With Houston and Atlanta currently the NFL’s two best teams, I wonder: Which team is the worst? Some might point to the winless Browns, but although the Browns are young, they appear to have enough talent to make their fans hopeful for the future. The Jags will always be the Jags, but at least Maurice Jones-Drew is capable of going off at any time. No, I submit that the worst team in the league right now is the Tennessee Titans, who’ve managed to look hopeless in all facets of the game. Their offense features a broken-down Matt Hasselbeck throwing ducks to a slowly-breaking-down Kenny Britt, while the running game is led by Chris Johnson, who is tearing up defenses for nearly 36 feet per game. The defense has also done its part, becoming the first D since 1954 to give up 30-plus points in five straight games.In an interview on Tuesday, Johnson said that the Titans were in need of a playmaker, which is strange, because I could have sworn that was CJ’s role. Hmm. This team’s bad, and they are not going to get better.
- Speaking of sad Titans, here’s VY begging for his job back. (Lockerz)
- Cris Collinsworth calls the final play of the Chargers-Saints game before it happens. (Awful Announcing)
- Eric Winston calls out fans for cheering Matt Cassel’s injury. (Deadspin)
- Congrats to Drew Brees’ breaking Johnny Unitas’ record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, which served as a nice reminder of what a wonderful quarterback Johnny U was. (Yahoo!)
- Greg Bedard analyzes this year’s Patriots offense, and how it was influenced by Chip Kelly’s offense at the University of Oregon. Fascinating. (Boston Globe)
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) at Tennessee Titans(1-4)
Clint: I thought they were going to get a few weeks after the bye to settle in with having a healthy team. Polumalu is injured again, and even though the Steelers got Harrison back, losing Woodley puts them right back to where they started. If you could choose one team to play while not entirely healthy, the Titans would be that team. In this game, Chris Johnson may get negative yards and blame it on the fans that don’t support him anymore.
Tom: Thank the football gods for the Titans. Pittsburgh looks to finally have consistency on the offense but now the defense is suffering. I’m expecting several defensive draft picks next year, starting with safety and LB. I will say–the Steelers have had problems with the Titans in the past, but they have stepped it up the past 3 games in their history. And since I don’t get to talk about the Saints defense this week, let’s just call the Titans odious, heinous, and cover-your-eyes bad (thanks for the adjectives, Chavez).
Cincinnati Bengals(3-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-5)
Tom: After stunning the world and maybe even stunning themselves by jumping out to a 14-0 lead on the defending Super Bowl champs last week, the Browns proceeded to find new ways to break the hearts of their fans by eventually getting blown out by the Giants. The Bengals got punched in the mouth by the Dolphins and never recovered. I think the Browns are getting closer and and closer to that magical first “W” of the season…and lord help me, this may be the week that it happens. That being said, I am still picking the Bengals.
Clint: I have to agree with Tom, the Bengals were embarrassed by losing to Miami last week. They were supposed to be one of the better teams in the league this year, but couldn’t get by the train wreck that Miami is supposed to be. The Browns are going to go at them with everything they have and I think this will be a close game. I think the Bengals have that ability to put an injured foe out of its misery, and will likely finish the Browns off.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) at Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
Clint: What a strange game. Baltimore is in the driver seat in the AFC north, but Dallas is playing the good one week bad the next game. What becomes more surprising is the Cowboys defense is ranked above the Ravens and vice versa on the offenses. I never thought I would find myself doing this, but I am rooting for the Cowboys this week.
Tom: Every week, I make a joke about the new look Ravens offense, and every week Baltimore does nothing to make the joke less funny. Dallas is a huge Jekyll/Hyde team (as Clint mentions). I will be the yin to his yang this week, but would not be shocked to see Baltimore drop this one at home.
Detroit Lions (1-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
Tom: Talk about battle of the underperforming teams–Detroit’s front line has all but disappeared and the Eagles just turned the ball over again as I’m typing this. Did you know Calvin Johnson has caught only 1 TD pass this season? And that was against the hapless Titans. The Lions are coming off a bye, which makes the 2nd team in a row that Philly has faced that was coming off a bye. I think the Lions feel they have something to prove, and if there’s any QB that can be gotten to, it’s Mike Vick. Johnson is due for a big game and it might just happen here.
Clint: Both these teams are already reaching a state of submission. The Lions definitely need it more, as if they lose again they are already looking to put themselves into a questionable spot to make playoffs. Yeah, it’s early in the season, but chances that the wild card team has a record worse than 10-6 is unlikely. That starts making a lot of these teams worry even this early in the season. I see Detroit hanging on for dear life.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at New York Jets (2-3)
Clint: One of the worst teams from last year is facing one of the worst teams from this year. The Jets hung with one of the strongest teams in football last week. I believe this was just a layover on their way to extreme mediocrity this year. At least they didn’t make Tebow the starter……..yet. And the Colts beat the “better than their record shows” Packers. Good for them, particularly considering the week they had last week leading up to the game. I expect them to show the Jets they are no longer the worst team the in the AFC East.
Tom: Colts are riding high off the win vs. Green Bay and the Jets…well, the Jets are just about grounded. They had a good showing against the possible NFL-best Texans where it seemed Sanchez’s supporting cast blew the game, not him. Colts–stock going up, Jets–going down down down.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Tom: Welcome to the Brady Quinn era, KC fans. Prepare for an ELECTRIC season! Ok, I can’t do it anymore. Sorry, KC fans. The Bucs D is one of the best in the NFL, and KC’s defense shows signs of life every now and then. I think Quinn has too many mistakes to keep KC in this game and Tampa pulls away, especially being at home–don’t they shoot those cannons at the opposing teams during the game? That’s just dangerous.
Clint: My who cares game of the week. Both teams can’t really hope to have life after the regular season and maybe should start the run for best draft pick. I like the cannons and the Pirate ship, so I am picking the Bucs. Not really a ringing endorsement, but I call them like I see them.
Oakland Raiders(1-3) at Atlanta Falcons (5-0)
Clint: I picked the Falcons in my suicide pool this week, and I am worried about the choice. I think there is a good chance they cough up a loss to an undeserving team. Oakland has been struggling since Rich Gannon retired, and somehow they always win enough games a year to keep them from getting a top 5 draft pick. Look for that to continue here in a game the Falcons should dominate.
Tom: The Raiders have talent, but none of it seems to all want to work at the same time. I’m glad I’m not their head coach, because I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong with this team. They have two of the longest tenured kickers in the NFL, so that’s something, I guess. And the last time I remember seeing the Raiders play Atlanta in the Dome was the image of a moronic Jeff George circling the field like he was an airplane as he thought it was some kind of vindication to beat the Falcons. We all see what a success he still is today.
St. Louis Rams (3-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Tom: Ugh–these games are always hard to predict. Both teams have looked bad as much as they’ve looked good. But I’ll go short and sweet–Miami has one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL, and St. Louis can’t run the ball very well anyway, plus they just lost their best WR. And maybe Miami has finally learned how to win games. It’s all you, Fleed:
Clint: Just because I have agreed too much with Tom, I am going to choose the Rams. They did good for me on my gut call last week against the Cardinals. Both of these teams look bad on paper, but both have shown a will to win, so either way I see it being close. I will probably lose because anytime I have picked opposite of the fins this year, I have paid for it.
Buffalo Bills(2-3) at Arizona Cardinals (4-1)
Clint: The Cardinals lost on national tv followed by an extended week to lick their wounds. They will be out for revenge. Luckily for the Bills, they don’t have an offense to make them look horribly bad. The Cards defense will hold the score down enough that the Cards will get another win.
Tom: If it weren’t for the offensive explosiveness available on Buffalo, I’d rank them worse than Tennessee. This team can’t play more than a half before they freak out and roll up into a ball while the other team plays the role of Edward Norton in American History X. This is a team even Arizona can score on.
New England Patriots (3-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
Tom: So, the Pats are now imitating the Oregon Ducks with their play calling? As long as they don’t start wearing those ugly helmets and day-glo shoes too. Too much for the ‘hawks.
Clint: Once again, I will pick the Pats, even though I have been sworn to hate them forever. I just don’t buy the Seahawks. They have a hell of a defense, but almost no offense. This would have worked well in the 90s, but it’s the new millennium, and offense wins as much as defense.
Minnesota Vikings (4-1) at Washington Redskins(2-3)
Clint: At one point the Redskins looked as if they were one of the strongest teams in the League. Then something happened. They played someone not named the Saints. They have been on a downhill slope since. The Vikings on the other hand keep winning games they possibly shouldn’t. They took out the 49ers. AP is banged up again, but he will be on the field to cause the Skins some damage. The bigger question is whether the league will let RGIII on the field after his concussion. I don’t think it will matter, all the skins will have a headache after this week.
Tom: I’m sort of proud of the Vikings–I don’t know why, but I think they’re one of the better teams in the NFL. I think most people don’t notice because of all the other ‘glamour’ teams in the NFC North/Norris division. This game will prove something–can the Vikings win outside? This is their first regular season game outdoors. I guessed that various factors would take Atlanta to their first loss…maybe I was a week early on that prognostication. But if RGIII doesn’t play, I think that hurts the Redskins a lot.
With RGIII: Redskins
(I can do this, right?)
New York Giants(3-2) at San Francisco 49ers (4-1)
Tom: Old school football fans will remember these classic matchups from the 80s and 90s of the Parcell-led Giants and Bill Walsh’s 49ers. The Giants are back to prominence, and the 49ers are working on it. The Giants unexpectedly took out San Francisco last year en route to winning the Super Bowl, and I think Harbaugh won’t let his team forget that. The Giants defense has been on-again off-again this year, and Hakeem Nicks probably will miss another week. I’m very tempted to pull the Giants as they come through it seems every time I pick against them, but I think the 49ers will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and feeling like they have something to prove.
Clint: Really? The Giants are unpredictable? About the only thing more unpredictable than them is the 49ers losing to the Vikings and struggling against a Detroit. Doesn’t matter though, I think the defense will all but stop the running game, and when Eli becomes a one dimensional offense he fails as much as he succeeds.
Green Bay Packers (2-3) at Houston Texans (5-0)
Clint: This is a worthy night game. Don’t be fooled by their losing record. The Packers are getting slammed because of their record last year. Everyone still thinks about them as almost undefeated last year, and they step up their game. This will continue throughout the first half of the season, and at some point they will be able to get back on a roll. But this week, the people on a roll will be Arian Foster and Matt Schaub. With one of the best defenses in the league and an explosive offense to match, they will not miss their chance to shine on national tv. Look for Aaron Rodgers to get beat up, the Packers defense to bend but no break, and the Texans to hold their undefeated record.
Tom: Oh, Green Bay–how the mighty have fallen. Under .500 a quarter of the way into the season and you have to face one of two undefeated teams in the NFL. Not exactly the scenario you want–”Didn’t we just play an AFC South team?” you say. “When do we play Tennessee or Jacksonville?” you plead. No Greg Jennings (probably) again, and Cedric Benson out does not bode well again for the Pack. The Texans are on a roll and at home.
Denver Broncos(2-3) at San Diego Chargers (3-2)
Tom: Ahh Norv…you screwed me in my pick of you last week, so I shan’t let that happen again. Denver’s defense got exposed a bit vs. the Pats, but I still don’t think the Chargers will be able to stop Manning. If this was in Denver, it would be a no-brainer pick of the Broncos, but this is a Norv-brainer pick because of, well, you know.
Clint: One of the best teams with a losing record against one of the worst teams with a winning record. Some people blame Manning. Not me. I blame the Denver D. A good offense will look great against them. They may be able to pick them apart and control the ball, but unfortunately Norv Turner is a douche. Let’s punish Ryan Mathews because he is the best back that we have and gives us the best chance to win. Whatever, punish yourself after you lose another game your team could have competed in if it wasn’t for the coaching.