Week 7 Power Rankings

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Author: Joey Carr

7 weeks of the NFL season are in the books and there’s more to digest than there usually is at this point in the year. There is a substantial amount of below .500 teams, including the defending NFC champion Seahawks; but on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a record number of undefeated teams (Five!!). The Packers and Patriots remain far ahead of the rest of the NFL, but a few surprise teams, such as the Panthers and Bengals, continue to impress week in and week out. The big question this season is, however, can the numerous 2-4 teams step up and have a big second half, or will mediocrity remain the trend?

1. New England Patriots, 5-0

Bill Belichick has his team bulldozing through their Revenge Tour, as they’ve scored 183 points in 5 games, which is one more than they did in their historic 2007 season. Their toughest test of the year will be this Sunday however, against Todd Bowles’ new look Jets.

2. Green Bay Packers, 6-0

Despite Sunday’s last second win against the Chargers, the Packers come in at the No. 2 spot. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t exactly looked like the MVP of last year, but he still has been one of the more reliable signal callers in the league. Their defense did let up nearly 600 yards of offense to Phillip Rivers and Branden Oliver on the other hand, so that’s definitely an area of concern for Mike McCarthy.

3. Cincinnati Bengals, 6-0

The “Who-Dey” squad has been quite the surprise this year, and it’s mostly in part to the vast improvement Andy Dalton has made over the past year. The run game is scary and that defense is something to marvel at. This might be the year the Bengals finally win that elusive playoff game.

4. Carolina Panthers, 5-0

After finishing 7-9 last year, and winning the dreadful NFC South, the Panthers are now in the elite teams conversation. They dismantled the vaunted Seattle defense in the fourth quarter, coming back from 13 down. Yes, it was only one game, but come season’s end, Carolina should still be in contention for a playoff spot.

5. Denver Broncos, 6-0

This is a stat you probably aren’t used to hearing: Peyton Manning has more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (7). Number 18 has been abysmal so far this season, and is only undefeated due to his standout defense bailing him out each and every game. It’ll be interesting to see how Manning responds when his defense faces an elite offense (Week 12 against the Patriots).

6. Atlanta Falcons, 5-1

The one undefeated team to not make it out of week 6 unscathed, the new look Falcons should be able to fly through the rest of their schedule. They have the

easiest remaining games, and as long as Devonta Freeman keeps running downhill, they should be fine for weeks to come.

7. Arizona Cardinals, 4-2

After winning their first three, they’ve gone 1-2, and have been inconsistent since starting undefeated. The defense allowed Landry Jones to pass two late touchdowns on Sunday, completing the Steelers comeback. And even though they’ve gotten great production from their offense, execution has been a huge problem. The Cards need to stay on top of their game or else Seattle or even St. Louis could come from behind and swipe the division from them.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers, 4-2

Antonio Brown has been held under 50 yards for the past three games, which just happens to coincide to Big Ben’s absence. Mike Vick isn’t the quarterback he used to be and while he still has a cannon for an arm, the Steelers need someone else at QB. Enter Landry Jones. He led Pittsburgh to a comeback win on Sunday against the Cardinals and should take over while Ben is sidelined (with or without his cellphone).

9. New York Jets, 4-1

Todd Bowles has this team rolling, with the defense proving to be one of the best in the league. They haven’t faced an elite offense yet however, but that will change when they head to Foxboro Sunday to take on their archrivals. If they can knock off the “Evil Empire” Patriots, things could get interesting in the AFC East.

10. San Diego Chargers, 2-4

While their record says below .500, their performance says something else. They’ve squandered back-to-back opportunities to win games, both in the final seconds, and could easily be 4-2. Phillip Rivers threw for over 500 yards on Sunday, Antonio Gates is still Antonio Gates, and Keenan Allen is the one of the most promising young receiver in the league; this team will be just fine, despite their 2-4 record.

11. Philadelphia Eagles, 3-3

After a rocky start to the season, Philly seems to be back on track. DeMarco Murray is improving every game, and the defense looks shored up for the time being. As long as Sam Bradford stays healthy, the Eagles are the favorite to claim the NFC East Title.

12. Seattle Seahawks, 2-4

It could be a Super Bowl hangover, but something is not right with the Seahawks. They’ve blown four (!!!!) fourth quarter leads this year, and the offense is not clicking the way it has in the past. These problems go way past Kam Chancellor, and if Seattle wants any shot at the playoffs, they need to figure out how to fix their fourth quarter woes.

13. Indianapolis Colts, 3-3

In his first game back from injury, Andrew Luck looked sharp on Sunday night against the Patriots. While it wasn’t enough to overcome the vengeful Pats, things are looking up for a Colts team that started off 0-2. However, they don’t get to play their subpar division teams again until week 14, which will be challenging.

14. Minnesota Vikings, 3-2

Adrian Peterson has looked like himself in about half of the Vikings games, but it doesn’t seem to matter as Minnesota is 3-2 and in contention for a playoff spot. Tedy Bridgewater needs to cut down on the mistakes but rookies like Stefon Diggs make the playoffs reachable.

15. New York Giants, 3-3

The Football Giants have yet to show any signs of consistency, and it’s hurting them in the rankings. Eli Manning throws for 4 touchdowns one night and then gets picked off three times the next time (like Monday night). If the Giants are going to have any success this season, they’re going to need their defense to step up a little, and Manning will need to be more consistent.

16. Dallas Cowboys, 2-3

Big changes are coming to Dallas after the bye week, as head coach Jason Garrett made the decision to start Matt Cassel over Brandon Weeden, and running back Christine Michael will now be “let free”. Also, Dez Bryant could be coming back from injury this week, making Cassell’s job a lot easier.

17. Houston Texans, 2-4

Many people might not be as high on the Texans as I am, but Brian Hoyer has shown glimpses of potential, and Arian Foster is getting back to normal. Yes, they’ve only beaten Miami and Jacksonville, but give Houston a little more time to develop, and they could be fighting for a playoff spot come December.

18. San Francisco 49ers, 2-4

In a year that was supposed to be a rebuilding season, San Fran has shown some potential. Colin Kaepernick has been decent the past couple of weeks, and the defense is starting to come around. They have a showdown with the Seahawks this Thursday however, that will ultimately decide if they can contend for a playoff spot this season.

19. Buffalo Bills, 3-3

After destroying the Colts week 1 with Tyrod Taylor at the helm, who would’ve thought they would be 3-3 with E.J. Manuel starting? They haven’t exactly exuded consistency thus far, and things don’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Rex Ryan needs to get his team turned around sooner rather than later.

20. New Orleans Saints, 2-4

With their season on the line, they came out with a win on Thursday night against an undefeated division rival in Atlanta. Their offense was rolling, and the defense held

it’s own versus Devonta Freeman and company. With both of those aspects trending up, a playoff spot isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

21. Miami Dolphins, 2-3

I’m not sure if newly appointed head coach Dan Campbell put something in the water in Miami or if he’s an amazing motivational speaker, but the Dolphins looked completely reinvigorated on Sunday. It’s going to be interesting to see how Miami responds in the coming weeks when they play the difficult part of their schedule.

22. St. Louis Rams, 2-3

Who would’ve thought the Rams would be in second place through 7 weeks in the NFC West? They stunned Seattle in week 1, but have mostly been up and down since then. Todd Gurley could be the player they’ve been waiting for, however, and has the ability to be a franchise cornerstone.

23. Chicago Bears, 2-4

Da Bears have been exactly what they were supposed to be: average. Jay Cutler will not be leading this team to the promise land anytime in the near future, and if they keep losing, a fire sale might be on the horizon.

24. Oakland Raiders, 2-4

Yes, the Raiders are 2-4, but they’ve played some very strong teams thus far and haven’t lost by much in those contests. They’ve competed and have playmakers on both sides of the ball, which bodes well for both the near and distant future.

25. Washington Redskins, 2-4

The disaster that is the Washington Redskins continues to go on the decline. Kirk Cousins doesn’t look like he can be a franchise quarterback, and the run game has slowed to a crawl after starting off strong. They’ve got a tough schedule ahead of them, and the NFC East Title seems like a far off hope at this point.

26. Cleveland Browns, 2-4

The Browns always seem to be one big play away from winning most of their games, which was the case on Sunday against Denver. Cleveland has the tools to be a decent team, but mistakes keep costing them and dragging them down.

27. Detroit Lions, 1-5

Well, it finally happened. There are no more winless teams in the NFL, with the Lions escaping with a win on Sunday in overtime. Albeit, it was the Bears, but it was a great team win. Calvin Johnson had his first strong game and Matthew Stafford answered well after being benched the previous Sunday. The playoffs are all but out of the question, but this season can be a good building block for next season.

28. Tennessee Titans, 1-4

Marcus Mariota is expectedly having rookie season struggles, but his defense hasn’t exactly been helping him win games. The Titans are once again a bottom feeder team, but at least have a glimmer of hope with Mariota.

29. Baltimore Ravens, 1-5

Who would’ve thought? The Ravens, at 1-5, bottom of the AFC, and number 29 in the rankings. It’s one of the biggest surprises of the year, and Baltimore should just be looking at next season at this point.

30. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-5

Another AFC surprise, the Chiefs are in serious trouble for years to come. They just lost Jamaal Charles to his second ACL injury in four years, and Alex Smith is statistically one of the worst quarterbacks in football. KC should take a look at backup Chase Daniel as soon as this week if they want any chance at being somewhat competitive this season.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-3

Yes, they are 2-3, but their play has been lackluster to say the least this season. Jameis Winston is the ultimate wildcard at quarterback, and needs to settle down for the Bucs to stay in competition.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-5

The Jags are at the bottom yet again, and it’s not entirely the players fault. Coach Gus Bradley has won a combined 7 games in his tenure as head coach, which spans over two seasons. Sure, players like playing for him, but the Jags front office need to make a change in head coach this season; it’s working out well for Miami so far.

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Eagles take control of the NFC East with Monday Night Football win over Giants:

Eagles at Redskins 10/04/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles defense looked outstanding against the New York Giants in Monday Night Football. They were able to hold the Giants to just 7 points and that was on the opening drive of the game when Eli Manning was able to hit Odell Beckham Jr. on a post route for six. After that play though it was all Eagles. Who allowed the Giants only 166 yards through the air and only 81 rushing yards on the ground. The Eagles defense was also able to sack Eli Manning 3 times and limit the Giants offense to just 4 successful 3rd down conversions the whole game. The momentum in the game took a huge turn in the Eagles favor when Nolan Carroll was able to intercept an Eli Manning pass and finish the play in the end zone for an Eagles defensive touchdown. That is right, the Philadelphia defense not only limited the Giants to 7 points. They also were scoring points for this Eagles team. When Chip Kelly took over the Eagles he was always praised for his offensive execution. Yet it’s the defense that won the game for Philadelphia tonight. The Eagles now take the top spot in the NFC east division with a 3-3 record, but they still must improve if they want to do something special this year. They committed four turnovers tonight. 3 interceptions by Bradford and a fumble by Jordan Matthews. Little errors and slip ups like that is what will cost you the game against better teams. Philly is fortunate to be playing in the NFC East a division which has no team with a record above a .500 win percentage. One other positive besides leading the division is the fact that Demarco Murray was finally able to get going. Churning out 109 rushing yards and 1 touchdown on 22 carries. That might be a recipe for success moving forward for this team. Look for Chip Kelly to lean on him in the future games. Give the Eagles credit for taking the division lead, a huge step in the right direction for this team.

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Patriots and Colts match up just another game for the Patriots:

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08/28/09

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Patriots addressed their post game press conference against the Colts just like they did for the game. Treating the match as just another game and not adding much to the hype that surrounded Deflategate and Tom Brady. The Patriots were able to handle the Colts in that game winning 34-27. Tom Brady threw his first interception on the year but even that pass was a play that receiver Julian Edelman should have completed. Edelman was suffering from a dislocated finger and that most likely affected his catching ability on that particular play. Brady finished the day with 3 touchdowns and 312 yards through the air. Looking outstanding for most of the game besides that interception mentioned above. Danny Amendola contributed a 100 yards receiving to the Patriots offense. While Legarrette Blount racked up 93 yards on the ground giving the Patriots a duel threat attack through both the ground and the air. Andrew Luck started off strong on the opening drive for the Colts. They were able to keep that momentum going into halftime leading the game 21-20. That is when Brady came out in the second half and played some of his finest football. He would lead the New England offense downfield and complete a touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowksi the opening drive of the second half. Then several possessions later in the fourth quarter, Brady was able to lead a six play drive which was capped off by a touchdown pass to Legarrette Blount. Icing the cake for the Patriots and ensuring they win the “revenge match” against the Colts who notified the NFL that the Patriots were using deflated footballs last January. When it’s all said and done the Patriots mantra will always be to look ahead to the next match up. They didn’t pay much attention to things that were happening off the field, nor to the things that were being said in the media. They do have to take into account that the Colts played them much tougher than last January however. They’ll make the necessary adjustments and most likely beat the Colts more convincingly next time they see them, because hey that’s the Patriot way. Just another game for Bill Belichick the Pats.

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When are the San Diego Chargers going to get Philip Rivers some help?

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Diego Chargers took on the Green Bay Packers yesterday in NFL action and saying Philip Rivers was outstanding would be an understatement. The 12th year pro out of North Carolina State University was phenomenal all day throwing for a career high 503 passing yards on the day. On one particular touchdown pass to Ladarius Green, Rivers showed precision that was among the best to play the game. Putting that pass in a spot that only his receiver could of caught, and more importantly putting six points on the board for his team. At the end of the game when it came down to Rivers and the Chargers offense trying to crack the end zone to win the game. They came up short when Packers rookie cornerback Damarious Randall broke up the Chargers pass which was intended for Danny Woodhead. Rivers laid on the field in exhaustion after that play and a sports psychologist we interviewed (who wishes to remain anonymous) suggested that Rivers body language was most likely due to Rivers feeling like he has to carry so much of the load for this team. Which brings us at endzoneblog.com to the question of when are the Chargers going to get Philip Rivers some help? This guy has kept the Chargers competitive when the front office never took action to make the team a serious Super Bowl contender. Yet the forever overly passionate Rivers still puts this team on his back every single season and leads this team when they need him the most. In fact Rivers burning fire passion for the game of football is the reason the Chargers have been relevant the last 12 seasons. It’s time this team steps up and makes some major moves to give Rivers the shot he deserves to win a championship for the Chargers. The guy bleeds lightning bolts now it’s time the franchise shows they bleed Philip Rivers. Get this guy some help and go win a Super Bowl before it’s too late.

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Detroit Lions Win: Caldwell still needs to go though

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

By Tammy Kuzma

Let’s be honest….there wasn’t a team in the NFL that needed a win this week more than the Detroit Lions. Nor a coach that needed it more than Jim Caldwell. Detroit fans certainly didn’t think they would be entering Week 6 of the 2015 season without a single win. A feat they haven’t seen since 2008 when the Lions went 0-16.

While this week’s desperately sought after victory was finally what fans have been waiting for it still wasn’t pretty for Caldwell. No offense to the 2008 team but this year’s roster is certainly stronger and more talented. So why an 0-5 start. One word, COACHING.

Example: your record is 0-5, there are 3 minutes left in the game, its fourth down and you’re down by 7. If you’re on the 45 yard line you kick a field goal but if you’re on the 13 yard line you go for it.

Caldwell continues to stand behind his coaching staff unwilling to make any changes. He pulled a sleight of hand move last week benching Stafford and it seemed to work. While the sports world was focusing on Stafford’s inability to deliver there was little chatter on the failures of Caldwell and his staff.

The offense is a mess. Plagued by turnover and penalties which are a result of bad execution by the team along with bad play calling and the sequence of the play calls by the coaching staff. The Lions have the worst run game in the league. While their defense is still a bit inconsistent we have seen improvement from week to week.

Hot off this week’s win, I doubt we will see Caldwell make any changes this week but how many more losses before he pulls the sleight of hand move again and fires Offensive Coach Joe Lombardi to save himself? In Caldwell’s own words, “anytime you have play going on like that, I certainly think that it warrants some changes.” Come on Mrs. Ford, the fans are counting on you to make the change.

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Why the Falcons will make it to the NFC Championship Game

Falcons at Ravens 10/19/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

While it’s true that the Atlanta Falcons looked somewhat lost on Thursday night when they were defeated by New Orleans in the Superdome, there’s reason to believe that these Dirty Birds are only going to improve. On Thursday, their star receiver, Julio Jones, was a bit banged up with a lingering hamstring issue, and Matt Ryan made some uncharacteristic mistakes that included three fumbles. They were also facing a Saints team that had their season on the line, making the Superdome even more hostile than usual. However, they’re still 5-1, Devonta Freeman is continuing his torrid, un-human like attack in the run game, and they have by far the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. If they can win 8 out of their next 10, we should be seeing them fighting for a chance to play in Santa Clara come January.

It’s easy to call the Falcons a fluke team this year after losing by 10 to a 1-4 Saints squad; but if you look at their previous games, they’re anything but a fluke team. They possess numerous lethal weapons on offense, Dan Quinn’s defense is performing like a true unit, and they’ve owned the comeback factor. Both their offense and defense have won them football games, which is the way it’s supposed to be if a team is to be successful. Matt Ryan, for the most part, has been making sound decisions and is proving to be an elite quarterback in this league. Devonta Freeman is an absolute monster on the ground, putting up Ladainian Tomlinson type numbers. If he can keep up that pace, then the receiving corps, which has been extremely reliable thus far, won’t have to make as many plays. Also, second-string running back Tevin Coleman makes him and Freeman one of the best 1-2 punches in the NFL. Desmond Trufant and Paul Worrilow, both of whom are having career best seasons, are leading the defensive charge. The Falcon defense so far has done a valiant job of containing the quarterback and limiting the amount of big plays, something that has kept them in games. However, as long as Trufant and company keeps games close, the Dirty Birds offense should be able to take care of the rest.

Another reason to add to the claim that the Falcons will make the Championship Game is the fact that Atlanta has the easiest remaining schedule in the league. Their hardest game left is against the Colts in Indy and beyond that, there’s not much of a challenge. They do have a tilt with the Vikings at home and two games against division rival Carolina left but they should be favored by at least 5 points in all of those games. If they can manage to go 8-2 the rest of the way, they should be able to secure a Top 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture, and likely be beside Green Bay or Arizona. The Pack have a fairly difficult remaining schedule, as does Arizona, so if Atlanta can finish 13-3, it’s completely plausible that they will be the top seed in the NFC.

Of course, all of this is based on conjecture. Maybe the Falcons were really found out by New Orleans Thursday, and 13-3 is a long shot at best. Maybe a top 2 seed in the NFC is wishful thinking; but based on their play the previous 6 games, it’s more than likely in the realm of possibility. Expect the Falcons to only improve, and go at least

7-3 the rest of the way. If they can accomplish this, a heavy weight matchup with either Arizona or Green Bay or maybe even Seattle is definitely on the table.

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All the spotlight on college football today as U of M takes on MSU:

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Photo credit: Brad Muckenthaler

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Michigan State football program has been the top dog in the state of Michigan for the last several years. When former Michigan football player Michael Hart referred to Michigan State as Michigan’s “little brother.” He had no idea how the future was going to unfold. Since that time Mark Dantonio’s Spartans have reigned supreme. They’ve been higher in the A.P rankings nearly every season and have won six out of the last seven meetings. However things got much more interesting in the rivalry when the University of Michigan selected Jim Harbaugh as their new head football coach this past off-season. Since that moment, Harbaugh has completely resurrected a program who despite being the most winning program in all college football history had fell to a level of mediocrity in recent seasons. Not anymore though, Harbaugh and the Wolverines enter the match up with a 5-1 record only falling in their season opener to number 4 ranked Utah. This match up between the Spartans and Wolverines hasn’t been this interesting in very long time. The coaches going head to head on the sidelines haven’t been this talented since Lloyd Carr and Nick Saban battled it out in the mid 90’s. One alarming stat that must be stated is the team that wins the running game is typically the winner in the contest. In fact the team that rushed for more yards in the game went on to win the game 42 out of 45 contests. Showing that the key to success on any level of football is truly the same. Run the ball and play outstanding defense. While today will be a great day for college football fans as they get treated to this great college football rivalry. Give credit to both programs for giving their whole state something to be proud of.

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Can Denver Survive with such a weak offense?

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall

Author: Joey Carr

Prior to season’s begin, if I told you that the high and mighty Denver Broncos would have the 26th ranked offense in the NFL, you would’ve more than likely laughed in my face and drafted C.J. Andersen in the first round of your fantasy draft just to spite me. Well, here we are, Week 6 of the NFL season, and the Peyton Manning-led Broncos have one of the most inefficient offensive units in the league. Many predicted a Manning decline was on the horizon, but none could’ve predicted the turmoil the run game is in right now. Their rushing attack has been virtually nonexistent, which ultimately weakens the passing game and explains why their offense has been playing so poorly to start the season. However, even with an average passing attack and porous run game, they’re still undefeated at 5-0. Can their defense keep carrying the offense or will Manning and company start costing their team games? My guess is the latter.

Just two years removed from having one of the more triumphant and brilliant seasons a quarterback has ever had, Peyton Manning is now in the twilight of his career (let the AFC West rejoice). It’s apparent that his arm strength and accuracy just isn’t what it used to be back when he was tossing touchdowns left and right to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne as a Colt. However, to Number 18’s credit, his average skillset is still significantly better than some of the other quarterback’s skills in the NFL today. Still, the fact remains that the Denver offense is sputtering in mediocrity to start off the 2015 campaign and, if not for their formidable defense, they could easily be 2-3 right now. Take last week for example: if Chris Harris didn’t pick off Derek Carr and return it for a touchdown, the Broncos wouldn’t of had the breathing room they did, and the Raiders could’ve definitely won that game on a last minute drive. The Bronco defense has bailed out the Bronco offense more than once this season, and we all know that in the NFL, you need both sides of the ball working together in concert to get to February and win. Just ask the 2011 Patriots.

These offensive problems for Denver can be fixed, however, but it will require vast improvements on the offensive line. The blame for the lackluster running game is being placed all on C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, but in reality it’s not completely their fault; if you watch the tape on any Bronco game, it’s obvious that the running backs have no room to run due to the fact that they are being antagonized by the defensive lineman before they can even maneuver their way to the line of scrimmage. Between the two feature backs, Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, only Hillman has eclipsed the 100-yard mark, but just once. They’ve only accrued 2 rushing touchdowns on the year, both by Hillman, and have done minimal damage in the passing game. They are being asked to block more to compensate for their trivial production, putting more pressure on Peyton Manning and the passing attack. Simply put, Manning doesn’t need that kind of pressure this late in his career. In order for him to succeed and be more efficient as a passer, he needs his run game to step up, gain some solid chunks of yardage, and chew up some clock. 50 passing attempts isn’t what will propel this Denver team to the Super Bowl, even with a number 1 defense.

To be blunt, if the Broncos offense keeps going the way they’re going, the defense will eventually follow suit, to a point. They won’t completely collapse because they’re simply too talented to not be a top 5 defense. However, they can’t keep winning their team games all by themselves; that’s not what a defense is designed to do. The offense is supposed to put points on the scoreboard and the defense is supposed to stop the other team from scoring. So far, the Broncos game plan has relied on their defense scoring and securing ideal field position for their offense, which can’t last all season. Once they face off against a worthy offense, it will be interesting to see how Denver’s offensive unit responds if they have to put up 34 points to win the game. As of now, however, the Denver Broncos can’t survive without at least a middle of the pack offense.

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Football predictions for every week 6 game

Panthers at Ravens 9/28/14

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

Not many could’ve predicted the utter chaos that has been the 2015 NFL season. There have been countless different story lines to follow and so many surprises thus far. The Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals are undefeated. The Denver Broncos have the 26th ranked offense. Chacandrick West and Knile Davis lead the Kansas City backfield. The Seahawks are 2-3. The Miami Dolphins have a new head coach. Chris Johnson is second in the league in rushing yards. At this point in the season, it’s virtually impossible to accurately predict who will emerge victorious in each game, but it’s always worth a go.

Bengals vs. Bills, 1:00 P.M.

This is possibly the Bengals first real, difficult challenge. Yes, they did play and beat the defending NFC Champion Seahawks last week, but that was at home and against a depleted Seattle team. This week, they’re facing a highly energetic atmosphere in Buffalo and are playing an unpredictable Bills squad. Rex Ryan’s team has shown glimpses of potential but has so far been inconsistent. This matchup could go either way, but the Bengals seem to have more talent overall and are playing on a hot streak.

Prediction: Bengals 27 Bills 17,

Broncos vs. Browns, 1:00 P.M.

If I had to pick an upset game for the week, this would be the game. The Broncos offense has been below average at best. Their run game is nonexistent and Peyton Manning is a middle of the pack quarterback this year. Their defense is elite however, but will be tested when they face Josh McCown, who just last week threw for over 450 yards. This Cleveland team is hungry, they’re at home, and will definitely put up a fight when Denver comes to town Sunday.

Prediction: Broncos 17 Cleveland 16

Bears vs. Lions, 1:00 P.M.

Before the season started, no one would’ve dreamed that the Detroit Lions would be the last winless team in the NFL. But, that’s where we are, and the Lions are simply a mess; Matthew Stafford has thrown 8 interceptions and Calvin Johnson hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards receiving yet. The defense could make Tom Brady look like a good running back and the pass defense isn’t a lot better. The Bears, on the other hand, have looked much more improved since Jay Cutler returned form injury and have one of the best backs in the game in Matt Forte, which should be a major issue all day long for the Lions.

Prediction: Bears 31 Lions 20

Texans vs. Jaguars, 1:00 P.M.

Unless you’re a Texan or Jaguar fan, you probably won’t be watching this game. Both of these teams are peddling in mediocrity this year, and a change doesn’t appear to be on the horizon. Brian Hoyer has overtaken the quarterback position for Houston and has looked sharp in his last

two outings and DeAndre Hopkins leads the league in receiving yards. However, for some reason, the Texans seem to commit a turnover at the worst possible time, which usually loses them the game. This game will ultimately come down to which team commits less turnovers.

Prediction: Jaguars 23 Texans 21

Chiefs vs. Vikings, 1:00 P.M.

The Vikings are coming off a bye and facing a Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs team. Minnesota has performed admirably so far this season, and should be able to continue playing well against an underachieving KC defense. Look for Adrian Peterson to have a big day on the ground and keep an eye on the Chiefs backfield, which now consists of Chacandrick West and Knile Davis.

Prediction: Vikings 28 Chiefs 20

Dolphins vs. Titans, 1:00 P.M.

Miami has vastly under cut expectations this season and will try to get back on track when they visit the Titans this Sunday. They’ll have problems, however, when Marcus Mariota and company try to overcome back-to-back losses. Mariota presents numerous matchup problems for the Dolphins defense and he should be able to exploit those problems come Sunday. If the Dolphins want any chance at winning though, they’ll need Ryan Tannehill to step up and be the quarterback they expected him to be.

Prediction: Titans 27 Dolphins 22

Redskins vs. Jets, 1:00 P.M.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises of the season, the New York Jets sit at 3-1 and look poised to go 4-1. They’re playing an average Redskins team at home, and will cause tons of problems for Kirk Cousins. However, the Jet offense will need to take it up a notch in order to get past the stingy Washington defense that yielded just 19 points to the Falcons high-powered offense last week.

Prediction: Jets 24 Redskins 19

Cardinals vs. Steelers, 1:00 P.M.

By far the best 1:00 o’clock game this week, this Arizona, Pittsburgh matchup should be a shootout. Last week on Monday Night, the Steelers showed the world they don’t need Big Ben to win football games, as they have Le’Veon Bell leading the offensive charge. However, their defense could be tested heavily when the Cardinals come to Heinz Field. The Cards have a surprisingly strong run game with Chris Johnson as the feature back, and Carson Palmer looks as impressive as ever. Look for this game to come down to the fourth quarter.

Prediction: Cardinals 27 Steelers 24

Panthers vs. Seahawks, 4:05 P.M.

It’s a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional matchup, but you would think this year’s records for both of these teams are swapped. The Panthers stand at 4-0 and the Seahawks at 2-3, but these records are a little skewed. Carolina has yet to play an above .500 team, and the Seahawks have played nothing but above average teams. The Panthers will be feeling the pressure on Sunday when they enter the home of the 12th Man, and will more than likely be undefeated no longer.

Prediction: Seahawks 26 Panthers 14

Ravens vs. 49ers, 4:25 P.M.

In a rematch of Super Bowl 47, a win could benefit both these teams greatly. The Ravens have disappointed, to say the least. They’re 1-4, at the bottom of the AFC North, and are basically fighting for their lives at this point. In order for them to have any shot this season, they need to secure a W against a 49er team that has been extremely inconsistent. If Baltimore can contain Carlos Hyde and limit the damage that Kaepernick can cause, they should be able to walk out of Santa Clara with a much needed win.

Prediction: Ravens 20 49ers 13

Chargers vs. Packers

Definitely the marquee matchup of the afternoon, the Bolts will try to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Pack at Lambeau, which isn’t an easy task to accomplish. Rodgers has been near impossible to stop at home but the Chargers will be up to the test. This game should be close throughout but the Packers always seem to find a way to win at home. However, don’t be surprised if San Diego gives Green Bay their first loss of the season.

Prediction: Packers 30 Chargers 27

Patriots vs. Colts, 8:30 P.M.

This is the game we’ve all been waiting for. The Revenge Game. It was nine months ago that the Patriots crushed the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, thus beginning the saga known as Deflategate. You couldn’t ask for a better story line going into a game, and New England looks ready to pay back Jim Irsay and the Colts for telling the NFL about supposedly deflated footballs. Tom Brady is playing some of the best football of his career and always performs at a high level when he plays Indy. Andrew Luck on the other hand, seems to play his worst football when he matches up against the Pats. Expect New England to pass the ball with efficiency but also expect a high-powered running attack that has succeeded in the past against Indy.

Prediction: Patriots 37 Colts 21

Giants vs. Eagles, 8:30 P.M. (Monday Night)

An NFC East rivalry is renewed this Monday when the Giants travel to Philly to take on the Eagles. Both teams could really use a win, as they are both battling for the wide-open NFC East division. Eli Manning and the Giants have been on a hot streak as of late, winning three games in a row after dropping their first two. However, the Eagles might finally have something going

offensively, after DeMarco Murray broke out for 83 yards rushing and Sam Bradford passed for over 300 yards yet again. This game should be a thriller, and is anyone’s game at this point. However, New York could be in trouble in if receivers Odell Beckham and Reuben Randle can’t play.

Prediction: Eagles 30 Giants 27

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Drew Brees catches fire, leads Saints past Falcons in rivalry match up:

Saints at Ravens 8/13/15

Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Jon Kuzma

Thursday night football was all about Drew Brees whose precision helped uplift the New Orleans Saints past the Atlanta Falcons 31-21. Brees finished the game with 312 passing yards and 1 touchdown pass . Looking tremendous passing the ball all night. Every time the Saints needed to make a big play it was Brees connecting with Watson, or Brees connecting with Cooks that would keep Saints’ drives alive. Watson had a big day for the Saints offense finishing the game with 10 receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. Having his best day as a Saint, and showing there is life after Jimmy Graham at the Tight End position in New Orleans. The Saints landed a much needed win and hand the Falcons their first loss of the season. Brees might have commanded things offensively for the Saints but he received a huge gift from his defense tonight. The Saints defense looked great all night hassling Matt Ryan nearly every time he dropped back. In fact the Saints were able to sack Matt Ryan 5 times on the evening. Making it tough for Ryan to get in a groove or find a rhythm. Three of those sacks came from Cameron Jordan who also recorded five solo tackles and 3 tackles for loss as well. Showing he truly is one of the most talented defensive lineman in the NFL. The performance by Jordan was so dominant because he finished six plays behind the line of scrimmage( 3 sacks, 3 TFL’s). Quite a bit of production for just one player. If this Saints team can come out and play every game like they did tonight they are a force to be reckoned with. The challenge for them will be the consistency. They can’t go back into their shell and fold up next week against the Colts. It’s just like your old football coach used to tell you back in high school. Enjoy this win for 24 hours if you’re the Saints, then get back to business. If the Saints do all the little things right and rattle several wins off in a row there is no telling what they could achieve. The question is, is it too late?

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