AFCE Week 3
Chargers@Bills Bills: -2.5
Western NY is going through a renaissance these last few weeks. Local Billionaire, Pegula buys the team and assures a stay in Buffalo, and the Bills have responded on the field as well. Huge decisive divisional win on Sunday against the Dolphins; the Bills now face another battle, handling success. The euphoria by the fans has been incredible, and the media suddenly has stories on the Bills. However, the season is sixteen games and seventeen weeks long, and as we have seen in the past with numerous teams, including these Bills, early season success doesn’t necessarily mean a good record at the end of it all. Relax Buffalo, enjoy the wins, but keep both your feet solid on the ground. In come Rivers and the Chargers hoping to win a game that propels them to first place.
Keys to a Bills win: First of all HC Doug Marrone must keep his team focused. As much as players say that they don’t pay attention, I guarantee you they have been tuned to it all, and are gloating right now from all the media accolades. Second, control the clock because that is also the Chargers’ game. Third, take a lead and never look back. If the Bills allow Rivers to take a big lead, there is no way the Bills offense comes back. Fourth, stop the run, get to Rivers and frustrate him, make him one-dimensional.
My outlook: The team will be focused, its young and Marrone has a college approach that the kids understand. Clock management will not be as easy as it was against Miami, the Chargers can move the chains against anyone. I do not expect either team to have a commanding lead, it will be a back and forth event. Chargers are coming off an emotional win just like the hometown Bills are. The biggest difference is they are coming east without RB Ryan Matthews, and without him they will not be successful running the football. The NFL has also given the Bills another gift and put this game at 1pm instead of 4. Chargers know too well that Denver is visiting Seattle and a tie for first is on the line; they will score and score all day. The Bills will run and use Spiller as much as possible. If EJ doesn’t make mistakes, I do not expect the Chargers to go home with a W
……………….…. Bills 27-21
Raiders@Patriots Patriots: -14.5
The Patriots continue their tough schedule hosting the Raiders this week, after playing an anemic team without its only star. Not the Patriots’ fault that the chips are falling as they are, and they did take care of business in Minneapolis. Gronk continues to get involved in the offense as he gets himself into game shape.
Keys to a Patriots win: First of all, just show up and dress. The Raiders really pose no threat whatsoever to the reigning AFCE Champs. More than keys this week we should address the Patriots as a team and where they are currently. First, this offense is a distant shadow of what everyone expects. There is no chemistry between Brady and anyone not named Edelman or Gronkowski. The OL is a work in progress as Belichick continues to shuffles guys in and out with the hope of eventually finding the right combination. The team is not playing at the disciplined level we have come to hate as non-Patriots fans. The penalties are mounting up, and this week’s slugfest with the dirty Raiders should only increase that bounty total. Second, defensively they are playing much better than they did a year ago, except for at LB, where tackling in the open field has become a forgotten art.
My outlook: Patriots will win in front of their home crowd for the first time this year. I expect Brady to test Dobson and Amedola and see if they have a pulse for weeks to come
……………….…. Patriots 30-17
Chiefs@Dolphins Dolphins: -4.5
What a difference a week makes! A week ago we were writing how good this team had become, today we are trying to pick up their pieces and put them back together for another game. The Dolphins were manhandled, destroyed and beaten in every facet of the game in Buffalo. Please stop the complaints about the “no-challenge” bull, who cares? Bills would have scored anyway in the next play. The defense and its make believe LB corps cannot stop anyone from running at will. Their DL plays only when it feels like it needs to. Cameron Wake is an amazing athlete, but man, the story of the week is that a 7th rounder nobody wanted basically made Wake non-existent on Sunday.
Keys to a Dolphins win: First, forget the opponent and execute offensively. Second, get to the QB, knock him down; force them to run the football without their star RB. Third, Play for 60 minutes, execute, run the game plan and stick to it. Fifth, have someone check Joe Philbin’s pulse every 5 minutes, because his mind wonders and he tends to get lost during the games.
My outlook: The Kansas City Chiefs are quickly establishing themselves as one of the worst teams in football. This is a team that is so down that there will be a calling for the HC to be fired soon. Dolphins only have one concern here: do not beat yourself! We have been hearing about this up-tempo fast paced new attack that Lazor has put in place, where is it? So far in two games the offense is more anemic than a year ago, thank you defense for game 1!. Ryan Tannehill is still making the same mistakes: holds on to the ball, takes too long to locate open WR, no deep ball accuracy, no short route accuracy. What amazes me is that this kid is extremely athletic; yet, the game plan never uses that strength. Even Foles in Philly, who is not even close to being the athlete Tanney (7 for 9yds) is, even he runs it more often. No running game, its time for Lazor and Tannehill to step it up to what we were told we would see. The Dolphins have no direction or identity, and unless this was supposed to be another “blame the OC year” get one! This is a good week to fix those issues, the opponent stinks….. Dolphins 20-17
Bears@Jets Jets: -2.5
The New York Jets traveled to Green Bay last Sunday to play a game nobody gave them a chance to win. Some on our blog even laughed off the blow out that was about to come their way. They lost and it’s considered a disastrous event. They have no one to blame but themselves on the loss, the team put itself in a situation to win it, except stopping the Packers explosive offense is not an easy task for any team. They return on Monday Night Football to face the suddenly glorious Bears.
Keys to a Jets win: First, smack Cutler around, although he held it together and played very well in SF, Cutler is below mediocre when he is facing pass rushers all game. Second, do not let Forte become a successful runner, make the Bears one-dimensional. Third, continue to execute offensively as they have thus far. Not sure if Decker plays, but so what! Move on and allow Geno to succeed by limiting the drops. Fourth, establish the run game. Last week the early success for some reason took them away from pounding it, get back to it! Chicago will not be able to stop it.
My outlook: Stop the nonsense and play for 60 full minutes! The Jets will be in Cutler’s face all day. The team returns home on MNF, the crowd will be loud and Cutler will not be so confortable in the pocket. This game will be a sort of reminiscent of Drew Breese and the Saints visiting Met Life a year ago. Forte will be a force, but in short routes, he will not run for more than 50 yards, this front 7 is as good as there is and they still are dominating the league in stopping the run. Geno has looked poised, in control and has made the right decisions that must continue; he threw a TD to Decker that was evidence of his growth, we want more of that. Get back to using Ivory as your workhorse with Johnson as change of pace; this tactic will have old man Allen gasping for air by the third quarter. The Jets return home knowing they let a game get away, the fans can see the improvements; I expect a very loud stadium. That will work against the Up-Down Cutler run Bears. The Chicago defense is old at key positions, DL and LB. Hard to believe that the Bears went from suicide watch to SB contender in one week, Jets win …. Jets 27 -20
Record to date: 3-3
Seattle, Denver, Cincinnati (+), Philadelphia (+)
In The Playoffs Picture
Green Bay, Chicago, New England, Carolina, San Francisco (-), Buffalo (+), San Diego (+), Houston (+), Arizona (+)
Contending for the Playoffs
Detroit, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Baltimore (-), Miami (-), Indianapolis (-)
In The Hunt
Dallas, Washington, Tennessee (+), Minnesota (+), Cleveland (+), New Orleans (-), Atlanta (-)
Battling For Draft Position
Oakland, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay (-), New York Giants (-), Kansas City (-)
Each week I will move teams up or down, according to performances.
(-) = Team was moved down
(+) = Team was moved up