WEEK 10…ARE YOU READY??? Doesn’t it seem like time is flying? It’s Thanksgiving in damn near two weeks. College Basketball starts this week. The NBA and NHL are in full swing. Baseball is done. And we have already reached the mid point of the 2013-2014 NFL Season. And what do we know so far? This year has been cray cray. The NFL continues to amaze me. The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying story continues to snag major headlines. Check out the comments from former Dolphins player Ricky Williams on the issue. Ricky Williams speaks about the Jonathan Martin situation. Pretty interesting. Major players continue to fall victim to the injury bug. Aaron Rodgers, Geno Atkins, Sidney Rice, Darren McFadden, and Arian Foster are some of the latest casualties to the “you won’t see me for awhile” list. Two head coaches had major health scares this past week. Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak collapsed on his way to the locker room after last week’s game vs the Indianapolis Colts. Kubiak, who is supposedly in great shape, did not have a heart attack and has returned home to his family, but you have to wonder if the stresses of the job and the countless long hours that he puts in every week took it’s toll. Denver Broncos coach John Fox is having heart surgery that is keeping him away from the sidelines for the next couple of weeks. Nothing is easy in the National Football League, but maybe owners and the commissioners office need to take a look at coaches hours and mandate that there is a cap about how much they can work. These men are fathers and husbands. They have families that they have to provide for and look after. Football isnt everything. Every week seems to be filled with drama, and I’m sure this week will be no different. As the world turns, so does life in the NFL, so lets take a look ahead to what is about to go down in week 10.
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only undeated team in football at 9-0, yet have one of the worst offenses in the league. They are 25th in the league in offense and have been getting the job done on the defensive side of the ball, where they are ranked first in scoring defense. They get a well deserved bye before they face the high octane and high altitude Denver Broncos next week. Can they keep their winning ways up? Or will their suspect offense be exposed by Denver who will definitely put up major points in the team’s two battles. (They play each other twice over the next 3 weeks) Denver gets a tuneup with the Chargers this week at home. Expect them to unleash their fury on Philip Rivers and crew. Teams continue to be an enigma. The New England Patriots are back! Watch out league. I think the leagues most potent offense is finding their groove. The Pats finally healthy on offense for the most part, put up 55 points on the Steelers last week and now get a well deserved bye this week and a chance to get everyone fully healthy. Tom Brady is getting all of his weapons back at the right time and minus the Panthers and the Broncos on the schedule, they have a fairly easy road left on the schedule. Bill Belicheck continues to make lemonade out of lemons dealing with countless injuries it seems like weekly, yet he has the Pats sitting at 7-2 at the bye.
The Philadelphia Eagles destroyed the Oakland Raiders last week. Backup QB Nick Foles threw for seven touchdowns in the route in Oakland. Just a week before, people thought maybe Oakland was a playoff team. I guess not. Chip Kelly finally showcased his high powered offense last week. Can he keep it up? One week Philly looks good, the next they dont. Baltimore is in deep trouble. The Ravens haven’t looked good at all this year. The defending Super Bowl champs are 3-5 and look miserable on offense. What happened to Ray Rice? Their offensive line is horrendous, and I bet people in Baltimore are starting to question all those zeros that QB Joe Flacco got with that huge off season contract. He isn’t playing well, and that offense is really struggling.
The New York Jets are one of the suprise stories in football. They are 5-4 at their bye, and we gotta give Rex Ryan some props. He is coaching his ass off and at this point is probably worth of a contract extension. The Jets are the classic look good one week, look horrible the next, but that win last week vs. New Orleans was gritty and huge for the team’s playoff chances. The Jets have a very winnable schedule from here on out. They could be fighting for the final wild card spot when it’s all said and done, which is a huge reversal of fortune for how badly this team was crushed by critics in the preseason.
The Cleveland Browns sit alone in second place in the AFC North. How is this possible, especially at week 10? Head coach Rob Chudzinski has his boys grinding. The Browns defense is very solid. Chudzinski has played multiple chairs with his QB’s all season song. Brandon Weeden, their high draft choice has been a complete bust and is probably now done in Cleveland. Brian Hoyer, the backup, had a dream 2 game stretch and then tore his ACL and is out for the year. So now leave it up to journeyman favorite Jason Campbell to lead the cavalry. Campbell is under center and looked great last week throwing 3 TD’s in a huge divisional win over Baltimore. I am not sure what Cleveland really can do from here on out, but I do know that they are not a team to take lightly, and they will be in the conversation in the AFC going further.
STICK A FORK IN EM, THEY”RE DONE.
Sorry Steelers fans. It’s over. No more terrible towels. The New England Patriots beat up on the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, Madden football style, 55-31. The Steelers gave up 610 total yards and the most points the franchise has EVER given up in a game. That’s bad. Steel City is 2-6, and maybe its time to officially start tanking for a high draft pick. The Steelers are very old, especially on defense, and it shows. They have a favorable matchup against Buffalo this week, but that defense is so bad that who knows what will happen in this game. Maybe they can lean on the 31 points that they did put up last week and the defense can watch Rocky or The Fighter and get motivated, otherwise, it’s lights out in Pittsburgh and time may be out for head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Minnesota Vikings are another team who needs to start thinking about 2014. Last week’s loss to Dallas was a killer. The game was at home. The Vikes were in control. They had the lead with under 2 min to go, and blew it…again. What I find puzzling about the Vikings is this. They invested a first round pick on QB Christian Ponder, that I actually thought was a reach at where they got him. He leads the team to the playoffs behind a spectacular year from Adrian Peterson, despite questionable QB play. The team doesn’t do much to upgrade the offensive weapons around Ponder at all. They pick up Josh Freeman. Once Ponder gets hurt, put in Matt Cassell at QB, who they picked up during the offseason. Cassell starts two games and looks decent. Then they have the bye, start Freeman the next week, who may have had one of the worst QB performances in recent memory. Freeman gets a concussion in that game. Loses his job. Now he’s healthy, costing the team millions, just sitting on the bench as Ponder got the start last week. What are they doing in Minnesota? It’s like a table reading during the thrid season of LOST. What is going on here? If you invested in Freeman to see if he is your QB of the future, why are you not playing him? The season is already lost. The Vikings are 1-7, and are clearly playing for next year. If the Vikings don’t get a couple of wins, not only may Josh Freeman be done, but so will head coach Leslie Frazier.
Sorry Falcons fans, you guys are done too. The Falcons got smacked around 31-10 by the Panthers last week, and this week get to host the 8-1 Seattle Seahawks at home. The Falcons are just too beat up. Their wide outs are hurt. Their running backs are hurt. Their defense is hurt. Sometimes injuries will screw up your season. It’s just the nature of the beast. That is what’s happening to Atlanta right now. Matt Ryan is forcing the ball everywhere. He threw three picks last week vs Carolina. Not good. Poor Tony Gonzalez, who came back to chase a title, may be playing his final season ona team that’s not even going to be .500. Sometimes the NFL just isn’t fair. Atlanta’s personnel losses are just too big to overcome. Insert sad face.
TIME TO STEP IT UP.
The Detroit Lions can put on their big boy clothes this week if they can beat Chicago at Soldier Field. The Lions, Bears, and Packers are all 5-3. The Lions are the only team with their starting quaterback healthy. Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken left collarbone on Monday night against the Bears. He is out for an undisclosed amount of time. If he’s out for the season, forgetaboutit, the Packers are done. The Bears, may get QB Jay Cutler back this week, but are actually playing well under Josh McCown. Who knows what head coach Marc Trestman is going to do this week, but the Lions have the opportunity to take claim of the division this Sunday and need to do so. It will say alot about coach Jim Schwartz reign over this bunch and his ability to win big games if he can find a way to get the W.
The Washington Redskins need another win this week. They beat the Chargers last week in a very good game at Fed Ex Field. That win showed character for the Skins and let people know that RG3 is still a legitmate quarterback in this league. They travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings tomorrow night. They can’t have a let down this week. If they want to get back into the thick of things in the NFC East, then this game is extremely important.
The Tennessee Titans face the worst team in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars at the best possible time. The Titans are 4-4 and finally got something from former All-Pro running back, Chris Johnson. Can Johnson and the Titans offense build upon last week? The Jags will be without WR Justin Blackmon for the rest of the year and he was their only good player, so expect the Titans to win big this week. The Jags are just atrocious. I don’t know how head coach Gus Bradley even sleeps at night. He must see opposing D lineman in his nightmares…constantly.
GAMES OF THE WEEK.
There are three exceptional games this week. The red hot Carolina Panthers, winners of 4 straight, travel to San Francisco, to face the 49ers, also winners of 4 straight in a big time matchup on Sunday. This could be Cam Newton’s coming out party. It is the chance for him to shine on a national stage. The Panthers need this win to stay within striking distance of the Saints in the NFC South. The 49ers are getting healthy at the right time. The team activated Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree, two talented wide outs this week, to give QB Colin Kaepernick more weapons on offense. The 49ers should be scary now, especially off a bye. Something has to give at Candlestick this week. Expect a great one.
The Cowboys travel to the Bayou to face the Saints in the Superdome. Expect another high flying shootout between these two strong offenses. The Saints are without multi-dimensional back, Darren Spoles, and may be without WR Macques Colston again this week. That’s not good for a team that struggled to put up points last week against the Jets. The Cowboys, who have played pretty efficently all year on offense, can’t seem to hold leads and have to make everything interesting week after week. The Saints are no Minnesota, especially at home. The Cowboys need to play consistent ball on both sides of the ball for the entire game to have a chance in this one. I expect Sean Payton’s team to come out hungry this week after last week’s loss.
The last premiere matchup is the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Baltimore Ravens. This game is really important because it’s a divisional game. The Ravens really can’t afford anymore loses this year, especially at the hands of a division foe. The Bengals were riding high until their Thursday night meltdown last week in Miami. Andy Dalton had one of his worst games of the year last week, throwing three pics in the 22-20 loss to the Dolphins. Even worse, the Bengals lost All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins to a season ending injury. The game is in Baltimore and is almost too close to call. I could see either team winning a tough, close, grind out game. Should be an intersting one to check out this week.