Eli Manning is getting a boatload of flack for throwing 15 INTs so far this season, but can we reserve some of that criticism for Carson Palmer, who has been just as bad, if not worse, despite a 3-3 record?
Seattle is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 17 takeaways. Expect that total to grow against the Carson and the Cards in the NFL's weekly Thursday night slopfest.
You'd like to think that this game is a "pick 'em gimme," but I don't know about that. The Falcons have passed on more than 70% of their plays this season (highest in the NFL), and have no balance. Meanwhile, at least the Bucs have kept 3 of their 5 losses to 3 poins or less.
The Falcons' season is hanging by a thread. They absolutely have to have this one againt a team whose season is already in the toilet.
Bengals at Lions
This is a very interesting matchup, and one I struggled with. Andy Dalton scares me. He has a great OL, talened receivers, and a strong rushing attack, but remains an average QB. However, the Lions' defense is 26th overall, 21st against the pass, and 29th against the run. I like the Bengals' defense far more in this one.
Bills at Dolphins
Quick... Name this guy...
That would be Bills starting QB Thad Lewis, who was 19 of 32 for 212 yards, 2 TD, and 0 INT last week against the Bengals. That's a 100.5 QB rating.
I like the Bills at home, but not on the road against a Dolphins team coming off their bye.
Patriots at Jets
The Patriots have a looooong list of injuries, and while the Jets defense is playing at a high level, ultimately I can't get past the fact that Tom Brady >>>>>>> Geno Smith.
Cowboys at Eagles
The Cowboys are missing 3 starters along their defensive line, which is obviously not ideal against the Eagles' #1 ranked run game. They also need to be able to get pressure from their front 4 to make their Tampa 2 defense work, and the Eagles have blocked 4-man rushes well this season. The Cowboys are a good early season team, but struggle when they need to rely on their depth, which is often non-existent. This could be the week their weakened "no-name" DL is exposed.
Bears at the Washington team
The Bears took care of business against the woeful Giants last week, but they showed some chinks in the armor on defense. Their defensive line is missing DT Henry Melton with an ACL tear, and Julius Peppers has been invisible. The Giants bad OL was opening enormous holes that even Brandon Jacobs could run through. Jacobs finished with 22 carries for 106 yards and 2 TDs.
The Bears are the better team overall, but I think the Washington team can, and will run all over the Bears at home.
Rams at Panthers
Here are some of the teams the Rams have faced this season:
Cardinals: 24th ranked run team
Cowboys: 25th ranked run team
Falcons: 26th ranked run team
Jaguars: 32nd ranked run team
And yet, the Rams are 30th in run defense. Carolina can run it.
Chargers at Jaguars
The Chargers just feel like a team that can beat anyone, or lose to anyone. And so, this feels like a rare game the Jags can win by having Justin Blackmon go off against the Chargers terrible pass D. But there's no way in hell I'm picking that to happen.
49ers at Titans
I wrote something very similar about the Seahawks-Titans game last week, while I'll parrot back once again.
The Titans are built a lot like the 49ers. Thay play good defense, run the ball, and don't turn it over. The Niners just do it better.
Browns at Packers
I like the Browns and their young talent, but the Packers are a far better team. In fact, as I noted in the hierarchy/obituary this week, I think the Packers might be the best team in the NFC.
Texans at Chiefs
For any of you who enjoy wagering on football games (something I would never ever ever ever condone), I would seriously consider jumping on the Texans' money line, which is at +225. What does +225 mean? It means that if you bet the Texans and they win outright you only have to bet 100 to win 225.
I'll briefly lay out my case for the Texans
The Texans have the #1 defense in the NFL, and are giving up 37 fewer yards per game than the next closest team. Meanwhile, the Chiefs' offense has struggled to move the ball. They're 25th in the league in total offense.
The Texans can run the ball. They're 6th in the league with 136.8 rushing yards per game. The Chiefs defense has been tremendous, racking up 30 sacks and forcing 18 turnovers, both of whch lead the league. However, they have struggled against the run, giving up 116 yards per game, which is 23rd in the NFL.
As of this writing, I still don't know which of the Texans' crappy QBs Houston is going to roll out there in Arrowhead on Sunday, but I don't think it matters all that much. A backup QB might force the Texans to take fewer chances on offense, which might actually be the way to go for them anyway. I think this is a game the Texans can easily win 1 out of 3 times, which is all you need for the "money line math" (+225) to make sense.
But to be clear, I'm still picking the Chiefs to stay undefeated.
Ravens at Steelers
The Steelers are favored in this game, proving once again that bandwagon Steeler fans across the country (that latched on during various periods when Pittsburgh was good) will bet on them. But this team is still garbage, even if they beat the Jets last week.
Broncos at Colts
Jim Irsay is an idiot. I know that's not actually analysis.
But, you know... Peyton.
Vikings at Giants
Play the following music while reading the Monday Night Intro below:
Eli Manning has thrown 15 interceptions through 6 weeks, and is on pace for 40 on the season, which is only 2 behind the all-time single season INT leader, George Blanda, who had 42 in 1960. How do you throw 42 INTs and not get benched? Sorry, I digress...
Josh Freeman played bad QB and was involved in a confusing, twist-a-minute soap opera, which led to his release in Tampa. He has been with the Vikings for about 12 minutes, and is now their starter.
It's the 1-4 Minnesota Vikings against the 0-6 New York Giants, here on Monday Night Football!