Seven weeks into the 2009 NFL season and we are down to four undefeated NFL teams while three teams are searching for their first win. The Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos haven’t had a week off, which gives them an extra game over the other undefeateds. There will be no showdowns between these teams this week, yet there are a few interesting games on the docket nonetheless.
The game that immediately grabs my attention is the undefeated New Orleans Saints traveling to Miami to take on the 2-3 Miami Dolphins. This game matches the number two passing offense in the NFC vs. the overall number one rushing team in the NFL. The complexities of this matchup are really what excites me. By the way, the Saints also happen to be the overall 5th team against the run in defense in the NFL.
On paper, the Saints should win the game. However, there are a few intangibles that I take into account for Miami. For one, the Dolphins defense will be well-rested off the bye-week. Two, Miami have won their last two games and are beaming with confidence. Finally and most importantly, is that I have to wonder whether this is a trap game for the Saints. Facing an AFC team between the Giants and a division showdown with the Atlanta Falcons makes this a very dangerous game for Saints fans. My gut tells me that the letdown hurts the Saints and the Dolphins pull off a huge upset Sunday afternoon.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins look to put embarrassing losses behind them with an NFC East showdown on Monday Night Football. Depending upon who you root for, this is great timing for both teams. For the Redskins, the Raiders gave a blue print on how to beat the Eagles and that is the tight end. The Eagles have been decimated by tight ends over the last two weeks. Chris Cooley has struggled this year and is ready for a breakout game. This is exactly the kind of game that you employ a heavy dose of running and Chris Cooley if you are the Washington Redskins.
If I can say one thing positive about Andy Reid, it is that he rarely gets caught with his pants down two weeks in a row. Andy is good for one or two games during the season that makes you want to throw something at your TV if you are an Eagles fan. Rarely does Andy Reid have back to back efforts like he did on Sunday. Last year was an exception to the rule when the Eagles got throttled by the Baltimore Ravens a week after the overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The good news for the Eagles is that they have a team in such disarray, that the guy calling the plays was calling bingo a few weeks ago.
As much as I’d love to call this an easy game for the Eagles, I can’t. The Redskins always play the Eagles tough and actually went 2-0 against the birds last season. The win in Week 5 last season will be remembered as a complete Eagles collapse. After rolling out early on the Redskins, the Eagles offense only produced five first downs following their first two drives. It was a pathetic effort that saw no touchdowns from Donovan McNabb and 33 yards of rushing from Brian Westbrook. Their second game was no better with Westbrook only gaining 45 yards on the ground and another game with no touchdowns against the Redskins. As a matter of a fact, in the last three seasons, the Skins are ahead in the series 3-1.
I have mixed feelings going into this one. By all means, the Redskins should lose this game. They are 23rd in the NFL in terms of total offense, yet the Eagles lost a game last Sunday to the absolute worst offensive team in the NFL. I predict an Eagles win, but I am not confident in the prediction. The Redskins have done a great job of containing McNabb and Westbrook the last few seasons other than one game. It is imperative that the Eagles run the ball here. The Skins and Albert Haynesworth will wreck havoc (if he plays) on McNabb all day without the threat of a run. Clinton Portis has the potential to have a field-day running over Jeremiah Trotter which is a big concern as a birds fan. I give the Eagles a win here, but in no way would I call it a confident pick.
The Atlanta Falcons continue to roll and travel to Dallas with hopes of handing the Dallas Cowboys another home field loss. The Cowboys are under achieving this season, and were seconds away from going 2-3 before the bye week. Jerry Jones stayed silent this year at the trade deadline and is prepared to go through the season with the team he has. The Cowboys continue to roll up points, but are having big problems on defense. The Cowboys are the 26th worst passing defense in the NFL and are bound to get torched against Atlanta.
The Falcons stumbled early but look to be back on track coming off of the bye-week with a big win against the Chicago Bears. Roddy White is finally living up to pre season expectations and has three touchdowns in the last two weeks. Miles Austin was the hero two weeks ago, but I am not ready to take him seriously. Tony Gonzalez is due for a big game here over the middle, while Jason Witten is struggling to find the end zone this season. I love the Falcons here in a game that looks much closer on the scoreboard than it will be at the end of the day.
Finally, the main-event of the day is a very possible Super Bowl XLIV preview between last year’s Super Bowl winner the 4-2 Pittsburgh Steelers against the 6-0 Minnesota Vikings. Once again the Vikings are faced with matching their number-one running back against one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. Unlike most years, this won’t be a game between two high-powered rushing offenses. The 2009 Pittsburgh Steelers boast the overall number-two passing offense in the NFL, which is something rare for Steelers football.
Fun NFL Week 7 Camelclutchblog.com Fact- No Super Bowl has featured two No. 1 seeds against each another since the 1993 season. – SportingNews.com.
The most exciting game of Week 6 featured a second-half collapse by the Minnesota Vikings. After dominating the first half, the Vikings came within a missed field goal away from losing at home to the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers passing attack is a lot like the Ravens, with less from the running back in the flats which seems to be the Vikings weakness. Brett Favre is on fire lately. Like the Steelers, the Vikings are moving away from the running game which features the best back in the game. Favre has a 109.5 passer rating, 12 touchdowns and most importantly only two interceptions.
The Steelers are a very tough team to read. The Steelers have had serious problems closing games all season. It is hard to tell whether the Steelers are a great team that struggle to close games, or just a very good team. The Steelers could just as easily be 1-5 after some very close calls this season. The Vikings met and survived another burp last weke against the Ravens. I think it is awfully tough for the Vikings to beat two very good AFC teams two weeks in a row. I think the Steelers are looking to make a statement here. However, Ben Roethlisberger’s style plays right into the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
Roethlisberger likes to take his time, scramble around, and wait for guys to get open. A pass-rush heavy defense like the Vikings could be a nightmare for him. The Vikings haven’t had any problems going on the road thus far, so I put little value into the home field advantage. In the end, I just think that the lack of a running game from the Steelers is going to hurt them. If the Steelers go back to the run to set up the pass, I think they take the game. If the Steelers continue to come out with a heavy dose of passing, I just think Jared Allen will feast all day on Big Ben. My pick is the Vikings but once again I am in no means confident of the pick.
Quick Hits – The San Francisco 49ers better have a passing attack to keep up with the red hot Houston Texans offense. I don’t think Zach Miller is exploiting the middle on the New York Jets like he did against the Philadelphia Eagles. See last week’s effort out of Jeremy Shockey for an indication of the kind of motivation that Cedric Benson will have on Sunday. The Arizona Cardinals have an underrated rushing defense and could make last week’s Saints game look like a repeat for New York Giants fans. Can someone please put an end to these England games? Call me crazy, but I think the Kansas City Chiefs are improving and may wind up writing Norv Turner’s pink slip this weekend.
Fantasy Fix – Rather than give you the obvious with Ronnie Brown, I will suggest the dubious with Ricky Williams. Ricky Williams has put up consistent numbers that rival more than half of the starting running backs in the NFL including Clinton Portis, Joseph Addai, and Ryan Grant. I expect the same game plan the Miami Dolphins used against the Colts (as stated above). Williams had 19 carries for 69 yards which isn’t great, but 19 touches against the New Orleans Saints could turn into a big game for Ricky.
Jonathon Stewart is back! Rather than change their quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have decided to completely take the ball out of Jake Delhomme’s hands. Stewart seems back, healthy, and had 17 carries last week. The Buffalo Bills are the overall worst team in the NFL against the run. This is a great spot for you Stewart owners that were bitten early on by his lack of production and slow start.
Greg Olsen is quietly on his way to reaching his pre season potential. Did you know that Olsen has a touchdown in each of his last three games? This week he gets the Cincinnati Bengals who were torched all day by Owen Daniels last weekend. The Bengals have a great rushing defense, yet the Houston Texans laid out the blue print to get around it. I expect at least one touchdown from Olsen and put him right at the top of the tight end rankings this week.
CamelClutchBlog.com Fantasy Football Standings
Dusty’s RedBellySpot 4-2 (Eric Gargiulo)
Team We Own You 4-2 (Erik Espenberg)
Team Nuetral Zone 3-3 (Brett Clendaniel)
Havertown Spoilers 2-3 (Bryan Reigel)
Team Wheelhouse Radio! 1-5 (Jeff Peck)
Team The Nice Guys 6-0 (Jeff Porrini)
…Not You!!! 5-1 (John Yomtov)
1st Place 2-4 (Derek Sabato)
The Kings of Krista 2-4 (Josh Usher)
Team Rowland 0-6 (Justin Rowland)
NFL Week 7 Picks!
I had a slight letdown last week going 9-5, making the first week of the season without double digit wins straight-up. I am 61-29 overall on the season. Now for the NFL Week 7 Picks (Picks in BOLD) –
Green Bay Packers vs Cleveland Browns
San Diego Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Indianapolis Colts vs St Louis Rams
Minnesota Vikings vs Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay Bucs
San Francisco 49ers vs Houston Texans
Buffalo Bills vs Carolina Panthers
New York Jets vs Oakland Raiders
Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys
Chicago Bears vs Cincinnati Bengals
New Orleans Saints vs Miami Dolphins
Arizona Cardinals vs New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington Redskins
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