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Deke Bellavia

"Sports Talk" Co-Host
Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com
Posts from October 2013


Deke Bellavia: NFL top 10 - Week #9
The Chiefs are still perfect!  The Seabirds did not look so good.  The Bengals are damn good too.   The Saints better “clean-up” their act so says Coach Payton.  The Niners are starting to look like the defending NFC Champs again, while those Cheese Heads from Wisconsin are on a serious run.  And, the powers in the NFC look a few paces better than those on the American side.  Look out…here comes those Cam & Cats from Carolina!   Here’s my TOP 10!
 
1.  Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) – The Chiefs just go right along about their business and play their brand of football.  Once again the KC defense stood out, especially LB Derrick Johnson, who had 12 tackles.  Last week Kansas City beat Cleveland 23-17 / this week @ Buffalo .
 
2.  Seattle Seahawks (7-1) – The Seabirds looked worse than they have all season, giving up nearly 200 rushing yards and nearly losing to the Rams.  But, this is the NFL and it's hard to win.  And, Seattle has over half of their remaining games at home where they are invincible.  Defense wins titles.  Seattle has the best secondary and the best overall D in the league.  Last week beat St. Louis 14-9/ this week vs Tampa Bay.
 
3.  New Orleans Saints (6-1) – The Saints got a sloppy win over Buffalo.  Coach Sean Payton is not pleased with some of the things he feels like his team should be doing better.  Now a tough stretch of games begins in November with a visit to the Jets in New York.  Last week the Saints beat Buffalo 35-17 / this week @ NY Jets.
 
4.  Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – The horseshoes are rested and ready to take complete control of the AFC South.  Am I the only one who wonders why the Indianapolis Colts are in a South Division?  Last week Indy had a bye / this week @ Houston.    
 
5.  Denver Broncos (7-1) – Denver toyed with the Redskins…allowing Washington to take an early lead.  Then, Mr. Manning and the Broncos went to work by outscoring the Skins 31-0 in the final quarter.  The next four games are dates @ SD, home against the Chiefs followed by road games @ NE and KC.  Win those and the #1 seed should be Denver in the AFC.  Last week the Broncos beat Washington 45-21 / this week off. 
 
6.  San Francisco 49ers (6-2) – San Francisco had no problem at all with the Jaguars.  SF led 28-0 and then coasted to a 42-10 win.  These guys from Rice-a-Roni land are on a collision course with their division rival Seabirds.  Man, it’s like an ole Pac-10 rivalry like when Pete was at SC and Jim was at Stanford.  Last week the 49ers beat Jacksonville 42-10 / this week off. 
 
7.  Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) – In a division with not much consistency, the Bengals are by far the class of the AFC North.  The Jungle could be a big advantage for the Bengals, if they can land one of the top two seeds in the AFC.  They are in position after eight games!  Cincy is 4-0 at home this season!  Last week the Bengals beat the NY Jets 49-9 / this week @ Miami.  
 
8.  New England Patriots (6-2) – After falling behind 14-0 and then 17-3, the Patriots stormed back to finish the game by outscoring the Fins 24-0.  Now NE can stay ahead of the rest of the AFC East with a win over the Burg!  Last week the Patriots beat Miami 27-17 / this week vs Pittsburgh. 
 
9.  Green Bay Packers (5-2) – QB Aaron Rodgers is playing better than any QB and perhaps any player in the NFL right now with the exception of Meggatron over in Motown.  WR Jordy Nelson has become all-pro caliber.  Don't be surprised if the Pack wins at least 8 of their last 9 regular season games.  I'd bet they might win all nine.  Last week Green Bay beat Minnesota  44-31 / this week vs Philadelphia.  
 
10.  Detroit Lions (5-3) – The Comeback cats from Motown saved their best for last.  Calvin Johnson went off!  Meggatron hauled in 14 receptions for 329 yards and a score in the win over the Silver Stars.  The Lions are clearly a team that looks to be in the NFC playoff mix.  Last week Detroit beat Dallas 31-30 / this week off. 
 
10-B.  Carolina Panthers (4-3) - The Panthers won four of five and including three straight games.  Carolina has everything in front of them and their defense is salty to say the least.  Carolina has allowed only 44 points in their last five games.  My people, that’s less than 9 points per game.  The next three games will give us a good indication of how legit Cam and his Cats are with dates against Atlanta, SF and NE.  Win all three and Carolina would become a member of the elite class of teams in the NFC.  Last week the Panthers beat Tampa Bay 31-13 / this week vs Atlanta.   
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Big Chief’s CFB Top 10 - Week #10
The Big 12 is climbing the charts with two teams in my top ten.  The Iron Bowl is looking bigger and bigger and this week a good ole battle takes place in the state that used to run CFB.  That would be the Sunshine State.  Let’s take a look at this week’s TOP 10! 
  1. Alabama (8-0) – Alabama gave up 52 points in their first two games including 42 to Texas A&M.  The last six games the Tide allowed only 26 points.  RTR.  A week off before the Boys from the Bayou come to town!  Last week Bama beat Tennessee 45-10 / this week off.
 
  1. Florida State - (7-0) – The Noles young gun Mr. Winston passed for 3 TD’s in FSU’s big win over the Wolfpack.  The Seminoles average margin of victory this season is 40 points.  Just saying!  Last week Florida State beat NC State 49-17 / this week vs The U!
 
  1. Oregon (8-0) – After a tight first half the Ducks out quacked the Bruins from L.A. 28-0 in the second half of the game.  Now Oregon has two weeks to get ready for the last possible thing standing between them and the national title game… Stanford!  Last week Oregon beat UCLA 42-14 / this week off.
 
  1. Ohio State (8-0) – The Buckeyes were going for style points in their 63-14 win over the Lions.  With 686 yards of total offense OSU wanted to flex their muscles.  RB Carlos Hyde went off with 147 yards and 2 TD’s averaging 9.2 yards per carry.  Last week Ohio State beat Penn State 63-14 / this week @ Purdue. 
 
  1. Baylor Bears (7-0) – The Bears blew out the Jayhawks and had two RB’s rush for over 100 yards.  Lache Seastrunk averaged 8.4 yards per attempt; Shock Linwood was at 11.8 yards per tote.  Now the Bears can really show the world how good they are with a win over the Sooners.  Last week Baylor beat Kansas 59-14 / this week vs Oklahoma. 
 
6.     Miami Hurricanes (7-0) – Okay, the Canes got by last week.  Now the blowout happens.  Miami is a great story and I’m pulling for them.  But, the U is not on the class of rival FSU right now.  So let it be written…and this week it shall be done!   Last week Miami beat Wake Forest 24-21 / this week @ Florida State. 
 
  1. Stanford Cardinal (7-1) – The Cardinal have pulled off back to back wins over top 25 teams, after suffering their first loss of the season.  When you’re talking about possible one-loss teams playing for a national title, that conversation starts with Stanford.  And, did I mention this team can beat you on the field, and they will beat your brains out in the classroom too!  Last week Stanford beat Oregon State 20-12 / this week off.
 
  1. Auburn Tigers (7-1) – The Tigers are sitting pretty right now.  The path these Tigers are taking could lead them right to Pasadena.  Auburn has everything and I mean everything in front of them. 628 yards of total offense and an early lead allowed the Tigers to focus on Arkansas this week.  Last week Auburn beat Florida Atlantic 45-10 / this week vs Arkansas. 
 
  1. Clemson (7-1) – Clemson and Miami are the worst two teams in my Top 10.  In case you’re asking.  Last week Clemson beat Maryland 40-27/ this week @ Virginia. 
 
10.  Oklahoma (7-1) – The Sooners knocked off previously unbeaten Texas Tech last week and now Oklahoma can really thrust forward, if they can knock off the high scoring Bears from Baylor.  It won’t happen.  Last week Oklahoma beat Texas Tech 38-30 / this week @ Baylor. 
 
 
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Deke Bellavia - SEC Rankings – Week 10
Well, the great state of Alabama won the last four national titles and the likelihood of that state keeping the title is far greater than not.  Missouri got knocked off, and now the world’s largest cocktail party takes place with not much on the line.  Oh, yes, Auburn is good and here comes the “ole ball coach” again.  Here are my SEC Rankings:
  1. Alabama (8-0) – The Tide just keeps rolling.  Alabama is like a big machine that keeps on pumping out wins.  With that said, it looks like the Tide may have a legit contender in the title game this January.  Possibly, that is.  Last week Bama beat Tennessee 45-10 / this week off.
 
  1. Auburn (7-1) – The Tigers are the most improved team in the nation.  The Tigers are  getting better each week, and from the looks of things this year’s Iron Bowl could be smokin’.  Last week Auburn beat Florida Atlantic 45-10 / this week @ Arkansas.
 
  1. South Carolina (6-2) – Down 17-0 in the fourth quarter with their season on the line the Gamecocks rallied to knock off the upstart Tigers.  Now with a little help…and if they keep winning…SC could make it to Atlanta.  Last week South Carolina beat Missouri 27-24 in overtime / this week vs Mississippi State.
 
  1. Missouri (7-1) – Laces out!  If only the Tigers would have scored in overtime, they might have won.  With all that said, these Tigers are still in complete control of the SEC East.  But with another loss, the Gamecocks could get to the ATL.  Last week Missouri lost to South Carolina 27-24 in overtime / this week vs Tennessee.
 
  1. Texas A&M (6-2) – If Johnny Football was hurt last week, he sure didn’t show it.  The Aggies look to be in mighty good shape to run the table and land in a nice bowl game.  Last week the Aggies beat Vanderbilt 56-24 / this week vs UTEP. 
 
  1. LSU (7-2) – up only 20-16 over Furman at halftime leads me to believe these Tigers play up to their competition.  Now the Bengals have two weeks to get ready for the Tide.  So does Alabama.  Last week LSU beat Furman 48-16 / this week off.
 
  1. Ole Miss (5-3) – The Rebels will be favored to win the rest of their games.  A ten win season would be a huge boost to the Rebels program moving forward.  This team already has all they need to make a run in the SEC next year.  Last week Ole Miss beat Idaho / this week off.
 
8.   Georgia (4-3) – UGA has to win out to have a decent season by Bulldogs standards.  Mark Richt is the longest tenured coach in the SEC…with the least amount of respect.  Last week Georgia was off / this week vs Florida.
9.   Florida (4-3) – If only Florida could score 24 points per game.  It’s one of the worst offensive units the SEC has seen in the last 25 years.  Look at the numbers, people.  Last week Florida was off / this week vs Georgia.
 
The REST
Mississippi State needs two wins to become bowl eligible, so does Vanderbilt.  Tennessee has a shot to get to six wins as well, while Kentucky looks a few steps ahead of the Razorbacks right now.  The SEC could very well have 12 of their 14 teams advance to bowl games.
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Deke: Saints vs Bills Preview
Buffalo Bills (3-4) @ New Orleans Saints (5-1)

Sunday October 27, 2013; noon kickoff; Mercedes Benz Superdome

Last week’s results:  Buffalo beat Miami 23-21; the Saints were off. 

Series History:  The Saints lead the series 5-4.  The last meeting took place in September 2009, when the Saints beat the Bills 27-7 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo.

What they are saying:

Buffalo Head Coach Doug Marrone on changing the culture in Buffalo
You don’t really know what’s gone on before; you just kind of go in there and want to create. For me, it was difficult with the new CB…where you get hired as the new Head Coach and you’re not going to see your team, until they report sometime in March or April.  It’s interesting because here they are as a team and the team comes first and things like that, but you have to find out all their information.  I’m not big on social media, so this was the first time I thought it was a great advantage for me, because I was able to communicate with a lot of the players on the team through social media to make sure that they knew what was going on…who we were hiring, what we were doing and trying to really build a trust.  I tell people all the time, when people use those catchphrases, change a culture and things like that, the first thing you need to have a culture is a language. That’s the first thing you have to learn, how to communicate with each other.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we’re definitely heading in the right direction.
 
Buffalo Bills DL Kyle Williams on the performance of Coach Doug Marrone
I think he’s done a good job as far as taking expectations and putting them out there to the guys and not being ashamed of them.  Saying, ‘These are our goals; this is my expectations for not just our team, but individually.  Here are my expectations for you Kyle or you Mario (Williams) or whoever it may be.’  Really kind of holding you to the standard and living up to them…and pushing you to get there.  That’s what he’s done for our team.  Everybody has injuries and nobody is going to feel sorry for you.  Really just trying to change a lot of mindsets or enforce a lot of mindsets when you look at the young guys we have coming in.
 
Saints Coach Sean Payton on the Bills Blitz packages
“They get a lot of pressure from just their base.  You know, Mario Williams plays that weak side/outside linebacker position, which can put him right or left based on your formation in the base.  In the nickel snaps, he’s more to our right and to his left.  He’s had an exceptional season.  He’s had sacks from inside.  He’s had sacks from outside.  He’s someone who is comfortable on either side of the tackle.  So you’ve seen that production.  He’s healthy.  He’s long.  Certainly he is a player that you have to account for, because he changed the game last week, we saw in the final snaps.  He’s really playing well.  I think collectively as a defense they’re at the top of the league in pressures and sacks.  They’re number one in the league in interceptions.  Those usually kind of go hand-in-hand often times, if the clock is quick for the quarterback, it benefits the back end. That’s certainly one of the challenges this week.”
 
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis
Okay, if the Saints are going to rush the football with more authority and consistency, we should begin to see better results this week.  Buffalo ranks 28th against the run and the Saints have had some extra time to prepare for their final 10 games of the regular season.
I’m looking to see what the Saints do on the ground against the Bills.  In order for the Bills to stay in this game, they will have to do what they’ve been doing well.  The Bills lead the league in interceptions and they rush the ball at a very high level.

Buffalo is 5th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with an average of 140.4.  If Buffalo has any chance, they will have to move the ball on the ground and they are going to have to win the turnover battle.

DE Mario Williams has already reached 10 sacks this season, after finishing with just 10.5 a year ago for the Bills defense.  With all that said, it’s hard for me to believe the Bills are going to come into the dome and move the ball with a lot of success against a Rob Ryan defense.
The Bill’s bread & butter has to be their ground attack.  But, will that be enough?  I think the Saints will do their fair share in making QB Thad Lewis feel unwelcomed in the Superdome.  In the NFL double digit underdogs cover far more times than not, and I could see the Bills making this close.

I’ll play it close to the vest and say New Orleans 27 Buffalo 16
 
 
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Deke Bellavia: Prep Football - Week #8 –lots of interesting matchups
Folks, without question…time flies when you’re having fun!  The 2013 prep football season is already in the eighth week and time is ticking for those who are trying to land in a good spot for the upcoming…shall I say unique…post season.
 
Truth be told, I’d like to think I know a thing or two about prep football in this great state of ours, but I have a lot of questions about each of the nine divisions that will have playoffs beginning in just a few weeks.

There are some interesting match-ups still left in the regular season.  The best match-up in the New Orleans metro area this season may not have taken place yet.  Sure, Karr and Curtis was incredible, Karr and St. Aug was even better.  But, good ole fashion Catholic League games are hard to beat, aren’t they?

Saturday night I would much rather see Holy Cross versus St. Augustine than many other college football games.  The Purple Knights have lost just one time, while the Tigers of Holy Cross have kind of forgotten what it’s like to lose a game.

The last game the Tigers lost was last December in the Class 4A semi-finals, when Holy Cross fell to eventual state champ Edna Karr.  Now Coach Barry Wilson and his Tigers can really open even more eyes by knocking off the high powered Knights.

That task is a tall one as the Knights are loaded on both sides of the football.  But, if the game is tight and it comes down to a kick, the Tigers would be in good shape.
The Blue Jays of Jesuit battle the Rummel Raiders tonight in City Park.  Kristian Garic and Allen Waddell broadcast our Prep Football round-up from this great venue.  You see, Kristian and I both cut our teeth here at WWL Radio by covering prep football.  Surely we are not in an elite class, but I’d like to say, very proudly that Kristian and I have come a long way from doing 90 second reports on Friday nights.  For me that was some 15 years ago, when I first got my foot in the door.  And, of course, K-Dog is now just one of 32 sideline reporters in the National Football League.  Just sayin’!

East Ascension is undefeated and #8 in the 5A top 10, while the Griffins of Dutchtown are 5-2 and 1-1 in district 5-5A play.  This is a huge game in the Baton Rouge metro.  The Hannan Hawks can get right back in the district 7-2A race.

Hannan fell to St. Thomas Aquinas two weeks ago, and last week the Northlake Christian Wolverines used an overtime thriller to knock off those very same STA Falcons.  With the league title within their reach, Northlake can pretty much slam the door on the rest of the district, or Archbishop Hannan can forge a three way tie for the league lead.

The Edna Karr Cougars are at Belle Chasse!  And, don’t miss our “WWL Online Game of the Week” – with Seth Dunlap doing the play-by-play…live from the St. Paul’s @ Covington Lions game.  St. Paul is now just three district wins away from making it five straight seasons without a loss in district play.  That’s quite impressive. 

Tonight is the best night of the season by far as the first good cool snap is in the area.  Yes, those old school lettermen jackets will be seen at some games tonight, and when the weather is cooler, the games always seem to be more enjoyable.

I love high school football!
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Deke: Les Miles tells me Tigers have to improve

It's been a tough few days for LSU Coach Les Miles. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him about the difficult loss on Saturday and look ahead to the rest of the week.

Coach Miles explained to me what he thought his team did wrong at Ole Miss, and what he plans to work on this week as they Tigers prepare to face the Furman Paladins for Homecoming Saturday in Death Valley.  Coach also says that his Tigers still have a lot to play for although LSU no longer controls their own fate in the SEC.
 
After this weeks game against Furman, the Tigers have two bye weeks in between games against Alabama on November 9 and Texas A&M on November 23.  I asked Coach Miles what he meant when he said that it was his fault and he shouldered the blame in the Tigers 27-24 loss at Ole Miss.
 
"I can do a better job of coaching.  I can do a better job of teaching my guys.  And I can do a better job of preparing us," Miles confessed. 

Furman is not a conference opponent; is there anything more difficult trying to come out of a loss against an opponent that's out of conference and has less of a bearing on what happens to your own team?

"Ideally you'd like to have a team that's very significant...  the good news about Furman is that when we watch the film, we'll realize this is a challenge, they got good players, they'll tackle you, they'll run to the ball, they'll make plays offensively, and we'll have to improve."

What allowed you to turn it around when you were down those three big scores and get back in the game?

"I think there's a resolve on our football team, there's no question that we were going to respond. They tried to overplay the play. They tried to make more of the plays that were called in the game than were meant to be there... when they started playing within themselves, the game came to them and we finally got pressure on the opponent, and should we have started that practice earlier, today would be a much different day."

You can listen to my entire conversaton with Coach Les Miles and Deke Bellavia by clicking here

Photo credit Steve Franz, LSU Athletics

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Deke Bellavia: NFL top 10 - Week #8
The horses got beaten in a homecoming of sorts.  The Horseshoes are a power in the AFC, while the Chiefs of KC are 7-0.  The Seahawks are arguably the best team in the league.  The Saints are well rested.  Green Bay is climbing the charts.  And, it only took eight weeks for a team from the host Super Bowl City to make it into my Top 10.  Let’s take a look at my poll as we prepare for the halfway point of the 2013 season.  

1.  Kansas City Chiefs (7-0) – This team went from picking second overall in the 2013 NFL Draft to being the top team in the NFL.  The Chiefs are the lone perfect team in professional football right now.  After not getting one sack in the first half of last week’s game, KC got five in the second half in their win over the Texans.  Tamba Hali has nine QB take downs in only seven games.  Can you say All-Pro?  Last week KC beat Houston 17-16 / this week vs Cleveland.

2.  Seattle Seahawks (6-1) – Seattle has the best defense in the league and QB Russell Wilson is maturing quite nicely.  Seattle limited the Red Birds to just 234 yards of total offense and 1.7 yards per rushing attempt.  That, folks, is championship defense.  Last week the Seahawks beat Arizona 34-22 / this week @ St. Louis.

3.  New Orleans Saints (5-1) – The Saints are well rested and get back to work this week against a much improved Bills club.  The Saints have a difficult stretch next month, which could decide how long the Black & Gold remain in the home field advantage chase in the NFC!  Last week bye / this week vs Buffalo.

4.  Indianapolis Colts (5-2) – Young Andrew and his cast of more than just "lucky" Colts are damn good.  Could Mr. Luck lead his horseshoes to the Super game in just his second year in the league?  It’s happened in this league before you know!  Last week Indy beat Denver 39-33/this week bye.     

5.  Denver Broncos (6-1) – Homecomings are hard to win on the road.  Everyone expected Denver to be in first place of the AFC West.  And everyone expected this team of horses to win a lot of games. No one, not even Aristotle himself could have predicted Denver would trail the KC Chiefs in the West after seven games.  Last week the Broncos lost to Indianapolis 39-33/ this week vs Washington.  

6.  San Francisco 49ers (5-2) – San Fran, I say San Fran is starting to gel.  The 49ers are  playing mistake free football again and they are winning the turnover battle.  That formula has led the guys from the Bay to back to back NFC Title Game appearances.  Last week San Francisco beat Tennessee 31-17 / this week @ Jacksonville.  

7.  Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) –Don’t look now, but the Bengals from the Natty are in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North.  Cincy won back to back games by calling on FG kicker Mike Nugent.  Nugent nailed a 54 yarder to lift the Bengals over the other Cats from Motown.  Watch out for a huge one this week on the road at the NY planes.  Last week Cincinnati beat Detroit 27-24 / this week @ NY Jets.

8.  New England Patriots (5-2) – 5-2 after seven games...with all this team had to deal with ...is not bad at all.  With that said, it looks like the Patriots have some good competition in the AFC East.  Last week New England lost to the NY Jets 30-27 OT / this week vs Miami.  

9.  Green Bay Packers (4-2) – GB is looking more and more like they are about to pull away from the rest of the "pack" in the NFC North.  QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 260 yards with three TD’s and no mistakes in the Packers’ win over the Browns.  Last week Green Bay beat Cleveland 31-13 / this week @ Minnesota.  

10. New York Jets (4-3) – Rex Ryan has done an incredible job.  The Jets have a great defense and their rookie QB has a cannon for an arm.  Through seven games the Jets are more than just alive in the AFC East title hunt.  Never give up on a fighter.  Rex Ryan is a fighter and his team plays exactly like him.  Last week New York beat New England 30-27 OT / this week vs Cincinnati.  

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Big Chief's CFB Top 10 - Week #9
Dayum, Dayum, Dayum!  Six of the top eleven teams lost.  Say goodbye to the LSU Tigers.  Say hello to the Missouri Tigers.  And, watch out…yes, watch out...for the Auburn Tigers.  Could the Iron Bowl decide the national title game?  The Noles are for real…for real. And, one, maybe two undefeated teams might get left out!  Here’s my TOP 10 for week 9 in college football! 
  1. Alabama (7-0) –Alabama 100 Kentucky & Arkansas 7.  Man, don’t look now, but it looks like a smokin’ hot Iron Bowl this season.  And, please, to the rest of the nation saying they want to play Alabama.  Shut the hell up!  Last week Bama beat Arkansas 52-7 / this week vs Tennessee.
 
  1. Florida State - (6-0) – The Noles brutalized Clemson.  If FSU runs the table, they deserve a shot at the title.  I’m a believer!  Last week the Seminoles crushed Clemson 52-14 / this week vs NC State.    
 
  1. Oregon (7-0) – With Florida State jumping the Ducks in my poll, Oregon will need some style points to get back to the #2 spot.  Or, they can hit their knees and pray like everyone else that Alabama loses!  Last week Oregon beat Washington State 62-38 / this week vs UCLA.
 
  1. Ohio State (7-0) – The Buckeyes could actually win 25 straight games and not even sniff the BCS Title Game.  Can’t wait to see what commissioner Jim Delany says, if that happens!  Last week Ohio State beat Iowa 34-24 / this week vs Penn State. 
 
  1. Missouri Tigers (7-0) – I know they’re hurt at QB, but Coach Gary Pinkel is doing perhaps his best job ever.  And, this team has a lead in an SEC division…an unheard of two game lead.  Now, with two more wins over SC and Tennessee, this group of Tigers from the SEC East can lock up a trip to Atlanta.  Last week Missouri beat Florida 36-17 / this week vs South Carolina. 
 
  1. Baylor Bears (6-0) – The Bears scored 69 or more points in five of their six games.  Look out America…here come the Bears from Waco!  Last week Baylor beat Iowa State 71-7 / this week @ Kansas. 
 
7.     Miami Hurricanes (6-0) – Okay, the Canes are not near as good as the teams above them.  But, Al Golden is doing a hell of a job, and who else deserves to be above the U?   A win over rival FSU in two weeks could set the CFB world on fire!  The Canes do have a damn good defense that allows only 17 points per game.  And you know they say…defense wins championships.  Last week Miami beat UNC 27-23 / this week vs Wake Forest. 
 
  1. Stanford Cardinal (6-1) – The Cardinal had a nice bounce back game in a convincing 24-10 win over UCLA.  Okay, you “one loss” BCS Title Game talkers…be sure to include this bunch in your convo!  Look out for those Beavers this weekend.  Last week Stanford beat UCLA 24-10 / this week @ Oregon State.
 
  1. Clemson (6-1) – I’ll ask you, is 52-14 an butt kicking?  How is Clemson still ranked in the top 10?  Well, because five teams behind them lost too!  Last week Clemson lost to Florida State 52-14 / this week Maryland.
 
10.  Texas Tech (7-0) – The Red Raiders deserve to be in the top 10.  First year Coach Cliff Kingsbury has his team focused and playing well.  With that said, the next two weeks will be the telltale sign with back to back games against the Oklahoma’s.  Last week Texas Tech beat West Virginia 37-27/ this week @ Oklahoma.
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Deke Bellavia: Prep Football - the 2nd Half Begins
Folks, time does fly when you are having fun!  It’s week seven of the 2013 prep football season.  Teams are starting to show their playoff potential and there are more big games in the this weekend.

To me, the story this season so far is how the Metro New Orleans area has taken over Class 4A.  In a season that promises to be full of question marks about the post season, one thing I know for sure…the 4A non-select playoffs will be incredible.

Right now Karr, East Jefferson, Landry/Walker and Warren Easton are all ranked in the 4A top 10.  We all knew Karr was good.  EJ is way better than they've been in a long time.  The Charging Bucs are for real.  And, the Eagles of Warren Easton are legit state title contenders.  I've never seen a 4A presence from the New Orleans area so strong.  And when you throw in McDonough #35 and Belle Chase, it only thickens the 4A plot!

Tonight I have the opportunity to be at one of the best venues for high school football in the state, if not the country!  In a good ole fashion newly created rivalry, the St. Thomas Aquinas Falcons will battle the Northlake Christian Wolverines at Strawberry Stadium on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus in Hammond.

We all love rival games.  But, to be able to watch a rivalry form is fascinating.  I can honestly say I am young enough to see the birth of the NBA's Heat versus Knicks rivalry and, of course, the Bulls versus those very same NY Knickerbockers. 

But, other than that, most of the rivalries I've witnessed were well established before I came along.  This up and coming rivalry in Class 2A is starting to get some well-deserved attention.

Only about 22 miles separate Northlake Christian and STA.  The Wolverines reside in Covington,the Falcons’ home is Hammond.  These teams have become two of the best in district 7-2A.  Coach Tony Agrestabuilt a solid program at Northlake.  Coach John White looks to have one of his better STA Falcons teams this season.

Going into tonight’s battle the Wolverines are perfect on the season with a 6-0 mark, while the Falcons are on a five game win streak after losing their first game.

Northlake has quickly risen to be a playoff caliber team each year, and the Falcons have been around a little longer on the gridiron.  STA and Northlake are currently among the state's top rated clubs in the select side of Class 2A.

Northlake brings an offense that averages 38 points per game.  And the Wolverines defense is salty, allowing just 58 points all season long…allowing their first six foes only 9.7 points per game.

Over on the Falcons side, STA averages 39 points per game and they allow 15.  Folks, the numbers show this is going to be a barn burner on what looks to be the coolest night of prep football so far this season.

And the venue is superb!  Just this week Southeastern Louisiana named their former baseball coach Jay Artigues the new Athletic Director, and the campus has been the  home St. Thomas Aquinas Falcons football games for a long time.

Getting out on the road is so much fun.  Now, last week was bizarre, witnessing the arrest of two refs, but the atmosphere at the St. Paul's and Mandeville game was incredible.

Now tonight we have a chance to broadcast from a college football stadium, with two good teams and some excited fans.  This is what prep football is all about!

I hope to see you there.  Don't forget to check out our online game of the week.  As Seth Dunlap and the "Iron Man" Tony D bring you a good one between River Parish rivals…as the Hahnville Tigers battle the East St. John Wildcats.

In a great Catholic League tilt the high powered Tigers of Holy Cross take on the Crusaders of Brother Martin and the Charging Bucs of Landry Walker battle Belle Chase.

Yes, I'm stoked about week 7.  And you should be too!  Get out to a game and support prep football! 
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Deke Bellavia: SEC Rankings
The BEST:

1.    Alabama 6-0 – The Tide are rolling and now it looks like a two game schedule left with a date against LSU.  And, yes, the other team in Alabama is not too bad either.  We could be in store for a good Iron Bowl this season.  Last week Bamabeat Kentucky 48-7 / this week vs AR-Kansas.

2.    LSU (6-1) – The Tigers defense allowed just 16 points in 240 yards of total offense in a big win over the Gators.  Now, if the Tigers defense continues to improve, the Bayou Bengals are that much closer to becoming a complete team.Last week LSU beat Florida 17-6 / this week @ Ole Miss. 

3.    Texas A&M (5-1) – "Johnny Football" is healthy, after looking like he might have been hurt in the first half of last week's game against the Rebels.  Now, an unexpected match-up of once beaten SEC West teams...with the uprising Tigers from the Plains in College Station.  Last week A&M beat Ole Miss / this week vs Auburn. 

4.    South Carolina (5-1) – The Gamecocks are back in the SEC race and the national title picture.  SC can run the table and land in ATL in the SEC Title Game.  The winner of that game has played in the last seven national title games, you know!  Last week the Gamecocks beat Arkansas 52-7 / this week @ Tennessee. 

5.    Missouri (6-0) –What a shame!  The Tigers whipped the Puppies and then lost star QB James Franklin for over a month with an injury.  Missouri would have had more than a fighting chance to run the table.  But, without JF, it's going to be hard!  Last week Missouri beat Georgia 41-26 / this week vs Florida. 

6.    Georgia (4-2) –UGA is reeling right now!  This team is beat up badly and now they're in serious danger of being kicked out of the SEC East title chase.  Lookout this week for a physical group in Music City USA!  Last week the Bulldogs lost Missouri 41-26 / this week @ Vanderbilt. 

7.    Florida (4-2) – Other than Nick Saban, who else would you want running your defense besides Will Muschamp?  In the WM era the Gators have lost only five games, when they allowed 24 points or less.  With a little more offense these Gators could very well win the East.  Last week Florida lost to LSU 17-6 / this week @ Missouri. 

8.    Auburn (5-1) – The Tigers crashed the SEC West party a year early.  Don't look now, but Auburn has only one loss and they are in as good shape as anyone in the SEC West.  A win in College Station is a must to stay in this lane!  Last week Auburn beat Western Carolina 62-3 / this week @ Texas A&M. 

The REST

Okay, so far I truly think these teams are all about even.  You tell me among Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas...who is the best or better than the other?  I could make a case for all of these teams being about even. 

Ole Miss is reeling after winning their first three games; they are now 3-3.  The Bullldogs barely got by Bowling Green.  UK is dying for basketball season to get here.  TheVols are improved, but by how much?  And, the Hogs and Doors have kind of fallen by the wayside.
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Big Chief's NFL Top 10 Week #7
The AFC West is home to two unbeatens, the Saints let one Tom away in the land of Clam Chowder, the White Horses did not cover and the Pack is clearly back.  Here’s my top 10 as we move into the 7th week of the 2013 NFL Regular season!  

1.      Denver Broncos (6-0) – Never give any team in a professional level that many points.  Denver is good but they are not invincible.  Now a much-anticipated trip back to Lucas Oil awaits Mr. Manning and his horses.  Last week beat Jacksonville / this week @ Indianapolis

2.      Kansas City Chiefs (6-0) – Hali!  Tamba Hali that is.  Man the Chiefs got themselves a sure fire defense.  Last week 10 sacks, including 3.5 by Hali took place in Arrowhead stadium in a win over the Raiders.  Don’t look now but we could be headed for an undefeated showdown with Denver in three weeks!  Last week Oakland 24-7 / this week vs Houston.

3.   Seattle Seahawks (5-1) – The Seabirds got a monster game from RB Marshawn Lynch last week.  ML had 155 yards from scrimmage and two scores in the win over the Titans.  Now a short week with a road test in the division takes place Thursday in Glendale.  Last week Tennessee 34-28/ this week @ Arizona.

4.      New England Patriots (5-1) – You can’t give Tom Brady an extra possession.  Now the Patriots feel much better about themselves with a win over a quality team.  Watch out this week as Rex and the planes are ready in the Big Apple.  Last week New Orleans/ this week @ NY Jets.

5.      New Orleans Saints (5-1) – Oh boys from the Big Easy, you know better than dat!  You can't give Tom Brady dat many chances!  With Dat said, even the most loyal member of the WDN (Who Dat Nation) would have taken a 5-1 start to the season.  And you know this man!  Last week beat New England 30-27 / this week bye.

6.   Indianapolis Colts (4-2) –The Colts fell on the road to the Bolts.  But a win over the horses would most certainly put the Colts in the Super Class of NFL elite teams!  Last week lost to San Diego 19-9/ this week vs Denver.  

7.      San Francisco 49ers (4-2) – Mr. Kaepernick had a decent day, tossing 2 TD’s in a 12 point win over the Cardinals.  Now a tough road trip takes place in Music City USA against Tennessee.  Last week beat Arizona 32-20 / this week @ Tennessee.  

8.      Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) – The Bengals survived a scare in upstate NY against the Bills.  Now the natty is in sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North!  Off to Motown they go this week.  I wonder if the Bengals pack any of that Skyline Chili when they are on the road?  Last week beat Buffalo 27-24/ this week @ Detroit.  

9.      Green Bay Packers (3-2) –No Clay Matthews? No problem.  Mr. A.J. Hawk more than took up the slack with three sacks and 10 tackles.  The Packers are quietly becoming one of the league’s elite teams after a slow start to the season.   Last week beat Baltimore 19-17/ this week vs Cleveland.  

10.  Detroit Lions (4-2) – I thought the Lions picked up a quality win on the road last week at Cleveland.  Now the Lions go back home to take on a very good Bengals Team.  Last week beat Cleveland 31-17 / this week vs Cincinnati. 
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Big Chief's CFB Top 10 Week #8
Oh what a week!  Stanford and Michigan fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, while the Dogs are out of the national title mix already.  Things are getting dog eat dog out west in the Pac 12, the ACC has a title elimination game this week and the Bears from Los Angeles have back to back tough road trips.  Ever notice how I never saw the champs have a tough game?  Hey it is what it is.  Why do Alabama fans get mad when the rest of the SEC questions their schedule?  The truth hurts maybe?  Let's take a look at this week's top 10! 

1.    Alabama (6-0) –The Tide came out slow with no points in the first quarter of the game against the Wildcats.  Then the Rammer Jammers scored 48 to close out UK.  Oh how the SEC schedule maker haters have come out the wood works!  Last week beat Kentucky 48-7 / this week vs Arkansas. 

2.    Oregon (6-0) – Ducks QB Marcus Mariota racked up more than 450 yards of total offense and four TD's in a big road win over UW.  With Stanford losing the Pac 12, it looks like it belongs to the Ducks.  Get your quack on!  Last week beat Washington 45-24 / this week vs Washington State. 

3.    Clemson (6-0) – The Tigers had to be looking ahead to this week's game against the Noles right?  Clemson only scored 24 points on the Eagles.  Better get right this week as FSU has had two weeks to prepare.  A national title elimination game goes down in Death Valley this weekend.  Last week beat Boston College 24-14 / this week vs Florida State. 

4.    Ohio State (6-0) – The Buckeyes had the week off, and they got some help with the Cardinal losing.  I'm telling you if any team wins 25 straight games, they deserve a shot at the title.  Will it happen?  If an ACC team, SEC team and Pac 12 team don't lose I'd say no!  Last week off / this week vs Iowa. 

5.    Florida State (5-0) – The Noles should beat Clemson right?  Well the Tigers had two weeks to get ready for this huge showdown in Clemson's Death Valley.  A win here could land the Noles in the title game if they run the table!  Last week off / this week @ Clemson. 

6.    LSU (6-1) – The Tigers Defense has arrived!  LSU has gone six straight quarters without allowing a TD.  Now the Tigers face another high powered offense on the road as the Rebels are waiting in Oxford.  Last week beat Florida 17-6 / this week @ Ole Miss. 

7.    Texas A&M (5-1) – The Aggies fans' hearts were in their throat last week when they saw Johnny fall to the turf,  but Mr. Football rose up and led his Aggies to a big road win.  Now A&M takes on the most improved team in the SEC.  Last week beat Ole Miss 41-38 / this week vs Auburn. 

8.    South Carolina (5-1) – After a bizarre week the Gamecocks blasted the Hogs 52-7.  Now Carolina has suddenly gotten back into the SEC title talk, and who knows... maybe the national picture as well.  It's possible.  Last week beat Arkansas 52-7 / this week @ Tennessee. 

9.    UCLA (5-0) – Don't look now, but the Bruins are in the national spotlight.  UCLA has been a quiet team to those outside of L.A.  However, the Bruins have everything in front of them beginning with a trip to Palo Alto this weekend.  QB B Hundley has become one of the best young QB's in the country, throwing for more than 400 yards and 3 TD's against Cal.  If the Bruins can win their next two games, they could easily climb into the top 5!  Last week beat Cal / this week @ Stanford.

10.    Baylor Bears (5-0) – The Bears got half of their average with 35 points scored in a win over the Wildcats.  QB Bryce Petty has become the best signal caller in the Big 12 this season.  Hey, right now the Baylor Bears are the best team in the Big 12!  Last week beat Kansas State 35-25 / this week vs Iowa State.
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Deke's Game Day preview: Saints-Patriots
The Breakdown:  OK, let’s be real here.  The Saints would have much rather faced the Patriots coming off a win instead of a loss.  But the way New England lost last week is more cause for concern…At least that’s the way I feel.  Since Tom Brady has been QB, I’d be willing to bet that there aren’t too many times, if any, that a New England offense was held to 248 yards and did not score one TD!
 
Give credit where credit is due, the Bengals defense is legit and they flat out got after the good-looking QB all day long.  Tom was sacked four times for a loss of -31 yards with one interception and a QB rating of 52.  The rating number also represents the number of games that Tom had thrown a TD pass.  He did not make it to 53!  And Brady had almost 29 percent of his passes off target meaning those passes were either overthrown or underthrown.  Brady failed to throw for 200 yards in a game for the second time this season. 
 
I know I’m comfortable in saying that Tom Brady will be ready to play this week after hearing all week long how bad he looked the week prior.  Bottom line, expect the best shot from the future Hall of Fame QB this week when the Black and Gold comes to town.
 
The Patriots are 31-3 at home in their last 34 games.  Folks, it comes down to securing the football, and will the Saints be able to run the ball when they need to.  I’ve not picked against the Saints all season long, and I’m 5-0.
I do expect Tom Brady to bounce back and play much better.  But I’ll take the Saints again this week 23-20 over New England.
 
New Orleans Saints (5-0) vs New England Patriots (4-1)
 
Sunday October 13 3:25 Kickoff on WWL 870AM/FM 105.3
Series History:  The Patriots lead the series 8-4. 
Last week’s results:  New Orleans beat Chicago 26-18 and Cincinnati beat New England 13-6
 
What they are saying
 
New England Patriots DE/LB Rob Ninkovich
 
Can you talk a little bit about the traits that Bill Belichick and Sean Payton share?
 
“I think that would be, playing for both coaches, you can kind of see the similarities and how they want their teams to be mentally tough teams that are smart. Again, in the NFL, more teams lose games than go out and win them so playing smart football and taking care of the football (is very important). Not giving it away on offense and taking it away on defense, (are) the core fundamentals of playing great team football. I think that both coaches really try to hit home on and get every single player in that mindset of playing three phases, taking care of the football on offense and creating turnovers on defense.”
 
New England Coach Bill Belichick on Saints Coach Sean Payton’s offensive system:
 
“I think Sean does a real good job of keeping the defense off balance.  They really attack pretty much every inch of the field.  They run toss plays and screens.  They like to get the ball outside.  They have a good inside running game.  They throw the ball.  (Drew) Brees uses his guys on checkdowns and things like that very well and they have the ability to get the ball vertically down the field to pretty much everybody, especially the receivers, but (Jimmy) Graham obviously and even (Darren) Sproles to an extent.  So, you have to defend the deep ball.  You have to defend from the sideline to the middle of the field.  You have to defend the running game inside and out, the backs, the tight ends, the receivers; they are all a big part of the passing game. Brees even, they have some moving pocket plays where he boots and he has had a couple red area scrambles where the receivers are covered and he was able to run them into the end zone as kind of a sixth receiver.  They just have a lot of different weapons, a lot of different ways to attack you, obviously a lot of good players, very good scheme.  They are well-coached.  They don’t make a lot of mistakes.  They don’t get a lot of penalties, turn the ball over, or have bad plays where they create long yardage situations, little stuff like that.  I think they are at the top of the league in fewest negative runs, those type of numbers so you don’t get a lot of long yardage opportunities that some teams get themselves into one way or another and it’s hard to convert those.  They don’t get that on first and second down, they are usually in a third down situation and is somewhat manageable.  They stay on the field and when they get in the red area they score a lot of points down there.  It’s a great offensive system.  Sean (Payton), Pete Carmichael and their staff do a great job of coaching it and installing it and they execute it well.”
 
Saints Coach Sean Payton on QB’s Drew Brees and Tom Brady
 
“I think, obviously both are accomplished.  The success that Tom has had there is well documented, noted and through his time and Bill’s (Belichick) time there has been a lot of different pieces, no different than you would say to some degree, Drew has seen different players come and go.  They are different in a lot of ways and yet they are competitive and guys that know how to win.  They aren’t playing against each other really, they are playing and working with their own teams.  Look, it’s a good team we are playing on the road after another road game we just played.  They are coming off a tough loss and we are going to have to play one of our best football games. I think our players see that and they understand that.”
 
 Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham on what type of defensive looks he has been getting.
 
“I would say there’s definitely been some different looks as far as being doubled, (with) safeties doing things they wouldn’t do in a normal cover two or having a guy stand over you and his sole job is to keep you on the ball. It’s gradually gotten more difficult. I’m just going to take what they give me. If it comes my way I’m going to try to catch it.”
 
 
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Deke: If you don't like Les Miles...
Well my people, it was another memorable Les Miles rant following the Florida victory.  

In the post-game press conference, a sports writer asked Miles a question about last year's loss to Florida in the Swamp. Les went on an animated rant with some salty language. 

It was classic Miles, and reminded me of this song I put together a couple of years ago with singer/musician Dave Newman.  Check it out here:  



(By the way, you can get an original version of Dave's song here!  https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/davenewman2  )
 
And, Click the window below to view the video of Miles' angry response (Warning: Includes strong language which has been bleeped:) 

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Deke's SEC Rankings
The best
1. Alabama 5-0 – The Tide are rolling and now it looks like a two game schedule left with a date against LSU and yes the other team in Alabama is not too bad either.  We could be in store for a good Iron Bowl this season.  Last week beat Georgia State 45-3 / this week @ Kentucky.
   
2. Georgia (4-1) – The Bulldogs got a scare and got to be Lucky Dogs in their 34-31 overtime win over The Vols from Rocky Top.  Hey, luck counts in the SEC.  It should count twice sometimes!  Last week beat Tennessee 34-31OT / this week vs Missouri
   
3. LSU (5-1) – The Tigers exploded for four 4th quarter TD’s in their 59-26 win over Mississippi State.  People keep waiting for the LSU Offense to be stopped, which it may not be.  And those same folks keep waiting for the LSU defense to get better, which it may not.  Go figure!  Here come the Gators.  Last week beat Mississippi State 59-26 / this week vs Florida.
   
4. Texas A&M (4-1) – Johnny Football is well rested for a stretch run and it begins this week in Oxford against the slumping Rebels.  Last week off / this week @ Ole Miss.
   
5. South Carolina (4-1) – The Gamecocks are a team that is now beginning to show their family problems.  And when family squabbles are made public it usually ain’t too good.  Is Clowney really hurt or just CLOWNing around?  Ha ha ha I mades a funny!  I’m thinking that the Cocks are primed for an upset!  Last week beat Kentucky 35-28 / this week @ Arkansas.
   
6. Missouri (5-0) – The other James Franklin went off on the other James Franklin.  Hey make no bones about it.  If you’re 5-0 and you play in the SEC you deserved to be ranked.  Now the Tigers can really shake up the SEC and the BCS with a road win over UGA this week in Athens.  Last week beat Vanderbilt 51-28 / this week @ Georgia.
   
7. Florida (4-1) – No one, and I mean no one, is talking about the Gators.  Is due to the fact that Florida’s strength is on the defensive side of the football?  You know the Gators schedule could allow them to be the best in the league?  If they run the table of course.  Last week beat Arkansas 30-10 / this week @ LSU.
   
8. Auburn (4-1) – If folks want someone to give Alabama a tougher schedule, it starts with Auburn being better right?  Well, this Tigers team is much better and they could make things tough on the rest of the league this season.  Last week beat Ole Miss 30-2 / this week vs Western Carolina.

The rest

Ok so far I truly think these teams are all about even.  I mean you tell me among Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Arkansas who is the best or better than the other?  I could make a case for all of these teams being about even.

I’ll say that the above for mentioned teams a few steps ahead of Kentucky, but the Wildcats have not played bad at all this season.  Now we will see how many of these teams in this group can become better and bowl eligible.
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Broncos top Big Chief's NFL Top 10 Week #6
 The Mile High Horses showed some gaps in their defense but still won in Big D.  The Who Dat Nation is proud of their new look defense, and the Chiefs are also perfect.  You know the Saints and Chiefs won a combined nine games last season.  They've won a combined 10 together already this season.
 
This week we have a four TD favorite for the first time as the Broncos host the Jags, and the Saints are going for some Clam Chowder.  Will cheese be served in the land of Crab Cakes?  Let's take a look at this week's top 10! 
 
1.    Denver Broncos (5-0) - Ah snap!  The Broncos will become the biggest single game favorite in the history of the NFL.  Man I would not give 28 points to anybody in this league.  Well maybe to the Jaguars I would.  Last week Dallas 51-48 / this week vs Jacksonville.

2.    New Orleans Saints (5-0) - Don't look now but the Saints are the most complete they have been, perhaps ever!  Now the WDN travels to the East to face the once beaten New England Patriots.  A win over the Patriots, and the rest of the national media will be calling the Saints the best team in the NFL. Watch!  Last week beat Chicago 26-18 / this week @ New England.

3.     Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) - Run the ball well, win the turnover battle and play good on special teams.  Yep, if you do those things you can win.  That's what the Chiefs are doing right now.  Can KC be 9-0 when the play Denver in week 10?  Possibly!  Last week beat Tennessee 26-17/ this week vs Oakland.

4.    Indianapolis Colts (4-1) - If I had to say who was the best team in the AFC right now, I'd say Denver... but not by much.  The Colts have a sound team, and the youthfulness of this group will only get better with experience.  These Colts will be around for a long time.  Last week beat Seattle 34-28 / this week @ San Diego.
 
5.    Seattle Seahawks (4-1) - Ok, if you looked at it realistically the Seabirds should have lost last week to the Texans and won, but they were unable to get by the Colts.  Seattle is still one of the best teams in the league, and they look as if they will be in the home field advantage conversation all season long.  Losing to an AFC team is not that bad!  Last week lost to Indianapolis 34-28/ this week vs Tennessee.

6.    New England Patriots (4-1) - The streak is over, and now the Pats face a big one at home against the 5-0 Saints.  The networks are hoping for a best of Brees and Brady show here.  A regular season matchup that features two of the greats to every play QB.  Don't be shocked if that new and improved defense from Who Dat Land steals the show.  I ain't lying y'all!  Last week lost to Cincinnati 13-6/ this week vs New Orleans.

7.    San Francisco 49ers (3-2) - The 49ers are the best 3-2 team in the league.  With a coach like Harbaugh and a sound club, the 49ers will be in the playoff mix in the NFC again this season.  A good matchup this week as the Cards come to town.  Last week beat Houston 34-3/ this week vs Arizona. 

8.    Baltimore Ravens (3-2) - The Ravens have the talent to be as good as anyone, but coming off a Super season makes things harder this year.  Baltimore looks to have some stern comp in their division in the Cats from the Natty!  Now a big time game goes down with the Cheese Heads coming to town.  Last week beat Miami 26-23 / this week vs Green Bay.

9.    Cincinatti Bengals (3-2) - The Cats from C-Town are good but inconsistent.  If QB Andy Dalton plays well, this team is sound.  The Bengals have one of the best defenses in the league.  The Bengals should be 7-2 before they head to Baltimore for an AFC North showdown with the Ravens.  Last week beat New England 13-6 / this week vs Buffalo.

10.    Green Bay Packers (2-2) - Aaron Rodgers is too damn good not to be ranked in the top 10.  Green Bay somehow has been forgotten about in the NFC conversation.  Why?  Maybe if the Cheese Packers pass this week's test against the Ravens on the road, then they might just get some national love!  Last week beat Detroit 22-9/ this week @ Baltimore. 
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Deke: Time to believe in the Saints D
It’s the end of the Saints versus Bears Game. I walk to the bar at Deanies to order my customary Shirley Temple before the locker room show begins.  “Hey Deke,” I hear from a Who Dat.  “You think our defense is for real?”  I respond, “Well they have been for five straight weeks now.”

And then it hit me.  The Saints defense is for real.  Folks if you win five straight games, get to be one of three teams that are 5-0, and you’ve played good defense during that entire stretch, you are good.  And getting to be real good, too!

It seems like to me while fans are waiting for the Saints rushing attack to kick into high gear, while some are also waiting for the Saints defense of old to rear its ugly head.  That ain’t happening, my people!  I could be wrong but this defense is the real deal.

The Saints defense has taken on the demeanor of their coach.  And that coach, Rob Ryan, is focused and determined to make sure that the very same position that he was fired from in another city, and the very same players he coaches that were raked over the NFL Media coals last year, is all an aberration and not what either really are.

Rob Ryan has as solid a resume and track record as any defensive coordinator in the NFL.  Ryan needs not to prove anything to anyone.  But sometimes, the need we get as humans to re-prove or redeem ourselves becomes greater when things have not gone the way would have liked them to.

The same holds true for the Saints defensive players.  There are some new faces in the defensive crowd this season for the Black and Gold, but for the most part most of the guys that had to hear how bad they were a year ago are the very same ones hearing how much better they are less than a year later.

Through the first five games of the season the Saints defense is allowing a total of 330.4 yards to their opponents per game.  Vs. the Saints, teams have gained on average 221.8 yards per game passing and another 108.6 yards rushing.  Of the 56 offensive possessions the Saints defense has faced, New Orleans has surrendered just 8 touchdowns and three field goals.  The Saints have forced 28 punts, two missed field goals and the Black and Gold D has created 11 turnovers.  And did I mention the Saints have sacked opposing quarterbacks 15 times?

So is the Saints defense for real?  Hell yes they are!  This unit has made large strides in getting better each week, they make the necessary adjustments…and to me, it looks like the Saints defense is having fun.

Yes winning is fun!  And right now the Saints are winning and the Saints defense is a huge reason why the Black and Gold are undefeated.  WDN (Who Dat Nation) it’s time to believe! 
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