All In The Cards: Opinionated Edition (Week 6 Recap)

Welcome to the week six NFL recap of All In The Cards! I thought about writing a whole article outlining the Cardinals current problems, but I was afraid it may end up turning into a 5,000-word rant and I know no one wants to read that so I’ll go straight to the short-recap format, which will still be highly opinionated but at least it won’t be focused all on the Cards. All future recaps will be written in this style since the NBA season is almost here (which means Hoosiers In The NBA is almost here!) and I want to continue posting these on Tuesday. I hope you enjoy and if you do make sure to follow me on Twitter @QTipsforsports or just search the hashtag #Allinthecards for in-game thoughts and analysis. Without further ado, let’s see how these two teams stack up against each other:

How I did on my NFL Week 6 Predictions:

  • Pittsburgh 25, Arizona 13: While it is true that the change from Michael Vick to Landry Jones messed with the Cards’ defensive gameplan, there are other reasons behind the loss. If you look at the game stats, you’ll notice two big differences between games the Cardinals win and lose: turnovers and redzone efficiency. The Cardinals like to take risks on offense, thus they have turned the ball over in five of their six games (the lone exception being against Detroit). That’s not a problem, as long as the Arizona defense also forces turnovers. The Cards defense has been able to make up for the offense’s 10 turnovers by forcing opponents into 13 turnovers through six games. Actually, it would be more accurate to say the Cardinals defense has forced 13 turnovers in their four wins. They forced zero turnovers against the Rams and Steelers. If the offense doesn’t get those extra possessions then each mistake becomes amplified. Just like with the turnovers, redzone efficiency also follows this pattern. The Cards have scored 16 touchdowns in 17 trips to the redzone during wins, while they have only scored two touchdowns in nine redzone trips during losses. Going forward, succeeding in these two categories will be important for the Cardinals to win. It will also be the key to stopping them. (0-1)
  • New Orleans 31, Atlanta 21: Here’s a trick for picking these supposedly “wacky” Thursday night games: Pick the team that benefits most from the shorter week. In this case, the Falcons were coming off their fourth second half comeback as the beat the Redskins 25-19 and were being praised for never giving up and always coming through in the clutch. On the other side, the Saints were coming off an embarrassing 39-17 loss to the Eagles and wanted to forget that game ever happened. So basically the Saints were focused on their next opponent right away while the Falcons were distracted by all the hype they were receiving. You can overcome those types of distractions during a normal week of preparation but not on a short one. (1-1)
  • Cincinnati 34, Buffalo 21: While I personally think Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are more valuable to their teams, there is no doubt that Andy Dalton is the leading MVP candidate at this point in the season. The main reason is voter fatigue. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the term “voter fatigue”, the best way to understand it would be to look at the history of the NBA MVP. Both Michael Jordan and LeBron James have four MVPs, but both were obviously the most valuable player for more than just four seasons. Voters get tired of giving the award to the same person so they look for someone new to give it to when they can. Rodgers is the reigning MVP and Brady is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, so they’ve been celebrated recently, which means now the voters will feel that it’s Dalton’s turn if he keeps up this performance. (2-1)
  • Detroit 37, Chicago 34: A week removed from being obliterated by the Cardinals, the Lions were able to fend off a recently-improved Bears team and earn their first win of the season. This was a crucial win for an organization that started hearing whispers about possibly going 0-16 again after seemingly turning the franchise around. The Lions still won’t be good this season, but as long as they are not bad either, this season will just be a bump in road instead of a full-on dumpster fire. The Bears will be fine; they just need to score more touchdowns in the redzone. (2-2)
  • Denver 26, Cleveland 23: First off, I’d like to give a big shout out to ex-Cardinal great Karlos Dansby for the spectacular performance this week (seven tackles, two pass deflections, two interceptions and a touchdown).However, the main story is the Broncos continuing to win despite being terrible offensively. I brought up Peyton Manning’s projected stats last week so there is no need for me to rehash them again this week after another subpar performance. Instead let me talk about the Broncos offense as a whole. The offense has accounted for just 54 of the team’s 139 points. The rest of those points were scored by the Broncos kicker (Brandon McManus has made 16 field goals in addition to his 13 extra points) and the Broncos defense (two touchdowns by Aqib Talib and one touchdown each for Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby). Even if you want to credit extra points after offensive touchdowns to the offense, 63 of 139 is still less than 50%. The offense needs to start pulling its own weight or else this great start may end in an epic collapse. (3-2)
  • Miami 38, Tennessee 10: It’s these types of occurrences that make sports management and fans think that firing a coach is an easy solution for turning a team around. I’m not claiming it doesn’t work, it obviously worked this week for the Dolphins, but the circumstances have to be right. You need to make sure that the reason the team is under-performing is because they are either disagreeing or ignoring their coach, and not that the team isn’t good enough to execute the coach’s gameplan. It was obvious that the Dolphins and Joe Philbin were not connecting anymore, and since they had a suitable replacement in Dan Campbell, the Dolphins were right to make the move. However, if a team isn’t 100% sure whether or not the coach is more to blame than the players and it doesn’t have a suitable replacement, it should never make a coaching change just for the sake of change. (3-3)
  • Minnesota 16, Kansas City 10: There’s not much to say about this game other than I feel really bad for Chiefs fans. The offense looks like a complete mess without Jamaal Charles and we’ve known for a long time that Alex Smith is a considerably worse quarterback when he doesn’t have a run game to help him. Meanwhile, the Vikings have to be ecstatic about Stefon Diggs’ performance Sunday as well as the possibility of him becoming the go-to receiver for Teddy Bridgewater in the years to come. (4-3)
  • New York Jets 34, Washington 20: With a coach who has a personality as strong as Todd Bowles, it wasn’t a matter of if the team would take on his personality, but rather how quickly will the team take on Bowles personality? By personality I am specifically talking about his uncanny ability to recognize a problem and, in the short 15 minutes each team gets at halftime, come up with a gameplan to counter those problems. Well it seems like the answer was week six. The defense was already playing like a Bowles defense, but against the Redskins the offense also took that step forward. The Jets, trailing 13-10 at half, scored 24 straight points to start the second half and ran away with the win. As long as this team believes in Bowles, I see a trip to the playoffs as a real possibility this season. (5-3)
  • Houston 31, Jacksonville 20: Here’s hoping Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien has finally made his decision at quarterback. Brian Hoyer was great in the Texans comeback and finally showed what this offense is capable of when they have consistent quarterback play. It helps that DeAndre Hopkins is having a breakout season and that Arian Foster is back. As for the Jaguars, this is the second time in three weeks they have blown a fourth quarter lead, the other one being against the Colts. If they want to start seeing vast improvement they’ll need to learn how to hold on to those leads. (5-4)
  • Carolina 27, Seattle 23: Speaking of blowing fourth quarter leads, did you know that the Seahawks have had led in the fourth quarter of every game they have played this season? I can already tell you don’t believe me so let’s recap:
    • Week 1 (@ St. Louis): The Seahawks scored 18 straight points in the fourth quarter against the Rams to lead 31-24 with 4:39 left to go, only to allow a game-tying touchdown with 53 seconds left and lose in overtime.
    • Week 2 (@ Green Bay): After trailing 13-3 at half, the Seahawks scored two touchdowns in third and led 17-16 heading the fourth quarter. The Packers outscored Seattle 10-0 in the final period.
    • Week 3 (vs. Chicago): Seattle won 26-0 so obviously they led in the fourth quarter.
    • Week 4 (vs. Detroit): The Seahawks led 13-3 entering the fourth quarter and then proceeded to give up a fumble return for a touchdown and allowed the Lions to drive 90 yards before Seattle was saved by an officiating blunder.
    • Week 5 (@ Cincinnati): A Bobby Wagner fumble return has Seattle up 24-7 after three quarters, only to see Andy Dalton rip apart the Legion Of Boom in the fourth quarter as the Bengals score 17 points in the period and win in overtime.
    • Week 6 (vs. Carolina): At home, the Seahawks had a 23-14 lead halfway through the fourth quarter. Then in the final four minutes the Panthers score two touchdowns to win 27-23.

Now you can take this one of two ways: either you’re still positive because the Seahawks have played well all season but have just had some trouble in the fourth quarter, or you’re wondering if there is something psychologically wrong with the Seahawks for them to continuously fall apart in the fourth quarter. I’m starting to lean towards the latter statement. (5-5)

  • Green Bay 27, San Diego 20: This stat should show you just how much pressure the Chargers place on Philip Rivers to keep this team competitive: Rivers became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for over 500 yards in a game with no interceptions and still lose the game. I know that when a quarterback is throwing for a lot of yards it is usually because they are trailing, but that still doesn’t change the fact he’s the first to accomplish this and still lose. Talk about not getting any support from your team. Then again one could also consider it as a testament to how well the Packers are playing. (6-5)
  • San Francisco 25, Baltimore 20: Since getting destroyed in Arizona, the 49ers have quietly rebounded. They hung tough with the undefeated Packers for a half, came very close to upsetting the Giants at MetLife Stadium, and held on to beat a desperate Ravens team. They now get a reeling Seattle team on a short week, and as I stated, the team that benefits the most from a short week usually wins the Thursday night game. With as much turmoil as there is with the Seahawks, I’d say a short week benefits San Francisco more. Hard to believe but if the 49ers do pull off the win and then beat St. Louis the following week, they’ll find themselves back at .500 halfway through the season. (6-6)
  • New England 34, Indianapolis 27: Recall what I wrote about the Dolphins: “You should never make a coaching change if you are not 100% sure that the coach is more to blame than the players.” This fits the Chuck Pagano situation perfectly. Was the fake punt risky? Yes, it was extremely risky but it was worth the risk just to line up and see how the Patriots would respond. The center Griff Whalen should have snapped the ball only if the Patriots defense didn’t look prepared. As it turns out, they were prepared and the Colts should have taken the delay of game or called a timeout instead. If the Colts were leading the Patriots then I would switch positions, but the fact was that the Colts were down seven against a team that has owned them for a long time. It’s not as dumb of a decision as people might think. (7-6)
  • Philadelphia 27, New York Giants 7: This is why I didn’t want to say the Giants were in control of the NFC East last week because truthfully no one really has control in that division. That being said, the Eagles now find themselves as the division leaders and have a good chance to stay at the top if their defense continues to play like it did Monday night. The problem is I still don’t completely trust the offense and Sam Bradford in particular. However, the Eagles do have a great opportunity to prove me wrong when as they face the undefeated Panthers this week. (7-7)

Week 6 Record: 7-7
Season Record: 60-31
Perfect Score Predictions: 2

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