Big Lead Sports Bar


Previewing the Top 5 Games This Weekend

Bye weeks make this weekend's NFL schedule rather awful (outside of Pittsburgh, of course), but that's not stopping our weekly football pick-off.

Last week, someone who shall remain nameless so boldly picked the Bears to beat the Packers on Monday Night Football that it closed the one-game gap that existed, giving me a season record of 11-4 and tying you the consensus, which has also gone 11-4 in the first three weeks.

This weekend, I've chosen five more games of interest for us to pick, including Steelers-Ravens and Redskins-Eagles in the NFL, and Pitt-FIU, Penn State-Iowa, and Florida-Alabama in college football. My only advice, which I learned after last weekend: don't be afraid to be bold. I'm a regular maverick.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc:


Spatula said...

What? I have to press another button? Oh, the pain.

Unknown said...

I don't see the game (and by "the game" I mean the only one of any importance in my life this weekend) being as close as everyone is predicting. I've been accused of being a homer more than once and I spent three years writing for various sites about the Steelers, but it's going to be at least a 10-point margin.

- Pitt has a former starter under center who was much better than his record and stats let on because of the lack of a supporting cast in Detroit, and he knows the playbook better than anyone on the team (I would go as far as to say he could supplant Arians at OC right now and the offense would only improve);
- The Ravens' secondary would be considered suspect if THEY HAD a secondary. Right now, they have a starting secondary with a grand combined total of 19 interceptions in 20 seasons (counting 2010) for their careers; Troy Polamalu alone has more than that (22) in 8 seasons. Those same Ravens have total 90 passes defensed; again, Troy alone has one fewer than all those players combined, in 40 percent of the amount of time played. The Ravens' secondary is going to get torched if the O-line can hold up, which leads me to...
- The O-line is already light years ahead of where it was last year. Disregard the 12 sacks in three games; there have been injuries to sideline guys or a game or two, but this week we have what I think is the best combination we could have with Adams, Legursky, Pouncey, Kemo and Starks. The Big Legursky has a strong chance to take Essex's starting spot permanently.
- Ray Rice may play, but he's dinged up. That should slow him down a half-step or so and make him a little less willing to hit a hole with confidence.
- Joe Flacco is still the same guy who couldn't beat out Tyler Palko for a starting job. Teams now have two full seasons of game tape on him, and two of the three he has faced have shut him down. The team he played well against was the Browns. That's like saying you have a bad-ass car because your Chevy Aveo just whipped up on a Schwinn.
- No Ed Reed. 'Nuff said.
- An offense struggling like Baltimore's would rely on field goals, especially in a game like this -- but home field advantage kicks in here because The Ketchup Bottle is the hardest place in the NFL in which to kick. Their kicker has little experience in Heinz Field -- and is one of many to have been sent packing by the Cowboys, who have had a revolving door at kicker for years.
- Injuries everywhere! The following starters are currently on Baltimore's injury report: RT Jared Gaither (D), RG Chris Chester (P), C Matt Birk (P), TE Todd Heap (P), CB Chris Carr (Q), DE Cory Redding (Q), OLB Jarret Johnson (Q), and RB Ray Rice (P). Backups WR Donte Stallworth (O), G Tony Moll (Q), LB Tavares Gooden (O) and LB Edgar Jones (D) are dinged up as well.
- We will win at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Sixty percent of their offensive line starters are injured and 33 percent of their defensive line starters are hurt, as well. The entire right flat and short yardage areas are opened up somewhat for the Steelers because their starting CB, OLB and DE on that side are all injured to some degree.

Bottom line? 24-13, Steelers.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

I'm tired of the "he knows the playbook better than anyone on the team" argument. By that argument, Bruce Arians should be our starting QB everyweek. It's the same thing i always think when i see John Clayton. Just because you 'know' sports, doesn't mean you can play!

Yeah, the Ravens secondary is extremely suspect (No Ed Reed, no problem) and that is the main reason why i expect the 'lers to prevail, but at the same time, Batch isn't gonna exploit that. His two TDs to Mike Wallace last week were tuuurrible throws.

Anyone else see that Trevor Pryce isn't coming back to BAL? The ravens attempted a Leftwich-esque roster move this week, but it didn't work as Pryce signed with the Jagoffs! Their D-line is pretty awesome, but losing quality depth always hurts.

The Abiding Dude said...

I have never heard or seen the Jets referred to as "the Jagoffs"

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

Whoops, sorry. I thought he went to Jacksonville.

The Abiding Dude said...

Oh, well that makes more sense...nah, went to the Jets and Rex Ryan (guess Ryan grew close to him and his talent in his Baltimore days).

Dallas Mike said...

Steel Tradition,

Whoever called you a homer was definitely not lying. At least you qualified it up front which is admirable. But judging by the use of "we" and "us", I thought you might be dressing this week.... What evidence can you site to validate your "[Batch] knows the playbook better than anyone on the team" comment? If you are an insider, then I apologize for questioning you. Your analysis may be spot on and 100% correct, but if you are so certain of 10-point victory, why don't you just mortgage your house and put your life savings on the Steelers -3. Seems like an easy way to grow your wealth....My Bloomberg terminal provides daily quotes and I will leave you with one from Darwin that was on the screen a couple of weeks ago - "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge". The axiom of the NFL pick 'em guy.

Unknown said...

I think the turnover battle could be key. The Steelers' defense excels at forcing turnovers. The ravens meanwhile, are tired for the worst turnover ratio in the league...

Unknown said...

Wow, Dallas Mike, I posted my opinion -- with hard evidence for every point except the assertion that Batch knows the playbook better than anyone -- and you treated me like I just said something derogatory about your mother.

Here are two reasons for my statement that he knows the playbook better than anyone else: #1) he's very smart, and #2) no offensive player has been with the team longer, thereby giving him the longest time available to study the playbook. I grant you that maybe he and others know it inside and out, but I would wager no one knows it BETTER.
And as for the "us" and "we" references...that one really gets old. I'm not suiting up. I don't hold a position within the team or any board of directors. But unlike any rabid, lifelong fan, I feel some ownership of the team through long-time support, much the same way you may call a close friend your brother, even though you have no blood or marital relation. Anyone with half a brain and a love for sports should see that. It saddens me that you failed to.

Unknown said...

Err...LIKE any rabid, lifelong fan...

BURGH08 said...

I'm going to say 20-16 Ravens. I don't have any great breakdown, but don't think they go 4-0 without Ben, will miss not having Holmes (who seemed to have several clutch moments against them). I think having Heap/Housh/Boldin and throwing under will help Flacco.

Hope I'm wrong. By the way, if Flacco is still the same guy that couldn't beat out Palko, why isn't Tyler better than a practice squad player?

Other pick I think Iowa wins, but Penn State covers. Eagles, but would love to see them lose, and if Pitt loses, will burn the rest of my tickets.

Dom Errico said...

If Mike was a radio personality, I could understand getting on his ass about "We" and "Us"

He's not. He's a guy making analysis based on his opinion of what will go down this week. I thought his analysis was pretty accurate to be honest, and I think this could end up exactly how he predicted it.

As for the other games, I too think Iowa is going to win. PSU is rebuilding and I just think a freshman QB is going to struggle on the road in Iowa. If the PSU D can play well though PSU could have a chance.

McNabb is going to have the Skins ready to play but I think Philly is just better on both sides of the ball.

Pitt should easily take care of business against FIU, and like Burgh08 said. If they somehow DO lose, Pitt fans should all hold a bonfire rally to burn the rest of their tickets.

Alabama is going to probably come out on top of Florida. I think they are just better across the board on both sides of the ball and also with more veteran leadership. Florida doesn't have Tebow anymore, not that he helped in the loss to Bama in the SEC Championship last year.

Jonny Van Mundegaarde said...

Mike, the thing that blew me away about your analysis is the fact that Troy has been in the league 8 seasons already...holy hell time flies.