I was planning on doing a midseason awards and recap column this week, but I decided to hold off until next week when every team has played at least 8 games. So tune in next week for that; I have a lot of cool stuff planned.
QB: Matt Schaub (HOU). It would make more sense to put Giant Testicle (oh yes, don’t think I forgot) here due to the Texans’ rancid pass defense. Plus, the Chargers are the best defense in the league for opposing passers. While I do think GT will dominate, I think Schaub will surprise us. I wouldn’t take the Indy game as a sign for panic; the Colts were just as geared up for the week 8 matchup as the Texans were in week 1. There was no way they were losing that game. This week 9 game could be a shootout akin to week 2 between the Texans and Redskins.
Other options: Giant Testicle (SD), Aaron Rodgers (GB), Eli Manning (NYG)
(Last week: Kitna vs. JAC…34-49, 379, 1 td, 4 int)
RB: Peyton Hillis (CLE). Other than the Pittsburgh game, the Browns haven’t lost by more than 10 points, and most of them were much closer. Yet, the Browns are 2-5 and third in the division with practically no hope for advancing with the Steelers and Ravens ahead of them. However, the team is coming off a week 7 shocker of New Orleans and a week 8 bye. The Browns should be rearing to go, and Hillis should regain some of the early season dominance.
Is it even worth it for me to mention how bad I feel for Cleveland? It really is sad.
Cleveland sports is like my family’s dog situation a few years ago. We had three dogs: Kodiak, Elsa, and Java. The dynamic trio. To provide a brief history: we brought home Kodiak (a chocolate Labrador retriever) and Elsa (a yellow lab) when I was five years old. About seven years later, we sort of adopted another dog, Java (a black German shepherd-lab mix). Now, fast forward to a few years ago. Kodiak and Elsa are ancient; Kodiak had a paper hip at this point, struggled mightily just to climb the stairs, and laid around whenever he could to avoid the pain of walking. Elsa was another mess altogether; her ear had a disgusting infection that smelled like Big Bird’s anus, and she would go through a dry cough ritual about five times a day where she would cough a few times, gag for good measure, and if we were lucky, throw up on the carpet. At this point Java was still going strong, and by all accounts, was the perfect dog. She loved to play catch, always had energy, and would scooch over to you for some ear scratching.
Within a short time, though, we lost Kodiak and Elsa. We had to put both dogs down as their various afflictions proved too much (Is there a more underrated sad event in a person’s life than putting an old dog down? I say no). Java is older now. She still does the same tricks, but sadly has lost some of her talent.
Kodiak, Elsa, and Java are like the Indians, Browns, and Cavs respectively. When looking at it that way, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for the fans in Cleveland. Unless you are a Pats fan, I invite you to cheer mightily for Browns win this week. Go Browns!
Other options: Michael Turner (ATL), Jamaal Charles (KC), Jonathan Stewart (CAR)
(Last week: Gore vs. DEN…29 rush, 118 yds, 1 td)
WR: Patrick Crayton (SD). This is a credit to GT as well, but I think Crayton is going to have a monster game. The Texans pass defense is comatose (all Texans fans are nodding vehemently). Here’s another stat though: every opponent has scored at least 24 points against them. That includes a lot of stagnant offensive teams (Washington, Dallas, Oakland, Kansas City). The Chargers need this game like a wandered in the desert needs a glass of water. The Bolts are going to come out shooting to kill. Look for Crayton to cash in with the injuries mounting up for Bolts receivers. I’d say 6 reception, 90 yards, and a score.
Other options: Blair White (IND), Kevin Walter (HOU), Braylon Edwards (NYJ)
(Last week: Harvin vs. NE…6 rec, 104 yds)
QB: Josh Freeman (TB). Part of me may have wanted to put Freeman here because of Bill Simmons’ raging boner for him of late. His best games were against Cincinnati and Arizona! Granted, he hasn’t turned the ball over nearly as much as last season, and his team is winning games. Also, I don’t think you can argue that his running backs are the worst in the league when the team is 18th in rushing yards (as well as 18th in passing).
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the Bucs are surging, and I love the team’s underdog mentality. I just don’t see it this week. As bad as the Falcons are against the pass, the Bucs are equally as bad against the run. I see the Falcons controlling the ball the entire game with Turner going crazy on the ground. Freeman may throw an early pick, then be relegated to the sidelines as the offense remains stagnant (because the Falcons ARE good against the run). Josh may put up some solid stats in mop up time, but I don’t like his odds this week.
Other options: Tom Brady (NE, I’m really going all-in), Matthew Stafford (DET), Derek Anderson (ARI, the biggest DUH choice ever)
(Last week: Cassel vs. BUF…14-26, 152 yds, 1 td)
RB: Darren McFadden (OAK). Some think this is a toss-up game between two surprisingly good teams. I don’t think so. Oakland beat Seattle and Denver in the last two weeks, and we’re supposed to think they’re a contending team? They still have Jason Campbell and a bad rush defense. Still, I’m actually happy for Oakland fans after JaMarcus “Incubus” Russell (look that one up) sucked their franchise dry of hope and excitement.
Still, I think the Chiefs are a much better team. Their running game is divine; Matt Cassel isn’t turning the ball over; the run defense is stellar. Their only two losses came midway through the year, on the road, against two potential playoff teams, and both were close games that the Chiefs should have won had a few plays gone differently. But I’m here to argue why McFadden will struggle. The Chiefs are going to run all over that weak Raiders defense, so that limits what the Raiders can do offensively if they fall behind. Also, the Chiefs have a great run defense! In their last three games, they’ve held Fred Jackson to 64 yards, Maurice Jones Drew to 47 yds, and Arian Foster to 71 (and two scores, but still). I’d bench McFadden this week.
Other options: Cedric Benson (CIN), Rashard Mendenhall (PIT), Beanie Wells (ARI)
(Last week: Benson vs. MIA…20 rush, 69 yds)
WR: Dwayne Bowe (KC). Slowly running out of steam here, and I’m sure you are too from reading all this. So I’ll keep this one short. I think the Chiefs are going to run rampant. I don’t care that Bowe has scored a bunch of touchdowns lately or that Cassel is improving or that Matthew Berry likes Bowe’s chances this week. It won’t happen.
Other options: DeSean Jackson (PHI), Deon Branch (NE), Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN)
(Last week: Britt vs. SD…0 rec, injured during game)