Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Justin's Take: Stars, Goats & Note From NFL Week 6

Team of the Week: Seattle Seahawks
I was tempted to go with the Green Bay Packers here, but I went with the team who I think took a big step forward yesterday. Seattle was down 23-13 with less than ten minutes left in the 4th quarter. But Seattle rallied behind the play of Russell Wilson and ended up winning the game 24-23. Wilson had his best game of the year: 293 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Wilson's throw to Sidney Rice to give Seattle the league looked very nice. While the defense gave up a lot of yards to Tom Brady, they also did a good job of bending but not breaking. Seattle is now tied with San Francisco for the division lead heading into a big showdown on Thursday night against the 49ers. I questioned how long Seattle would stick with Wilson before this game, but he silenced many of his critics with his performance Sunday. Seattle is here to stay folks. And with the 49ers poor performance Sunday, they could very well be the favorites in the NFC West.

Game of the Week: Baltimore 31  Dallas 29
It is hard for me to rip on Dallas in this one. They stood toe to toe against the Ravens and took all of their best shots. But in the end, the Ravens won out thanks to a little bit of luck. Romo missed on the 2 point conversion attempt. Even after the miss, Dallas still recovered the onside kick. But Dan Bailey missed a 51 yard field goal that would have gave the Cowboys the win. The Dallas run game was very effective against the Ravens defense. I thought for sure the game was over after Jacoby Jones 108 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but the Cowboys fought back. But they couldn't complete the comeback against an injury ravaged Ravens defense, which I will get into later. But this was a good back and forth game.

The Ray Lewis Memorial 3 Stars of the Week
3. New York Giants Defense
There was a good amount of trash talking going on in the week leading up to this game. But when the game finally arrived, the Giants were the ones that backed it all up. The Giants defense played great. They held the 49ers to one field goal the entire game. They had 6 sacks and intercepted Alex Smith three times. I always say never beat against Eli Manning with his back to the wall, but now I may say that about the entire Giants team. Eli didn't have his best game, but the defense certainly did. The Giants could make the argument that they are the best team in the NFL.

2. Robert Griffin
RG3 did not look good after the hit he took last week. But he came back this week and helped lead the Redskins to a come from behind victory over Minnesota. While Griffin only threw for 182 yards and one touchdown, it is what he did in the running game that impressed me the most. Griffin ran 13 times for 138 yards and a TD. His 76 yard run to clinch the game for Washington in the 4th quarter was impressive. How Minnesota lost containment on Griffin on that play is beyond me. But RG3 continues to impress and there are big things ahead for him.

1. Aaron Rodgers
Just when you think the Packers are done, they come back with a performance like they had on Sunday night. Up against a solid defense, Aaron Rodgers tore them apart as if they were a Division 3 college football team. Rodgers threw for 338 yards and 6 touchdowns and was only sacked twice. Similar to what Russell Wilson did in Seattle, Rodgers silenced all of his critics and showed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This is the type of game that can turn around the Packers season. And if this offense is going to get rolling again, opponents better watch out.

The "Romo's Gonna Romo" 3 Goats of the Week
3. Tom Brady
Most people look at Tom Brady and see a nice, clean cut guy who isn't one to get in somebody's face or make a scene. Well, during New England's game against Seattle, after Brady was intercepted by Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman, Brady had something to say. Brady told Sherman to find him after the game when they won. Well, Seattle did win. And Sherman found Brady after the game. Brady had nothing to say. Looks like Tom put his foot in his mouth with this one. New England isn't as invincible as they once were. They're a beatable team any given Sunday.

2. Houston Texans Defense
The Houston Texans were on the national, prime time stage on Sunday night. They had a struggling Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers team coming to town. They were 5-0 and ready to show everyone that they were true contenders. But the Texans, specifically the defense, laid a gigantic egg on Sunday night. Now the questions will come about Houston. They had yet to beat a really good team this year. All of the Texans wins have come against mediocre teams at best. Houston should walk away with the AFC South crown, but the question of if they are good enough to be Super Bowl Contenders now is a legitimate point.

1. Philadelphia Eagles
Yes they are 3-3 and have been in all but one of their losses this year, but the entire organization just seems like a giant mess. Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Eagles would be ready to cut ties with Mike Vick if the team doesn't have a solid year. Andy Reid gets questioned about his play calling every game. Mike Vick continues to turn the ball over and faces questions about whether he will still be the team's starting QB week after week. And the defense gave up a lead to the Lions Sunday and ended up losing the game. Philadelphia may be 3-3, but everything around that team just reeks of a disaster waiting to happen. There is so much negativity around the team that it will most likely linger throughout the year and affect their entire season.

Other Week 6 Notes
-The Ravens are 5-1 and currently have a two game lead in the AFC North, and that may still not be enough to get Baltimore into the Playoffs. The Ravens victory on Sunday came with a pretty big price. Baltimore lost two key pieces of their defense to injury. Star Cornerback Ladarius Webb is gone with a torn ACL. And the heart and soul of the team, Ray Lewis, is done for the year with a torn triceps muscle. They also lost NT Haloti Ngata for a couple of weeks with a sprained MCL. Its a good thing the AFC North appears to be a bit down this year, because Baltimore may struggle down the stretch. If Joe Flacco wants to show that he is an elite QB, this is his time. The Ravens will now have to win games with their offense. Losing your two best players for the year is never a good thing. Baltimore still has two games left with Pittsburgh as well as games at Houston, San Diego and vs the Giants. Nothing is for certain with the Ravens. I would still pick them to win the division as of today, but the confidence I have in them has gone down from the start of the season.

-So what do we make of the Atlanta Falcons? They are 6-0 and the last undefeated team remaining in the NFL. But they also have some flaws, and that was evident in their close win Sunday against Oakland. Matt Ryan was picked off three times. The running game continues to tread water and has yet to get going this season. Is it the play calling? Or is Michael Turner just not the back he once was? And the defense has had its good and bad times. They made a big play on an interception return for a touchdown in the 4th quarter. But on the next drive, they let Oakland march right down the field to tie the game. There's no denying that they are a Playoff team, but how far they can go is still a question to me. Matt Ryan has yet to win a game in the Playoffs. And the last time they were the #1 seed in the NFC, they were blown out by the Packers. I think this team is better than that one, but they are still a bit away from proving they can sustain a deep Playoff run.

-That was some comeback by the Denver Broncos Monday night. And it wasn't all Peyton Manning. The Broncos defense stepped up big time and allowed the Broncos to comeback with 35 unanswered points to take control of the AFC West. Peyton Manning was sloppy early, as was the defense. I don't know what changed at half time, but the Broncos looked like a different team. They saved their season with that performance. I don't know what Philip Rivers was thinking with some of those throws in the second half. He looked bad and panicked in the face of pressure. Rivers is the type of guy who could let this performance linger in the back of his head for some time. San Diego could not let Denver come into their place and win. They did, and it happened the worst way possible for the Chargers.

Random One Liners
-Are Chiefs fans begging for Matt Cassel yet?

-Maybe Jay Feely should save his over the top celebrations for when he makes a game winning field goal.

-I guess the Bengals collapse is happening earlier than I expected.

-Give it two weeks and I'm sure people will want Tim Tebow to start again.

-Okay Minnesota, you're now on the "Are They For Real?' clock.

-At this rate, the winner of the AFC East will have a 9-7 record.

The Booker T FAB FIVE
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. New York Giants
3. Baltimore Ravens
4. Houston Texans
5. Chicago Bears

The Race for the #1 Pick Bottom 5
28. Carolina Panthers
29. Oakland Raiders
30. Cleveland Browns
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Kansas City Chiefs

Three Games I'd Like To See Next Week
Seattle vs San Francisco: Winner takes control of the NFC West.
Baltimore vs Houston: Winner takes control of the AFC.
NY Jets vs New England: Ryan vs Brady. Get your quote books ready.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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