Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Justin's Take: Stars, Goats & Notes From Week 7

Game of the Week: New England 29  NY Jets 26 (OT)
-I try to be unbiased as a writer. But deciding who to root for between these two teams is like trying to decide whether you want a root canal or a tooth pull without any Novocaine. I just can't do it. But these two did put on one heck of a football game Sunday. Despite all the problems the media overhypes with the Jets, they are still a decent football team. They're a better 3-4 football team then the Bills are now by a long shot. If Tim Tebow wasn't there the drama would be less. But the Jets gave New England everything they could handle. They came up with huge fumble recovery late on a New England kick return. But they needed to convert that into a touchdown. It almost seemed like they settled for a field goal. That allowed New England to come back and tie the game and then eventually win in OT. The Patriots still don't look like the dominant team that everyone is used to seeing. But they still found a way to win after giving up a lead late. They're still the best team in the AFC East, but not as dominant as in years past.

Team of the Week: Houston Texans
-The Texans were embarrassed by Green Bay last week in prime time. People started to question just how good this Houston team was. Well, they responded in a big way against the Ravens. In a battle to claim the top spot in the AFC, Houston dominated the Texans in route to a 43-13 blowout. The offense trampled over a banged up Ravens defense, and the Texans defense came up with some big plays including an interception return for a touchdown. With the Ravens beat down and no other team looking dominant in the AFC, Houston has a real opportunity to claim the top spot in the AFC, so long as everybody on offense stays healthy. Houston has some tough games down the stretch: at Chicago, Detroit and New England. They will have every opportunity to show just how good they really are.

The C.M. Punk "Best From Week 7" 3 Stars of the Week
3. Chris Johnson
-People have been questioning Chris Johnson all year. He's disappointed since last season after signing his big contract. Well, he finally had his breakout game for the year. Yes, it did come against the horrible defense of the Bills, but it was impressive nonetheless. Johnson rushed for 195 yards on 18 carries, an average of 10.8 a carry. Even when you take away his 80 yards TD run, he still had 115 yards on 17 carries. That's over 6 yards a carry. Now it is time to see if Johnson can keep it up for the rest of the season.

2. Drew Brees
-There's no question that Drew Brees is who is keeping this Saints team a float. Brees threw for 377 yards and had over 300 in the first half. He didn't have to throw much in the second half with the Saints in the lead. The bad thing for Brees is that he is going to have to continue to play like this if he wants the Saints to win football games, because their defense is going to continue to get torched all year.

1. Adrian Peterson
Peterson's stat line may not be as impressive as Chris Johnson's, but the fact that he is doing it coming off a torn ACL in December is quite remarkable. AP ran for 153 yards against Arizona with a touchdown in their as well. It amazes me that Peterson is handling a full workload already after his knee injury. He is helping take a ton of pressure off of Christian Ponder and is one of the many reasons the Vikings are 5-2.

The Better Luck Next Week 3 Goats of the Week
3. Roman Harper
-Harper made a little bit of commotion this week when he said the Saints would be 5-0 if not for the Bounty Scandal. While I have no doubt that not having Sean Payton around has some type of impact, it still doesn't change the fact that the Saints defense is getting run over at will. Maybe Harper should concentrate on playing better rather than making excuses.

2. Washington Defense
-I don't know who to blame here, but there is no excuse for letting Victor Cruz run right by you for a 79 yard touchdown when your team just took the lead. Your rookie QB just gave you the lead and then you blow it with horrendous coverage like that? That's just a terrible mistake to make.

1. Detroit Lions Red Zone Offense
-Remember the offensive juggernaut that the Lions were last year? I don't know what happened, but that team appears to be gone. The Bears defense is good, but the Lions had their chances. They fumbled the ball twice and Stafford threw an INT late in the game. Detroit was expected to improve on last year's strong performances. But instead they are regressing. And that is not something you want to see with a young team like this.

Other Week 7 Notes
-As a Bills fan, it is embarrassingly bad how bad this team's defense is. Bruce Smith and Darryl Talley were at this week's game, and I almost wonder if they could have done better than some of the players out there. Mario Williams was invisible. The linebackers were just run over all game. The secondary couldn't make a big play. This team has more talent than last year's team and I would rather have last year's unit at this point. All of this hype about the Bills being a Playoff team has gone away. At 3-4, they look like a team with no leadership. After their bye week they go to Houston and New England. They will be looking at a 3-6 record and no hope. And once again, Buffalo will go through an off-season of disappointment and questions about who will be the team's QB and head coach next year.

-While we are on the topic of disappointments, how about the Carolina Panthers? Many saw them as a sexy pick to make the Playoffs this year. But the team is currently 1-5 and looks nothing like the team they were last year. Maybe teams have figured out how to stop Cam Newton, but that is no excuse for how bad Carolina is playing overall. The Panthers have two good running backs with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, but neither one can seem to get going. And after every loss this year, Cam Newton looks like a kid who just got his lunch money stolen from the class bully. Much like in Buffalo, there are very few answers in Carolina. GM Marty Hurney was just fired. A new GM usually means a new coach. Ron Rivera needs to be on the look out.

-I will be really interested to see how Baltimore responds to the butt kicking they received on Sunday. The Ravens looked like a team that had just lost their leader and did not know how to respond. Baltimore's defense was just owned by the Texans offense. If Joe Flacco wants to prove that he is an elite QB, then these next couple of weeks will go a long way to determine that. Flacco is going to have to put this team on his back if he wants the Ravens to win the AFC North and have one more shot at the Super Bowl. Baltimore's defense is not going to be the shut down unit that it once was. For perhaps the first time in Baltimore's franchise history, they are going to have to rely on their offense to win them football games. Baltimore still has to play the Steelers twice, so the division is still up for grabs.

Random One Liners
-Does anyone care about Jacksonville if Maurice Jones-Drew is done for the year?

-That Bears defense is good, scary good.

-Can we finally stop talking about Tim Tebow?

-Matt Cassel has been benched for Brady Quinn. How long until Chiefs fans are chanting for Elvis Grbac?

-Rumor has it Mike Vick had 3 turnovers during the bye week.

-Could John Skelton be the most immobile QB ever?

The Fab Five
1. Atlanta Falcons
2. Chicago Bears
3. Houston Texans
4. New York Giants
5. San Francisco 49ers

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

Three Games I'd Like to See Next Week
Atlanta vs Philadelphia: Did the bye week do Philly any good?
NY Giants vs Dallas: Can the Giants get revenge from opening night?
New Orleans vs Denver: Battle of two of the best QBs in the last ten years.

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

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