This week is the half way mark in the season. Tuesday we will look at what the playoffs look like as well as the second half. But this week there are a couple of key games to watch.
DV @ BA
The second half of the Bronco schedule is a lot harder than the first half. They play the Steelers next along with the Giants, the Colts and the Eagles. Sunday we will see if the Bronco O is a competitor for the Super Bowl or just a pretender. Their O line has not faced a D like the Ravens even if the Ravs are not playing as well as they have in the past.
The Bronco D has played well against some of the weakest offenses in the history of the NFL. We will see how they look against a balanced Raven O. QB Flacco is playing very well and will challenge a questionable Bronco defensive backfield.
The Ravens have to tighten up the D. The pass coverage has been far below what it was in previous years. This season they replaced both CBs and Foxworth and Washington have not produced like McAlister and Rolle have in recent years. As a result, the D is giving up more passing yards and forced to blitz more.
The Ravens need the win much more than Denver and win the game.
SF @ IN
The 49ers have played well and are 3-3 going into Indy. Smith is going to start at QB which has been the weakness of the team. RB Gore is healthy and the Colts have trouble stopping the run. S Sanders is back for the Colts and that will help against Gore.
The 49er D has been very strong but has not faced an O like Manning and Co. The SF O and the Colt D are a standoff. It will be the Colt O that gives Indy the win.
MN @ GB
The return of Farve is all the media is talking about. But those that have watched Viking games realize that Favre is the icing not the cake itself. RB Peterson is the key player on the O for the Vikes. The Pack D has played well but has gotten most of their numbers against weak teams like the Browns and the Lions.
However, the key will be the Viking D against a very potent O of the Pack. The Packers have suffered injuries on the O line and the Viking pass rush will be the difference. If the Vikes can put enough heat on Pack QB Rodgers, the Vikes will win in a close game.
The Vikes won at home and should win again in Favre’s return.
AT @ NO
The Monday night game should be a very good one. The Falcons come in 2 games behind the Saints at 4-2. They really need to win to get within striking distance of the division leader. The Falcon O has scored 21 points in each of the last 2 games. That won’t be nearly enough against the NFL’s top offense. They will need to play the best game defensively of the season and still score 35 to have a chance to win.
The Saints D has played way above expectation. It has been helped by the pressure that the O puts on the opposition. Very often the D can just worry about rushing the passer because the Saints are so far ahead of the opponent. The D has not faced a team that could match them score for score as the Falcons can on a good day.
But their visit to the Big Easy will be anything but and the Saints win comfortably.
QB changes around the league
The Titans will start Young to see what he can do. At 0-6, its about time. I will have some additional suggestions for them next week.
Despite cries of protest and the most abysmal lack of offense in years, the Browns will continue to start Anderson. He has a passer rating of 40.6. If a QB goes 0-1 without an interception, the rating is 39.6. He is completing just 43.8 % of his throws. Quinn has a pr of 62.9 and a 60.8 completion rate. Give him a chance.
The 49ers have replaced QB Hill with former 1st overall pick Smith. Hill had a qb rating of 79.6 but Smith in very limited action has a 118.6. I don’t believe that Smith is that much better than Hill and in more extensive action will prove it. We will see how he does against an only fair D backfield of the Colts.
Raider fans have to be wondering what the D could do if Davis had not cut the vet QB Garcia. Russell has a rating of 47.2. The only QB with any experience on the team is Gradkowski who has proven beyond a doubt he isn’t an NFL qb. Like the Browns, the Raiders will have a very long season.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .