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Welcome to the blog of The Killer Nacho, known to most mortals as Timothy J. Sharpe, a Computer Science graduate of Messiah College and currently a Systems Analyst for Sunoco Logistics. Within this tome of pages, one will find my innermost thoughts about various things concerning things that I enjoy. These subjects include, but are not limited to, roleplaying, gaming, American Football (the NFL), things to do with computers, philosophy, movies that are awesome, TV shows that are awesome, my own writings and creative works, and dangerous Mexican snacks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NFL Week 6 2011 Power Rankings & Predictions

Week 5 wasn't good to me. I'm not behind Billy in Pick'em due to some of my upset picks not going my way, I lost my first fantasy game in my Private Fantasy league, and the Giants ruined me in my Survivor pool. Regardless, it was a pretty entertaining week, as I have to now re-evaluate my previous beliefs. Let's go.

Biggest Winner: San Francisco 49ers (+10)
Biggest Loser:Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4)

1. Green Bay Packers (5-0, +0): Green Bay has proven once again why it is the best team in the league. Despite injuries at the offensive line early in Sunday Night's game versus the Falcons, Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy were able to overcome those injuries to snag a come-back win. This team is great at coming back from setbacks, and Aaron Rodgers is playing as good as, if not better, than any Quarterback I've ever watched.

2. New England Patriots (4-1, +0): The Patriots did a good job, they could not take another division loss like the one they gave up to Buffalo. The defense may not have had a big game with Nick Mangold coming back into the Jets lineup, but they did enough to slow down the Jets so that Tom Brady could get the win. While the defense still concerns me, the Patriots will be competitive in any matchup due to Tom Brady.

3. New Orleans Saints (4-1, +0): The Saints defense may have gotten lit up by Cam Newton, but whose defense hasn't in a win over the Panthers? Drew Brees still looks like Drew Brees. While he had an interception against the Panthers, he also threw for over 350 yards and 2 touchdowns with his favorite Wide receiver, Marques Colston, coming back into the lineup.

4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, +0): A bye week for the Ravens, not much has helped them during the bye. The Steelers and Bengals both won, so it is looking to be a rather tight division race in the AFC North (no team is under .500). However, the Ravens proved they could beat the Steelers, so I think they should still be considered the favorites in this division.

5. Detroit Lions (5-0, +1): Huge win for Detroit, putting them at their first 5-0 season since ... well, I just don't know when. Their defensive line absolutely dominated Chicago, giving no running lanes to Matt Forte, and getting great pressure on Jay Cutler all game. Offensively, Megatron had another huge touchdown pass and Jahvid Best sprung through for some long yardage. All aboard the Lions bandwagon! Choo choo!

6. San Diego Chargers (4-1, +2): While the Bolts almost allowed a comeback defeat, they were able to repel Tim Tebow just long enough to get the Win. There are some nice things I'm starting to see from the Chargers, the most important being the emergence of the Chargers' rush attack. Ryan Mathews has progressed nicely, rushing for 125 yards against Denver. They also have capable change of pace backs in Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester.

7. Houston Texans (3-2, -2): Disappointing loss for the Texans. Despite posting the highest numbers of the season, Matt Schaub did miss Andre Johnson near the end of the game, as the Texans struggled to get into the endzone. Throwing for over 400 yards, Schaub only led his team to 20 points, with Arian Foster also being stuffed by the Raiders' front 7. Defensively they played well, but one has to question how well they can play moving forward with Mario Williams being sidelined indefinitely.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2, -1): Other teams moving forward, not the Steelers' ineptitude, is the reason for a one-point drop despite a win on Sunday. They were able to abuse the Titans, who came in 3-1. Winning at home against good teams is important, and despite a banged up offensive line and injuries, Ben Roethlisberger had the best game of his season. Whether or not he can keep it up is the real question.

9. Buffalo Bills (4-1, +2): The Bills responded to their disappointing loss last week with a nice win against Philadelphia's "Dream Team". As I predicted, Fred Jackson had a field day. The one thing that still worries me about Buffalo is their defense, who has allowed some devastating drives. They were able to hold off the Eagles' late-game surge, however, so that is a good sign.

10. San Francisco 49ers (4-1, +10): Okay, time to give credit to this 49ers squad, who has exceeded my every expectation this season. I viewed them last week as an over-performing team, but after the absolute destruction of Tampa Bay, I'm going to change my tune. This team is legit. Alex Smith has had a great season, he is finally clicking under Jim Harbaugh. Plus, Frank Gore has finally started to get going, so San Francisco boasts a very balanced offensive attack. Defensively, they are brutal versus the run, which will help them greatly.

11. Chicago Bears (2-3, -2): The Bears are in a bad position moving forward, and a major part of it is, once again, the offensive line. Yeah, they have some injuries, but this squad is the same squad that limited them last year. Jay Cutler had an amazing game despite this, but was not able to have a good enough game to win. Once again, Matt Forte is the Bears offense. Defensively, they played well but once again allowed the big play. Now, they are 2-3 staring up at two 5-0 teams in their division.

12. Oakland Raiders (3-2, +4): I'm still in disbelief that Al Davis is actually gone, but boy, did his Raiders play their hearts out to honor him. Despite the Texans stopping Darren McFadden and limiting Jason Campbell to a mere 15 completions on 35 attempts, the Raiders defense held strong against the high-powered Texans attack. They allowed 416 yards to Schaub, but did not allow the Texans into the redzone or establish the running game with Arian Foster. Very impressive.

13. New York Jets (2-3, -3): The Jets now drop to below .500, with losses against two of the best in the league, Baltimore and New England. I still don't like Mark Sanchez. I view him as a game-manager, but not really a good one. He can't really help his team at all to win football games. Having said that, they are still in a pretty good position and have played a very difficult schedule so far. Their defense alone will keep them in competition for a wildcard. There are reports out that several players have gone to Rex Ryan to protest OC Brian Schottenheimer's offensive system. I don't blame them. This is the system that CHAD PENNINGTON threw more picks than touchdowns ... is that even possible?

14. Atlanta Falcons (2-3, -2): Atlanta got off to a hot start at home against Green Bay, scoring 14 points early. However, they were unable to keep bringing on the heat, as the Falcons were unable to score a single point after that. While Michael Turner got some nice running room early, Green Bay quickly made adjustments to bottle him up. And Matt Ryan has not yet progressed into a Quarterback capable of carrying his team when coming from behind.

15. Washington Redskins (3-1, +0): The bye week was good to the Redskins. Both the Eagles and their prime competition at the moment for the division, the Giants, lost. This is a good thing for the 'Skins, since they have over-performed this season at 3-1. They still have a soft schedule in front of them, though, so they will make a strong run at the division.

16. New York Giants (3-2, -3): Ugh! The Giants killed me in my survivor pool. They have no excuse for the pitiful performance that allowed the lowly Seahawks to defeat them at home. The defense kept them in the game early, forcing two turnovers while the inept offense couldn't do a thing. And after a nice touchdown pass by Victor Cruz, he made a stupid mistake the drive afterwards, fumbling the ball to the Seahawks which would lead to the defeat. Eli Manning was like jackal and hide in this one.

17. Dallas Cowboys (2-2, +0): Like the Redskins, the Cowboys had a good bye week, enjoying both a Giants and an Eagles defeat. This actually puts them in a pretty good position. They have a tie-breaker over Washington, and still have five division games in front of them. At 2-2, they cannot really afford to lose, but they are in a good position to make a play at the NFC East... provided Tony Romo stops being himself.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2, -4): 48-3. Granted, whenever a final score is that overwhelming, its more than likely a fluke or a bad day for the losing team, but still. Josh Freeman struggled with his accuracy and decision-making while the 49ers' elite rush defense limited LeGarrette Blount to just 34 yards on 10 carries. Defensively, they could simply not stop the 49ers, giving up 125 yards to Frank Gore and 3 touchdown passes to Alex Smith. If they keep playing this way, they will quickly lose their opportunity to compete for a wildcard.

19. Tennessee Titans (3-2, -1): As expected, Tennessee was exposed for its over-performing against the Steelers. Chris Johnson continues to be underwhelming, they simply must find a way to establish the run better if they want to seriously compete. While Matt Hasselbeck has immensely improved the passing attack of the Titans, he is simply not good enough to carry this team. Defensively, I was severely disappointed with the Titans as they gave 5 touchdown passes to Ben Roethlisberger.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4, -1): The "Dream" is now officially a nightmare. The Eagles are now 1-4, their one win coming to the lowly Rams. Thanks to Michael Vick's 4 interception game against the Bills, the Eagles now have a -10 turnover differential, tied for the league's worst. They can still generate some big plays, but they seem to generate big plays for the opposition as well, which is the real problem. Andy Reid's seat is very hot right now.

21. Carolina Panthers (1-4, +0): Once again, close but no cigar for rookie Cam Newton. Still, the Panthers have to be proud of their performance against the Saints. They came within 3 points and had some positive things on both sides of the ball. DeAngelo Williams finally pulled off a huge touchdown run, and Cam Newton had another three total touchdowns. Defensively, they gave some troubles to Drew Brees, with Sherrod Martin getting a timely pick. Now the Panthers need to pull it all together for a Win.

22. Cleveland Browns (2-2, +0): The Browns now find themselves at the bottom of their division, looking up, after the bye week. While they have shown some good things this season, they have also shown some key weaknesses which they will need to address during their bye to seriously compete for the division title, or a wildcard. With the AFC North as tight as it is, I don't think the Browns are a serious contender.

23. Minnesota Vikings (1-4, +3): Minnesota hasn't really played badly all season, instead just falling apart in the second half. This time, however, they were able to hold the lead against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. They limited Beanie Wells, who has had a very good season, to a mere 3 yards per carry with Kevin Williams back. They also were able to force two interceptions from Kevin Kolb. Offensively, they rode the Adrian Peterson express, as he ran for over 120 yards and three touchdowns.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2, +3): All the Bengals seem to do is win, and that is what is truly important. While I maintain the belief that they are over-performing, they are better than what I previously gave them credit for. Another solid win in Jacksonville moves them up a few slots. Andy Dalton continues to impress, as he had another accurate game for two touchdown passes, one to fellow-rookie A.J. Green. They have some nice pieces moving forward.

25. Miami Dolphins (0-4, +0): The bye was good to Miami for one reason, and that is the elimination of certain competition for Andrew Luck. With the Vikings and Chiefs both winning, the only real competition that remains is the also-winless Colts. The Dolphins should struggle now that it has been confirmed Chad Henne will be out for the season with his shoulder injury.

26. Arizona Cardinals (1-4, -3): The Kevin Kolb trade looks worse and worse for the Cardinals, he may be the most overpaid Quarterback in the NFL right now. One has to wonder, if the season continues this way for the Cardinals, if Ken Whisenhunt will be gone after this season. There have been very little glimmers of hope for the Cardinals this season, the only one I can think of being Beanie Wells' progression.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4, -3): Losing at home is never a good thing. Blaine Gabbert looked better against the Bengals, throwing no interceptions, but he still seems to lack the firepower at this point that is needed to lead a team to victory. Maurice Jones-Drew continues his studly season, ripping up the Bengals' solid run defense, but his efforts continue to be wasted as the Jaguars are forced to pass late in games.

28. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3, +2): Things are starting to click again for this Chiefs team, now having two wins on the season. Dwayne Bowe had his first real great game this season, finally on the same page with Matt Cassel. Cassel threw for over 250 yards and four touchdowns, enough for a 28-24 win in Indianapolis. However, with 2 wins and a tiebreaker over the Colts, this means that they are now in a bad position in the Andrew Luck race. Was the win worth it, Chiefs fans?

29. Seattle Seahawks (2-3, +3): There was good and bad things coming from the Seahawks in Sunday's win over the Giants, but ultimately they got the win. The good news is that both sides of the ball played a solid game. The bad news is that key mistakes kept the Seahawks from running away with it early. They could have had a 28-14 advantage at the half, but instead had two key turnovers keeping the game tied 14-14. In the end, however, Charlie Whitehurst was able to manage the game to take advantage of Giants' mistakes to win 36-25. I no longer consider them the NFL's worst team.

30. Denver Broncos (1-4, -1): Oh, boy, what a game. Kyle Orton continued to suck. His numbers, while okay, are deceptive as he has been unable to lead the Broncos to wins in his tenure as a starter. Tim Tebow, for all the hate he has received, was able to almost orchestrate a come-back win against San Diego, and will be the starter moving forward. Despite poor throwing motion and accuracy, his legs will make him the better choice to win football games in Denver. Will the Tebow era be a success? I don't know yet, but anything is better than Kyle Orton at this point.

31. St. Louis Rams (0-4, -3): Moving down three positions during a bye is more about other teams impressing, but really, this is where the Rams are at. What have they shown this season? They constantly struggle on both sides of the ball. Yes, a major part of it is injuries, but they will need to look like a completely different team coming out of the bye in order to salvage this season. The Rams have looked nothing short of putrid.

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-5, -1): Curtis Panter looked nice, throwing for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was not enough for the Colts to get the win at home against the freakin' Chiefs. This was because the Colts' pass defense looking exposed against Cassel and the Colts' inability to run the ball. Despite a solid 24-14 lead at the half, they could not score in the second half at all. My prediction of Andrew Luck to the Colts is looking stronger and stronger, now that the Chiefs have a tiebreaker against them. Which is unfortunate for me as a Dolphins fan. I can't see the Colts winning any game on their schedule... unless Peyton comes back.

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's accuracy, Last week: 7-6 (53.85%)
Billy's accuracy, Last week: 9-4 (69.23%)
AFS's accuracy, Last week: 7-6 (53.85%)

TKN's Overall 2011 accuracy: 51-26 (66.23%)
Billy's Overall 2011 accuracy: 52-25 (67.53%)
AFS's Overall 2011 accuracy: 45-32 (58.44%)

Due to a bad week by me and the Simulator, I'm afraid Billy has surpassed me in the Pick'em Rankings. I really should've known better picking against the Lions, but whatever. Lets see if I can get the edge back over Billy in Week 6!

Matt Ryan has struggled, but his fortune could turn vs Carolina.
Carolina (1-4) @ Atlanta (2-3)
This one is hard for me, with the Panthers looking so good last week and the Falcons coming off a heart-breaking defeat to the Pack. However, I'm going to pick the Falcons at home. I don't trust the Panthers D to stop the run or force turnovers from Matt Ryan. Look again, however, for huge numbers to be posted by Cam Newton in a loss.
Carolina 27, Atlanta 28

Carolina 23, Atlanta 28 

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 23, Atlanta 30

Philadelphia (1-4) @ Washington (3-1)
Washington has had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles, but really, they could've had those two weeks spent better elsewhere. Philadelphia is in a state of disarray, as the Eagles more and more lose faith in Michael Vick and Andy Reid. Having said that, they are desperate for a win and the Redskins could be trapped to look over the lowly Eagles. Still, I'm going with the team that hasn't sucked.
Philadelphia 20, Washington 23

Philadelphia 29, Washington 34 

American Football Simulator:
Philadelphia 26, Washington 23

St. Louis (0-4) @ Green Bay (5-0)

I'm unsure what to say about this game except "6-0". Honestly, the Rams are one of the worst teams while the Packers are one of the best. I would be shocked if the Rams could even avoid the huge blowout.
St. Louis 13, Green Bay 30

St. Louis 21, Green Bay 41 

American Football Simulator:
St. Louis 19, Green Bay 29

Calvin Johnson has an unheard-of 9 TDs so far this season.
San Francisco (4-1) @ Detroit (5-0)

Nice matchup here. Both teams are looking to prove that their seasons are no fluke. At home, however, I'm going to pick the Lions. The 49ers are great at stopping the run, but the Lions' offensive strength is the pass, with Matthew Stafford and Megatron looking to have a great game against the 49ers, who could be cocky after a 48-3 blowout of the Bucs.
San Francisco 21, Detroit 27

San Francisco 17, Detroit 24 

American Football Simulator:
San Francisco 22, Detroit 24

Indianapolis (0-5) @ Cincinnati (3-2)

Cincinnati has yet another easy matchup, and at home, so the over-performing Bengals should be looking at an easy 4-2. Of course, the Colts could still give them some problems, as Curtis Painter has brought the Colts to a competitive level since ascending to the starting role.
Indianapolis 17, Cincinnati 21

Indianapolis 14, Cincinnati 26 

American Football Simulator:
Indianapolis 21, Cincinnati 23

Jacksonville (1-4) @ Pittsburgh (3-2)

Pittsburgh has another easy home game, with Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars coming into town. I think the Steelers will absolutely abuse the rookie, who has been inconsistent at best in his starts so far this season. Maurice Jones-Drew should run nicely, but that will once again be nullified in the likely scenario that the Jaguars will be forced to pass.
Jacksonville 10, Pittsburgh 20

Jacksonville 16, Pittsburgh 25 

American Football Simulator:
Jacksonville 17, Pittsburgh 25

Buffalo (4-1) @ New York G (3-2)

A crucial matchup for both teams. The Giants want to avoid two straight losses, but will be heartbroken after a loss against the Seahawks. The Bills have already overcame their arrogance, with a win last week against Philadelphia. This will be a close match, but I like the Bills.
Buffalo 24, New York G 23

Buffalo 27, New York G 26 

American Football Simulator:
Buffalo 22, New York G 24

Cleveland (2-2) @ Oakland (3-2)

Oakland is coming off a huge win, after using their physical prowess to overwhelm Houston. Cleveland is not nearly as good as Houston, and this will be the Raiders' first home game since the passing of former-owner Al Davis. It is one that the Raiders ought to win.
Cleveland 16, Oakland 24

Cleveland 20, Oakland 34 

American Football Simulator:
Cleveland 23, Oakland 24

Will the Texans be able to get a pass rush without Super Mario?
Houston (3-2) @ Baltimore (3-1)

Houston proved one thing against Oakland, they are a purely finesse team. The Ravens, like the Raiders, are a very physical team. With Baltimore coming off the bye and playing at home, they are the clear favorites here. The Ravens also love the fact that Mario Williams, arguably the Texans' best pass rusher, is out.
Houston 24, Baltimore 28

Houston 22, Baltimore 24 

American Football Simulator:
Houston 24, Baltimore 28

New Orleans (4-1) @ Tampa Bay (3-2)

Tampa Bay will come out looking strong I think at home coming off a huge loss, trying their hardest to prove it is no fluke. However, their efforts will ultimately be wasted against the Drew Brees-led Saints. The Saints are clearly the better team, and Tampa Bay will continue to struggle in several areas against them.
New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 20

New Orleans 37, Tampa Bay 17 

American Football Simulator:
New Orleans 25, Tampa Bay 26

Dallas (2-2) @ New England (4-1)

Dallas does not have an easy matchup coming off the bye, traveling to Gillette Stadium to take on the Patriots. The good news for Dallas is that offense should come easy, as the Patriots defense is struggling against both the pass and the run this year. However, the Dallas defense will prove insufficient to stop the dual-Tight end threat of Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Dallas 27, New England 31

Dallas 31, New England 42 

American Football Simulator:
Dallas 21, New England 27

With Jared Allen being the Vikings' only pass rusher, Cutler hopes to thrive.
Minnesota (1-4) @ Chicago (2-3)

While the Vikings won in impressive fashion last Sunday, they travel to Chicago here against a Bears team fighting for survival in the NFC playoff race. While the Vikings ought to be able to contain Matt Forte, Jay Cutler should have an easy time passing against the Vikings secondary while the Bears defense handles Adrian Peterson.
Minnesota 14, Chicago 24

Minnesota 10, Chicago 16 

American Football Simulator:
Minnesota 21, Chicago 25

Miami (0-4) @ New York J (2-3)

The Jets' loss to the Patriots is fresh in their minds, and they will take it out on the Dolphins on Monday night. While the Dolphins are coming off the bye, they will be without starting Quarterback Chad Henne, forcing to start Matt Moore or Sage Rosenfels. Neither will fare well against the Jets' pass rush and secondary, who is among the best in the league. Their only hope is rookie Dan Thomas, who ought to have a nice matchup against a Jets defense struggling to stop the run.
Miami 13, New York J 21

Miami 29, New York J 30 

American Football Simulator:
Miami 18, New York J 26

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked my readers ""Which player is most likely to win Season MVP, based off the first four weeks?" between the Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Calvin Johnson, Darren McFadden, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Drew Brees, or Other (please comment). The poll was won by the Aaron Rodgers, with 75% of the vote. He's the guy I also voted for, so I guess I can't complain. The only other player who received a single vote was Tom Brady, with 25%.

This week's poll is, "Which key injury is affecting their team the most?" between the Andre Johnson (HOU), Jamaal Charles (KC), Chad Henne (MIA), Peyton Manning (IND), Kenny Britt (TEN), or Other (please comment).While all of these injuries undoubtedly affect their team negatively, I think the obvious choice here is Peyton Manning. The fact that the Colts are always in the running with him behind Center and are completely winless without him is a testament to his greatness. But, let's see what other fans think.

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