Football predictions for every week 5 game:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Author: Joey Carr

After four weeks of play in the 2015 Regular Season, it’s safe to say that it has been a pretty perplexing start to the year. There are an astounding six undefeated teams, which is an NFL record, but there are just nine teams total that have a winning record. Nine. That is unprecedented. To be fair, there are a fair amount of teams that are 2-2, but the fact still remains that there just aren’t that many above average teams this year. With that being said, it makes it extremely difficult to make predictions for the games. Upsets are bound to happen every week and you never know which teams will crack under the pressure. Can the Seahawks finally turn the corner and prove to everyone they’re legitimate by beating undefeated Cincinnati? Is the NFC South for real with 2 unbeaten squads? Which NFC East team will emerge as the frontrunner? All these questions could be answered this week with some marque matchups on the docket for Sunday.

Bills vs. Titans

In what looks like an underwhelming game on paper, this matchup could turn into an exciting thriller. The Bills are not what everyone expected them to be, as Rex Ryan’s team haven’t turned in consecutive consistent games all year. While they have a top 10 defense, they will be without their top two running backs, which could prove costly come Sunday. The Titans on the other hand are coming off a bye, and have looked decent thus far. Marcus Mariota is turning out to be exactly what Tennessee was looking for when they drafted him, and he’s going to have really be on his game when he faces that hard-hitting Bills defense.

Prediction: Bills 22 Titans 20

Browns vs. Ravens

It’s no secret; these two AFC North rivals have been nothing more than woeful. Cleveland has shown glimmers of improvement, but are still an average team at best. Their offense has talent, but not enough of it at this point. They still have Josh McCown at quarterback, and with him there they’re always going to be prone to losing football games. Baltimore has been a major disappointment this season, and they’re not going to be improving much in the coming weeks. Joe Flacco has been anything but elite thus far and the run game has been almost nonexistent. I see this game as a toss up that will come down to who commits less turnovers.

Prediction: Ravens 24 Browns 18

Bears vs. Chiefs

Before the season started, this looked like a better matchup than what it is now. Both teams have been an utter disappointment, as they are a combined 2-6. The Chiefs at 1-3 is a surprise, as they have tons of talent on both sides of the ball but have failed to put that talent to good use. However, they are seeming to figure out

how to execute on offense but they are still struggling tremendously on defense, which could prove to be an issue when they face the formidable Matt Forte.

Prediction: Chiefs 31 Bears 20

Seahawks vs. Bengals

Easily one of the more intriguing games of the afternoon, Seattle and Cincy are set to duel it out as one of the premier defenses in the league takes on one of the top offenses. Andy Dalton and company have been a huge surprise this year, taking a huge leap from last season and emerging as a legitimate threat in the AFC. The defense has some issues in the secondary but the Seahawks offense isn’t what you would call “pass-oriented”. Yes, they have been passing the ball more than previous years but they are producing the most points through the run game, which is where Cincy will be tested on Sunday. However, Marshawn Lynch will be out for the second straight week, making the Bengals job a lot easier. This game is going to come down to if Seattle can stop the Cincinnati offense, and with so many weapons for the Bengals, it might be harder than some people think.

Prediction: Bengals 27 Seahawks 24

Rams vs. Packers

After a coming-out game for Todd Gurley last week, this game becomes much more noteworthy. The Packers don’t have the best run defense, so Gurley could spell trouble for the Pack. However, Green Bay does possess possibly the best offense in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is having another MVP-type season and has all the weapons he needs to beat this Rams team. However, this has all the makings of an upset game, so don’t be surprised if St. Louis comes out of Lambeau with a W.

Prediction: Packers 28 Rams 21

Jaguars vs. Buccaneers

By the far the most underwhelming game of the day, no one knows what to expect from these two Florida teams. It could be a high scoring output where the two lackluster defenses stay lackluster, or turnovers could rule the game. It’s really a toss up at this point, but the Jags have shown more enthusiasm and ability on the season, as they were a field goal away from beating the Colts last week.

Prediction: Jaguars 17 Buccaneers 13

Saints vs. Eagles

In a battle of preseason Super Bowl picks, Sam Bradford looks to get the Eagles back on track. They still have a shot to win the mediocre NFC East if they can get the run and pass game going on a consistent basis. Demarco Murray has been flustered so far, but this could be a breakout week for him against a run-of-the-mill Saints defense.

Prediction: Eagles 28 Saints 19

Redskins vs. Falcons

This game could be one of the better clashes of the day. The Falcons are 4-0, a record no one thought they would have. Granted, they haven’t played the best teams, but the fact still remains that they have shown vast improvement from last year and are undefeated. The main aspect of this game to keep an eye on would be the Falcons newfound run game against the surprisingly respectable Redskins run defense. If the Skins can keep Devonta Freeman in check and limit the damage Julio Jones can cause, they will be sitting pretty atop the NFC East. However, the offense needs to step up tremendously, which might be a tough task with Desmond Trufant and Vic Beasley on the other side of the ball.

Prediction: Falcons 27 Redskins 23

Cardinals vs. Lions

The Detroit Lions were a penalty away from advancing to the NFC Divisional game last year. This year, they’re 0-4 and on the brink of fighting for a top 5 draft pick. I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed that the loss of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley would impact them this much. Their offense, on paper, looks like it should be one of the best in the NFL, but they’ve underachieved vastly so far. The Cardinals defense should be able to lock down Matthew Stafford and company and the offense should give the Motor City defense a handful to deal with.

Prediction: Cardinals 31 Lions 20

Broncos vs. Raiders

This divisional matchup might prove to be closer than most people are predicting. The Raiders are easily the most improved team from last year, with the AC/DC (Amari Cooper, Derek Carr) connection going strong and Latavius Murray leading the run game. Khalil Mack is a monster on defense, and should help make the Broncos rushing attack irrelevant for the fifth straight week. But Denver has other great weapons on offense and the best defense in the NFL, which should give them the upper hand in this divisional bout.

Prediction: Broncos 24 Raiders 17

Patriots vs. Cowboys

Definitely the Game of the Week, the two richest NFL franchises are set to go head to head under the lights in AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are, in a word, depleted. They are without Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Lance Dunbar on offense and have a banged up Sean Lee on defense. Their secondary is suspect, something Tom Brady will most definitely take full advantage of, but Dallas does get Greg Hardy and Ronaldo McClain back. Hardy is one of the best pass rushers in the league, and is set to give Brady all sorts of problems, but Number 12 should be up to the task. The Patriot offense is on an absolute tear as of late, and that trend should continue.

Prediction: Patriots 34 Cowboys 21

49ers vs. Giants

The Sunday Night game of the week is a bit of a let down, but should still be a competitive game nonetheless. The Niners have been exactly what everyone thought they would be: a basement team. Colin Kaepernick is a mess, plain and simple. If he keeps going the way he is, he will be benched by week 10. The only bright spot on offense for the Niners is Carlos Hyde, who should have a decent game on the ground. It might not be enough though, as Eli Manning and the Football Giants have looked like a contender as of late. They dismantled the Bills last week, and should do the same to San Fran this week on Sunday Night.

Prediction: Giants 26 49ers 13

Steelers vs. Chargers

A battle between two contenders in San Diego and Pittsburgh should produce a fourth quarter thriller. Phillip Rivers and Co. have been a bit inconsistent recently, but with Antonio Gates back in the mix, the Bolts offense should improve against a weak Steelers secondary. The Charger defense on the other hand has the impossible job of stopping Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, but with Mike Vick at quarterback, you never know what you’ll get. In the end, this game will come down to which Antonio (Gates or Brown) has the better game.

Prediction: Steelers 28 Chargers 27

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Todd Gurley: Ready to make an impact

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Running hard: Gurley photographed above at the University of Georgia

Photo credit: Kevin Thomson

Author: Jon Kuzma

Todd Gurley has officially made his presence felt in professional football. After being a star at the collegiate level while attending the University of Georgia. Gurley would tear his ACL during the end of his season which was a concern for most teams during the NFL draft. That didn’t stop the St. Louis Rams from drafting the talented running back however and while he wouldn’t be able to play right away the Rams were confident in their investment.Fast forward to week 4 of NFL action, Gurley had played in week 3 but didn’t show anything too promising. Then it all began. In that week 4 match up against the Cardinals Gurley would run all over the Bruce Arians led Cardinals for 146 yards on 19 carriers. Showing exactly the big play capability that he showed during his time in Athens. It was Gurley’s effort that helped the Rams run past the Cardinals to a 24-22 victory. Suddenly the Rams who seemed like a team that was destined to skip town on St. Louis and head to Los Angeles. Finds themselves 2-2 on the season with their stock rising. Give credit to Jeff Fischer and company for reviving this football team. Now if Gurley can keep up these amazing performances the Rams might be a serious contender in the NFC West. And that might be just enough to get this team to stick around in St. Louis. A city that desperately needs the National Football League and the attraction that the team brings to the city. Much more might be riding on Gurley’s shoulders than he realizes. Still whether he acknowledges it or not. He will likely continue to run wild throughout the rest of the season. He has been an electrifying player all his life. That won’t stop anytime soon. A potentially franchise saving draft pick for the Rams.

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With Luck out Hasselbeck steps up (again)

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Photo credit: Angie Six

Author: Jon Kuzma

The photo above might be of Andrew Luck but it is Matt Hasselbeck who deserves all of the praise for the Colts last two wins. In those games which Luck didn’t play due to an injury, Hasselbeck came in and showed why he is a bona fide pro. Leading this team to two straight victories and giving the Colts life this season. As far as back up quarterbacks go, Hasselbeck is officially the gold standard. While many teams have a number 2 quarterback that they would dread putting on the field, the Colts have the luxury of having a guy they can rely on. In fact the teams front office has to feel great knowing that if Luck were ever to go down in the future the team still has a chance to win the game. In the two games that Hasselbeck has won he has put together 3 touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 95.0 overall. While luck has put together 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on the season for a 65.1 overall passer rating. At this point of their careers regardless of stats Luck is a better player. He is younger, and one of the elite quarterbacks in the National Football League. Matt Hasselbeck on the other hand is an aging pro who is in the twilight of his career. However if he keeps playing like this maybe Hasselbeck’s pro career might be longer than expected. Clearly he is a great choice as a back up quarterback and some teams might even be able to use him as a number 1. There are many times during a season when a team in the league will be playing with a quarterback that is far inferior to Matt Hasselbeck. You really have to give this guy a lot of praise for his efforts. Especially since he was able to overcome sickness to lead the Colts over the Texans. A truly remarkable story.

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Fantasy Sleepers to Pick up for This Week

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

Four weeks into the regular season and fantasy football is still in a whirlwind. Talent from last year isn’t transferring over to this year and backups like Devonta Freeman are becoming instant legends and making the person who started him look like a modern day Vince Lombardi. Quarterbacks aren’t putting up very high numbers and unless you own Rob Gronkowski or the tight end that is playing the Raiders, chances are your tight end isn’t performing well on a consistent basis. Running backs such as C.J. Anderson are producing little to no points week in and week out but then there are the rare outbreaks like the one Matt Jones had in week 2. It’s impossible to know who is going to have a good week based off of the previous Sunday and even last year. The waiver wire targets are really making or breaking most fantasy player’s seasons, and I’m here to help you identify which of these sleepers to pick up, and which ones to leave behind.

Allen Hurns, WR Jacksonville Jaguars

It might not be known to a lot of people, but the second year man leads Jacksonville in receptions and is not far behind his wide receiver counterpart, Allen Robinson, in targets. He’s quietly developed quite the rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles and has caught a touchdown in back to back games. With a favorable matchup against Tampa Bay this week, Hurns is definitely in the mix for the Flex spot in your lineup on Sunday.

Advice: Pick up if available and Start if in need of a Flex

Leonard Hankerson, WR Atlanta Falcons

In case you haven’t been paying close attention to the Falcons this year, Hankerson has zipped past the aging Roddy White in terms of production so far. It’s clear that Hankerson is Matt Ryan’s number 2 option behind Julio Jones and he has proved to be quite the commodity in the passing game. He hasn’t dropped too many passes and has tallied a pair of touchdowns in the past three weeks. He’s not someone I would start for this week, but he’s certainly a receiver I would pick up now before he starts making more headlines.

Advice: Pick up if available

Duke Johnson Jr., RB Cleveland Browns

At the beginning of the season, many of the fantasy analysts predicted this the rookie out of Miami would have a breakout year due to the production issues the Browns backs had last year. However, it was Isaiah Crowell who got most of the touches through the first couple of weeks, although Johnson did get his fair share. After a lackluster week 3 for Crowell however, Johnson got his chance in week 4 and made the most of it. It wasn’t in the rushing game where he succeeded, but the passing game, where he caught 9 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Pair that with 6 catches the week before and a decent amount of carries out of the backfield, and you’ve got a risky Flex play, which is what Johnson is at this point.

Advice: Pick up if available and Start if in need of a Flex

Eddie Royal, WR Chicago Bears

To be honest, there should only be three players on the Bears that you should own: Alshon Jeffrey, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. Yes, Eddie Royal did have a touchdown last week but that that was without Jeffrey in the lineup and now that he’s back from injury, Royal should see only about 4-5 targets a game, nothing that will justify dropping another player for him.

Advice: Don’t Pick up

Alex Smith, QB Kansas City Chiefs

With weapons surrounding him at all angles, the Chiefs quarterback should merit more consideration in the starting QB conversation. He’s got Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, and Travis Kelce, who are all dynamic and reliable player makers. He’s had one off game that came in week 2 but other than that has put up at least 17 fantasy points each game. If you own Cam Newton or Ryan Tannehill, who are on bye this week, and need a quarterback, Smith is a solid option as he plays a weak Chicago secondary.

Advice: Pick up if in need of a quarterback

Robbie Gould, K Chicago Bears

In a league where there are no safe options at kicker, except for Stephen Gostkowski, Adam Vinateri and Justin Tucker, you should always be on the prowl for kickers in your fantasy league. Robbie Gould of the Bears proved last Sunday that he is capable of being trusted. He hasn’t missed this season and came up clutch last Sunday against the Raiders, kicking the game winning field goal. If your kicker is on a bye or isn’t performing well, Gould is as close to a sure fire option as you’re going to get this year.

Advice: Pick up if in need of a kicker

Charles Clay, TE Buffalo Bills

After a disappointing start to the season, Charlie Clay has emerged as a top tight end in the league. Tyrod Taylor has connected with him for 14 catches and 193 yards over the past two games with a touchdown, makes him an extremely solid option at tight end.

Advice: Pick up if available

As a side note, there are multiple players that are returning from suspension this week. Greg Hardy and Ronaldo McClain return to the Cowboys defense, making them a little tougher but they face a difficult task in defending Tom Brady. On the offensive side of the ball, both Antonio Gates and Martavis Bryant come back to their

respective teams, with one being way more valuable than the other. Bryant is behind Antonio Brown and has Mike Vick at quarterback, making his fantasy value less than that of Gates. Last year, he and Phillip Rivers developed a great connection, especially in the redzone. If he’s available, pick him up and start him no matter what (except if you have Gronk). Bryant on the other hand, if you’re in need of receiver depth, give him a shot but it’s more likely that he won’t see great production until Big Ben returns.

Other Notable Waiver Wire Targets: Crockett Gilmore, Ronnie Hillman, Sam Bradford, Kendall Wright, Kamar Aiken, Michael Crabtree, Doug Baldwin, Reuben Randle, Darren McFadden, Stevie Johnson, Tavon Austin, Jamison Crowder.

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Detroit Lions in low place after dropping to 0-4 on the season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Losing is one of the most destructive things that can happen to a football team’s morale. Players become frustrated and lose faith in the coaching staff. While coaches seem lackadaisical and begin to disconnect from their players. Fortunately for the Lions they seem to be holding it together due to Jim Caldwell’s clam presence. Or so it seems. Caldwell’s calm demeanor might be able to give the impression that the sky isn’t falling in Detroit. Yet the record speaks for itself. This team is on the verge of letting this season spiral out of control and each loss takes this franchise closer to the 0-16 season that they had to face in 2008. Caldwell was praised by Detroit fans last year when the roster was loaded with talent. Now he is being picked apart by local fans for being an under performing coach. To be fair the talent level of this team is much inferior too last years team. So in some respects it truly isn’t Jim Caldwell’s fault that this team is taking a step back. The offensive line has been absolutely atrocious through these last four games and although they played a little better against Seattle. They still have to find a way to allow Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Stafford time to go through his progressions. This team chose to be an offensive first team when they chose to let Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley walk. Two former first round picks for this team who helped the defensive line become one of the best in the league. Now this team has neither a dominant offense, nor a dominant defense. Leaving the team without a true identity. It will be up to Caldwell to get things in order in Detroit or he will be sent packing. He isn’t coaching to make it to the playoffs anymore. He is coaching for his job.

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Eli Manning willing the Giants back into NFC East contention:

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Author: Jon Kuzma

With the NFC East all tied up with Dallas, Washington, and New York all sitting at 2-2 on the year. Much praise must go to Eli Manning. His efforts in the comeback have been phenomenal and he has recorded 7 touchdowns and only 1 interception this season. It’s Manning’s ability to handle the pressure when his back is against the wall that is most impressive. After the Giants started 0-2 on the season Manning willed this team to 2 straight victories. One against NFC East rival the Washington Redskins and the other against the much improved Buffalo Billis. In those games Manning had to overcome the loss of Giants receiver Victor Cruz who has been sidelined with an injury. Yet that didn’t stop Manning from rising to the occasion time and time again and doing really what he has done all his career. Step up, when the team needed him the most. How many times has this team struggled only to see Manning rise up and lead this team to a Super Bowl win? While it seems like the Giants have been down in recent years, it must be noted that the defense this year has been stellar. Which could be a formula for success moving forward during the season. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has led the team to a first overall ranking in run defense. Which makes Manning’s job on offense that much easier. A good defense will allow the Giants’ offense to have more time of possession on offense. Which is always a good fundamental for success in football. While two weeks ago this team was in the dumps and we were all writing them off. They are now tied for the division lead, and could easily come out the big winner in the NFC East now that Tony Romo is injured. Right now you have to go with the Giants in the NFC East. It’s all because of an improved defense and Manning’s ability to limit turnovers offensively.

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Do the Bengals have what it takes to win the AFC?

Bengals at Ravens 9/27/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

Since the turn of the century, in order to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, a trip to Beantown is usually on the docket. The Patriots have been terrorizing the AFC for years now, and it’s very rare that another team besides a Peyton Manning led squad makes it past New England. Tom Brady just seems to find a way to win in January, and that makes it extremely difficult for another team to gain entry to February football. The Broncos have done it once and the Ravens did it a few times in the past but there is just a consistency to having the Pats in the Super Bowl that is unprecedented. However, there is a team on the rise this year in the AFC that looks poised to give the Patriots a run for their money. They’re unproven in the playoffs but an extremely hot start to the year has people wondering if this is the year they finally make it over the hump. That team is the Cincinnati Bengals.

In years past, the AFC has been the Patriots stomping ground, and to be honest, that probably won’t change anytime soon. As long as Tom Brady is still healthy, the No. 1 or 2 seed in the AFC will be occupied by New England. Although, just like both the Ravens and Jets have in the past, the Pats can be beaten; and with no other immediate threat, with the exception of Denver, Cincy looks to be in position to have a great chance at terminating the Patriots trip to Santa Clara. They have the talent, the right coaching staff, and the benefit of a relatively easy division with the Ravens barely staying afloat and the Steelers without Big Ben for the next four weeks. They even have the praise of another NFL head coach, as John Harbaugh of the Ravens called them “the most talented team in the league”. While that might be a tad bit exaggerated, it’s not too far off from the truth. Let’s take a look at the roster: at quarterback, they have one of the most underrated players in the game in Andy Dalton, who is more known for his blunders than accomplishments. He’s performing close to the level of Rodgers and Brady so far, and with a great dynamic core of players around him, it seems like he will only get better. One of those players is receiver A.J. Green, who is easily one of the best pass-catchers in the game. He’s capable of breaking the 100-yard receiving yard every game, which is simply a deadly weapon to have at your disposal if you’re a quarterback. Running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are perhaps the best “1-2” backfield punch the NFL has to offer and continue to wreck havoc for opposing coaches and defensive lines. However, in order for a great team to succeed, they need talent on both sides of the ball, and the Bengals certainly have their fair share of talent on defense. Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson are a terrific pair up front on the line, and A.J. Hawk and Rey Maualuga are adept linebackers that get the job done. Adam Jones is a bit underwhelming as a number one cornerback but he’s been performing okay for the most part of the season.

All the talent is there for the Bengals, and it’s showing thus far in the season. They’re 4-0 and rank second in the league in offense (behind who else, the Patriots) and are doing a fair job on defense. They’ve managed to skim by in a couple of their games, the Baltimore game especially, but overall have been playing some extremely

decent football. However, they’ll be tested to the fullest next week when they take on Seattle and we’ll get to see what this “Who-Dey” team is really made of. Although, as of now, they’re playing great, gelling very well, and are having fun as a unit. They’ve got a tough task come January when they try to win their first playoff game under head coach Marvin Lewis but if they can pull out a win, a date with the New England Patriots and maybe even Santa Clara, California is certainly a possibility.

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The Most Surprising Unbeaten Team

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

In every NFL season, there are the teams that start the year with more flare and intensity than the rest of the league. The Patriots, Packers, and any Peyton Manning led team are usually the constants of those teams, starting 3-1 or 4-0 nearly every year for the last 6 years. But there are always a few unexpected teams that are alongside them in the standings, sitting unbeaten or with one loss on the season. However, there is an unusual amount of undefeated teams this year, 6 to be exact. So which unbeaten squad has been most surprising so far? The Atlanta Falcons.

The past couple years in the ATL have been disastrous to say the least. A lot of talent was squandered due to poor coaching and a lack of execution by both the offense and defense. You could say that former head coach Mike Smith was the reason for that squandering, and you would be mostly correct. Smith didn’t use the personnel he had at his disposal the correct way, which resulted in back to back losing seasons that only accumulated 10 wins and also cost him his job. Julio Jones was being wasted in an offense that favored the run even though a lackluster Steven Jackson was the primary running back, causing a ton of three and outs and giving kicker Matt Bryant a workout most games. The offensive line wasn’t doing anything to protect Matt Ryan but the starting group remained virtually unchanged. The defense played uninspired at times and let opposing offenses walk all over them both on the ground and through the air. Enter new head coach Dan Quinn. Under Quinn, the Falcons look like an entirely different team. They’re playing with a tenacity not seen in Atlanta since the NFC Championship game run of 2012 and are playing every down like they’re playing in the Super Bowl. Rookies like Vic Beasley are stepping up tremendously and veterans such as Matt Ryan are making minimal mistakes. Desmond Trufant is proving to opposing quarterbacks that he not to be reckoned with, and Julio Jones is cementing his case that he is one of the best, if not the best, receivers in the NFL. Jake Matthews and the offensive line is performing extremely well, only allowing 6 sacks on the year so far, compared to 11 through 4 games last year. However, perhaps the most unanticipated surprise for the Falcons has been their run game and the emergence of Devonta Freeman.

Devonta Freeman was drafted in the third round of last year’s draft, and was expected to backup Steven Jackson and platoon with Jacquizz Rodgers, which is what he did. He rushed for 248 yards and found the end zone once in what was a decent rookie campaign. This year, after Atlanta let Steven Jackson walk, Freeman was thought to lead the Falcon backfield until ATL drafted Tevin Coleman out of Indiana in the third round. Thus, Freeman was thrust back into the backup role after losing the starting job in training camp to Coleman. But, just like Tom Brady and Tony Romo won their gigs, Coleman went down in the second game of the year, and Freeman got his shot. And boy did he make the most of it. In the past two games as a starter, he has accumulated 7 touchdowns and 342 total yards and made himself an instant fantasy football legend. Along with Julio Jones and Matty Ice, Devonta Freeman has been one of the main focal points on offense for the Dirty Birds. He’s

been running wild for two weeks now, and although it’s still early, the Falcons look like a legitimate threat in the NFC with a dynamic offense and capable defense.

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Philbin firing a lack of production with an upgraded team:

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins

Photo credit: June Rivera

Author: Jon Kuzma

When Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross opened up his checkbook to re-sign Ryan Tannehill and sign coveted off-season free agent Ndamukong Suh he did his part in improving the team. Clearly Ross felt that Joe Philbin wasn’t doing his part as a coach with those upgrades. The team who loss to the Jets in London fell to 1-3 on the year and looks like a team that is depleted of morale. There were talks earlier in the season that Ndamukong Suh was freelancing in the defensive scheme. Choosing to do what he prefers rather than what his coaches were expecting of him. In Suh’s defense he most likely had little faith in Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Who has this team ranking near the bottom defensively in most team rankings. Still Suh has to be a professional and except that he has to follow his coaches lead regardless of that coaches competence level. A team in cohesion will always have more success than a team that is out of sync regardless of what scheme or philosophies are implemented. That lack of connect between the players and coaches is what most likely started to stand out to Stephen Ross. That and the fact that Philbin was too calm in his demeanor. Football is a sport that is played with a lot of passion and emotions can run high at times. While a head coach is supposed to be poised Philbin was to reluctant to get his hands dirty when the team clearly needed someone to take action. You can’t stick to the script when the script is a formula for failure and that is exactly what Joe Philbin did. While the guy seems like a great guy in terms of character it was clear his lack of football expertise was not going to elevate this Dolphins team. Look for interim coach Dan Campbell to come in and try to changee the tone of this team. If he is able to he might be a frontrunner for landing the job permanently.

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Brees Leads Saints to Victory in Overtime Match up Against Cowboys:

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Photo credit: Ed Schipul

Author: Jon Kuzma

Drew Brees returned from a shoulder injury to help the Saints knock off the Dallas Cowboys last night in Sunday Night Football. The Saints were able to obtain their first win of the season outscoring the Cowboys 26-20. C.J Spiller made his presence felt for the Saints by scoring the game winning touchdown in overtime for the Saints. That play came on the second play of overtime, where Brees hit Spiller on a wheel route up the right sideline. Spiller had been lined up as the right slot receiver while the Saints offense was in an empty formation. When the z-receiver (receiver furthest to the right) ran a slant route. It opened up separation for Spiller to run freely up the right sideline and catch the pass. The other thing that play did was put a Dallas Cowboys linebacker in charge of covering Spiller, clearly a mismatch every time. Fortunately for the Saints Spiller was able to finish that play in the end zone for six points and a much needed team win. Brees finished the game with 33 completions on 41 passing attempts for 359 yards and 2 touchdowns. A stellar performance for a player who was playing through a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. An injury that is a major concern for a position like quarterback. As far as Spiller goes believe it or not he was better through the air than on the ground. He led all Saints receivers with 99 yards and a touchdown. Mark Ingram also had a notable performance for the Saints offense contributing 77 yards rushing the ball. He also was able to record 6 receptions for 51 yards. Showing that he can be a big factor in this Saints offense. The team will travel to take on the Eagles next Sunday, where both teams find themselves entering the game with a 1-3 record. Each team will be somewhat desperate to get the win and get a step closer to .500. A victory would go a long way for either team especially in terms of playoff aspirations. Keep an eye out for that match up in Philly.

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Charity of the day: AARP Foundation

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