I was just 2-2 last week. Turnovers killed the Bengals as well as their kicker. The Patriots game was just a debacle, didn't see that coming at all. Welp another week, more picks.
Cardinals Vs Saints: Saints. I know quite a few people jumped off the Saint's bandwagon after they slid late in the season but they are all going to look kinda silly this week. The Saints had two major injuries that hindered them. Pierre Thomas hurting his ribs in the Tampa Bay game effectively took them out of their running game. Mike Bell is good but a lot better when used as a compliment to Thomas. Him being out forced the Saints into being more one dimensional than they would like to end the season. But from all reports he will be back for this game and that is going to give their offense a boost.
The other major injury was probably the most impactful and that was when Jeremy Shockey went down with his turf toe. Shockey's role in the offense is one that is not easily duplicated because of the roles the tight ends play for the Saints. Shockey is basically the tight end they use to push the ball down the field and threaten the seams. David Thomas on the other hand is more of an H Back who lead blocks in the running game and catches a lot of shorter routes. With Shockey out Thomas had to take on his role some and that's not really his strength. Plus it made them more predictable because if Thomas was in the backfield it was likely to be a run, because if it were a pass they would usually have him in Shockey's spot. Now those days are over and I think the Saint's offense will put up at least 30 pts.
I know what you are thinking though, what about that explosive Cardinals offense that we saw against Green Bay? Well here is the thing, the Saints defense is practically made to play against a team like Arizona. They love to blitz and they are very opportunistic in the secondary. What they have the most problem with is when a team can run the ball on them. And then they can't dictate what kind of coverages and blitzes they want to use because it ends up being 3rd and short instead of 3rd and long. Because the Cardinals don't run the ball that much, it won't be a factor in this game. That's not to say that the Saints will totally shut them down, because I don't think they will. But I believe the Saints will pick Warner off several times and take him off rhythm just enough to hold their scoring down. I also think that while losing Charles Grant is a blow it may end up being a net plus in this game as it means Bobby McCray is going to get a lot more playing time and that dude can really get after the quarterback.
Ravens Vs Colts: Colts. The Ravens played one helluva game last week and I wish I could pick them to win this game because I just love their style of play. But I just can't do it this week. The Colts will be healthier and fresher this week than they have been most of the year. They are playing at home, on turf and they are an extremely fast team. I do think that the Colts will have problems with the Ravens' running game at least at first. We all know they aren't really built to defend the run on defense and Ray Rice and Willis McGahee are both running well right now.
On the other hand I think that Peyton Manning is going to put points on the board. One of the keys to this game will be the Colts getting their running game going. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown will keep the Ravens defense honest. I really think Brown will have a big day as he is the more physical back. And when that happens Peyton will just pick them apart doing down the field. Once the Colts get up a couple of scores then their defense will start to tee off on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. One of the matchups to watch will be rookie right tackle Michael Oher of the Ravens, you know the guy whose life the movie "The Blind Side" is based on, and the Colts excellent but underrated left end, Robert Mathis. It could get ugly on for the Ravens at that spot.
Cowboys Vs Vikings: Vikings. Even though I am a lifelong Cowboys fan, it pains me to have to say the Vikings are going to win this game. I was talking to a friend of mine and here is how I put it. The problem for the Cowboys this week is that where they are strong, the Vikings are strong, and where they are weak the Vikings are above average. For instance, the Cowboys' running game has really been the key to their offensive dominance at the end of the season. One of the major reasons they have had success is their very big, very talented offensive line has really taken it to other teams' defensive lines. The problem for them this week is that they are facing what is, in my estimation, the most talented defensive line in football. You have the Williams brothers inside who hold up really well against the run, you have Ray Edwards at left end who is a monster against tight ends and a better than average pass rusher. Which brings us to the biggest problem.
This guy is one of the best pass rushers in the game and he embodies the word relentless. The reason why he will make a difference in the running game aside from just his technique, is the effect he will have on Cowboys left tackle, Flozell "The Motel" Adams. Long suffering Cowboys fans know the problems Adams has with remembering the snap count and how he gets us in a hole with penalties at the most inopportune times. Well now add on that the fact that he is facing Allen AND he won't be able to hear the snap count in that loud ass dome. Expect to see a lot of 1st and 15s on Sunday.
Offensively Adrian Peterson has had his problems with fumbling at the end of the year but unfortunately the Cowboys aren't a team that really goes after the ball all that much. Add to that the fact that our defense hasn't been all that great against stopping good running backs and it may end up being a very long day in the trenches. The Vikings interior offensive linemen are every bit as big and dominant as the Cowboys O Line and they are going to come right down hill at the Cowboys.
The matchup that will be worth the price of admission if you ask me will be when DeMarcus Ware is matched up in pass rushes against Bryant McKinnie. I think McKinnie will end up getting the better of those battles and help to keep Brett Favre clean.
There are two other predictions I will make about this game. First off, Romo generally does a great job of ball security when he is in the pocket. When he scrambles however he tends to take more chances. I think that once Allen et al start getting after him you will see Romo throw sone balls up for grabs. Secondly Visanthe Shiancoe is going to present a major matchup problem for the Cowboys. If they continue their pattern so far, Shiancoe will be matched up quite a bit with Bobby Carpenter. When I say that won't end well, I am talking folks may end up kicking their TV in as they curse the name of Bobby Carpenter. I am going to make sure not to wear any shoes during the game :)
Jets Vs Chargers: Chargers. This was by far the easiest pick for me this week. The Jets have to travel cross country for this ass whupping. Everybody is talking about the matchup between Darrelle Revis and Vincent Jackson but what they need to be asking is who on the Jets defense are going to defend the other power forwards that they use in their passing game. Hell Malcolm Floyd has fewer catches but the exact same 17.2 yard average per catch. And who which three guys are going to deal with tight end Antonio Gates who is finally back to being 100% healthy? That isn't even talking about LT and Darren Sproles making catches out of the backfield on screens when the Jets blitz. Oh and Legedu Naanee is another big receiver who is nice as well. If there is one quarterback in the league who isn't going to be intimidated its probably Phillip Rivers also.
On defense the Chargers aren't exactly world beaters against the run and that will be a problem early but once their own offense puts up the points they game will change completely. Yeah it was great last week when the Jets kept rolling Sanchez out and hitting the tight ends on crossing routes but this week if he rolls out he is probably going to turn around and get hit in the mouth by a rush linebacker. Above and beyond that when he finally has to actually sit in the pocket and make plays in the passing game Antonio Cromartie is going to have a field day. See you have to remember that it was only like 2 years ago when folks were calling Cromartie the 2nd coming of Deion Sanders and he was putting up crazy numbers. He went backwards last year but he bounced back this season and I have a sneaky suspicion that he isn't happy with being forgotten in favor of Darelle Revis in so many people's mind. I would think the Chargers will match him up most of the day on Braylon Edwards and I just know in Sanchez is going to try to test him and he is going to pay for that.
I am actually a fan of Rex Ryan and I like the excitement he brings to games with his trash talk, but he is going to be on the wrong side of an ass kicking on Sunday and he ain't gonna like it.
There you have it. I tried to be a little more detailed this week and as we get closer to the Superbowl I will continue adding more and more into my analysis. Now hopefully I won't come off looking like a dumbass after this weekend is over lol.
See ya next week!