Jets @ Bills
The Jets carried their momentum over, and appear to be…BACK! They took this challenge seriously (as they should have), and beat up their AFC East rival and first place Buffalo Bills. They found a way to move the chains and finish in the redzone, while the Bills struggled offensively to move the ball on Rex Ryan’s defense. When you can’t put points on the scoreboard and you go 3 and out to punt, the defense wears down.
Seahawks @ Cowboys
Dallas got a win that they needed at home, and keep themselves in the NFC East hunt. They are hoping rookie RB DeMarco Murray really is the real deal, and so far he has performed at a high enough level to keep his job even when Felix Jones returns. The Seahawks played on the Cowboys’ level, but occasional breakdowns in the secondary and QB Tarvaris Jackson’s mistakes made all the difference.
Falcons @ Colts
The Falcons did what they were supposed to do, and they are hoping Julio Jones can carry over that performance throughout the rest of the season. The Colts had some fight in them defensively, with a pick-6 and better defense after that. But the problem remains, they struggle in every way offensively.
Dolphins @ Chiefs
Miami had the heart and fire to go into a tough Arrowhead Stadium and dominate the game. They got their first victory of the season, and their offense played well on the ground AND through the air. Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush led the way, and their stout defense held the Kansas City (in Kansas City) to 3 points. Cassel and Bowe had some success moving the chains, but could not finish drives. The Chiefs are in a 3-way tie with the San Diego and Oakland for the AFC West lead.
Buccaneers @ Saints
The Saints rebounded in subtle fashion, while the Buccaneers are consistently inconsistent. The youth of Tampa Bay has made them impossible to predict, and they lost in the Superdome coming off a bye. They need to run the football more with LeGarrette Blount, and stop worrying about making Josh Freeman “the man.” He clearly is just an average quarterback with athleticism, but should not be the focal point if they crave any success. The Saints needed this game jsut when they hit a rough patch, and they even the season series out and remain atop the NFC South.
49ers @ Redskins
In a ugly game, the 49ers bullied the Redskins early and often, and pounded out a tough road victory. They continue their “cinderella season” and are in line to get a postseason bye. The Redskins have revealed themselves after a surprising start to the season, and it starts with the coaching. Shanahan put his reputation on Rex Grossman and Jon Beck, and that is spiraling downhill in a hurry. You can’t really use injuries as an excuse in this league, so they have to find a way to grind some games out in a winnable NFC East division.
Browns @ Texans
The Texans continue to be the class of the AFC in my eyes, with another convincing victory. Their passing game is decent, but when Andre Johnson returns it is a top-10 pass offense. Their running game is dominating this season, Foster and Tate have formed the best tandem in football. The Browns played some decent football, and efforts from Greg Little and that proud defense of theirs will continue to develop I’m sure.
Bengals @ Titans
A battle between 2 of the better defenses in football. The Cardiac Bengals continue their winning ways on the road, with impressive leadership from their rookie combination (Dalton to Green). Benson returned from his suspension to make their offense balanced, and the #1 defense played like it when they needed to. Chris Johnson found his groove a little bit yesterday, and Matt Hasselbeck is the reason this team can compete for a wildcard spot. Their defense is hit or miss, and they could be better if they stopped opponents more consistently.
Broncos @ Raiders
Oakland was hot in the first half, but they passed the baton to Denver in the 2nd half. Tebow was a game manager and ran the football well. The Broncos were happy to get McGahee back on the field as he led the way with a 163 yard performance. Eddie Royal chipped in as a receiver and a punt returner, and the efforts of Michael Bush and Jacoby Ford could not overcome Carson Palmer’s mistakes.
Giants @ Patriots
The Patriots lose back-to-back games, but more importantly, the Giants have proved that they are contenders. They lead the NFC East and Eli Manning is an MVP candidate. Brandon Jacobs kept the offense balanced, and the Giants defense continues to get the best of the Brady Bunch. Belichick has gambled on defense with youth and athleticism. He had hope to sprinkle in some veterans and leadership into his usually successful scheme, but the players aren’t getting it done and the offensive line has declined.
Rams @ Cardinals
The Rams are hoping for progress from Sam Bradford, but I think they have the same problem as the Buccaneers. Just because you like a guy and see the potential, doesn’t mean you have to over-pass and force him to become a star overnight. He is a good quarterback with potential, but they would be in more games and would have won this one if they leaned on Stephen Jackson more. Even his backup Cadillac Williams is viable for more carries. Josh McDaniels may need to scheme towards his teams’ strengths more. The Cardinals won without their starting QB Kevin Kolb, mainly because of an outstanding effort from cornerback Patrick Peterson. The kid is developing into one of the better defensive backs in football (all around) and is flat-out dynamic in the return game, hence the overtime victory.
Packers @ Chargers
Green Bay got the win they wanted to get, off their bye and on the road. Their opportunistic defense coincides with their polished offense. The Chargers shot themselves in the foot again in this one, but their future has silver lines because they can only play better than what they’ve shown all season. The score is somewhat misleading, if Rivers throws incompletions and they punt instead of throwing touchdowns to the other team, the result “might” have been different.
Ravens @ Steelers
Flacco has overcome an obstacle by sweeping the Steelers this season, with a good victory at their rival’s house in the clutch. The Steelers need more from their running game to succeed, because you can only pass for so much and Big Ben is doing his part with those talented receivers. The defenses are both elite, but the Ravens have the leadership and the division lead.
Bears @ Eagles
Stay tuned tonight for the Monday Night game featuring 2 of the hottest running backs in football, Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy. Michael Vick and his explosive playmakers go head-to-head against Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs ballhawks.