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Ace Backs Bills

Suck for Luck. Blow for Barkley. Gag for Geno

It is always around this time of the NFL season that these types of phrases catch on with fans of certain teams who are clearly not playoff caliber for that season. The “fans” of these teams are more excited for the draft in April by now than the rest of the season for Goodness sake.
As Andrew Luck and RG3 have shown however, sometimes that elite QB at the top of the draft pays dividends faster than expected. It is a debate I had with some sports radio hosts this week and it is a point I will defend to the death of me; but I am certain that right now I know both Luck and Griffin are both top 10 QBs in the NFL. I would take them over all but 7 QBs in the entire NFL for the rest of this season. To me gone are the days where rookies need to sit a year to learn behind veterans, especially those drafted in the top five. These two guys flat out make plays and that is the name of the game. They make plays, and even better both have proven in the last two weeks that they make plays when it matters most, in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter with the game in their hands.
Specifically, here is the exact order of where I would rank the top 10 QBs right now, and for the rest of this season only.

1.) Tom Brady
2.) Aaron Rodgers
3.) Drew Brees
4.) Matt Ryan
5.) Eli Manning
6.) Matt Stafford
7.) Ben Roethlisberger
8.) RG3
9.) Andrew Luck
10.) Tony Romo

It is important to note that this does not reflect other players on a team, or the remaining schedule, simply where I think they should go if the NFL had a fantasy draft for the rest of this season only.

Some of these QBs face off against one another this week, so let’s move on to the picks, and see how they match up. It is also important to remember however that Carolina, New Orleans, Chicago, and Jacksonville, all have their bye this week.

STEELERS (-6.5) @ TITANS

This line started at 4.5, and rightfully has gone up since. In fact, by the time we reach kickoff, it should be even higher. I know it is a nationally televised night game where the fans will be fired up, but that won’t hide the fact that Tennessee is arguably the worst team in the NFL. The only thing that tempts me not to make this a blowout for the black and gold is the fact that Troy Polamalu and Lamaar Woodly will both not play due to their respective injuries. I still am comfortably picking the Steelers however, as the Titans D is just plain bad. Big Ben should pick apart a D giving up 36 ppg, and will outscore the Titans O led by backup Matt Hasselbeck. Prediction: STEELERS over Titans 30-19.

RAIDERS @ FALCONS (-9)

As I have said multiple times, the Falcons were my preseason Super Bowl pick, and at this point I refuse to not pick them until they show me this isn’t their year. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and boy did they have a lot to work on. They currently are dead last in the NFL in rushing, which is a surprise considering DMC is still healthy. It seems like the new zone-blocking scheme is not yet paying dividends. They also rank 28th in pass defense, which should have Matty Ice and co. licking their chops. Don’t be surprised if this one turns into a blowout at home in Hotlanta, especially as the 10AM pacific start does not favor the Raiders. Prediction: FALCONS over Raiders 31-20.

BENGALS (-1) @ BROWNS

Can the Browns FINALLY put one on the left side of the record book? The spread says they at least have a chance, and I actually think they will win at home. This is the second meeting between the Bengals and Browns this season, and the Browns, like most their losses, had a chance late as they lost by only one score back in week two. The Browns will have Joe Haden back for this game however, which should be a huge boost as he can cover AJ Green far better than anyone else in that secondary. I also think this Cleveland offense has looked ok in recent weeks, as Trent Richardson is quickly proving he has a bright future in the NFL so long as he stays healthy. He ran for 109 yard and a TD in week two vs. this D, and I think he matches that total again this week, with Weeden doing enough to finally get his first win as a starter, and snap the Browns 12 game losing streak. Prediciton: BROWNS over Bengals 24-23.

RAMS @ DOLPHINS (-3.5)

In a game between two teams who have proven they are better than most experts thought before the season, I like the hometown Dolphins in this one. Their run D continues to be tops in the league after allowing only 60 yards on the ground through five games, meaning Sam Bradford will need to have a day to lead the Rams to victory. Unfortunately for them however, they lost leading receiver Danny Amendola to injury last week, making it hard for their 31st ranked passing attack to take advantage of Miami’s weak secondary. Prediction: DOLPHINS over Rams 17-10.

COLTS @ JETS (-3.5)

I said last week that it was not smart to put money against the Colts last week vs. the Packers, as you never know how teams react after experiencing tragedy like that in a locker room. It was nice to see them win in such epic fashion for Coach Pagano last week, and we will now see if Andrew Luck and Co. can get the Colts over .500 for the first time this season. The Jets are an utter mess right now, although they put up more of a fight than I thought on Monday Night vs. the Texans. Sanchez is dead last in completion percentage (surprise, surprise) at only 48%. The Colts pass D is about average, as it ranks 15th in the league in yards per game. The key in this game however will be the Colts run game, as it lost Donald Brown this week to injury, but the Jets are an eye popping second to last in run D, which is a stat I never thought I’d see for a Rex Ryan defense. If replacement Vick Ballard can have some success, then the Colts should win this game barring any unforeseen Tebow magic. (Which, for the record, is the only way I think the Jets can win this game) Prediction: COLTS over Jets 20-17.

LIONS @ EAGLES (-4)

There is no doubt that the QB play in this game will determine the outcome. I know that sounds obvious, but it is extremely relevant for these two QBs who both have top 5 potential, but have stumbled out of the gat so far. Matt Stafford has battled injury but has only thrown three touchdowns compared to four picks, while Mike Vick has seven total touchdowns, but 14 turnovers. If one of these two guys can turn things around for this possibly pivotal NFC matchup, then they have an edge. Right now, after coming off a bye, I think Stafford has a higher chance of that than Vick, which means I like the Lions to pull the upset on the road. Even keeled mindset people. Prediction: LIONS over Eagles 27-24.

CHIEFS @ BUCS (-4)

With a combined record of 2-7, does anyone even care what I think about this game? Oh yeah, and did I mention BRADY QUINN is now in at QB for the Chiefs? Sheesh. I’d rather compliment Eric Winston for standing up for his QB. Josh Freeman may be horrible, but I can’t really pick Brady Quinn to win on the road can I? Prediction: BUCS over Chiefs 20-16.

COWBOYS @ RAVENS (-3.5)

This game really intrigues me, as it is always interesting to see which Cowboys team will show up. They certainly have the potential to be a great offense in the NFL, but have looked down right awful and out of sync through four games. Bye weeks usually help that, and the Ravens are coming off their own dud performance as they barely squeaked by the Chiefs last week. Dallas has the #1 pass D in the NFL however as they average less than 200 yards through the air, so the Ravens will have to lean heavy on Ray Rice to get them into the end zone and secure a 4-0 home record. This just in however, Ray Rice is really good at football, and he may be the number one guy you want to lean on to win. I actually think Romo has a really nice day however, as the Ravens D isn’t as strong as it use to be. In the end however, I can’t bet the cowboys to put 60 minutes together on the road vs. arguably the best team (especially at home) in the AFC. Prediction: RAVENS over Cowboys 27-24.

BILLS @ CARDS (-5)

If there was ever a game for Mario Williams and the rest of that highly touted D line to show up and silence the critics, this is it. The Cards allowed seven sacks last week, and have allowed 23 in five games. They are also down to their #3 running back, and Kevin Kolb is still their starting QB. The defense is average in terms of allowing yards both on the ground and through the air, but they only allow 15 points a game. This could mean it has the chance to be a defensive struggle, but I am still an overly optimistic Bills fan who thinks now that Freddy and Cj are closer to 100% (even though we will miss Cordy Glenn and Urbik for another week at least) we will be able to move the ball just enough to beat what looked like an offensively challenged team Thursday night. If the Bills are a playoff team, I am convinced that they MUST win this game. It is time for them to put up or shut up. The Cards aren’t the Pats or 49ers, so that is my philosophy, and I am sticking to it. Prediction: BILLS over Cards 21-17.

PATS (-4) @ SEAHAWKS

Prediction: PATS over Seahawks 23-17.

GIANTS @ 49ERS (-6.5)
Prediction: 49ERS over Giants 23-20.

VIKINGS @ REDSKINS (OFF)

Prediction: VIKINGS over Redskins 26-24.

PACKERS @ TEXANS (-3.5)

Prediction: PACKERS over Texans 28-27.

BRONCOS @ CHARGERS (-1.5)

Prediction: Broncos over Chargers 24-21.

-Ace

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