NFL Week 2 NFC South: Will Someone Stand Up & Play Defense

Although this division has won one NFL championship in the last two years, its amazing how pedestrian this division is playing defense. With Cam Newton showcasing out of this world talent, it doesn’t bode well for the Panther’s division mates. The Saints finally showed up against Chicago but ask yourself : Was it the strength of the Saints defense or a Bears offense still searching for an identity?? Division favorite Atlanta won a shootout with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night yet gave up 30 points for the second consecutive week. They cannot keep going at that rate and expect to win the division. A trip to Tampa to reprise last year’s bloodbath against the physical Buccaneers awaits.

NFC South Team W L T  Pct PF PA Net Pts TD Home Road Div Pct Conf Pct Non-Conf Streak Last 5
New Orleans Saints 1 1 0 .500 64 55 9 7 1-0 0-1 0-0 .000 1-1 .500 0-0 1W 1-1
Atlanta Falcons 1 1 0 .500 47 61 -14 6 1-0 0-1 0-0 .000 1-1 .500 0-0 1W 1-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 1 0 .500 44 47 -3 5 0-1 1-0 0-0 .000 1-1 .500 0-0 1W 1-1
Carolina Panthers 0 2 0 .000 44 58 -14 5 0-1 0-1 0-0 .000 0-2 .000 0-0 2L 0-2

All that withstanding, the Buccaneers could prove to be the early season favorite if they can knock off the Falcons this Sunday. Last year these two played in the most physical game of the season.  One with so much hitting that the personal foul calls caused Roddy White of the Falcons to be pulled out for awhile by his coach and saw  Tampa QB Josh Freeman get a personal foul call after an interception. Even the cheerleaders left that December game sore. Get some nachos, beer, popcorn and get ready for this one. We promise you this will be the game to watch because these two teams hate each other. Who are we leaning toward?  Check in later this week, right Falcons Jennifer?? She’s a little biased by the way.

New Orleans is still in a state of flux after giving up a plethora of yards to the Green Bay Packers in the opener along with 42 points. The “Who Dat” nation better learn how to tackle before the Panthers and Cam Newton come to town. If you can’t bring down DeAngelo Williams and Jonathaon Stewart, you’ll hate having to bring down a 250 lbs quarter back who has set the NFL on it’s collective ear. When he first threw for 422 vs Arizona, most of us scoffed “well that was the Cardinals”.  Then the Panthers threw for over 400 yards against the defending NFL champions and now you have to say “OK Cam Newton is for real”. Others would think it’s premature, we don’t. Ever since the midway point of last year’s college season,we knew he was going pro, so you know defenses were gearing themselves for him. He had some growing pains against the Packers with 3 interceptions, but face it, he bounced back and almost tied the game in losing 31-24. So here the Panthers are, a defensive football team who now wakes up after two weeks not taking care of their end of the bargain.

Ron Rivera’s defense is the reason this team is 0-2, they didn’t know what they had on offense. Now that they do, expect more solid game plans and wins to mount up. Has there been a more dangerous 0-2 team than this one?? Face it there isn’t a lot of film on Newton and they still have Williams and Stewart to help pound the rock before we get to a rejuvenated Steve Smith.  Do you realize after 2 weeks Steve Smith has 14 rec. for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns?? He’s the wrong guy to let him start “feeling it”. If you project those numbers over a full season, that would be 112 receptions and 2,672 yards and 16 TDs. This is the wrong time for the NFC South to forget how to play defense. Seriously!! After losing a close tussel to the world champions, Carolina is licking it’s chops looking at the rest of the division and the lack of defense being played. Seriously, has an 0-2 team ever been this optimistic when looking at the rest of their schedule??

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Week 2 NFL Picks

Welcome to the Taylor Blitz Times NFL selections for week 2. We had a catastrophic crash that took down several articles and we apologize for not getting these out sooner. Yet this is about who will win in this second week in the season. Now our picks took a catastrophic turn for the worse also and we need to get back on track. So without further adieu lets jump into the games.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Detroit Lions: We have the Lions in this one. Matthew Stafford stayed healthy and the team is brimming with confidence after they’re fifth straight regular season win. Of course that’s dating back to last season. The Chiefs are still trying to figure out what happened to them last week at home against Buffalo.

Seattle Seahawks @ Pittsburgh Steelers: The bad news, the Steelers looked old on defense and a step slow against Baltimore last week. The good news?? They get the referree who officiated the lopsided calls in Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks. The Steelers should pound out a win with Mendenhall breaking the 100 yard mark in the Steelers home opener. Steelers should win big.

Chicago Bears @ New Orleans Saints: This is an upset alert special. Brian Urlacher will take the field with a heavy heart with the death of his mother and his teammates will rally around him. He’s the heart and soul of the Bear’s organization and his team will elevate it’s play in this one. The Saints have had an extra four days off after their high scoring week 1 affair against the Green Bay Packers and they still haven’t learned to tackle. Just as they acquiesced in a defensive slugfest to Tampa at the end of last year, they won’t have the stones to stay in this one. Da Bears in a tough game

Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets: The Jets in this one. Jacksonville comes in with both Maurice Jones Drew and Greg Jones on the injured report this week, and now journeyman Luke McCown is going to throw at Cromartie and Revis?? Ball game over right there. Although they are a slow starting team, Rex Ryan and the boys can seriously add one of those championship mental blocks by taking it to a lesser team and beating them soundly. This is where the Jets need to show another level of growth. Two years ago it was winning against the good teams. Last year it was finding ways to win close games and this year it’s to dominate lessor opponents and rest your starters late in meaningless action.

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts: In an announcement to the NFL, it will be hammered home that the Colts have completely fallen from the league’s elite. The Browns were burned on a fluke / mishap last week when they were caught in substitution when the Bengals went ahead in the game. they had led the whole way…in this one. Peyton Hillis will run at the undersized Colts defense who may be missing MLB Gary Brackett also. If the Browns can get ahead and play ball control with Hillis and keep greybeard Kerry Collins from gaining any rhythm, they should pull away. Browns get first win of the year.

Arizona Cardinals @ Washington Redskins: Rex Grossman?? Yes, Rex Grossman. Off of the NFL trash heap to make folks forget all about the Donovan McNabb fiasco and give the Shanahan regime a legitimate quarterback. Skins were spirited in their conquest of the Giants where as last week the Cardinals were busy chasing Panthers all over the field while giving up 422 yards to Cam Newton. So the question that settles this is: If Cam Newton can carve up the CB deficient Cardinals (shouldn’t have given up Rodgers-Cromartie) to the tune of an NFL record at home…what will happen on the road to a resurgent Redskin passing attack?? Redskins in this one

Green Bay Packers @ Carolina Panthers: Intriguing matchup and lets put you in the drivers seat for a second. Lets say you were the defensive co-ordinator for the defending world champions..right?? Now you get to go back to where you had been fired and you were the first coach in that team’s history. Do you think you’d be prepared for that game?? Yes that is the plight of Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers today. What better way to make the Panthers remember who they gave up than to silence the NFL’s new golden child?? Think Cam Newton will be confused?? LOL Capers is drawing up Packer blitzes as we speak. Packers roll in this one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Minnesota Vikings: We have no idea why the Vikings are favored here aside from the fact that odds are given to make betting money even on both sides. The Bucs are more physical than the Vikings and this is where they have to build on the aforementioned late season road win in New Orleans last year. They have the physical running style in LaGarrett Blount to run at the Vikings and the defensive heft to stop Peterson. Right now Donovan McNabb is really struggling and Aquib Talib and Ronde Barber are licking their chops. For a bit of history, remember when the Bucs went to the Super Bowl in 2002, it was Barber who sealed the deal with a 95 yard interception for a TD to finish off McNabb in the NFC Championship…yes an abstract. The Bucs win this one…close game though.

Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans: Just don’t see how the Ravens could lose to a team with such little momentum, they lost to the backpedalling Jaguars in week 1. After bludgeoning the defending AFC Champion Steelers last week and coming to town with the AFC’s defensive player of the week in Terrell Suggs?? Adelphi Coliseum will be empty going into the 4th quarter. Ravens pull away in this one.

Oakland Raiders @ Buffalo Bills: Rich Stadium should be brimming with excitement not seen since the 2001 signing of Drew Bledsoe. Is Ryan Fitzpatrick the real deal? Was the blocking performance by the Bills offensive line as stout as appeared, allowing one sack and producing a 100 yard rusher?? Yet before we get ahead of ourselves Bills fans, understand that Kansas City still gained almost a whopping 6 yards a carry to the Chiefs. They controlled the running attack by scoring and taking the running game away from the Chiefs. Can they do the same to the Raiders??

Darren McFadden is showing that last year was no fluke. The Raiders ran the ball down the Broncos throats last week. After a 22 carry for 150 yard performance the Bills better not let the Raiders get a lead because it could be a long one. Yet the noise should allow the Bills to get an early lead and control the game.  The Bills should be 2-0 at the end of the day.

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers: Both teams played well last week yet the 49ers blew out a substitute NFL team in the Seahawks. The Cowboys dominated the team (Jets) Taylor Blitz Times picked to win this year’s Super Bowl. Only a late game collapse with the injuries doomed the Cowboys in that Sunday night game.  A closer look at all those missing players had alot to do with who was missing on the special teams that allowed the punt to be blocked to seal their fate. This week Romo and the offense needs to keep the petal to the metal and score over 30. We think they will….Cowboys

San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots: Here come the Jeckyll and Hyde Chargers playing up or down to their competition. Last week they played down to Leslie Frazier’s Vikings. Tom Brady nearly assaulted the NFL record  book last week coming within 40 yards of the all time record. Tedi Bruschi lit a fire under Chad Ochocinco in what we feel was a cheapshot, but it lit a fire. So in this one we’re going to take the Patriots in a win by a touchdown.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos: Listen, no team can ever be settled when there is a quarterback controversy. Even the 1971 Champion Dallas Cowboys were mired with a .500 record while they waffled over their quarterbacks. So why should the undermanned Broncos be any different with Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow. Coach Fox needs to put his face on the franchise and if I were he I’d ride Tim Tebow like Seattle Slew. First off, the fans want him and he’ll keep asses in seats all season. Second he allows the Bronco offense to play 11 against 11 down on the goal line and at any time they decide to exploit his 245lb body running the ball. Will he let it happen this week?? He pulls the trigger next week after another loss…..Bengals will find a way to win late

Houston Texans @ Miami Dolphins: The NFL’s best receiver is going to play back where he starred in his collegiate years with the Miami Hurricanes. He will be a tad fired up having watched his alma mater (The U) beat down nemesis Ohio St. the day before. His Texans had a seismic win last week pummeling the Indianapolis Colts. Now he gets to go against a secondary that gave up 517 yards to Tom Brady and the Patriots last week?? Yikes!! He might go for 200 himself in this one. Houston’s time to shine. It’s their year in the AFC South. Texans big.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Atlanta Falcons: Now Deion Sanders has always proclaimed the Georgia Dome to be the house that he built. Maybe, but it did house the Michael Vick Experience for many years until the dog fighting ring derailed a young promising career. How he is received will dictate how he plays and how he plays, so goes the Eagles. If they cheer their prodigal son upon his return, look for Michael Vick to have a terrific game.  He’ll want to showcase all his skills and it’s up to Andy Reid to help temper his game and keep his emotions from getting the best of him. The Falcons will be able to move the football on one of football’s worst run defenses. Its paramount that the Falcons keep #7 off the field and not abandon the running game as they did last week in Chicago. Have this suspicion that Michael Vick is going to do something special. Will it be enough for the Eagles to win in Dixie? We think so as well Eagles!!

There ya have it…week 2 is ready to kickoff…. Here are our selections, tell us yours

Marshall Faulk Makes The Hall of Fame

You can still hear Chris Berman saying “Marshall! Marshall! Marshall!” on NFL Primetime. Can’t you? When we think of great players we tend to think of them at their zenith. For Marshall Faulk it was definitely the years of “The Greatest Show on Turf” where he played his way into the Hall of Fame in just three years. The earlier years were just a harbinger of things to come.

Yet when I think of Marshall Faulk, I think of a faster version of Thurman Thomas. Better yet, if we spliced Thurman Thomas with Barry Sanders, this is the hybrid that would have been created. In fact it was Sanders departure that swung the door wide open for this talent to finally get his acclaim on a world wide basis. When Barry retired, the NFL lost it’s instant highlight reel. We were spoiled as fans because week after week we saw something spectacular and weren’t sure if we’d see that again. Enter Marshall Faulk.

The NFL world was mourning the loss of John Elway and Barry Sanders to retirement. Then we were thrown for another loop when the Indianapolis Colts selected Edgerrin James ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. Almost as an afterthought Marshall Faulk was traded by the Colts to the Rams to make way for James. Instantly, I remember saying this is the Football Gods reversing the Eric Dickerson trade. Referring to the Rams trading Dickerson, the greatest runner of his era, to the Colts in 1987.

No one was really paying attention to Marshall Faulk going to St Louis yet being in Anaheim at the time, I was still in the Rams television market. My response was a flippant comment and not a premonition but it turned out to be. History would judge this trade on what happened with both teams. I thought the Colts had made a mistake letting Faulk go. So who won the Marshall Faulk / Edgerrin James trade??

Marshall Faulk in Super Bowl XXXIV

Super Bowl XXXIV Ring

The St Louis Rams became “The Greatest Show on Turf” thanks to a forgotten running back who could play receiver, had moves and an effortless running style with a burst. In three seasons (1999-2001) he rushed for 4,122 yards averaging 5.4 yards per carry while scoring 59 touchdowns!! Won 2 NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards and an NFL Most Valuable Player Award while taking the Rams to 2 Super Bowls. They won Super Bowl XXXIV beating the Tennessee Titans 23-16. Before Faulk the Rams had not been league champion since 1951.

In the 1999 championship season alone, he joined Roger Craig as the only other back to gain 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. When Craig did it he had 1,050 yards rushing, 1,016 receiving. Faulk burst by that with 1,381 yards rushing and 1,048 yards receiving while sitting out most of the last 3 quarters of the finale against Philadelphia.

That game the Rams lost 38-31 and Faulk would have stretched his numbers further had he played that game and the 4th quarter of 4 other blowouts at home. Not factoring that in, Faulk still broke Barry Sanders record for total yards from scrimmage with 2,429 yards. Greatness. He was the impetus for one of the NFL’s greatest champions.

How do you follow up a season like that? How about narrowly missing another 1,000/1,000 season with 1,359 yards rushing and 830 receiving while setting a new record by breaking Emmitt Smith’s TD record with 26 TDs. In 2001 he led the league with yards from scrimmage for the 4th straight year tying the record of Thurman Thomas. Yet all four of Faulk’s seasons were over 2,000 combined yards where Thomas only had 3. Now when you look back and see that in 1998, in his last season with the Colts, he ran for 1,319 yards and caught passes for 908 yards. He had four consecutive seasons  where he flirted with 1,000/1,000.

He broke records and tied another of Hall of Fame running backs, how could he not be enshrined with them with numbers like that?? All this to lead the Rams in becoming the first team to score over 500 points in multiple seasons with 3 (1999-2001). The Rams also averaged 32.6 points per game for those 3 seasons which was the best in history narrowly beating their 1951 predecessors with just under 31 points.

Marshall Faulk on Saturday’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Marshall went on to finish his career with 12,279 yards rushing with another 6,875 receiving and 136 overall touchdowns. Yet it was this amazing 3 year run that catapulted him to the halls of Canton. Now its interesting to note that while Faulk was doing all this, Edgerrin James (The U) twice led the league in rushing.

Yet the Rams were participating in Super Bowls and became one of the most memorable teams in league history. Another irony is they each went to the Super Bowl while teaming with Kurt Warner when….wait for it…..the Colts let James go via free agency. *In all due respect, the Colts gave Edgerrin a Super Bowl XLI ring for all that he had done for them up to that point.*  Jim Irsay don’t let any more running backs go because the one you let out of town in 1998 was one of the best in history. The Rams won that trade plain and simple. His induction speech was eloquent and he’s been the best analyst on the NFL Network. Congratulations Marshall Faulk…Hall of Famer

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