Last week – 0-2.
On the season – 7-8. Oof.
Bills @ Giants
I’m not going to pretend like I’m some sort of expert on the Buffalo Bills, but I’ll say this for that team… They play smart, they play hard, and they have a running back that I might be tempted to call a Top 5 NFL back. Fred Jackson is a mudder. He’s not fast, and you’re not going to see a ton of youtube highlight reel jukes from him. But he runs with power, he has excellent vision, and he’s an utter bitch to tackle. When the Bills get him out in space in the passing game, and you’re trying to tackle him with corners or safeties… good luck. He’s up to 480 rushing yards on the season on 90 carries (5.3 YPC), and has caught 19 passes for 232 (a very impressive 12.2 YPC for a RB). He’s on pace for 2278 yards from scrimmage. At 30 years of age, he’s definitely a late bloomer, and a guy that’s very under the radar, but I was thoroughly impressed with his play last week, even with the knowledge that the Eagles haven’t really been able to tackle anybody this season.
Meanwhile, the Giants haven’t been able to stop the run. Here are what opposing running backs have done to them the past 3 weeks:
The Bills can play, and in my opinion, are the better team, and a bad matchup for the G Men. Bills hand the Giants their 2nd consecutive home loss.
Cowboys @ Patriots
Tony Romo and the Cowboys have had 2 weeks to think about their meltdown last week against the Lions, and now have the unenviable task of going to Massachusetts to face Tom Brady. The Pats lead the league in passing yards, with an absurd 366.6 per game. They also give up the most passing yards in the NFL, an almost as absurd 326.6 per game. Returning from injury for the first time this season will be Orlando Scandrick. The thinking is that Scandrick will be tasked with trying to shut down 2011 phenom Wes Welker. Welker already has 740 yards and 5 TDs this season on 45 catches, which puts him on pace for 144-2368-16. Personally, I think Rob Ryan would be crazy to even consider leaving Scandrick alone on Welker for an entire afternoon – Expect to see a ton of different looks from the Cowboys’ D. The other dynamic feature the Pats bring to the table are their 2 young pass catching TEs, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. I would imagine that Sean Lee and Gerald Sensabaugh will get the responsibility of matching up with those two all day.
The combined average score of Pats games this year has been 56.8. Like most teams that face the Pats, I don’t think the Cowboys will be able to score enough to keep up with Tom Brady and Co. Pats win a typical shootout.
Eagles @ Redskins
Obviously, this is the big game in the NFC East this week. The Redskins find themselves with an unexpectedly amazing opportunity to bury the Eagles after just Week 6, and possibly their only head coach of the last decade+.
If the Skins win, they go up 3.5 games on Philly with a head-to-head win under their belts. The Skins would be 2-1 in the division, with another head-to-head advantage over the next biggest threat after Philly (the Giants, in my opinion). It would basically be the Skins’ division to win after just 6 weeks.
If the Skins lose, however, the lead is down to 1.5 with the head-to head in favor of Philly, with the Eagles very much alive again. Philly gets to head into their desperately needed BYE week feeling good. They’d get a breather to figure some things out, before returning to 3 straight very winnable home games against the Cowboys, Bears, and Cardinals.
This is potentially THE game that might ultimately decide the division winner.
I think the Skins will look to take a page out of the Giants book this Sunday. The Giants went with a nickle look for the majority of their Week 2 matchup against the Eagles, and made sure the Eagles’ speedy receivers didn’t get behind them. They basically dared the Eagles run, which they did, effectively. However, when the Eagles entered the red zone, the D tightened up, and was able to capitalize on mistakes. That strategy was very reminiscent of the Giants’ Super Bowl win a couple decades ago against the Bills – Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells feared the Bills’ K Gun passing attack with Jim Kelly, and dared the Bills to run the ball, even if the Bills had a great back in Thurman Thomas. The Bills obliged and Thomas had a big day, but the Giants limited the big plays, pounded the ball on offense, and eventually wore down the Bills’ D.
The Skins’ defense has been great this season, but they’re not going to be able to stop the Eagles’ offense for 60 minutes. It’s not happening. Meanwhile, the Skins’ offense simply doesn’t have enough firepower to keep up, even with the Eagles disaster of a defense this season. The Skins need to play like they’re the underdog, regardless of what the standings say. Weather the storm, capitalize on mistakes.
The objective for the Eagles is so simple and yet so complex – Stop playing dunce football.
If the Eagles can limit their turnovers to 2 or less, they win. Unfortunately for Philly, however, you don’t just flip a switch and start playing smart football. The Eagles have looked lethargic, lazy, rattled, entitled, and outright stupid this season. I don’t see that changing overnight. Skins by a FG.