Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 6: Green Bay Greatness

The Packers look to jump all
over the winless Rams.
It's an interesting slate this week that features some preseason favorites like Atlanta and Philadelphia playing what they thought would be easy wins, but will be anything but.

Then, there's the San Francisco at Detroit game which is shockingly (and no joking) the Game of the Week.  It prompted us to add a little coverage known as such where we take a little bit deeper look at the week's biggest game.

Let's get right into it and kick it off in the same cheesy fashion we usually do.

Stally (Seven-Point Pick) - @Green Bay over St. Louis

Stally:  It's simple.  Remember the last time Green Bay lost a game?  Yeah, neither do. 

Austen: The Packers simply don't lose at home. They really don't lose anywhere, but this should be an easy win for them. Sam Bradford is going to take a beating in this game.

Austen (Seven-Point Pick) - @Pittsburgh over Jacksonville

Austen: After how well the Steelers played against a shockingly good Titans team, I have to side with them against the woeful Jags. Blaine Gabbert should not be a starting quarterback at this point in his career and he is really going to struggle against the Steelers complex blitzes. I do not think this game will even be close.

Stally: Clearly the second best choice, but to play Devil's Advocate, let me point out that the Jags beat the Titans.  I don't think that will play much of a role however.

Stally (Six-Point Pick) - @New England over Dallas

Stally:  As shocking as it is to even me, this will be the first Patriots game I ever attend in person!  I figure that like Green Bay, you'd do a lot more good than harm taking the Pats for 16 weeks and I wanted to give myself some good karma as well.

Austen: The Cowboys have the better defense, but the Patriots have the better offense. I think it will be close, but despite the defensive edge for the Cowboys, it will be Romo who once again who makes a costly mistake that gives this one to the Patriots. However, Rob Ryan's defense beat the Pats last year with a very untalented Browns team, so maybe he finds a way to rattle Brady. I can only hope!

Austen (Six-Point Pick) - @Atlanta over Carolina

Austen: I am not a big fan of this as my second pick, but the Falcons at home should be able to take care of the Panthers, despite how well Cam Newton is playing. Michael Turner should destroy the Panthers' banged up defense and control the game. However, the Falcons have had trouble putting points on the board and that makes me nervous against what has become an explosive Panthers' offense.

Stally: I don't like this pick for you either.  I'll stop well short of picking Carolina to win the game, but you're giving up a lot of points for an Atlanta team that simply hasn't played well.

Stally (Five-Point Pick) - @New York-J over Miami

Stally: Ok, so my first two picks showed off the theory that I think it's smart to pick teams that win almost every single week.  This pick is the opposite: it's smart to pick against teams that lose almost every single week.  I think the Dolphins are just horrible and I have no idea why they got two of MNF game's in the first six week.  I predicted the final score at 24-3.  Who the heck wants to watch that!?

Austen: I can't wait to watch that! The Jets are desperate for a win and they seem to be falling apart at the seams. Enter the winless Dolphins who seemingly don't have a starting quarterback. If the Jets cannot win this game at home, they will definitely be sitting at home when the playoffs roll around.

Austen (Five-Point Pick) - New Orleans over @Tampa Bay

Austen: I have been high on the Bucs so far this season, but my faith in them is failing quickly. Without their top offensive threat, LeGarrette Blount, I cannot see them turning their offense around enough to keep up with the high-powered Saints offense, especially since their defense has been struggling as well. This should be a blowout, but you never know what you will get with the Bucs.

Stally:  I was never high on the Bucs.  Good choice picking against them!

Stally (Four-Point Pick) - @Cincinnati over Indianapolis

Stally: Again, it's all just a philosophy to this point.  The Colts are 0-5 and headed on the road to a Bengals team that's playing better than expected.  Why not pick against Indianapolis!?

Austen: I unfortunately completely agree with Stally's logic here, but, I can't believe I am saying this, I really like the way Curtis Painter has been playing. The guy looks like a complete goofball, but he is really getting into rhythm with this offense. If the defense can make some plays, I think this game will be closer than expected.

Austen (Four-Point Pick) - @Chicago over Minnesota

Austen: The Bears have not looked great this year, but the Vikings have looked worse. Jared Allen has a league leading 8.5 sacks, which scares me since the Bears' offensive line looks even worse than they did last season when they gave up the most sacks in the NFL. However, the Bears are a much better team and they play better at home. The Bears should easily take this game on the strength of their defense and Matt Forte's skills.

Stally: Despite all the Vikings issues, one area they don't struggle is at running back.  Adrian Peterson is probably the best player in the league, and, if the Vikings want to pull out some wins, they're just going to have to give him the damn ball!

Austen: Seriously, why do the Vikings even try to pass the ball anymore? AP should be running the ball 50 times a game.

Stally (Three-Point Pick) - @Baltimore over Houston

Stally: Houston is banged up with no Andre Johnson and no Mario Williams and that makes this a huge mismatch.  The Ravens' dominant secondary will hold down the fort and allow them to put seven, maybe eight in the box to stuff the run.  On offense, you can imagine Ray Rice will run free without having to look for Williams every time he gets the ball.

Austen: Did I just hear you say the Ravens' dominant secondary? Can you name any starter in their secondary outside of Ed Reed? I doubt it. Their secondary is terrible. Remember when Matt Hasselbeck threw for like 350 yards earlier this season? Even without Andre Johnson, the Texans are going to be able to move the ball through the air on this defense. However, it will be how the Texans play in the red zone without their huge receiver that determines this game. Ray Rice should have a good game, but he will not have a huge game and Joe Flacco will have to have to be very efficient to win this one.

Austen (Three-Point Pick) - @Oakland over Cleveland

Austen: The Raiders are for real and they look ready to put together their first winning record in almost a decade. They have to beat teams like the Browns at home in order to even consider being a playoff team and I think they will do just that.

Stally: I'd laugh that you just said the Raiders are for real, but I actually feel the same way.  Say what you want about Al Davis doing great things for the team back in the 1960s-70s, but it's time for a change in psyche for Oakland, now that he's passed.

Austen: That change is they are going to start winning games! Al can no longer call down from the press box to demand the offense take a deep shot down field when they should just be running the ball down defenses' throats.

Stally (Two-Point Pick) - @Detroit over San Francisco - GAME OF THE WEEK

Stally: Ugh, there are basically three coin flip games left.  I went with this one because it's hard for me to see San Francisco going to the Eastern Time Zone three times in four weeks and winning all three.  (Sure, they stayed in Ohio between Cincinnati and Philadelphia, but this is still a tough game.)

Austen: I agree. The Lions have been impressive in all fazes of the game and as long as Matthew Stafford stays healthy through the game, they should take this one. Their passing game is way too tough to stop, especially in a dome. The 49ers defense has been tough, but I think they just matchup poorly in this game.

Stally: Let's dive into this game a little farther before we move on.  I can't believe that the 5-0 Detroit Lions and 4-1 San Francisco 49ers are playing the Game of the Week!  The Niners haven't been to the playoffs since Jeff Garcia's legendary comeback over the Giants in 2002.  I can't remember the last time the Lions went.  Yet, if the season ended today, these two would have NFC first-round byes!  Some might say it's due to the lockout, but that's very misguided as Jim Harbaugh only had one month to meet the entire team and organize together a crew to play each week.  He's got a lot more than that out of the Bay Area boys in the early going.

Austen: I am even more surprised by these two team than you are. I had the 49ers winning 4 games all season! I wrote an entire article about how I did not believe in the Lions as a playoff team. I was wrong. The 49ers defense is significantly better than last season despite losing some key defensive free agents. I have no idea how it happened, but it did. My biggest surprise about the Lions is how well their offensive line has held up. It has been the team's biggest weakness for years, but they have seemingly played very well this season. Maybe Stafford is getting the ball out quicker now that he has matured, but either way it is making the difference for this team. This should be a good game and I really hope I get to watch it.

Austen (Two-Point Pick) - @Washington over Philadelphia

Austen: The Redskins beat the Eagles last year on the road when they were a much worse team and the Eagles were a much better team. However, they got blown out at home last year in Michael Vick's best game of his career. This game could go either way, which is why it is the second to last game picked, but I have to side with the team that is actually playing well, despite the fact that the Eagles are the more talented team.

Stally: The Eagles will probably be the more talented team in most games they play this season.  This was a tough game for me to pick because I just feel like something needs to click for Philly at some point, but they've burned me so far.  I'm glad you picked this one, so I didn't have to.

Stally (One-Point Pick) - Buffalo over @New York-G

Stally: Anyone gun shy over the Giants after last week's home loss to Seattle, please raise their hand.  Wow!  For the amount of times we disagree, both our hands shot up mighty quickly on that one!  This is rarely said, but I think Buffalo is the better team.  I'll take the better team for one point.

Austen: I left this one for you because I would have stuck with the Giants. The Bills offense has slowed down a bit and I think the Giants will be able to exploit their weak offensive line. Also the Bills still have one of the worst run defenses in the league and the Giants love running the ball. Obviously I am not sold on this game otherwise I would have taken it earlier, but I will stick with the Giants winning a close one at home.

Pick 'Em

Carolina @ Atlanta - 1 p.m.
Stally: Atlanta
Austen: Atlanta

Indianapolis @ Cincinnati - 1 p.m.
Stally: Cincinnati
Austen: Cincinnati

San Francisco @ Detroit - 1 p.m.
Stally: Detroit
Austen: Detroit

St. Louis @ Green Bay - 1 p.m.
Stally: Green Bay
Austen: Green Bay

Buffalo @ New York-G - 1 p.m.
Stally: Buffalo
Austen: New York-G

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh - 1 p.m.
Stally: Pittsburgh
Austen: Pittsburgh

Philadelphia @ Washington - 1 p.m.
Stally: Philadelphia
Austen: Washington

Cleveland @ Oakland - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Oakland
Austen: Oakland

Houston @ Baltimore - 4:05 p.m.
Stally: Baltimore
Austen: Baltimore

Dallas @ New England - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: New England
Austen: New England

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: New Orleans
Austen: New Orleans

Minnesota @ Chicago - 8:20 p.m.
Stally: Chicago
Austen: Chicago

Miami @ New York-J - 8:30 p.m.
Stally: New York-J
Austen: New York-J

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