference does it make to the kayoed player as long as the hit was clean? I think we should punish the deed, not the words.
Last week, former 49er Bill Romanowski went on TV in the Bay Area and advocated that the Niners knock out one of the Saints. Maybe Niners safety Donte Whitner heard. He kayoed Pierre Thomas with a crushing helmet-to-helmet hit -- legal because Thomas is a back, not a quarterback, and wasn't defenseless -- setting the stage for big Niner blasts on the Saints all game.
No mention of intent to injure from Peter King? That hit knocked Thomas out of the game and caused him to fumble. Was Whitner in the scrum for the loose ball? No, he was walking toward his sideline with his hands raised in exultation at what he had done. Does it really matter what his intent or motivation was? Could it have been any more clear? Would it have mattered if he pocketed another $100 from his locker room pool? To whom? Where was your moral outrage then, Mr King?
The Saints deserve punishment but Roger Goodell doesn't have the courage to give the right punishment for this infraction. He will yield to the howling pack and hand down an excessive one.
But then he, King, and Florio should go after the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants for targeting a player (Kyle Williams), who has a history of concussions. I'll get them started.
"The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him out of the game,” said Jacquian Williams, who forced the second fumble, in overtime, to set up New York’s game-winning field goal.
With all due respect to the Detroit Lions, the Saints should win games like this at home in December if they fancy themselves as Super Bowl contenders. Since Sean Payton got here, his teams have almost always followed a good performance with a bad or mediocre performance. Time for that trend to go away forever. Bad and mediocre performances like the ones against the Rams and Bucs need to stay away. They will be favored in every single game from here out in the regular season. I'd like to see the Saints win all of them.
Looks like teams are really starting to clamp down on Sproles. Time to start getting the ball to Meachem and Henderson again.
The Saints will always have a matchup advantage when Jimmy Graham is covered man to man. As he develops more confidence and gains more experience, he should start cleaning up his routes and dropped passes. He'll be almost unstoppable and will command double coverage wherever he goes. Big advantage: Saints.
I like that Mark Ingram caught two passes Monday night. Previously, it was a given that a running play was coming if Ingram was on the field.
I like that there were no turnovers. The Saints almost always win when they take care of the ball.
I love 200+ yards rushing. That will command respect from defenses. If the defense is always going to be in nickel, their DBs will have to make tackles on the Saints RBs running downhill.
- Good night for the Saints last night. They've made the Giants look pretty bad the last three times they've played them. Bring on the Lions.
- Ndamukong Suh is going to be a great player in the NFL for a long time or he's going to be a footnote, a cautionary tale, yet another story of what might have been in a league history that is absolutely full of them. It's up to him, his teammates, and his coaches. He needs to rein in the anger that is hurting himself and hurting his team. His coaches and teammates have got to get after him more and make him accountable. Unfortunately for him and his team, the anger is part of what makes him such a great player. Reining him in too much might also hurt his team. It will be no easy task.
- Tebowmania continues unabated. Thankfully, it's happening in Denver, not here. The Broncos came to a fork in the road earlier this season and took the turn down the wrong one. John Elway and John Fox both know it but are also both helpless to stop it now. They're just going to ride it right off the cliff.
- The Houston Texans have got to be wondering what else could go wrong. They've lost their best defensive player, Mario Williams. They've lost their starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, and their backup, Matt Leinert. They're now even using the F word. F as in Favre. May the football gods have mercy on their souls.
- The Dream Team in Philadelphia is done. There is no way they make the playoffs this season. It's on everyone in Philadelphia. The team for bringing in lots of high-priced free agents who haven't worked out, the high-priced free agents, themselves, the whole DeSean Jackson thing, on and on ...
Glad someone sees something in Usama Young. He was a good special teams player in New Orleans and a decent tackler but never much more than that. He was a liability on defense.
Drew Brees was on Leno last night. It wasn't long enough.
When Norv Turner is sent packing at the end of the season, the Chargers had better send AJ Smith with him. Perennial underachievers.
Tim Tebow still wowing them.
From Pete Prisco:
They go to the bye with a 7-3 record and atop the NFC South. They still need to tighten up that defense.
If their offense starts hitting their stride and takes care of the ball, Pete will be quite surprised how good the Saints defense is. It's not the Steel Curtain but it can get the job done when the offense is playing up to its potential.
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Was 7-8 last week. On the season, 45-39 (0.536).
Jets @ Broncos - Jets - Have to think the Jets are
good smart enough to handle a Tebow-led offense.
Bengals @ Ravens - Ravens - Ravens are undoubtedly mad about the egg they laid last week.
Jaguars @ Browns - Jaguars - Jags have more of an identity.
Panthers @ Lions - Lions - Home team.
Bucs @ Packers - Packers - Bucs can't keep up.
Bills @ Dolphins - Dolphins - The Dolphins are rolling and the Bills are reeling.
Raiders @ Vikings - Vikings - They're home and the Raiders don't have the great passing game that Vikings are vulnerable to.
Cowboys @ Redskins - Cowboys - Redskins are fading fast.
Cardinals @ 49ers - 49ers - Niners are playing very well.
Seahawks @ Rams - Rams - Seahawks put up their best game last week.
Titans @ Falcons - Falcons - Better team.
Chargers @ Bears - Bears - Bears are coming forward, Chargers falling back.
Eagles @ Giants - Giants - End of the dream for The Dream Team.
Chiefs @ Patriots - Patriots - Monday Night Football gets themselves another dud.
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