Week five wasn’t too bad at all, of course the Ravens couldn’t cover the 5 point spread I put them at, but the 49ers and Bears took care of business in a big way. I was admittedly nervous about the Ravens, and sure enough they ate the clock with nearly 4 and half minutes left instead of trying to pad their lead. It seems that every team that finishes the game with a kneel down also puts a check in the win column, and that is what counts in January.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With that being said, I’m going right back at the Chiefs this weekend. Tampa Bay plays at home, coming off of a Bye Week, and will have put together a solid game plan, enabling them to move the football both on the ground, and in the air. Ultimately though, look for them to get their defense back in tune with the groove it had in Week 1 and 3. Tampa Bay has been holding their opponents to under 75 rushing yards a game, so keeping Jamaal Charles in check isn’t unfeasible. On the contrary, Tampa has been torched in the air, giving up more yards a game than anyone in the league.
Enter Fighting Irish alum, Brady Quinn, who couldn’t even beat out Tim Tebow last year, and is getting his first NFL Start since 2009. The potential is there for Quinn to have a nice afternoon offensively, in part because this is the best offense he has ever started for, but the rested Bucs will be ready. Charles is going to get his yards, and likely find pay dirt, so containing the passing game will be critical for TB, but there is no Manning to Nicks for 199 yards type performances going on this Sunday. Obviously, Dwayne Bowe is a matchup issue, but until Jon Baldwin gains some consistency the Chiefs bottom tier passing attack falls quite short of the Buccaneers’ past opponents ability to spread the field.
Kansas City’s defense will have their own troubles as Tampa Bay’s Offense is rested and ready to pound the football with rookie Doug Martin, and Ducks alum LeGarrette Blount who has something to prove after a poor sophomore campaign and weak preseason. Josh Freeman has clicked with newcomer Vincent Jackson early and often thus far in 2012, but look for him to get back on track with his former favorite Red Zone target Mike Williams as well. Freeman is only 24, so his growing pains are understandable, but it is tough to understand why he isn’t as mobile this year, including his substantially fewer rushing yards.
I’m going with some 2010 Josh Freeman, and a Buccaneers win by 4.
New England Patriots @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have been incredible at home this season. They’ve held two supposedly top notch offenses in check, to the tune of 7 Points for the Cowboys and 12 points for the Packers and beat them both. Skipping the officiating song and dance, the Seahawks defense went into Charlotte and shut down the Panthers last week too. Sitting at 3-2 with as good a defense as there is to be found in the NFL, an argument can be made for the Birds being the favorite in this matchup. Toss in the unfriendly confines and hostile environment of Century Link Field to said argument and it could be a rough day for the Pats.
Speaking of the Pats, they’ve put up more points in the past three games than Seattle has all season, and the Russell Wilson lead passing attack is 2nd worse in the NFL. This could be nearly a wash as New England is giving up yards in bunches through the air, but the Seahawks wont be able to keep up in a shootout. Wes Welker is back to being Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd is just getting warmed up, and Rob Gronkowski might be the best player in the league if he could ever stay completely healthy.
For the first time in recent years the Patriots are boasting a balanced and potent running game, that is keeping Brady out of the shotgun more, while also keeping defenses honest. There is a 4 headed monster now, and the football is being spread around by the ultimate game management duo. New England has a pile of youngsters surrounding Vince Wilfork, and Chander Jones out of Syracuse is garnering a lot of well deserved attention. Got to get the shout out in for Gator alumni Brandon Spikes, because he is always a factor when healthy. Speaking of Gators alumni, Aaron Hernandez is nearing his return, so Fantasy Footballers should keep tabs on him from here on out as he might be in action tomorrow.
But with, or without Aaron Hernandez I’m rolling with a Patriots win by 4 as well.
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning is ready to even up the Broncos record on Monday Night Football and I’m afraid there is not a lot that the Lightning Bolts are going to be able to do about it. Denver has lost to New England, Houston, and Atlanta. It would be tough to argue that when 8 teams are left fighting, those will be three of them. In all 5 Bronco games this season Manning has thrown for the most yards, he currently sits 3rd in the NFL in passing yards and has developed a beastly knack for finding D. Thomas open all over the field. Manning is also spreading the ball around to Decker and Stokley, and the TE combo of Tamme and Dreessen. All the while, Willis McGahee just keeps proving he still has it.
The Chargers haven’t beaten a strong team yet, and got lit up by Manning clone Matt Ryan at home in Week 3. The Chargers are seriously missing a go to receiver, and to Rivers’ credit he has managed to spread the ball around, but neither Malcolm Floyd or Antonio Gates have been able to get the job done. In fact, Gates has only 13 catches and still hasn’t caught a TD. Ryan Matthews is back and will start for the Chargers after a solid game last week, and he has topped 100 yards in all three career games against the Broncos. That includes a 3 TD performance late in his rookie season. San Diego needs Matthews to have a big game, and Denver knows it.
With the Chiefs and Raiders falling behind these two divisional rivals it is a huge game for both teams. A Denver win will put them in first place, while a Bolts victory will give them a 2 win cushion. The Chargers lost a shootout to the 0-4 Saints and Drew Brees last week, as Marques Colston hauled in 3 TDs, expect similar things from Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas this week.
Ending with a tribute to an old Peyton Manning, Peyton Manning fan and buddy – “He is so good, you have to say his name twice” – Broncos to win straight up, in a close divisional battle.
Good Luck Fake Footballers !