Alright, a little belated, but we are back and ready to take a look at this week’s college and NFL action. Last week I did alright but like any team, I am looking to build on that and get better. Without further ado:
Baltimore (+2) @ New England
So last week, I may have prematurely jumped off the Patriots bandwagon, but I think this is the week that makes or breaks their title hopes. It may seem a little bit brash to call a week 4 matchup a make or break for any team, but if they beat the Ravens, a team that is widely regarded, myself included, as one of the top teams in football, the swagger will be back. For all the publicity the offense has been getting for its explosiveness, and rightfully so, I seem to remember them giving up 436 yards to Philip Rivers through the air. I think their secondary is extremely suspect when they do not get pressure on the QB, and the game will be decided on if the Pats can protect Brady well enough to shred the Ravens secondary. If Wes Welker plays, which is still a bit up in the air, I like New England to pull it out, but if he is out, Moss will not have the time to get open downfield and the shaky New England D will fail to contain the Ravens. I like the Ravens in a close game, but that is going on the assumption that Welker cannot go. Let’s call it 30-28, Ravens.
Jets (+7) @ Saints
I am still not sure what to think about the Jets. On the one hand I am impressed by their defense having held the Houston offense scoreless (only score on defense) and holding the Patriots to single digits. Their offense is reliable with the running game and line. The good line and good running game are more than enough to cover for their rookie QB. What will happen when he needs to drive them down the field for a game winning drive and the defense waiting for the pass? I don’t think Jets fans want to know quite yet.
The Saints, on the other hand, have that high-flying offense with an improved, though still suspect defense. They shredded Philly’s D in week 2, but I think that soon enough people will realize how much the Eagles miss both Stewart Bradley and the deceased Jim Johnson. I am much surer that the Saints are a quality team than I am about the Jets, but I think this line is way too high. I like the Saints to hold onto the win at home, but not by a whole touchdown. 20-17, Saints.
Dallas @ Denver (+3)
Why does everyone like Dallas? They looked absolutely sick (and not in the good way) at home against Carolina, Tony Romo has yet to show chemistry with his receiving corps and the D keeps giving up big plays. If Marion the Barbarian sits out and Jason Garrett decides to air it out, they will be in serious trouble. It is really a wonder to me that the Cowboys did not devote themselves to the running game sooner seeing as how they have a gargantuan offensive line and a talented stable of running backs. If Dallas keeps it on the ground they have a shot, if not they will fall to 2-2.
I really do not know what to make of Denver, but they are 3-0 with victories over the Bengals, Browns, and Raiders. These 3 organizations represent 3 of the 4 saddest organizations in football with only the Lions being left off the list. However, which the Browns, and Silver and Black have showed no vital signs, Cincinnati looks like a very quality team. So what if Denver got their win on a miracle play against them, they were in that game the entire time with them. People watching thought it was simply two awful teams, but both have shown well. This pick honestly comes down to the fact that Denver still has one of the few home-field advantages left in football. The altitude will wear on the Cowboys and do just enough to keep the Broncos in the lead. It won’t be pretty, but the Broncos will move to 4-0, 17-13.
Ok, so I am not making this next pick a full pick, but I am obliged to talk about Favre vs. the Packers. I do not know what your views on the man are, but for me, it is going to be phenomenally weird seeing Brett Favre on the field with the Pack and not wearing the green and gold. I think Minnesota will win the game, just as they will the division, but this is going to be a weird game to watch.
Let’s get the college games worth watching. There are not a ton of great matchups on paper, but there are two that stick out.
(8) Oklahoma @ (17) Miami
Obviously, this game swings on if reigning Heisman trophy candidate plays and is up to speed. If he is, this should be an outstanding watch with athletes all over the field. If he misses the game though, it will simply be athletes all over the field as Miami, encouraged by not having to face Bradford, bounces back from its Virginia Tech debacle. However, Oklahoma’s defense is vastly underrated and has about a 50-50 shot of stopping Jacory Harris dead in his tracks. I am not sure what to do with this game, but I am going to pick the Sooners 27-14 if Bradford plays and the Canes 20-17 if Bradford does not play.
(4) LSU @ (18) Georgia
Did you read the College Football column last week? What did I say about in conference road games? Not only do they separate the great from the good, but they show how mentally tough a team is. The hardest thing to do in college football, other than figure out the BCS, is win a road game in conference, specifically in the SEC. LSU really did not show up against Mississippi State last weekend on the road, so you have to think they will be wary of traveling between the hedges, Will concern be enough? Will the superior talent of LSU get the better of the reloading Bulldogs? Personally, I think this game has been too hyped to be an upset alert. LSU will not sleep on Georgia, and if they do, watch out because it will be a blowout something to the tune of 31-10 Georgia. However, Les Miles should have the boys up n’ ready for this one. It greatly pains me to go against my number one rule exactly one week after setting that rule, but I am going to go with LSU, narrowly, 24-21. I would not be at all surprised, though to see Georgia come out and just embarrass the Bayou Bengals, because that is the way of college football.
Don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to a great slate of NFL and college action. Hope you are too.