Tide and Tigers are off, while those other Tigers roll on! Oh and yes it's cocktail time again in the SEC! Two decent games headline this week's action in Oxford and Jacksonville. So here's this week's SEC Rankings.
Alabama (8-0) – Now a four game season takes place as the Tide's shot at a 5th national title in eight years may very well come down to how they do against the Tigers. LSU and Auburn that is! This week BYE.
Texas A&M (6-1) – Honestly I was surprised that the Aggies hung as tough as they did with Alabama. But can the Aggies finish up the season with just one loss? Maybe! This week vs New Mexico State.
Auburn (5-2) – They are running the ball as well as anyone in the nation. Their defense is playing lights out. And these Tigers can still, yes still, make the playoffs! Please believe it! This week @ Ole Miss
Tennessee (5-2) – The Vols may not lose a game to anyone in the East. And the Vols may not win the division. Damn! Like ole Blue Eyes once said, thats life! This week @ South Carolina.
LSU (4-2) – I honestly don't know how good Ole Miss is. But I do know LSU steamrolled the Land Sharks. Now the Bayou Bengals have extra time to get ready for a game that everyone needs a lot of extra time to get ready for! This week BYE.
Florida (5-1) – The Gators have everything in front of them as far as the SEC East, the SEC Title, and a playoff spot is being discussed. Now it's not going to happen. But the possibility is still there! This week vs Georgia
Arkansas (5-3) – They fell behind 0-21 in the blink of an eye. And then proceeded to be outscored 37-3 the rest of the game. Damn is Arkansas that bad? The Hogs can still keep their streak alive against LSU! This week BYE.
Ole Miss (3-4) – A season low 21 points scored took place last week in Death Valley. Boy how things can change! Two weeks ago we were talking, can the Rebels run the table? Now with Auburn, A&M and rival State in the Egg Bowl I wonder can the Rebels keep from losing seven games this season? This week vs Auburn.
Kentucky (4-3) – Their magic number is 2! Can the Wildcats of Lexington muster up two more wins? If they do, off to a bowl they shall go! This week @ Missouri.
Missouri, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia & South Carolina
The bottom five teams in the league look like they can point towards recruiting already!
Tom B is so pretty even in the Steel City, young Dak P and Zeke E are straight ballin in big D! The City of Brotherly Love is in love with their Eagles, or at least this week they are. The White Horses bounced back, the AFC West is as tough as any division in football. And I think the majority of us still have major questions about the two teams that play in school bus yellow - that being Green Bay and Pittsburgh. Here is this week's top 10!
1. New England (6-1) - As expected, they took care of a Ben-less Steelers team, but did the Hooded One have to add insult to injury by letting former Steelers RB LeGarrett Blount score two TDs? Hey when you are the Big Boss you can do thangs like dat! Oh yes, and for those who think that the Steelers might be one of the teams to knock off the Pats this post season, read this - in his last six games versus the Steelers, Tom "Beautiful" Brady has thrown 19 TD's and NO interceptions! This week @ Buffalo
2. Dallas (5-1) – Tested, rested and vested. Damn that sounds good doesn't it? I always tend to love on Zeke and Dak well, because, they are all that. But truth be told, Dallas is one of the most complete teams in the NFL through seven weeks. And now the "how bout dem" boys can get a stranglehold on the much tougher NFC East with a win this week! The Silver Stars defense is pretty good too, you know? This week vs Philadelphia
3. Denver (5-2) – The defending champs snapped a two game losing streak with a resounding win over the Texans. Now the White Horses face the team that helped them lose their second game of the season as the resurgent Bolts are back on the schedule. This week vs San Diego.
4. Minnesota (5-1) – It's amazing how all the talk when they were 5-0 was the play of QB Sam Bradford. Now after his former team let him have it, people are saying, oh no it's Sam Bradford. Now my ass is confused. Ain't he the same guy? Oh well, whoever he is he and his Vikings hit the road this week @ Chicago
5. Seattle (4-1-1) – Five quarters and only six points and a tie to show for it? Yup, it's Seattle! Be careful before you hate. Cause this team still has enough to win it all! And this week it's the return of the J the I the M the M the Y it's Jimmy. It's Jimmy! Jimmy Graham is back at home in the Dome. What kind of welcome will he get? Dat I sho don't know! This week @ New Orleans
6. Oakland (5-2) - Oakland is in a place where they have not been in since 2002 and that would be first place in the AFC West. WR's Cooper and Crabtree along with QB D. Carr have the Silver and Black thinking that they are back! This week @ Tampa Bay
7. Philadelphia (4-2) – Look, all the Eagles have done is fool every damn body for the first seven weeks of the season. And if they can win this week, no one will hate on these Birds of brotherly love any further! This week @ Dallas.
8. Pittsburgh (4-3) – Ok the #1 seed is out of the question, but being #2 is still ok. Oh wait, hell let's just start off with the AFC North first for the Berg! This week BYE.
9. Green Bay (4-2) – QB Aaron Rodgers snapped out of his funk! Oh wait, maybe not all that is true. After all if there is one team that Rodgers does not have to be at his best against its the Cubs from Chicago. Oh my, damn, I mean Bears from Chi-town! Or whatever.This week @ Atlanta.
10. Kansas City (4-2) – All they do is win, win, win no matter what. The Kansas City Chiefs win all the time. In the regular season. But can QB Alex Smith lead these Chiefs into the land of February Football? Some say possibly. Most think not! This week @ Indianapolis.
Honorable Mention: Arizona (3-3) - When you have a defense like the Cardinals do you always have a shot to win. But this team is very inconsistent and I don't think they can stand up to the elite teams in the league right now. This week @ Carolina
The Chiefs handled the Saints 27-21 - they have at least another two weeks in which they can possibly - and I say possibly - have another shot to get to five hundred.
Standing with a 2-3 mark, the Saints went on the road to historic Arrowhead Stadium to battle the 3-2 Chiefs. The Chiefs won the coin toss and the Saints could not have wished for a better start on the road. Defense came out and limited the home team to 37 yards on eight plays forcing K.C. to punt. Then the Black and Gold had us all fired up as they marched right down the field for a score to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Saints went on a 10 play drive that traveled 80 yards with the end result a Drew Brees nine yard TD pass to WR Brandin Cooks. So ask yourselves Who Dats - didn't you feel pretty good with the Saints and the way both the defense and offense looked on their first two series?
But then things quickly turned for the worse. The Saints had five offensive possessions in the first half but only the first would lead to points. Of the Saints final four drives of the first half one was a pick six for KC and three straight punts. And while the offense was sputtering the Saints defense fell in the hole as the Black and Gold trailed 7-21 at the break.
And then in the second half, things would be eerily similar to the way things went in the first half. The Saints would come out after halftime and again march down the field for their second TD of the game.
New Orleans embarked on a play drive for yards with the Saints cutting the Chiefs lead to 21-14 when Brees hit Ingram for a three yard TD pass. So again the Saints were cooking and had to be feeling pretty good about themselves down just one TD in the game.
But true to form like in the first half, the Saints offense would sputter after that scoring drive. The Saints next two drives resulted in a punt and a Mark Ingram fumble on what looked to be a scoring drive.
That, to me, hurt the Saints far more than any other mistake the team had made up to that point in the game. New Orleans had established good offensive momentum, the Saints O-Line felt confident marching down the field 60 yards. And the Saints had just picked up a key first down on a third and eight to extend their drive.
But Ingram's fumble at the K.C. seven yard like kept the Saints from at the very least cutting the lead to 21-17. Had the Saints scored any points on that drive the team would have earned points of three of their first four drives of the second half.
Far more times than not this season the Saints have reached the double digit penalty mark and or received 100 yards in flags. Coaches in the NFL feel like double digit penalties and or 100 yards or more in flags is equaled to the other team scoring a TD.
The Saints came up on the short end of a couple of play challenges losing time outs in the game. And the Black and Gold was -2 in the turnover margin. Those two things don't help any team especially one that is struggling to win a game!
On the menu
The Seattle Seahawks come to the Superdome to take on the Black and Gold. Seattle is still nasty as they want to be on defense. But the Seabirds offense has not been able to physically pound teams rushing the football as much as they once were. QB Russell Wilson makes his first appearance in the Superdome and the young signal caller is again on pace to lead his team back to the playoffs. Wilson has made the playoffs each season he has been in the NFL!
The Tide roll into their BYE week perfect. The Maize and Blue are peaking at the right time. The Huskies have a tough three game stretch forthcoming while Clemson might not even be the best set of Tigers in the nation right now with rising striped Cats in the SEC's Auburn and LSU! Louisville is back to high scoring games, A&M proved to be tougher even in a loss while the Huskers and Mountaineers are surprisingly still undefeated. Oh yes and right now, today, the Big Ten is the best conference in the land. Yes I said it. Here's this week's top ten!
1) Alabama (8-0) - Another win, another win for those who bet on the Tide. And yes another TD scored by the Tide defense. You know college football is very unique. If I would have told you three weeks ago the Tide's toughest games this season will be in November against LSU and Auburn y'all would have called me a jackass. Eeee uh - Eeee-ugh. It's looking like that is the case! This week BYE.
2) Michigan (7-0) - Homecoming was beautiful, the Wolverines defense was nasty and Jabril Peppers is all that and then some. Big Blue allowed their first points in the month of October! Oh well another streak starts this week at rival Sparty. This week @ Michigan State.
3) Washington (7-0) - The Huskies are a complete team. And look like the class of the Pac-12. But the next three weeks will tell us a lot with a trip to Utah followed by a road date at Cal and home against the Men of Troy. This week @ Utah.
4) Clemson (7-0) - The Tigers are rested and now head to Doak Campbell to take on the Noles. Deshaun Watson has to come up big this weekend. This week @ Florida State.
5) Louisville (6-1) - A nice bounce back win over a pretty good NC State Team was much needed. They call him Mr. Jackson. Lamar is averaging five TD's scored per game. Say what is this Tecmo Bowl or what? This week @ Virginia.
6) Texas A&M (6-1) - The Aggies played harder and hung tough with the Tide. Now the question is can A&M run the table? Maybe? Possibly? This week vs New Mexico State.
7) Nebraska (7-0) - Don't hate cause 7-0 is damn good. Now truth be told if they really want to become a real contender then win this week in the House of Pain where all the Barking Badgers Fans will be jumping around! This week @ Wisconsin.
8) Ohio State (6-1) - Hey a conference loss on the road at the place they call Happy Valley is not a bad loss. However the poisonous nuts can't lose again. This week vs Northwestern.
9) West Virginia (6-0) - This team may falter down the rest of the way but in football you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that when a team plays sound defense they are pretty damn salty. The Mountaineers have held four of their first six foes under 17 points. Enough said! This week @ Oklahoma State.
10) Wisconsin (5-2) - These Badgers are as nasty as they want to be on defense and they can run the table. And if they do the Big Ten Title Game is going to be damn good. Now a huge home date with those Cornhuskers from Lincoln coming to Camp Randall. This week vs Nebraska.
OK simply put, if the Saints don't want to be delegated to scoreboard watching and hoping for other teams to lose in order for them gain ground, then getting to five hundred this week would aid in that rather meaningless stat!
The KC Chiefs have become a model of consistency under Head Coach Andy Reid. Folks, say what you want, but Andy Reid is a winner and always has been at the professional level. And ever since he took over in KC, the Chiefs have not only been a threat in the AFC West - the Chiefs are a legit playoff team each post season.
Both teams are coming off wins as the Saints eked one out against divisional foe Carolina. And KC did the same to a divisional foe last week with a 26-10 win over the high powered Oakland Raiders.
Series History: Each team has won five games in the series. Last week's results: New Orleans beat Carolina 41-38 and the Chiefs beat Oakland 26-10 Next week's schedule: Seattle visits New Orleans while K.C. travels to Indianapolis
The Lowdown on the Chiefs
This Chiefs team has all the markings of a traditional Andy Reid-coached team. KC can rush the football and likes to. The Chiefs have a nasty defense that is strong on the back end and they can put heat on the QB. And the Chiefs are once again tough at home inside of historic Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs are 17th in the league in total offense (352 per) and14th in total defense (353 per). On offense look for veteran QB Alex Smith to guide a pretty well balanced attack. Smith is again having a good season and he is aided by the rushing services of RBs Spencer Ware and Jaamal Charles.
And of course as a defensive built team would have to their credit, the Chiefs have an excellent ball hawking group of defenders. The Chiefs are tied for 2nd in the NFL in takeaways with 12. No one can hawk the football better than Chiefs DB Marcus Peters.
Peters has Hall of Fame numbers and he's very early in his career. No DB in the NFL has more picks than Peters as he's top in the NFL with five this season. And Peters leads the NFL in interceptions last season and this season with 13. Folks Peters has 13 picks in 21 NFL Games. That's a pick every other game!
And the Chief's defense is stout in the Red Zone, allowing foes to score only 41% of the time which ranks 3rd currently in the NFL.
This match-up is focused on the Saints O-Line against the Chiefs front seven. KC has one of the better front sevens in football and they aren't going to sit back and let the Saints just take their time and throw the ball at will.
Protecting Drew Brees and keeping him clean is going to be crucial to the Saints success on offense. It would be nice if the Saints could come up with some sort of a rushing game. The Chiefs are stout on defense while the Saints are avenging less than 90 rushing yards per game.
The number of rushing attempts will be equally important to me as the number of yards gained versus the Chiefs. Over on defense the Saints have to think stopping the run first and not allowing any chunk yard plays from RBs Ware and Charles.
The Big Chief says
Ok will they or won't they get back to five hundred? A victory over the Chiefs would give the Saints a big quality win. And it would set up the Dome's biggest game in quite some time when next week the Saints entertain the Seahawks.
In the end I'll go with the team that has the better defense and the Chiefs being home is too much to overlook. Kansas City 27 New Orleans 23
The RTR Show is back at home to beat up on another SEC foe; the Aggies run was good while it lasted; the Vols must now hope the Gators lose again; is LSU back? Can the Hogs pig their way past the Eagles/Tigers on the Plains? And how can the Rebels play defense so similar to the New Orleans Saints? Here's this week's SEC Rankings!
1. Alabama (7-0) – This may be as dominant of a team we have seen in a seven week stretch perhaps EVER. Now with that said due to late season success from foes like Utah, Oklahoma and Ohio State some of the other big boys will quickly point to regular season and post season. But right now it's not even close as far as a legit foe for the Tide! Alabama is averaging beating their opponents by 31 points per game. This week's victim is Texas A&M
2. Texas A&M (6-0) – We will find out this week how much improved the Aggies are on defense. Hell and offense too! Can QB Trevor Knight do what he did to the Tide a few years ago again? I think not! This week @ Alabama.
3. Tennessee (5-2) - Even though they have lost two straight, their two losses came at the hands of two of the top six teams in the nation. Now the boys from Rocky Top will hope to run the table and hope Florida loses at least once more. This week BYE.
4. Florida (5-1) – The Gators are getting healthy at the right time of the season. I think Florida is in good shape in the East right now. Another loss from Tennessee gives the Gators some breathing room for a mistake along the way. And if that takes place, it could be back to Atlanta they go. This week BYE.
5. Arkansas (5-2) – Some think they are not that good! They can prove all those naysayers wrong the next three weeks with games against Auburn, Florida and LSU! This week vs Ole Miss
6. LSU (4-2) – Back in the top 25! Now the Tigers can climb all the way back as high as #2 in the nation should they run the table. They are the only team in America that can have a shot to get to the playoffs with two losses. This week vs Ole Miss.
7. Ole Miss (3-3) – We thought they had a shot to run the table. Now we think they could lose a couple of more games! Chad Kelly always gives the Rebels a chance. But Chad Kelly always gives the other team a chance too! This week @ LSU.
8. Auburn (4-2) – The Tigers defense has been the story this season and their lone loss was to Texas A&M in SEC play. A toughie this week as the Hogs come to the Plains. This week vs Arkansas.
9. Kentucky (3-3) – The Wildcats magic number is three to become bowl eligible. This would have to be one of the games UK would have to win to get to six wins right? This week vs Mississippi State.
Missouri, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Georgia & South Carolina
The bottom five teams in the league look like they can point towards recruiting already! At least UGA has the cocktail party left to play!
1. Minnesota (5-0) – Pound for pound, still the best team in the NFL. I really like this team and in a 'not as strong as it could be' NFC, who's better than the Purple People Eaters? This week @ Philadelphia.
2. New England (5-1) - Tom took care of his business against an AFC foe for the 49th time at home since 2007. You know how many times he has not handled his business? Once! Oh man a tough one this week takes place in the Steel City. This week @ Pittsburgh.
3. Dallas (5-1) – Zeke and Dak are all that! The Cowboys are playing better defensea and Double J (Jerry Jones) is as happy as J.R. Ewing was when Cliff Barnes filed Chapter. I'll simply say how bout dem Cowboys! This week BYE.
4. Seattle (4-1) – They got a QB that is 2nd prettiest in the NFL, their defense is as nasty as they want to be. And DT Michael Bennett is one bad mother, shut yo mouth! This week @ Arizona.
5. Buffalo (4-2) – Three dominant wins in a row has me thinking that the Bills are a dangerous team this season. Now if they can somehow land a home game this post season we know the weather will be awfully bad for opposing teams up in Bills Land. This week @ Miami.
6. Atlanta (4-2) – Hey they are still one of the top 10 teams in the NFL. And right now they look like the class of the NFC South. This week vs San Diego
7. Pittsburgh (4-2) – SHOCKER! Come on man how can you call yourself a Super Bowl caliber team and lose to the Eagles and Dolphins? This team still yet has a ways to go. They can make a lot of strides with a home win this week. This week vs New England.
8. TIE Denver (4-2) & Oakland (4-2) – Both are coming off losses and I wonder if both can hang on with a lot of questions moving forward. This week Houston @ Denver and Oakland @ Jacksonville.
9. Washington (4-2) – Hey they have won 4 straight and can they make it 5 this week! This week @ Detroit.
10. Houston (4-2) – Jadevon Clowney is playing well. The Texans comeback against the Colts was pretty darn good. This week @ Denver.
Each week the media gets several packets of information. These packets pretty much give the tale of the tape on each team. Every stat you can imagine and then some are inside these packets of gold. Looking at the Ole Miss Rebels it's rather plain to see why this team is 3-3 on the season and how they could easily be 6-0.
So I'll point out some of the things you will hear me hit on this week as we get set to make some sense of the LSU versus Ole Miss tilt in Tiger Stadium Saturday night.
Ole Miss Record: 3-3 SEC Record: 1-2 Head Coach: Hugh Freeze Last week's results: Lost to Arkansas 30-34 Next week: vs Auburn in Oxford, Mississippi
The Tigers and Rebels series
The LSU Tigers lead the overall series 59-41-4. Ole Miss has won the last two in convincing fashion. The home team in the series has won the last four games between the two.
64 games have been played in Baton Rouge
18 games have been played in Oxford
17 games have been played in Jackson, Mississippi
3 games have been played in New Orleans
1 game played in Meridian and 1 played in Vicksburg, Mississippi
The Rebels longest win streak was six games from 1952-1957 while the Tigers best streak was an eight game stretch from 1928 through 1937. Since the 2000 season LSU has won 11 of the 16 games between the two during that time frame.
When it comes to the Rebels this season there are a handful of things that are compelling to me. #1 is that Ole Miss is a dangerous team on offense but they are dangerously bad on defense.
Ole Miss shows all the signs of a team that has a great QB, can move the ball on anyone they play. But they also have the ball moved at will on them by the majority of their opponents.
The Rebels offense scores on average 39.6 points per game while their defense is allowing 30.3 points per game. The Rebels can't get their defense off the field and it's their offense that is their biggest asset and their biggest liability in that area.
The Rebels are possessing the ball on average only 23:43 minutes and their foes hold the rock for a whopping 36:17. And the teams that Ole Miss has faced this season are averaging 80 offensive plays ran per game!
The Rebels opponents are controlling the football by the tune of averaging 45.3 rushing attempts per game compared to passing the ball only 34.6 plays per game on average.
Ole Miss is a first half team, as they squandered a 22 point lead against Florida State and a 21 point lead versus Alabama. The Rebels must be getting worn out in the first half of games, as they are being out scored 122-87 in the second half - that's a difference of 35 points the other team holds over the Rebels this season.
The Rebels come into Death Valley a desperate team, as now with two losses in the SEC, they will need to win out and have some help to get themselves in position to go to a major bowl like they did a season ago when the they beat the Cowboys of Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl.
It was one that could have spelled doom for the entire 2016 season, but credit the New Orleans Saints for coming up with a gutsy win over the Carolina Panthers. Now the Saints can get their record to five hundred with a win over the Chiefs next Sunday.
The Saints first quarter start led to the team's second win of the season. Jumping out to an early 21-0 lead was the result of a dominant beginning to the game for the Black and Gold. The Saints would score or two of their three drives in the first quarter including the first drive of the game.
The Saints ran 19 plays in the first quarter of the game with 165 yards of total offense. That's an average of 8.7 yards per play. The Saints had some big plays also with nine of those first 19 plays being of five yards or more.
On the flip side the Saints defense did a number on the Cats in the first quarter, and that's a good thing because it would be the only quarter in which the Saints would play stout defense against Carolina.
Carolina had 14 plays with just three of five yards or more. Carolina gained just 37 yards of offense, went 0-for-3 on third down and averaged only 2.6 yards per play. And of course the Cats trailed 0-14 at the end of the first quarter.
So now five games into the season the Saints have gotten off to pretty good starts in each of their last two games. And if the Black and Gold want to make it three straight wins then they need to get off to another fast start this week against the Chiefs!
Nobody can come close to the Tide right now! The Buckeyes are getting better, right now they are just a little ahead of their rivals to the North. Washington looks to be the class of the West, Clemson and Louisville and the rest of the ACC looked like the old weak ACC this past weekend. And Baylor, A&M and West Virginia are all still perfect - for now, that is. You know if you take Alabama out of the mix we could have a pretty good playoff format.
Again I talk noise now because that's how good the Tide currently look. However past bowl games against Utah, Oklahoma and Ohio State let all of us know that even the mighty Tide has been turned out before! Here 's this week's top 10!
1. Alabama - They have scored more TD's on defense than all six of their opponents offenses have this season. The rest of America better be glad there is no playoff right now. I'm quite sure the spread would be at least Alabama -10 or more over anyone else. This week's victim is Texas A&M.
2. Ohio State - They won on the road in hostile environment with a young team. Now it looks like smooth sailing until the tilt with Big Blue. This week @ Penn State.
3. Michigan - A week off looks like a good resting point for the Maize and Blue. Michigan has a good enough defense to hang with anyone in the nation. This week vs Illinois.
4. Washington - The Huskies are a complete team. And they look like the class of the Pac-12 right now. This week vs Oregon State.
5. Clemson - The Tigers always have a hiccup or two but at least they win those games. Still this team looks a little overrated right now. This week BYE.
6. Louisville - They got a close scare against the Blue Devils. This week vs N.C. State
7. Texas A&M - The Aggies had the week off but now face a good ole fashion ass whipping in T-Town. Please believe it. This week @ Alabama.
8. Baylor - Hey, they are undefeated and who else could you rank here? This week BYE.
9. Nebraska - See Baylor. This week vs Purdue.
10. West Virginia - This team may falter down the stretch but believe it or not the Mountaineers are playing very good defense right now and they are perfect thus far into the season. This week vs TCU.
Series Record: Carolina leads the series 23-19 Last week's Results: Carolina lost to Tampa Bay 14-17 while the Saints were on their BYE Next week: Carolina has their BYE and New Orleans travels to Kansas City
I can remember back in the 2002 season, which just happened to be the first season that the NFL broke off into four divisions in each conference and the NFC South was born. And for those true Black and Gold to the bone Who Dats, they can all remember that the Saints claim to fame that season was that New Orleans had beaten the eventual Super Bowl Champion Bucs twice! Well last season, in another dismal 7-9 campaign, the Saints touted how close they were to Carolina as the Black and Gold had a chance to win each time they played the Cats last season. But they didn't. Lord I sure hope the Saints as a franchise are not back to the point to where they claim how good they can be by shouting out close calls against very good teams. Enough said!
Why is Carolina so bad right now?
Simply, the turnover margin is killing the Cats and it has single handidly kept the Panthers from winning most of their games. Right now Carolina is minus 7 in the turnover margin. Ouch! And some of you would ask, so Deke, why are the Saints 1-3 and they are +1 in the same stat? Simply put in the words of that little ole lady from the Wendy's TV ad - "Where's the D?"
What's going down?
Well I'll tell you, don't let the Panthers 1-4 record fool you. This team is as dangerous as they've been in the past, and the strength of the Carolina Panthers aims right at the Saints weaknesses. Example: The Saints can't consistently stop the run allowing 122 yards per game. The Panthers can rush the ball effectively at 124.6 per game, which is 6th in the league.
The Saints struggle to run the ball at a meager 81 yards per game and the Cats own the 10th best rushing defense. And the Saints allow 32 points per game which is dead last in the NFL!
The final take
Another good four quarters of tight play should be expected when the Cats and Saints take to the field Sunday in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. If the Saints are going to win they need balance. If you look back at the Saints' previous game against the Chargers, you will see that the success of rushing the football does not necessarily come in total yards gained.
Against San Diego, the Saints had 72 offensive plays in the game with perfect balance as New Orleans had 34 rushing attempts and 36 passing attempts. Now the Saints only ended up with 84 yards on the ground averaging only 2.4 yards per rush, but the Saints STAYED with the run, did not abandon the run and lean on the arm of Drew Brees. That needs to happen this week against Carolina.
And of course limit the big chunk yardage plays. A 12 yarder here, 15 yarder there is not too bad. But those 35, 40, 50 yard plays that the Saints have been trying to limit can't take place this week. Carolina is a desperate team but still a good one.
Can the Saints contain Cam? Will New Orleans slow down the Cats rushing attack? Can the Saints muster up enough rushing attempts and remain turnover free in this game? Those are a few of the things I think are going to be key on Sunday.
I think this match-up is going to be another close one. But I stay with my own golden rule. When in doubt always lean to the team that has the better defense and the team that can rush the ball the best. Answer = Carolina!
I hate high point lines. They are difficult to cover with back door scores and they more often than not don't come in as winners. Now with that said I also like some high point lines depending on the team, the opponent and the situation.
But if the game we are playing has the goal of winning in mind then like in everything else, I firmly believe in going with what you think is the best possible play. This week I've taken two pretty high lines with LSU taking on Southern Mississippi and Louisville in a tilt with Duke.
I try and make my picks as soon as the lines come out, and then you can see which way the line moves and get a little feel for things then. For example the LSU line first came out with the Tigers as an 18 point favorite. Bettors jumped on that and laid the money quickly on LSU, prompting Vegas to move the line up to where now LSU is an 26 point favorite. That line moved eight points already. I think it could get closer to 30 by kickoff.
And another example is Louisville and Duke. The Cardinals began the week as 28 point favorite and now Louisville is a 35 points favorite over Duke. And I still like both LSU and Duke laying those points this week. So here we go folks. Below are my picks of the week!
Deke's Record this season Last week's results: 6-1 Overall this season: 24-11-2
College plays Texas San Antonio +1 ½ over Rice – Southern Miss beat Rice 44-28. UTSA beat Southern Miss 55-32. I don't like to compare scores but this almost looks too easy!
LSU -18 over USM – Tigers will roll hard for four quarters.
Louisville -28 over Duke – With Houston losing last week the Cardinals know that each week high scores and low points allowed will keep them in the playoff talks.
Over 70 Tulsa versus Houston – Houston is mad as hell losing last week to Navy. Tulsa averages over 40 points per game scored this season. Houston scores tons as well. I like the overs and in a game like this you can pull for both teams to SCORE!
NFL Plays Denver -2 over San Diego – The White Horses defense is more than good enough to help their team win by more than two.
New England -6.5 over Cincinnati – Since 2007, Tom Brady is 48-1 at home as a starting QB in games versus the AFC. So I ask you, will you bet on the Patriots?
Pittsburgh -7 over Miami – The Steelers may not get to the Super Bowl. But right now they look as super as any team in the league.
The RTR Show stops in Rocky Top this weekend. The Aggies are off, Ole Miss goes for some pulled pork, and breaking news - Florida will PLAY this week. And LSU plays that other team from the Magnolia State. Here's this week's SEC Rankings.
1. Alabama (6-0) – Alabama is several steps ahead of every other team in the conference right now. In fact I think the gap between the Tide and their closes competitor is as wide now as it has been in the Saban era. I'm just saying! I hope I did not jank the Tide. This week @ Tennessee
2. Texas A&M (6-0) – You know it kills me to hear A&M fans talk about how the Aggies get no respect. Hell it was the very same Aggies FANS that were calling for Coach Kevin Sumlin's Head before the season began. So I aint buying all dat no respect stuff. You want respect then beat Alabama next week! But QB Trevor Knight is pretty damn good. This week BYE.
3. Ole Miss (3-2) – A tough stretch starts this week for the Rebels at Are-Kansas. After that the Rebs take on LSU, Auburn and then two weeks later go to College Station to take on the Aggies. This week @ Arkansas.
4. Tennessee (5-1) – Tennessee almost pulled off another miracle comeback but came up short. Now another SEC West team comes to town in the Alabama Tide. Oh well better get out those rosary beads and hope LSU plays Florida sometime this season. Cause I can't see the Vols beating the Tide! This week vs Alabama.
5. LSU (3-2) – They are getting better but not playing last week, to me, hurt the Tigers. Now they have a decent non-SEC game against one of those other teams from mighty Mississippi. This week vs USM.
6. Arkansas (4-2) – The last time the Hogs got tested they got beat. The time before that last test during their first test the Hogs got beat. Is the third time the charm for test #3? We shall see. This week vs Ole Miss
7. Florida (4-1) – Say what you want about the Gators not playing last week. One thing is for sure and that is Florida is healthier this week than they were a week ago! This week vs Missouri.
8. Auburn (4-2) – Auburn is on somewhat of a roll right now and now the Tigers have some time off before they try and continue to surprise the rest of the West. Keep in mind the Tigers lone SEC loss is to Texas A&M. This week BYE
9. Georgia (4-2) – The Bulldogs are a decent team but still not near the status they hope to be one day under Kirby Smart. This week vs Vanderbilt.
10. Kentucky – After six games the Wildcats are 3-3. Can UK win three more games and get to a bowl? While you ponder that question I'm pleased to announce that Big Blue Basketball is here! This week BYE.
Missouri, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt & South Carolina
Hey if ten of 14 teams go to a bowl, that's not too bad is it?
The Purple People are eating at a rapid rate. Things are rolling in the Keystone State. The sexiest man in league history looks mad as hell. And the Birds of the ATL look for real as far as I can tell. Denver dropped their first game while the Oakland Raiders and Bills of Buffalo are no longer lame. And this Sunday an old school tilt that the past has not forgot pits two QB's facing each other with one named Rodgers and the other Prescott! Now let's look at this week top 10!
1. Minnesota (5-0) – The Vikings are a perfect example that injuries are no excuse for losing in this league. You play with who is available and you don't make excuses. Minnesota is so good on defense they can beat teams down just like they did the Texans! This week vs BYE.
2. Pittsburgh (3-1) – Ben Rothlisberger is on fire, the Burgh defense is getting better and right now this very well could be the best team in the league. But this is October. The Steelers are measured on what they do in January. This week @ Miami.
3. New England (3-1) – Oh how pretty he was! Tom went off and the Pats crushed the Browns as expected. Now the Pats can put down a decent foe in the Bengals. Is it me or does Tom look even better when he's angry? This week vs Cincinnati.
4. Seattle (3-1) – After a week off, the Seabirds open the second quarter of their season hosting the Dirty Birds from the ATL. Atlanta has proven they can win on the road in tough places. But Seattle is on another level at home! This week vs Atlanta.
5. Atlanta (3-1) – After a win at Denver and with a win this week at Seattle you could really place the Birds in the top three through the first six games of the season! This week @ Seattle.
6. Denver (4-1) – The White Horses went down hard to the Dirty Birds. And don't look now, but Denver has some legit competition in their own division this season in the Chiefs and Raiders. This week @ San Diego.
7. Oakland (3-1) – The Silver and Black lost only to 4-1 Atlanta. And they can move ahead of the rest of the division with a win this week over the Chiefs. The Raiders are relevant not but can they last? This week vs Kansas City.
8. Green Bay (2-1) – The Packers took care of the G-Men and now can look forward to a big showdown with the rising Silver Stars from the Lone Star State. Dallas at Green Bay looks like a 5-Star match-up doesn't it? This week vs Dallas.
9. Dallas (4-1) – How bout Dak and Zeke in the best young backfield in the league? They get my vote. The Cowboys are doing the most important thing, winning! Dallas is playing sound football on both lines, their RB is electric and the Cowboys may have drafted the best QB in the 2016 NFL Draft! Dak, Mr. Prescott if you will! This week @ Green Bay!
10. Buffalo (3-2) – After back to back wins over the Pats and Rams the Bills are more than deserving of being in the top 10. This week vs San Francisco.
The Huskies are for real, Alabama ate some hogs, the Buckeyes are road bound to not let the Badgers jump around, I'm down with Big Blue, the Aggies are yelling in College Station, Clemson looks to go Wolfpack hunting and the Rebels are back in the Top 10. So here is this week's CFB Top 10!
1. Alabama – Alabama rammer jammer! RTR! First down Alabama! Oh wait those are things heard and said in T-Town! But opposing stadiums might as well start playing those sounds as it does not look like the Tide are going to lose much, if any. With that said this week looks like a tougher than usual test at Rocky Top. Tougher than usual for Bama means a four TD win! This week @ Tennessee.
2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes first big test of the season comes this week on the road in the land of the Badgers. But hey J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes defense and Coach Meyer have been in these spots many times before. And many of those times the Buckeyes have come out just fine! This week @ Wisconsin.
3. Clemson – The Tigers have put all that last season title losing hangover to sleep. Dabo and his staff have rallied the Tigers and gotten Clemson talking title again this season. Now a surprise team in a very good Wolfpack club is on the schedule. This week vs N.C. State.
4. Washington – I'm telling you this team is locked and loaded. But who really knows who Jake Browning is? Has anyone heard of Myles Gaskin? Well the QB/RB duo are two of the best in America, as last week Browning threw six TD passes and Gaskin averaged 12 yards per carry and rushed for 197 yards in the Huskies 70-21 win over Oregon! This week @ BYE.
5. Michigan – Ok Rutgers is no power house, but the Maize and Blue defense limited the Scarlet Knights to 39 yards of total offense including just five rushing yards. And Michigan scored NINE rushing TD's. Now the Wolverines will get some rest before the second half of their season begins. This week BYE.
6. Tennessee – Ok It took me five games into the season but the Vols are a legit team. Tennessee can really open major eyes this week with a win over the Crimson Tide machine. It won't happen though. This week vs Alabama.
7. Texas A&M: The Aggies Kevin Sumlin is not off the hot seat just quite yet but he's about to stand up and look for another spot to sit. The Aggies are getting great play from QB Trevor Knight. Even though they are perfect on the season I still have questions about the Aggies defense. You do know they gave up over 680 yards of offense to the Vols! No way you beat the likes of Alabama with a D like dat! This week BYE.
8. Louisville – The good news is that the Cardinals are a damn good team and have a great shot to finish the regular season 11-1. The bad news is that the back end of the Louisville schedule is flat out EASY. Which is not good. Oh yes and Houston losing did not help much either. This week vs Duke.
9. Wisconsin – The biggest game in recent memory takes place this Saturday in Camp Randall as the Badgers take on undefeated and #2 Ohio State. If the Badgers can win this week they are still without question alive and well in the Big Ten and National Playoff picture. This week vs Ohio State.
10. Ole Miss – No way I'm putting Baylor, Nebraska or Houston here. The Rebels have a damn good shot to run the table and who knows what could happen if they do that? Lookout this week in Arkansas. This week @ Arkansas.
Man, Hail Marys between the hedges, Gators barely biting in Music City, Toddys and Hotties in Oxford, tougher teams to play for the Tide and big numbers on da Bayou Bengals. Here goes this week's rankings!
1. Alabama – The Tide are tried and true but the hardest part of their schedule, if there is such a thing, begins this week in the land of Pig Sue-ee! This week @ Arkansas.
2. Texas A&M – Why is A&M ranked above the Vols? Well first I think their defense is better, second, the Aggies don't wait til the second half of games to start playing. And third, the Aggies will beat the Vols this week. Ok got it? This week vs Tennessee
3. Tennessee – Hey say what you want but this group has never say die in them, they are playing hard until the clock strikes zero. And Tennessee knows how to come from behind. With all that good stuff said, Tennessee needs to win one of their next two and it ain't going to be easy! This week @ Texas A&M
4. Ole Miss – QB Chad Kelly is the real deal, Coach Freeze is laying the wood to opposing defenses. And now the Rebels have a week off to get better on defense. I'm telling you this team can run the table! This week BYE
5. Arkansas – How good are the Hogs? Well we know they are 4-1 on the season. But who have the Hogs played? They can prove to the world how good they are this week! This week vs Alabama.
6. LSU – LSU needed and got a fresh start last week in a big win over Missouri. I'm not sure how good LSU is either. But their schedule will tell us all starting this week at the Gators place. This week @ Florida.
7. Florida – Ugly win and ugly babies are hand and hand according to UF Coach Mac! Hey its football not a beauty contest and all I know is Florida won last week. This week vs LSU
8. Georgia – Oh so close but yet so far away. Folks and young players need to learn from the Bulldogs un-sportsman like conduct penalty as a UGA player removed his helmet after the Dogs had seemingly put the game away. The end result a short field and Hail Mary answered for the Vols!
9. Auburn – The Tigers blew out UL Monroe and now can make it three straight with a win down in Stark-Vegas! This week vs Clemson.
The rest: Missouri, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and South Carolina. Oh well it's not all doom and gloom for the bottom of the league. There is still hope one of these teams can make it to a bowl. And I would say the over under on this group making a bowl is about 1.5!
If you want to see how to ride in the NFL, then just look at how the White Horses do it! Denver is better than they were last year, and they won it all. The best team in the NFC right now is Minnesota, the Steelers bounced back blowout style, the Pats got goose egged the week before they get prettier, the Eagles and Cheese Packers had the week off and Zeke and Dak are doing big things down in Big D! And of all the Birds making the poll, not one is from the desert! Now let's look at this week top 10!
1. Denver (4-0) - This team is dangerous and perhaps even more dangerous than they were a year ago when they won it all. But the AFC is a little deeper this season and that could be the reason why the Mile High White Horses don't repeat! This week vs Atlanta.
2. Minnesota (3-0) – Another big win and this may be the most-sound team in all of football. You know with players missing like AP and Teddy B we sometimes forget that this Vikings team was built on the defensive side of the football. And that is why they are going to last a long time! This week vs Houston.
3. Pittsburgh (3-1) – After a humbling loss to in-state foe Philly, the Steelers came up with a statement win blowing out a decent KC Team 43-14. Now the Steelers have another test against a desperate NY Jets team. This week vs NY Jets.
4. Seattle (3-1) - The Seahawks are 3-1 and Russell Wilson showed no signed of his injury slowing him down. Jimmy G had a big game and CJ Spiller showed up with a nice outing in the Big Apple! Oh yes Seattle is still nasty as they want to be on defense! The BYE week comes at the perfect time!
5. New England (3-1) – Any way you slice it 3-1 without the prettiest man alive is not too bad. Now I'd say that going 10-2 with Tom is about the right odds. That would make the Pats 13-3 and likely the #1 seed in the AFC! Behind maybe the Steelers or Broncos! We shall see. This week @ Cleveland.
6. Philadelphia (3-0) – The Eagles are well rested and now get set to see if they can continue to be the surprise of the league this week in Motown against the struggling Lions. If Philly is for real they will prove it over the next four weeks. This week @ Detroit.
7. Oakland (3-1) – The Silver and Black are, well, I'm not quite ready to say the "B" word just yet. But with Carr at QB and Crabtree, Cooper and Mack, if they ain't back then they are pretty damn close. Raiders lost only to 3-1 Atlanta. This week vs San Diego.
8. Baltimore (3-1) – Just a season ago saying that a team's only loss was to the Raiders was well pretty much garbage. But that was then and this is now. I still like the Purple Birds to be a post season team. This week vs Washington.
9. Green Bay (2-1) – They are coming off a BYE and now they host the G-Men from the Big Apple! Hey don't apples come on those fancy cheese trays? In Wisconsin they don't! As long as the 2nd prettiest QB in the NFL is in the fold, the Pack knows they have a chance! Just Bratwurst! This week vs NY Giants.
10. 3-WAY Tie: Houston (3-1) – Say what you want but right now even without the great JJ Watt the Texans still look like the class of the AFC South. What's that worth? Not too much! This week @ Minnesota.
Dallas (3-1) – Another team led by a good young QB. You know the flagship school of Dak's home state wanted him to be an H-Back! Oops! How bout Dak and Zeke in the best young backfield in the league? They'd get my vote. This week vs Cincinnati.
Atlanta (3-1) – Matt and Julio doing it big in the school yard! Damn! JJ got off, went off and showed off in the ATL to why he is the best in the game today! Now in order to prove to the rest of the league these Birds are down and Dirty for the long haul then they need to lasso the White Horses! This week @ Denver.
As bad as it looked after the first 30 minutes of play, the Saints comeback win over the San Diego Chargers was a little easier to explain than what meets the eye. Like we always tend to say, the numbers don't lie and when it came to explain why and how the Saints came back to win, the numbers say it all.
Simply put it was a tale of two halves when it comes to looking at the stats between the Black and Gold and the Chargers. And for the first time in a long time the Saints saved their best for last. New Orleans was down by 10 at the break and then turned up the heat in the second half on the Bolts.
The Chargers totaled 227 yards of offense in the first half on 29 offensive plays for an average of 7.8 yards per play. San Diego was 3-for-5 on third downs for 60% and the Chargers had no turnovers. Things would change at the break.
Call it players stepping up, coaching adjustments or whatever you like, the end results led the Saints to their first win of the 2016 season. In the second half of the game the Saints defense would create three turnovers, New Orleans outscored the Chargers 21-10, and the Black and Gold limited San Diego to 3-of-8 on third downs for only 37.5%.
But hold tight Who Dats - the good news in the form of stats rolls on. The Saints defense faced 38 plays from the Chargers offense allowing only 119 yards of offense in the final 30 minutes of the game. Remember the Chargers averaged nearly eight yards per play in the first half and that same offense only averaged 3.1 yards per play. Folks that's an average of 4.7 yards less per offensive play.
And to me, the number that was just as telling in this match-up was that of the Saints in rushing attempts. The Saints total rushing production was not impressive at all but it's the number of attempts, patients and the commit to stay with the run is what was huge to me.
The Saints had 72 offensive plays in the game with perfect balance as New Orleans had 34 rushing attempts and 36 passing attempts. Now the Saints only ended up with 84 yards on the ground averaging only 2.4 yards per rush, but the Saints STAYED with the run, did not abandon the run and lean on the arm of Drew Brees.
Now the Saints are 1-3 and are in a three way tie for second place in the NFC South behind the 3-1 Atlanta Falcons. New Orleans will have the week off and then take on the Carolina Panthers in two weeks in the Dome.
So I guess it comes down to how you look at the Saints. Although the Saints have only one win do you see the Black and Gold as an improved team? Do you think the team is about to turn the corner or are they still a week to week team being good one week and not so good the next.
My advice to you is enjoy this win and I guess we will all see what happens in the final 12 games of the season!
The Tide is rolling into Hog-Land, those Tigers in that so called other Death Valley have been the best Tigers by far, there are some pretty eyed dogs people call Huskies barking loud in the pacific Northwest, the Big Ten is still flexing and the SEC has two big contests forthcoming this weekend. So here is this week's CFB Top 10!
1. Alabama – The Tide took care of business and now the meat of their schedule begins this week with a trip to Arkansas. You know you have the best program in the nation when you win big and it's not news! This week @ Arkansas.
2. Ohio State – The Buckeyes dominated the Scarlet Knight and now hit the road for their toughest game of the season. And QB J.T. Barrett is quietly putting up huge numbers and to me is still the one QB that has the best shot down the stretch to win the Heisman. This week vs Indiana
3. Clemson - These Tigers are back and now this is a team that's looking like they are living up to their pre-season ranking. As much as people want to credit the Tigers O, it's their defense that has been the reason for this programs rise to the top! This week @ Boston College.
4. Washington – They are legit and Coach Peterson as hot of a coaching candidate as anyone. And Peterson Has won big before! These Huskies look like the class of the Pac-12. This week @ Oregon.
5. Michigan – Is Michigan not that good only winning by a TD at the Big House? If we go by what we have seen and how teams are trending, I would say that Wisconsin is much better than any of us thought! This week @ Rutgers.
6. Tennessee – After two back to back come from behind wins, I'm starting to think the ever so often used "D" word with the boys from good ole Rocky Top! Oh let me wait til after this week first before I say destiny. This week @ Texas A&M.
7. Houston – The Cougars took care of the only team that pinned a loss on them last season. Now they head to take on a pretty good Navy Team. This week @ Navy.
8. Texas A&M: The Aggies are once again 5-0 and now the rubber meets the road with their next few games facing Tennessee, Alabama and future games with Ole Miss and LSU. Kevin Sumlin is not off the hot seat just quite yet! This week vs Tennessee.
9. Louisville – Hey I like the way they battled back and had a chance to win on the road at Clemson. Even with a loss this team is still one of the best in the nation to me! This week BYE.
10. Wisconsin- They lost but a more than admirable effort at the Big House and their toughest in the world first five conference games keeps this team well within the top ten. This week BYE
Oh, how the times have changed! Before Sean Payton took over in 2006, the Saints really were a team that had some success, but nothing like they were about to experience. And now the Saints have been reminding folks what they used to be prior to 2006!
Just a few seasons ago the Saints were one of those NFL teams that could look at their schedule and say "oh, that's a win for the Black and Gold!" And now other teams say the same thing when they see the Saints show up on their schedule. What I mean is, before the season began I'll bet the majority of Saints fans thought the Chargers game was one that the Saints would win, and they might. But the Saints are a four point road dog for a reason. So let's take a look at this week's match-up
Series History: San Diego leads the series 7-4 Last week's results: Indianapolis beat San Diego 26-22 and Atlanta beat New Orleans 45-32 Next week: The Saints have a BYE while San Diego travels to take on Oakland.
Saints Offense: The Saints offense put up some decent numbers once again last week, but simply put, the defense is so bad it's flat out getting to the point where the offense doesn't matter. The NFL has seen 23 teams score 30 or more points in the first three weeks of the season. Those teams that have scored 30 or more points have won 20 of those 23 games. The Saints are 0-2 in games in which they score 30 or more. Damn, that's sad.
Yes the offense will move the ball, but can the Saints run the football? Currently New Orleans is rushing the ball very little from a rushing attempts standpoint and that is keeping their defense on the field longer, which is bad.
I know the Saints have to score however they can, and it's obvious that passing the ball is far more successful than rushing the football. But having some sort of balance could help keep the defense off the field more and that can only be a good thing.
Saints RB Mark Ingram is rushing the football five yards per carry and this week he could be challenged as the Chargers have the 6th best rushing defense in the league allowing only 81.7 yards per game.
So if the Saints don't have early success and the Chargers offense piles up points, once again, look for the Saints to drop the run and pass the ball more often.
Saints Defense: What can I say about the Saints defense? The Saints had played seven good quarters of defense in their first two games. But last week the defense got bombed out and depleted. The Saints have allowed a total of 96 points which is second worst only to Tampa which has allowed 101 points.
San Diego should be able to move the ball pretty easily and it may come to a point to where the Chargers have plenty of options in running the ball with RB Melvin Gordon or using the old reliable QB Phillip Rivers.
Folks, the Saints are banged up and other than playing hard, which they have for seven quarters this season, there is not much more you can ask of this unit. I think the Saints will play hard but another scoring match is what I expect.
Stopping the run, pressuring the QB and creating turnovers are problems the Saints can't seem to fix. Who knows maybe this week they will!
The Big Chief Says: Take the overs and go to sleep. I fully expect more than 53 points to be scored in this game!