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Don't look now, but Tom Brady (12) and the New England Patriots are on a roll and back to their winning ways.

Don’t look now, but Tom Brady (12) and the New England Patriots are on a roll and back to their winning ways.

By @BrooksWeekly 

In the first three games of the season, you couldn’t tell apart Tom Brady from Mike Brady. But the 3-time Super Bowl winner and one-time MVP has found success in his reinvented tight end bunch.

When New England traded six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, everyone reactions was, “who?” Wright caught 54 passes as a rookie in Tampa Bay and  displayed a knack for finding open seams on the field. After his breakout 5 reception, 85 yard and one touchdown performance against the Bengals, Wright had one catch for one yard. But Brady will continue to look for the athletic tight end.

If not Wright, Brady also has the option of tight end Rob Gronkowski who has combined for 13 receptions, 194 yards and a score in his last two games.

Thursday night football: Patriots over Jets, if you didn’t guess.


Week 6 Prediction Results

Brooks: 10-4; Overall: 56-34

Perez: 11-3; Overall: 60-30

Wooten: 11-3; Overall: 54-36


Week 7 matchups Brooks Perez
NYJ @ NE NE(W) NE(W)
ATL @ BAL BAL(W) BAL(W)
TEN @ WSH WSH(W) WSH(W)
SEA @ STL SEA(L) SEA(L)
CLE @ JAX CLE(L) CLE(L)
CIN @ IND IND(W) IND(W)
MIN @ BUF BUF(W) BUF(W)
MIA @ CHI CHI(L) CHI(L)
NO @ DET DET(W) NO(L)
CAR @ GB GB(W) GB(W)
KC @ SD SD(L) SD(L)
ARI @ OAK ARI(W) ARI(W)
NYG @ DAL DAL(W) DAL(W)
SF @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W)
HOU @ PIT PIT(W) PIT(W)

 

 

Brooks’ Bits

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars 

The Cleveland Browns are on the verge of a three game winning streak. It’s early, but the Browns are a contender.

At 3-2, the Browns have managed to beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans 29-28, which was the largest comeback in league history by a road team, and made quick work of the Pittsburgh Steelers (who they should’ve beaten twice).

Cleveland is winning with old methods compared to today’s fast-paced offenses in the NFL, smart quarterback play from Brian Hoyer and a 3rd-ranked sound running game led by the trio of Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. All three running backs have over 230 rushing on the season.

The 0-6 Jaguars are looking to pick up their first win of the season behind rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. As talented as the No. 3 overall pick is, he can’t complete passes laying on his back. Jacksonville has given up 27 sacks in six games. Bortles has been sacked 11 time since taking over as the starter.

With Baltimore facing a head-scratching Falcons team and Cincinnati taking on Andrew Luck and the Colts, Cleveland could soon find themselves atop of the AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts 

In six years, the Cincinnati Bengals have ended a game in a tie.

While those numbers may not scream a trending pattern, there have been five total ties in the NFL in the past 12 years, including the 37-37 tie this past Sunday between the Bengals and Carolina Panthers.

Now 3-1-1, the Bengals take their high wire act to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Andy Dalton is missing his star receiver AJ Green with a toe injury, but WR Mohamed Sanu took his place at the top pass catcher in Green’s absence, hauling in 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers.

All three of Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s interceptions have come at home. Dalton has completed 64 percent of his passes for 505 yards, three touchdowns and 0 interceptions on the road. The Colts are tied for 12th in the league with six. But this game will come down to the arm of Luck, who is the league leader in yards per game, averaging 328.7.

Luck will dismantle the Bengals aggressive pass defense.

 

 Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Arizona Cardinals @ Oakland Raiders

People have to start recognizing. The Arizona Cardinals deserve to be mentioned up there with the best of the NFC.

While the Cardinals do not have the vaunted offense the Denver Broncos boast, Carson Palmer has plenty to work with. Michael Floyd is an up and coming receiver, and Larry Fitzgerald is still a threat despite his age. What really makes the Cards a menace is their stout defense.

The Oakland Raiders are a mess of an organization. They have talent, but front office and coaching chaos can ruin anything.

Cards win this one, easily.

Houston Texans @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh has lost some head-scratchers. The Steelers lost to the Browns. Before that, they lost to the lowly Buccaneers.

The Steelers have a good running game with Le’Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger has a legitimate No. 1 receiver in Antonio Brown. They’re a force to be reckoned with on any given Sunday – or Monday. Or even a Thursday.

Houston (3-3) comes into the Steel City with the same record as the Steelers. But with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, I do not see them winning.

How will Andy Dalton and Cincinnati Bengals recover after a Sunday Night beat down to the New England Patriots?

How will Andy Dalton and Cincinnati Bengals recover after a Sunday Night beat down to the New England Patriots?

@BrooksWeekly

After a royal 43-17 beat down by the New England Patriots, the Bengals had little time to lick their wounds to prepare for the surging Carolina Panthers. The Panthers and Bengals are headlined by two quarterbacks who were selected high in the 2011 NFL draft. Panthers drafted Cam Newton No. 1 overall and the Bengals selected Andy Dalton 35th overall in round two.

Both quarterbacks have had relative success throughout their years in the NFL, but neither have excelled in postseason play. Dalton and Newton are forever intertwined, but which 2011 draft pick will separate from the other Sunday?


 

Week 5 Predictions Results:

Brooks: 13-2; Overall: 46-30

Perez: 13-2; Overall: 49-27

Wooten: 10-5; Overall: 43-33


 

Week 6 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
IND @ HOU IND(W) IND(W) IND(W)
JAX @ TEN JAX(L) TEN(W) TEN(W)
BAL @ TB BAL(W) BAL(W) BAL(W)
DEN @ NYJ DEN(W) DEN(W) DEN(W)
DET @ MIN DET(W) DET(W) DET(W)
NE @ BUF NE(W) NE(W) NE(W)
CAR @ CIN CAR(T) CIN(T) CIN(T)
PIT @ CLE CLE(W) PIT(L) PIT(L)
GB @ MIA GB(W) GB(W) GB(W)
SD @ OAK SD(W) SD(W) SD(W)
CHI @ ATL CHI(W) ATL(L) CHI(W)
DAL @ SEA SEA(L) SEA(L) SEA(L)
WSH @ ARI ARI(W) ARI(W) ARI(W)
NYG @ PHI NYG(L) PHI(W) PHI(W)
SF @ STL STL(L) SF(W) STL(L)

 

Brooks Bits’

New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants have averaged 35 points and 244.7 passing yards per game the past three weeks, troubling news for a 30th-ranked Eagles’ passing defense who allowed 375 yards and three passing touchdowns to the Rams’ third string quarterback.

Eli Manning and the Giants have been steamrolling teams featuring the NFL’s 4th leading rusher in Rashad Jennings (396) and wide receiver Victor Cruz. First-round rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. made his presence felt in his season debut hauling in 4 catches for 44 yards and a score. Beckham was hampered by a hamstring injury all season, but he’s listed as probable on the injury report.

The Eagles have slid by the skin of their teeth, scooting to a mirage 4-1 record. Despite Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s reputation for a high octane offense, 42 of their 156 points came on on special teams and defense, accounting for nearly 27 percent of their points.

Give me Eli and the Giants in this NFC East showdown.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Carolina Panthers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Carolina at Cincinnati is one of the best matchups of this week. The Panthers and the Bengals are both known for their defenses. The game will be decided on offense.

Offensively, the Bengals have the edge. Andy Dalton and AJ Green are greater than (>) Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin. However, Green aggravated a toe injury in Wednesday’s practice. He has already missed a game due to it, but rebounded nicely the following week.

The Bengals’ options on offense are more potent than Carolina’s, with or without AJ. Give me Cincy at home.

San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams

Monday Night Football; on paper, the San Francisco 49ers are the favorites. Favorites on paper, however, do not always come out on top. Luckily, the 49ers are going into St. Louis.

The Rams find ways to lose games. It is the only guarantee you will get from this team. Quarterback Austin Davis and receiver Brian Quick are putting numbers on the boards, but that is the only thing going right for St. Louis.

This game will be interesting, nonetheless. The 49ers have had their miscues over the past week. Whichever team screws up first – or the most – will lose. Knowing the Rams, they will shoot themselves in the foot. 49ers will get the win.

Words From Wooten

Denver Broncos @ New York Jets

I don’t think this will be a good season if you’re a Jets fan, or player. They look horrible altogether. These are definitely dark days for them, and hosting the Broncos don’t make it any better because Peyton Manning is about to have a field day against that awful secondary. I would compliment the Jets, but I can’t because at this point in the season, nothing good can be said about them.

Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons 

The Bears and Falcons are two teams whose record should be better than it looks on paper. The potential for both of these teams is there, but they are not meshing together like they should be. But if I was to choose a victor, I’ll go with the Chicago Bears here.

The Bears will open up their rushing game, which will setup the passing game headlined by Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. And the Falcons secondary isn’t the best in the league (26th ranked). On the other hand, the Falcons WR’s will be hard to stop. Contain Atlanta in zone and man-up on Julio Jones and things should go well for the Bears.

Peyton Manning (18) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

Peyton Manning (18) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 23, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.

By Kelton Brooks (@BrooksWeekly)

The once unbeaten Cardinals and Bengals lost by a combined 45 points Sunday, falling from the ranks as the last remaining undefeated teams in the 2014 NFL season.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins didn’t break sweat. Those unblemished Dolphins still remain the only team to go undefeated in the regular season and win the Super Bowl.

No more undefeated teams are left, but there are seven heralded one loss teams in the NFL as of week 5: Dallas, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Diego, Denver, Seattle, and Arizona. While a few are sitting on a high pedestal, others have squeaked by to cling on to a single loss.

How would you rank the seven one loss teams? Here is how I would:


 

1. Denver Broncos (3-1)

The Broncos are led by the ageless wonder Peyton Manning, fresh off becoming the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 500 touchdowns in his career. Manning’s career high of 479 yards passing and four touchdown performance in a 40-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, moves him within five (503) of Brett Favre’s record of 508.

Denver’s next opponent is the New York Jets. He has the chance to tie or break the record against the dysfunctional Jets.

The Broncos biggest test was a 26-20 overtime loss against the Seattle Seahawks—a loss that was a win in the grand schemes of things. The embarrassing 43-8 Super Bowl loss to Seattle is a thing in the past. The Broncos showed toughness, fearlessness and a will to battle back after falling in a 17-3 deficit before scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Denver has issued they need to fix, starting with the ailing 29th-ranked rushing attack. The injury to running back Montee Ball may not appear as a major loss with backup Ronnie Hillman coming on strong lately as a dual threat out the backfield.

This team isn’t perfect and has formidable opponents left on the schedule with San Francisco, San Diego and New England lined up after their tune up against the Jets. But with Manning under the helm, the Broncos will remain the best team in the league.


 

2. San Diego Chargers (4-1)

Philip Rivers is a legitimate MVP candidate. Rivers posted a passer rating of 125 while completing 71 percent of his passes in a 31-0 shutout against the Jets, giving Rivers a career-best four straight games of 120.0 or higher. According to ESPN Stats&Info, Rivers threw three touchdown passes in a game for the ninth time in the last two seasons on Sunday, the second most games in the NFL behind Peyton Manning (14).

In my pre-seasons predictions, the Chargers were my surprise team in the NFL with a predicted record of 10-6, but this team is talented enough to win 12 games. A 30-21 week 2 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks was an eye-opener around the league. The Chargers have bolted through every team since their highlight win over Seattle.

The Chargers underrated defense is ranked 8th overall, stifling opponents yielding 12.6 points per game and 194.8 yards through the air.

This is a complete football team. The only setback to San Diego is the loss of oft-injured running back Ryan Matthews, but rookie RB Braden Oliver filled in admirably rushing for 114 yards and a score in his first start.


 

3. Seattle Seahawks (3-1)

The Seahawks are scary, nasty, mean, intimidating, every adjective a 6-year-old would use to describe the boogeyman.

The Legion of Boom, headlined by the brass Richard Sherman, the 12th man of CenturyLink Field, and the most poised, young quarterback in the NFL in Russell Wilson—there is nothing to like about the NFC favorites to return to the Super Bowl. After thwarting Washington Monday night, Wilson completed 6 of his 8 passes when under duress, tying for the second-highest completion percentage of his career and the highest in the NFL this season (minimum 8 attempts), according to Elias Sports Bureau. Wilson finished the game completing 18 of his 24 passes for 201 yards.

Not only was he efficient with through air, he was even deadlier on the ground.

Wilson rushed for 122 yards of the Seahawks 225 Monday night. It was the most rushing yards by a quarterback on Monday Night Football in NFL history. Wilson finished with 85 rushing yards off scrambles with 80 yards rushing in the first quarter. He has two of the three highest such games since joining the NFL.

Percy Harvin is the X-factor for Seattle. He runs hard after the catch, making people miss and bouncing off tacklers. But the diminutive offensive weapon has seen his share of injuries throughout his NFL career. Harvin had three touchdowns called back Monday night due to costly penalties, a 26-yard screen pass wiped away by a false start; a 16-yard run wiped away by offensive holding; and a 41-yard touchdown pass wiped away by unnecessary roughness.

Even through his strange, roller coaster night, Harvin did it all with a nagging leg injury he sustained in the second quarter. A healthy Harvin and poised Wilson will take the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl.


 

4. Arizona Cardinals (3-1)

It was bound to catch up with the Cardinals sooner or later.

Starting quarterback Carson Palmer has been nursing a nerve injury to his shoulder after falling awkwardly on the shoulder week 1 against the Chargers. He remains listed as day-to-day after reportedly throwing 20 light passes of 10 yards pregame to the Cardinals loss to the Broncos Sunday.

Backup Drew Stanton won his first two starts in Palmer’s absence, but Arizona’s defense can only take so much. Against the Broncos, the opposing offense has to produce more than 21 points. To make matters worse, Stanton was lost to a discussion to a questionable chop-block by tight end Julius Thomas.

In three starts, Stanton has completed less than 55 percent of his passes and thrown just two touchdown passes. Arizona has won impressive games without their starting QB in wins over the Chargers, 49ers and a resurgent Giants’ team.

The sooner Palmer returns, the sooner the Cardinals will continue to supplant themselves as one of the league’s best.


 

5. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)

From top to bottom, Cincinnati is the most talented team in the NFL.

Top offense, playmakers on defense, good special teams play, but there is something always something missing in Cincinnati. After a 43-17 loss to the struggling New England Patriots, look no further than quarterback Andy Dalton and head coach Marvin Lewis.

The Bengals looked unstoppable in their first three wins only to lose embarrassingly under the bright lights, the M.O. of Dalton and Lewis. It was a regular season game, yes, but Dalton’s playoff record and statistics show you the type of the players he is when the spotlight is on.

Dalton is 0-3 in the playoffs and has completed 56.9 percent of his passes with one touchdown and six interceptions. During the regular season, he ranks only behind Dan Marino and Peyton Manning in NFL history with 80 touchdown passes during his first three seasons.

In 12 seasons with the Bengals, Lewis has a regular season record of 93-86-1 with four AFC North crowns. But he is winless in the postseason with a 0-5 playoff record.

Like the old adage says, “the quarterback takes on the personality of their head coach.”

The Bengals will again win the AFC North on talent alone, but when the lights are at their brightest, Cincinnati folds.


 

6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)

After nearly squandering a 27-point lead over the St. Louis Rams, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles told a reporter

“We have to learn how to finish better,” Foles said. “As a team, we’re not there yet.”

And Foles is right, the Eagles are not there yet.

Philadelphia found themselves in a 17-0 hole at halftime against the Jacksonville Jaguars before winning 34-17 in week 1. They were down 20-6 against the Andrew Luck and the Colts before storming back to win 30-27, and found themselves in another deficit as Washington jumped out front to a 17-7 lead. Again, the Eagles showed resilience in a come behind 37-34 victory.

But that’s a dangerous game to play in the NFL. The Eagles took a stranglehold on the Rams with a 34-7 lead, but nearly watched the win slip out of their talons as the Rams scored 21 points in the second half. Philadelphia continues to struggles in the secondary giving up 274.2 ypg (29th) and a weak often gashed 24th-ranked rushing defense.

But luckily, the Eagles special teams has risen to the occasion. Philadelphia has scored 42 of their 156 points on special teams and defense, accounting for nearly 27 percent of their points. They scored on a fumble return and blocked punt against the Rams.

But sooner or later, falling behind early in games will come back to haunt them.


 

7. Dallas Cowboys (4-1)

At 4-1, “America’s team” has reached the halfway point of their 2013 total of 8 wins. Barring a major setback, the Cowboys will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2009 (11-5).

But other than the 38-17 win over the New Orleans Saints—who has been less than stellar this season—Dallas hasn’t looked impressive in either of their wins.

A 26-10 win over the Titans in week 2 is nothing to hang your hat on as Tennessee looks to be in the running for a top-5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. The Cowboys were down 21-0 against a now 1-4 Rams team and as talented as the Cowboys are, they should’t have found them down against Ryan Fitzpatrick, albeit a stingy Houston defense.

But this is not college football, the NFL is not determined by the strength of schedule or how many quality opponents you play. A 4-1 record in the NFL means you’re getting the job done, period.

Although, how well can we trust the Cowboys? A team notoriously known for a bobbled snap, a back breaking penalty or the frequent heart breaking interceptions by Tony Romo when the game is on the line?

League leading rusher DeMarco Murray (670) is a major reason why America’s team is back on the national stage. But when the game matters most, Romo will have the ball in his hands.

Hands that are not always trustworthy.

Can Eli Manning lead the Giants on one of their classic regular season runs?

Can Eli Manning lead the Giants on one of their classic regular season runs?

@BrooksWeekly

Both the Bengals and Cardinals are undefeated through four games of the season, unexpected but not surprising by two of the most talented teams in the NFL.

The two undefeated teams will face off against two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks with Cincinnati taking on Tom Brady and the Patriots Sunday night and Arizona traveling to Mile High Stadium to try and rattle Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Will both continue on with an unblemished record or will any chance of an undefeated season end in week 5?


Week 4 Predictions Results:

Brooks: 7-6; Overall: 33-28

Perez: 6-7; Overall: 36-25

Wooten: 6-7; Overall: 33-28


 

Week 5 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
MIN @ GB GB(W) GB(W)  GB(W)
CHI @ CAR CAR(W) CAR(W)  CHI(L)
CLE @ TEN CLE(W) CLE(W)  TEN(L)
STL @ PHI PHI(W) PHI(W)  PHI(W)
ATL @ NYG NYG(W) NYG(W)  ATL(L)
TB @ NO NO(W) NO(W)  NO(W)
HOU @ DAL DAL(W) DAL(W)  DAL(W)
BUF @ DET DET(L) DET(L)  DET(L)
BAL @ IND IND(W) BAL(L)  IND(W)
PIT @ JAX PIT(W) PIT(W)  PIT(W)
ARI @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W)  DEN(W)
KC @ SF SF(W) SF(W)  SF(W)
NYJ @ SD SD(W) SD(W)  SD(W)
CIN @ NE CIN(L) NE(W)  CIN(L)
SEA @ WSH SEA(W) SEA(W)  SEA(W)

 


 

Brooks Bits

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots

The three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Tom Brady, has been everything short of, well, Tom Brady.

Through four games into the 2014 NFL season, Brady has posted the lowest completion percentage in his career (59.1), the lowest yards per attempt (5.77), and has five fumbles, losing three. The 37-year-old Brady was quoted in the off-season saying, “When I suck, I’ll retire. But I don’t plan on sucking for a long time.”

Those numbers don’t say otherwise, but in his defense, Brady is playing without playmaking wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, who are both listed day-to-day with nagging injuries. He’s also playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, getting sacked in every game this season (9).

The biggest problem for New England is their inability to attack defenses down the field. Rob Gronkowski looks a step slower coming off the line of scrimmage and hasn’t returned to full health after back-to-back offseason surgeries and multiple ailments. The diminutive wideouts in Danny Amendola and Julian Elderman doesn’t frighten any secondary or defensive coordinator.

Facing the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals who are ranked 11th in passing yards, the Patriots will be hard pressed to match point-for-point with the duo if quarterback Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green.

And for a Patriots’ offense that’s 25th in scoring (20 ppg), Cincinnati is giving up on 11 points per game.

Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants

The Falcons and Giants are two of the most talented yet head-scratching teams in the NFL. After losing their first two games, scoring 14 points in each, the Giants have two straight and averaged 37.5 ppg in those wins. It appears two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning has grown comfortable with the implemented West Coast offense leading his Giants to back-to-back wins.

Atlanta surprised the league defeating the Saints in overtime the opening week 37-34, but then followed the shocking win with a loss to the Bengals, arguably the best team in the NFL. The Falcons then made quick work of the Buccaneers on Thursday Night, delivering a 56-14 defeat, only to get swamped the following week 41-28 by Minnesota.

Both losses by the Falcons came on the road. Where are they this week? In MetLife Stadium against a red hot Eli Manning fresh off a 4 touchdown performance.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Baltimore Ravens @ Indianapolis Colts

On paper, these two teams are a good matchup. Baltimore has its tough defense, the Colts possess a high-octane offense. But while the Ravens boast the 7th best run defense, they hover at 24th against the pass. This stat plays perfectly into the hands of the Andrew Luck-led Colts. Indy holds the No. 1 pass offense.

The Ravens are not too shabby on the other side of the ball. Baltimore is ranked 9th and 12th on the ground and in the air, respectively, on offense. The Colts are close to the Ravens in ranks defensively – No. 21 against the pass, 11th versus the run.

I still see the Ravens going into the Lucas Oil Stadium and bullying the Colts.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonville Jaguars 

Pittsburgh is 2-2. They lost last week to the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head Coach Mike Tomlin will want his team to bounce back in a big away. There is no better team to achieve that against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Rookie Blake Bortles gives the Jacksonville some hope, but that is about it. The Steelers, even though they are ranked middle of the pack defensively, will be too much for the Jags. Plus, Ben Roethlisberger & Co. are ranked in the top 10 offensively. The 0-4 Jaguars are ranked near or at the bottom on both offense and defense.

This game should be a cakewalk for the Steelers.

Words From Wooten

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington

Of all the teams for the Redskins to face after losing Robert Griffin III, it just had to be the Seattle Seahawks. Some luck they must have. Look for Kirk Cousins to have a horrible game against a well polished defense that prey on their opponents.

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari tries to keep San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith off Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari tries to keep San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith off Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. -RoemerPhoto

What is wrong with the Green Bay Packers?

Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, but a quarterback as great as him can’t complete a pass on his back. Rodgers has been sacked nine times in three games, that’s 3rd in the NFL. He’s on pace to get sacked 48 times this season. Rodgers has been sacked 50 times in a season twice in his career, 54 in 2012 and 50 in 2009.

A 1-2 and start for a team with Super Bowl aspirations would surely cast a gloomy cloud over the organization, especially if the offensive line can’t keep Rodgers upright.

But in the words of Lee Corso: “Not so fast my friend.”

In 2013, five out of eight playoff teams in the past two seasons got off to a 1-2 start, including three division winners in 2013. Although, since the 2007 Giants, no 1-2 team has advanced to the Super Bowl. No reason to turn tail and tilt your focus to the top 2015 draft prospects if you’re a Packers fan, but a loss to the streaking Chicago Bears would flip any optimistic views.

If the Packers limp their way to a 1-3 start, can I get a discount on that double check?


Week 3 Predictions Results:

Brooks: 12-4; Overall: 26-22

Perez: 12-4; Overall: 30-18

Wooten: 11-5; Overall: 27-21


Week 4 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
NYG @ WSH NYG(W)  WSH(L)  WSH(L)
GB @ CHI CHI(L)  CHI(L)  CHI(L)
BUF @ HOU BUF(L)  BUF(L)  HOU(W)
TEN @ IND IND(W)  IND(W)  IND(W)
CAR @ BAL BAL(W)  BAL(W)  BAL(W)
DET @ NYJ DET(W)  DET(W)  DET(W)
TB @ PIT PIT(L)  PIT(L)  PIT(L)
MIA @ OAK OAK(L)  MIA(W)  OAK(L)
JAX @ SD SD(W)  SD(W)  SD(W)
ATL @ MIN ATL(L)  ATL(L)  ATL(L)
NO @ DAL NO(L)  NO(L)  NO(L)
PHI @ SF SF(W)  SF(W)  SF(W)
NE @ KC KC(W)  NE(L)  NE(L)

Brooks Bits

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Pittsburgh Steelers

There is no Lov-ie in Tampa Bay.
The Buccaneers are the worst team in the NFL. Despite the Jaguars’ equal 0-3 start, Jacksonville at least have hope heading into the future with 3rd overall pick Blake Bortles slated to start the rest of the season.
The question still remains if Tampa Bay even got off the bus at the Georgia Dome a week ago. The embarrassing and pitiful Bucs were down 56-0 at one point before scoring the most meaningless points in NFL history late in the 4th quarter in a 56-14 blowout to the Atlanta Falcons last Thursday.
On the bright side, 13 games remain in the 2014 season. On the bad side, 13 games still remain for the lowly Buccaneers who are ranked dead last in the NFL with 163.3 passion yards per game.
That Josh McCown signing is turning into wasted money.
The Steelers are 2-1 and have a favorable schedule in their next there games against the Bucs, Jaguars and the Texans, all games Pittsburgh should win.
Steel City have gotten back to their roots of pounding the ball with running backs Le’Veon Bell and Legarrette Blount. Both ran over 100 yards in a 37-19 win over the Panthers. It was the first time since 1986 of two 100-yard rushers in a game for the Steelers.
If the Pittsburgh can win their next three matchups, a 5-1 start is a record no one expected out of the Steelers.
Detroit Lions @ New York Jets
After trying to contain the twin oak trees on the outside in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, the New York Jets now have to deal with the best wide receivers in football in Calvin Johnson. Although, Johnson has missed two straight practices with a bum ankle.
Gang Green has arguably the best run defense in the NFL, but the Lions will have to call run plays with Reggie Bush and Joique Bell to keep the Jets defensive line honest. Statistically, the Jets are the 9th ranked passing defense, but their secondary hasn’t intercepted a pass all season. They are also without former 1st-round cornerback Dee Milliner who is day-to-day with a hamstring injury.
The Lions are also ranked in the top-10 in pass defense at 3rd overall, horrible news for Jets quarterback Geno Smith who continues to prove he’s a turnover prone machine.
Rumblings of Michael Vick is starting to spread like a barn fire. An argument can be made if a a 34-year-old Vick has anything left to offer, but the Jets may be forced to change their hands if Smith continues give games away with untimely turnovers.
Words From Wooten
New York Giants @ Washington
Washington is looking to gain some sort of momentum now that Robert Griffin III is out injured and Kirk Cousins is looking good in his place. The defense is lacking in a few areas, but working up against the Giants, Washington can get a win number two on the season.
That will happen tonight.
The Giants have been out of wack for the past two season and Eli Manning is looking horrible and tonight doesn’t look like a a good one for him. Don’t be surprised if Manning has a multi-pick game tonight.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
For the past five games against each other, it seems as if Aaron Rodgers and the Packers know how to get the job done against the Bears. This time, I do not see it happening.
Jay Cutler has a good feel for the play book now in is his second year under head coach Marc Trestmen. On defense, first round pick Kyle Fuller is looking to have a promising career in the NFL. Currently, he has three interceptions in two games, notching him No. 1 in the league in interceptions.
Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback, too. I expect Rodgers to have a good game, but I don’t expect for those around him to have one. Lance Briggs and the Bears defense will be ready for Eddie Lacy and his patience in the backfield, but the run will be stuffed.
Eddie P’s Philosophical Take
Carolina Panthers @ Baltimore Panthers

This will be one of the best matchups this week. Defense against defense. Joe Flacco versus Cam Newton. Steve Smith versus his former team.

One paper, both teams are pretty similar. Both are run-oriented teams, and both have top-tier talent on defense. The difference here is the weapons available to the quarterback. While rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been great, he and tight end Greg Olsen are the only aerial threats the Panthers have. The running game has not kicked in either. The Panthers will struggle against a smash mouth Baltimore defense.

The Ravens have a plethora of options on offense. The deep threat is receiver Torrey Smith. Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels are solid options for moving the chains. And lastly, there is Steve Smith. The man has always played with a chip on his shoulder. Against his former team, Smith will be livid. He is going to leave his all out there on the field.

Give me Baltimore.

New York Giants @ Washington

RGIII is out. Kirk Cousins is in. Somehow, Washington is alright.

Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cousins threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns. Many feel like he is the better fit under head coach Jay Gruden’s offense. I like Kirk’s chance against the New York Giants.

The Giants are 1-2, with its sole victory coming against the Houston Texans. New York’s loses have come at the hands of the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals – two playoff caliber teams. I’m not saying Washington is a playoff team, but they are a tough team. The Giants are going to struggle against its NFC East rival.

Who will win the Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.

Who will win the Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks?

Week 3 of the NFL season features a few surprising 2-0 teams in the Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans and the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers shouldn’t be much of a surprise after finishing 12-4 in 2013, but a poor receiving corps and an injured Cam Newton skewed outside views. A 3-0 start by each of teams will open the eyes many NFL spectators.


Week 2 Predictions Results:

Brooks: 5-11; Overall: 14-18

Perez: 7-9; Overall: 18-14

Wooten: 7-9; Overall: 16-16


Week 3 Matchups Brooks Perez Wooten
TB @ ATL ATL(W) ATL(W) ATL(W)
SD @ BUF BUF(L) SD(W) SD(W)
DAL @ STL DAL(W) DAL(W) STL(L)
WSH @ PHI PHI(W) PHI(W) PHI(W)
HOU @ NYG HOU(L) HOU(L) HOU(L)
MIN @ NO NO(W) NO(W) NO(W)
TEN @ CIN CIN(W) CIN(W) CIN(W)
BAL @ CLE BAL(W) BAL(W) BAL(W)
GB @ DET DET(W) GB(L) GB(L)
IND @ JAX IND(W) IND(W) IND(W)
OAK @ NE NE(W) NE(W) NE(W)
SF @ ARI SF(L) ARI(W) SF(L)
DEN @ SEA SEA(W) SEA(W) SEA(W)
KC @ MIA KC(W) MIA(L) KC(W)
PIT @ CAR CAR(L) CAR(L) CAR(L)
CHI @ NYJ CHI(W) CHI(W) CHI(W)

Brooks Bits

San Diego Chargers @ Buffalo Bills

One of the most underrated yet intriguing games of the week is between two early AFC contenders.

At 2-0 start for the Bills has given the fan base an optimistic feel for a team who hasn’t sniffed the postseason since 1999. Buffalo pulled the wool over the league’s eyes after a woeful preseason performance 1-5, including the Hall of Fame game. E.J. Manuel is beginning to look like a former 1st-rounder with explosive weapons in No. 4 overall pick Sammy Watkins who is fresh off his first 100 yard receiving game (117 yards) and running back C.J. Spiller who returned a kickoff for 102 yards.

With the next four games against San Diego, Houston, Detroit and New England, we’ll find out soon enough if the Bills are filet or bologna.

The Charges are coming off an impressive win against the Seattle Seahawks, putting up 30 points on a stingy Seattle secondary. Philip Rivers picked Seattle apart throwing for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rivers will have to carry more of the burden with the talented but oft-injured running back Ryan Matthews out with a sprained MCL. He’s officially listed an question on the injury report, but it’s unlikely he’ll see any time on the field.

San Diego is my dark horse favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. A 1-2 start doesn’t bode well in their future, but aside from the Broncos, the Chargers don’t have any competition in the AFC West. They can recover.

Bills with the win.

Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks

43-8. Forty-three to eight.

This was the monstrosity of a final score in the Super Bowl as the Seahawks blew out the Broncos in an embarrassing fashion.

The Broncos are still trying to rid the disgusting taste out their mouth. We know the story. A high powered offense now with all their pieces with the return of Wes Welker because of the new NFL drug policy. We know the Seahawks. The Legion of Boom. CenturyLink Field, the home of the deafening mad house.

Seattle is not the same team on the road. It’s been that way for the past few seasons. The defending champs will be angry after their first lost of the season.

Seahawks with the win, but will be a much more competitive game. 31-21.

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals

The typical, bland analyst would give this game to San Francisco. Well, it goes to show how little they know.

It is indescribable to explain how tough the NFC West is.  Seattle, San Francisco, and Arizona are all exceptionally good defensively. The edge Arizona has over the other “top” two teams in the division is its passing game. With Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on the outside, the Cardinals have a big, tough, physical, and explosive receiver tandem. Toss in the speedy slot receiver, John Brown, and you have a complete receiving corps.

The 49ers – still a tough team – are not as dominant as years past. Its defense is missing a central player in NaVorro Bowman, who is still recovery from an ACL injury. He and Patrick Willis held the middle of that defense together. In his place is third year backup Michael Wilhoite. While Wilhoite is doing an ok job filling in for the injured NaVorro, it’s just that – an ok job. On offense, quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been mistake-prone. He’s coughed up the ball four times thus far (three INTs and one fumble).

New York Jets @ Chicago Bears

It is no secret; I am a fan of the pass-catchers. My favorite athlete is former-Ram Isaac Bruce – No. 4 (15,208) all-time in receiving yards, No. 7 (1,024) in receptions. Bruce is a surefire future Hall of Famer, in my opinion.

The Chicago Bears, while not future HOFers, have two very good receivers of their own. The veteran Brandon Marshall –sitting at No. 40 with 725 career catches – is one of the best big, physical receivers in the league. Third-year pro Alshon Jeffery is built in the exact mold – big, tough, physical, and explosive.

While the New York Jets have always had a good defense, their offense is putrid. There is no chance the Jets can do enough to outscore Da Bears.

Words From Wooten

Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints

This will not look good for Mike Zimmern and his Vikings. Without their former MVP, Adrian Peterson, you will see a drastic, well not as drastic because the Vikings are mediocre, performance from the team as a whole. I feel like this one will be a blowout for them. Something similar to the year Indy put Peyton on IR and they loss 62-7 to New Orleans.

Washington @ Philadelphia Eagles 

I want to see what Kirk Cousins can do against a division rival. Why not let him showcase his skills against a team like the Eagles. Sad to say, I don’t think it’s gonna be too many touchdown connections to anyone. The Eagles will come up with ways to keep Cousins at bay.

Will Ryan Tannehill lead his Miami Dolphins to a surprising 2-0 start?

Will Ryan Tannehill lead his Miami Dolphins to a surprising 2-0 start?

Week 1 of the NFL season offered a few eye-raising surprises with the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears falling to 0-1 to lesser rated teams. The biggest of them all was the Dolphins trumping the mighty Patriots. The start of the season got off to a bang. Let’s see which team will create unexpected noise in week 2 as the early season progress.


Week 1 Predictions Results:

Brooks: 9-7; Overall: 9-7

Perez: 11-5; Overall: 11-5

Wooten: 9-7; Overall: 9-7


Week 2 Matchups Brooks Perez  Wooten
PIT @ BAL PIT(L) PIT(L)  PIT(L)
MIA @ BUF MIA(L) MIA(L)  BUF(W)
JAX @ WSH WSH(W) WSH(W)  WSH(W)
DAL @ TEN TEN(L) DAL(W)  DAL(W)
AZ @ NYG AZ(L) AZ(L)  AZ(L)
NE @ MIN NE(W) NE(W)  NE(W)
NO @ CLE NO(L) NO(L)  NO(L)
ATL @ CIN CIN(W) CIN(W)  CIN(W)
DET @ CAR DET(L) DET(L)  DET(L)
STL @ TB TB(L) TB(L)  TB(L)
SEA @ SD SEA(L) SEA(L)  SEA(L)
HOU @ OAK OAK(L) HOU(W)  OAK(L)
NYJ @ GB GB(W) GB(W)  GB(W)
KC @ DEN DEN(W) DEN(W)  DEN(W)
CHI @ SF SF(L) SF(L)  SF(L)
PHI @ IND IND(L) IND(L)  IND(L)

Brooks’ Bits

New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings

The New England Patriots are in last place in the AFC East for the first time in the last 14 years. The Patriots 33-20 to the Dolphins was the first opening season lost in the last 12 years. Only one game has strolled by, but sitting all alone on last place is unfamiliar territory to Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Co.

But what if they fall to 0-2?

The Vikings throttled a Rams teams who played both their second and third string quarterback in week 1. Minnesota bottled up the run game, but struggled with the 6-feet-3 Brian Quick on the outside. The Patriots don’t possess that type of physical threat at wide receiver.

Newly acquired Knowshon Moreno rushed for 134 yards against New England, and the Dolphins as a whole rushed for 191 yards. If the New England had fits trying to contain Moreno, the best running back in the NFL in Adrain Peterson is going to have a field day against New England. Minnesota also got wide receiver Coradarralle Patterson going in the run game, rushing for 102 yards with a chunk of it coming from an explosive 67-yard touchdown run.

An 0-2 start for a team with Super Bowl aspiration will create a bead of sweat early on in the season.

Atlanta Falcons @ Cincinnati Bengals

Easily one of the most exciting games of week 2. The Falcons surprised everyone by not only going toe-to-toe with a favorite to come out the NFC, but beating them in overtime fashion. Matt Ryan threw for a franchise-record 448 yards and three touchdowns in the 37-34 overtime victory. Atlanta also welcomed back a health Julio Jones who finished with 7 receptions 116 yards in his first game back after missing 11 games in 2013 with a foot injury.

Speaking of dynamic wide receivers, the Bengals have the best receiver in the NFL not named Calvin Johnson. AJ Green torched the Ravens secondary hauling in 6 passes for 131 yards and a score. Andy Dalton and Green connected for a 77-yard game-winning touchdown with 4:58 left.

Both Jones and Green were selected in the 2011 NFL draft. Green was the fourth overall pick and Jones was selected two picks later when the Falcons traded up to draft him sixth overall.

These two teams both have explosive offenses, but I trust the Bengals defense a lot more than the Falcons. And now more than ever with the lost of first round tackle Jake Matthews who is on IR with an ankle injury.

 Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens

Man, the Baltimore Ravens cannot catch a break. Freshly off the news of the Ray Rice domestic violence video and the subsequent release of Rice, they have to go live on Thursday Night Football. To make things a little worse, the Ravens are going up against AFC North division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Rice distraction aside, it is hard to see Baltimore coming away with a “W.” On defense, it will be tough to slow down the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s offense is multi-dimensional. The Steelers can run it with Le’Veon Bell or air it out with Antonio Brown and speedster Markus Wheaton. On offense, the Ravens will have to rely on Joe Flacco. While Steve Smith Sr. and Torrey Smith are formidable options out wide, the Ravens are thin at running back. Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett are good backups, but they are just that – backups.

Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers

The Detroit Lions’ offense was unbelievable in Week 1. Quarterback Matt Stafford threw a gaudy 346 yards for two touchdowns. Receiver extraordinaire Calvin “Megatron” Johnson caught those two TDs and 164 yards. New partner in crime wide-out Golden Tate added on 93 yards as well. That is not even including Reggie Bush’s production out of the backfield and Joique Bell on the ground. The offensive potential of this group is not sane.

The Carolina Panthers get their starting signal caller back this week. Cam Newton had been sidelined for a few weeks with fractured ribs. They were able to pull off a win last week with backup QB Derek Anderson under center and it would not be farfetched to believe the Panthers could come out victorious again this week with their No. 1 playing. However, Cam’s game is based on his mobility, he might be a bit more hesitant to go all-out and risk reinjuring his ribs again.

Words From Wooten

New Orleans Saints @ Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said recently that you can expect to see Johnny Manziel in a few packages in the upcoming future. Well, the time is now. Sadly it’s up against a top-5 defense from the previous year. With that being said, Manziel or Brian Hoyer can expect a bad game against a very good defense.

With the addition of Jarius Byrd on the Saints defense, it will be hard for the opposing QB to go deep or up the middle. In the end, this won’t be a pretty one for Cleveland.

New York Jets @ Green Bay Packers 

Aaron Rodgers is looking to bounce back from a subpar performance against the reigning top defense in league in the Seattle Seahawks. With the status of the New York Jets still uncertain, you can expect for Rodgers to find a variety of ways to expose the Jets defense.

On the other hand, with the Jets picking up Eric Decker in the offseason, it gives Geno Smith a big target to look at downfield. Look forward to Geno connecting with Decker a few times if Clay Matthews doesn’t sack him first.