The Wednesday Walk Through
Today, you might notice a happier tone tone to the Wednesday Walk Through than in recent weeks. My New Orleans Saints (yes, they are mine) have finally won a game and the WWT couldn’t be happier. WWT has no delusions about the Saints fate this year. I know they sealed said fate with four straight losses to start the season, but when the Saints are losing my attitude towards football sours. I don’t feel like watching post game shows or listening to talk radio or watching Inside the NFL. I just want the league to go away until the Saints get their next victory. I know this might be silly, but believe me when I tell you that I have come a long way. I can’t remember putting a hole in the wall after a Saints loss since college. I raise my glass for a toast… to growth.
Each Wednesday, readers of this column will sit in and enjoy exactly what you read the week before. The idea of the column is to present the information in sections that will run each week. It might sound a little confusing, but you will catch on. Let’s do this…
Without any further ado, let’t start the Wednesday Walk Through…
5 Things I wont Forget about Week 5
- The WWT will always remember week five of the 2012 NFL season as the week that Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas’ record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. By throwing a touchdown pass in his 48th consecutive game, Brees broke a record that stood for 52 years. Brees broke the record with a pass to Devery Henderson, the player on the Saints that wears number 19, the same number that Johnny Unitas wore during his Hall of Fame career. Brees is a class act and the WWT is thrilled that the Commissioner allowed Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, and Joe Vitt to be in the Superdome to share the moment with Drew despite their suspensions. The Saints used the momentum from the record to defeat the Chargers for their first victory of the season. The Saints will now use their bye week to get healthy and get ready to attempt to accomplish something that only the 1992 Chargers have done; make the playoffs after starting the season 0-4.
- The first time that the WWT checked the score of the Packers and Colts game on Sunday the Packers had a 21-3 lead. It was a bad feeling. Anyone who isn’t a Packers fan was hoping that the Colts could win on Sunday for their coach Chuck Pagano. Earlier in the week, Pagano was diagnosed with cancer and the Colts found out what happens to football when life intervenes. The Colts never quit on Sunday and Andrew Luck lead his team to a stunning comeback victory over the Packers. Reggie Wayne had one of the best days of his career catching 13 passes for 212 yards and the game winning touchdown with :35 seconds left in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see where the Colts go from here. Will they continue to battle and scrape and fight for their coach each week and go on a run for the ages or will the loss of their coach catch up with them. For one week, life got in the way of football and the Colts got a win that most of us will never forger. Life isn’t going away. Life is going to be hanging over the Colts for the rest of the season. Can they handle it?
- What in the world is going on with the Bills? The Bills scored 21 points against the Patriots in the first half of their week 4 game. Since, the Bills have been out scored 90-17. The Bills have surrendered 90 point in six quarters of football. In the Bills three losses this season they have surrendered 145 points. Where is the defense? The Bills signed Williams to a six year contract over the summer with $50 million guaranteed. For their investment, the Bills have got 11 tackled, 1.5 sacks, and 2,35o excuses from Williams. The WWT isn’t sure how things are in Houston, but Williams needs to learn that the people of Buffalo work hard for the little money that they have and don’t want to hear millionaire athletes complain about a sore wrist or dirty blocking or anything else. The Bills next four games are against the Cardinals, Titans, Texans, and Patriots. They will be favored in only one of those games. If they do in fact go 1-3 in the next four, the Bills will be 3-6 and out of the mix for a playoff spot in the AFC. Mario?
- Did Charles Tillman just return another interception for a touchdown? Did Lance Briggs just return another interception for a touchdown? Yes and yes. The Bears defense is on a dominating run and each week that goes by Jay Cutler seems to develop more chemistry with Brandon Marshall. The Bears humbled the Jaguars and that in itself isn’t much of a surprise, but the pace that the Bears defense is scoring points is quite startling. The Bears might be the most balanced team in the league right now and if they can play the NFC Championship game at Solider Field they are going to the Super Bowl. As for the Jaguars, their owner Shahid Khan will spend the bye week in England trying to convince the British people to accept the Jaguars as England’s team. He might as well be trying to convince the English people to adopt anchovies as their official pizza topping. Mr. Kahn, they have the internet in England and they know how awful your team is. Kahn would like the Jaguars to play two home games a season in England and judging by all the tarps covering empty seats in Jacksonville no one is going to miss them.
- Each week it seems like if the Broncos game was five quarters long they would win it. The narrative is the same for each Broncos loss this season. The Broncos fall behind due to poor play for most of the first half and part of the third quarter before starting a furious comeback that falls just short as time expires in the fourth quarter. Instead of praying for a fifth quarter that is never going to come, maybe the Broncos should mix in a touchdown or two in the first quarter. It’s always a huge game when Peyton’s team plays Brady’s team but Willis McGahee was not ready for the moment on Sunday. McGahee dropped a third down pass that would have extended a Broncos drive and then fumbled inside of Patriots territory just before the Broncos were going to cut the Patriots lead to 1 score with plenty of time remaining. If Willis was a kicker John Elway would have cut him the next day.
Raking the Rookie QB’s
They say that this is a quarterback league and five team’s are playing with a rookie behind center this year. Each week, the WWT will rank the progress of the five rookie starters to see who develops quickest this season and who might be a draft day miss.
- Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) (LW: 2) Andrew Luck lead a comeback for the ages against the Packers that you have already read about earlier in the column. If you want to know more about the historic day in Indianapolis you can check out an interview that I did with Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network by clicking, here.
- Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins) (Last Week: 1) Robert Griffin III suffered what could be the first of many injuries in his NFL career that are suffered outside of the pocket. Peter King mentioned in his column this week that one reason the Colts picked Luck over Griffin was that running quarterbacks tend to get injured more than pocket passers. Griffin seems like he will be good enough to play this week, and the Redskins need to be carful to not change what makes Griffin great. That doesn’t mean that Griffin cant learn when to run out of bounds and when to fight for an extra yard.
- Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins) (LW:3) Tannehill has come a long way since we started ranking the rookie quarterbacks. Before the draft, many of the pundits said that whoever drafted Tannehill would be wise to stash him on the bench for a year and let him learn. Tannehill seems to be learning on the field just fine and the fans in South Flordia have to be thrilled with his progress so far. The Dolphins are 2-3, but don’t forget that two of those losses came in overtime. The Dolphins went on the road and beat a quality Bengals team to earn their second victory of the season and Tannehill’s ability to protect the ball was a big reason for the victory. Tannehill didn’t have an interception on Sunday but his counterpart Andy Dalton had two costly interceptions.
- Brandon Weeden (Cleveland Browns) (LW:4) Weeden and the Browns continue to take itty bitty steps of improvement but still cant break into the win column. Weeden and the Browns had the Giants on the ropes Sunday, but with a 17-10 lead and the ball at the Giants 14 yard line, Weeden through a costly interception. Instead of the Browns extending their lead, the Giants tied the game shorty after the interception and then took the lead for good on their next possession. Weeden and the Browns are getting closer, but according to Jesse Ventura, “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
- Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks) (LW:5) Peter Carroll is sticking with Wilson despite Wilson’s poor play for most of the season. The Seahawks are 3-2 but I don’t think anyone considers them to be a playoff contender in the NFC. If Wilson doesn’t improve, at some point Carroll is going to have to see what Matt Flynn can do.
Week 5 Playoff Projections
Instead of power rankings, each week in the WWT we will look at what the playoff situation would look like in each conference if the season ended today. It will be interesting to see this list evolve from week-to-week.
East- Philadelphia Eagles
North- Minnesota Vikings
South- Atlanta Falcons
West- Arizona Cardinals
Wild Card 1- Chicago Bears
Wild Cars 2- San Francisco 49ers
East- New England Patriots
North- Baltimore Ravens
South- Houston Texans
West- San Diego Chargers
Wild Card 1- Cincinnati Bengals
Wild Card 2- Pittsburgh Steelers
Must See TV- Week 6 Edition
Each week, the WWT will get you ready for the upcoming week of action in the NFL by ranking the five games every NFL fan must watch.
1. New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, October 14 at 4:25 on Fox
The 49ers will get a chance to avenge their loss to the Giants last January in the NFC Championship game. The 49ers look like they could be the best team in the NFL and will be a huge test for the Giants. The Giants three victories this season are against teams with a combined record of 2-12. The Giants have to the Eagles and the Cowboys and a third loss in the NFC could eliminate them from any chance of having home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Pam Oliver will be in San Francisco for the second half of Fox’s national double header. The Giants and 49ers game will air to most of the country.
Prediction: 49ers 24 Giants 13
2. Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans, Sunday, October 14 at 8:20 on NBS
The Texans will make their first appearance on Sunday Night Football when the host the Packers this week. Before the season, 99 out of 100 football fans would have said the Packers not the Texans would be the team undefeated going into the game. The Texans look like the best team in the AFC and the Packers look like a vulnerable team that is capable of being beat on any given Sunday. If you didn’t get a chance to watch Texans defensive end JJ Watt last Monday make sure you make a point to do so on Sunday. This game will likely be decided by the Packers ability to keep Watt away from Aaron Rodgers long enough for Rodgers to get the ball downfield. The Texans lost Brian Cushing for the season on Monday and it will be interesting to see how that changes the way teams try to shut down Watt.
Prediction: Packers 30 Texans 27
3. Minnesota Vikings at Washington Redskins, Sunday, October 14 at 4:25 on Fox
It will be interesting to see how Robert Griffin III reacts to his first injury in the National Football League. Will Griffin play the game the same as he did before his first concussion in the league or will he be more conservative with his body? The Vikings are one of the most pleasant surprises in the league this year and they will look to take advantage of a Redskins team that hasn’t won at home since September 18, 2011.
Prediction: Redskins 20 Vikings 17
4. Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets, October 14 at 1:00 on CBS
The Jets season is on the ropes and it only seems to get worse with each game and each devastating injury. The Jets are still only one game out of first place in the AFC East but if they aren’t carful they will look up in a month and the Patriots will have a five game lead. Mark Sanchez has been the Jets starter for four seasons now while Andrew Luck has only been a starter in this league for five weeks. If Luck embarrasses Sanchez in Met Life Stadium on Sunday, Rex Ryan could announce that he is going with Tim Tebow on Monday. Also, how will the Colts play after their emotional victory over the Packers? It isn’t going to be easy for them to get on a plane and leave their coach behind. Can the Jets take advantage?
Prediction: Colts 30 Jets 17
5. Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers, Monday, October 15 at 8:30 on ESPN
John Gruden must be wetting himself at the thought of broadcasting a game between Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. The Broncos and Chargers are two of many teams in the league that will go as far as their quarterback can take them. Rivers was good but not good enough in New Orleans and was outplayed by Drew Brees. If Rivers lets Manning out play him in his own building on Monday the Chargers will see their great September start fall apart after just two games in October. Like noted earlier in the column, the Broncos need to find a way to get off to a better start on Monday. Remember, last time Manning was on Monday Night Football he threw four interceptions in the first half before leading a comeback that fell short when time ran out of the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Chargers 30 Broncos 29
Make Sure He is in your Lineup
Each week, the WWT will pick out a player that absolutely has to be in your fantasy lineup this week.
The WWT nailed it last week by calling out Victor Cruz’s name. Cruz scored three touchdowns and was a huge scorer in any fantasy format. This week, if Larry Fitzgerald is on your team you better make sure he is in your lineup. Fitzgerald has been a disappointment for fantasy owners so far this season scoring only 44 points in ESPN standard leagues. 18 wide receivers have scored more points than Fitzgerald so far this year. Still, Fitz is a stud and the Bills defense seems to be the potion that cures all fantasy disease this season. The Bills defense has given up 90 points in the last six quarters and Fitzgerald stands to have a huge day this week. Sometimes, fantasy football is about patience. If you have been patient with Fitzgerald, this is the week that you get rewarded.
Projected Total: 10 catches for 145 yards and 1 touchdown.
Must Win Game of the Week
Each week, the WWT will tell you what team absolutely positively needs to win their upcoming game.
It is now or never for the Detroit Lions. The Lions watched in horror as the Bears and Vikings both got big victories during their bye week. The Lions are now 3 games behind the Vikings and Bears in the win column and are in last place in the NL North. The Lions would be winless if not for a last second victory over the Rams on opening day. That’s right, the Lions haven’t won a game since September 9 and their next two games are against the 3-2 Eagles and the 4-1 Bears. If the Lions want to creep back into the NFC playoff picture they might need to win both of those games. If they cant they would be 3-3 heading into two games the Seahawks and Jaguars. The Lions will be favored in both of those games and could be 5-3 and back in the thick of things when they wake up on November 5. None of that can happen without a win this week against the Eagles.
One Last Thing…
Last week, Matt Cassel got injured in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs loss to the Ravens. There is a debate as to how many, but there is no debate that some portion of the 73,000 fans at Arrowhead Stadium cheered at the sight of their fallen quarterback. After the game, Eric Winston blasted Chiefs fans calling the incident, “embarrassing.”
Chiefs fans has been on the defensive since Winston’s video went viral. Chiefs fans say that they were cheering for Brady Quinn, that only a couple of drunken idiots were cheering the injury, that Winston was wrong to call out a diehard fan base.
You can watch the video and decide if Winston’s comments were right or wrong for yourself.
I have two rules that I think all NFL fans should follow when they walk into an NFL stadium:
- Don’t start a fight with someone for wearing the colors of the opposing team.
- Don’t cheer when a player gets injured.
I am not sure what happened in Arrowhead on Sunday, I wasn’t there, but if you did cheer Matt Cassel’s injury shake your head write the guy a letter of apology. Do you need the address?
1 Arrowhead Drive
Kansas City, Missouri 64129
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