Joe-Pinions: Sports

20 Oct 2010 – NFL Pick ’em, Week 6 Results

Posted in Football (NFL) by txtmstrjoe on 20/10/2010

Did quite well this week:

New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens:  The Patriots won in overtime, which means I got this game WRONG.  As predicted, this was a great game between two of the more powerful teams in the AFC.  New England won in overtime after overcoming a ten point deficit in the final quarter.  QB Tom Brady and WR Deion Branch, who had returned to the Patriots after four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, hooked up together for nine completions.  Incidentally, that is precisely the same number of catches erstwhile Patriots deep threat Randy Moss (now in Minnesota) had collected prior to being traded prior to Week 5.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns:  Big Ben Roethlisberger made a triumphant return to the Steelers, leading the team to an easy 28-10 victory over the Browns.  I got this game RIGHT.  The Steelers’ prodigal son showed a little bit of rust, but Big Ben was still able to throw for three touchdowns in his first action of 2010.  The Browns, meanwhile, trotted out rookie QB Colt McCoy in place of Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, both out with injuries.  McCoy did well to gain more yards than Roethlisberger (281yds vs. Roethlisberger’s 257yds), but that glory was fleeting as he was sacked five times and lost many of his receiving corps to injuries during the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans:  Though I got this game’s ultimate result RIGHT by picking the Titans winning over the Jaguars, I was so wrong by thinking it would be a close game.  The Jaguars simply could not do much against the Titans’ defense, scoring a measly three points.  Tennessee, meanwhile, scored thirty points despite losing starting QB Vince Young to leg injuries (sprains to both his left knee and left ankle).  His backup, Kerry Collins, was effective and efficient.  The Jaguars also lost their starting QB, David Garrard, but his reliever, Trent Edwards, couldn’t match Collins.  In truth, as far as offensive stars go, this game was supposed to have been a match-up between the Titans’ Chris Johnson and the Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew, two of the most electric and productive running backs of recent times.  Johnson outgained Jones-Drew, almost doubling his Jaguars counterpart by a factor of 2:1 (111yds:57yds).  Clearly, the Titans defense did a much better job of taking the Jaguars’ number one option away than Jacksonville’s defense did against Tennessee.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Oakland Raiders:  The 49ers won, which means I got this game RIGHT.  The Niners won their first game of the season, besting their cross-town rivals in the so-called “Battle of the Bay.”  In the midst of a persistent rain shower, the 49ers ironically did not make any of critical errors on the field.  Rain usually results in very messy games; the slippery ball usually means more lost fumbles and interceptions thrown, as well as the possibility of blown coverages due to bad field conditions.  The Niners, though, committed none of these mistakes.

The Raiders did a very good job of stifling the 49ers’ offense for most of the first half, forcing them to punt after gaining minimal yardage on their possessions, until San Francisco finally drove for enough yards to score a field goal at the end of the first half.  Alex Smith completed less than half of his pass attempts (16-33), but he made very good decisions by throwing the ball away when no one was open, instead of forcing the throw into coverage and risking interceptions.  He also threw for two touchdowns in the second half, giving the 49ers the necessary cushion over the Raiders to secure San Francisco’s first win of the season.  Frank Gore also showed up, gaining 149yds in his biggest outing of the year so far.

The Niners still have much work to do.  The offensive line’s play has to improve.  Alex Smith is no different compared to all quarterbacks:  He does his best when he is protected, and his performance suffers when he is not protected.  Smith did improve in his decision-making, but the line has to get better.  They looked relatively good against an Oakland D-line and linebacker corps that didn’t look like it showed up to play hard; most teams’ front sevens do much better than what the Raiders’ did.  But Smith is not the only beneficiary of improved O-line play:  Frank Gore and the running game desperately need consistently great performances from the O-line.

That’s really where it all begins.

NFL

3-1 again this week, which takes my season total to 14-10.  My two week hot streak has grown to three weeks, going 10-2 out of twelve games.

Can we stay hot for a fourth straight week?  We’ll find out in about a week’s time!

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