NFL Week 5 Impressions
The Adjustment Game – Patriots vs. Jets. New England was playing at home, ready for revenge for their playoff loss last season, and won the game by being able to adapt to what the New York defense was doing. Football is a game that is decided by players, but coaching and specifically situational coaching plays a humongous part. The Jets blitzed on every chance they had and played a number of defensive backs in order to disrupt Brady’s timing patterns with his receivers. Brady (the coach on the field) was able to recognize these sets by the defense and audible to a run by the man with the best nickname in the league – Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis (The Law firm). Green-Ellis had a career day because that is what the defense presented. The Jets on the other hand were intent on establishing the run to show they can play smash mouth football. While this worked for one long drive, the Patriots defense is susceptible against the pass. Amazingly, New England was able to force seven 3 and outs on the Jets 11 drives on the day. In the end, this game was close even though it shouldn’t have been. All I can say about when the Pats travel to New York in November is – CAN’T WAIT.
Highlights – http://bit.ly/nFGKZN
Undefeated Teams Stay Perfect: Lions vs. Bears, Packers @ Falcons. Both of our undefeated teams were faced with difficult prime-time matchups and each was able to get a good win. The Lions showed off their star-power getting big touchdown passes to Megatron and Brandon Pettigrew as well as an 88-yard run by Jahvid Best. Throw Matthew Stafford into the mix and the Lions have elite skill positions players at each spot – QB, RB, WR and TE. Health has been an issue the past couple years with this team, but if they are able to stay healthy, they could be playing the other remaining undefeated team in the playoffs. The defending champs showed why they are still the class of the league by going into a difficult place and taking a victory. Aaron Rodgers threw for almost 400 yards including a huge 70-yard pass to James Jones, which was the momentum changer for the game. The Falcons were outscored 19-0 in the second half at home and have to be seriously questioning themselves right now.
GB/ATL Highlights – http://bit.ly/r9sfTv
Upset of the day – Seahawks @ Giants. Here is the game that rocked all survivor leagues this past weekend. I know I thought there was no way that the Giants were going to lose at home against a team traveling cross country, but this is why we play the games. The Giants put themselves in a position to win with a drive to the 3 yard line, but looked confused on the series and Eli Manning threw a pick-6 to give the Seahawks the victory. This game left me confused by the Giants, their pass rush is frightening, their pass defense is horrendous, they cant run the ball when the need to and the passing game is a work in progress. I see both of these teams headed for 8-8 when it’s all said and done. Got to give some props to Charlie Whitehurst for coming in and not missing a beat for the defending NFC West champs. Doesn’t he do that once a year?
Highlights – http://bit.ly/nTGKBP
Blow-out City Population: 49ers vs. Buccaneers and Vikings vs. Cardinals. Each of these games was over early. The 9ers were up 24-3 at the half and Minnesota was leading 28-0 at the half in their game (AP had 3 first quarter TDs). While I am disappointed in myself for not betting the Minnesota game, I did not see the San Francisco result happening and am not quite yet becoming a believer in them. No coach has made more of an impact than Jim Harbaugh, the defense is playing dominant football again, and the offensive line is manhandling other teams to open running lanes for Frank Gore (and rookie Kendall Hunter) and give Alex Smith time. The issue with the 9ers for the past couple years have been mismanagement of games and this team has a high ceiling now that there is someone competent leading the way. While San Fran is 4-1, Minnesota is only 1-4 and has to be kicking them for not having a better record. Missed opportunities have been the theme of their season and by playing in the best division in football may keep them out of the playoff picture this year.
SF/TB Highlights – http://bit.ly/nolGDj
MN/AZ Highlights – http://bit.ly/oOc5RL
Let’s GO Buffalo: Buffalo vs. Philadelphia. How good is the environment in Western New York for their games? This city is die-hard for their sports teams and will be ravenous for any occasion to show their pride. This was a big game for a couple reasons and the team is clearly feeding off the city. The defense has been a huge part of their early season success and it continued against the Eagles by forcing 4 picks and returning one for a touchdown. Fred Jackson is still dominating and Ryan Fitzpatrick did enough to move his team to 4-1. The ‘Dream Team’ dropped to 1-4 and mismanaged another game. The gigantic seat that Andy Reid sits on must be getting very very hot.
Highlights – http://bit.ly/pun72p
Random Thoughts. The fight in the Panthers-Saints game was awesome – loved this game as it had a rivalry feel to it. Raiders just win baby, thanks for Matt Schaub handing the game over with the last play. It was a very emotional win for the Silver and Black, a great homage to their late owner Al Davis. Chiefs over Colts and Bengals over Jaguars are the irrelevant games of the weekend. Big Ben shows toughness (again) in throwing 5 TDs for a big win against Tennessee. Chargers beat the Broncos and the Tim Tebow era begins in Denver.
Week 6 Preview. Lot of fun games coming off our first bye week of the season. The Pats host the Cowboys in a challenge of worse pass defenses (I am smashing the over!). San Francisco heads to Detroit looking to continue their run and knock the Lions from the unbeaten ranks. Every Carolina game has turned out to be a must watch event thanks to Cam Newton and Steve Smith, and the Panthers are traveling to a reeling Atlanta. Buffalo travels to face the Giants in a battle of New York. And the final game I’ll be watching is Philly traveling to Washington (off a bye) in a must win game.