1. New England Patriots (4-0) – Don't piss off Tom! The Patriots are rolling right along, and what else is new? Now this week a trip to face the team that started the entire airless balls saga. Ugh! Last week beat Dallas 30-6/ this week @ Indianapolis.
2. Green Bay Packers (5-0) – The Packers look like the best team in the NFC right now, but are in a heated battle with Atlanta, Carolina and Arizona to see who lands home field and that could be the difference! Last week beat St. Louis 24-10 / this week vs San Diego.
3. Denver Broncos (5-0) – Folks, Peyton has had many great seasons, but this is the best defense he's ever had on the other side of the ball. And he knows it! Last week beat Oakland 16-10 /this week @ Cleveland.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (5-0) – Andy Dalton could be in the conversation as early season MVP. Folks if you've not seen him play this season, Andy Dalton looks like an elite QB. And he should, after all, he's getting paid like one! Last week beat Seattle 27-24OT / this week @ Buffalo.
5. Atlanta Falcons (5-0) –This team has become one that wins close games late. Don't ever count out these Falcons. Now the ATL can get to 6-0 and beat down their struggling rivals in the same process. Last week beat Washington 25-19 OT / this week @ New Orleans.
6. Carolina Panthers (4-0) – A well rested Panthers team now gets more respect from everyone with wins against Seattle and Philly the next two weeks! Last week BYE / this week @ Seattle.
7. Arizona Cardinals (4-1) – Their defense is tenacious, their offense has gotten a huge spark with a resurgent RB Chris Johnson, and QB Carson Palmer is playing well. The Birds from the desert are for real! Last week beat Detroit 42-17 / this week @ Pittsburgh.
8. New York Jets (3-1) – The NY Planes took a week off after a hot 3-1 start. Now a win over the Redskins this week would set up a huge East showdown against the Patriots! Last week BYE/ this week vs Washington.
9. New York Giants (3-2) - The G-Men have won three straight after an 0-2 start and lead the NFC East by one game. The Giants can push ahead even further with a win over the Eagles in Philly! Last week beat San Francisco 30-27 / this week @ Philadelphia.
10. Seattle Seahawks (2-3) – Yes they have a losing record, but this team is better than their record and they have given a couple of games away. Some would say so what? They got handed a win two weeks ago too! And those folks would be right. I still think this team is too good to not be a top 10 team. But it looks to me the most important piece to the Seabirds' success is now leading the 5-0 Falcons in Coach Dan Quinn! Last week lost to Cincinnati 27-24OT / this week vs Carolina.
I did not expect the Saints to be a factor this season.
What I mean is that I, like you, had a lot of my own questions about the Saints and their chances to be the team that we had hoped they would be. Part of that thinking goes back to last season when I thought the Saints would be a good team and they were not. What we all saw last season with some disbelief has now become reality, and that is that the Saints are not a very good football team.
There is no need to get on a soapbox and bitch and moan and berate coaches and players. I'm taking a more mature approach, I'm and going to sit back and observe how things go down the final 11 games this season. No matter how the Saints coaches, players and fans try and paint a pretty picture, the Saints are not good. In fact, they are bad. What we will see now is how everyone reacts and responds to adversity and losing.
Unless the Saints do something we've not seen, unless we are going to see a new offense, better defense and healthier special teams, then we can expect more of what we've seen thus far and that is far more L's than W's.
The Saints are a team that is built around their offense but have scored 20 or more points only once in regulation this season and that was in a 22-27 loss to Carolina. For the third time in five games the Saints scored less than 20 points. And when you're an offensively built team and your offense is not producing then that's not good.
New Orleans is no different than any other place in the world or any other team in sports. The Saints will get tired of hearing how bad they are, how disappointing their play is, and some will begin to say this is the beginning of the end for the Sean and Drew era. Are those predictions right? Only time will answer that question, but right now it looks more right than not.
No one player, coach or team likes to keep hearing negative things and losing. New Orleans is going to have to deal with that more times this season perhaps they ever had in Sean Payton's tenure.
Regardless of who you lay the blame on, who you think should have done what and what moves should have been made, the Saints are what they are. They are a team that has fallen out of the ranks of the elite and are now in full blown rebuilding, retooling, whatever. The Saints are not a playoff team, and as the remaining games happen, we will all find out if the Saints are any closer to being the franchise they once were, or if they are a club that is fading.
I honestly have no clue where this team is right now. I hope that they are a team that is in transition, a team that has some up and coming players and will get better as the season progresses. But I also fear that the Saints are closer to end of an era, and one of pro sports' best franchises is starting to unravel and the good days, big wins and fun times are long gone.
I hope I'm wrong. Truth is the Saints are 1-4 and are now facing their arch rivals who are red hot, 5-0 and the talk of the NFL. New Orleans was once where their rivals currently are. A win over the Falcons would go a long way. I hope is does happen. But what do I know?
I do know the Saints are at the bottom of the NFC South and own one of the worst records in the NFL. And I'm eager to see where the Saints go from here!
The Tide are rolling into the Lone Star State for a battle to see who's the best in the West against those Aggies. LSU battles the Gators in an East versus West showdown while the Mississippi's have two tough out of conference games against unlikely tougher than normal foes. Here's how I see the SEC going into the seventh week of the 2015 season.
1. Alabama (5-1) - RTR! The Tide defense is all that as they allowed the wanna be rushing Hogs 44 yards on the ground. Now two back to back tough games happen at A&M this week in T-town against Rocky Top. Last week beat Arkansas 27-14 / this week @ Texas A&M.
2. LSU (5-0) – Not one, not two, but three good RB's are featured in the LSU offensive backfield. Still one has to wonder can this team continue to win facing 8, 9 and ten man fronts? Last week beat South Carolina 45-24 / this week vs Florida.
3. Florida (6-0) – Florida took care of the Tigers from the East and now hope to do so against the Tigers from the West. Wait which Tigers? Does another league have three sets of Tigers? Last week beat Missouri 21-3 / this week @ LSU.
4. Ole Miss (5-1) – The Rebels bounced back after their first loss with a nice cup cake win over New Mexico State. But those of you who are not fully up to speed on the entire landscape of CFB I'm telling you that Memphis is no cupcake. A pound cake perhaps! Last week beat New Mexico State 52-3 / this week @ Memphis.
5. Texas A&M (5-0) - The Aggies defense hired the CHIEF to make a difference in games like this week with Alabama coming to town. A&M can shake up the football world and put the Tide way behind the 8-ball! Last week BYE / this week vs Alabama.
6. Tennessee (3-3) – After three straight blown fourth quarter leads, the Vols used a new technique in a come from behind win over the Bulldogs. Now Butch and the Vols Kids get a week off before a trip to rival Alabama. Last week beat UGA 38-31/ this week BYE.
7. Georgia (4-2) – Losing to Alabama is tolerable. But losing to UT and the Tide in back to back weeks is not going to fly too good in Athens. Oh well better win this week. Last week lost Tennessee 38-31 / this week vs Missouri.
8. Kentucky (4-1) - The Wildcats can pretty much assure themselves of a bowl bid with a home win over the mysterious and struggling Auburn Tigers. But could it be that the Wildcats are alive in the East title chase? Why sure! Last week BYE / this week vs Auburn.
9. Mississippi State (4-2) - A tough loss to the Aggies in which they did not play bad took place last week. The Bulldogs should lick their wounds the next two weeks with non-SEC Games. Last week lost to Texas A&M 17-30 / this week vs Troy.
10. Missouri (4-2) - The Tigers beat up South Carolina 24-10 and can now prove that they will not give up their East Title without a fight. Last week lost to Florida 24-10 this week @ Georgia.
11. Arkansas (2-4) – Is there trouble brewing in Hog Land? Arkansas has already lost four games and they have some tough games left. Oh well better at least go to a bowl! Last week lost Alabama 27-14 / this week BYE.
12. South Carolina – With all that's going on back home I'm giving the Gamecocks a pass this season. But will their fan base? Last week lost LSU 10-24 / this week vs Vanderbilt. 13. Auburn (3-2) - The Tigers had a week off to fix some things. I guess we will see Thursday night how their fixing works. Last week BYE / this week @ Kentucky. .
14. Vanderbilt (2-3) – Vanderbilt was off last week. When do they play again? Last week BYE / this week vs South Carolina.
The Big Ten may be the deepest conference in the nation right now. The SEC has not one but two huge match-ups this weekend and the Big 12 still has three perfect teams through the halfway point of the season. And the Pac-12 has only one team without a loss. Man, I love me some CFB. And if you don't think coaching makes a difference then just look at what is going on in Ann Arbor! Here's this week's top 10.
1. Ohio State (6-0) – This year's version of last year's Florida State Team. The Noles just won ugly all the way to the four team playoff and then got popped by Oregon. I keep waiting for this team to turn it on and be who they were in the last three weeks of last season. But can they? This team looks more like they are crushing for a bruising more than a repeat national champion. Last week beat Maryland 49-28 / this week vs Penn State.
2. Alabama (5-1) – So what if the Tide had a tough time with Arkansas. Hell the Hogs are pretty tough. Hey the Tide have a tough schedule left and this week is going to be fun in good ole Rocky Top! Last week beat Arkansas / this week @ Texas A&M.
3. Baylor (5-0) – The Bears scored 52 points in the first half and then coasting in a 66-7 win over the Jayhawks. Now this week a test in the form of a decent WVA team happens in Waco. Last week beat Kansas 66-7 / this week vs West Virginia.
4. Utah (6-0) – RB Devontae Booker is the most unknown, one of the best players in the land through six games. And the Utes are proving week to week they are good. They must continue to prove themselves Last week beat Cal 30-24 / this week @ Arizona State.
5. LSU (5-0) – It's in Leonard we trust in Baton Rouge. But caution to all who think if you stop #7 you'll win! LSU has three other RB's they can hit you with. And they will need to in order to win it all. Last week beat South Carolina 45-24 / this week vs Florida.
6. TCU (6-0) – Another Big 12 game, another close call and another Horned Frogs win. Is this team living on borrowed time or is this just who they are? A team that wins close games all the time? We shall see. I guess! Last week beat Kansas State 52-45 / this week @ Iowa State.
7. Clemson (6-0) – Clemson Coach Dabo Sweeny got hot when asked if his team is going to rise up or bow out like they have done in past seasons. Dabo was as hot as his Tigers are. Hey no team in the ACC has had bigger more impressive wins than these Tigers. But Clemson is proof until you win it all you'll always be doubted. Last week beat Georgia Tech 43-24 / this week vs Boston College.
8. Michigan (5-1) – Since losing 24-17 in week one to Utah, Big Blue's defense has allowed 14 points and posted three straight shutouts. Now you all are seeing why Vegas bet big bucks on this team going into the season. He left as one of the top three coaches in CFB and right now Jim Harbaugh may be the best! Last week beat Northwestern 38-0 / this week vs Michigan State.
9. Florida (6-0) – The Gators can continue their "we are for real" tour this week in Tiger Stadium against SEC West foe LSU. Florida is good but a win this week makes the Gators bite bigger and better than many of us ever would have imagined this season. Last week beat Missouri 21-3 / this week @ LSU
10. Ole Miss (5-1) - The Rebels are back to their high scoring ways and now head due North to face a dangerous non-SEC foe in rival Memphis. Hey the Boys from Beale Street are not bad. Last week beat New Mexico State 52-3 / this week @ Memphis.
This week's CFB Market report
Each week I'll be your bootleg, pimped out, fake ass wanna be stock holder. Here's my financial college football advice for stock tips this week!
Buy: The Big Ten, Texas A&M, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss and Cal
Sell: Florida State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, USC and the Pac-12
Sunday October 11, 2015
Noon Kickoff Lincoln Financial Field
Series History: The Saints and Eagles have met 29 times. The two clubs have squared off 26 times in regular season matchups, and the two have played in three playoff games. The Eagles lead the regular season series 15-11, with the Saints owning a 2-1 mark in the post season.
Team Records: Both New Orleans and Philadelphia are 1-3 through four games this season.
Last week's results: New Orleans beat Dallas 26-20 in OT, and Washington beat Philadelphia 23-20.
The Saints have done well against the Eagles as of late. In the last six meetings the Saints are 5-1 against the Eagles. Prior to that solid Black and Gold stretch, the Eagles had won six straight games in the series.
The Eagles certainly have their own issues, as all teams that are off to a 1-3 start would. Their offense has struggled, and that is supposed to be their strong suit.
Currently the Eagles rank 29th in total offense, including 30th in rushing offense. Philadelphia is averaging only 70 yards rushing per game through four games this season, and the Eagles are scoring just 19 points per game.
The Eagles problems (according to media that cover the team) start along their O-line.
Philadelphia has been beat down in the media for their lack of offensive production. Even with all of their own issues to deal with, however, the Eagles are only seven points away from being a 3-1 team. Instead Philly sits at 1-3.
The Eagles dropped their first game of the season 26-24 to Atlanta, Dallas handed the Eagles their worst loss of the season in a 20-10 win for the Cowboys. The NY Jets were a TD better beating the Eagles 24-17 and last week the Redskins edged Philly 23-20.
The Eagles will try and get their ground game on track this week against the Saints. With a trio of quality RB's that features Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles, Philly can hit their opponents with a bevy of play makers when it comes to carrying the football.
QB Sam Bradford is coming off his best outing of the season as he tossed three TD's last week against the Redskins. Prior to that game Bradford had thrown only 3 TD's with four interceptions.
The Eagles Defense is allowing 23 points per game and they are not bad defending the run allowing only yards per 97 yards per game which is 13th in the NFL.
And of course the team that wins the battle of turnovers will more than likely win the game. The Eagles are plus +1 on the season (tied for 13th) while the Saints are minus -3 which is 22nd in the league.
In a game that features two desperate teams, this game could come down to special teams and that could mean trouble for the Black and Gold. New Orleans is struggling kicking the football and now the reliable Thomas Morstead is ailing.
And I hate to be the one that reminds you all but that little guy who returns kicks for the Eagles could very well bite us in the you know what this week. The Eagles are a five point favorite over the Saints. I think the game will be close and I like the points. But I don't like the Saints to win. Simply put, to me the Saints are who they are and one win does not mask that this is a team with no identity and I think it's still to soon to label this team as one that is in transition or one that is making one final run or if they are on their way to being done!
If New Orleans wins their next two games I'll have strong hope. But I don't expect that to happen. Philadelphia 27 New Orleans 24
1. New England Patriots (3-0) – They are well rested and now head to Big D to take on a hurt Cowboys Team. Don't look now, but that other team from New York looks like the most serious contender in the East this season. "Looks like" I said! Last week BYE / this week @ Dallas.
2. Green Bay Packers (4-0) – They are proving that they can play with anyone on offense and their defense is slowing round into shape. For the third time this season the Packers take on a foe from the NFC West. Can they out play the Rams physically? I'm betting on Aaron! Last week beat San Francisco 17-3 / this week vs St. Louis.
3. Denver Broncos (4-0) – Denver is proving that less of Peyton is more of Denver being a complete team. This Denver defense is as good as any in the NFL and I think this may be the best Denver team since Peyton has been in White Horse Land. Last week beat Minnesota 23-20/this week @ Oakland.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) – These Cats from the Midwest are off to a hot start and can now become more legit with a win over the Seabirds. Cincy looks like a complete team that is only lacking that post season production. Is this the year they get it? Last week beat Kansas City 36-21 / this week vs Seattle.
5. Atlanta Falcons (4-0) – The Falcons are for real. This team is a lock for the playoffs and now the ATL is in position to battle the Packers and Panthers for the top two seeds this post season. Julio Jones is the best player in the game (along with Aaron Rodgers) and the Falcons defense is a difference maker! Last week beat Houston 48-21 / this week vs Washington.
6. Carolina Panthers (4-0) – Hey they don't win pretty, but they all count the same way. The Cats from Carolina have a stingy defense, a good rushing attack and they have Cam the man! A playoff team for sure this season. Last week beat Tampa Bay 37-23 / this week BYE.
7. Arizona Cardinals (3-1) – Now really, did anyone think the Red Birds would go 16-0? They'll be hard pressed to win the NFC West! Last week lost to St. Louis 24-22 / this week @ Detroit.
8. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) – I still think they are going to win the NFC West and no one, and I mean no one, wants to see this team in the post season! A preview of the next Super Bowl this Sunday? Last week beat Detroit 13-10/ this week @ Cincinnati.
9. New York Jets (3-1) – QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Chris Ivory and WR Brandon Marshall are a legit triple threat on offense and the Jets defense is as good as any. I think this is going to be a sound playoff team this January. Last week beat 27-14/ this week BYE.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) - The Steelers kicked off the weekend missing a FG that cost them the game against the Ravens. One has to wonder can QB Mike Vick keep the Steelers in the AFC North Title hunt while the other #7 is out of action? Last week lost to Baltimore 23-20 / this week @ San Diego.
Here are my rankings as we go into another week of great SEC football!
1. Alabama (4-1) - RTR! The most impressive win this season by any team in any conference thus far. Don't call them out until they are out! Last week beat Georgia 38-10 / this week vs Arkansas
2. LSU (4-0) - Every team plays badly sometimes. LSU knows there is one hurdle in October (Florida )and three in November with Alabama, Ole Miss and A&M. Long way to go. Last week beat Eastern Michigan 44-22 /this week @ South Carolina
3. Florida (5-0) - Welcome to the SEC Title race, UF! These Gators bite hard on defense, they can run the football well and they are getting better each week. Two tough road games this week and next will give us a better sign if these Gators are for real. Last week beat Ole Miss 38-10 / this week @ Missouri
4. Ole Miss (4-1) - I told y'all Ole Miss would lose a game. And I'm telling y'all Ole Miss will lose again. It's not that hard to predict! Last week lost to Florida 10-38 / this week vs New Mexico State.
5. Texas A&M (5-0) - The Aggies defense is better and now A&M has a week off before the Tide come to College Station. Win that one and then I'll believe you're real! Last week beat Mississippi State 30-17 / this week BYE
6. Georgia (4-1) - Did y'all really think UGA was ready to take on Alabama? HELL NO! Hey, Georgia is good but Alabama is on a different level. Last week lost to Alabama 10-38 / this week @ Tennessee.
7. Kentucky (4-1) - The Wildcats got a scare from Eastern Kentucky last week. Now the Wildcats are off before Auburn comes to town. A bowl bid will happen, but a being a threat in the East is a bit of a stretch. Last week beat EKU 34-27 / this week BYE.
8. Missouri (4-1) - The Tigers beat up South Carolina 24-10 and can now prove that they will not give up their East title without a fight. Last week beat SC 24-10 / this week vs Florida.
9. Arkansas (2-3) - They inked one out against the Vols and now head to T-Town to battle the Tide. Uh oh! Last week beat Tennessee 24-20 / this week @ Alabama.
10. Mississippi State (3-2) - A tough loss to the Aggies in which they did not play badly took place last week. The Bulldogs should lick their wounds the next two weeks with non-SEC Games. Last week lost to Texas A&M 17-30 / this week vs Troy.
11. Tennessee (2-3) - The Vols are learning that close calls only count in Horseshoes and Cigars. And neither have anything to do with football. Last week lost to Arkansas 24-20 / this week vs Georgia.
12. South Carolina (2-3) - Is this team really that bad? Well a win over a highly ranked LSU team could make their season. Last week lost to Missouri 10-24 / this week vs LSU.
13. Auburn (3-2) - The Tigers rebounded last week against San Jose. Now the Tigers have a week off to fix some things before the second half of the season begins.
14. Vanderbilt (2-3) - A non-SEC win over Middle Tennessee was difficult, but it did happen. Now the 'Dores catch a week off before they can figure out if they can muster up another win.
You can always tell someone's depth of knowledge of college football when you talk across the board. Is that person blind outside of SEC country? Does that particular someone have an un-biased opinion? Are they really being fair or slanting their take towards the Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12? Well, I'm quite sure that I'm labeled something out there, but I'd like to think that I'm as fair as the next guy!
So as we enter the halfway point of the season here are a few things that I've found interesting about college football in 2015.
1. Don't call anything yet!
Ohio State looks SUPER! Alabama is done! Ole Miss is the best! Michigan State has the best win of the season thus far! The ACC is weak! You get the point don't you?
Truth is, all of the chatter don't amount to a hill of beans right now. What might have looked like a great and impressive win (Michigan State over Oregon) and what might have been a sign of the end is near (Ole Miss beating Alabama) all turns on a dime without notice.
For example, Michigan State's so called most impressive win came against an Oregon team that gave up 62 points at home in a loss to Utah, and Alabama getting beat at home by Ole Miss turned in less than two weeks when the Tide picked up the most impressive win of the season so far dominating Georgia 38-10. In other words, just be quiet, watch as much as you can, and everything will play itself out!
2. Are they for real?
To me, the so-called favorites in some of the power five leagues are not the best team's in their conferences right now! In the Big Ten, sure Ohio State has more talent at QB than any other three teams in America, and they are the defending national champs - but tell me, who's looked more impressive in the Big Ten than Northwestern and Michigan?
Now to those "know it alls" out there, many of you will diss me and call me a fool and throw your own opinion higher above mine - but I've got proven wins on my side. Did you know other than their 24-17 week one loss to undefeated and top 10 ranked Utah that the Wolverines from Michigan have allowed just 14 points and are coming off back to back shutouts? No other team in the nation can say that, and if you think I'm ignorant, do you know who was the fourth highest bet on team to make the national playoffs? Yup it's BIG BLUE! And what about the buzz right outside the Windy City of Chicago? Now I'm not talking about the Cubs! I'm talking about Northwestern University.
If you love defense, then you'll want to watch the Michigan vs NW game this weekend in the Big House! Northwestern has allowed only 44 points this season with an average allowed of only nine points per game. They are 5-0 with an impressive week one win over Pac-12 power Stanford. And Michigan has given up a total of 31 points (6.2 points per game) and their only loss was to Utah. Michigan has the next two weeks at home and back to back wins over Northwestern and Michigan State would sky rocket the Big Blue Boys from the Big House well into the Top 10.
Clemson always gets off to a good start and then plays Georgia Tech. These Tigers are salty on defense and this week have a chance to prove their worth against the Yellow Jackets. Clemson could be the only hope for the ACC to make the four team playoff this season!
Ole Miss has one big win, as they did a year ago. But is that enough? Sure, their road win over the Tide will carry them a long way, but after being blown out on the road at Florida and big games left against Auburn, A&M, LSU and the Egg Bowl I find it hard to think the Rebs will not lose at least one more game!
3. Are they a fraud?
Michigan State plays good defense but they have one quality win, and thank God that rival Michigan is off to a hot start. If Sparty runs the table, they are worthy. If they don't, I'm not sure they will get into the final four.
Florida State has lost one game in two seasons and again this year, people like me question if this team is legit or are they just the best in a weak league? The masses believe the latter of the two and with a weak schedule remaining, the Noles may need rival Florida to be ranked in the top five when they meet later this season!
With the state of Texas out of the hands of the flagship Texas Longhorns, are Baylor and TCU the best teams in the Big 12? The Sooners from Oklahoma may have a say so. OU has a big road win over a decent Tennessee Team and with the other league powers still left to play, the Sooners could prove that the hype about them last year was no fluke, it was just a year too soon!
The Utah Utes are rolling right now and have two quality wins to their credit, beating Michigan and Oregon. But not many are agreeing with me that this team is that good! The next three games against Cal, Arizona State and USC will prove if Utah is for real or not!
4. Who's Heisman is it?
Right now, the name Leonard Fournette is all over the Heisman Trophy. Fournette still has so many huge games to play in and those can enhance his shot or help others get close to him. Should LF do well against Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss and A&M then he should be handed the trophy regardless of what anyone else does.
But for the fun of it, keep a close eye on TCU QB Trevonne Boykin and Ohio State TB Ezekiel Elliot - both of these play makers are the heart and soul of their top ranked teams and they are for real and worth the hype!
5. My favorite 5 teams right now
Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan and Utah
6. The teams I love but are worried about
Ole Miss, Stanford, Florida, Baylor and Florida State
7. Teams that are a little on the overrated side
UCLA, Michigan State, Clemson, Georgia and USC
Well folks, the Saints needed a win and they got it. With the way the NFC South is looking, I think the next two games will determine the rest of the season, but first let's look back at Sunday against Dallas.
The Saints won, and that's the best thing this week. Now they need to string a few wins together if they plan on being in the mix this season. The defense was very good on third downs - Dallas finished the game 3-of-12 on third down conversions, including just 1-for-5 in the second half. The Saints defense got off the field when they needed to most. Generally, the team got off to a much better start in this game and finished the up strong.
The Saints clock management towards the end of the game was questionable, at the very least. New Orleans got the ball with a TD lead up 20-13 with 4:24 left in the game. The Saints threw two passes and Mark Ingram ran out of bounds, taking only 12 seconds off the clock. The Saints could have taken at least another minute off the clock and put more pressure on an already nervous Brandon Weeden, but they did not. Weeden led his team down the field for a game-tying TD!
Looking up in the NFC South division, the Saints are happy to get a win but this team is in a serious hole behind 4-0 Carolina and 4-0 Atlanta. The Saints are going to have to go on a few three to four game win streaks this season in order to have any chance at all to make some noise in the NFC South this season.
Let's give out some helmet stickers to some of the top players. The Saints best defensive players so far this season are all players that were not on the team last year. Rookies Hau'oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony led the Saints in tackles and fellow rookie Damian Swann had another good showing as well. RB CJ Spiller came up with the biggest play of the season and RB Mark Ingram totaled 128 yards on 23 touches in the Saints big win.
The Saints head to the City of Brotherly Love to take on a struggling Eagles team in Philadelphia. New Orleans really needs this win in order to get the fans back on board and believing again. The season, to me, is on the line here. I think the Saints need to beat Philly and set up a Thursday night showdown with Atlanta. If the Saints come home 2-3 with a shot to get to five hundred with the Falcons coming to town, it would bode well and set up a big, meaningful game - something that the Superdome has not had in a while!
Please shut up when it comes to putting Alabama out of the playoff talks. The Tide still have the best CFB program in the nation and they are still by far the best overall team in the SEC! Until someone else proves it, tough! Ohio State got a scare, Michigan State is overrated and Ole Miss found out that it's a long season, and one quality win won't get you to the playoffs! Folks, let all the pundits do all the week to week garbage talking when it comes to national playoffs. In the end, the best four teams will rise to the top!
1. Ohio State - They're #1 because they finished the season that way a year ago, and I live by the rule - until the champ is beat they are still the champ. However it looks like the Buckeyes have a long way to go this season! Last week beat Indiana 34-27/ this week Maryland.
2. Alabama - Tell me, what team has the most impressive win this season? Yes, it's Alabama. To all the idiots out there who thought because of one game that this program was out, well you are what you are. Still the best program in America! Last week beat Georgia 38-10 / this week @ Tennessee
3. TCU - The Frogs gave Texans a lesson on which school owns the best football program in the Lone Star State! But is it TCU or Baylor? I know it's not Texas! Last week beat Texas 50-7 / this week @ Kansas State.
4. Baylor - The Bears routed a good Texas Tech team and are on a collision course with TCU later this season. Last week beat Texas Tech 63-35 / this week vs Kansas.
5. LSU - Yes they struggled in their win over Eastern Michigan, but name one team this season that has not struggled? Looks like the Tigers and Tide are going to have a big say so in the playoff hunt! Last week beat EMU 44-23/ this week @ South Carolina.
6. Florida - The Gators defense has always been legit and now their team has crashed the playoff party without warning. Man in two weeks a date at LSU is going to be nasty! Last week beat Ole Miss 38-10 / this week @ Missouri.
7. Utah - The Utes are the Class of the Pac-12 right now. And the next three weeks will prove if I'm right with games versus Cal, Arizona State and USC. Last week BYE / this week vs Cal.
8. Clemson - The Tigers always seemingly get off to a hot start and then Georgia Tech comes to town. Oops did I just say that? After a win over the Irish thats what the Tigers are facing this week. Last week beat Notre Dame 24-22 / this week vs Georgia Tech.
9. Michigan - Call me a Jim Harbaugh lover but since Big Blue lost 24-17 to open the season the Wolverines have allowed 14 points and just post back to back shutouts. Has anyone else done that? Look out this week as a huge one, perhaps the biggest ever between Northwestern and Michigan, goes down in the Big House! Last week beat Maryland 28-0 / this week vs Northwestern.
10. Michigan State - The Spartans are overrated. But they can prove me and the nation wrong with a big win in two weeks at the Big House. It ain't gonna happen. Last week beat Purdue 24-21 / this week @ Rutgers.
Just a little extra for ya!
Bye - Northwestern, Texas A&M, Stanford and Oklahoma
Sell - Georgia, Florida State, UCLA and Ole Miss
Series History: Dallas and the Saints have played a total of 27 times. Dallas has 16 victories, while the Saints have won 11. Prior to last season's game, the Saints had won three straight and five of the last six, but in 2014 Dallas jumped out to a commanding 24-0 halftime lead and went on to beat the Saints 38-17.
The Saints and Cowboys square off once again with each team seemingly headed in different directions. Dallas is coming off their first loss of the season while for the second time in four years the Saints have started a season 0-3.
New Orleans is desperate for a win and Dallas needs to find a way to win without their two best players in QB Tony Romo and WR Dez Bryant. If Dallas can find a way to stay around five hundred before they get their go-to guys back, then maybe, just maybe the Cowboys can make a run at the post season when and if they get Dez and Tony back.
Dallas jumped out to a 21-7 and 28-14 lead over Atlanta last week before the Falcons rolled over Dallas in the final quarter en-route to a 39-28 win over the Cowboys.
What the Saints need to do?
Well folks, this is it - if the Saints lose Sunday then the season is over. Sure there will be 12 more games left on the schedule but there is no way the Saints will come back from that poor start and make the playoffs.
New Orleans needs to run better, rush the passer better, win the turnover battle and have someone on offense step up and make a big play. Who is the Saints go-to man on offense? No one seems to know.
I think the next three games can be not only a season saver but perhaps a franchise saver when it comes to the Sean Payton era. Should New Orleans get to 3-3 after six games that would represent three huge wins over playoff caliber teams.
Should the Saints lose to Dallas, I can't see this team being anything other than a spoiler or a team that musters up a five hundred record. And to me that's sad. This team is well paid at the top, they have been among the elite for nearly a decade and to me another poor start means that more than just X's and O's are the problem.
Questionable drafts, losing draft picks to trades, bad free agent picks and disciplinary problems are all starting to catch up with the Saints. With that said, the Saints are a win away from feeling good about themselves, and a win Sunday could possibly start something good!
Run the football!
New Orleans needs to run the ball against the Cowboys. Atlanta gashed Dallas and New Orleans should be able to get four yards per carry against the Cowboys Sunday night. The Saints brought in big players to boost their O-Line and now we want to see the results. Asking the Saints to rush the ball effectively against Dallas is not that huge of a deal. The Saints getting the job done may very well be!
Go Marcus Go!
The Saints have a new spark plug when it comes to making plays and he's rookie Marcus Murphy. Murphy was electric last week as he totaled 154 yards on five touches with a 74 yard punt return for a TD. Murphy should be more involved on offense and a team that needs a spark should call on the hot hand. Double M is hot!
Win the turnover battle, win the game!
When the Saints don't turn the ball over under Sean Payton, they don't lose. New Orleans was minus -2 last week in turnovers against Carolina. And the Saints are minus -3 for the season. If the Saints lose the battle of turnovers Sunday night they will more than likely lose the game!
The Big Chief's Final Analysis
New Orleans is a 4 1/2 point favorite over Dallas. Are the Cowboys as bad as Tampa even without Tony Romo? Can QB Brandon Weeded play as good as Bucs QB Jamies Winston did two weeks ago in the Superdome?
I'm thinking that the Saints are favored here because they are at home. New Orleans has lost their last six home games. And what would be a more prefect time to stop that skid than Sunday night against the Cowboys?
I think the Saints could win, but I'm not betting on it. In the spirit of being with the home team, I'll pick the Saints and take the points. New Orleans 28 Dallas 24!