It’s Week 5, and I’ve learned, like so many game analysts, that you can’t trust NFL games any better than you can trust the weather. This must be why sportscasters and meteorologists are able to jump back and forth between positions. Some of these games aren’t even coin flips. Seriously, who would have suspected that there would be a three-way tie in the AFC East, or that the Lions would be at the bottom of the NFC North, or that the Browns would be…okay, 1 out of 3.
So before I am sent off to read weather reports on the hour every day, let’s break down this coming week’s football games!
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Arizona Cardinals @ St. Louis Rams
While the records of the Cardinals and Rams are quite different, they really are similar in a way that is becoming more important in football games than the actual games: fantasy football. Right now, that closet Eagles fan in your league is looking like a genius for having Kevin Kolb on his bench, while the “Andre” of your league that you tricked into drafting punter Johnny Hekker as their quarterback may have actually won a game with the Rams’ only touchdown pass.
LINE: Cardinals by 1
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
Miami Dolphins @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Dolphins and their fans may not have been expecting too much from their team this year, so it’s hard to gauge which is more surprising: the Dolphins being the only AFC East team that’s not 2-2, or the fact that they still have a shot to win the division. The Bengals, meanwhile, have been quietly making it known that last year was not a fluke as Andy Dalton continues to give hope to redheaded children everywhere that they can one day be a quarterback, too.
LINE: Bengals by 4
Green Bay Packers @ Indianapolis Colts
After last week’s game, it’s surprising that management at Green Bay didn’t fly over to abduct Matt Flynn after letting him go in the off-season. In Flynn, they had a back-up quarterback that could direct an offense like many starting quarterbacks for other teams, keeping the Packers afloat for however long Aaron Rodgers may be out for. The Packer’s latest back-up, Graham Harrell, couldn’t even keep the ball for one play after he tripped over his own lineman’s foot in a hand-off transition. Unfortunately, the Colts got rid of Curtis Painter, so this game will be more about which team has more experience rather than being about which back-up quarterback is worse.
LINE: Packers by 7
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
Poor Joe Flacco. Even though he’s the best quarterback the Ravens have had since Trent Dilfer (no, that’s not a typo), he still gets treated like he won the “Least Likely to Win a Super Bowl” award in high school. What do you expect when your future Hall of Fame defensive players Ed Reed and Ray Lewis get up in age and allow more than 3 points a game? Meanwhile the Chiefs may be wishing they had Flacco themselves, or Ray Rice, the Ravens defense, or at the very least the talent that the Ravens’ water-boy displays.
LINE: Ravens by 5
Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants
The Browns are winless after 4 weeks. If this surprises you, I would call you a liar and strip you of your sports fan badge, even if you live in Cleveland. What is surprising is how close the games have been. These aren’t blowout games. These are “Holy s#!t, Weeden may actually get it done!” games. He doesn’t, but it’s a nice change of pace for Cleveland to have a quarterback that throws more touchdowns than interceptions. The Giants, meanwhile, hope to score more touchdowns in this game than they miss field goals.
LINE: Giants by 8
Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers
If you’ve ever seen Michael Vick’s game pads, you would wonder when Call of Duty: Black Ops released football-related DLC. It is, pure and simple, futuristic combat armor with Kevlar inserts that could probably withstand a bullet. Unfortunately, it is unknown if the padding has been tested on Polamalu-grade ammunition, so it is very possible that Nick Foles is taking extra snaps at practice this week.
LINE: Steelers by 3
Atlanta Falcons @ Washington Redskins
Is this the year? It’s a question that has been running through my head since Matt Ryan first came onto the scene in Atlanta as the next Chris Miller. The world has been waiting for this obvious breakout to occur. Be honest, we all expect it to happen eventually, but it becomes a question of when that finds itself being answered with “maybe next year.” When will Gillette add a 6th blade to their razors? And will RG3 take that commercial spot?
LINE: Falcons by 3
Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton has officially fallen back to earth in Carolina. It was bound to happen, but it’s not because defenses finally caught up to Cam. It’s because defenses playing the Carolina Panthers had been sleeping in the two years preceding Cam. The same could be said of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The only difference is that Wilson lulls opposing offenses to sleep because they don’t think they have to score as much.
LINE: Panthers by 3
Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars
If I was Jay Cutler, I’d probably have a chip on my shoulder-pads, too. The Bears quarterback manages one of his best games against Dallas’ alleged defense by throwing more touchdowns than interceptions and fumbles combined. Instead of a story about achieving his potential, Cutler is swarmed by questions about how he wasn’t very nice to offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Who knows, maybe Tice was sweaty from the excitement that his offensive line was keeping Cutler from looking like the victim of an MMA ground-and-pound. Meanwhile, Jacksonville still has a football team, and is even getting a second football team to test the loyalty of their fans as the Lingerie Football League’s Jacksonville Breeze attempts to take the place of blacked-out Jaguars games on locally televised games.
LINE: Bears by 6
Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings
No teams have given me more grief than the Titans and Vikings. Chris Johnson rushed for more yards last week than his first 3 games combined, but only because he had to. Jake Locker was injured, meaning Matt “I Thought I Retired” Hasselbeck had to throw the ball. Unfortunately, most fantasy players had Johnson benched for such rushing stars as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Cassel. The Vikings? Well, how would you pick a game if you heard they only had a combined 227 yards on offense? I thought so…and you’d be wrong, like I was.
LINE: Vikings by 6
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
It took a while, but Tom Brady seems to have gotten over the shock of getting hit in the nose, found his helmet, and celebrated by demolishing the Buffalo Bills in one half last week. Now he must face what his nose may become as Peyton Manning comes to visit with his new team, complete with a defense that the Colts could only dream about as they poured money into their offensive line and quarterback’s arm.
LINE: Patriots by 7
Buffalo Bills @ San Francisco 49ers
Somebody in the NFL must have been confused when they made up the game schedule for the 49ers. Here we are, going into Week 5, and the 49ers are about to play their second AFC East team in a row without having played a team in their own division. Don’t worry, tho, the 49ers will be back to play the Dolphins and Patriots later in the season, because it makes sense to have a team play every single team in both opposite conferences and time zones. The Bills, meanwhile, get to take in some sun for 2 weeks as they begin their own West Coast tour that is sure to make Ryan Fitzpatrick look as tan as Matthew Perry.
LINE: 49ers by 10
San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints
The Saints lost in their closest battle yet last week, which makes me consider that they may just win a game with the interim to the interim head coach Aaron Kromer. Maybe not against the Chargers, but preparations for the Bucs after a bye week may just help them manufacture a “1″ in the win column at the end of Week 7.
LINE: Saints by 4
Monday, October 8th, 2012
Houston Texans @ New York Jets
As a firm non-supporter of Tim Tebow even being considered as a replacement for Mark Sanchez at the beginning of the season, I can seriously say that the change may be on the horizon. Make no mistake, I don’t put it all on Sanchez, but who can we expect him to throw to when all he has left to catch the ball is the practice squad and a few drill coaches? What are Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson up to these days?
LINE: Texans by 9
Patrick Emmel is a football fan who began the manly pilgrimage of seeing an NFL game at every stadium two years ago. You can see more of his work at www.theineptowl.com or heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.
Patrick previously used his football knowledge to break down the best, worst and downright horrible draft picks in NFL history.
If you haven’t had enough NFL jokes, you can check out last week’s Asinine Analysis! —>