On paper this is a no-brainer. The Bungles have looked like dogshit all season. Eventually, even they have to get it right. That team is too talented overall to be playing like this right? Then when you actually really watch the games and see that they really are that bad. Once considered their Achilles heel, the Bungles defense has actually been improved with play of rookie Keith Rivers and general improvement from youngsters Jonathan Joseph, Leon Hall and Domata Peko. Don’t get me wrong in that this isn’t the 85 Bears but the defense hasn’t been the reason for the Bengals plummeting significantly.
That burden has fallen on the offense. The once mighty Bengals offensive line has taken a dramatic step back and the entire offense has suffered. Carson Palmer is out, TJ Doucheman is banged up and Chode Ocho Cinco is busy making a testicle of himself as opposed to playing football. Their running game is MIA and when there is a crack of daylight either Chris Perry fumbles or Cedric Benson is too slow to mow through.
Everything about Sunday's Steeler game screams trap. The Steelers have a poor record coming off the bye. Division game effort from lesser team is always scary no matter how crappy they look. Cincy has to win eventually. HUGE giants next week, being on the road (even though 20K+ Stiller fans should be in attendance) and the growing theme that the Steelers seem to lay an egg when expected to win. Yet despite ALL of this, It’s still a Ryan Fitzpatrick led Bungle team that could barely get anything going against the Jets despite having numerous opportunities to get back in the game. For being a Harvard guy, Fitzpatrick looks a bit confused behind center. He’s mobile and can throw accurately on short passes but lacks the arm strength to beat teams deep. He won't beat the Steelers. The only thing in this rivalry is that the only the Steelers lose is if they beat themselves or if they read their own press clippings. Lucky for them, they hate the Bungles too much to let that happen.
Pittsburgh – 24
Cincinnati – 9
New Orleans (+3) @ Carolina Panthers
The problem with this division is that there is no clear cut favorite coming out of it. This week it’s Tampa, last week it was Carolina and two weeks ago it was the Saints. It truly goes into the whole randomness theme we’ve got going on with the NFL in general. So fresh off getting pasted, The Panthers look to turn it around. The Saints, meanwhile, had their most complete game of the season against the magnificent Raiders so Carolina is getting overlooked here. A week ago, I was thinking the Panthers would be the dark house candidate to come out of the NFC but naturally they looked like cow feces last week. What do I expect this week? For Carolina to get right back on their path to the playoffs. They are one of the faster defenses in the league and that will help curtailing the potent Saints attack.
They are also one of those teams that play a lot better at home. I guess if your cheerleaders make out in the bathroom there is no place like home. The loss of Sedrick Ellis hasn’t really been felt yet but this is the week that changes for the Saints as the Panthers ride the running game to a close but hard fought win.
It's okay Reggie. You still have Kim.
Carolina – 29
New Orleans – 24