NFL Week 6: Cowboys @ Vikings

Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings Sun. Oct. 17th 4:15pm EST

Before this NFL regular season even began, the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys were considered to be arguably two of the best teams in the league and without a doubt legitimate Super Bowl title contenders, but after the first five weeks of the season that is no longer the case as both NFC Conference heavyweights have really struggled getting things headed in the right direction.

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Coming into Week 6, the Minnesota Vikings (1-3) and the Dallas Cowboys (1-3) will only have one win on the season, but that will change as one team has to come out (unless there is an unlikely tie).

This past Monday night, Brett Favre and his new look offense with the addition of superstar wide receiver Randy Moss took the field at New Meadowlands Stadium to take on arguably the best team in the league in the New York Jets. Even though the Minnesota Vikings offense in the first half was just horrible to say the least by putting up a big goose egg, Brett Favre and company were able to get on track offensively in the second half by scoring 20 points, but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the New York Jets field goals in the first half and 14 point fourth quarter.

Despite coming out of Monday night with the loss, the Vikings did look like there were signs of life as they were finally able to get their offense going with Randy Moss downfield and Percy Harvin benefiting from the lack of attention from the defense.

As for the Dallas Cowboys, they also looked pretty good in Week 5 as their offense seemed to be firing on all cylinders with Tony Romo passing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, but it was the quarterback’s three interceptions that turned out to be Cowboys Achilles heel once again as they all came at the worst time during the game when Dallas was trying to reclaim the lead from the Tennessee Titans.

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Even though both the Cowboys and the Vikings had some forgettable first few weeks of the NFL regular season, things could quickly change with a win in Week 6. Unfortunately, as I said before, only one team can come out on top in this one and with the way both teams were playing last week, my money is on the Minnesota Vikings to get their second win of the season as they seem to be the better team on both sides of the football right now.

As of right now, Brett Favre and company are favored to come out on top in this NFC Conference showdown with a -1.5 point spread. That alone tells you how much of a battle this game will be, but I believe that spread is pretty much on the money as the Minnesota Vikings should be the team to ultimately come out on top this Sunday.

NFL Week 6: Chargers @ Rams

San Diego Chargers @ St. Louis Rams Sun. Oct. 17th 1pm

The San Diego Chargers are coming off yet another disappointing loss against a team that they should have easily beaten in the AFC West division rival Oakland Raiders. Even though division rivalries like this are always hard fought battles, Philip Rivers and company had gotten the best of the silver and black in 13 straight games before Week 5’s loss and it seems as though the hits just keep on coming for Bolts.

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Heading into this NFL regular season, the Chargers were considered to be the clear favorites to win the AFC West division once again and possibly make it all the way to the Super Bowl, but the way this season has started for Norv Turner’s squad, they will be lucky if they can even lock up a playoff spot at season’s end.

There is no question about the talent on this San Diego Chargers team led by two-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers, but they are infamous for getting off to slow starts every year and this season is no different as they will be heading into their Week 6 matchup with the St. Louis Rams sporting a 2-3 record and sitting behind both the Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) and the Oakland Raiders (2-3) in the AFC West division standings.

Just like in years past, the consensus around the league is that the San Diego Chargers will start turn it around as they always do, but they might have their hands full in Week 6 against an up and coming St. Louis Rams team led by promising rookie quarterback in Sam Bradford.

Obviously, even though they have played pretty poorly over the last few weeks, the Chargers are favored to win this game and by a big margin (-9), but if they can’t contain Rams running back Steven Jackson in the ground game and quarterback Sam Bradford in the passing game, Norv Turner and company could be in trouble and in danger of falling to 2-4 on the year.

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Even if the Chargers do get out of this game alive and manage to even up their record at 3-3, things will not get any easier down the road as their schedule is pretty tough from here on out as they are set to play the New England Patriots (3-1) next week and teams like the Tennessee Titans (3-2), Indianapolis Colts (3-2) and the Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) in the following weeks.

Needless to say, this is pretty much a must win situation for the San Diego Chargers as they could very easily see their season spiral out of control if they don’t come out on top against the St. Louis Rams, but even though they have struggled to start the season once again, I believe they should get back to form this Sunday and get back into the mix in the AFC West division.

Monday Night Football Recap: Week 5

Jets defense steals the spotlight in Randy Moss return to the Vikings

It was no secret heading into Week 5’s Monday Night Football showdown between Rex Ryan’s Jets and Brett Favre’s Vikings that Minnesota has struggled to get things going this season, especially on the offensive side of the football, but after making the trade for arguably one of the best wide receivers of all-time in superstar Randy Moss from the New England Patriots, things were destined to change.

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Even though things did ultimately change for the Minnesota Vikings offense with Randy Moss in the mix, the result stayed the same as Brett Favre and company were unable to get their second win of the season as the New York Jets played some physical, hardnosed football on the defensive side of the football and came out with their fourth win of the season 29-20.

There is no question that the Minnesota Vikings are a much improved team on the offensive side of the football with Randy Moss as the number one receiver, but the team still struggled to get going early in the game and were scoreless going into halftime.

Obviously, Brett Favre and his offense were able to turn things around in the second half by scoring 20 points, but it did take them too long to get things turned around and it ultimately cost them the game once again.

One thing to take from this game heading into Week 6 is that the Minnesota Vikings will be much improved for the rest of the season as the addition of Randy Moss without a doubt opened up the passing game as Percy Harvin was getting the football much more than usual and finished the day with a game-high 97 yards and two touchdowns.

As for the New York Jets, they looked solid once again as their defense was flying all over the field and running game was clicking once again with 155 rushing yards on the day. Not only did Shonn Greene have a big night with 57 rushing yards and a touchdown, but LaDainian Tomlinson continues to step up when the Jets need him as he showed flashes of his former dominance in the ground game with 94 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Needless to say, the New York Jets are flying high right now as they have won four straight games against some tough teams and seem to have everything going their way on both sides of the football.

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Even though the Minnesota Vikings can’t say the same, the New York Jets season only gets easier from here on out as they have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With the Green Bay Packers (3-2), New England Patriots (3-1), Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) and the Chicago Bears (4-1) being their toughest opponents left on their schedule.

It will be interesting to see how these two teams finish out the season, but with the way the New York Jets are playing right now, I won’t be surprised to see them go the distance!

Cowboys lose third to the Titans

There is no team in the NFL these days that has more pressure to win in my opinion than the Dallas Cowboys. No matter what team they put on the football field every week, owner Jerry Jones and the sports media tend to put an enormous amount of pressure on America’s team to perform and ultimately to become Super Bowl title contenders.

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Coming into this NFL regular season, the consensus around the league was that the Dallas Cowboys were the team to beat in the NFC Conference.

Even though there were plenty of talented teams in the NFC that were thought to be Super Bowl title contenders as well like the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers and the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys seemed to have the edge as it was thought that this was the year everything was finally going to fall into place.

With all that being said and the fact that this season’s Super Bowl will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys were destined to make a run at a title, but that just hasn’t been the case early in this season as they have struggled on both sides of the football at times this year with the defense making costly mistakes and the offense not living up to the hype of being one of the best in the NFL.

Regardless of what happen in the first three weeks of the season (1-2 record), Tony Romo and company came off their bye week with high hopes of getting back on track with their second straight win of the season over Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans, but the complete opposite happen as both Vince Young (173 passing yards, two touchdowns) and Chris Johnson (131 rushing yards, two touchdowns) had solid performances and were able to lead the Titans to a 34-27 victory.

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Even though the Dallas Cowboys were able to get their offense going at times which resulted in Tony Romo throwing for over 400 yards and three touchdowns and Felix Jones finally having a breakout game with 109 yards rushing, it wasn’t enough and the three costly interceptions that Romo threw were what sealed the deal for Jeff Fisher’s Titans as they came a crucial moments in the game.

Not only were the Cowboys given plenty of opportunities to get back into this game and improve their record to 2-2, but their offense needs work as Tony Romo is turning the football over way too much this season.

I wish I could say that things will only get easier for America’s team moving forward, but that just isn’t the case as they have the third toughest schedule in the league and will face off against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 where they will almost certainly fall to very disappointing record of 1-4.

NFL Week 5: Chiefs @ Colts

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts Sun. Oct. 10th 1pm EST

Ironically enough, the Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) and the Indianapolis Colts (2-2) are two teams in the AFC Conference that are headed in opposite directions as Matt Cassel and the Chiefs are the last undefeated team in the NFL and Peyton Manning and company are coming off their second loss of the season to a division opponent in the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Coming into the NFL regular season, the consensus around the league was that the Indianapolis Colts were the team to beat this year and the odds on favorites to win the Super Bowl, but after the first four weeks of the season and losses to the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts might not be the dominant team that everyone thought they were.

There is no question that Peyton Manning is still playing at MVP form right now as he has already thrown for 1,365 yards, 11 touchdowns and just one interception, but it has been the Colts defense that has really dropped the ball for Indianapolis as they are 15th in the league against the pass (217.5 yards per game) and a dreadful 29th (149.5 yards per game) in the league against the run.

The Indianapolis Colts have never been known for their play on the defensive side of the football, but those kind of numbers are just not going to get the job done, especially when they are losing to teams like the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

In Week 5, Peyton Manning and company will have their work cut out for them once again and could be headed towards having a losing record of 2-3 if they aren’t up to the task of taking down the last undefeated team in the league in Matt Cassel’s Kansas City Chiefs.

As usual, no one expected much from the Kansas City Chiefs this season as they came into the NFL regular season with relatively the same team intact, but with the key additions of rookie safety Eric Berry (Tennessee) and veteran running back Thomas Jones, this team has started to click on both sides of the football.

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The most impressive of the three wins on the season for the Kansas City Chiefs was in Week 1 against the division rival San Diego Chargers where they basically dominated Philip Rivers and company from the word go and came out on top 21-14, but since then they have been able to play consistently well with wins over the Cleveland Browns (16-14) and the San Francisco 49ers (31-10) in consecutive weeks.

The one knock on the Chiefs has been that people believe that they have just been getting lucky with a series of trick plays, but that theory will be put to the test against the Colts in Week 5 as Peyton Manning and company will be testing the much improved Kansas City secondary all day long.

As of right now, the Indianapolis Colts are big favorites to win this matchup with a -9 point spread, but I believe that is way too high as everyone continues to underestimate the Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL Week 5: Packers @ Redskins

Green Bay Packers @ Washington Redskins Sun. Oct. 10th 1pm EST

The Washington Redskins have been one of the worst teams in the league over the past few years, but after they made the deal in the offseason for six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb and hired two-time Super Bowl champion head coach Mike Shanahan, the struggling NFL franchise were able to turn their team around with high hopes for the future.

Even though adding Shanahan and McNabb were considered upgrades for Washington, many people still doubted the Redskins ability to compete in the NFC Conference or even in the very competitive NFC East division, but after the first four weeks of the season, the Washington Redskins are in first place in the NFC East.

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In Week 5, Donovan McNabb and company will put their first place standing on the line in perhaps their toughest matchup of the season so far against the Green Bay Packers. Despite coming into this season as arguably a Super Bowl title contender in the NFC Conference, the Packers have struggled on both sides of the football this season.

Coming into Week 5, the Packers are sporting a 3-1 record, but it hasn’t come easy as they faced some tough competition early in the season with the Philadelphia Eagles (27-20), Chicago Bears (20-17, loss) and the Detroit Lions (28-26) all giving Aaron Rodgers and company a run for their money.

In Week 5, things won’t get any easier for Mike McCarthy’s squad as the Washington Redskins will almost certainly give the Green Bay Packers a run for their money. The Redskins may not be one of the best teams in the NFC Conference just yet, but they are without a doubt an up and coming team with playoff aspirations this season.

The one thing that these two teams have really struggled with over the past few weeks has been their production in the ground game. It is no secret that the Packers have had their fair share of struggles running the football as they have had to play without running back Ryan Grant who went down with season-ending injury in Week 1, but the Redskins now have similar problems as they saw Clinton Portis go down last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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With both teams having a nonexistent running game, the Redskins and the Packers will go to the air in Week 5 with Aaron Rodgers and Donovan McNabb throwing the football 30+ times.

Even though the Washington Redskins will most likely be able to keep up with the Green Bay Packers, in the end I see Aaron Rodgers getting the best of Donovan McNabb as he has been as good as any quarterback in the league this season.

As of right now, the Green Bay Packers are favored to win this showdown of NFC Conference heavyweights with a -2.5 point spread. I believe that is a solid bet as the Packers should come out on top.

NFL Week 5: Bucs @ Bengals

Tampa Bay Bucs @ Cincinnati Bengals Sun. Oct. 10th 1pm EST

The defending AFC North division champion Cincinnati Bengals came into this NFL regular season with their sights set on repeating as division champs and possibly contending for a Super Bowl title, but after the first four weeks of the season, Carson Palmer and company have begun to realize that the competition within the division is much tougher than last season.

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Fortunately, the Cincinnati Bengals were able to get the best of the Baltimore Ravens in the Week 2, but were upset by the lowly Cleveland Browns last week and given somewhat of a wakeup call as the offense and the defense has some work to do if they expect to get back into the playoffs this season.

In Week 5, the Bengals will be defending their home field against the up and coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even though the Bucs were able to get off to a quick start this season with wins over the Cleveland Browns (17-14) and the Carolina Panthers (20-7) in consecutive weeks, they were put back in their place in Week 3 before their bye against the AFC North division leading Pittsburgh Steelers (38-13).

With the Pittsburgh Steelers dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3, Josh Freeman and company will have had to prepare to up against another dominant defense in the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5.

There is no doubt that the Bucs have started to turn the corner this season with some solid quarterback play and a new found confidence, but I believe they will be headed for the second straight loss of the season against the Bengals.

Obviously, the Bengals have the edge on the offensive side of the football with two of the best wide receivers in the game in Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, but they have also done damage to opposing defenses in the running game with up and coming running back Cedric Benson. With all these things coming together on offense, the Bengals play on defense has gone unnoticed, but it will be the secondary of Cincinnati that puts them over the top against the Bucs in Week 5 as they will be putting constant pressure on Josh Freeman much like the Pittsburgh Steelers did in Week 3.

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As of right now, the Cincinnati Bengals are the -6.5 point favorites, but even though the Tampa Bay Bucs are capable of upsetting the Bengals, I believe this spread is right on the money as Cincinnati will be looking to make a statement in Week 5 to show that Week 4’s loss to the Cleveland Browns was nothing more than a fluke.

The Cincinnati Bengals should come up big in this one with a couple interceptions and a constant pressure on the quarterback, but I believe the offense will also have a big day as Carson Palmer and company will be looking to put a big number on the scoreboard this Sunday.

Monday Night Football Recap – Week 4

Patriots dominate the Dolphins 41-14

Over the past decade or so, the New England Patriots have been the best team in the AFC East division without question as they have won the division title seven times since 2001, but this season they seem to have their work cut out for them as they are no longer the favorite to come out on top in the division with the emergence of Rex Ryan’s New York Jets.

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With the New York Jets turning into a legitimate Super Bowl title contender and the Miami Dolphins playing much better than anticipated this season, the AFC East division has become much more competitive and Monday night’s football game between the Patriots and the Dolphins would be a must win situation for both teams as they had both already lost to the New York Jets earlier in the season.

With second place in the AFC East division on the line, the Patriots and the Dolphins knew what was at stake in this Monday night showdown in Miami, but no one anticipated the New England defense and special teams stepping up the way they did.

Coming into this NFL regular season, the New England Patriots offense were thought to get right back on track, but the defense was in serious question as most of the veterans defensive side of the football had either retired or been traded away over the past two seasons.

Fortunately, this game became the turning point for the New England Patriots defense as they picked off Miami Dolphins quarterbacks Chad Henne and Tyler Thigpen four times and blocked two kicks, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Not only was the Patriots defense flying all over the place and making plays, but their special teams was playing well too with Brandon Tate returning his second touchdown of the season with a 103-yard return.

Needless to say, the New England Patriots dominated their division rivals on Monday night and went on to win 41-14 with three scores coming from their defense and special teams. Not only did they get the win in this huge divisional matchup against the Miami Dolphins, but they are now in second place in the AFC East division and poised to give the division leading New York Jets a run for their money when they meet for the second time this season in Week 13.

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Along with the defense coming to life against the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, the New England Patriots offense also played a big part in the win as Tom Brady threw for 153 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

This resurgence from the New England Patriots couldn’t have come at a better time for Bill Belichick and company as they will have their work cut out for them over the next three weeks of the season against the Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers and the Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay squeaks past Detroit in Week 4

The Green Bay Packers came into this NFL regular season with high hopes of winning the NFC North division and possibly contending for a Super Bowl title at season’s end, but even though perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be making a case for the NFL MVP, the Packers have struggled over the last two weeks of the season against the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions.

At this point time, no one questions the potent offense of the Green Bay Packers as it is amongst the best in the league, but the once lockdown defense of the Packers has struggled to keep opposing offenses in check this season as they have only been able to keep the Buffalo Bills from scoring more than one touchdown so far.

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Coming into Week 4, the Green Bay Packers knew they had to get the win over the division rival Detroit Lions as they had just lost their first game of the season to the Chicago Bears and were losing ground in the NFC North division, but despite being 14+ point favorites to come out on top, they struggled to put away the lowly Lions.

There is no question that the Detroit Lions are a much improved team this season as they have seemed to get some consistently good play out of rookie running back Jahvid Best and backup quarterback Shaun Hill, but even though these two players are playing at a high level right now, it hasn’t been enough to get a win as they had lost three straight heading into Week 4’s showdown with the Green Bay Packers.

So despite being big underdogs in this Week 4 matchup, the Detroit Lions played their hearts out against the Green Bay Packers and were in good position to win the game as they battled back from behind and outscored the Packers in the second half 12 to 6, but it just wasn’t enough as reigning Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson’s 49-yard interception return for a touchdown turn out to be too much for the Lions to recover from.

Even though the Detroit Lions lost their fourth straight game of the season to the Green Bay Packers (28-26), the consensus around the league is that this is a team on the rise with high hopes of becoming a playoff contender in the next couple of seasons.

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With Jahvid Best quickly turning into one of the best running backs in the league and the Detroit Lions offense coming into its own much earlier than anticipated, even without quarterback Matthew Stafford (shoulder) under center, this NFC North team could be a force to be reckoned with sooner rather than later, but if they expect to get any kind of momentum going this season they will need to get healthy and learn how to close out teams when they have the opportunity.

NFL Week 4: Patriots @ Dolphins

New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins Mon. Oct. 4th 8:30pm EST

Throughout this entire decade, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots have been the team to beat in the AFC East division and in most cases in the entire NFL, but things seem to be changing and changing quickly as the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets have emerged as legitimate threats to knock the Patriots off their pedestal in the division.

The New England Patriots may have only loss one game in the first three games of the NFL regular season, but it was a big one as they were dominated by the New York Jets in a 28-14 rout that sent shockwaves through the AFC East division.

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There is no question that the New England Patriots are still a very talented team, especially on the offensive side of the football, but they are no longer the dominant team that everyone used to fear on a weekly basis.

In Week 4, the New England Patriots will have their work cut out for them once again as they will face off against the up and coming Miami Dolphins in an AFC East showdown with second place in the division on the line.

As of right now, the Patriots are the team to beat in this matchup as they have been given the -1 point advantage in the spreads, but with the way the Miami Dolphins has been playing over the past few weeks, Tom Brady and company could be in for a long day.

Even though the Dolphins defense has taken it to another level this season, it will be tough for them to handle Tom Brady and his talented receiving corps as they are amongst the best in the league and coming off a 38 point effort against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3.

Coming into this matchup everyone will be taking about the Patriots offense and the Dolphins defense going head to head as that will be the matchup to watch, but what I find even more intriguing is Miami quarterback Chad Henne taking on the vulnerable New England secondary which got torched last week by the lowly Buffalo Bills offense.

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Over the past two weeks, Henne has played as well as any quarterback in the league and played exceptionally well against the lockdown defense of the New York Jets where he threw for a season-high 363 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one pick, but against the Jets defense that isn’t uncommon for even the best quarterbacks in the league.

With Henne playing like a Pro Bowler right now I believe he will have another big day against the New England Patriots as he tries to connect with his new go to guy in the offense in superstar wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Even though I do believe that the Miami Dolphins will give the New England Patriots a run for their money and possibly make this one possession game in the fourth quarter, in the end Bill Belichick’s squad will improve to 3-1.

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