After two consecutive big weeks in conference play things are a bit chill this Saturday. There are still some solid match-ups but no "Clash of the Titans" kind of meetings. Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State have the week off. Time to go Inside the SEC…
Furman at South Carolina – 11am kickoff
Hmmmm…the Gamecocks were idle last week and got rested up for this monster of a test? Well, South Carolina has struggled with in-state, lower-division schools in the past. But despite their defensive lapses this year, this game should be a relatively easy affair and set up the Gamecocks for next week's showdown with Auburn.
#21 Texas A&M at #7 Alabama - 2:30pm kickoff
Offense has not typically been an issue during Kevin Sumlin's tenure at A&M, but the Aggies have been slow starters in recent weeks. They've scored a total of 10 points in the first halves of consecutive losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Meanwhile, Bama is experiencing some puzzling offensive problems of its own. The biggest surprise in last week's lackluster 14–13 win at Arkansas was their inability to run the football. The Crimson Tide averaged only 2 yards per attempt against a Hogs defense that allowed 6.3 yards per carry against Auburn, 4.6 against Texas Tech and 5.1 against Texas A&M. This game could very well put the Tide out of the national title picture.
#10 Georgia at Arkansas - 3pm kickoff
Arkansas can go one of two ways following its oh-so-close performance against Alabama. They can either retreat into a hole & sulk over yet another lost chance at an SEC victory, or push back and take on the challenge that is the Georgia defense. Unfortunately for the Hogs, the Bulldogs will find the Razorbacks' defense a good matchup for its skill set. The Hogs are certainly an improving football team, but this game figures to provide them with many of the same problems last week's game against the Tide did.
Tennessee at #3 Ole Miss - 6pm kickoff
The Rebels have climbed the national rankings in recent weeks thanks to a dominating defense and an efficient offense that is limiting mistakes. Ole Miss has turned it over just once while forcing four turnovers in their last 2 games. That is a recipe for success. I will say that the The Volunteers appear on the cusp of turning the corner, but with such a young team they haven't been able to find a way to close out a tight game yet. Don't bet on Tennessee getting their first conference win this week in Oxford.
Missouri at Florida - 6pm kickoff
The Gators came close to beating LSU, but in the end just added more fuel to the fire warming Will Muschamp's seat. Meanwhile Mizzou is still in the hunt for the SEC East title, bringing just one conference loss into this game. I've got a feeling having quarterback Treon Harris back and playing at home will be enough for Florida to earn the victory against a beaten-down Missouri defense
Kentucky at LSU - 6:30pm kickoff
Besides the obvious reason that it's LSU, I am very interested in this game. Kentucky is in second place in the SEC East division and really should be 6-0 on the year after getting screwed by the refs in their game vs. Florida. The real key to me here is how much the Tiger's defense can limit the Wildcats' offense. LSU should score plenty of points for a change against a Kentucky defense that needs help up the middle.
Saints QB Drew Brees
I just heard gasps from the Who Dat Nation. Well, I'm sorry but this a terrible matchup for the entire Saints offense as the Lions boast the top defense in the NFL currently. They allow a paltry 13.7 points per contest, and lead the league in sacks with 20. I know it's not easy benching a top fantasy commodity like Brees, but I suggest that if you can, plug in your backup.
Rams RB Zac Stacy
This guy has been unreliable this year and added another underwhelming performance to his resume Monday night at home versus the 49ers, gaining just 19 total yards. He's also losing touches to rookie running back Tre Mason along with Benny Cunningham. Even if Stacy was dominating, St. Louis has a tough test against an angry Seahawks defense that is surrendering 72 rushing yards per game and has only allowed two rushing touchdowns through five games.
WARNING… this is a Peyton Manning alert! Sure, San Fran has a top 10 defense but they head to the Rockies to take on a Broncos team that is headed by a guy about to break Brett Favre's record for career touchdowns thrown. Most of the time in fantasy football it's not where YOUR defense is ranked; but rather where the oppositions' offense is. Scour your waiver wire and see if Buffalo or Cleveland are available since they are facing weak scoring teams.
Ravens RB Justin Forsett
Forsett dominated last week against Tampa Bay and finished with 111 rushing yards on just 14 carries. You can trust him to rack up fantasy points again this week as his opponent is the Falcons. Atlanta is 28th in the league against the run (141.3 rushing yards per game) and fantasy football gold for opposing running backs.
Lions WR Golden Tate
With Calvin Johnson dealing with a high ankle sprain, Tate becomes QB Matt Stafford's top wide receiver. He has been targeted 31 times in the last 3 games and has managed to gain 296 yards with 1 score. Tate faces a Saints defense that has been abysmal away from home. In the last 3 road games, the Fleur Di Lis D has surrendered and average of 305 yards receiving and 7 TDs.
Cowboys TE Jason Witten
It's been a quiet year for Witten but he loves to show up in games against the Giants. He has scored 4 TDs in the last 3 games against them. Yeah, I know he has become more of a blocker in Dallas' run based attack, but the G-Men remain a mess all around and just got torched by Philadelphia's TEs for 118 yards and 2 scores. I trust Witten can find pay dirt Sunday in Big D.
I hope the 2-3 Saints really "recharged their batteries" during the bye week, because the rest of their schedule is brutal. Things pick back up in Motown this Sunday afternoon for the Black & Gold and the Lions are off to a 4-2 start. Detroit boasts the stingiest defense in the NFL right now, surrendering just 13.7 points per contest. Their offense, however, has been struggling to find the end zone and rank in the bottom half of the league. The Lions score on average 19.3 points per contest.
Detroit's scoring woes certainly aren't going to be helped by the fact that star receiver Calvin Johnson is not healthy. He injured his ankle in week 3 and has tried to play through it, but completely missed last week's game and is a big question mark this week.
Also missing the Lions last game was running back Reggie Bush who has an ankle ailment. He has already said though that he is 100% sure that he will play this week against the team that drafted him. While Bush is now 29 years old, Saints fans know he is still an explosive player that can still turn on the jets and make defenders look silly.
There is another key contributor on the Lions offense that Saints fans will be familiar with and that is running back Joique Bell. He spent most of the 2011 season in New Orleans but didn't make it to the active roster. Now he's pretty much the lead dog in Detroit as he's handled the bulk of the carries. Bell has carried the ball 66 times for 226 yards and 2 TDs. He also has 11 receptions for 96 yards.
Meanwhile quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 62% of his passes for 1,592 yards and has 7 TDs with 4 INTs. Who knows how much longer he'll be injury free though as he's been sacked an NFL high 21 times. Could this be the week the Saints defense finally gets their pass rush going?
Stafford's top target this year due to Megatron's injury has been former Seahawks WR Golden Tate. He has hauled in 38 passes for 495 yards but has only scored once. 1st round draft pick Eric Ebron has not been a factor thus far in his rookie season as the tight end has just 10 catches for 103 yards and 1 TD. Fellow TE Brandon Pettigrew has not contributed much either with just 5 catches for 40 yards.
While the offense for Detroit has been unimpressive the defense will knock your socks off. The unit leads the league in sacks with 21 and gives up only 271 yards per game.
It all starts up front with a ton of big talent. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is a mammoth of a player at 6ft5, 305 pounds and has the talent to back up his nasty on the field demeanor. He has 3 sacks so far this year and has 30.5 in his 5 year career.
He isn't the only assassin on defense though as DE George Johnson leads the Lions with 4 sacks and 2nd year stud Ziggy Ansah has 3.5. Ansah was the 5th overall pick a year ago and is a 6ft6, 278 pound wrecking ball. DT Nick Fairley also is a force by helping do the dirty work in the middle to help pave the way for others to hunt down QBs.
Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy leads the team in tackles with 58. He also has 8 tackles for loss, 3 passes defended and 1 interception.
My initial feeling for this game is not good for the Saints, but Detroit's inability to protect their QB along with their top offensive weapon being banged up does give me a glimmer of hope for the Black and Gold. This one is on the road but weather won't be an issue as the Lions play in a dome and the Saints are more comfortable on the fast track.
However, I just don't think Drew Brees is going to have enough time to throw and is going to be under duress all game. I think it will be close, but I just can't pick New Orleans.
Seven ranked teams play this week with Mississippi State's showdown against Auburn taking the spotlight. The huge matchup in Starkville is a contest with national title implications, and quarterbacks Dak Prescott and Nick Marshall hope to make a Heisman push with a big performance.
Idle this week is South Carolina.
Time to go Inside the SEC…
UL Monroe at Kentucky - 11am kickoff
The Wildcats are coming off a big win over South Carolina; so naturally, this is the kind of game UK should be worried about. It will be interesting to see what Kentucky does down the stretch in the East, as next week begins a four game run through some of the toughest opponents in the entire conference. Beating UL Monroe is crucial for them. It might mean the difference between bowl eligibility and sitting home, even though Kentucky has already won four games.
#13 Georgia at #23 Missouri – 11am kickoff
Hey, this one may very well be for the SEC East title. If Georgia wins, only Auburn looks able to knock off the Bulldogs down the road. Missouri still has to get through Texas A&M and the Tigers are still prone to drop a conference game from completely off the radar screen somewhere. Beating Georgia would give Mizzou a nice cushion over its chief competitor, but the Bulldogs still have a sizable talent advantage in this matchup.
#2 Auburn at #3 Mississippi State - 2:30pm kickoff
Auburn is coming off a masterful win over LSU during which everything they did went right. Mississippi State is coming off that same kind of victory over Texas A&M. Someone is due for an emotional letdown here. In State's corner is the fact that this game is in Starkville; otherwise, it would be an easy Auburn pick for me. But Mississippi State is absolutely the underdog in this game, and until the Bulldogs put together a more consistent string of solid performances against equal or better teams picking them is too much of a gamble.
Chattanooga at Tennessee - 3pm kickoff
So far, the season has played to form for Tennessee, which has had almost wins against Georgia and Florida. Fortunately for the Volunteers, UT-Chattanooga will put up virtually no resistance in this game, and with a win here, the Vols don't have an impossible path to the postseason.
#7 Alabama at Arkansas - 5pm kickoff
The last two meetings in this series have been a one sided affair. Alabama has crushed Arkansas 104-0 over the last two years! The Hog are a significantly improved team in 2014 but in order to pull off a victory a near perfect effort will be needed. The Crimson Tide lead the conference in rush defense and only one opponent has managed more than 100 yards this year. With Alabama focused on stopping the ground attack, the Razorbacks need an efficient effort from quarterback Brandon Allen. The junior has passed for 751 yards this year and needs to have success on early downs to keep Bama's defense on its heels. This is a good barometer game for Arkansas, and an opportunity for the Crimson Tide to exercise some of the frustration from last week's loss.
LSU at Florida – 6:30pm kickoff
LSU is 0-2 in conference play as they lost badly to both Auburn and Mississippi State. The good news for the Tigers is that Florida is hardly any better. The Gators had to rally to beat Tennessee last week, but worse yet, the quarterback who led the comeback, Treon Harris, is now accused of sexual assault and has been suspended from team activities. That means Jeff Driskel is back in the saddle. Fortunately for LSU, it probably wouldn't have mattered which quarterback Florida used. The Tigers defense is flat out poor against teams with good inside rushing attacks, and Florida's is borderline. While the Gators have the home-field advantage, LSU should still be in a position to win this one.
Charleston Southern at Vanderbilt – 6:30pm kickoff
Nothing is assured for Vandy this season, as they have to be questioning whether they got their most recent coaching search right. The Commodores looked incompetent against Ole Miss and Temple, but nearly upset South Carolina and showed late resilience against New Hampshire. Given Charleston Southern's lower division pedigree, Vanderbilt should win this game, but it might very well be the last game of the season they do walk away with a victory.
#3 Ole Miss at #14 Texas A&M – 8pm kickoff
The Rebels will have to win with defense here against a team it certainly cannot match score for score. The Aggies have had issues on defense, as evidenced by Mississippi State making a near-mockery of its game against them, but A&M can score points quickly, something Ole Miss struggles to do. If Texas A&M can build a big lead in the first half it might be too much for the Rebs to overcome.
Whether it's his rib injury, surgically repaired ankle, poor offensive line or average receivers, Newton just isn't the same guy this season. Now the Panthers face a Bengals' defense that remains one of the best in the league, allowing just 19 points per game. Their pass defense has allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points per game which includes just four touchdowns while pulling down six interceptions. Newton hasn't done any Superman poses in the end zone this year and that's unlikely to change in Cincinnati.
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin
Martin has been a disaster thus far for fantasy football owners and now must go up against the unforgiving Ravens defense. Baltimore allows the 5th fewest points to running backs. If the Bucs do happen to make a game of this one it will likely be because of Mike Glennon's arm, not Martin's legs. Averaging a pitiful 2.5 yards per carry thus far in the season, Martin won't be in a Beats commercial anytime soon since he's not the man, not the man, not the man.
Cowboys WR Terrance Williams
Seattle is where opposing team's fantasy points go to die. Yes, Williams has had a string of good games scoring four touchdowns the past three weeks, but this match-up is terrible. The Seahawks' defense has allowed just three receiving touchdowns to wide receivers, and two of them were on Monday night against the Washington Redskins on the road. Williams may still be worth a flex start, but I wouldn't count on big numbers.
Giants QB Eli Manning
The Gmen face the Eagles this week who are atrocious at defending the pass. They've allowed the likes of Chad Henne, Kirk Cousins, and Austin Davis to shred them. Plus Philly has allowed every opposing quarterback to throw for at least 2 scores so far this season. There is zero reason to believe that Eli won't continue that trend. The Giants even got a boost in the passing game last week in the form of former LSU Tiger Odell Beckham Jr., who quickly made his presence felt with 4 catches and a score.
Start Eli with confidence.
Chargers RB Branden Oliver
Ryan Mathews won't play this week, and Donald Brown exited last week with a concussion. That leaves Oliver as the last man standing. The Chargers did sign Ronnie Brown on Tuesday, but that only means that Donald Brown will be unavailable and San Diego needs another warm body at running back. With no true challenge to his touches, Oliver should be in line for the majority of duty against the hapless Raiders. Teammate Antonio Gates has called him Darren Sproles with muscles!
This is a slam-dunk matchup, as the Silver & Black have been kind to opposing RBs. With the exception of New England, every opposing team has had a running back score against Oakland this year.
Dolphins WR Mike Wallace
I am not one of those Ryan Tannehill supporters but he does have a decent match-up this week at home against Green Bay. The Pack are a much different ballclub on the road allowing an average of 269 receiving yards in their last six games away from Lambeau Field. Enter Dolphins WR Mike Wallace, who has been reliable at home scoring four times in his last five contests in Miami.
Expectations were extremely high for the 2014 Saints to kickoff the season, and not just locally. The national media also bought into the hype, calling this year's team the best Black & Gold squad ever assembled "on paper" as it seemed to possess no real weakness. Well, now just 5 games into the season and opinions have radically changed as New Orleans is off to a shocking 2-3 start.
Drew Brees has taken a lot of heat from the fans. Some have even proclaimed their once untouchable hero has lost throwing strength and at the ripe old age of 35 is washed up. While I don't believe for one second that #9's arm is "dead" he has been under throwing his receivers a lot more frequently then we are used to. I'm wondering if the oblique strain that caused him to miss some time during training camp is more of an issue then we know.
But even so, he is still ranked in the top 10 of most passing stats, unfortunately that does include interceptions. Brees has to make better decision with the ball moving forward as it seems he is trying to force things. We saw that a lot in 2012 when the defense was historically atrocious and head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire season. You understood what was going on, Drew was trying to do it ALL.
This year though, the Saints actually have a potent rushing attack to compliment the air raid and it looks really damn good. Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas emphasized that this past week.
Believe it or not (believe it), the Saints actually lead the NFL in rushing TDs with 7 and rank 2nd in the league in yards per carry gaining 5.2 an attempt. Following the bye week the unit could get even stronger with the return of Mark Ingram who had 2 screws inserted into his hand following week 2's loss in Cleveland.
Now, the receiving corp is where you could start to point to some problems. Veteran Marques Colston hasn't looked very fluid and has dropped some key passes, Kenny Stills has been almost invisible in his 2nd season, Robert Meachem may have one catch a game and 1st round pick Brandin Cooks has looked OK so far, but is still a rookie learning the ropes. Even big ticket tight end Jimmy Graham has had issues with drops and left last week's win with a shoulder injury. Hopefully it isn't serious and he can heal up during the week off.
Two players expected to be more a part of the offense that instead have been inactive on game days are Joseph Morgan and Nick Toon. Both have combined for as many catches as you and I have. Yup that's right…zero! Not sure why either of these guys cannot get on the field, but both have been busts so far after looking good in the offseason. I would really like to see both of these guys make some improvement to see some playing time as I feel both could be more of a factor then Meachem.
The players and coaches will never call out anyone (at least not on this team), but even with some problems the offense does have, the unit is not the issue for the Saints. They rank 1st overall in the NFL right now for crying out loud! (4th passing, 9th rushing)
The final 11 games for New Orleans is a gauntlet of tough opponents and there is no one game you can look at right now and call a definite win, even the home ones. But if the Saints do falter the rest of the way, it won't be because of Drew and the rest of the offensive krewe. I'm confident that side of the ball will only get better.
It's a colossal week in college football, especially in the Southeastern Conference with 2 big games set to go down in the Magnolia State. There's also a cat fight "On the Plains" where a visiting freshman is getting his first start under center.
Idle this week is #24 Missouri and Arkansas.
Florida at Tennessee - 11am kickoff The Gators had last week off after a blowout loss at Alabama, while Tennessee nearly upset Georgia on the road. The losing team here is probably out of the SEC East race. The Vols have had had this game circled for some time, but the question is whether their close but no cigar performance against Georgia has discouraged them. Florida is immensely more talented than Tennessee and this one is almost a must win for Gators coach Will Muschamp who is 1-6 in his last 7 SEC games.
#6 Texas A&M at #12 Mississippi State – 11am kickoff Texas A&M was almost upset last week by Arkansas, thanks mostly to the Aggies' lack of defense. Sooner or later, that will prove to be their undoing, and it might just be this week against a Mississippi State squad that could be a serious contender in the SEC West. The problem for the Bulldogs is that if A&M does happen to get up by a couple of quick scores, they aren't capable of staying with them. The Aggies biggest challenge will be dealing with a MSU secondary that can be pretty stout when it concentrates on the task at hand.
#3 Alabama at #11 Ole Miss - 2:30pm kickoff It's the biggest football Saturday in Oxford in decades. Ole Miss, undefeated and ranked in the top 10 nationally, hosts the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama. Bama's offense is averaging just a shade under 600 yards per game while the Rebels currently lead the SEC in total defense, allowing only 3.7 yards per play and 248 yards per contest. The bigger concern for Ole Miss is the offense. The numbers have been decent, but the Rebs have lacked consistency and have turned the ball over nine times in four games.
Vanderbilt at #13 Georgia - 3pm kickoff The Commodores took steps forward two weeks ago by challenging South Carolina, but gave it all back last week in loss to Kentucky. But Georgia isn't running at optimal levels either. Neither of these teams is on course, but the Bulldogs have such a massive talent advantage that makes it's hard to imagine Vandy pulling the upset.
#15 LSU at #5 Auburn - 6pm kickoff Les Miles is hoping he has the quarterback issue settled for LSU, as true freshman Brandon Harris is set to replace Anthony Jennings this week. Meanwhile, Auburn has suffered from a general lack of sharpness, and the offense looks quite a bit more mortal than in previous years. Had Miles managed the QB situation better up to this point, and Harris had a start or two under his belt, I might pick LSU here. But the real issue is with the Bayou Bengals run defense. They were gashed by Wisconsin and Mississippi State and now face an Auburn team averaging 260.5 rushing yards per game.
South Carolina at Kentucky – 6:30pm kickoff This game suddenly got a lot more interesting in light of South Carolina's loss to Missouri. The Wildcats aren't a great team by any measure, but they are getting better; while the Gamecocks are in somewhat of a tailspin. South Carolina's defense isn't very good and QB Dylan Thompson may not be capable of leading a coherent gameplan on a weekly basis. Against Kentucky though, the Gamecocks should still have enough on the sidelines to win.
The Panthers offense is a mess! Every running back is hurt, Superman Cam doesn't look fully healthy and the offensive line is playing poorly. Add to that the fact they are matched up against a Bears defense this week that is actually better on the road then at home. Chicago has allowed 1 or fewer TD passes in 7 of their last 9 games away from Soldier Field.
Redskins RB Alfred Morris
Washington hosts the Seahawks this week and while Seattle is a different animal away from home, they still possess one of the best defenses in the entire NFL. I know it's really tough to bench a RB1, especially Morris playing at home. He has a touchdown at Fed Ex Field in each one of the last 12 games there. All things must come to an end though and I've got a feeling he won't make it 13 straight at home this week.
Call me Captain Obvious on this one, but Arizona in Denver facing a Peyton Manning led offense spells bad news in my book. The Cards defense is good, but I would steer clear away from anyone facing the Broncos on their home turf.
START 'EM Giants QB Eli Manning
I was tough on Eli a few weeks ago but little brother showed some fire last week when he scorched the Washington's defense throwing for 300 yards with 4 touchdowns and even running for another score. This week the Gmen host Atlanta and the Falcons secondary has more holes then your favorite old shirt. The Falcons rank 30th against the pass and to make matters worse for the Dirty Birds, their best defensive back was just placed on short-term injured reserve. Look for Manning and Big Blue to put up a plethora of points.
Rams WR Brian Quick
This kid continues to get no respect and is still available in many leagues. Quick is averaging more than five receptions on more than seven targets per game. He has topped 60 yards in each game this season, and last time we saw him, he was taking a 51-yard pass to the end zone.
This week, the Rams could get Shaun Hill back for their battle against the Eagles' 23rd ranked pass defense. Quick has been the Rams' best WR, and there is no reason to believe Philly has any chance of slowing him down.
Titans RB Bishop Sankey
Check your waiver wire; an impatient owner may have dropped this rookie. His time has arrived so pick him up if you can. Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt has proclaimed that Sankey will likely get more reps this week against the Browns then he has all season. The 5 foot 10, 209 lbs running back out of Washington has managed 127 yards and one touchdown on 19 touches the past two weeks. Getting more touches this week could provide a breakout performance since Cleveland is giving up the second most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
The Saints 1-3 start to the season may be disappointing, but it's far from over folks. Currently Atlanta and Carolina are tied for the top spot in the NFC South at 2-2; so no one is running away with the division. New Orleans still has 7 more home games left on the schedule and welcome division rival Tampa Bay to the Superdome this week. The Buccaneers own an identical 1-3 record.
Tampa finished at the bottom of the NFL South a year ago with at 4-12 leading to the firing of dictator… I mean head coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs offense was ranked dead last in the league, while the defense finished 17th overall. Along with Schiano, cornerback Darrelle Revis was released to free up room under the salary cap and wide receiver Mike Williams was traded to the Buffalo Bills.
After a year off from coaching, Lovie Smith was hired by the Bucs, and cornerback Alterraun Verner was added to replace "Revis Island." Tampa Bay also added defensive end Michael Johnson and on offense quarterback Josh McCown was brought in after putting up impressive numbers for the Bears.
Tampa spent this year's entire draft on offensive players looking to boost their bottom of the barrel numbers from 2013. In the 1st round they nabbed receiver Mike Evans from Texas A&M and in round 2 grabbed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins out of Washington. Add those two with veteran Vincent Jackson and you have a nice trio of 6-foot-5 targets. Evans is dealing with a groin injury though, and will likely be unable to play Sunday, leaving Louis Murphy to replace him as the #2 WR. Rookie Robert Herron is the Bucs guy in the slot.
Tampa is still a run first team and Doug Martin is looking for a bounce back season. The 5-foot-9, speedy but powerful running back suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last year after playing in just 6 games following an impressive 11 TD rookie campaign. This season hasn't started well either, as Martin suffered a knee injury in week 1 and missed the next 2 games before returning to action last week. He looked fine carrying the ball 14 times for 40 yards and a score while also catching 2 passes for 16 yards.
But who is quarterback for the Buccaneers? Mike Glennon was the team's 3rd round pick in 2013, but McCown was brought in to be "the guy." McCown started off the season with the starting job, but was ineffective and then hurt his thumb week 3 versus Atlanta. Glennon started last week's game in which Tampa pulled off a thrilling comeback win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Coach Smith wouldn't name a starter for the game against the Saints in his Monday press conference, only saying his decisions at every position is based on who is available and who gives the team the best chance to win. Like the LSU situation, it's pretty clear that Glennon should be "the guy."
One thing coach Lovie does know is defense and the Buccaneers have a lot of talent on that side of the ball even if they haven't shown it thus far. They currently rank 27th in the NFL and are allowing on average just under 30 points per contest, which is only better then Jacksonville. Fans are not happy since Smith was supposed to come in and rejuvenate the D. The unit was a bit banged up to start the year and have been getting healthier. Plus, they are adjusting to Smith's Tampa 2 system.
The duo to fear is defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David. McCoy is a big, disruptive force up front that has 20.5 sacks so far in his 5 year career along with 3 forced fumbles and 11 passes defended. David is in his 3rd year in the pros and 321 career tackles with 4 forced fumbles and 6 interceptions. Free agent addition Michael Johnson is tied with McCoy for the teams lead in sacks with 2.
The Buccaneers are coming into this game with a ton of confidence, but I would be more concerned if they were more settled at the QB position. Look for the Black & Gold to get back on track and get to 2-3 before the bye week.
PREDICTION: SAINTS 31 BUCCANEERS 23
By the way…how terrible are the Buccaneers new uniforms?
by Steve Geller, firstname.lastname@example.org,posted Sep 26 2014 11:39AM
It is hard to believe but we are almost halfway through the season folks. This week it pretty tame, but WHOA NELLY, next week is when the fun begins.
Idle Saturday is #3 Alabama, #14 Mississippi State and Florida.
Time to go Inside the SEC…
Tennessee at #12 Georgia - 11am kickoff
The Bulldogs squandered their last opportunity to take a step towards the Conference Championship game Atlanta in their last SEC matchup and look to regain their footing this week. The Volunteers struggled to do much of anything in their last match-up against Oklahoma, but had a week off to prepare for Georgia. It took OT last year for UGA to escape Knoxville with a win; can the Vols finish the upset this year with a win “Between the Hedges”?
Vanderbilt at Kentucky – 11am kickoff
I’ll say Vandy showed some fight last week against South Carolina but just couldn’t pull off the victory. The last time Kentucky played, they nearly beat Florida in “The Swamp”. This is traditionally the game that decides the last place finisher in the East, but an impressive showing by the Wildcats could give them the momentum they need to claw their way into the middle of the pack. We’ll see if Vanderbilt has another game in them where they can be competitive or revert back to ineptness on offense and defense.
Arkansas vs. #6 Texas A&M at Arlington, Texas - 2:30pm kickoff
You could make a case that either of these ballclubs could vie for the top spot in the West this year. Arkansas lost its first game to Auburn, but has looked pretty darn good since. Texas A&M dismantled South Carolina to open the season and haven’t really played anyone of consequence after that. The Aggies have outscored their last 3 opponents 169-19, while the Hogs haven’t been too shabby ringing up its last 3 advisories to the tune of
174-49. I just have a feeling that Razorback fans will be hollering “SOOIE” at the end of this one.
Louisiana Tech at #5 Auburn - 3pm kickoff
Coming off a less than ideal performance on the road in Manhattan, Auburn hosts the first of their Louisiana double header this week. La Tech comes to collect a paycheck this week while auburn is just hoping to stay healthy and work on the LSU game plan. Even if Auburn is looking ahead to the Bayou Bengals, the Bulldogs don’t have the horses to pull off a victory “On the Plains”.
Missouri at #13 South Carolina - 6pm kickoff
Someone please tell me why ESPN College Gameday is broadcasting from this game. Coming off a loss to Indiana, Missouri will look to avenge their only regular season loss from last season. South Carolina came out sluggish last week and had to fight back to secure a win against a pitiful Vanderbilt squad. One of these teams better come out playing like they want to win their division or this could be a really ugly slap fight.
Memphis at #10 Ole Miss – 6:30pm kickoff
Beware Ole Miss, Memphis gave a decent UCLA team all it could handle earlier this season losing to the Bruins but just 7 points. I know the Rebel Nation is anxious for next week’s tilt against Bama, but the Tigers are legit as they are playing with a ton of confidence and are a dangerous cat to contend with. It will be a lot closer then Ole Miss will like, but as long as QB Bo Wallace protects the football, the Rebels should win.
New Mexico State at #17 LSU – 6:30pm kickoff
LSU looks to take their frustration out on poor New Mexico State for the beating they took in front of the home crowd last week. The Aggies bring a 2-2 record in against average competition and are one of the worst FBS teams in the nation. The Tiger will maul ‘em in a blowout to a half empty stadium.