By Josh Kramer
Week 4 ended up being the “Week of the comeback.” This week appears to be the “Week of the primetime matchups.” Talk about a great slate of games. The Motor City is all smiles for the first time in a long time, as the Lions are one of only two remaining undefeated teams. In addition, it appears to be a three team race in the “Andrew Luck sweepstakes,” as the three remaining winless teams battle it out (Minnesota, St. Louis, Indianapolis). Lastly, bye weeks have finally begun. And after an extremely physical battle against the Jets, I doubt the Ravens are complaining about getting this Sunday off.
As has become the tradition, we are once again having “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge.”
The participants this season are as follows:
TheSportsKraze (TSK) (defending champion)-Josh Kramer-Founder/Editor-In-Chief of “TheSportsKraze” and former ESPN intern.
CV3-Chad Vordenberge-An elite high school wide receiver and a very successful business owner.
CB-Craig Baker-A former collegiate baseball player and current special education teacher.
DC-David Clark-A dedicated sports fan who was coached by TheSportsKraze on his fraternity flag football team. After playing for TheSportsKraze, he has developed a slow but steady motivation to show his coach who the real pick’em champion is.
After Week 4, here is the scoreboard.
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: The Black and Yellow are very unaccustomed to finding themselves in last place in the AFC North (3 way tie). Expect the Steelers to come out with a vengaence with or without Big Ben.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Can Seattle’s anemic offense find a way to muster enough firepower to make this game at the Meadowlands interesting?
Cincinnati Bengals (CB, TSK, CV3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (DC)
-The Word: A battle of the rookie quarterbacks. Gabbert or Dalton? Take your pick.
New Orleans Saints (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Carolina Panthers
-The Word: Which stud quarterback will throw for more yards? Brees or Newton?
Oakland Raiders (DC) at Houston Texans (CB, TSK, CV3)
-The Word: Expect a heavy dose of old-school hand-it-off football.
Philadelphia Eagles (CB, TSK, DC) at Buffalo Bills (CV3)
-The Word: Could the so-called “Dream Team” really lose a fourth consecutive game?
Kansas City Chiefs (CB) at Indianapolis Colts (CV3, TSK, DC)
-The Word: This game features two teams that are very much alive in the “Andrew Luck Sweepstakes.” Perhaps a loss would be better than a win in this case?
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Neither of these teams are in good shape. Expect a heavy “All Day” dose of AP in the Metrodome.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TSK, CV3, DC) at San Francisco 49ers (CB)
-The Word: Will the Jim Harbaugh magic continue against a very hot Tampa Bay team?
New York Jets at New England Patriots (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Let the talking begin. There is no mincing of words when it comes to this AFC East rumble.
San Diego Chargers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Denver Broncos
-The Word: Look for Philip Rivers to have a field day against a very weak Denver secondary.
Green Bay Packers (CB, TSK, CV3) at Atlanta Falcons (DC)
-The Word: Can the Falcons exact revenge on the defending champions?
Chicago Bears (CB, DC) at Detroit Lions (TSK, CV3)
-The Word: If the Bears do not come ready to play, they could get run out of Ford Field in a hurry.
Game of the Week: New York Jets at New England Patriots
-This has turned into one of the best rivalries in football at a very rapid pace (due to the sudden emergence of Rex Ryan and the Jets). Now I will admit that the discussions about this game have been much quieter than expected, but you better believe that there is no love lost. These teams are both very good. They both have a shot to win the AFC East and play deep into the playoffs. And you better believe that this will be an exciting high-scoring affair.
-The Patriots lead the League in passing yards per game at nearly 385 per game. But they also rank dead last in the NFL in passing yards surrendered per game (368.8 yards per game). And though these teams will face off again in Week 10, and likely another time in the playoffs, this is a huge game. New England would love to put the Jets under 500 while the Jets would love to tie the Pats in the division. There is one major key to this contest though. It is being played at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady simply does not lose regular season games at home in which he is the starter (see stat of the week below).
Stat of the Week:
-Tom Brady has led the Patriots to 29 consecutive regular season home wins in games he has started. The previous record was 25. Therefore, Tom Brady has not dropped a regular season game at home since November 22, 2006, against guess who? The New York Jets. Will the nearly five-year streak live another week?
CV3: Will the teams struggling to pull out a victory be able to do so this week? They have a good shot.
CB: I’m looking for Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals to have a monster week against Jacksonville! Last week’s performance (mostly 2nd half) by Andy Dalton was spectacular and I look for him to keep it going versus a struggling Jacksonville team. I believe the Dalton to Green connection will be a good one this week. Cedric Benson will have an opportunity to cause a lot of damage himself because of how efficient the passing game has been. Also, if you didn’t know, the Bengals do have the NUMBER 1 defense in the NFL. Good luck Mr. Gabbert.
DC: Week 5 has an unbelievable slate of games for its fans this Sunday. My attention was immediately drawn to Detroit, Atlanta, and New England. I think the Patriots’ scheming defense will be too much for the abysmal Mark Sanchez to handle. Patriots win big at Gillette Stadium. Also, I really believe in the Falcons. I think they prove their worth again it Hot-lanta this week as Matt Ryan shows the country that he has the potential to dominate in the near future. A balanced pounding up the middle with Turner should open Roddy and Julio up on the outside. Falcons win in a shootout, 38-34. Also, I will continue to belittle the Detroit Lions. How many times is this team going to be able to rise from the ashes and come back in the second half? I love Matt Forte and the nasty Bears’ defense as well. There is no way Detroit goes 5-0– Chicago 28, Detroit 23.
TSK: Last week was the “Week of the Comeback.” This week is without question the “Week of the Primetime Matchup.” There are great games galore and choosing a game of the week was no easy task. Can the Jets outstanding secondary slow down Tom Brady’s record-breaking aerial assault? Unlikely.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.