By Josh Kramer
Detroit is undefeated. The 49ers are cruising in the NFC West. The “Dream Team” is a nightmare. And the Jets are currently in the midst of a three game losing skid and struggling for dear life. These are some of the reasons why you have to love the NFL. Nobody ever knows what is going to happen next.
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 5, here is the scoreboard.
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Jim Harbaugh once upon a time was the Michigan University quarterback. Will his magic continue against the red-hot team out of the Motor City?
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Aaron Rodgers will smell blood against the NFL’s worst secondary.
Carolina Panthers (CV3) at Atlanta Falcons (CB, TSK, DC)
-The Word: Back in September this appeared to be a gimme game for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Not anymore. Thanks Cam.
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Could Cincinnati seriously move to 4 and 2?
Buffalo Bills (CB, CV3, DC) at New York Giants (TSK)
-The Word: A battle for the state of New York at the Meadowlands. The real question is which Giants team will show up? Are we talking Jekyll or Hyde?
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Things do not get any easier for rookie Blaine Gabbert as the worse passing unit in terms of yards per game takes on the NFL’s best at defending against the pass.
Philadelphia Eagles (CB, TSK, CV3, DC) at Washington Redskins
-The Word: This is a must win every sense of the word for the former “Dream Team.”
Houston Texans (CB, DC) at Baltimore Ravens (TSK, CV3)
-The Word: This game is a chance for the Ravens to prove that they are a major favorite in the AFC. Plus the Texans will be Andre “Johnson-less” and Mario “Williams-less.”
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: Cleveland better learn how to stop the run in a hurry, or this game could get out of hand fast.
Dallas Cowboys (DC) at New England Patriots (CB, TSK, CV3)
-The Word: Two of the League’s most lethal passing attacks go toe to toe in Foxborough.
New Orleans Saints (CB, TSK, CV3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DC)
-The Word: Let’s just hope that the Tampa team from last week does not show up.
Minnesota Vikings (TSK, CV3) at Chicago Bears (CB, DC)
-The Word: Both of these teams are better than their current records indicate. The Bears must stop the run or AP will run “All Day” at Soldier Field.
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (CB, TSK, CV3, DC)
-The Word: I would not want to face a Jets team on Monday Night coming off of a bye week. Much less a Jets team that has lost three straight games.
Game of the Week: San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
-Who in the preseason ever thought this would be a game between two divisional leaders in Week 6. Anybody who says that they did is lying to themselves. Many expected the Lions to be improved, but nobody saw them becoming the current undefeated force that they are. In addition, many thought Jim Harbaugh was walking into a trap in San Francisco. Many were wrong. Jim Harbaugh is the real 49er. He does not have to mine for gold, he just turns teams into gold (ask Stanford).
-Detroits pass rush this year has been flat-out scary. And as most of you are well aware, a D-Line that gets consistent pressure on the quarterback makes playing great defense a whole lot easier. After watching Detroit dismantle Jay Cutler and the Bears on a night where they were not playing their best, they proved that they are the real deal. This 5 and 0 start is no fluke. San Francisco made a statement in their own right last Sunday, absolutely dismantling a solid Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Alex Smith has been very good this year and is finally living up to the potential that many saw in him coming out of Utah. Sadly though, he has not faced a team with as scary of a defense as Detroit. In addition, San Francisco’s secondary has been mediocre at best this year. Good luck in stopping Calvin Johnson. Too much defense and CJ in this one. The Lions will move to 6 and 0.
Stat of the Week:
-9 receiving touchdowns in 5 games. No player had accomplished this feat until Calvin Johnson did last week. Johnson has 29 catches on the year, which means that he is averaging a touchdown reception nearly every third catch. The former Georgia Tech star has had an outstanding career already, but is really taking the next step in his 5th season. Not only is the 6 foot 5 speed demon making plays and racking up the touchdowns, he is making plays in key situations. Six of his nine touchdown catches have come in the second half, including three in the 4th quarter. He is truly making his catches count.
CV3: Can the lions stay unbeaten this week? Will the Texans beat the Ravens in a tough battle without some of their key players? Should be an interesting weekend.
CB: I’m looking forward to the matchup between Minnesota and Chicago this week. Both teams had high expectations at the beginning of the year, but now are both fighting for their “lives” in this matchup. Whatever team loses most likely doesn’t have a shot at the post season!
DC: Will the real Michael Vick please stand up? How long is it going to take for the Dream Team to show their worth in Philadelphia? I am a big fan of Mike Shanahan and the Skins, but I think #7 in green goes nuts this week. Vick throws for 350 yards, puts up 100 on the ground, and finally learns that interceptions lead to losses. My eye is on the Eagles this week because until their super expensive quarterback starts leading the squad to victories, they are looking like a mediocre team at best. 1-5 is too big of a hole to dig out of in this league. Philly wins 38-20. Also, an intriguing matchup in Baltimore– Texans get it done on the road this week. Bucs and Cowboys are probably my big upset picks this week.
TSK: If the Eagles lose again, Andy Reid may get the axe and prayers of making the playoffs become even less likely for the team out of the city of Brotherly Love. In addition, Rex Ryan appears to be losing a bit of his swagger, as the Jets are in the midst of a highly unexpected three game skid. Keep an eye on the game in Detroit between the 49ers and Lions. Both of these teams are contenders in the NFC.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.