Sunday, October 9, 2011

11 Things I Know I Know: Week 5

1. I know I was wrong about the San Francisco 49ers. My preseason predictions had them winning three games all season. Well, by the end of Week 5, the 49ers have four wins. They have a two-game lead in the NFC West and have won more games than the rest of the division combined.
Alex Smith is making believers out of the San Francisco faithful, something no one thought possible.

Their defense ranks among the league's best and should keep them competitive every week.

San Fran travels to Detroit to face the undefeated Lions next week in the biggest game of Week 6. If anyone had foresaw that being the premier game before the season, my congratulations.

For what it's worth, next week's primetime games are downright awful: Minnesota at Chicago and Miami at New York.

2. I know the Giants blew a golden opportunity to seize control of the NFC East. They were 10-point favorites as they hosted the 1-3 Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately for them, they squandered two separate fourth quarter leads and got upset by Pete Carroll's squad. A loss like this is inexcusable. They need to win these games early in the year because the end of the schedule is a proverbial murderer's row. Luckily for them, they only lost a half a game in the division because Dallas and Washington both had byes.

Food for thought: has any player in the NFL had a crazier roller coaster of a season than Victor Cruz? I think not.

3. I know the Vikings finally held a second half lead. It definitely helped that they jumped to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter behind three Adrian Peterson rushing touchdowns. I can't believe it took them five weeks to figure out it was a good idea to get their best player the ball early and often.

Get out my way, rookie.

4. I know it's Tebow time in Denver. The Chosen One resurrected the Broncos in the second half against San Diego after coming into the game facing a 13-point deficit. The fans in Denver finally got their wish / prayers answered. Of course Denver has a bye in Week 6, but I fully expect TT to be under center when they visit Miami in two weeks. My guess is he will have more fans than the Dolphins do since Florida is home state, and he starred at the University of Florida.

5. I know the Dream Team looks down and out, but they will make the playoffs. That's right. The Eagles will make the playoffs despite starting 1-4.

Michael Vick looked pretty terrible in today's game, throwing four picks behind a patchwork offensive line, but the schedule gets easier. They travel to the nation's capital in what is an absolute, no-doubt MUST win game against the Redskins. Then, they have their bye followed by three winnable home games. If they get through that stretch unscathed - a big if - they will head to Met Life Stadium to take on the Giants in what would likely be a first-place-on-the-line game.

Give them a chance.

On the other side of this coin, the Bills looked great, again. Fred Jackson is making a run at the early season MVP Award, and Buffalo is sitting at the top of AFC East. They have an interesting game at the Giants next week which I am definitely looking forward to.

6. I know the AFC South went 0-4 this week. Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis all lost despite three of them being home favorites (Tennessee was the exception).

Oakland went into Houston and won one for Al Davis. Nice story that I'm sure Peter King will drop 1,000 words on.

Jacksonville lost at home to red-headed Andy Dalton.

Kansas City came back from 17 down to beat the Colts. Don't look now but the Chiefs are only a game out of the Wildcard lead, and they may have found a running back in Jackie Battle.

7. I know Big Ben manned up in a big way to help the Steelers knock off the Titans. Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns and put the game away early as Pittsburgh was up 18 by half. I'm more convinced than ever that Big Ben is a bionic man. His leg was bent in about six places as he was sacked last week and the guy doesn't even miss a snap. He is indestructible.

8. I know the Jets impressed me today. Sure, they lost by nine, but they competed for the full 60. The defense looked good, and Joe McKnight is on pace for the greatest special teams season of all time through five weeks. Best of all - from the perspective of a Jet fan - was the running game looked decent, which may not seem like much but is a big improvement. Maybe it was Nick Mangold's return that fueled the change or maybe something else but Shonn Greene looked like the 2010 playoff-version of himself. Very encouraging.

9. I know Cam Newton and the Panthers covered again. Do not bet against this man unless you like losing money.

10. I know the Lions will beat the Bears 34-27 on Monday Night Football. Gut tells me this is going to be an offensive showcase. I'm a little worried that Chicago won't be able to establish the run against Detroit's defensive front, but the screen pass will be a big weapon for Mike Martz's offense. However, the Bears will not be able to stop Calvin Johnson. I'm expecting huge things from the crowd too. Should be electric in the Dome.

11. I know that anyone reading this should make an effort to come to this charity event on Wednesday evening in New York City.

It's a great cause and will be an awesome night.

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