2020 NFL Week Five Recap: Dak, Four Up, Four Down, Top Game Week 5

2020 NFL Week Five Recap: Dak, Four Up Four Down, Top Game Week 6

Week 5 of the 2020 NFL Season had some surprising twists and turns. Some teams are starting to feel great about themselves, while others are searching for answers after head coach firings, losing, and injuries. I present the weekly NFL Power Rankings, Four Up, Four Down. If we are honest, we really only care about the best and worst NFL teams each week… right?

Big Storyline of 2020 NFL Week 5: Dak Prescott’s Injury

Dak Prescott was putting up a great statistical season through the first four weeks of the NFL season. Then, the unthinkable happened. Dak Prescott suffered a compound fracture in his ankle, and will miss the rest of the season.

Prescott’s contract situation has become the main storyline about his injury. He was playing this season on the franchise tag. Apparently Jerry Jones only likes commitments from his quarterback if they are five years or longer in length. Prescott was only willing sign a four-year contract. Jones decided he only wanted to be tied to him for one more year. Prescott is in the upper half of quarterbacks in the league, but it is so difficult to properly judge him as a quarterback due to who he plays for. The Dallas Cowboys at least have the media’s support, as they bring in the ratings. Thus, Prescott, one of the most down to earth humans in the NFL, has been made into this polarizing figure due to his owner and the team he plays for.

Four Up: Teams after 2020 NFL Week 5: Tennessee Titans Lead the Way

1. Tennessee Titans

Pivoting away from the most covered NFL team, small market teams tend to not get respect, even when they are arguably the best team in the league. The best team after Week 5 of the 2020 NFL Season is the Tennessee Titans. Do not expect to see this statement in many other places, but the Titans put together a complete performance in their 42-16 demolition of the Buffalo Bills. They did this with very limited practice reps due to the COVID-19 outbreak within the team. The Titans won their first three games by a combined six points. However, after Tuesday’s win, they proved they can show up in any circumstance.

2. Green Bay Packers

The Packers got a much-needed bye week in Week 5 of the 2020 NFL Season. It gave star wide receiver Davante Adams a chance to recover from a hamstring injury. Green Bay has a tough game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6, but expect them to come off the bye and make yet another statement against a Buccaneers team that has not been able to put together a full 60 minutes yet.

3. Seattle Seahawks

For the purpose of this article, Russell Wilson could be regarded to as a top three team in the league. He carried the Seahawks to yet another victory, even though the Seahawks’ offense looked flat for the majority of the night. Minnesota kept Wilson off the field most of the night, but he engineered another comeback drive to lead Seattle to the 27-26 victory. The Seahawks still have major holes on defense, but Wilson is the early frontrunner for MVP.

4. Kansas City Chiefs

I know the Chiefs lost to the Las Vegas Raiders this past Sunday 40-32. However, they are still the defending Super Bowl Champions. Their defense had a bad game against Las Vegas, and will have to improve against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6. Patrick Mahomes tends to have minor struggles against divisional opponents, but he had an off day by his standards. Look for him and the Chiefs to bounce back against the Bills.

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Four Down: Worst Teams In the League After 2020 NFL Week 5

29. Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team has not put up a true fight against any team since their comeback victory in Week 1 against the Eagles. Dwayne Haskins was benched, and Kyle Allen only has so much of a ceiling. Alex Smith saw his first game action in almost two years since his gruesome leg injury, a welcome sight for Washington fans. With that being said, Smith is the best option for this team moving forward. It is head-scratching why they would go with Kyle Allen instead. Sure, Ron Rivera is more familiar with you, but Smith can get this team back in serious contention for the weak NFC East.

30. New York Giants

The New York Giants had 47 points through their first four games. They scored 34 points against the porous Dallas Cowboys defense in 2020 NFL Week 5. Daniel Jones did not do anything special, but bad teams find ways to lose games. If Cameron Fleming gets set on the Giants’ fake field goal touchdown that got called back, Joe Judge would have had his first win in the NFL as a head coach. However, this team plays hard for Judge, as they have had competitive games with the 4-1 Los Angeles Rams and the Cowboys this past week.

31. Atlanta Falcons

The 28-3 debacle in Super Bowl 51 ultimately set the stage for what would happen four seasons later, as Dan Quinn could not coach his team out of bad habits. It ultimately cost him his job. His defenses were awful, and the offense never looked quite the same once Kyle Shanahan left for San Francisco. Matt Ryan’s future with the team is in question now also, with Arthur Blank being noncommittal to saying Ryan is the team’s quarterback of the future. This Falcons team has talent. It will be up to the next head coach to break this team out of all of the bad habits they have learned the past few seasons.

32. New York Jets

The Jets are awful, a laughingstock, and Adam Gase is somehow still the coach of this team. It is hard to see what the Jets were thinking by hiring him. He produced mediocre-at-best results during his tenure as the Miami Dolphins’ head coach. Sam Darnold, who did not play in the team’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020 NFL Week 5, looks like a lost cause as far as being the Jets’ long-term starter. This is a result of bad coaching. Some quarterbacks, such as Patrick Mahomes, luck out with the type of coach they get to start off their career. It is looking more like Darnold got the short end of the stick in this respect.

Best Game of 2020 NFL Week 5: Los Angeles Chargers @ New Orleans Saints

Justin Herbert is the real deal. He was the main reason the Chargers even had a chance to win against the Saints on Monday night. Herbert put his team in a position to win the game, but Mike Badgley missed a field goal as time expired. The Saints would win in overtime, 30-27. Drew Brees was able to lead his team back as questions still linger about the long-term prospects of his career. With all the twists and turns of this game, it was probably the best the 2020 NFL Season has had to offer thus far.  

Do you agree with our ratings? Tweet us @unafraidshow with your thoughts.

NFL Players Should Use the CBA to Force the NFL to Become Player Centric

NFL players are at a pivotal moment. They are faced with the decision of whether to approve the proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA). For months, NFL ownership and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have worked to create an equitable CBA. On February 26, 2020, the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives voted to send the proposed CBA to the players for a full membership vote. Whether this proposed agreement is truly equitable is a matter of opinion. Many are of the opinion that it is not. Critics argue that the owners are essentially getting everything they want while the players are not getting enough in return. Given everything NFL ownership is getting compared to what the players are getting, the deal is not the most equitable. Accordingly, the players should take a stand and demand more.

Summary of the Owners and Players Benefits in the Proposed CBA

The 17th Game

First, NFL ownership would get a major victory by simply getting the players to agree to a deal at this juncture. The current CBA does not expire until March 3, 2021. From the players’ standpoint, there is not much reason to rush. The players are not yet facing a lockout. The 2020-2021 NFL season can be played under the current CBA. Therefore, any threat of a lockout would be a whole season away. Second, if the players agree to this deal the owners will have the thing they wanted most – a 17th regular-season game. The owners have wanted this for a long time as they know it will lead to an increase in revenue.

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In fact, NFL ownership is set to enter negotiations with broadcasters and streaming services after the start of the NFL league year on March 18, 2020. NFL ownership would love to enter those negotiations with a new CBA in hand without the threat of a future lockout. It is precisely this fact that gives the players a bit of leverage in these negotiations. The players have something the NFL refuses to move forward without – the 17th game. The players should use that to their advantage. They should also use the fact that NFL ownership needs to enter broadcast negotiations without the threat of a future lockout looming. These two things alone could be enough for the players to increase the revenue split to 50/50.

The Revenue Split

Under the proposed CBA the revenue split will only increase to 48%. The revenue split has the potential to increase to 48.5% if there is a 60% increase in TV revenue. Therefore, the ability to receive a 48.5% revenue split is not guaranteed. Furthermore, the players will have no opportunity to receive a 50/50 revenue split for at least 10 years. As written, the proposed CBA will be in effect for 10 years with no opt-out provision. A ten-year deal with no opt-out provision should be a major concern to the players.

Even with Salary Increases, the NFL Players are Not Getting Enough in Return

It is true that many players will receive a significant increase in their salaries as early as 2020. Many players’ salaries could increase by roughly $100,000 next season if the CBA is agreed to. However, those increases are not enough to make up for the inequities of the deal. Many players have recognized this and have taken a stand against the proposed CBA. Several high profile players announced their intent to vote against the proposed CBA urging other players to vote no. One of those players is Green Bay Packers’ star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Another one is Seattle Seahawks superstar Russel Wilson.

Wilson stated that “The NBA and MLB are doing it right. Players come first.” This was a very interesting take on the issue and is even more reason for the players to take a stand. The NBA and MLB are considered by many to be more progressive leagues than the NFL. The NBA and MLB are viewed that way because they are more player-centric. If NFL players want the NFL to become more player-centric, they have to be willing to stand up for themselves. NFL players should not agree to a deal where the franchise tag remains intact while the penalty for training camp holdouts becomes more severe. NFL Players should take their time and make the most out of their negotiation power.

Michael Jordan vs LeBron James Teaser Commercial: Who Would Win?

Michael Jordan

On Sunday, basketball aficionados got a rare treat.  His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, graced the airwaves of millions of Americans during Sunday Night Football. He appeared in a short commercial spoof addressing the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) debate. Jordan shocked the sports world by simply acknowledging that there was a debate.  Fans were in awe when he stated that the debate involved two players who wore the same the numbers. Jaws dropped when he suggested that the players face each other to settle the debate.

True basketball fans immediately gushed at Jordan seemingly addressing the GOAT debate between him and LeBron James, who both donned the number 23. Not only did he address it, he seemingly suggested that the two compete to determine who was the best.   For a brief second, avid basketball fans alike were overwhelmed with excitement at the mere thought of His Airness squaring off against King James.  Then reality hit when the commercial revealed its true purpose, the promotion of this seasons biggest Sunday Night Football game. The showdown between the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rogers who both wear the number 12 will take place this Sunday. While the GOAT debate between Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers is a worthy one, the focus here is on the greatest showdown basketball fans will never get to see.

LeBron James or Michael Jordan

LeBron James emerged on the NBA scene in 2003 at only 18 years old. He immediately became a dominant force in the NBA.  Many have speculated where he would fall in the line of NBA greatness.  Would LeBron James overthrow Michael Jordan as the Greatest Player of All Time?  The jury is still out on this issue, namely because James is still playing and has given no indication that he intends to stop anytime soon.  In fact, James signed a 4-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to start his 16th season in the NBA.

However, the fact that James is still writing his NBA story does not stop basketball fans from debating who is better between him and Jordan. How do the two compare?  This is a simple, quick comparison that is sufficient for fantasizing about a game between King James and His Airness, not a full detailed stat for stat comparison.

In one corner, there is LeBron James who opted out of college and went straight to the NBA draft.  James was the number one pick in the first round of the draft. In the other corner, there is Michael Jordan an NCAA Champion and number three draft pick in the first round. King James has been to the last eight NBA finals and has won three.  His Airness made six NBA Finals appearances and won all six times.  James has three NBA Finals MVP awards to Jordans six. Additionally, James has four league MVP awards to Jordan’s five.  However, a showdown between two of the greatest to ever touch a basketball would put all of these stats comparisons to rest.

What would a Game Between King James and His Airness Look Like?

Although King James replied via Twitter that he was ready for a face-off, basketball fans will unfortunately never get to see such a show.

However, that unfortunate reality does not stop one from dreaming about what such a showdown would look like. Would the LeBron James who scored 51 points in the 2018 NBA finals show up to face the Michael Jordan who scored 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics? A game between James and Jordan would certainly be one for the record books.  The game would be riddled with first place slam dunk contest quality dunks.  It may even resemble some components of an NBA All-Star Weekend three-point contest (although Jordan may have a slight advantage from that aspect). The game would surely be a close one, with both players putting on a clinic riddled with crossovers and other spectacular moves that would be discussed for generations.

However, the looming question is who would emerge as the victor?  The outcome of the game would likely come down to the last play. Would His Airness pull up and clinch the game-winning shot as he did in game six against the Utah Jazz? Or would King James come from behind with the block as he did in game seven against the Golden State Warriors?  Unfortunately, the basketball world will never know, but what fun it is to imagine.

2017: Ranking Every NFL Quarterback 1-32

All NFL quarterbacks are not created equal, but we must always determine who is the greatest. All season I kept hearing about this guy and that guy is an elite quarterback. I got so frustrated hearing fans having this discussion without having a clue of what the truth is that I had to provide a definite list for you guys. Since you come to me for truth and honesty, I am obligated to provide an objective and real ranking, free from bias or hate. I broke them down into multiple categories: Elites, Specials, Everybody Else’s, and Young Cats.

The definition of elite: the choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons, persons of the highest class.
Before you continue, don’t bother getting upset if your quarterback isn’t on the elite list. If he is not on the Elites list, he is NOT elite. Just accept it! There are only 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Even having 5 elites is already 15% of the league. So, if your quarterback is in the 25th percentile, he’s not elite. Elite quarterbacks literally have no holes in their game, and every team without an elite would trade their quarterback for an elite.
*Transparency- I originally put my Elites out on twitter and read as if Rivers and Stafford are elite, they are not.
* I intentionally left Andrew Luck off the NFL QB rankings. He hasn’t played in over a year and only God knows when/if we will see him again.


The Elites are special and usually Hall of Fame caliber quarterbacks. These quarterbacks who give you an opportunity to win no matter how much adversity is thrown their way. They give you a chance to win with a makeshift offensive line, no running back, and no defense. These guys make improbable comebacks look routine. No lead is ever safe when you face one of the Elites. It is no coincidence that the Elites are in the playoffs nearly every year, and are usually preseason Super Bowl contenders.

If you are wondering if your quarterback should be on this list, ask yourself one simple question. Would I trade my quarterback for those guys? The answer is yes you would.
1. Aaron Rodgers– The best quarterback in the NFL. He checks every box. Every team in the NFL would trade their quarterback for him. Even the Patriots. He still has 6+ years of great football left.
2. Tom Brady– At 40, Tom Terrific is still just that, terrific. However, there had been a little decrease in his arm strength and deep play ability lately.
3. Drew Brees– Brees is part of the 70,000 passing yard club, and still lighting it up.
4. Russell Wilson– Russell was in the Specials category until this year. He single-handedly kept Seattle in playoff contention this year without a running back, offensive line, or top-flight defense.
5. Ben Roethlisberger– Just when people start questioning the two-time Super Bowl champion, he reminds doubters he is elite. He threw for 469 yards and 5 TDs in the Steelers playoff loss.


The Specials are the quarterbacks who are significantly above average but don’t quite make the Elite cut. These guys put up big numbers and win a lot of games, but occasionally leave their fan bases wishing for an Elite. They are irreplaceable because the only quarterbacks better than them are elite, and sane people realize Elites just don’t fall out of the sky.
6. Cam Newton– There are only two things keeping Cam out of the Elites category: competition percentage, and 3rd down completion percentage.

7. Phillip Rivers– Rivers is the Karl Malone and Charles Barkley of the NBA. They have no championships because of Michael Jordan.  Rivers has none because of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
8. Matt Ryan– Matty Ice is a special quarterback. To this point, he has not shown the ability to put the team on his shoulders and carry them to victory. Too often after losses we hear, “he played good enough to win”. Good is not good enough when better is expected.

9. Matthew Stafford– He has been much better since he stopped changing his arm motion on every throw. He simply does not have enough big games to warrant the Elites tag.
10. Kirk Cousins– The future looks very bright for Kirk Cousins. He has all the tools to be an Elite quarterback. He has to get his team into more big games to make the leap into the Elites.

11. Carson Wentz– Wentz is still a young guy and should be in the Young Cats group, but he’s been so phenomenal that he deserves it.

Everybody Else’s

The Everybody Else’s are a very unique category because overall these are solid quarterbacks. Their fan bases have a love/hate relationship with them. They love them but are often frustrated by the peaks and valleys that happen in the NFL. If these guys are surrounded by good defense and a running game they can win it all. Some of the Everybody Else’s are even Super Bowl champions or former Specials. They have fallen down the list because of age, being overrated, or poor play. The rest of them are young guys that no longer fall into the Young Cats category. It is definitely possible and likely that some of these guys may move up to Specials.

12. Alex Smith– Smith will never lose you the game, but he will occasionally win it for you. I always believe he was coached into the “game manager” role.
13. Marcus Mariota– Mariota is too old to be in the Young Cats category. He has definitely shown he has potential to be a Specials or Elites quarterback. If he gets some stability at offensive coordinator he will have an opportunity to show his true potential.

14. Derek Carr- If you owned “Derek Carr is the next best thing” stock, 2017 had to make you consider selling.

15. Joe Flacco– After 10 years in the NFL it is clear, he’s the definition of an average quarterback. I have been screaming since the 2011 season Super Bowl that Flacco wasn’t elite. He has one really good year. He has only thrown over 25 TDs once in his career, and only once under 12 interceptions.

16. Blake Bortles– Blake Bortles and Joe Flacco are the EXACT SAME GUY. The only difference is that Flacco got hot one year and won a Super Bowl. Bortles is younger and definitely has an opportunity to make a run with the Jaguars defense.

17. Jameis Winston– Again… too old to be in the Young Cats category. He has to stop turning the ball over to be a Specials quarterback.
18. Eli Manning– The window is closing on a great career. If he can land with a great defense, he might still have another Super Bowl run left in him.
19. Andy Dalton- The Red Rocket is Alex Smith “lite”.
20. Tyrod Taylor– He is the Black Alex Smith. The best way to describe Taylor is “efficient, not exceptional”. 
21. Case Keenum– Are we supposed to believe 2017 Case Keenum or 2012-16? I know his team is playing in the NFC Championship, but I have 5 seasons that say this season is an outlier.
22. Josh McCown– You have to applaud the job he did with the Jets this year. Everyone expects the Jets to go winless. McCown defied the odds. Can you believe he has been in the NFL for 15 years?

23. Jay Cutler– He was retired…If teams are going to continue to give him $10 million and not care about the results then he should take it.

Young Cats

The Young Cats are just that, Young Cats. There is not a large enough sample size to appropriately rank them with the other guys. The arrow is still up on the majority of these guys, but this is the NFL, inexperience is not a valid excuse for a lack of success for long.
1. Jared Goff– He looked like a bust as a rookie, but he rebounded with a very impressive sophomore campaign.
2. Dak Prescott– He has to be able to win games when Sean Lee and Ezekiel Elliott are out.
3. Deshaun Watson– His last 5 starts were absolutely electric. The arrow is so far up on this guy. I’m scared to put a limit on what category he can ascend to next season. However, he cannot be ranked any higher because the sample size is so small.
4. Jimmy Garoppolo– He’s 5-0 and showed flashes of promise on a bad team. He has a lot of hype surrounding him, can he live up to it.
5. Mitchell Trubisky– He didn’t look terrible. He looked like a rookie on a bad team. Maybe we will see a Jared Goff-like year two.
6. Jacoby Brissett– Talk about a guy in a difficult situation. He showed up in Indianapolis at the start of the season and was thrown to the wolves. I believe he can be a quality player if Luck doesn’t make it back.
7. DeShone Kizer– Just an awful situation. I feel bad for him because the Browns may draft a quarterback in the first round and he may never get a real opportunity to be an NFL starter. 

Start Them or Sit them? Fantasy Football Week 1

Week 1 is the toughest week of Fantasy Football because you never know what type of season guys will have. People would have fought you to draft Chris Johnson last year, but he ended up having a disappointing season. On the other hand Victor Cruz went virtually undrafted but ended up being on of the the league’s top receivers. Good thing you have me to help you out with your Fantasy Football decisions this year. Here are your players to start and sit this week. If you have any pressing questions ask me on twitter.

                  SIT HIM                 
Eli Manning
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Michael Vick
Ben Roethlisberger
Tom Brady
Joe Flacco
Matthew Stafford
Matt Ryan
Cam Newton
Robert Griffin III
Aaron Rodgers
Matt Schaub
Sleeper-Russell Wilson
Chris Johnson
Rashad Jennings
Matt Forte
Cedric Benson
Arian Foster
Rashard Mendenhall
Jamaal Charles
Willis McGahee
Ray Rice
Shonn Greene
Marshawn Lynch
Fred Jackson
Sleeper-Reggie Bush
Calvin Johnson
Mike Wallace
Antonio Brown
Percy Harvin
Wes Welker
Steve Johnson
Jordy Nelson
DeSean Jackson
Torrey Smith
Vincent Jackson
AJ Green
Santonio Holmes
Miles Austin
Brandon Lloyd
Brandon Marshall
Eric Decker
Sleeper-Torrey Smith
Antonio Gates
Jason Witten
Jimmy Graham
Dustin Keller
Rob Gronkowski
Tony Gonzalez
Vernon Davis
Greg Olsen
Fred Davis
Ed Dickson
Aaron Hernandez
Heath Miller
Sleeper- Jared Cook
Stephen Gostkowski
Nick Folk
Jason Hansen
Greg Zuerlien
Matt Prater
Sebastian Janikowski
Robbie Gould
Rian Lindell
Sleeper- Justin Medlock
Sleeper- Vikings

Week 12: Playoff Push

Thanksgiving Day games have not been good recently, but I expect different this year. There are three good match ups. TheLionsPackersCowboysDolphinsRavens, and 49ers are all respectable teams. This week, divisional races will become more convoluted. Especially the NFC East. No one wants to win, so the Eagles will come and snatch it.

Green Bay vs Detroit–  The unstoppable Packers roll into Detroit for Thanksgiving dinner. Aaron Rodgers is a human. Last week vs Tampa Bay he looked frustrated at times, but then he was spectacular when it counted. The Lions looked terrible in the beginning of the game but thanks to three Cam Newton interceptions they came back and won by 14. Detroit’s offense is iffy at best. Stafford has to play better for this team to make the playoffs. The Packers will leave Detroit with two dinner plates. Their own and the Lions.


Miami vs Dallas– Do not adjust your television, the Miami Dolphins are a good football team. They play 10 different running backs but they get the job done. Matt Moore is not playing break but he is not turning the football over. The Cowboys were a missed kick away from losing to the Redskins last week. This game will not need snow or Leon Lett for the Dolphins to win. Upset.


San Francisco vs Baltimore– For all you people who do not think the 49ers are for real, we will find out this week. The Ravens are a good football team and will be a good barometer to judge the 49ers. These two teams are a near mirror imago of each other. Great linebacker, great running back, and, decent wide receivers. They both want to run the football and play great defense. This game will be about who executes the best.

Winner: 49ers

Minnesota vs Atlanta– The future of Christian Ponder is still up in the air. At times he look like he may be a franchise quarterback, but other times he looks like he is back at Florida State. No Adrian Peterson. Big problem. The Falcons got a gift with this game, rookie quarterback and no running game. If the Falcons cam keep Jared Allen away from Matt Ryan this will be an easy win.


Carolina vs Indianapolis– Superman has been Clark Kent for the last few weeks. These are the breaks of a rookie NFL quarterback. He started off cooking with Crisco, but hit the rookie wall. I think Cam will get some of momma home cooking this week and rebound for the end of the season. It does not hurt they are playing the Colts this week. There is nothing good happening in Indianapolis right now. Well, Pat Anger is leading the league in tackles.


Tampa Bay vs Tennessee– Tampa Bay was very impressive even with loss to the Packers last week. LeGarrett Blount decided he didn’t need any blockers to run to the ball last week. He easily broke 20 tackles in the game. If he runs like that this week the Bucs have a chance to turn their season around. The Titans will be very motivated to win this week because they still have a chance to win the AFC South with Matt Shaub out in Houston. Chris Johnson had what we thought was a breakout game two weeks ago. Then, last week he was under 15 yards. Expect another low output from him.


Arizona vs St Louis– This is a NFC West showdown. Yes I said that with a straight face. Kevin Kolb should be back this week for the Cardinals. Hopefully his time off helps him play better. I expected the Cardinals to have a few more wins at this point in time. Boy are they disappointing this year. The Rams expected to have a couple more wins too, but injuries have been mean to them.


Cleveland vs Cincinnati– I told y’all Cleveland was going to max out at 14 points last week. Where did they end the game?…14. Please listen to the Cleveland radio host go crazy on his Browns. That is 10 minutes audio that will make your day better. The Bengals lost to the top two teams in their division (Ravens, Steelers), but they are still for real. They have a chance to pick up another game of their division leaders and possibly sneak in the playoffs.

Houston vs Jacksonville– I picked Jacksonville last week and they let me down. This week, they play a better team with a question mark at quarterback. I worked out this summer with Matt Leinart and I think he is ready for his opportunity this year. The Texans control their own playoff destiny, and won’t fall short. I think Jaguars fans are wondering if Blaine Gabbert is really the answer at quarterback. They are also wondering where is the pro bowl tight end they gave 35 million to this offseason. Maurice Jones-Drew cannot win games on offense alone.

Winner: TEXANS

Buffalo vs New York Jets– Am I the one who said the Bills had 9-7 written all over them? I was wrong. Make it 7-9. Now that they have lost their bell cow Fred Jackson, their playoff chances are out of the window. The Jets just came off losing a game everyone expected them to win. New York should rebound this week vs the exploding Bills. The only person who can change the outcome of this game is Mark Sanchez. If he plays terribly, the Jets may lose.

Winner: JETS

Pittsburgh vs Kansas City– Pittsburgh is a good football team and potential Super bowl team. Even though the Chiefs have added Kyle Orton, this game will be a mere speed bump for the Steelers.

Denver vs San Diego– Do you believe in Tebow yet? John Elway isn’t sold long term either. The Broncos defense is fierce and fast right now. Rookie Von Miller is a nightmare off the edge and has been a force against the run and pass. WTH is going on with Phillip Rivers? Seriously, he is awful right now. He leads the league in interceptions and is the main reason for the Chargers struggles. Ryan Matthews gets hurt every game so if Tolbert is out they are down to a guy they didn’t expect to get more that 20 carries on the season. I believe in Tebow and definitely do not believe in Rivers (this year).

Washington vs Seattle-The Redskins put Rex Grossman back at quarterback, and guess what happened? They played well and would have beat the Cowboys if Gano could make a FG. They have to make a long trip to the West Coast and home of the 12th man. Seattle has been playing well they last couple weeks and should continue this week.


Chicago vs Oakland– The Bears were looking like the second best team in the NFL. For weeks I have been saying I was waiting for Cutler to lose games and blow the season. Well he is going to indirectly do both now that he is out for the season. The Bears front seven can’t play quarterback. Haine will have a chance to prove himself and save the Bears season. Carson Palmer looks like the QB who took the Bengals to the playoffs. Oakland is running the ball well and playing great defense.


New England vs Philadelphia– Philadelphia is likely entering a second game in a row without Vick at quarterback. Can Vince Young win 2 games in a row? Not throwing three picks again he can’t. The Patriots do have the last rated pass defense in the league so that should help him out. Expect the Phily defense to press across the board and blitz Brady anytime they line up in empty. That recipe was successful for the Steelers. Another good sign for the Eagles is that the Patriots don’t have a real running game so they should be able to pin their ears back and get after Brady some.

Winner: EAGLES

New York Giants vs New Orleans– This is a great matchup for Monday Night. This game means so much to both teams. They are both leading their closely contested division. A loss would muddy divisional waters and open up the door for chaos. I still have the Eagles making the playoffs. So that is influencing my pick for this game. New Orleans is getting hot at the right time. Brees and the offense are becoming the high powered team we are used to seeing.

Winner: SAINTS

Madden Curse: Fact or Fiction

In 2011, the company Electronic Arts (EA) who produces the Madden video game series, decided to take a new approach to choosing the cover athlete for Madden 12. There was a 32 man single elimination playoff that allowed the fans to vote on who they wanted to see on the highest selling sports game cover. Truth be told, EVERY NFL PLAYER WANTS TO BE ON THE COVER OF MADDEN. Anyone that tells you they don’t is a lie. So why did LaDainian Tomlinson turn down the cover in  2008? Why would a player turn down being on the cover, and the big marketing dollars that come along with it? The answer is, the infamous “The Madden Curse”. LT is the rare, superstitious  exception, not the rule. Every year us players actually talk about the curse like it is a real and living thing, but are willing to take the chance of being hit by the curse to grace the cover. As an athlete, one of the highest honors is to be on the cover of the most popular video game about your sport. The whole video game universe plays Madden and knows who is on the cover.

When you look at the bracket, and assess who will win, certain names stick out. Aaron Rodgers, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and DeMarcus Ware all look like favorites. Who is Peyton Hillis and how did he win the cover? Blame the Curse. This fan voting was not about “who the fans wanted on the cover”. It was about who the fans didn’t want on the cover. NFL fans are die hard and serious, and don’t want their season ruined by the Madden Curse. If you are a fan, what do you do to save your season? Vote for the other guy. The reality is Peyton Hillis is a running back who has only eclipsed 350 yards one time, and that was last year (1177). So you might say, “he became a fan favorite last year so he won the cover”. Wrong. Neither in 2010 or 2011 was Hillis amongst the Top 25 in jersey sales. Jersey sales are a clear indication of popularity in the NFL. Regardless of the reason, Hillis won the cover, the money, the popularity, and most importantly, the Madden curse. Hillis rushed for over 1000 yards last year, and will need a near miracle to make it again this year.  Through 8 weeks of the 2011-12 season, Peyton only has 200 yards rushing and has only played 4 games. It is obvious the cover boy has been hit hard by the curse. Still not a believer in the curse? I’ll give you more history:

  • 2011, Drew Brees: Threw a career high 22 int, and lost to a 7-9 team in the first round of the playoffs.
  • 2010, Troy Polamalu/Larry Fitzgerald: Polamalu only played five games due to knee injuries, Steelers missed playoffs; Fitzgerald wasn’t affected much (97 receptions, 1,092 yards, 13 TD, Pro Bowl). Troy was sacrificed for Larry’s success.
  • 2009, Brett Favre: Feuded with Packers, traded to Jets, horrible down the stretch (lost 4 of last 5).
  • 2008, Vince Young: Missed 1 game with quad injury; led Titans to first playoff appearance in four years. The curse waited a season to take effect. In ’09, he only played in 3 games and begun his exit from Tennessee.
  • 2007, Shaun Alexander: Fractured foot, missed six games; fewer yards and TDs in ’06 AND ’07 than in ’04 OR ’05.
  • 2006, Donovan McNabb: Sports hernia in first game, missed seven games; feuded withTerrell Owens all year; had been to five straight Pro Bowls, hasn’t been since.
  • 2005, Ray Lewis: Broken wrist, missed one game; first season without interception; missed 10 games next year with thigh injury.
  • 2004, Michael Vick: Fractured fibula one day after video game was released, missed 11 games.
  • 2003, Marshall Faulk: Ankle injury, missed two games, never rushed for 1,000 yards again.
  • 2002, Daunte Culpepper: 4-7 record before season-ending knee injury. Never been the same since.
  • 2001, Eddie George: Career season, but fumbled in playoffs as top-seeded Titans lost first game to Ravens.
  • 2000, Barry Sanders: Retired one week before training camp.

Is that enough proof? Do you believe in the curse now? I am not superstitious at all , but this cannot be ignored. One, two, even three times is a coincidence. This has happened EVERY year. If it is not a curse, what do you make of it? If EA decides to let the fans vote again, just remember, vote hard for the other guy.