Hard to believe we are already at week 7, this season is flying by, as all good things usually do. This week we have a divisional game, valid for temporary first place. Bills in London, and Dolphins trying to win their first home game.
Bills @ Jaguars
This Bills team is back on its every other week schedule, this week they travel all the way to London, and meet a young, but very unpredictable Jaguars team.
The Jaguars are led by Bortles, a much maligned QB of a year ago, who is still learning and growing. This offense has two good WRs and a finally healthy, Julius Thomas. The Jags can score, and are not afraid to put it up, especially in come-back situations. Their running game is just as unpredictable as the entire team is. Defensively, they are a work in progress as well, and can be scored on.
The Bills are coming off an expected home loss to the Bengals. Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins remain out, however they have recuperated LeSean McCoy. EJ Manuel will once again be under center, this time against a much more favorable defense. Roman will go back to his roots and run McCoy all day, but will it be enough?
Defensively the Bills are still trying to adjust to Rex Ryan’s schemes. There was so much news coming out of this unit, all week, I hope they have put that aside and prepared for the Jags. Like it or not, Rex is your HC, and his ways are not like those of others. All professionals should keep the nonsense in the locker room.
This game will end favorably to the AFCE team, but it will not be easy. The Jags are not real good, but youth and hunger is on their side. Bills will run a lot and take a lead, Jags come back, as they pass all over the place. This game will be won by a late drive, engineered by EJ Manuel, and that will send Rex and company to the bye week, with questions as to who should be the starter. Bills win 27-24
Texans @ Dolphins
The Dan Campbell led Dolphins play their first home game since the London debacle. Dan has them fired up, and coming off a win should help.
The Texans are an enigma, as they have been the last few years. Hard to understand how this management group can still not be under fire. They have asked for a particular QB two years straight, and got him both times; yet, the starter is basically decided weekly. They have one of the most dynamic young WR in the game, DeAndre Hopkins. Foster is now back at full strength, this team should score and move the ball well. Their defense should be among the best, yet, they are not. I said it before, I will say it again, I have always admired Romeo Crenel from his days with the Giants and Jets, however, the game has passed him by, he needs to go.
The Dolphins seem to have found Lamar Miller last week, and they need to make sure he stays onboard weekly, because Ryan Tannehill is struggling, and giving the ball up at the highest rate of his career. The OL will be tested this week; making sure that JJ Watt does not remove Ryan’s head and hand to Dan as he walks back to the sideline, is imperative.
Defensively the Dolphins need to keep improving, and that DL needs to put together a second straight good game. Stopping Foster is a what they have to do, if not, it will not be pretty.
The Dolphins cannot possibly drop another home game, Dolphins win 21-17
Jets @ Patriots
Tom Brady is 34-4 at home against a divisional opponent, Jets have 2 of those wins. What doe it mean? Absolutely nothing. This is the match of the week in the NFL, or at least it should have been, so I will dedicate more time to it.
The Patriots are undefeated at 5-0, and let’s face it, they are just toying with teams every week. Their offense is second to none, as Tom Brady seems to be on a mission on every set of downs. If you look at the numbers, this team is scoring at or better than the only modern day NFL undefeated team of 2007. This past week, Gronk wasn’t even in the game plan for most of the game, did it matter? Edelman is having a Pro-Bowl year, and should be considered among the best in the game. He has made Welker a forgotten name, or as CK ( he of TheSidelineReport Writing Staff) says, Welker seems to be dead in NE. They have found a new and improved Shane Vereen, in Dion Lewis. Blount is still the same powerful RB of last three years. Basically, they can attack you any which way they wish, or the game plan calls for.
Defensively, I wrote this past Monday, that they do enough, to make sure the other team scores less than they do. It has worked yearly, still working to perfection. This team has a ton of sacks, granted, most are because every team has to play catch-up weekly, but its still very impressive. DBs are a game by game work in progress, but it has not hurt them yet. Dante Hightower is huge for this defense, especially in this game, his absence would hurt.
The Jets, the same 4-12 laughing stock of a year ago, are the opponent. This team’s offense has taken an entire new direction, how? First of all, gone is the ridiculous afraid to do anything mentality that Rex instilled in his OCs. Second, they traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall. Both of these deals were nothing more than gifts from the Texans and Bears, Jets paid little to nothing. Decker was already onboard, but he no longer has to draw the best CB. He is not the #1 WR, and that has helped him immensely. They also moved away from the shrimp WR mentality, and moved Decker to the slot on many plays. I would suspect that when Devin Smith gets into game shape (he missed all TC and first few weeks), Decker will become the full time slot man. All of this has cause size issues for opposing defenses, but huge targets for a pedestrian Fitzpatrick. The OL was not neglected either, they added Carpenter, the second steal from the Seattle OL that has been so good last few years. The biggest beneficiary of al of this? Other than Fitzpatrick? Chris Ivory; Ivory is a Marshawn Lynch type of runner. He punishes you, and carries defenders for multiple yards (leads the NFL). Go back to the London game and watch that tape, he basically took Miami defenders any where he wished to take them, all day long.
Defensively, this team is the league #1 defense. Jets are ranked #1 or 2 in just about every category. NY is not getting a lot of sacks, but they apply pressure on every down. They have forced teams into mistakes as the QB forces the ball watching these mammoths coming at them. Leonard Williams may not be getting a whole lot of publicity, but that is only for those that don’t watch the Jets game every week. Revis has been worth every dime they paid, as have Cromartie and Skrine. The quietest (other than Revis), yet one of the biggest additions has been Gilchrist. His presence has allowed Pryor to play his natural role, and Pryor is having a huge year.
This is the toughest game to pick this week. Patriots at home do not lose, but I think this Jets team ends the winning streak at 5. It will be a battle, but very close, Jets 24-23