Hey all, I'm back with my review of action from the NFL for Week 5.
Team of the Week: Oakland Raiders
-Hey, every once in a while, we have to give some credit to the Oakland Raiders. They ended a 13 game losing streak to the San Diego Chargers this week. And they did it through various means. They blocked two punts, one leading to a touchdown. Then late in the game, Tyvon Branch returned a Philip Rivers interception for a touchdown. The pass defense for the most part got shredded, but they persevered throughout. Michael Bush ran for over 100 yards, and Jason Campbell played adequately in replacemnt of Bruce Gradkowski. And at 2-3, the Raiders are in no way out of contention in the AFC West. The Chargers are struggling, the Chiefs looked bad in their first loss, and the Broncos have yet to find a true identity. So the Raiders, at least for one week, looked like a team that knew what they were doing for once.
Game of the Week: NY Jets 29, Minnesota 20
-The game may have been ugly in the first half, but it sure did pick up in the second half. Both offenses came alive in the second half. Brett Favre once again brought his Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde act to the game. Mark Sanchez continues to improve and look like a future star QB in the league. The back and forth in the fourth quarter was highly entertaining. A good football game between two teams that for some reason seem to be heading in opposite directions.
Goat of the Week: Brett Favre
-Favre is the goat of the week for multiple reasons. His off the field concerns are one thing. First, from a guy's perspective, I'll give Favre props for the girl he went after. Niceeeee. But if the stuff he was sending her was actually him, what a disgusting old man. There are some pics out there, and if you feel the need to lose your lunch, go ahead and search for them. Hopefully this situation gets resolved quickly.
Then came the game Monday night. Favre, while throwing his 500th TD pass, still looked like he continues to get worse and worse. He fumbled snaps, couldn't hit open receivers, and threw a terrible pick 6 to end the game. He missed Percy Harvin wide open, who probably would have had a touchdown if Favre's pass was lower. If Favre's elbow is really bothering him, he may need to take a game off to get it better for the stretch run.
Other News & Notes:
-There's problems in Bengal land. Losing at home to Tampa Bay is not how you want to go into your bye week. It's only going to be a matter of time before Terrell Owens explodes, along with Ochocinco as well. And the clock is ticking on Marvin Lewis. If he can't win with the team he has assembles now, then he's gone at the end of the season. I'm already second guessing picking them as a playoff team this year.
-The Vikings may be 1-3, but there still in contention in the NFC North due to the problems their divisional rivals are having. Aaron Rodgers may miss this weeks game due to a concussion. Clay Matthews is hurt, and now star tight end Jermichael Finley is likely out for the year. That's a lot of injuries for a Packers team already missing Ryan Grant. The Bears are getting Jay Cutler back, but he will probably still have some lingering concussion effects, like most players. Thank god the Bears only played the Panthers last week. They would have gotten slaughtered by almost any other team with Todd Collins performance. I still like the Packers in the end, but it may come down to the final week.
-Another 1-3 surprise: the Dallas Cowboys. According to owner Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips job is still safe for now. But if you think he's still around at the end of the year if they don't make the playoffs, you need to get checked out. They still need to establish a better running game, and their defense needs to find a better way of stopping opponents when they have to. You can't lose to the Titans at home after a bye week, not if you want to be a contender.
-The Chiefs didn't look good in their first big test against the Colts. Sure, give them credit for taking some shots: opening kickoff onsides kick, and going for it on 4th down inside the Colts 10 yard line. But they couldn't establish their run game against a horrible Colts defense, and Dwayne Bowe dropped a key pass in the end zone. This team better find answers offensively, especially going against the Texans this week.
-It's not time to panic if I was a Saints fan, but I would start wondering why Drew Brees is having problems with the offense. Is his knee a bigger issue than most believe? Do they really miss Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas that badly? Surprising, this week's road game against Tampa Bay is a huge game with AFC South implications. If the Saints lose this week, they fall TWO games behind Tampa Bay in the loss column. Who thought that could happen 6 weeks into the season.
-The Texans, after 2 big wins to start the season, now have questions themselves to answer. The offense isn't as explosive as it was, and the defense is having major concerns stopping the pass. Their game against the Chiefs this week is huge for both teams. The Texans can't fall to 3-3 in the AFC South, which now looks to be the best division in football.
No Fancy Breakdowns this week, just straight up POWER RANKINGS!!!!!!
1. Baltimore Ravens (4-1)- It looks like they've finally put everything together. Flacco is doing what he needs to while letting the defense do its thing.
2. New York Jets (4-1)- Sanchez looks great, LT looks like the LT of old, and the defense is surviving without a health Revis. Probably the favorits in the AFC East.
3. Atlanta Falcons (4-1)- Right now, they're the best team in the NFC. Matt Ryan is playing well, and the funny thing is, there's still room for improvement.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)- Big Ben returns this week. It can only mean good things for the Steelers offense, but bad things for opposing teams' cheerleaders.
5. New England Patriots (3-1)- How will they play without Moss? They won Super Bowls without him before, who says they can't now?
6. Chicago Bears (4-1)- They survived this week, but they better pray the closest Todd Collins gets to the 50 yard line again this year is the prayer circle after the game.
7. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)- The defense stepped up big this week. They'll need to continue that. Peyton can win you every game.
8. Green Bay Packers (3-2)- Injuries are mounting, and they still have no run game. Big test this week against a well-rested Dolphins team.
9. New Orleans Saints (3-2)- Big NFC South match-up this week. The offensive line needs to do a better job protecting Drew Brees.
10. Tennessee Titans (3-2)- I called them mediocore last week, but they won a huge road game at Dallas. Maybe they're better than I thought.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1)- The offense isn't clicking. Matt Cassel is looking more like a Bill Bellichek system QB than star player.
12. New York Giants (3-2)- Hakeem Nicks, welcome to the NFL. Big road win at Houston. They look like a team that has found its groove.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)- They won without Vick. Can Kolb do it two weeks in a row against a very good Atlanta Falcons team?
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)- Big road win at Cincy. Now comes the "Are we for real?" test at home against New Orleans.
15. Houston Texans (3-2)- There's problems defensively. They can't rely on the offense to win every game.
16. Washington Redskins (3-2)- They're winning, but it's pretty ugly. Mike Shanahan needs to find ways to get more out of his offense.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)- They didn't slip up against the Bills. Is Garrard playing well because he actually believes Trent Edwards could take his job?
18. Miami Dolphins (2-2)- They're rested and playing a vulnerable Packers team. They need to take advantage of that.
19. San Diego Chargers (2-3)- Norv Turner has survived this long. But if they don't win the division with the talent they have, does he last past this year?
20. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)- Huge win at home against the Saints. See, people stopped talking about how much they missed Kurt Warner. At least for one week.
21. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)- Maybe Brett Favre should send some dirty pics and messages to opposing defenses. They'd be running away from him every week instead of trying to tackle him.
22. Dallas Cowboys (1-3)- By the end of the year, Jerry Jones might be on the sidelines calling Bill Cowher with Wade Phillips standing right next to him.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)- They have a bye week to right the ship, but T.O. may already be off it by then.
24. Denver Broncos (2-3)- Kyle Orton can't run, tackle, and stop the run too. He's not THAT good.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-3)- Great win this week. How long til Al Davis does something to screw with their momentum?
26. St. Louis Rams (2-3)- Big step backwards this week. Losing Mark Clayton will hurt them. But they're still in the NFC West, which helps.
27. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)- Women of downtown Seattle watchout! Marshawn Lynch and his SUV are in town!!!!
28. Detroit Lions (1-4)- Nice feel good win for them. I still think they'd be at least 2-3 with a fully healthy offense.
29. Cleveland Browns (1-4)- Colt McCoy may get his first start this week. On the road. Against Pittsburgh. I fear for him. You want to make money this week? Go bet on Pittsburgh. (not that I endorse gambling in anyway ;)
30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5)- The owner still thinks they can win the division. I bet he still thinks Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are still on the team too.
31. Buffalo Bills (0-5)- Ryan Mallet has big game this week at Auburn.
32. Carolina Panthers (0-5)- Let the Bill Cowher watch begin.
Until Next Time,