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Sunday, 25 September 2011

The Pulling Linemen Predicts: Week 3 + Games of the Week

After a very successful week of picks last time out we once more have lots of consensus picks. We agree on all but 3 of the games.

As ever, we've each picked a game out of the schedule to shine a light on it and say how we think they will go. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties (how professional does that sound??) Gur was unable to put together his piece. He would have picked the NFC North showdown in Soldier Field between Chicago and Green Bay.


Phil Gaskin's Game of the Week: Texans (2-0) @ Saints (1-1)

Colston's talents will be missed
If you like offensive football, then this is absolutely the game for you. When two explosive and high scoring teams like these meet, it spells only one thing: shootout!

These two offences rank 5th (Saints) and 9th (Texans) in points scored over the first 2 weeks, and that’s even with each missing a key playmaker. Marques Colston was lost to a broken collarbone in week 1, and Arian Foster has been battling hamstring issues since the preseason.

In Colston’s place, Devery Henderson has filled a void in the Saints WR corp – registering 203 receiving yards so far, and on just 9 receptions. His 79 yard TD reception last week against the Bears was a decisive turning point in the game, giving the Saints a lead they never surrendered. Darren Sproles has also been a revelation in New Orleans. Reggie who? Sproles already has 15 receptions for 118 yards, plus a 72yd punt return for a TD. He’s become a valuable part of the Saints 3rd down offence, and although he is never going to be an every down back, he can still be a game changer.

Ben Tate has been given a chance to
shine, and taken it.
For the Texans, Ben Tate has been forced to carry the load out of the backfield, and he’s performed well - 219 yards over 2 games is pretty impressive. His longest run is only 18 yards, however, which is both a positive and a negative – you know he’s being consistent because his yards aren’t bloated by one long break away run; but then he’s not making those long break away runs that can turn a game on its head. With Arian Foster likely limited at best again in week 3, Tate will need to continue his good form against the Saints 7th ranked rushing D if the Texans want to stay in contention in the Superdome.

In the end, this game comes down to two QBs: Drew Brees and Matt Schaub. Brees is a Superbowl winning signal caller who finished last year with 4620 yards and 33 TDs, whilst Schaub has arguably the best WR in the league at his disposal in Andre Johnson. Whichever of these two QBs has the biggest day is likely to end up being on the winning team, but regardless of who that ends up being, this game is bound to be a great one.

Toby Durant's Game of the Week: Giants (1-1) @ Eagles (1-1)

Jackson breaks Blue hearts in 2010
When you talk of teams that flat out don't like each other, these two are right up there on the list. It was DeSean Jackson's last second punt return touchdown that effectively knocked the Giants out of the play-off race and only served to feed the rivalry-fire between the two divisional foes.

They come into this match on seemingly opposite sides of lady luck's favour. The Giants came away with a win on monday night against St. Louis despite being largely out-played while the Eagles were up by 10 in the 4th quarter of a tight, exciting duel in the Georgia Dome when Michael Vick got whipped around into the helmet of his Right Tackle Todd Herremans and came off spitting blood with what was called a neck injury but turned out to be a mild concussion, the Eagles would go on to lose that game despite walloping Matt Ryan themselves.

Vick has been practicing this week but is currently listed as Questionable for sunday. No doubt he'll be a game-time decision and if he does end up being held out, and with Vince Young injured, it will be 2nd year man Mike Kafka getting the start. Kafka saw the first regular season action of his career when he came in for Vick last week and looked very serviceable, completing 7 of his 9 passes for 72 yards and importantly not turning the ball over.

It's been a tough start for
Manning's offense
As for the Giants, they looked very shaky against St. Louis team that, bar for poor Red Zone offense, could easily have come away with the W themselves. Eli Manning started really poorly, completing 2 for his first 11 passes and horribly under throwing a wide open Mario Manningham and being picked off. They continue to avoid feeding the dangerous Ahmad Bradshaw too, he only got 20 touches monday night when his talents ought to demand more.

The G-Men continue to struggle on the back of their defense due to all the injuries, and I expect this, regardless of who plays QB for the Eagles, to be the difference here. While Philly's trifecta of corner backs can shut down the Giants passing game, New York will really struggle to do the same thing.

Prediction: Eagles 31 - 17 Giants

Picks:


Toby Durant
Phil Gaskin
Gur Samuel
Patriots @ Bills
Patriots
Patriots
Patriots
Texans @ Saints
Saints
Saints
Saints
Panthers @ Jaguars
Panthers
Panthers
Panthers
Giants @ Eagles
Eagles
Eagles
Eagles
Dolphins @ Browns
Dolphins
Browns
Dolphins
49ers @ Bengals
Bengals
49ers
Bengals
Broncos @ Titans
Titans
Titans
Titans
Lions @ Vikings
Lions
Lions
Lions
Ravens @ Rams
Ravens
Ravens
Ravens
Jets @ Raiders
Jets
Jets
Jets
Chiefs @ Chargers
Chargers
Chargers
Chargers
Cardinals @ Seahawks
Cardinals
Cardinals
Cardinals
Falcons @ Bucs
Falcons
Falcons
Falcons
Packers @ Bears
Packers
Packers
Packers
Steelers @ Colts
Steelers
Steelers
Steelers
Redskins @ Cowboys
Cowboys
Cowboys
Redskins




Last Week:
14-2
13-3
13-3
Overall:
21-11
23-9
19-13

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