As we surmised there were a fair amount of upsets last week and two of them helped to do us in; the Bills over the Cards and G.B over the Texans. We went 2-3 for the week but came close to going 1-4 as the Raiders made it very interesting in Atlanta. At 19-11 on the season we need a good week to return us to respectablity. Here are our five best bets for week #7:
*Home team in CAPS
GIANTS over the Redskins- It took six games for the mighty Giants defense to show up and after their brilliant performance in San Fransisco last Sunday we think it will carry over into this week’s divisional contest with the Redskins. We might not see the six sacks and three interceptions that did the 49ers in last week when Washington comes to East Rutherford because they are more of a ground & pound team with Alfred Morris & RGIII leading the way. Eli & his receivers are salavating at the ‘Skins lack of defense which yields an average of 417 yards to opposing offenses per game. They also have a bit of a ‘revenge’ factor going into this game as the Redskins did beat the Giants in both of their meetings last year. Giants are 4-2 but are 0-2 in their division and need this one.
RAIDERS over the Jags- After nearly pulling out what would have been the biggest upset of the week, the Raiders return to the Black Hole knowing that if they almost beat the undefeated Falcons on the road they certainly should have an easier time with the anemic Jags in their building. The Raiders defense will shine this week as they will face QB Blaine Gabbert who has been sacked 15 times this season and has thrown for 200 yards only once. Outside of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, there is little to get excited about as WR Justin Blackmon, the Jags 1st round pick, has yet to live up to the hype entering this season. The Silver & Black should romp in this one.
PATRIOTS over the Jets- The Jets lost both of their games against the Pats last year; one by 11 points and the other by 21 and their team is no better now than they were in ’11. Beleagured QB Mark Sanchez has averaged 12.6 completions over his last three games while in contrast, Tom Brady’s average is 27. Sanchez has thrown six picks and been sacked 10 times as his offensive line continues to struggle. Don’t be suckered into believing that they have turned things around as they beat a Colts team last week with a rookie quarterback and without their starting RB on the field. Can’t see the Jets and their lack of offense overtake New England at home with their many weapons.
BILLS over the Titans- In what could possibly be the highest scoring game of the day, we’re leaning towards the Bills. Neither team knows the concept of the word ‘defense’ so it could come down to the last team with the ball wins.. Discounting the last two weeks when the Bills played two of the leagues better defenses Arizona & S.F., QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 12 touchdown passes in the first four games! They have beaten Arizona, Cleveland (the best 1-5 team in the league) and blew out Kansas City at Orchard Park. RB Chris Johnson should have a career day but the Titans defense, which is ranked 25th in the league, will probably go up after this week.
BENGALS over the Steelers-Pittsburgh is having all kinds of injury issues; the worst is that Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman both have been ruled OUT for Sunday night’s game. They have several defensive injuries as well and Maurkice Pouncey, their center remains Questionable. That would be a big loss to their offensive line if Pouncey cannot suit up. At RB, Jonathan Dwyer, who played in just three games last year and has only 24 rushing attempts so far this season, is not going to scare anyone on the Bengals this week. If you look at the Steelers losses this season, to Denver, Oakland, & Tennessee, you would have to scratch your head wondering how this team, now at 2-3, has fallen from grace so rapidly. Clearly the Bengals are a step up in class but QB Andy Dalton needs to cut down on his interceptions (he has 6 in the last three games), if they are to be successful this week.
A crazy weekend for games and for teams looking to save their season .
Not saying it couldn’t happen – A.J. Green might be the best receiver in the league – but I don’t think the Steelers will lose this “must win” game. I’m biased because I’m a lifelong fan, but I’m also just familiar with a gritty Steeler team who seems to show up with their back against the wall. It’s been said, all too accurately, that we play down to our opponent. Hence the losses over the last few years to teams like Oakland (twice), the Browns, Tennessee, etc. However, that also works in the opposite when we’re playing a team who can score like Cincinnati (see: PIT vs NE last year). After Mendenhall’s horrid 2011, the Steelers are, unfortunately, getting used to not having a run game. But with Haley incorporating a lot more RB screens and TE crossing routes, our passing game could be better than ever. Look for Dwyer to do just enough on the ground to have play action work, but I’d expect Rainey got a few chances to turn a 2 yard pass into a MONSTER gain. His Sproles-like ability could come in handy on 3rd down.
So, while I’m not naive enough to guarantee a victory, I’d be very surprised if Pittsburgh walks away 2-4. Especially since this is still only our first division match-up of the year. 3-3 and 1-0 in the division is still a solid record (especially since the Browns did us a favor!), but 2-4 and 0-1 is a death sentence.
All valid points AJ. I also think that Heath will have a more important role in the Steelers offense this week especially because they are lacking in their running game. Never called this game a ‘slam dunk’ but I just feel it’s very difficult to sustain as many injuries as the Steelers have accumulated on both sides of the ball, and still pull off a win. Mendenhall & Redman’s absences not only help get points on the board but it keeps the clock ticking and allows the Steelers more ball control as well.
It’s one thing to play better when you’re back is up against a wall, but you need a full compliment of your defense, running backs and center Maurkice Pouncey (who i think is invaluable) to help you pull that off.
That’s why they play the games on the gridiron AJ. The one thing I will agree with you on is that it’s a huge game for Pittsburgh.
Thanks for checking in and good luck on Sunday night!
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Looks good, Hank. It’s gutsy to ever take Oakland as a winner, but your reasoning seems sound, and the Lags aren’t much. I hope for the best for Cincy, but the Steelers lost last week, and I believe they MUST win. Still, the Bengals need a win almost as much!
Pick my Dolphins next week. Okay, pick ON my Dolphins next week. Either way, it’ll be cool.
I promise that I’ll peruse next week’s contest involving the ‘Fish’ but won’t guarantee I’ll have them in my top five. They’re coming off of a bye so at least they should be well rested.