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Eye on the Enemy: Week 7

If I keep posting this later and later, eventually I'll post it after the games have been played.  I should probably try to avoid that, though.

Last week I predicted the Steelers and Ravens would win.  Until a 4th quarter meltdown, I was looking pretty good there.  Not that I'm complaining in the least, of course.  Anything that helps out the Bengals is fine by me.  But I didn't expect that any more than many of you.  So with another 1-1 week I'm still stuck in neutral on my predictions, and I'm now at 5-4.

Cleveland Browns @ New Orleans Saints

Last week I had no hope for the Browns.  This week, I merely don't want to.  But Colt McCoy had about 10 times better of a showing than I expected him to.  Of course, it did help that Rothlisberger was a bit "rusty" and threw that early pick, wiping out an extremely likely potential touchdown.  That helped them keep the game a bit closer.  Still, Colt did a good job.

On the other hand, last week the Saints finally played like a team no longer sleepwalking through games for basically the first time all year.  If they keep that up this week, the Browns have essentially no chance.  Especially without Massaquoi, who got massacred by Harrison's head-hunting ways.  Cribbs may help out a bit, but aside from one week when the Saints were just abysmal they've been playing pretty well on special teams, and they've historically done rather well against the wildcat as well.

Over on Canal Street Chronicles one of the writers there pulled up the stats for both teams and found that there was exactly one area that the Browns weren't worse than the Saints.  That area?  Field Goals.  The "fat punk kicker", as Scott Fujita put it, who was money most of last year and set a Super Bowl record for most 40+ yard field goals ever (he had 3, the previous record was 2), has essentially become a 50-50 kicker overnight.  Until he gets his confidence and consistency back, if this game comes down to a field goal the Browns have a chance.  Other than that, they pretty much don't.  Saints 38, Browns 17.

Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens

If you are playing in a suicide league where you have to pick the winner of a game or you are out of the contest, there is an easy way to win this year.  Pick whomever is playing the Bills.  Aside from the three repeat games against division rivals you're set, because they've truly looked exactly that horrid all year long.  If the Ravens don't absolutely blow them out, it will be an enormous shock.  And coming off of losing in overtime to the Patriots, the only way the Ravens lose this game is by pressing to hard and making idiotic mistakes and beating themselves.  Detroit, get ready for some company in 0-16 loserville!  Ravens 31, Bills 10.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins

What do we make of the Dolphins this year?  At home, they play like garbage.  On the road, they pull off upset wins.  Is it possible there are clones of each Dolphins player, and the defective version of each clone stays home in Miami and the good version travels to their away games?  Probably not, but it makes as much sense as anything else these guys have done.

On paper, Miami should have a chance to help us out.  At least in yard, their defense is top-10 and their offense is at least top-15.  So they at least have a theoretical chance.  And if they do win it would help us out.  If they can knock off Pittsburgh and we can win on Sunday, then in theory we have a real shot to at least approach relevancy, maybe even have a shot at the division.  But against one of the best defenses in the league, I don't see the mildcat doing much of anything to help, and without some new trick up their sleeve nobody has seen before, I have no faith in Miami whatsoever.  Pittsburgh 24, Miami 13.