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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, November 29, 2011

NFL Week 13 2011 Power Rankings & Predictions

I almost had a good Thanksgiving until the New York Giants ruined me in Fantasy. Ugh... Anyway, don't feel like talking much... onto the rankings!

Biggest Winner: Dallas Cowboys (+5)
Biggest Loser: Chicago Bears (-6)

1. Green Bay Packers (11-0, +0): They had a bit of a scare in the first half with their offense not producing against a tough Detroit defense, but the Packers' defense really stepped up and played strong. Eventually, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attack got going which led them to the win. I see no weaknesses with this team moving forward. A 19-0 season is becoming more and more possible.

2. New Orleans Saints (8-3, +0): The Saints dominated the Giants on what originally was thought to be a close, interesting Monday night game. So much for that. For the first time ever, I'm almost positive that someone will break Dan Marino's passing record. And that man is Drew Brees. The Saints defense also conitnues to make plays and how can I leave Jimmy Graham out of this entry after his two touchdown performance?

3. Baltimore Ravens (8-3, +1): Well it was the older John who won Harbaugh Bowl I, and thus, Baltimore jumps over the Niners in these rankings. Baltimore's defense played amazing football... the defensive line dominated the 49ers offensive line, getting 9 sacks and not leaving any running room to Frank Gore. This is without Ray Lewis in the lineup for the second straight week... wow.

4. San Francisco 49ers (9-2, -1):In all actuality, Jim Harbaugh's loss to his brother doesn't hurt this team that much. With Seattle's loss on Sunday, the 49ers still ended up clinching the NFC West this week. Their defense still played great, still has allowed no rushing touchdowns all season. One has to be concerned about their offensive line, however, giving up 9 sacks. The offensive line will need to play better if the 49ers want to finish with a playoff bye.

5. New England Patriots (8-3, +1): Is Brady back? Seems so... Brady dominated the Eagles, passing for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns, two of which to Wes Welker, who has been somewhat quiet in recent weeks. They once again give up a ton of yards defensively, but remain one of the better defenses in Points Allowed. Granted, it was only the Eagles, but this is what a Bill Bellichick theam is supposed to look like.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3, -1): The Steelers may have won, but it was far too close for comfort against a struggling Chiefs team. Palko was awful, throwing 3 picks in the game, yet Ben Roethlisberger seemed to try to put his best Palko-impression on himself. The Steelers won 13-9, but one has to hope this was just a "trap game performance", because if they weren't playing the Chiefs, it could've easily been a loss.

7. Atlanta Falcons (7-4, +0): The Falcons dominated the Vikings in the first half, but allowed them to nearly come back in the second half. This is unacceptable, but at least the offense is getting more explosive. Roddy White had his second straight great game, so this passing offense is coming together. Of course, they still have Michael Turner so this offense is very dynamic.

8. Dallas Cowboys (7-4, +5): They nearly had a scare on Thanksgiving, but November Romo shined through in the end. Sure, he threw two early picks, but the Dallas defense tightened up in the fourth quarter, and Dallas was able to make an impressive last-minute field goal drive. Miami is pretty underrated, and it was on a short week in a trap game situation. Dallas may be the favorite to win the NFC East at this point.

9. Detroit Lions (7-4, +2): They lost, but they "improve" in the rankings this week due to me dropping other teams. They will be hurt in the next few games with the loss of Ndamukong Suh. If you haven't seen it, he was ejected in Thanksgiving's game against the Packers for ramming a guy's head into the ground like 3 times after the play was over, then curve-stomping his arm. Such play is intolerable, and missing Suh for 2 games will really hurt the Lions.

10. Oakland Raiders (7-4, +4): I'm not really sure what to take from the Raiders' game against the Bears last Sunday, but the Raiders looked pretty strong. Still, they struggled getting into the endzone, settling for 6 field goals (a Raiders record). They'll need to score touchdowns against most teams if they want to win the AFC West, but they are in a good position to do so. It's funny... in the beginning of the season, everyone thought the AFC West would be a battle between the Chiefs and Chargers... but now it seems to be a battle between the Raiders and Broncos.

11. Houston Texans (8-3, -3):The good news for the Texans is they survived the Jaguars. The bad news is they lost their starter Matt Leinart to a broken collerbone in his first start since coming in for Schaub, who is now on IR. Now they either turn to either the rookie T.J. Yates, or a free agent (Sage Rosenfels is the rumor, following his Miami release). Neither are compelling options... which is why I'm so down on the Texans.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4, +0): How can the Bengals play so well against the Ravens one week without their star receiver to get him back against the Browns, and play so poorly? For a long time, it looked like Cincinnati was going to lose that game. There is really no excuse to let the Browns of all teams get so close. It was a division game, so I'll give them that, but still.

13. New York Giants (6-5, -4): This team sucked Monday Night and single-handedly lost me my fantasy game, plain and simple. I'm so angry right now as I'm writing this. I have a 25 point lead with John Kasay, my opponent having the Saints DST and Jimmy Graham, and the Giants allow the largest game to Graham this season, all the while giving up 3 forced fubmles, a sack, and a pick... Sigh...

14. New York Jets (6-5, +1): Despite their win, its still somewhat hard to get excited about the Jets. They allowed the best game in awhile to the Bills. Stevie Johnson absolutely abused Darrelle Revis in this game and the offense didn't always click. We were expecting a dominating victory for the Jets, but instead, they barely edge them out in a game the Bills could've easily won. I'll hold my judgment for later, it's still hard to consider the Jets a top team.

15. Tennessee Titans (6-5, +4): Chris Johnson chose a great time to show his abilities again, they really needed his breakout performance with Matt Hasselbeck sucking. Defensively, Tennessee played a monster game... 4 fumble recoveries, 2 sacks, and 1 interception. But they still only won by 6... their punt return being the difference. But with Houston's Quarterbacking situation getting even worse, this opens the door for the Titans to possibly play for the division...

16. Chicago Bears (7-4, -6): I think this game showed just how important Jay Cutler is to this Bears' team. Without him, they care barely move the ball consistently at all. Caleb Hanie was able to score twice, but also completed a mere 50% of his passes, and threw three picks. With teams inching up to the line of scrimage to combat Matt Forte, the Bears offense will struggle to score the rest of the season. In a tight NFC wildcard race, I see them sitting out now.

17. Denver Broncos (6-5, +3): Tim Tebow frustrates me. He really does nothing to win these games, but seems to get all the credit. The Broncos are winning right now due to much improved defensive play, and a strong running game. I'm not convinced in Tebow's ability... swap him with Cam Newton, I don't think he wins a game. But still, at 6-5, you can't doubt the Broncos as a team anymore...

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7, +0): Another game in which the Buccaneers play pretty well, but end up getting a loss. Really, stupid mistakes killed them. 4 lost fumbles, a careless punt return touchdown allowed... Very few teams can win under those conditions. However, I think they are solid. They will continue to compete and win a few more games before the season is out. Too bad for them at 4-7, they are all but eliminated from playoff contention.

19. San Diego Chargers (4-7, -2): The Chargers suck, despite the talent they have. After losing to Denver in overtime, they are now on a 6-game losing streak... they haven't won since their bye. I think this all comes down to coaching. It's a real toss up which coach is more inept between Norv Turner and Andy Reid... both coachs have talented teams who are all but eliminated now. Of course, the Chargers do play in the AFC West, so they aren't out of it yet... but it will be hard with Oakland at 7-4 for them to sniff the playoffs.

20. Philadelphia Eagles (4-7, -4): Speaking of Andy Reid, he sucks. The Eagles offense put up huge numbers.. Vince Young passed for an outrageous 400 yards, but they ended up losing 38-20. Their defense got back to their inept ways, giving up 2 touchdowns to BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and 3 to Brady. If Reid isn't gone in the off-season, I'll die of shock. If this season doesn't convince the Front Office that he's not the guy, nothing will. By his own admission, "I didn't put the players in positions to make plays". I mean c'mon, he admits after every loss how bad of a coach he is!

21. Miami Dolphins (3-8, +2): The Dolphins were trying to make it four straight upsets on Thanksgiving, but fell short in the final minutes of the 4th quarter, in typical Dolphins fashion. How well will they play next week? Not really sure... if Sparano can muster up the support he got in the last four weeks, they have a serious chance against Oakland. If not, well, this team is going to get embarrassed again.

22. Washington Redskins (4-7, +2): If there was such a thing as a moral victory, this would be it. After sucking so badly the last few weeks, the Redskins were able to finally get a W against a crappy NFC West team. Rex Grossman was once again like Jackal and Hide, throwing very well for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns, but also had 2 picks. Luckily, the touchdowns were enough to squeek a win 23-17.

23. Buffalo Bills (5-6, -2): Honestly, I don't know if their effort against the Jets was due to the Bills showing improvement or the Jets simply sucking but the Bills weren't able to pull out a win regardless. The lack of Fred Jackson really does hurt, C.J. Spiller may be explosive but he can't be nearly as consistent. Ryan Fitzpatrick finally seemed to bounce back, though, throwing for 3 touchdowns. A bit too late however since the Bills have squandered their great early start to now drop below .500.

24. Carolina Panthers (3-8, -2): Wins against the Colts barely count, especially if you're the team that nearly gave the Colts their first Win. The Colts defense did surprisingly well against Cam Newton and the Panthers (although they still sucked at stopping the run), and the Panthers defense couldn't even stop the Colts Runningbacks and Curtis Painter. I just don't like the Panthers defensively enough to say they are a good team.

25. Arizona Cardinals (4-7, +1): The Cardinals were able to overcome faulty Quarterback play once again, with another Patrick Peterson return Touchdown to beat the Rams. Beanie Wells had a great game against the poor Rams run defense, rushing for over 150 yards. Still, the Cardinals barely won but should improve once Kolb comes back under center. Unfortanutely, they are all but eliminated from playoff contention at this point.

26. Cleveland Browns (4-7, +3): The Browns were so close to upsetting the Bengals, but close doesn't cut it in the NFL. Colt McCoy actually showed some improvement in this game, and the team seemed to respond well to Peyton Hillis being back in the lineup. Maybe this team will be able to sneak in some more wins this season, but their remaining schedule is just brutal. There's always next season, well, if Pat Shurmur ends up getting a second chance.

27. Minnesota Vikings (2-9, -2): The Vikings lead the league in Sacks, but that's about all they are good at, at this point. Their best offensive player with Adrian Peterson out of the lineup is easily Percy Harvin. That guy is explosive. If they want to find any more wins this season, Christian Ponder needs to find ways to deliver the ball to Harvin. Otherwise, they are simply pushovers.

28. Seattle Seahawks (4-7, +0): Seattle could've "survived" in the division hunt another week with a win over Washington, but their loss means the 49ers clinch the division, all but killing Seattle's playoff hopes. This team continues to play with heart, but they just don't have the talent. I think they'll get some more upset wins this season. Hopefully for them, Pete Carroll gets another year as Head coach. They really may be a Quarterback away...

29. Kansas City Chiefs (4-7, -2): Tyler Palko could easily be the worst starting Quarterback right now. In two starts, he's thrown 6 interceptions and did not lead the Chiefs into the endzone once. They did claim Kyle Orton, expect him to be the starter there as soon as possible. Unfortantuely for the Chiefs, Orton is a game manager. He's not going to spark a miracle to win the division after being back 3 games from the Raiders.

30. St. Louis Rams (2-9, +1): Honestly, they probably played well enough to win except for a few weaknesses... Brandon Lloyd continues to be their only target in the passing game, and their defense can't stop the run. They only lost by 3, and the difference was a Patrick Peterson return touchdown. However, their opponent was also the Cardinals, so its not like it was an impressive opponent or anything. Expect the Rams to struggle for the remainder of the season.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8, -1): Despite a defensive touchdown and playing against late-round rookie T.J. Yates the majority of the game, Jacksonville's offense failed to overcome the Texans in a 20-13 loss. Blaine Gabbert has shown absolutely nothing that warrants his 1st-round selection, as this passing game continues to struggle. Reports are coming out that Jack Del Rio has been fired, replaced by Mike Tucker. I don't really know what he can really do this season, anyway...

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-11, +0): This was the closet the Colts have come in a long while to getting a win, but a Curtis Painter pick in the endzone sealed their fate against Carolina. Looking at their remaining schedule, the only chance they have conceivably is @ Jacksonville. After being a Super Bowl contender for so many consecutive seasons, could the Colts really go 0-16?


Predictions for Next Week

TKN's accuracy, Last week: 12-4 (75.00%)
Billy's accuracy, Last week: 11-5 (68.75%)
AFS's* accuracy, Last week: 14-2 (87.50%)

TKN's Overall 2011 accuracy: 114-62 (64.77%)
Billy's Overall 2011 accuracy: 116-60 (65.90%)
AFS's* Overall 2011 accuracy: 117-59 (66.48%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

A pretty good week in Pick'em for all, but both the Simulator and I were able to make up lost ground against Billy, who picked worst last week with 11-5. The Simulator now takes the lead by a game! I need to catch up... 3 games behind now.

Seattle hopes to ride Lynch for a win at home vs PHI.
Philadelphia (4-7) @ Seattle (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: Coming off the huge loss that basically killed their playoff hopes against the Patriots, I can't really see the Eagles suiting up for the Seahawks on this now-meaningless Thursday night game. It will likely be a snoozer, but at home, I think the Seahawks will pull off the upset on the short week.
Philadelphia 20, Seattle 24

Billy:
Philadelphia 17, Seattle 26

American Football Simulator:
Philadelphia 27, Seattle 22

Oakland (7-4) @ Miami (3-8)
TheKillerNacho: If Miami comes in with the passion they had in the last four games, this could become a serious contest. Miami defensively has been very good in this timespan, and the Raiders really struggled to get into the endzone last week against Chicago. Still, with Darren McFadden likely coming back for Oakland, I think the Raiders will win this.
UPDATE: Word on the street is McFadden will be OUT again. However, I still think the Raiders pull this off... probably with a field goal in the final seconds... sigh...
Oakland 23, Miami 21

Billy:
Oakland 31, Miami 27

American Football Simulator:
Oakland 23, Miami 22

Atlanta (7-4) @ Houston (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Falcons are pretty hot right now, and the Texans don't have a Quarterback. This will allow the Falcons to stack the box all game long against Arian Foster, and take him out of the game. If this happens, Atlanta's offense will probably be able to cruise for a victory.
Atlanta 26, Houston 20

Billy:
Atlanta 30, Houston 20

American Football Simulator:
Atlanta 26, Houston 25

Cincinnati (7-4) @ Pittsburgh (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Bengals were almost upset last week against the Browns, but they were likely looking forward to this game. Likewise, the Steelers nearly dropped to the Chiefs, but were also likely looking forward to this game. Having said all this, I'll take the better team at home.
Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 24

Billy:
Cincinnati 19, Pittsburgh 28

American Football Simulator:
Cincinnati 17, Pittsburgh 25

Kansas City (4-7) @ Chicago (7-4)
TheKillerNacho: Who we see at Quarterback for either of these teams is anyone's guess, but does it really matter...? Kyle Orton will probably get the start against his former team, facing off against Caleb Hanie... Zzzzzzz.
Kansas City 13, Chicago 20

Billy:
Kansas City 3, Chicago 23

American Football Simulator:
Kansas City 19, Chicago 22

Ponder needs to play better to knock off the hot Broncos.
Denver (6-5) @ Minnesota (2-9)
TheKillerNacho: I'm picking the Broncos, despite knowing Tebow will get all the credit for dispatching the crappy Vikings. Really makes me sick. Denver's defense has played great football recently, and is more than able to overwhelm Christian Ponder and the Vikings if Adrian Peterson isn't ready to go.
Denver 20, Minnesota 17

Billy:
Denver 27, Minnesota 17

American Football Simulator:
Denver 20, Minnesota 21

Tennessee (6-5) @ Buffalo (5-6)
TheKillerNacho: Buffalo played with heart last week, but will likely return to their demoralized ways after ultimately losing. Meanwhile, Tennessee is coming off a win and Chris Johnson seems to have regained his confidence and abilities. I can't see the Bills coming out and playing hard in this situation...
Tennessee 24, Buffalo 21

Billy:
Tennessee 33, Buffalo 24

American Football Simulator:
Tennessee 24, Buffalo 23

New York J (6-5) @ Washington (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: I think we'll see Bad Rex come out against the Jets secondary. Darrelle Revis may have had a poor game last week, but that will motivate him all the more to give his all in this contest. The Jets need this win, while the Redskins are all but dead.
New York J 21, Washington 16

Billy:
New York J 18, Washington 16

American Football Simulator:
New York J 23, Washington 19

Indianapolis (0-11) @ New England (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: Is this even really a game? A once exciting matchup between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady becomes a snoozer with a pea-wee squad going up against one of the best NFL teams.
Indianapolis 7, New England 38

Billy:
Indianapolis 13, New England 41

American Football Simulator:
Indianapolis 19, New England 28

Carolina (3-8) @ Tampa Bay (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: Tampa Bay has played very well in their last two games, despite losing. Carolina may have beat the Colts last week, but did not do it that impressively. I think Tampa Bay gets their first win in a long while.
UPDATE: Josh Freeman is out for the Bucs, so Josh Johnson is going to play. I still think the Bucs will win with their strong running game led by LeGarrette Blount against one of the worst run defense in the NFL. Still, this opens the door for Cam Newton to work his magic against a Buccaneers team who has lost 5 straight.
Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 26

Billy:
Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 20

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 24, Tampa Bay 25

Hillis will need to be at his best if CLE wants to upset BAL.
Baltimore (8-3) @ Cleveland (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: Cleveland had to be demoralized after that tough loss against the Bengals. However, the Ravens have struggled on the road against bad teams this season... being that this is also a division game, this could seriously be a huge trap game for Baltimore. But, its hard to pick against them.
Baltimore 26, Cleveland 20

Billy:
Baltimore 21, Cleveland 14

American Football Simulator:
Baltimore 25, Cleveland 21

Dallas (7-4) @ Arizona (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: Dallas is obviously the better team, but Arizona has been playing hard in recent weeks. Is this finally the week we get to see Kevin Kolb come back?? Maybe, but I don't think that will affect this game's outcome too much.
Dallas 27, Arizona 16

Billy:
Dallas 35, Arizona 14

American Football Simulator:
Dallas 26, Arizona 24

Green Bay (11-0) @ New York G (6-5)
TheKillerNacho: New York's recent schedule has been brutal. It doesn't get any better with the undefeated Packers coming into town. Then again, it was the Giants who spoiled the last undefeated team... so there's always a chance. Its just not likely.
Green Bay 28, New York G 24

Billy:
Green Bay 52, New York G 24

American Football Simulator:
Green Bay 26, New York G 20

St. Louis (2-9) @ San Francisco (9-2)
TheKillerNacho: San Francisco may have clinched the division, but they still have plenty to play for. A first-round bye would really help this team's chances, all they need to do is take advantage of these easy wins they have left on their remaining schedule.
St. Louis 6, San Francisco 20

Billy:
St. Louis 10, San Francisco 25

American Football Simulator:
St. Louis 20, San Francisco 26

Drew Brees will continue his great season with Suh out.
Detroit (7-4) @ New Orleans (8-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Lions really need this win, but the Saints also do since the Falcons seem to be having a resurgance and they want an oppurtunity to compete with the Niners for the first-round bye. The Lions won't get an easy win going to New Orleans... and it seems they will be without both Ndamukong Suh and Kevin Smith.
Detroit 21, New Orleans 28

Billy:
Detroit 40, New Orleans 45

American Football Simulator:
Detroit 21, New Orleans 27

San Diego (4-7) @ Jacksonville (4-7)
TheKillerNacho: C'mon San Diego, you have to snap this 6-game losing streak sometime, right? Why not against Jacksonville?? Then again, Jacksonville would love to get its second primetime win of the season... and teams under interim head coaches always manage to surprise... Ugh.
San Diego 24, Jacksonville 16

Billy:
San Diego 10, Jacksonville 14

American Football Simulator:
San Diego 25, Jacksonville 24

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked my readers "Which is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?" between Food, Family, Friends, or Football. Football was the clear winner with 75% of the vote, as expected. Food got the remaining 25%. Who needs Friends or Family?

With Jack Del Rio already gone, this begs the question... which other coaches are in serious jeopardy. This week's question is Which head coaches are most likely going to be fired sometime before next season? between Andy Reid, Tony Sparano, Norv Turner, Jim Caldwell, Todd Haley, Steve Sagnuolo, or Other (Please comment)? Considering I'm not convinced the Front Office has already given Caldwell a pass for Sucking for Luck, I'm thinking it's a tough call between Reid and Turner. Then again, Todd Haley was rumored to be almost fired during their bye week...

Vote on the right-hand side of my blog!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NFL Week 12 2011 Power Rankings & Predictions

While there are plenty of things to talk about, my Top 6 teams remain unchanged this week. Week 12 is special since it takes place on Thanksgiving, so we get to watch some Football as we're munching some turkey! Further, pretty much each Thanksgiving game is pretty significant, and will probably be good games: GB @ DET, MIA @ DAL, and SF @ BAL.

Biggest Winner: Miami Dolphins (+5)
Biggest Loser: Buffalo Bills (-5)

1. Green Bay Packers (10-0, +0): They are still obviously #1, but for the first time all season, they didn't really appear dominant. Defensively, Tampa Bay was able to rip through them like a hot knife through butter, they couldn't stop the run or the pass. Offensively, Aaron Rodgers struggled a bit, and threw his fifth pick of the season. They now face an even tougher challenge this Thanksgiving, on a short week... going into Detroit.

2. New Orleans Saints (7-3, +0): The Saints' bye didn't go exactly as they were hoping. The 49ers won, increasing their lead to 2 games for a first-round bye, and Atlanta also won, so they're still only a game back from the division lead. They face a critical Monday night matchup against the Giants, a game that both teams really want to win since it has massive playoff implications. With over a week of prep time, you have to like Drew Brees there.

3. San Francisco 49ers (9-1, +0): The 49ers finally get into part of their fluffy division schedule, the Cardinals were absolutely no threat. However, they are one of the teams on a short week this week, as they play the Thanksgiving night game, going into Baltimore. Who will win the Harbaugh showdown? It'll be exciting to watch these brothers go at it!

4. Baltimore Ravens (7-3, +0): The game was pretty close, but Baltimore was able to overcome not having Ray Lewis to defeat the Bengals, 31-24. Now, John Harbaugh will lead his team on a short week to play his brother, Jim, of the 1-loss 49ers. Man, all of the Thanksgiving games look to be awesome matchups (with playoff implications), I really can't wait!

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3, +0): During the bye, the Steelers lost the division lead thanks to Baltimore winning over Cincinnati. Since they lost twice to the Ravens, they don't control their AFC North destiny, but the Ravens are known to come out flat during some weeks, so there is still hope. They get Tyler Palko and the Chiefs next week.

6. New England Patriots (7-3, +0): I don't really have much praise to give them after their 34-3 win, since it was against a completely decimated squad, and a guy named Tyler Palko (who?). The Chiefs brought pressure on Brady and had success early, but the lack of offensive success led the Chiefs to eventually run out of steam. The thing that concerns me most about the Pats is their injuries. Their defense may be able to stop Tyler Palko, but can they stop a legitimate passer?

7. Atlanta Falcons (6-4, +3): The Falcons got back to what made them so successful last year, the ground and pound with Matt Ryan systematically orchestrating drives down the field. Without Julio Jones, Roddy White stepped up and had a good game, catching 7 passes for 147 yards. Defensively, they allowed Nate Washing two scores, which screwed me in Fantasy... but that was in garbage time against a rookie.

8. Houston Texans (7-3, +0): How Matt Leinart will come out and play is anybody's guess, and he really holds the Texans' fate right now. They did get a gift during the bye, with Atlanta taking out Tennessee, and Leinart will get to start against one of the league's worst teams: the Jacksonville Jaguars. Leinart just needs to limit mistakes and ride the Arian Foster express to win football games.

9. New York Giants (6-4, -2): Well, as I said last week, you can't take any NFC East matchup for granted. New York came out flat against the Vickless Eagles, really struggling offensively. Eli Manning completed just over half of his passes, and threw a pick while Brandon Jacobs managed just 1.8 yards per carry on his 12 carries. They'll need to play better going into a tough New Orleans environment next Monday night.

10. Chicago Bears (7-3, -1): Chicago won impressively over the Chargers, but sustained a key loss in that game, as well... Bears Quarterback Jay Cutler broke his thumb, which will require surgery. This will sideline the Quarterback likely for the rest of the regular season, but he may have a chance to come back come playoff time. Jay Cutler is very underrated, though, and their backups are well, not great... it's far from a given the Bears will be able to get a wildcard birth without him. Caleb Hanie will come in and attempt to replace him.

11. Detroit Lions (7-3, +1): The Lions won the shootout with Cam Newton and the Panthers, picking off the rookie 3 times but also surrendering huge drives to him. The Lions turned the ball over 3 times in the 1st quarter, but Matt Stafford was able to look past his early mistakes to be flawless for the remainder of the game, throwing for 335 yards and 5 touchdowns. Kevin Smith, who once appeared to be the Lions RB of the future, but was signed off the street just 3 weeks ago, made an immediate impact. He appears to have returned too rookie form, giving the Lions something they really needed: a reliable Runningback. Now they will prepare for their exciting Thanksgiving matchup against the undefeated Packers.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4, +1): The Bengals may have lost, but I thought that they played impressively against the Ravens. After doubting them all season, I really think now that this team is legit. They will likely compete for the 2nd wildcard spot this season, and they may actually get it. But a loss to Pittsburgh and Baltimore puts their division hopes to rest.

13. Dallas Cowboys (6-4, +1): The Cowboys beat the Redskins, but it wasn't anywhere near as close as it should have been... they required overtime and a missed Graham Gano field goal to pull off the victory. Now they have a short week to prepare for the red-hot Dolphins on Thanksgiving... and the Dolphins seem to like playing spoiler this season!

14. Oakland Raiders (6-4, +4): It's anyone's guess as to how good the Raiders actually are, but Carson Palmer has really proven his doubters (myself included) wrong. He looked strong against the Vikings even with Michael Bush struggling running the ball against a tough Vikings front. Defensively, picking off the rookie Christian Ponder three times was a major help.

15. New York Jets (5-5, -4): We all knew that coming off an emotional loss to play an unconventional offense on a short week would be tricky, but I was absolutely shocked and disgusted by the Jets 17-13 loss against Denver. The defense actually played pretty well, it was the offense's inability to score points that lost them the game. One of the more interesting theories I heard recently is that Peyton Manning may be a Jet next year... this would really help the Jets' chances at a championship.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6, +3): No Micheal Vick or Jeremy Maclin, but the Eagles were still able to upset the Giants on Sunday night. It seems Vince Young just wins... he has a scary good record as a starter, but that's not the reason the Eagles won this game. Juan Castillo's defense came up big, limiting the Giants to just 10 points. The Eagles defense, often criticized for its inability to deal with the run, held Brandon Jacobs to just 21 yards on his 12 carries. Is this change for real? Probably not, the Eagles always play the Giants tough... but you never know.

17. San Diego Chargers (4-6, -2): The Chargers were beaten in all 3 phases against the Bears... they allowed some nice returns by Devin Hester, their defense could not stop Jay Cutler, and after a brilliant came, Rivers threw two 4th quarter picks to seal the deal. It's safe to say they have ruined their 4-1 start, with 5 straight losses. They are far from "done" in such a weak division, but next week's matchup against Denver becomes all the more important.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6, +2): Tampa Bay was able to set up some good things against the undefeated Packers... LeGarrette Blount had one of his anomalous breakout games, Josh Freeman and Kellen Winslow were lighting up the Packers defense, but ultimately they fell to the Packers. At 4-6, their postseason hopes are all but done, but they aren't a bad team. They will compete for the rest of the year.

19. Tennessee Titans (5-5, -2): Due to an injury to Matt Hasselbeck, we got to see the rookie, Jake Locker, who was quite impressive during his debut. He went 9/19 for 190 yards and two touchdowns to Nate Washington (who, as I mentioned earlier, killed me in fantasy). Hasselbeck's injury isn't severe, so he'll likely remain the starter. Chris Johnson went back to his irrelevant ways, earning just 13 yards on 12 carries. The Titans are now around where I expect them to finish this season, at .500.

20. Denver Broncos (5-5, +4): The Tim Tebow magic continues, now being 4-1 as a starter. He still has not completed half of his passes in any contest, but his big-play and leadership is invaluable... I'm starting to believe in this kid... even though at the same time I expect him to fall on his face eventually. Right now, the Broncos are relying on good defense and a solid running game (part of which is credited to Tebow), but Tebow cannot compete in an NFL shootout.

21. Buffalo Bills (5-5, -5): The Bills collapse is complete. After another bad week of injuries, the Bills fall to the lowly Dolphins by an outrageous score of 35-8 (Yes, the Bills got a safety). Ryan Fitzpatrick continues his poor streak, with two more picks, while Fred Jackson was limited to just 2.4 against the tough Miami run defense. Defensively, they can't stop a nosebleed. This just adds another season were the Bills started off strong, only to fall off.

22. Carolina Panthers (2-8, +0): Cam Newton was able to bounce back... of course, when I say bounce back, I mean back to his big-play ways. He still threw three interceptions, but also had his normal massive yardage and touchdowns, in a shootout with Detroit. Despite a 27-14 lead at the half, however, the Panthers defense fell apart in the second half, eventually leading to a 49-35 loss. If only Newton had a defense around him like Tebow does...

23. Miami Dolphins (3-7, +5): After losing their first 7 games, the Dolphins have now won 3 straight, outscoring their opponents by 86-20. They are really playing hard for head coach Tony Sparano, whose job is on the line. One really has to be impressed with Matt Moore, who is showing flashes of greatness as he did with the Panthers in 2009. I'm still not convinced that Moore is the real deal, but now that we're officially out of the Suck for Luck race, I'll enjoy watching a few more upsets this season.

24. Washington Redskins (3-7, +3): I guess Rex Grossman really is the better choice. While once again, he made some key mistakes, his big play mentality allowed them to compete against Dallas, while John Beck's conservative mentality would've led to like, 3 points. The Redskins are probably done, though. They wasted their early season success by dropping to 3-7, all but killing them in the NFC East race.

25. Minnesota Vikings (2-8, -4): I really liked what I saw from Christian Ponder in his first couple games, but he's really struggled recently, giving up more turnovers agaisnt Oakland. If not for those turnovers, they may have been able to come back and win against Oakland. They did get some good news after the game, as Adrian Peterson's X-rays came up negative, so he'll likely be able to play again this season (we'll know more after the MRI).

26. Arizona Cardinals (3-7, -3): Well... so much for John Skelton being a better choice than Kevin Kolb. He was atrocious against San Francisco, being unable to move the ball at all. Beanie Wells continues to play hurt and continues to therefore play badly. This game killed any possible momentum they gained after their upset at Philadelphia. Hopefully for them, Kolb comes back next week.

27. Kansas City Chiefs (4-6, -2): Obviously, Tyler Palko's debut did not go well... while he completed an impressive 25 out of 38 of his passes, it was only for 236 yards, no touchdowns, and he also threw three picks (Leading the Chiefs to a mere ... 3 points). This was against one of the worst secondaries in Pro Football. Things won't get easier for Palko as he plays the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense was able to get pressure on Brady early but eventually they wore down as New England was able to put up 34. Yikes.

28. Seattle Seahawks (4-6, +2): The Seahawks may be one of the least talented teams in the NFL, but Pete Carroll does indeed know how to motivate his troops. They were able to come out and destroy division rival St. Louis 23-7. The Seahawks defense has played well this season, and Marshawn Lynch's running style continues to wear down opponents. The Seahawks can win more games this season.

29. Cleveland Browns (4-6, +2): The Browns won, which is a nice sign. With Peyton Hillis and/or Montario Hardesty close to coming back, they could give some teams some trouble... then again, their remaining schedule is absolutely brutal, so don't be surprised if the Browns go 4-12. Unfortanutely for them, they don't get to play the Jacksonville Jaguars every week.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7, -4): Blaine Gabbert may be the worst starting Quarterback in the National Football League... yes, worse than the no-name Tyler Palko and pansy Curtis Painter. He continues to not lead his offense to points, despite having one of the better rushers this season, Maurice Jones-Drew. They remain the Colts' best chance at a win this season.

31. St. Louis Rams (2-8, -2): Well, this loss kills their chances this season. Going against a fellow crappy NFC West team, they could not get anything going offensively after Brandon Lloyd's initial touchdown pass. Bradford would go on to complete only half of his passes, while Steven Jackson managed only 2.8 yards per carry. Defensively, they played decent football but this team is too inconsistent to be considered very good.

32. Indianapolis Colts (0-10, +0): Don't know what really to say here, since the winless Colts had a bye week. I guess I'll put it out there that the Colts are not *technically* eliminated yet from playoff contention. They could actually win the 6th wildcard spot if they win out and get A LOT of help. While I would LOVE to see this, I'm not holding my breath. Then again, Eli Manning did say this week that he expects his brother Peyton to play this year... hmm... By the way, here's an awesome simple site for viewing each of the NFL's 32 teams' playoff status: http://www.playoffstatus.com/nfl/nfl.html

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's accuracy, Last week: 9-5 (64.29%)
Billy's accuracy, Last week: 11-3 (78.57%)
AFS's* accuracy, Last week: 9-5 (64.29%)

TKN's Overall 2011 accuracy: 102-58 (63.75%)
Billy's Overall 2011 accuracy: 105-55 (65.63%)
AFS's* Overall 2011 accuracy: 103-57 (64.38%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

While last week was a very good week for me at 9-5, as you can see, Billy continues to make ground with an impressive 11-3 prediction record last week. Maybe I'm due for some Thanksgiving luck, however!

Matt Stafford hopes to deliver the Pack their first loss on Thanksgiving.
Green Bay (10-0) @ Detroit (7-3)
TheKillerNacho: This is, quite possibly, the most dangerous game for Green Bay on their remaining schedule. They are coming off their most problematic game of the season. It is a short week, against a legitimate divison-rival, in front of a national Thanksgiving audience. Furthermore, Kevin Smith is back with a fury... and Green Bay surrendered quite a game to LeGarrette Blount last week... Having said all this, it would be utter stupidity to pick against Aaron Rodgers this season.
Green Bay 28, Detroit 27

Billy:
Green Bay 35, Detroit 37

American Football Simulator:
Green Bay 26, Detroit 21

Miami (3-7) @ Dallas (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: Miami is red-hot, but unlike their last three opponents, Dallas is not in a state of total collapse. I see Dallas winning this game, but then again, I picked against Miami the last three weeks too... I'll definatly be rooting for them on Thanksgiving while munching on some delicious Turkey! Nom nom nom!
Miami 23, Dallas 27

Billy:
Miami 20, Dallas 29

American Football Simulator:
Miami 22, Dallas 26

San Francisco (9-1) @ Baltimore (7-3)
TheKillerNacho: Game of the week, right here... Harbaugh against Harbaugh. At home, I really like the Ravens, since they play much better at home, but this game could go either way. The Ravens would have a much better chance if they get MLB Ray Lewis back for this one. Unfortanutely, this game is an NFL Network game, so we'll have to deal with inept Sunday Night Football announcers... sigh.
San Francisco 17, Baltimore 20

Billy:
San Francisco 25, Baltimore 19

American Football Simulator:
San Francisco 21, Baltimore 25

Buffalo (5-5) @ New York J (5-5)
TheKillerNacho: Both of these teams have disappointed in recent weeks, but the Jets are the far better team right now. The Bills are decimated by injury, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has sucked since. The Jets may not be a playoff caliber team, but they should be able to defeat Buffalo.
Buffalo 13, New York J 17

Billy:
Buffalo 12, New York J 47

American Football Simulator:
Buffalo 21, New York J 26

Arizona (3-7) @ St. Louis (2-8)
TheKillerNacho: Honestly, I think this game depends on whether Kevin Kolb will be ready to go. If Kolb plays, I like the Cardinals since I think he'll be able to get some big plays going to Larry Fitzgerald. If not, I'll take the Rams... look for this pick to change mid-week, but I'm assuming Kolb will be ready to go.
UPDATE: Kevin Kolb will be out against the Rams, so I guess the Cards "aren't in the cards". I'm taking the Rams.
Arizona 21, St. Louis 23


Billy:
Arizona 16, St. Louis 20

American Football Simulator:
Arizona 22, St. Louis 26

Can Blount and the Bucs build off their success @ GB?
Tampa Bay (4-6) @ Tennessee (5-5)
TheKillerNacho: This Buccaneers team got some confidence, playing well against the undefeated Packers. Meanwhile, this Titans team continues to struggle after its strong start. If they lose this one, which I suspect they will, they will be all but out of the division race against Houston.
Tampa Bay 24, Tennessee 20


Billy:
Tampa Bay 23, Tennessee 18

American Football Simulator:
Tampa Bay 24, Tennessee 26

Carolina (2-8) @ Indianapolis (0-10)
TheKillerNacho: One of the Colts' better opportunities to get a Win, since Carolina's defense has played awful this season. At the same time, I don't see any way in hell the Colts will stop Cam Newton, so I'm not going to pick the upset here, sorry.
Carolina 27, Indianapolis 20

Billy:
Carolina 24, Indianapolis 10

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 25, Indianapolis 24

Minnesota (2-8) @ Atlanta (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: The Vikings' Christian Ponder has struggled recently, and while Adrian Peterson's X-Rays came up negative, he's still questionable to play. Meanwhile, Atlanta plays very well at home, and is coming off a big win after getting some things together. I look for them to continue their success against the visiting Vikings.
Minnesota 16, Atlanta 26


Billy:
Minnesota 13, Atlanta 27

American Football Simulator:
Minnesota 19, Atlanta 26

Cleveland (4-6) @ Cincinnati (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: Cincinnati has the potential to be a wildcard team, but it must start here at home by defeating the visiting Browns. Obviously, we know the Bengals can win, but division games are never easy.
Cleveland 10, Cincinnati 21

Billy:
Cleveland 6, Cincinnati 28

American Football Simulator:
Cleveland 20, Cincinnati 22

It's Leinart's turn in Houston... what will come of it?
Houston (7-3) @ Jacksonville (3-7)
TheKillerNacho: Matt Leinart gets a pretty easy first matchup, against a Jaguars team that couldn't even beat the Browns. Still, its a division game and the Jaguars defense is quite good against the run, so Leinart may need to rely more on his passing abilities than in most contests... still, Houston is the obvious pick.
Houston 23, Jacksonville 14

Billy:
Houston 34, Jacksonville 13

American Football Simulator:
Houston 24, Jacksonville 23

Washington (3-7) @ Seattle (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: Washington continues to fall apart, and now travels west into a very hostile environment. Seattle keeps getting wins, and I think they may be able to continue here. Rex Grossman makes this game a real toss-up, however. If good Rex appears, the Seahawks don't have a prayer... but if bad Rex appears, the Seahawks will likely blow the Redskins out.
Washington 20, Seattle 21

Billy:
Washington 9, Seattle 17

American Football Simulator:
Washington 21, Seattle 20

Chicago (7-3) @ Oakland (6-4)
TheKillerNacho: Replacing Jay Cutler, we get to see ... Caleb Hanie. Hanie is athletic and has good arm strength, but he's not a good decision maker and with a bad offensive line and receiving corp, won't perform anywhere near Jay Cutler's level. Meanwhile, the Raiders are hot and playing at home. Coming off a 3 interception day against Minnesota, they look to once again take advantage of an inexperienced Quarterback.
Chicago 16, Oakland 21

Billy:
Chicago 21, Oakland 30

American Football Simulator:
Chicago 22, Oakland 24

New England (7-3) @ Philadelphia (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: Philadelphia may have been able to upset the Giants, but the Patriots are another story. Vick may play, but reports say that he won't be rushed back into the starting lineup, meaning we'll likely see Vince Young again. Young had three picks against New York, so I doubt he'll be able to abuse the Patriots' secondary weakness. Look for the Patriots to win against the Eagles.
New England 27, Philadelphia 21

Billy:
New England 38, Philadelphia 28


American Football Simulator:
New England 26, Philadelphia 24

Last time, Tebow almost orchestrated a fourth-quarter comeback against SD...
Denver (5-5) @ San Diego (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: Tebow gets to play against San Diego, the same opponent he faced when he was put in for Kyle Orton, giving him a chance as the starter. Will Tebow be able to extend his record to 5-1 as a starter? As much as I fear picking against him, San Diego should win this at home.
Denver 16, San Diego 20

Billy:
Denver 26, San Diego 22

American Football Simulator:
Denver 21, San Diego 27

Pittsburgh (7-3) @ Kansas City (4-6)
TheKillerNacho: Tyler Palko going against the Pittsburgh defense? Yeah, I'll pass on this one. Kansas City's going to get destroyed.
Pittsburgh 26, Kansas City 9

Billy:
Pittsburgh 31, Kansas City 13

American Football Simulator:
Pittsburgh 24, Kansas City 15

New York G (6-4) @ New Orleans (7-3)

TheKillerNacho: Big Monday Night game for both teams, but at home, this is one the Saints should win. The Giants looked weak against Philadelphia, but they aren't as bad as they played, so the Saints better bring their A game. The Giants hope to get Ahmad Bradshaw back from injury, he would be a big upgrade over Jacobs.
New York G 26, New Orleans 28

Billy:
New York G 14, New Orleans 51

American Football Simulator:
New York G 24, New Orleans 25

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked my readers "How will Aaron Rodgers' career stack up compared to the all-time greats?" between Greatest of all time, Top 5, Top 10, Top 20, or Not in Top 20. The poll seems to have been bugged, since only one registered vote remains, despite the fact that I saw 9 votes earlier this week... I can't give the exact numbers, of course, but I think the largest category I saw was "Top 5", with a couple voters thinking he would be the greatest of all time. No one from my memory voted that he would be out of the Top 20. Interesting...

Its almost time for Thanksgiving! This week's question is "Which is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?" between Food, Family, Friends, or Football? While I love all of these things... How can you vote against Football with the great Thanksgiving matchups we have this year??

Vote on the right-hand side of my blog!