Welcome to the Cheesiest Blog on the Web

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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NFL 2012 Week 9 Power Rankings and Predictions

Because of Hurricane Sandy, my weekly Power Ranking segment had to be delayed and abridged this week. Sorry! I should get back to my regular schedule for Week 10.

Biggest Winner: Miami Dolphins (+6)
Biggest Loser: Arizona Cardinals (-6)
  1. Atlanta Falcons (7-0, +1)
  2. Houston Texans (6-1, -1)
  3. New York Giants (6-2, +1)
  4. San Francisco 49ers (6-2, +2)
  5. Chicago Bears (6-1, -2)
  6. Green Bay Packers (5-3, -1)
  7. New England Patriots (5-3, +0)
  8. Denver Broncos (4-3, +0)
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3, +1)
  10. Baltimore Ravens (5-2, -1)
  11. Seattle Seahawks (4-4, +1)
  12. Minnesota Vikings (5-3, -1)
  13. Dallas Cowboys (3-4, +1)
  14. Miami Dolphins (4-3, +6)
  15. San Diego Chargers (3-4, -2)
  16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4, +5)
  17. Detroit Lions (3-4, +5)
  18. New Orleans Saints (2-5, +0)
  19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4, -2)
  20. Washington Redskins (3-5, -5)
  21. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4, +3)
  22. Arizona Cardinals (4-4, -6)
  23. New York Jets (3-5, -4)
  24. Indianapolis Colts (4-3, +2)
  25. Buffalo Bills (3-4, +0)
  26. St. Louis Rams (3-5, -3)
  27. Oakland Raiders (3-4, +1)
  28. Carolina Panthers (1-6, +1)
  29. Tennessee Titans (3-5, -2)
  30. Cleveland Browns (2-6, +2)
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6, -1)
  32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-6, -1)
Predictions for Next Week

TKN's last week accuracy: 9-5 (65.29%)
Billy's last week accuracy: 7-7 (50.00%)
AFS's last week accuracy: 8-6 (57.14%)

TKN's overall 2012 accuracy: 71-47 (60.17%)
Billy's overall 2012 accuracy: 63-55 (53.39%)
AFS's overall 2012 accuracy: 79-39 (66.95%)

Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) @ San Diego Chargers (3-4)
TKN: Kansas City 10, San Diego 26
Billy: Kansas City 4, San Diego 38
AFS: Kansas City 24, San Diego 25

Arizona Cardinals (4-4) @ Green Bay Packers (5-3)
TKN: Arizona 13, Green Bay 27
Billy: Arizona 20, Green Bay 41
AFS: Arizona 19, Green Bay 29

Detroit Lions (3-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
TKN: Detroit 23, Jacksonville 17
Billy: Detroit 28, Jacksonville 14
AFS: Detroit 25, Jacksonville 24

Chicago Bears (6-1) @ Tennessee Titans (3-5)
TKN: Chicago 24, Tennessee 16
Billy: Chicago 27, Tennessee 10
AFS: Chicago 26, Tennessee 22

Denver Broncos (4-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
TKN: Denver 26, Cincinnati 22
Billy: Denver 30, Cincinnati 17
AFS: Denver 22, Cincinnati 20

Carolina Panthers (1-6) @ Washington Redskins (3-5)
TKN: Carolina 20, Washington 24
Billy: Carolina 23, Washington 33
AFS: Carolina 24, Washington 25

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) @ Cleveland Browns (2-6)
TKN: Baltimore 23, Cleveland 20
Billy:Baltimore 10, Cleveland 13
AFS: Baltimore 25, Cleveland 21

Miami Dolphins (4-3) @ Indianapolis Colts (4-3)
TKN: Miami 24, Indianapolis 23
Billy: Miami 18, Indianapolis 21
AFS: Miami 22, Indianapolis 21

Buffalo Bills (3-4) @ Houston Texans (6-1)
TKN: Buffalo 21, Houston 31
Billy: Buffalo 21, Houston 38
AFS: Buffalo 24, Houston 28

Minnesota Vikings (5-3) @ Seattle Seahawks (4-4)
TKN: Minnesota 17, Seattle 23
Billy: Minnesota 22, Seattle 26
AFS: Minnesota 22, Seattle 23

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) @ Oakland Raiders (3-4)
TKN: Tampa Bay 27, Oakland 24
Billy: Tampa Bay 20, Oakland 24
AFS: Tampa Bay 23, Oakland 24

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) @ New York Giants (6-2)
TKN: Pittsburgh 25, New York G 26
Billy: Pittsburgh 31, New York G 27
AFS: Pittsburgh 23, New York G 21

Dallas Cowboys (3-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-0)
TKN: Dallas 19, Atlanta 27
Billy: Dallas 29, Atlanta 34
AFS: Dallas 25, Atlanta 28

Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) @ New Orleans Saints (2-5)
TKN: Philadelphia 24, New Orleans 28
Billy: Philadelphia 20, New Orleans 30
AFS: Philadelphia 25, New Orleans 27

There is no Question of the Week this week. Please tune in next week for that!

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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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

Billy:
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!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NFL 2012 Week 7 Power Rankings and Predictions

Man, was Week 6 something weird. Parity seems to have hit an all-time high in the NFL, with upsets left and right. For example... at the conclusion of Week 6, only two AFC teams have winning records... while a ton of them are sitting at .500... Crazy, right?

Biggest Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+6)
Biggest Loser: Cincinnati Bengals (-8)

1Atlanta Falcons (6-0, +1): It didn't look pretty the last two weeks against the Redskins or Raiders, but the Falcons are the last of the unbeatens- which means they deserve to be ranked #1 (especially considering the amount of parity this year). Matt Ryan didn't look great, throwing three interceptions, but the Falcons were able to rally late to get the all-important W. If you're a Falcons fan, though, you really have to worry about your team letting bad teams stay in games... especially in your own dome.

2. Houston Texans (5-1, -1): The Texans had their weaknesses exposed on Sunday night against the Packers. First of all, the Packers took advantage of a depleted Texans offensive line and Schaub was on his back all game. Secondly, the Houston secondary was shown to be not nearly as good as it was hyped up to be... with Aaron Rodgers throwing 6 touchdown passes against them. The Texans need to address their problems or more teams will go in trying to attack them the way the Packers did.

3. Chicago Bears (4-1, +3): Chicago was on bye, but moves into the Top 3 due to other team's blunders this weekend. They don't play again until Monday night, when they take on the Lions. If the Bears can beat the Lions, they'll move to 5-1 which gives them a comfortable lead in the NFC North. We'll see soon enough whether or not they will fall like other top teams.

4. New York Giants (4-2, +3): The champs had a statement win over the 49ers on Sunday, showing that they are the ultimate team when everyone is doubting them. They went into Candlestick park and ran all over a defense that had not allowed a rushing touchdown in 11 games. Meanwhile, they held an efficient 49ers offense to a mere 3 points. This season has been a roller-coaster ride for the Giants - and will probably continue to be - but this is a team that I will be shocked won't be playoff bound when it all ends.

5. San Francisco 49ers (4-2, -2): After a humbling 26-3 defeat against the Giants, many are beginning to doubt that the 49ers are legitimate this season. I still think they are a very good team, but may have bought into their own hype a bit. They need to restore their underdog mentality in order to play with the passion we saw last season. I have no doubt that Jim Harbaugh will have this team rebounding quickly from a 4-2 start.

6. Green Bay Packers (3-3, +3): We've been waiting all season to see Aaron Rodgers return to his 2011 form, and boy did he ever in a matchup against the previously undefeated Texans. Aaron Rodgers had a monster game, throwing for 6 touchdown passes on Sunday night against what was supposed to be one of the league's best defenses. The Packers have played an intensely difficult schedule thus far, but it gets a little easier with the Rams in Week 7.

7. Baltimore Ravens (5-1, -3): The Ravens' tumble down these Power Rankings have nothing to do with the outcome of Sunday's game... on the contrary, the Ravens' offense was impressive holding off a Cowboys surge to hold onto a win to go 5-1. The reason they are dropping to 7 is that the Ravens had three more key defensive injuries on Sunday - CB Ladarius Webb will be out with the season, while ILB Ray Lewis and DE Haloti Ngata will be out for an unknown amount of time (this added to already losing OLB Terrell Suggs for the year). I don't see how the Ravens defense won't take a significant hit from these losses. Talk about a pyrrhic victory.

8. New England Patriots (3-3, -3): Is the Super Bowl loser curse in full effect here? The Patriots were looking strong against the Seahawks but fell to a last-minute touchdown bomb from Russell Wilson. The Patriots fall to .500, in a four-way tie in the AFC East. While I still fully expect the Patriots to win the division, it does open up the AFC East for one of the other teams to snipe the division. And at 3-3, the Patriots will have to start winning to even get a wildcard birth.

9. Denver Broncos (3-3, +2): Admittedly, I went to sleep last night when the Chargers were up 24-0, thinking the game was all but over at that point. I woke up to find out that the Broncos had come back to win 35-24, much to my astonishment. Talk about Peyton Manning magic. Manning was flawless in the second half, throwing three touchdown passes. The Broncos defense also made great adjustments at half-time, not allowing the Chargers to score any second-half points and getting two touchdowns themselves. Denver takes a much-deserved lead in the AFC West.

10. Seattle Seahawks (4-2, +5): Seattle had a really, really good week in Week 6. Not only was their defense proven to be legitimate as it slowed down Tom Brady's Patriots, but the 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams all lost. This puts the Seahawks in a 3-way tie for 1st in the NFC West. With the 49ers being exposed to the Giants, the Seahawks have a strong chance at making a run for the division. Russell Wilson, who had been mostly a disappointment this year, stepped it up against hte Patriots with his second game-winning touchdown pass in his young career.

11. San Diego Chargers (3-3, -2): The Chargers showed on Monday night exactly how not to be an elite football team. If you're able to get a comfortable 24-0 lead, it is completely unacceptable to go on to lose that football game. The Chargers completely fell apart in the second half. Not only did their defense get chewed apart by Peyton Manning to allow three touchdowns, but the Chargers offense made mistake after mistake, allowing two defensive touchdowns by the Broncos and scoring no second-half points. Philip Rivers ended the day with four interceptions. Talk about a total collapse.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3, -4): This isn't your father's Steelers team. Granted, its not easy to get a win on the road on a short week with some key defensive injuries, but an elite team should absolutely find a way to win against one of the league's worst NFL teams. That's exactly what the Steelers didn't do on Thursday night, getting knocked off by the Titans by a score of 26-23. The Steelers hope to get Troy Polamalu back before their matchup against the Bengals on Sunday night - the Steelers defense is so much better with him in.

13. Dallas Cowboys (2-3, +1): Dallas fought very hard at Baltimore in Week 6, but small offensive mistakes once again killed their chances at getting a win. This is a shame since WR Dez Bryant had easily his best game of the season, having an amazing 13 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas is still a dangerous team to pretty much anyone. But they need to address defensive woes that allowed Baltimore to score 31 points. Also, they hope that DeMarco Murray's injury isn't serious... he was on pace for a monster game before going down to injury.

14. Minnesota Vikings (4-2, -3): I had a feeling the Vikings would fall back down to earth eventually, and it happened in Week 6 against the Redskins. The Vikings defense got completely mugged by Robert Griffin III - the rookie Quarterback didn't beat the Vikings with his arm, but with his leg, scrambling for over 180 yards and two touchdowns. While Christian Ponder continues to impress, he threw a costly two interceptions to a depleted Redskins defense. Maybe the Vikings just have a hard time countering running Quarterbacks... or maybe its just a symptom of a bigger defensive problem. We'll find out.

15. Arizona Cardinals (4-2, -2): As I kept saying earlier, the Cardinals' 4-0 start was an anomaly. This isn't to say that the Cardinals are a bad football team. On the contrary, their defense gives them a chance to win pretty much any football game. But in their 4-0 stretch, pretty much every coin-flip went their way. The Cardinals are in desperate need for offensive line help - no passing attack or rushing attack can be successful when the opponent's defensive line gets in the backfield a second after the snap.

16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3, +0): Even when the Eagles were 3-1, I knew this team was destined for mediocrity. They fired DC Juan Castillo following the game, but the defense wasn't the issue here; Andy Reid is using him as a scapegoat. The Eagles have a few problems, all of them on offense. One, Andy Reid is not the offensive genius some believe he is, his play-calling has been awful. Defenses know Reid won't run the ball, which makes the Eagles offense one-dimensional. Secondly, the loss of Jason Peters has exposed Michael Vick's lack of pocket presence and lack of accuracy. At this point, the Eagles mine as well try out rookie QB Nick Foles, who looked impressive in the pre-season.

17. Washington Redskins (3-3, +2): The Redskins are a team with several issues. But when you have one of the best young playmakers in the NFL, you are going to be in a position to win any game. That's exactly what the Redskins have in Robert Griffin III. He only threw for 180 yards, but also got over 180 yards on the ground, for three total touchdowns. Talk about a dynamic playmaker. Wow.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3, +6): Greg Schiano had his Buccaneers playing great football coming off the bye week. Granted, it was only against the Chiefs, at home, but they dominated a team that was giving some teams fits. They stuffed Jamaal Charles and exploded on offense, beating the Chiefs 38-10. They get another struggling team, the Saints, at home in Week 7. But the Saints will be a more interesting challenge since they are coming off a bye and are much more talented than the Chiefs.

19. New Orleans Saints (1-4, +2): The Saints were on bye, and saw two of their rivals, the Bucs and the Falcons, win in Week 6. Sitting at 1-4, the Saints' chances of overtaking the 6-0 Falcons for the NFC South is slim, but they could rebound and fight for a wildcard spot. We know they have the talent, but what we don't know is if they can address their issues (mostly defensive ones) during the bye week and come out with the momentum they had in their Monday night win over the Chargers in Week 5.

20. New York Jets (3-3, +5): Like a lot of 3-3 teams, this season has been up-and-down for the Jets. But they showed exactly what they are capable of against Andrew Luck and the Colts. Antonio Cromartie completely shut down Reggie Wayne while the Jets defense got a lot of pressure on Andrew Luck, forcing the rookie to throw two interceptions. Meanwhile, Shonn Greene finally had a break-out game, carrying the ball 32 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns. I fully expect Greene to come back to earth as he faces New England and Miami in the next two weeks, but it was a good sign, as Greene averaged just 2.9 yards per carry going into that game.

21. Detroit Lions (2-3, +2): The Lions aren't going to go 10-6 again, but at least they showed they can still compete. A comeback 26-23 win should boost morale in Detroit but they still face an up-hill battle to get out of the cellar of the NFC North. Things certainly don't get easier in Week 7, when they travel to Chicago to play the 4-1 Bears, who are coming off their bye. At least their running game isn't completely pitiful now that Mikel LeShoure is finally playing.

22Miami Dolphins (3-3, +4): With the exception of Week 1 against the Texans, this Dolphins team has played good strong football. Ryan Tannehill has improved every week, and could be argued to be the second-best rookie Quarterback this season behind Robert Griffin. The defense is playing as good as anybody. While they were a bit lucky in Week 6 that Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missing 3 field goals, Dolphins fans don't feel too guilty, since they're finally not the team losing due to their kicker - Dan Carpenter arguably cost them two games this year on field goal misses.

23. Buffalo Bills (3-3, -1): Buffalo had a good solid overtime win against the Cardinals in Week 7, a good sign after being destroyed on the ground for two straight weeks. The Cardinals were in no position to expose the Bills' weakness against the run, as the Cardinals offensive line is even more inept than Buffalo's run defense. The reason I don't rank the Bills higher is because I need to see if they are capable against stopping the run against a better offense. The AFC East is wide open, however, with each team being 3-3.

24. St. Louis Rams (3-3, -6): When it rains, it pours for Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein, who not only missed his first NFL field goal on Sunday against the Dolphins, but ended up missing two more before the day was done. However, that was only part of the reason for the Rams 17-14 loss against the Dolphins. Sam Bradford looked okay, but he is obviously struggling without his #1 man, Danny Amendola. The defense continues to be solid but the Rams will struggle to win games until they get Amendola back. They hope he'll be good to go after their Week 8 bye, which they need.

25. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3, -8): I think my initial read on this team was spot-on. This is a Bengals team with an improved offense under second-year Quarterback Andy Dalton, but the defense has regressed from last year to a large degree. They struggle against the run without stacking the box, and their defensive secondary allows big gains to opposing Quarterbacks. The Bengals can't feel good about losing 34-24 against the previously winless Browns.

26. Indianapolis Colts (2-3, -6): I should've realized that after a huge emotional upset of the Packers, the Colts would have a hang-over the next week traveling to New York to play the Jets. This is a Colts team that combines a below-average defense with a rookie Quarterback - not the best combination. The Colts allowed a 161 yard day to Shonn Greene, who previously had less than 3 yards per carry on the year. Teams should be able to run all over them.

27Carolina Panthers (1-4, +0): If the Panthers want any chance at making a playoff push, they have to hope that sophomore Quarterback Cam Newton has figured some things out during his bye week. The Panthers get a difficult challenge with the Cowboys coming to town in Week 7... the Cowboys defense is potent and can provide problems for Cam Newton. Meanwhile, Tony Romo is hungry for a win and wants to take advantage of a Panthers defense that has been below average.

28. Oakland Raiders (1-4, +1): The Raiders may have been the only team in Week 7 to not finish their potential upset. While the Raiders looked strong traveling to the East coast to play the undefeated Falcons, they eventually fell short, allowing Matt Ryan to orchestrate a game-winning drive. They were able to pick Ryan off three times, but the Raiders offense struggled against a strong Falcons defense. If the Raiders can play to this level, they can challenge most teams. The Raiders should have a good chance against the Jaguars in Week 7, but need to keep Maurice Jones-Drew in check. Aside from bottling up Michael Turner in Week 6, the Raiders have struggled versus the run.

29. Tennessee Titans (2-4, +2): I'm not going to overact about their 26-23 win on Thursday night over the Steelers, this team still has a lot to prove before they climb out of the cellar of my NFL power rankings. On a positive note, Kenny Britt returning from injury has helped this offense a ton. Britt had only an average night on Thursday, catching 4 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, but his presence keeps teams from stacking the box against Chris Johnson, who had a respectable 19 carry, 91 yard night. If the Titans can stay dynamic on offense, they could string some games together. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5, -2): The problem with the Chiefs is that their only offensive playmaker, Jamaal Charles, is countered easily early in the game by stacking the box and is a RB so can't help late in the game when the Chiefs are down big. Brady Quinn was largely ineffective in his first start of the season - but he really wasn't much worse than Matt Cassel. Romeo Crennel is a good coordinator, but really isn't cut out to be a Head coach. This Chiefs team is bad, plain and simple.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4, -1): At 1-4, Jacksonville has looked pretty bad this season. I was mistakenly high on this team in pre-season but at this point, I'd say Blaine Gabbert has failed to show he is a capable NFL Quarterback while the defense has been a disappointment. The good news is that Maurice Jones-Drew ought to have a good game in Week 7 against a soft defensive front of the Raiders.

32. Cleveland Browns (1-5, +0): They won one game against a division rival with a struggling defense, whoop de doo. They are still the worst team in the NFL in my mind. I'm sure this win, which included a decent outing by Brandon Weeden, will stir all sorts of hope by Browns fans but as I explained all year long - this Browns team is all about false hope. They do have a decent opportunity to string a second win together, however, against the Colts in Week 7. Trent Richardson must be licking his chops getting to run against a defense that allowed 161 yards to Shonn freakin' Greene.

EDIT: Looks like the Browns fired president Mike Holmgren. I called this before the season began, but the timing is a little odd... Right after their first win? Either way, unless the Browns have some massive turnaround and look near-elite by the season's end, this firing also means Pat Shurmur's and Brandon Weeden's days in Cleveland are numbered.

Predictions for Next Week

TKN's last week accuracy: 5-9 (35.71%)
Billy's last week accuracy: 5-9 (35.71%)
AFS's* last week accuracy: 8-6 (57.15%)

TKN's Overall 2012 accuracy: 50-41 (54.95%)
Billy's Overall 2012 accuracy: 47-44 (51.65%)
AFS's* Overall 2012 accuracy: 60-31 (65.93%)
*American Football Simulator averages of 2,000 simulations.

As I mentioned earlier, Week 6 was full of upsets... and therefore, we got absolutely spanked in our predictions. Me and Billy went 5-9 and even the Simulator succumbed to the unpredictability of last week - going 8-6. Of course, this gives the AFS another 3 games of lead over us... the AFS now leads me on the season by 10 games. Well... there's no shame in being beaten by a computer... right? ... Right...?

Russell Wilson needs to have another good game.
Seattle Seahawks (4-2) @ San Francisco 49ers (4-2)
TheKillerNacho: I wonder if the 49ers were looking past the Giants in Week 6 to the Thursday night matchup against the division-rival Seahawks? While its a little hard to believe they'd look over the former champions, it is possible. The winner of this game will lead the division. I like the 49ers at home to rebound and take a close victory.
Seattle 21, San Francisco 23

Billy:
Seattle 26, San Francisco 27

American  Football Simulator:
Seattle 19, San Francisco 26

Arizona Cardinals (4-2) @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
TheKillerNacho: Both of these teams probably aren't as good as a 4-2 record indicates, but it is clear to me which of the two is more deserving of the record. The Vikings defense should play well at home and not allow the Cardinals to run the ball. Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb will have a hard time throwing into an improved Vikings secondary. Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson should be good enough to push the Vikings to a win.
Arizona 16, Minnesota 20

Billy:
Arizona 17, Minnesota 20

American  Football Simulator:
Arizona 22, Minnesota 25

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) @ Carolina Panthers (1-4)
TheKillerNacho: Dallas hopes to rebound after a disappointing 29-31 loss to the Ravens in Week 6. The Panthers are dangerous coming off their bye but if the Cowboys can improve defensively from last week they should be able to give trouble to Cam Newton. I'll go with Dallas.
Dallas 26, Carolina 24

Billy:
Dallas 28, Carolina 14

American Football Simulator:
Dallas 27, Carolina 26

New Orleans Saints (1-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
TheKillerNacho: This should be a good game, and I honestly don't have a good read on it. On one hand, I think Doug Martin should have a good game against a Saints defense that is awful against the run. On the other, the Saints are coming off a bye and should have momentum coming off of an exciting Monday night win against the Chargers. I'm going to bet on Drew Brees, here.
New Orleans 28, Tampa Bay 26

Billy:
New Orleans 30, Tampa Bay 34

American Football Simulator:
New Orleans 27, Tampa Bay 24

Can Aaron Rodgers repeat what he did at Houston?
Green Bay Packers (3-3) @ St. Louis Rams (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Packers offense seemed to get back on track at Houston last week, but the Rams defense is no easy test, especially in St. Louis. Robert Quinn and Chris Long should prey on Packers offensive tackles that have struggled this season at defending Rodgers. Without Danny Amendola, though, I don't know how effective this Rams offense can be against a stingy Packers defense. I'm not going to bet against Aaron Rodgers to get things done.
Green Bay 24, St. Louis 17

Billy:
Green Bay 27, St. Louis 17

American Football Simulator:
Green Bay 25, St. Louis 21

Washington Redskins (3-3) @ New York Giants (4-2)
TheKillerNacho: Since the Giants are the favorites here, my gut is telling me to pick the Redskins. However, I won't betray my mind, which tells me the Giants are the better team. The Giants need to be careful, though. Robert Griffin is a dynamic playmaker and parts of the Giants defense is suspect. Also, this is a division game and anything is possible.
Washington 23, New York G 25

Billy:
Washington 38, New York G 31

American Football Simulator:
Washington 21, New York G 24

Baltimore Ravens (5-1) @ Houston Texans (5-1)
TheKillerNacho: With the Ravens depleted defense, this is a game that I fully expect the Texans to win at home. It will be close, however, since I think Baltimore will abuse Brian Cushing's absence with Ray Rice. Still, Arian Foster should eat up a Baltimore defense that lacks Ray Lewis, Lardarius Webb, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata.
Baltimore 26, Houston 31

Billy:
Baltimore 24, Houston 35

American Football Simulator:
Baltimore 26, Houston 28

Tennessee Titans (2-4) @ Buffalo Bills (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: Both of these teams are trying to prove that they can fix their problems that they showed so far. The Bills are and should be the favorites at home, but they need to shut down Chris Johnson. The Bills have been weak against the run in recent weeks and while Chris Johnson has been a downer this year, he has shown some flashes of his prime.
Tennessee 23, Buffalo 27

Billy:
Tennessee 19, Buffalo 24

American Football Simulator:
Tennessee 25, Buffalo 26

Richardson looks to have a monster game @ IND.
Cleveland Browns (1-5) @ Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
TheKillerNacho: The Colts are a better team at home, which is why I expect them to get a win here against what I see as the worst team in the NFL. However, they showed an ineptitude at the Jets last week against the run. They need to stack the box, do whatever they have to, to stop a much better back in Trent Richardson.
Cleveland 20, Indianapolis 22

Billy:
Cleveland 20, Indianapolis 26

American Football Simulator:
Cleveland 22, Indianapolis 21

New York Jets (3-3) @ New England Patriots (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: This is a matchup that will determine who controls the AFC East at the end of Week 7. In New England, its a game I fully expect the Patriots to win. Shonn Greene should come crashing back to Earth against a much better defense of the Patriots'. And I think Tom Brady will come out angry and find one of his two elite Tight ends (now that Aaron Hernandez is back and healthy) for a good day.
New York J 17, New England 27

Billy:
New York J 21, New England 45

American Football Simulator:
New York J 20, New England 26

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) @ Oakland Raiders (1-4)
TheKillerNacho: The Raiders played very well last week at Atlanta, but ultimately lost. They get a much easier matchup at home against the Jaguars. I think the Raiders will win but the Jaguars will keep it close with Maurice Jones-Drew having a good day against the Raiders' front seven.
Jacksonville 19, Oakland 23

Billy:
Jacksonville 14, Oakland 33

American Football Simulator:
Jacksonville 23, Oakland 24

Troy Polamalu is vital to Pittsburgh's defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)
TheKillerNacho: This is an important game for both teams in the AFC North. The injuries to the Ravens may open the door to one of these teams sniping the division, but they have to win here. I like the Steelers to bounce back with a win on a long week, especially if Troy Polamalu plays. While in years past, this would be a defensive struggle, I expect this one to be a very offensive game with ultimately the team that makes the least mistakes winning. I like the Steelers.
Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 25

Billy:
Pittsburgh 16, Cincinnati 29

American Football Simulator:
Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17

Detroit Lions (2-3) @ Chicago Bears (4-1)
TheKillerNacho: The Lions may have won in Week 6, but they haven't looked great in any of their games this season, unlike the Bears, which are 4-1 and coming off their bye. The Bears defense is arguably the best defense in football at this point, and have been brutal in forcing turnovers this year. Detroit, on the other hand, has been a turnover machine. The Bears should take this game on Monday night.
Detroit 21, Chicago 26

Billy:
Detroit 27, Chicago 41

American Football Simulator:
Detroit 22, Chicago 25

Question of the Week

Last week, I asked "Which key NFL injury hurts their team the most?" between Darrelle Revis (NYJ), Brian Cushing (HOU), Danny Amendola (STL), Cedric Benson (GB), Jason Peters (PHI), or Other (please comment)? The poll ended up in a tie between Danny Amendola and Cedric Benson, with 25% each. While I agree Amendola was a costly injury, Green Bay appears to not be affected by the loss of Benson. Darrelle Revis, Brian Cushing, and Jason Peters all tied for third with 17% of the vote. No one voted other.

As I mentioned several times, there were a ton of upsets in Week 6. This week's question is, "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? I tried to pick the six largest upsets in my mind as options... the Redskins' and Broncos' upsets also deserve honorable mentions. Ultimately, the largest upset for me was the Titans over the Steelers. I really thought the short week would benefit the Steelers over the Titans because the Steelers were the better team and can stop the run. The game was completely different than I thought.

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