Before we get to far let’s hope that Thursday’s game in Cleveland was not a harbinger of things to come for today. The Browns lost quarterback Brian Hoyer for the season with a torn ACL while the Buffalo Bills lost their QB, E.J. Manuel, for a few weeks. In both cases, the signal-callers were trying to get extra yardage using their feet and ended up taking hard hits which resulted in their injuries.
What of course follows is the never-ending discussion about running quarterbacks. Both Hoyer and Manuel should have either gotten down or stepped out of bounds sooner but you can hardly blame them for wanting to get every yard possible. It’s what the game is all about from the time we play it as kids.
Unbeatens Hit the Road
New England, New Orleans, Kansas City and Seattle all hit the road today and take their unbeaten records with them. The Patriots roll into Cincinnati where the Bengals are coming off a horrible performance in a loss in Cleveland. The Pats enter with a road victory in Atlanta and increasingly better passing game.
Tom Brady appears to be getting more comfortable with his young receivers and may get Danny Amendola back today. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is still out by the way. The Pats are favored by one and a half on the road in Paul Brown Stadium. I think they get turnovers from Andy Dalton and cover.
New Orleans travels to the Windy City today to play a Bears team that was beaten pretty soundly in Detroit. The question for the Saints anytime they leave the friendly confines of the SuperDome is what will the offense look like in the elements? Often over-looked in the Saints 4-0 start is the much improved defense under Rob Ryan.
They will face a difficult task in dealing with a much more deliberate passing offense under Marc Trestman but they will also see large doses of Matt Forte as well. Like New England, the Saints are favored by a point and a half on the road but I think Chicago bounces back today and gives the Saints their first loss.
The Chiefs take their 4-0 record to Nashville where the Titans await without quarterback Jake Locker. Ryan Fitzpatrick gets the start and while he can put up decent numbers he can also be a turnover machine. Alex Smith has been extremely efficient and resourceful at quarterback for KC and he has had the benefit of a good running game behind him as well.
The Chiefs’ defense is ranked seventh in the league but the more impressive number is that they give up a league best 10 points per game. The only concern I have for them is that they tend to give up yards on the ground and playing Chris Johnson doesn’t help that cause. Regardless, I like the Chiefs today who are favored by three points.
Seattle has arguably the toughest task today going into Indianapolis where the Colts typically play very well at home. They also get the ‘good’ fortune of drawing another 1pm Eastern Time start which for west coast teams is rarely a good thing. The Seahawks needed a late touchdown in their opener at Carolina to win and will probably need some of that late magic again as they did last week in Houston.
A favorite by three points today, the Seahawks will ride their defense and hope that Russell Wilson plays a little better than last week. Seattle also gets linebacker Bruce Irvins back from his four-game suspension so that will only help the NFL’s top-ranked defense. I think the Colts get the win today based only on the fact that they’ve been a little lucky on the road so far this year.