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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 23, 2012

NFL 2012 Week 8 Power Rankings and Predictions

After a rocky Week 6, my power rankings & predictions had a smooth Week 7, with not many major surprises. Maybe we all overreacted to the amount of parity last week. Or maybe, this week is the odd-ball. Either way, time to update these rankings...

Biggest Winner: Minnesota Vikings (+3)
Biggest Loser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)

1. Houston Texans (6-1, +1): A strong performance over the Ravens shoots the Texans to the #1 spot yet again. They didn't let their one loss get them down, and really covered up the weaknesses we saw get exposed against the Packers. Instead, the Texans exposed a Ravens team battling defensive injuries. But it wasn't just the Texans offense that impressed - the Texans defense, still mourning the loss of Brian Cushing, bottled up Ray Rice and pillaged Joe Flacco, allowing the Ravens to score a mere 13 points.

2. Atlanta Falcons (6-0, -1): The Falcons were on bye, but fell from #1 due to a strong showing by the Texans. The Falcons are the league's last undefeated team, but left a lot to be desired in recent wins. They almost allowed the lowly Raiders beat them in their home turf! Anyway, the Falcons had a decent bye - the only division rival that won was the Saints. Still, the Falcons are sitting pretty at the top of the NFC South. They're 6-0 while no division rival is above .500.

3. Chicago Bears (5-1, +0): The Bears had a very solid defensive showing, yet again. I really do consider the Bears defense to be the league's best at this point, it is simply ridiculous how good they are at forcing turnovers. The Bears recovered two forced fumbles in Monday night's 13-7 smothering of the Lions. Offensively, Matt Forte looked pretty good coming back from injury and Jay Cutler found Brandon Marshall a few times including once for their only touchdown. This is a very dangerous Bears team.

4. New York Giants (5-2, +0): The Giants were able to survive against the Redskins, winning in the 4th quarter. Following a huge touchdown from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz, the Giants defense stopped Robert Griffin III to win the game, 27-23. It wasn't always pretty but this Giants team rarely blows people out (as they did to the 49ers last week). Its a good sign for the Giants to simply win games they should, even if you do need 4th quarter comebacks to do so.

5. Green Bay Packers (4-3, +1): I don't think anyone is doubting Aaron Rodgers anymore. While the former NFL MVP had a rocky start in the first three games, he's returned to form in the last four. Sunday's game against the Rams is no exception - Rodgers went a dominating 30/37 for almost 350 yards and two touchdown passes. With a defense that is actually improved from a season ago, the Packers are strong contenders yet again.

6. San Francisco 49ers (5-2, -1): While the defense was good enough to give the 49ers a 13-6 win on Thursday night, there is something seriously wrong with this 49ers offense. Namely, the problem is Alex Smith, who is struggling making completions in the last two weeks. The good news is that Frank Gore seems completely rejuvenated. The injury-prone Runningback is running as well as he ever has in his career. The 49ers hope he can stay healthy moving forward.

7. New England Patriots (4-3, +1): The Patriots won over the Jets on Sunday, but they never looked more vulnerable. The Patriots defense which was impressive early in the season allowed a massive game to Mark Sanchez. Mark Sanchez, if I need to remind any of you, sucks. Still, the 29-26 overtime win over the Jets gives the Patriots control over the division and Bill Bellichick has made a career of covering up his team's weaknesses. I expect this team to be a strong contender for the AFC title.

8. Denver Broncos (3-3, +1): This was a pretty uneventful bye for Broncos fans. Their largest rivals, the Chargers, didn't play either. Peyton Manning has started to look like the Peyton Manning of old for the Broncos, which leads me to believe they will eventually win the AFC West. The Broncos face a hungry Saints team on Sunday night in Week 8 - they have to be careful not to fall to a desperate team in prime-time.

9. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, -2): The Ravens got exposed. Completely and utterly exposed. And not just on defense where they have the injuries, but the offense, too. The only positive that can be noted in the Ravens' 43-13 loss to the Texans is that Terrell Suggs played for the first time this season, and looked good. With many reports saying he'd be out for the year, Suggs is an athletic freak and looked 100% ready to play against the Texans. He'll be worked more into the defense after the Ravens' bye, and he'll be needed.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3, +2): The Steelers were able to look past their mistakes against the Titans and defeat the division-rival Bengals on Sunday night, the more important victory. With the Ravens getting exposed by the Texans earlier in the day, the Steelers have to be feeling a lot better about their chances at the division. The Steelers are only two games behind and get to play the Ravens twice yet themselves.

11. Minnesota Vikings (5-2, +3): The Vikings played good football at home against the Cardinals in their 21-14 win. While it doesn't seem to be too impressive a feat to defeat the Cardinals anymore, the Vikings are still winning games they ought to, and have earned their 5-2 record completely. Still, I do view the Vikings as an over-achieving team and don't know if they can compete with the Packers and Bears in the NFC North. I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

12. Seattle Seahawks (4-3, -2): The Seahawks look great... at home. On the road, the Seahawks struggle a great deal, as we saw on Thursday night, scoring only 6 points. The Seahawks couldn't seem to move the ball at all without the Refs giving them chunks of yardage... Russell Wilson looked lost out there. Give credit to the 49ers defense - they're one of the league's best - but this Seahawks team is too inconsistent to be considered elite just yet.

13. San Diego Chargers (3-3, -2): The Chargers were on bye but good showings by the Steelers and Vikings causes the Chargers to drop two spaces this week. The Chargers are a half-game behind the Broncos in the AFC West due to their loss in Week 6. They get an easy opponent in the Browns in Week 8 coming off the bye. The Chargers under Norv Turner has always been a mistake-ridden team. They need to keep it together and make sure they get this win.

14. Dallas Cowboys (3-3, -1): Dallas has really not looked like the same team that defeated the Giants in the season opener. Jason Garrett called an incredibly conservative game-plan against the 1-win Panthers on Sunday, leading the Cowboys to a 19-14 win. Maybe he'll open up the offense again when he gets Demarco Murray back from injury. Or maybe he just doesn't trust his offense enough. At least the defense is playing well.

15. Washington Redskins (3-4, +2): Even in a loss, one really has to like how Robert Griffin III is progressing this season, he seems to get better every week. The Redskins defense let him down on Sunday by allowing Victor Cruz to get a huge touchdown in the final minutes. The Redskins really could have won at New York against the former Champions yesterday. The Redskins will remain a very dangerous team going into Week 8.

16. Arizona Cardinals (4-3, -1): After winning the first four games, the Cardinals have gone on to lose the next three. John Skelton looked good but not great against the Vikings, but only led the Cardinals to score 14 points due to a costly interception. This Cardinals defense which was so stingy in the first four games allowed a good game to Adrian Peterson on the ground, as well. It seems like the optimism from their 4-0 start is only a distant memory... their weaknesses which most highlighted in pre-season has caught up with them.

17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3, -1): The Eagles don't get an easy test coming out of their bye with the Falcons - another team coming off their bye. The Eagles didn't have a great bye week, either, watching the Giants and Cowboys both win. I guess we'll see on Sunday whether or not the Juan Castillo scapegoat will improve this team somehow... Eagles fans hope Marty Morphinweg is the next scapegoat... followed by Andy Reid...

18. New Orleans Saints (2-4, +1): The Saints are a dangerous team that has a lot of momentum. Unfortanutely, their key problem that caused them to start 0-4 remains: a soft defense that allows opponents to score a lot of points. This didn't change on Sunday against the Bucs, as the Bucs were one call away of forcing overtime in a 35-28 shootout. Still, the Saints are a dangerous team that should not be taken lightly by any opponent.

19. New York Jets (3-4, +1): There seems to be some fight left in these Jets, after all. Mark Sanchez had a rare good outing - throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown. He seems to have formed a good relationship with slot WR Jeremy Kerley, which is a good sign considering his former favorite target, Santonio Holmes, is done for the season. The only thing the Jets did wrong was falter in overtime to lose 29-26. But it was an impressive outing against a good Patriots team in Foxboro. The question is, can the Jets continue to play good football after a heartbreaking defeat?

20Miami Dolphins (3-3, +2): The Dolphins had a good bye week, all things considered. The Bills lost and both the Jets and Patriots looked vulnerable in their game against eachother. The Dolphins would actually make the playoffs if the season ended today - but that is more a sign of a weak AFC. The Dolphins get a chance to make a run at the division in Week 8, as the Dolphins travel to New York to face the Jets, looking for revenge.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4, -3): This is not what Bucs fans wanted to see. After a 38-10 win in Week 6, the Bucs were optimistic that they fixed their problems on both sides of the ball. However, it seems to be more of the result of playing a poor Chiefs team, as Drew Brees marched the Saints to come back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Bucs in a shootout, 35-28. One of the key moments in the game is when LeGarrette Blount failed to get into the endzone on the 1 yardline in three consecutive plays. Why is he getting carries over Doug Martin, again?

22. Detroit Lions (2-4, -1): The Lions offense really needs to learn to hold onto the ball. The Lions as a team fumbled the ball 4 times against the Bears, losing 2. It was a big reason why the Lions were only able to muster up 7 points against a Bears offense specializing in turnovers. The Lions are a dreadfully inconsistent team... it seems that in some games the offense looks good, in some the defense looks good, but they rarely have good days together, which is the problem. They need to get more consistent on both sides of the ball.

23. St. Louis Rams (3-4, +1): The Rams didn't look horrible in their 30-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday, but coming out with a loss puts them in a poor spot in the NFC West. While I like what Jeff Fisher has done here, the Rams are a year or two away from being contenders in a stacked NFC. One positive for the Rams is that Sam Bradford looked good against a good Packers defense despite not having Danny Amendola. They have a tough matchup against the Patriots in Week 8, but hope they can get Amendola back in Week 10, after their bye.

24. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4, +1): Despite losing, the Bengals played the Steelers very close, earning some respect. They are still a team with a lot of defensive problems, however. They certainly have an exciting future on offense, however. Andy Dalton is coming along and a case can be made that A.J. Green is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL already. Defensively, the Bengals have talent but seem to be giving up too many big days in the passing game.

25. Buffalo Bills (3-4, -2): Unfortanutely for a Bills offense that played pretty damn well on Sunday, the Bills' defense is a train-wreck. They can't stop the run at all. The Bills allowed nearly 200 yards to Chris Johnson on the ground, as he ran for 10.8 yards per carry and two touchdowns. This isn't really new for the Bills, they've been getting torched on the ground in recent weeks by nearly every team. They really don't have much of an excuse with a stacked defensive line. I wouldn't be surprised if DC Dave Wannstedt was shown the door.

26. Indianapolis Colts (3-3, +0): Beating what I consider the worst team in the NFL isn't really much of a shocker for me, so I'm keeping the Colts at #26 for now. It was a good solid effort for the Colts, though. Andrew Luck showed off his athletic ability, scrambling for two touchdowns against the Colts. The Colts defense was fortunate that Trent Richardson went down to injury but played well, limiting the Browns to 13 points.

27. Tennessee Titans (3-4, +2): The Titans seem to be rebounding from a poor start, and have now won two straight games. One of the major reasons is that Chris Johnson is starting to return to form. Granted, the Bills have allowed big days to most Runningbacks this year, but nevertheless, Johnson's 195 yard, two touchdown day was very impressive. Matt Hasselbeck has been managing games well, and should get one more start before Jake Locker comes back from injury.

28. Oakland Raiders (2-4, +0): The Raiders appear to be improved after their bye, with a good showing at Atlanta followed by a win against Jacksonville. I'm not really too impressed by an overtime win against a bad team without its best player, however. This Raiders team still lacks talent due to lack of draft picks and is one of the worst teams in the league. Darren McFadden is struggling with the lack of decent blocking by the Raiders offensive line. Luckily, Carson Palmer is playing better.

29Carolina Panthers (1-5, -2): Following the Panthers' 19-14 loss on Sunday, they announced the firing of GM Marty Hurney, and I can't really blame them. This was supposed to be their year. They had an exciting year last year, just changed their logo, and had a ton of optimism going into the season. But Hurney failed to build a team with any identity despite having one of the most talented young playmakers in the NFL on his roster. He has invested too much money in Runningbacks that the offense doesn't really utilize, and spent too much money on Jon Beason coming back from a key injury.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5, +1): Its pretty shocking that the Jaguars almost found a way to win on the road despite losing their starting Quarterback and starting Runningback. Blaine Gabbert sucks, but he was clearly better than Chad Henne. Rashad Jennings did a good job filling in for Jones-Drew, however. Still, the Jaguars hope to get good news about Jones-Drew, they need him desperately if they are going to win games. Despite being in his first year, HC Mike Mularkey is starting to notice his seat getting very warm.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5, -1): The Bucs team that blew this team out 38-10 just lost 35-28. This Chiefs team is currently tied for the Browns for worst team in the NFL, in my opinion. Romeo Crennel named Brady Quinn the starter over Matt Cassel moving forward - a rather irrelevant change. Both Quinn and Cassel has sucked in their opportunities this season, and star WR Dwayne Bowe is getting disgruntled about this whole situation. I wonder what is stopping them from just throwing Ricky Stanzi in and seeing what he's got? He can't be worse than Quinn and Cassel... can he?

32. Cleveland Browns (1-6, +0): The offense struggled to move the chains without Trent Richardson, who went down early due to injury against the Colts. Brandon Weeden continues to show promise, throwing for two touchdowns despite ultimately losing 17-13. I know some think this team should be over the Chiefs, but something is keeping me from doing that. I just don't see the upside of this Browns team, while the Chiefs, on paper, could be decent if they get things figured out.

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's last week accuracy: 12-1 (92.31%)
Billy's last week accuracy: 9-4 (69.23%)
AFS's* last week accuracy: 11-2 (84.62%)

TKN's Overall 2012 accuracy: 62-42 (59.62%)
Billy's Overall 2012 accuracy: 56-48 (53.85%)
AFS's* Overall 2012 accuracy: 71-33 (68.27%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

AHA! I finally did it! I finally had a week better than the Simulator! Of course, it was only by one game, and it took a 12-1 week to do it, but finally!! Actually, all predictors did good in Week 7. The simulator still has a massive 9-game lead on the season, however. Billy keeps falling more behind, he now is 6 games below me (and 15 behind the simulator).

Christian Ponder has a good matchup against the Bucs in W8.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
TheKillerNacho: The Vikings should continue to improve their record on a short week at home against the Bucs. Christian Ponder should have a good game against a Bucs defense that is struggling to contain the pass. Meanwhile, Doug Martin won't find many running lanes at Minnesota, a defense that prides itself at stopping the run.
Tampa Bay 17, Minnesota 24

Tampa Bay 29, Minnesota 30

American  Football Simulator:
Tampa Bay 23, Minnesota 25

Miami Dolphins (3-3) @ New York Jets (3-4)
TheKillerNacho: The Dolphins are coming off a bye and are hungry for a win against a team that beat them in overtime due to two missed field goals just a few weeks ago. The Jets are coming into this game demoralized after a heart-breaking overtime loss to the Patriots. I'm going Miami here.
Miami 23, New York J 21

Miami 28, New York J 21

American  Football Simulator:
Miami 19, New York J 23

San Diego Chargers (3-3) @ Cleveland Browns (1-6)
TheKillerNacho: San Diego is clearly the better team but we all know that they are mistake prone. While it wouldn't surprise me for the Browns to get an upset win here, I have to go with the better team.
San Diego 26, Cleveland 20

San Diego 14, Cleveland 20

American Football Simulator:
San Diego 24, Cleveland 22

Indianapolis Colts (3-3) @ Tennessee Titans (3-4)
TheKillerNacho: This should be an interesting matchup. The Titans have been much better in recent weeks on offense, and Chris Johnson looks to another team that isn't great at defending the run. Andrew Luck should have a good game however against a Titans defense struggling to stop the pass. I'm going with the Titans but it could go either way.
Indianapolis 26, Tennessee 27

Indianapolis 17, Tennessee 28

American Football Simulator:
Indianapolis 21, Tennessee 25

Cortland Finnegan hopes to help his team score an upset vs NE.
New England Patriots (4-3) @ St. Louis Rams (3-4)
TheKillerNacho: Like the game against the Seahawks, this game has upset written all over it for the Patriots. I'll go with the Patriots as they should win this game, but the Patriots have shown this season that they are vulnerable.
New England 26, St. Louis 23

New England 30, St. Louis 23

American Football Simulator:
New England 25, St. Louis 22

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) @ Green Bay Packers (4-3)
TheKillerNacho: I don't really think this needs much justification... the Packers should easily get a win over the Jaguars in Week 8. The Jaguars are in even more trouble if they can't get Maurice Jones-Drew back.
Jacksonville 16, Green Bay 31

Jacksonville 10, Green Bay 38

American Football Simulator:
Jacksonville 21, Green Bay 28

Atlanta Falcons (6-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: Both teams are coming off their bye. Atlanta has had the Eagles' number in recent years, but the psychology behind this game tends to side with the Eagles. I'm not going to bet against the Falcons, though. Michael Vick will struggle against a good Falcons defense.
Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 21

Atlanta 20, Philadelphia 27

American Football Simulator:
Atlanta 26, Philadelphia 25

Washington Redskins (3-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: It will be interesting to see how the Steelers defense will fare against RG3. I think Ben Roethlisberger ultimately makes enough plays against a questionable Redskins secondary to win the game for the Steelers but RG3 gives the Redskins a chance to win any game.
Washington 25, Pittsburgh 26

Washington 37, Pittsburgh 28

American Football Simulator:
Washington 20, Pittsburgh 25

Calvin Johnson has just 1 TD on the year.
Seattle Seahawks (4-3) @ Detroit Lions (2-4)
TheKillerNacho: The Seahawks struggle on the road and the Lions have their backs against the wall. I suspect this will be a very defensive game. I'm actually going to pick the upset here and say the Lions win it.
Seattle 14, Detroit 17

Seattle 23, Detroit 16

American Football Simulator:
Seattle 22, Detroit 23

Carolina Panthers (1-5) @ Chicago Bears (5-1)
TheKillerNacho: Hmm... should I choose the 1-5 Panthers or the 5-1 Bears? Tough choice... Not. The Bears win this and keep up their turnover streak. The Bears defense have allowed only one more touchdown than touchdowns they've scored themselves this season. Wow.
Carolina 17, Chicago 28

Carolina 17, Chicago 45

American Football Simulator:
Carolina 22, Chicago 26

Oakland Raiders (2-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
TheKillerNacho: This is a game against two teams among the worst in the league. The Chiefs' Romeo Crennel need this one, though, for the sake of his job. Jamaal Charles should have a good day against a Raiders defense poor against the run, which should help the Chiefs immensely. Call me crazy for taking the Chiefs right now but this seems like a game the Chiefs can win. I have a feeling I'm going to regret this pick, though.
Oakland 23, Kansas City 24

Oakland 20, Kansas City 10

American Football Simulator:
Oakland 22, Kansas City 23

New York Giants (5-2) @ Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: This will be an interesting rematch. As we saw in the season opener, the Dallas Cowboys are built to beat the Giants. But I suspect that Tom Coughlin has a strategy in mind to break this Cowboys team. Still, I'm actually going with the Cowboys in an upset to get the season sweep... but it will be close.
New York G 26, Dallas 27

New York G 35, Dallas 38

American Football Simulator:
New York G 26, Dallas 25

Peyton Manning needs to step up against the Saints & Drew Brees.
New Orleans Saints (2-4) @ Denver Broncos (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Broncos should get this win at home on Sunday night, but they need to be at their best to avoid a loss at the hands of a win-hungry team with a ton of momentum. Both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning should have good nights, I expect this one to be somewhat of a shoot-out. But one the Broncos ought to win.
New Orleans 27, Denver 30

New Orleans 31, Denver 30

American Football Simulator:
New Orleans 25, Denver 23

San Francisco 49ers (5-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-3)
TheKillerNacho: I think the Cardinals collapse will be complete on Monday night against the 49ers. The 49ers will find ways to pressure whoever is in at Quarterback for the Cardinals and their coverage is too good to allow many big plays in the passing game. And don't expect LaRod Stephens-Howling to be able to have a repeat performance against one of the leauge's best run defenses.
San Francisco 23, Arizona 14

San Francisco 17, Arizona 7

American Football Simulator:
San Francisco 27, Arizona 21

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked "Which upset was most shocking in Week 6?" between Titans over Steelers, Browns over Bengals, Bills over Cardinals, Seahawks over Patriots, Giants over 49ers, or Packers over Texans? The Titans over the Steelers won the poll with 38% of the vote. Voters were also shocked with the Seahawks over the Patriots, which earned 30%. The Browns over the Bengals was third with 23%, followed by the Giants over the 49ers with 7%. No one voted for the other games.

There seems to be several stacked divisions in the NFL. This week's question is, "Which NFL division is the strongest overall division?" between the NFC North, NFC East, NFC West, AFC East, or AFC North? All of these divisions have strong cases to be the best but I think the NFC North takes the cake. The worst team in the division, the Lions, are highly talented and could easily beat any team in the league on a given Sunday. Meanwhile, the Packers, Bears, and Vikings are all above .500 and are strong contenders for the playoffs this year.

Vote on the right-hand side of my blog!!

1 comment:

  1. Shame ur gonna waste ur 12-1 week with these bad predictions nacho! go giants!