JC's Take: Week 6 NFL Review
Team of the Week: Houston Texans
Just when it looked like the Texans were about to fall to 3-3 in the competitive AFC South, they rallied to beat the Chiefs. A 21 point fourth quarter helped the Texans improve to 4-2. Their defense still needs work, but the offense finally came back to life. There's no way the Texans could have fallen to 3-3 and still had a chance in that division, at least in my opinion. Sure they were helped by a questionable penalty called late against the Chiefs, but that doesn't excuse the Chiefs from giving up 21 4th quarter points. The Texans now carry momentum into the bye week, with a huge Week 8 showdown at Indianapolis looming.
Game of the Week: New England 23 Baltimore 20
I gave this game the edge slighlty over Miami/Green Bay. Both of these teams showed that they both belong in the upper tier of the AFC. The Ravens had this game in their grasp, but failed to hold on in the end. I think the one thing that killed the Ravens was not going for it on 4th &1 midway through the 4th quarter. Ray Rice had been running well all game, and you have to have faith in your stellar offensive line to gain that 1 yard. The Patriots rebounded nicely after the bye week, and it looks like the addition of Deion Branch will pay off greatly for the offense. I have a feeling these two teams might meet again in January.
Goat(s) of the Week: Brandon Meriweather, James Harrison, Dunta Robinson
There's no excuse for any of these three guys hits from this week. The NFL needs to start cracking down on hits like these. Meriweather is lucky he didn't get flagged earlier on Todd Heap's TD. If he had timed it better he would have hit Heap in the head. James Harrison says he's contemplating retirement because he doesn't know if he can follow these new NFL standards. Well idiot, maybe if you didn't lead with your head when you tackle you would play according to the rules. Dunta Robinson's hit was just as bad for DeSean Jackson as it was him. Both players suffered concussions from hit. Hopefully the NFL does what it says it's going to and start suspending players for these hits. Just handing out $150,000 fines to millionaires won't stop them. Losing a full gameday paycheck hopefully will.
-People are worried about the Dallas Cowboys, but I think the San Diego Chargers struggles worry me more. They've been the class of the AFC West the last few years, but are struggling mightily. An 0-4 record on the road, with losses at St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Oakland. Sure those teams for the most part are improved from previous years, but the Chargers have more talent than all of those teams. The only good thing for the Chargers is that at 2-4, they can still win the AFC West. But they have already played what I would call the easy part of their schedule. They have a home game this week with New England. They also still have a home game with Tennessee, and road games at Houston, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
-What will Andy Reid do with his QBs now? Kevin Kolb looked good again against Atlanta. Michael Vick will more than likely be ready either this week, or after the bye. Do you stick with Kolb? Or go back to the game changer Vick? If I were Reid, I'd probably stick with Kolb. It might not sit well with Vick or Philly fans, but like Reid said when he named Vick the starter, you stick with the hot hand.
-I have to give credit to Colt McCoy. He proved me wrong. I thought he was going to get decimated by the Steelers, but he actually played quite well. 23-33 for 281 yards and 1 TD is a respectable stat line, especially against what many people consider the best defense in the league. At this point, if I were Eric Mangini (or Mike Holmgrem), I'd probably just leave McCoy in there the rest of the year. You're not going anywhere this year, so why not see what the kid can do.
-Some questionable pass interference penalties this week. In the Jets/Broncos game, Denver safety Renaldo Hill was called for interfernce on Jets WR Santonio Holmes on a 4th and 6 bomb. There barely looked to be any contact between them, except for Hill slightly grabbing Holmes face mask. The play lead to a Jets 1st down, and a Jets TD that won the game. In the Cowboys/Vikings game, a late interference call against the Cowboys gave the Vikings a 1st down, and allowed the Vikings to run out the clock. The ball appeared to be high and uncatchable, but the penalty was called anyways. Both of these occasions seemed to be refs having to much determination in the outcome of the game. Sometimes the refs just need to let these guys play.
1. New York Jets (5-1)- They go into their bye week with the best record in football. They may have been helped late this week, but they're still for real.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1)- If Big Ben can play that well in his first game back, just imagine how well he can do with a few more games under his belt.
3. New England Patriots (4-1)- Tom Brady's favorite target, Deion Branch, is back. That could spell bad news for the rest of the AFC.
4. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)- Nice win on the road in Washington. Maybe Peyton Manning will just carry this team into the playoffs.
5. Baltimore Ravens (4-2)- To quote Dennis Green, they had the Patriots where they wanted them, and let em off the hook!!! Good thing they have the Bills coming to town this week.
6. New Orleans Saints (4-2)- They rebounded nicely at Tampa Bay. Drew Brees looked like his old self.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)- Even with the QBs playing well, they could struggle if DeSean Jackson is out an extended period of time.
8. Atlanta Falcons (4-2)- A road loss to Philly isn't the end of the world. But getting blown out early could be a slight cause for concern.
9. Houston Texans (4-2)- A nice comeback against the Chiefs. Now they have 2 weeks to prepare for a huge showdown at Indianapolis.
10. New York Giants (4-2)- They allowed the Lions to hang in the game, but finished it in the end. Now they go to Dallas on Monday night, looked to deliver a KO punch to the Cowboys season.
11. Tennessee Titans (4-2)- Impressive road win in Jacksonville. But I'd be worried if Kerry Collins has to start the next couple games.
12. Chicago Bears (4-2)- If Jay Cutler keeps getting sacked like this, the Bears may need to give Jeff George a call.
13. Miami Dolphins (3-2)- They took advantage of an injury plagued Packers team, which is what they were suppose to do. Now they face a strong Steelers team.
14. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2)- The Texans game may be one of those games that comes back to haunt them come December.
15. Washington Redskins (3-3)- They had opportunites to win the game against the Colts. Now they have a big game in Chicago with both teams needing a win.
16. Green Bay Packers (3-3)- They need to get healthy fast with Brett Favre returning to town this week. Big game in the NFC North.
17. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)- Coming off the bye, they need to find a way to get Larry Fitzgerald more involved.
18. Minnesota Vikings (2-3)- They won the Panic Bowl, now they need to win on the road in Green Bay against an unhealthy Packers team.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)- They've been smoked by both quality teams they've played so far (Pittsburgh & New Orleans). They're improving but aren't ready for the big leagues yet.
20. St. Louis Rams (3-3)- Nice bounceback win against the Chargers. Now they need to win against the Bucs to keep pace in the NFC West.
21. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)- A road win against the Bears looked nice. Marshawn Lynch took no time fitting in with his new team.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)- Coming off a bye week, they get an Atlanta team coming off an embarassing road loss at Philly. Hopefully they're well-prepared.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)- David Garrard and Trent Edwards looked like they could be the same exact QBs. You could barley tell the difference during the game.
24. Denver Broncos (2-4)- They hung with the Jets. Sure they got hosed by a questonable call, but they shouldn't have let it come to that.
25. San Diego Chargers (2-4)- As I said, it doesn't get any easier. They better hope Antonio Gates isn't out an extended period of time.
26. Dallas Cowboys (1-4)- Apparently Wade Phillips is safe for now. That doesn't mean he'll be there in January.
27. San Francisco 49ers (1-5)- They got their first win. Now they play a winless Carolina team. Could a winning streak be on the horizon?
28. Oakland Raiders (2-4)- They're still in the AFC West race, but they need to find answers to their offense and struggling run defense.
29. Detroit Lions (1-5)- They're hanging with some good teams, which is good for a young team looking at the future.
30. Cleveland Browns (1-5)- Colt McCoy looked adequate against Pittsburgh. I say let him play the rest of the year to see if he can be an NFL QB.
31. Buffalo Bills (0-5)- The good news is they're rested after the bye. The bad news is they get a pissed off Baltimore team. Uh oh.
32. Carolina Panthers (0-5)- Benching Jimmy Clausen isn't the answer. At this point, as with Colt McCoy, let Claussen play thee rest of the year to see if he can play QB in the NFL.
I'll be back this week with my Week 7 NFL Picks, and Bragging Rights preview.
Until next time,