Forecast 5 – True Tests of Week 8

As we edge nearer to the midway point of the season, teams are beginning to show their hand, the early season shocks have started to subside and an accurate picture of the overall winners and losers of the 2014 NFL season is beginning to come to fruition. Week 8 hosts a number of key matchups that will give us a much clearer view of who is really here to stay as elite members of the NFL, and who is masquerading as a success thus far. So let’s take a look at some of the true tests the NFL has in store in week 8.

Chargers @ Broncos

The San Diego Chargers could be 7-0 right now, if not for 2 narrow defeats to tough opponents in weeks 1 and 7. Philip Rivers is a front-runner for MVP, their receiving core has stepped up instead of relying on the impressing wide-out Keenan Allen as per last season and Branden Oliver has taken over the RB reigns seamlessly with a few Sproles-esque performances. Unfortunately for San Diego, they face a tremendously tough trip to Colorado on Thursday night to take on their division rivals and the best team in football, the Denver Broncos. Still flying high off the record breaking night last Sunday, Peyton and his outrageously talented offense will come out guns blazing, looking to avenge a shock defeat last year on a similar Thursday night prime time platform. If the Chargers are to be taken seriously as Super Bowl contenders, they need to show up Thursday night. They need to battle. And they need to stick with the Broncos until the bitter end. The Chargers defence has faltered in recent weeks leading to some doubt over their credibility as a championship worthy team. However, in a nationally televised game against the best offense in the league, a battling performance by the defence and yet another stellar performance on offense will cement the Chargers as true contenders for the Vince Lombardo trophy. They don’t need to win…they just need to battle, execute and prove to the world they can hang with the best.

Prediction: SD 27 – 31 DEN. The Chargers will be able to hold their heads high after a narrow defeat to Denver as Rivers once again steals the show with 3 TD passes in this aerial bout.

Ravens @ Bengals

After firing out of the blocks in the first 3 weeks, all the way to the top of many “expert’s” power rankings, the Cincinnati Bengals are winless in their last 3 games. Without their elite threat at WR in the form of AJ Green (crucially sidelined with a toe injury), the Bengals offense has really struggled, and the wavering attempts from their talented defence to stop any opposing team is not helping Andy Dalton and the offense out in the slightest. On Sunday they play host to a very impressive Ravens side, a team who have dominated the past few weeks and resurgences from the Smith “Bros” have helped them along the way…and also, thankfully, helped erase any memory of Ray Rice! If the Bengals are to be taken seriously, they need to prove they are not a one-man team who goes winless without their superstar wide-out, in addition to proving they can win in primetime but that’s a whole other issue. Unfortunately, the Ravens appear to be too strong for the weak Bengals defence and with rookie stars like CJ Mosely facing off against perennial bottler Andy Dalton, another defeat for the Bengals creeps over the horizon this Sunday. Steve Smith will continue with another ageless performance, Torrey Smith will draw his weekly pass interferences setting up great field position and Flacco will put the final nail in the coffin of the Bengal’s dream start to the season.

Preditcion: CIN 14 – 28 BAL. The game will be much more one-sided than the score line suggests as the Bengals stutter to their 4th game without a win.

Bears @ Patriots

Gilette Stadium in Foxboro hosts 2 deeply confusing teams this Sunday at 1pm E.T. The New England Patriots have begun to look like the Patriots of old following 3 straight victories taking their season total to a 5-2 record and sole place atop the AFC East. However, none of the victories so far have been against an elite team, and with injuries continuing to ravage the team (add Chandler Jones to Stevan Ridley and Jerod Mayo to name a few) the elation from 3 straight victories looks to be wavering slightly. On Sunday, the Bears come to town as the league’s most frustrating, primarily down to Jay Cutler’s rollercoaster season, and confusing team due to their 0-4 home record and 3-0 away record. As the stats show, Jay Cutler and the Bears are a totally different team away from Chicago and will be facing off against a depleted Pats defence with zero run-stopping capabilities, enter Matt Forte, one of the league’s most dynamic running backs. On their day, the Chicago offense can score points, and lots of them with an incredible receiving core and a QB with a cannon of an arm. However, Tom Brady and the Patriots still have something left in the tank and can score points at will too with the unstoppable Gronk, ever-reliable Edelman and emerging LaFell. This sets up the game on Sunday to be an explosive bout between 2 offensive juggernauts. Expect points galore in an old-fashioned shootout as the Patriots edge a tight one in Foxboro.

Prediction: CHI 31 – 34 NE. With Revis eliminating Marshall from the game, Matt Forte will have a career-day, but it will not be enough to stop the Patriots going 6-2 as Brady continues his fine form since the drubbing in Kansas City.

Bills @ Jets

The Buffalo Bills have been a surprise package in the NFL this season and look to be well on their way to a disgustingly rare winning season. A change at WB has brought stability to a franchise often in disarray. Orton is getting the best from Sammy Watkins and the defence continues to be stout. If the Bills are legit and want to be respected league-wide, they need to knock off teams like the Jets, the games they are expected to win. Buffalo have had solid, and even good, half season before, but never seem to be able to continue it down the stretch. They undoubtedly can win on Sunday, and with Watkins as an explosive weapon combined with the stingy defence, they should continue their strong run of form and still be snapping on the heels of the Patriots come Sunday night. The Jets showed a hint of revival last week, but even the addition of Percy Harvin isn’t enough to turn their season around.

Prediction: BUF 21 – 7 NYJ. The Bills will climb to 5-3 as Geno Smith returns to his erratic, turnover-fuelled ways.

Raiders @ Browns

Before you panic, I’m not saying the Raiders have a true test on Sunday to see if they are legitimate playoff contenders…this true test is for one Raider only, Derek Carr. Carr has had a solid start to the season and has already demonstrated he can be lightyears better than his elder brother. One problem persists though, the Raiders are still WINLESS. It is all well and good proving you have potential and showing flashes of composure and great talent, but at some point you have to win a game. The Browns came crashing back to Earth on Sunday against the previously winless Jags and host Carr and the Raiders on Sunday. If Carr wants to improve, develop and be considered a good NFL QB, he needs to win games, and needs to start winning at least a couple of games soon. His first win will come Sunday in Cleveland, giving the Oakland faithful some dangerous hope. And when Carr walks into the dog pound and leaves victorious, expect a big boost in his confidence which will be translated down the stretch in the form of a few more wins.

Prediction: OAK 24 – 17 CLE. Carr will throw for 1 and rush for 1 TD on Sunday, delivering a sickening second loss in a row against winless teams for the Browns

Picks of the Week:

Lock of the Week – Cowboys over Redskins

Shock of the Week – Jags over Dolphins

Bold Prediction – Jonny Football will be called into the game to take over from a faltering Hoyer

This article was written by Martin Thomson. Martin is from Newcastle, England. In addition to being a huge Newcastle United fan; he experiences a lot more joy as a diehard fan of the New England Patriots. His articles “Forecast 5” will focus on certainties and surprises to look out for in the week ahead. He hopes to one day meet Tom Brady and give him that High-5 he so desperately wants. Find him on Twitter @martin12tina.

Power Rankings: Week 7

32 (31) – Oakland Raiders

Darnell Dockett said it well: 0-6.

31 (32) – Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars finally got a win! Too bad Blake Bortles struggled, throwing three interceptions. So, baby steps, baby steps…

30 (28) – Tennessee Titans

The Titans were given the opportunity to seal Sunday’s game when Redskins third-string quarterback Colt McCoy got the call after Kirk Cousins couldn’t do his job. However, they still couldn’t handle a fairly unprepared quarterback.

29 (29) – New York Jets

Surprisingly, the Jets came close to beating the Patriots on Thursday night. It wasn’t because Geno Smith led the team, rather the running game was potent, which really kept the pressure off of him so he didn’t have to do much. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has to find a way to make the running game work and head the offense every game.

28 (27) – Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater struggled to finish drives, forcing the offense to settle for three field goals within the opposing 40-yard line. What bites even more is that if one of those were a touchdown instead, the defensive breakdown allowing a game-winning drive wouldn’t have mattered.

27 (26) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hopefully the bye will do the Buccaneers good. They need a refresher.

26 (25) – Atlanta Falcons

This season continues to be a repeat of last year’s campaign after another big loss. Injuries are hurting this team, especially on the offensive line, as backup centre Peter Konz is out.

25 (30) – St. Louis Rams

What other way is there to beat your division rival and Super Bowl champions? Jeff Fisher came up with two fake plays on special teams which helped grab the win. The Rams games this season always have excitement.

24 (24) – Washington Redskins

After Kirk Cousins was benched, Colt McCoy came in and did a good job leading the Redskins to a comeback victory over the Titans. Who plays next week’s against the Cowboys: Robert Griffin III, Cousins, or McCoy? That dilemma could be advantageous for them as the Cowboys would have to come up with three different gameplans.

23 (20) – Chicago Bears

The Bears are a mess right now. Jay Cutler keeps making mistakes, the defense is weak, and the locker room is falling apart. It’s getting way too windy in Chicago.

22 (19) – Carolina Panthers

The Panthers secondary is not playing well right now and stood no chance against Aaron Rodgers’ hot arm. However, yet again, everyone else in the division can’t win either.

21 (23) – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers were a resilient team on Monday night, coming back from behind and scoring 24 points in the second quarter. They really needed that win.

20 (14) – New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees has not been himself all season, and that game-losing interception deep in their own territory was the epitome of it all.

19 (21) – Buffalo Bills

Kyle Orton keeps on leading this team after a huge game-winning touchdown drive with the clock running out as EJ Manuel watches from the bench, which is now getting quite warm.

18 (16) – Houston Texans

The Texans haven’t been doing great when it comes to prime time games. That’s the second one in a row in which they allowed 24 points in a single quarter.

17 (15) – Cleveland Browns

Just when Brian Hoyer starts to show promise he has a bad game, but not just that. The Browns failed to put up formidable points when getting deep in the then winless Jaguars side of the field.   

16 (22) – Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill’s footwork was much better on Sunday against the Bears, which helped him have a very high completion rate. With the offensive line being pretty solid, and the run game going strong, that’s the one missing ingredient from the offense.

15 (18) – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs came out with a surprising win over their division opponent — the Chargers. Maybe it is too early to count them out of the division.

14 (17) – New York Giants

The Giants weren’t too bad against the Cowboys. However, the defense was unable to match the physicality of the Cowboys offense and he turnovers limited their chances to keep up with Dallas.

13 (9) – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals were down to their third-string receiver as their top target, so I expected them to have a tough time scoring against the Colts’ cornerbacks — arguably the best tandem in the league.

12 (6) – Seattle Seahawks

Try not to panic, but the Seahawks are losing — a lot, most recently falling to the division’s lowest — the Rams, and are now sitting at .500. And, oof, they already had their bye.

11 (7) – San Francisco 49ers

The injuries on defense caught up to them on Sunday night. They’re no match for a very good offense like the Broncos. The 49ers also have major Injury issues on the offensive line, being down to their third-string centre. At least on defense a bunch of those guys will eventually come back.

10 (13) – Baltimore Ravens

I don’t read too much into big wins against teams that should be blown out, but at least the Ravens did what they were supposed to do and handled their business on offense and defense.

9 (11) – Detroit Lions

The Lions are still playing really well, but aren’t yet playing perfect football. Next week’s game in London against the struggling Falcons Should be a good opportunity for that to happen.

8 (8) – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles should benefit from a bye week with a matchup against the 5-1 Cardinals next week.

7 (10) – Arizona Cardinals

Despite all of the injuries on defense, the Cardinals keep on prevailing and pulling away in the division.

6 (12) – Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck and the Colts offense is great right now, but the defense shutting out the Bengals is impressive. If their defense can continue to play really well the Colts will be a scary team.

5 (5) – New England Patriots

The Patriots still haven’t found a way to cruise through a divisional game. We know they can have big games, but if they can’t stay too far ahead of the rest of the division, they’ll be leaning on these tight games.

4 (2) – San Diego Chargers

The Chargers barely lost to the Chiefs, but they weren’t themselves in the game. The Chargers are one of the most time-possessing teams in the league, but against the Chiefs they only had three offensive plays in the third quarter. You can’t go to work if you don’t have the ball.

3 (4) – Green Bay Packers

It looks extremely tough to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. I certainly can’t wait for the first matchup between them and the Lions league-leading defense.

2 (3) – Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense looks just as tough to stop right now as the Packers’, and the defense stepped up on Sunday night, starting from the pass rush. Oh, and congrats Peyton!

1 (1) – Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys really want it this year. Both the offense and the defense are playing harder than the opponent, which makes the defense good enough and the offense too tough to slow down, especially with all the yards they get after contact.

This OTI Piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli, born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a huge follower of all things NFL and an avid fan of the Redskins. He writes the weekly Power Rankings as well as “Bookie’s Playbook”, where Eli breaks down the X’s and O’s of various plays and things of the sort. He welcomes all feedback on his articles, and you can always talk to him about anything NFL-related. You can follow him on Twitter @Ebookstaber, but be prepared. He never shuts up. 

OTI Full Slate: Week 7 Preview

What a weekend of football we just witnessed. The tie between the Bengals and the Panthers was a just result because nobody deserved to lose that game, the Cowboys laid down a gauntlet for stop our run if you can and right now nobody can, and the Broncos keep the Jets in the game by consistently giving up penalties that a better team could punish them for.

Cincinnati Bengals 20 @ Indianapolis Colts 27:

I feel like if this game was being played in reverse then I would have the score in reverse to. But because the Colts are at home and Andrew Luck is playing lights out right now I’m giving a win to the Colts. The Bengals defence has been so woeful in its own admission, but Adam Jones how about you do your job better and not just blame Nugent.

Seattle Seahawks 30 @ St Louis Rams 20:

The Rams have a habit of being frisky in division games as was exampled in the recent Monday Night Game, but the Seahawks are going to play angry against a team who are very bad in some many departments, Quinn has one sack. Davis will throw two picks during normal time and two touch downs in garbage time.

Tennessee Titans 20 @ Washington Redskins 34:

Due to the Titans not really possessing much in terms of real defensive firepower this season, Kirk Cousins is likely to have one of these games where he looks like a quality NFL starter. I thought Ken Whisenhunt would do more with this team, but maybe the Rivers revitalisation was more to do with McCoy. Jackson to get another long touchdown and Garcon to catch at least 10 balls.

Carolina Panthers 27 @ Green Bay Packers 24:

Cam Newton and his team are going to beat the Pack in Lambeau Field and if you read on in this article to find another NFC North vs. South match up you will understand how big a victory and lose it will be. Green Bay showed steal against the Dolphins and Rodgers was clutch on that final drive but a gut feeling is a gut feeling. Benjamin to go 7 catches 110 yards 2 TD’s.

Cleveland Browns 26 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 20:

When Around The NFL scribe Chris Wessling is standing to turn his opinion on Brian Hoyer and the Browns we all must. This is a very winnable game yes but on the season Hoyer’s been consistently good. The heat has to be being felt under Gus Bradleys chair surely if this team can’t at least get 2 wins.

Atlanta Falcons 20 @ Baltimore Ravens 31:

The Falcons are a completely different team when they play on the road and no matter what Ryan or his receivers try to do in this game it won’t be enough. Yes Flacco torched the Bucs defence for 5TDs in the first half, but this game he’ll have 3, one to Smith SR and JR and another to Owen Daniel’s whose not be too bad filling in for Pitta. The other belongs to surprise package Forsett.

Minnesota Vikings 14 @ Buffalo Bills 20:

If the Vikings struggled against one dominant Defensive line imagine how they’re going to do against another. Surely Jim Schwartz has watched the tape from his former team and should find a way to contain the elusive Teddy Bridgewater. For Buffalo well the lack of CJ Spiller is now bordering on the dangerous levels with trade talk around how can they let this happen?

Miami Dolphins 23 @ Chicago Bears 30:

Jay Cutler played a perfect game against the Falcons last week and the trend should continue against an overmatched Dolphins defence, that to its credit has been generating pass rush all season. But a drop to 2-4 for Miami puts them in a very precarious situation, sitting 3rd in the AFC East. The Bears hopeless pass rush can get to Tannehill like it did to Ryan because of poor O-line play. I do feel sorry for Knowshon Moreno, but hey don’t worry Todd Gurley could be moving to South Beach.

New Orleans Saints 24 @ Detroit Lions 34:

Remember a few picks back I said an NFC North vs. South game would have major repercussions well this is the one I mean. As a Saints fan this was a hard pick to make because the Lions defence has been bailing the offense out, but this week they’ll get back on course against a Saints D with no pass rush or CB depth to speak of. After this game the Panthers will be in primary position to make a run for the South Title while the Lions and Packers tussle for the North.

Kansas City Chiefs 24 @ San Diego Chargers 27:

I recently got involved in some banter with the UK Chargers twitter page and some Chiefs due to the Chiefs tweeting about how the Chargers opponents combine for just 7-21. Trash talking is bliss yes, but the Chargers have been balling against some poor teams and oh the SEAHAWKS!. Whereas the Chiefs have sputtered along apart from one Monday Night drubbing.

New York Giants 17 @ Dallas Cowboys 31:

What version of Eli are we getting this week? the one who’s going to struggle with Victor Cruz. Huge loss for the Giants, but Beckham should be able to fill some on the void left behind. I should of picked the Cowboys last week I believed they could win, but didn’t think they would. Credit where credit is due to this amazing offense. Doug Free’s injury shouldn’t hinder their play too much.

Arizona Cardinals 30 @ Oakland Raiders 17:

On the eve of Palmers return to the Oakland Coliseum, we hear that the Cardinals are open to extension talks with the former 1st overall pick. They don’t seem to believe the nerve injury is going to last, and last week he didn’t look to bad. Raider Nation I feel for you, I really do. Last week’s fight against the Chargers was for me 90% fan powered.

San Francisco 49ers 27 @ Denver Broncos 34:

This a primetime game, as it should be, but if it lets me down again so many others I’ll be angry! This has the makings of a great game, between two great teams historically and modern day to! Now to the actual game, the home field was such a big decider in this. Like the Cowboys last week I believe the 49ers can go into Mile High and win. Julius Thomas won’t find it as easy to find the endzone this week though.

Houston Texans 20 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 23:

I’m not saying that this is a game where the season is on the line for both teams, but a lose puts them in the a spiral as they try to chase down their respective division leaders. JJ Watt is going to have fun taking down Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell will struggle to find 70 yards on the ground but Brown will have over 90. Foster has looked like a beast again since coming back and should top 100 yards with one rush TD and a screen catch TD.

This OTI Piece was written by David Ironmonger. David hails from London, England. He has been a New Orleans Saints fan since watching them grace the Wembley Stadium Turf. He enjoys many sports, football (our version), cricket, rugby and golf. You can let him know your feedback on Twitter @NFLbritview & you can also view his personal blog NFL Brit View .

Power Rankings: Week 6

32 (31) – Jacksonville Jaguars

If the Jaguars had any chance for their offense and team to have a great game, it was agains the Titans. They came close, but there were no cigars going around. This season looks like it may not be so great, but players are getting valuable experience, and another high-draft pick will help.

31 (32) – Oakland Raiders

Derek Carr was absolutely excellent against the Chargers defense, which, statistically, has one of the league’s best secondaries. Are him and Tony Sparano a winning combo?

30 (29) – St Louis Rams

The deep touchdown allowed at the end of the first half really made the difference, but throughout the game the Rams cornerbacks were playing soft coverage and were beat on double-moves. They Rams may have looked like they could fairly easily pull off the upset, but the 49ers were really no match for them.

29 (28) – New York Jets

It looked like the Jets would have a chance to try and tie the game against the Broncos, but then Geno Smith came back down to earth and threw a bad game-clinching interception. To make things worse, Dee Milliner will miss the rest of the season with and Achilles injury.

28 (31) – Tennessee Titans

The Titans barely came to with a win against the Jaguars in a battle of the division’s (and NFL’s) lowlights. This is an interesting and typical season for the Titans, especially with the Jake Locker injuries. We’ll see how new head coach Ken Wisenhunt can do to fix things this season or next.

27 (27) – Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater, who threw his first career interception, and the Vikings offense greatly struggled against the NFL’s best defense. They’re facing another tough defense next week — the Bills.

26 (26) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There was no way the Buccaneers could keep up with the Ravens offense, but, luckily, no one else in the NFC South won on Sunday.

25 (25) – Atlanta Falcons

When the Falcons can’t win at home, they’re doomed.

24 (24) – Washington Redskins

Yet, again, when the Redskins are still in the game bad turnovers doom it. Personally, I don’t think Kirk Cousins is the quarterback of the future for the Redskins. While he fits the scheme better than Robert Griffin III, most times he seems to throw terrible interceptions when the game is on the line.

23 (17) – Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger was 18-1 against the Browns entering Sunday’s divisional matchup, but nabbed his second loss after his team put up a subpar efforts all around. Now they’re sitting in last place of the division with a 1-2 record against them in those games.

22 (22) – Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins came very close to defeating one of the league’s best teams, and even though they have a good secondary, they were no match for Aaron Rodgers. I wouldn’t say they had a bad game, though.

21 (21) – Buffalo Bills

You never want to be the team facing the Patriots when Tom Brady is on a rampage, and with the team’s best safety, Aaron Williams, out for the game, the defense didn’t stand a chance.

20 (20) – Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler had a nice break on Sunday against the league’s worst defense. The next two games against the Dolphins and Patriots won’t be as easy, though. There is when his consistency will be tested.

19 (19) – Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton was playing just fine and is as mobile as ever, but the defense wasn’t good. Lucky for the Panthers, they’re in the closest/worst division in football, so a tie isn’t too bad, but it’ll definitely make things interesting.

18 (18) – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs’ bye week now should really benefit them heading into a big divisional matchup against the streaking Chargers.

17 (15) – New York Giants

A 27-0 loss — the result of when your offensive line issues finally catch up to you, and when Eli Manning doesn’t get rid of the ball after his first few reads like he’s supposed to do.

16 (16) – Houston Texans

At first, being down 24-0 after just the first quarter, it had looked like the Texans defense would lose this one for the team. However, it was great to see Andre Johnson and Arian Foster be the best part of the Texans again, aside from JJ Watt.

15 (23) – Cleveland Browns

I really like the way the Browns are playing now. Both their offense and the defense are working hard. Since Brian Hoyer  Is doing so well, just imagine the better position they’d be in if they hadn’t drafted Johnny Benchwarmer.

14 (13) – New Orleans Saints

It seemed like the Saints lucked out with their bye week lining up with Jimmy Graham’s injury, but he actually may miss a few games. That will definitely make it tough on the Saints who are trying stay buoyant in the NFC South.

13 (14) – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens offense is obviously very good as Joe Flacco threw a career-high five touchdown passes on Sunday. The Ravens may be in a good fight with the Browns for the division, and with the Browns having an easy schedule for the next few weeks, that Week 17 showdown should be fun, if it comes down to that.

12 (12) – Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck was incredible again, throwing a fourth straight 300-yard game. Thursday night’s matchup with the Texans was huge, as the winner would take first place in the division. The Colts won round one, but the Texans showed they won’t go down easily.

11 (11) – Detroit Lions

Why did no one carry defensive coordinator Teryl Austin off the field on their shoulders after only giving up 3 points? Seriously, though, their league-leading defense made it really tough on rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

10 (10) – Arizona Cardinals

It was nice to have Carson Palmer back at quarterback. The only thing the Cardinals have been lacking in recent years is consistent health at quarterback. Hopefully, Palmer can now stay healthy so the team can be a contender.

9 (6) – Cincinnati Bengals

Adam “Pacman” Jones was the only guy upset in the locker room after Sunday’s draw against the Panthers, and he’s right to be like that. The Bengals should’ve won that game, and a draw can really hurt them with both the Browns and Ravens playing so well.

8 (9) – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made a big statement on Sunday night, shutting out division rival, the Giants. One of their best weapons, Darren Sproles, sprained his MCL during the game, but luckily, the Eagles are now in their bye week, so he may not miss much time.

7 (8) – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were able to win on Monday night against a team they usually struggle to beat in order to keep up in the division and now are in second place ahead of the Seahawks. This division race is going to be very exciting!

6 (1) – Seattle Seahawks

After having such a successful game last Monday night, Russell Wilson struggled against the Cowboys defense. The Seahawks already lost two games and aren’t sitting in first place of the division. With all of the divisional games agains the Cardinals and 49ers later in the season, the Seahawks have to make sure they win now.

5 (5) – New England Patriots

Yes, the game two weeks ago against the Chiefs was just a fluke. Tom Brady is still incredible.

4 (4) – Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers showed why he’s the best quarterback in the NFL in the clutch. He picked apart the Dolphins secondary and made great divisions thought the game. It looks nearly impossible to stop the Packers right now.

3 (3) – Denver Broncos

The Broncos didn’t have the easiest time grabbing a win over the Jets, but they still had no trouble. Peyton Manning will likely break the record for most career touchdown passes next week at home against the 49ers.

2 (2) – San Diego Chargers

Surprisingly, the Chargers were in a close, high-firing, game with the Raiders, but still able to come through with the win. You can always count on Philip Rivers and the offense.

1 (7) – Dallas Cowboys

After DeMarco Murray was able to romp the Seahawks run defense, and the rest of the offence was able to come back, and the defense was able to handle Russell Wilson, it’s safe to say the Cowboys are for real.

This OTI Piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli, born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a huge follower of all things NFL and an avid fan of the Redskins. He writes the weekly Power Rankings as well as “Bookie’s Playbook”, where Eli breaks down the X’s and O’s of various plays and things of the sort. He welcomes all feedback on his articles, and you can always talk to him about anything NFL-related. You can follow him on Twitter @Ebookstaber, but be prepared. He never shuts up.

OTI Podcast Week 6 Recap Show

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OTI Full Slate: Week 6 Preview

I’m not sure I’ve seen as many lopsided matches in a single week. Just to give you a hint of what I mean, by looking at the Pick Em user consensus 99% of people think the Broncos are going to win. Similar to this 89% think Packers over Dolphins, 92% for the 49ers, 96% for the Chargers and finally 85% for the Bengals. Clearly us fans think there are some easy games this week. But this is the NFL easy doesn’t exist!

For anyone wondering I picked the Texans.

Detroit Lions 24 @ Minnesota Vikings 27:

Oh I’m coming swinging right out of the gate whether you like it or not. The Vikings who will be led by Teddy Bridgewater are going to really drop the Lions into a vast chasm that was reminiscent of the last era. The loss of Calvin Johnson is going to affect this offense and you can’t deny this, but the Lions will get a FIELD GOAL! I KNOW RIGHT! still though the Vikings will hit a winning field goal.

Baltimore Ravens 23 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13:

Can Tampa really beat another AFC North foe? Anything is possible but this I find highly unlikely. In what is likely to be a low scoring affair, the Ravens need to block better then what they did against the Colts, Flacco will never make plays if he can’t stand upright.

Jacksonville Jaguars 27 @ Tennessee Titans 20:

The expression “Just Another Guy” is thrown around the NFL at players who coaches wish to see a major improvement in their players. It should now be changed to “Just Another Game” because whose going to be watching this game? Bortles has the opportunity to look very, very good this week against a very poor Titans team that was just bad in the second half behind clipboard Jesus.

Green Bay Packers 34 @ Miami Dolphins 20:

There is a serious possibility that the Dolphins front seven can cause some havoc in the Packers backfield, but right now in all of football their isn’t one team that is more drilled in on offense. But it’s about time that Dolphins open up the playbook some more because Tannehill has just looked so average.

Denver Broncos (Insert Any Number here)  @ New York Jets (Insert a much lower start)

Yeah, as you can tell by my score prediction I have absolutely no faith in the Jets to do anything. Michael Vick has made an humungous fool out of himself by admitting that he wasn’t prepared, admitted this has all but ended his career as a starter.  I can honestly see the Broncos getting a 50 burger.


New England Patriots 23 @ Buffalo Bills 20:

This game is going to be a full on scrap, yes the two teams had very different games the week just gone, but the Patriots won’t hammer this team and the Bills can’t rely on the missed opportunities of the other team whether it be field goal or drops. I think the Patriots are going to pull it out just.

Carolina Panthers 19 @ Cincinnati Bengals 27:

The Panthers are going to score a lot of field goals this week as they struggle to push the ball into the endzone. The Bengals, yes they were destroyed on Sunday Night Football but that is almost what you expect when you watch Dalton is prime time. The loss of Green is huge yes, but i expect the running game to carry them to a victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers 20 @ Cleveland Browns 26:

18-1 just let that sink into your mind, Big Ben is 18-1 against the Browns but it’s going to become 18-2 as the Browns rumble onto a victory at home on the back of ground and pound and 250 yards and 2 touchdowns as they Browns win! The Browns are just weird, they really shouldn’t be doing this well unless we are shocking talent scouts.

San Diego Chargers 38 @ Oakland Raiders 17:

Blowout victory for the Chargers again as the Raiders are able to score 2 touchdowns in garbage time unlike the New York Jets. Apart from JJ Watt you have to give the MVP award to Phillip Rivers, he isn’t missing any passes, not making silly mistakes and is in complete control of his offense. Eric Weddle’s plays been an under the radar reason why the Chargers D is doing very good.

Chicago Bears 27 @ Atlanta Falcons 34:

Are their two teams playing this week that remind you of one another anymore then these two teams right here. The only difference is that one team may not have two fully fit receivers and that could hamper the scoring for the Bears, but you almost expect this to be a shootout deciding by another Cutler pick.

Dallas Cowboys 17 @ Seattle Seahawks 30:

Could the Cowboys beat the Hawks in Seattle? Yes, Are they going to beat them? No. I think this game could be a lot closer then what some people assume, but I think the Seahawks will stretch the score out to two possessions and force the Cowboys to throw and then the legion of Boom shall get a game breaking pick.

Washington Redskins 23 @ Arizona Cardinals 26:

Again a game which will be close in the game of the backups, that will be decided by defensive fronts and some good special teams play. The fact that Drew Stanton is playing can persuade anyone to pick the Cardinals over the Redskins, but this Redskins team feels a lot better than going 1-5 but some things just don’t swing your way.

New York Giants 30 @ Philadelphia Eagles 20:

I am excited for this game on Sunday Night Football, mainly because Eli Manning has been playing the best football of his career since the 2011 Superbowl run and the Eagles ability to score on defence and special teams is going to dry up. The Giants front 4 could be consistently seen in the Eagles backfield stuffing McCoy and hitting Foles.

San Francisco 49ers 34 @ St Louis Rams 20:

Oh how I cannot wait for this very boring Monday Night match up in possibly the most bland boring stadium in the world. I mean I would rather go to some League 2 grounds then go the Edward Jones Dome. But the 49ers should win this for a number of reasons but mostly because the defence of the Rams has played well below par.

This OTI Piece was written by David Ironmonger. David hails from London, England. He has been a New Orleans Saints fan since watching them grace the Wembley Stadium Turf. He enjoys many sports, football (our version), cricket, rugby and golf. You can let him know your feedback on Twitter @NFLbritview & you can also view his personal blog NFL Brit View .

Power Rankings: Week 5

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32 (32) – Oakland Raiders

An early bye week really doesn’t help this team, expect help some of their players get healthier, but that’s not likely to really make a difference for this season.

31 (31) – Tennessee Titans

The way that Jake Locker injured his hand was unfortunate, but the way the defense gave up a 21-point lead didn’t have anything to do with fortune. It was not pretty.

30 (30) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles had a tough game against the Steelers. Again, almost all of his passes were short-to-medium, going 1-4 with an interception when passing deeper than 15 yards.

29 (29) – St. Louis Rams

You’ve got to give the Rams some credit for that near-comeback. Just if it weren’t for all those silly touchdowns they let the Eagels get…

28 (23) – New York Jets

Geno Smith did nothing in the first half, so Michael Vick came in try to spark things up, but to no avail. The play calling was really bad when Vick entered. They should’ve gave him easy throws to start moving the ball, but trying to make Vick do things himself with a constant pass rush coming to him was not ideal.

27 (28) – Minnesota Vikings

After Thursday night’s thrashing, the Vikings can’t wait to get Teddy Bridgewater back healthy.

26 (27) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs did play much better than expected against the Saints in the Superdome, but that doesn’t affect the standings. Right now they’re 1-4 in last place to start off Lovie Smith’s tenure, and their only win came up an end-of-the-game comeback.

25 (19) – Atlanta Falcons

Once again, the defense is the death of this team, giving up a 10-point lead. Those problems come down to the talent they have, so it seems like the Falcons will be able to spend a top-pick in this year’s draft on that side of the ball.

24 (24) – Washington Redskins

Generally, the Redskins had a good game agains the Seahawks; the defense was good in the second half, and the offense was able to move the ball through the air throughout the game. However, the Redskins misplayed Russell Wilson, who burned them for many big, impact plays. Now, Washington is sitting at 1-4 and starting to fall behind the rest of the NFC East.

23 (26) – Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel might have to wait a little longer wit the way Brian Hoyer played on Sunday. He’s got the Browns at 2-2. They are still in las place in the AFC North, though.

22 (22) – Miami Dolphins

The bye week could help get some of the Dolphins’ weapons back in time for a matchup with the Packers, who’s offense is hotter than any other team’s right now.

21 (25) – Buffalo Bills

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s defense was excellent against his former team, the Lions. But what really won them the game was the way Kyle Orton led the team at the end of the game, which is exactly the reason why EJ Manuel was benched.

20 (13) – Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler and the Bears offense cost the team the game against the Panthers. Being ahead last in the game, all they needed to do was hold on to the ball, but the Turnovers gave the Panthers the chances to come back.

19 (20) – Carolina Panthers

The offense wasn’t leading this team through Sunday’s game against the Bears, but they did enough, and the defense gave them the opportunities to win the game.

18 (17) – Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith had his chance to show Jim Harbaugh that he was wrong to move on from him, but his fourth quarter play didn’t do it. A lot of his throws were off, including the game-clinching interception. Some play calls on down-and-short weren’t good ones, which would’ve given the Chiefs the chance to score the points to get the win.

17 (18) – Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is 18-2 against rookie quarterbacks, and he did a good job again in that situation against Blake Bortles. The defense didn’t give up any touchdowns, so the offense didn’t have to do much.

16 (15) – Houston Texans

The Texans had an overall decent game against the Cowboys and were always in it, but it just wasn’t enough to get the win.

15 (21) – New York Giants

It was great to see Odell Beckham finally get on the field, and he was also able to make a big impact of offense. With the way the Giants are playing and most of the division still winning, it’ll be a more interesting and tougher race for the division this year.

14 (11) – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens were one of three teams to run more than they pass, but on Sunday they tried the opposite approach, and it didn’t work.

13 (14) – New Orleans Saints

One of the things the the Saints have been able to bank on is winning favourably at home. The overtime comeback win against the Buccaneers doesn’t leave much optimism on that front for the 2-3 Saints.

12 (16) – Indianapolis Colts

In all of the three wins this season, Andrew Luck has thrown for over 300 yards. That seems like a simple enough game plan.

11 (6) – Detroit Lions

Kicker Alex Henery cost the team the win against the Bills, missing three field goals. The Lions’ issues at kicker may be worse than some teams’ quarterback problems, but at least they can find a new one off the streets.

10 (4) – Arizona Cardinals

Drew Stanton had to leave the game against the Broncos due to an injury, and in came rookie Logan Thomas. Hopefully Carson Palmer will be able to come back next week, so the Cardinals don’t have to worry.

9 (10) – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles have to thank their defense and special teams for the way they’ve been able to score when the offense can’t so much. It may be unorthodox, but who cares when it’s been working?

8 (9) – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers had a lot of success against the Chiefs going back to the ground-and-pound approach. Now on a two game win streak, getting two prime time wins against the Rams and Broncos going into their bye week would be huge.

7 (12) – Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray is continuing he’s incredible run to start the season, and the Cowboys are looking good at 4-1. And many people thought the Cowboys would be miserable this season, sitting at the bottom of the division…

6 (2) – Cincinnati Bengals

There are no more undefeated teams left anymore as the Bengals got pile-driven by the Patriots on Sunday night. The real problem in the game was the defense, which got completely controlled at the line and did a bad job tackling.

5 (8) – New England Patriots

What else would you expect when the Patriots stumble? They always find a way to bounce back in a big way, and now they’re 34-4 after a loss since 2003. On to Buffalo.

4 (7) – Green Bay Packers

The Packers offense has been outright dominant in the last two games. It’s good to see Eddie Lacy finally break loose.

3 (3) – Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning and the offense broke some records in their 41-point game agains the Cardinals. I would be surprised if Manning (503) can tie Brett Favre’s record of 508 career touchdowns next week agains the Jets secondary that has really been struggling.

2 (5) – San Diego Chargers

The Chargers offense had another very strong showing on Sunday against the Jets. Their giving the Broncos a tough run in the division. Their first meeting in a few weeks will be fantastic.

1 (1) – Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is being asked to completely lead this offense in his third year in the league, and he’s doing a bang-up job. He’s able to make tough big plays when he has to, he always knows where to go with the ball, and he can execute a game plan to perfection. He led the Seahawks to a win over the Redskins despite an incredible numerous amount of offensive penalties that negated a few touchdowns.

This OTI piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli, born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a huge follower of all things NFL and an avid fan of the Redskins. He writes the weekly Power Rankings as well as “Bookie’s Playbook”, where Eli breaks down the X’s and O’s of various plays and things of the sort. He welcomes all feedback on his articles, and you can always talk to him about anything NFL-related. You can follow him on Twitter @Ebookstaber, but be prepared. He never shuts up.

OTI Full Slate: Week 5 Preview

Primetime games this season have just been so bland and boring, every single game has been a no sport blow out that bores the masses and confuses the millions. I thought Primetime games we supposed to be a game between two teams at the top who, because of parity in the league could be caught. What I’m seeing is one team each week being stood up against a team whose weakness plays to the others advantage.

SORT YOURSELF OUT PRIMETIME!! (not you Dion you’re cool).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24 @ New Orleans Saints 30:

I’m beyond the point now where I can just give games to the Saints, I have them at 5-0 with my picks and I suspect most people do, and then Byrd goes down. The defence is just pathetic at times, missing tackles. What’s more worrying is the back step Colsten has taken and how Graham has struggled to be open. Glennon who I love should make some plays for an offense that needs more than a bolt or two. Saints win but only because their at the dome.

St Louis Rams 17 @ Philadelphia Eagles 24:

Just listening to Eminem, Will the real slim shady please stand up, please stand up, you get the point. Where is Shady! McCoy just can’t get it going, but you have to look at the make shift O-line which will welcome back Lane Johnson. I like Austin Davis story, as do many people who are calling him the story of the season so far,  look for him to throw 2 TDS.

Cleveland Browns 20 @ Tennessee Titans 10:

I loved the Titans coming into this season but now I feel more lost then the teams identify and face of the franchise. Locker is going to play this weekend but how many more games this season is he going to miss. Titans just look lost and a poor, unlike the Browns who haven’t looked too shabby, I don’t expect Hoyer to throw a pick here because the run game will still carry the team.

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 21:

Blake Bortles time! finally and who needs Gerhert to run the ball into a broken O-line when you got the powerful and  accurate Bortles. Although the Steelers D has struggle to stop the run, the ball is going to be flying throw the air at least 30 times. But the three way power that the Steelers have at QB, RB and WR is going to be too much for a poor Jacksonville defence.

Atlanta Falcons 23 @ New York Giants 24:

This is going to be a very close game, the Giants O-line has absolutely dominated the last two games keeping the Texans pass rush and the Redskins one quiet. So this poor, poor Falcons push rush is going to be nowhere near Manning. Plus an improving defence that should make some stops and the Giants mix up the run and pass perfect to win.

Chicago Bears 23 @ Carolina Panthers 17:

I do think this game will be closer than expected because I think the Panthers defence can hold the Bears in the red zone to field goals, but I believe the Bears will just survive. Once again last week vs. the Packers, Cutler showed he is the ultimate boom or bust quarterback. The lack of running back depth is going to hinder the Panthers in this one.

Houston Texans 17 @ Dallas Cowboys 34:

Since week 2 the Cowboys have looked more and more impressive and the absolute ass whooping they gave the Saints on Sunday Night is going to continue against the Texans. I owe this team an apology, I thought they wouldn’t win more than 3 games this year, now they might be my favourite for the division. This o-line has just been dominate. Spencer should get a sack or two in this game.

Buffalo Bills 20 @ Detroit Lions 27:

How can you not overlook the obvious elephant in the room and see that Kyle Orton is going to be starting. Stories were released saying that the plan was always for EJ to sit behind a veteran and line, at first it was supposed to be Kevin Kolb but that slowly faltered. This team is on true win now mode with a poster that looks almost 3rd best in depth in the AFC, apart from at QB. Either way this game is the Jim Schwartz return game and his said the reception doesn’t bother him, shame the score might.

Baltimore Ravens  22 @ Indianapolis Colts 17:

Wondering where the two points is coming from? well the Ravens are going to get a safety. Steve Smith SR is going to be catching more balls over the middle then outside in this game, as the linebackers are just so poor for the Colts. Andrew Luck is fresh off a good bashing of the Jags and Titans but a real team is in town and his going  to throw one TD and two Picks.

Arizona Cardinals 30 @ Denver Broncos 27:

This is going to be a win for the Cardinals, Yep I’m calling it I am going to be following this game closely because I think that the Cardinal are going to cause two turnovers and score touchdowns on both. Those turnovers though are not going to come from Peyton Manning but more a fumble from a running back and on special teams.

New York Jets 10 @ San Diego Chargers 31:

It’s been a very bad week for the New York Jets and it’s only going to get worse this weekend as Geno fails to move the offense again and the red hot Chargers continue to roll through the arm of current MVP leader Phillip Rivers. Chris Ivory should get the bulk of the carries this week and my god does he deserve them over CJ2.0 YPA.

Kansas City Chiefs 24 @ San Francisco 49ers:

This game is too hard to call, but based on the performances of these two teams last week, who both pulled out wins, I have to go with the Chiefs because of the way they absolutely man handled the Patriots into submission and Jimmy Garoppolo. The Chiefs were overrated last year yes, but this season they are performing like a team who could still finish 10-6 or 7-9 who knows.

Cinnanatti Bengals 31 @ New England Patriots 24:

This is a game on paper that the Patriots would have hoped to avoid after being humiliated on Monday Night but this has the makings of a game where the Patriots surprise everybody and pinch a win. I don’t expect them to win but I definitely expect them to play better. The Bengals are just going to have too much for the Patriots this week, but I am going to love watching Green play against a less than impressive Revis.

Seattle Seahawks 37 @ Washington Redskins 17:

If Kirk Cousin can commit 5 turnovers against the Giants then god knows what is going to happen here. I wasn’t one of those on his bandwagon before last week and I am still not. The trouncing he got from the Giants and less than stellar play last year makes you question him just as much as any young QB out there. On the Seahawks side of the ball things are looking peachy enough that we shouldn’t be worried about a Superbowl Hangover.

This OTI piece was written by David Ironmonger, David hails from London, England. He has been a New Orleans Saints fan since watching them grace the Wembley Stadium Turf. He enjoys many sports, football (our version), cricket, rugby and golf. You can let him know your feedback on Twitter @NFLbritview & you can also view his personal blog NFL Brit View.

Raiders View: The AFC West Week 4 Review

That was some weekend wasn’t it! I had an absolutely fantastic time. It is now Wednesday I only got home last night so I am feeling a little bit worse for wear but it was worth it. This week I was 2-1 for predictions, Raiders letting me down in more ways than one. So I am 8-6 for the season.  I ‘m going to talk about the game and the implications below but I thought I would start with my thoughts on the overall NFL experience of the weekend. I will start by saying that I am not a fan of the Regent Street event. I much prefer the Trafalgar Square events of the past years. However that is a personal preference, I enjoyed really the events on the Main Stage especially the player interviews. Neil Reynolds did an excellent job of hosting, the guy has a great deal of energy, my hat is tipped to you sir.

Dennis Allen, Derek Carr, Menelik Watson and Khalil Mack all appeared on stage to a huge crowd. They were all forthcoming in interviews and looked like they wanted to be there. I say this because previously a certain coach in a hoodie and his players looked like they could not wait to get off stage. Menelik Watson led the crowd in a chant of “Raiders Raiders”. It was after this that I met and got a picture with the famous Black Hole resident Gorilla rilla. The Dolphins players Ryan Tannehill, Brian Hartline and Jared Odrick also appeared on stage later. They also had a certain Dolphins front office staff member called Dan Marino with them. It is amazing how many ex-players attend these International Series games. When Rod Woodson was being interviewed by Neil Reynolds he looked in my direction and shouted “Hey Big Linc”. I turned round and Lincoln Kennedy the Raiders Pro Bowl right tackle from the Super Bowl years was standing next to me.  Although I’m not a collector of “me and famous friends” type photos it did become somewhat of a theme for the weekend. I must again say that I prefer the Tailgate party rather than the fan plaza that they had this game. I can understand that logistically it makes more sense but I prefer being able to stay near the food and drink while also watching the main stage events. I did meet a few more Black Hole residents and Californian Raiders fans at the tailgate. Photo number 3 came with Senor Raider.

A final surreal moment came when going into Wembley Stadium. I saw 3 guys walking toward us, 2 were big 1 was smaller. I realised the closer they got it was Welsh Rugby stars Alun Wyn Jones and Ryan Jones along with Swansea City Manager Gary Monk. I of course had my photo taken with the 3 of them. For a Swansea City and Ospreys fan like me this was a fantastic moment.

Miami Dolphins 38 Oakland Raiders 14

Dolphins 4 point favourite.

Key Fantasy Players: Mike Wallace and Derek Carr.

Do I really need to talk about the game? I think enough has been written that I don’t really need to go into great depth about the actual performance (or lack thereof) on the field.

 I felt so sorry for the Raider fans (and other NFL fans) that had travelled from afar and spent a lot of their hard earned money to see this game. I’m not just talking about the Californian Raider Fans; International Series weekends are not cheap when you take into account travel and accommodation etc. I had a great time but would have liked to have seen some sort of effort from the Raiders. Rich Gannon spoke on his radio show about the current plight of the Raiders. He said “The thing that drives me crazy is that they spend millions and millions and millions of dollars on the payroll. There’s people out in Oakland, in that building — players, coaches, front office, people in business, accounting — stealing,”.

The end result of the game was the unsurprising sacking of Dennis Allen. This is a start, Reggie McKenzie should be next. In my opinion Reggie deserves as much if not more of the blame as Dennis Allen.

As for the Raiders coach next season the name that every Raider fan has mentioned is Jon Gruden. There is a long way to go before we get some serious names for the job and I intend to write more about this separately. At least we have a bye week to look forward to this week.

Jacksonville 14 San Diego 33

 Chargers 13.5 point favourite.

Key Fantasy Players: Blake Bortles and Philip Rivers.

I have to be honest and say I did not spend much time watching either the Chargers or Chiefs games this week. Despite an ever increasing injury list the Chargers rolled on. Philip Rivers looks like an MVP candidate with his early season play.

New England 14 Kansas City 41

Patriots 3.5 point favourite.

Key Fantasy Players:  Tom Brady and Knile Davis.

This game puts into perspective the Raiders efforts against the Patriots I suppose! A lot of people are calling this the beginning of the end of the Patriots dynasty, although as I have said they are not the team they were it’s not the end. Yes this was one of Belichick and Brady’s worst loses they are still 2-2 in a very close division.

For obvious reasons this has been a very Raider heavy article this week. I will get back to normal service in the weeks to come. As always it is never boring being a Raiders fan. Go Raiders!

This Article was written by Tim Morris. Tim has been a Raiders fan for over 20 years. He can trace his obsession back to his Auntie from Canada who sent him a Marc Wilson LA Raiders jersey for Christmas in 1985.  He is still bitter about the Tuck Rule Game and spends far too much time worrying about where the Raiders will be playing in 2015. Tim is always happy to discuss football on twitter @raidertim34 (even if you don’t agree with him). He also writes for

OTI Power Rankings: Week 4

32 (32) – Oakland Raiders

I’m not one to throw away the season when only one quarter of it is gone, but the Raiders’ season is pretty much already lost with no signs of it getting any better. To add injury to insult, rookie quarterback Derek Carr injured his knee and foot in the loss, and that’ not good for the experience he could’ve gotten for the future in the games that he’ll miss.

31 (27) – Tennessee Titans

You couldn’t really expect much from Charlie Whitehurst on Sunday, and Andrew Luck is too good for the Titans defense. It wasn’t even close before the game even started.

30 (30) – Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles had some shaky moments in his first career start, but he still had plenty on good flashes. Overall it was a decent kick-off — all of it with little run support. Now let’s see how he progresses from week-to-week.

29 (28) – St. Louis Rams

As if the Rams season wasn’t already going down the drain. How can the earliest possible bye week help them?

28 (31) – Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater had an amazing start to his career. At the beginning, the play-calling eased him into things, but later, he really took command of the game and made things happen himself, leading the Vikings to a big win over the Falcons.

27 (29) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mike Glennon had a very strong game, leading the Bucs to a game-winning fourth quarter drive over the Steelers. He should’ve starting from the beginning of the season.

26 (26) – Cleveland Browns

The Browns have been close in their first there games. Now, coming out of their bye week, we’ll see if they made the necessary adjustments to be able to pull away from other teams.

25 (23) – Buffalo Bills

Things aren’t getting any better after the first four games. According to the Bills organisation, benching EJ Manuel for Kyle Orton to give him time to figure things out is the answer, but that’s just for the short-term.

24 (21) – Washington Redskins

Once the Redskins were behind and Kirk Cousins had to make plays to keep the Redskins in the game he started to get really shaky, giving the Giants four gifts on interceptions right into the defender’s hands. That may have helped quarterback controversy fire die down.

23 (22) – New York Jets

Geno Smith was horrendous, only completing four passes by halftime. When is Michael Vick starting?

22 (24) – Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill needed the confidence of a big win like the Dolphins had in London, especially when the head coach isn’t on his bandwagon. The win may not have been against a good team, but it doesn’t matter how they come.

21 (25) – New York Giants

The Giants offense looked excellent again on Thursday night. Eli Manning had a big completion percentage and he was getting the ball out of his hands quickly while the entire offense was marching downfield. The most important part is that the offense is starting to be consistent.

20 (13) – Carolina Panthers

The defense had plenty of issues with the absence of some key players. You can tell that this team is a lot different when their defense can’t lead the way. Also, the offensive line issues are constantly in the Panthers’ face, literally, with Cam Newton getting hit way too often. Maybe that’s why their team motto is “Keep Pounding”.

19 (15) – Atlanta Falcons

The Vikings did to the Falcons as the Falcons did to the Buccaneers last week, just the Falcons at least had an offense. The defense gave up everything under the sun, which has been a concern of this defense all off-season. The Falcons knew what talent they have defensively, but they need to find ways to stop that leg from bleeding. For example, some match-ups they put themselves in were not ideal at all: Kroy Biermann on Greg Jennings, please!? Better fundamentals would help too.

18 (18) – Pittsburgh Steelers

The offense is going strong as Antonio Brown continues his spectacular season, but the injuries on defense proved costly in a narrow loss to a team that got their hearts crushed last week. The exorbitant amount of 15-yard penalties didn’t help either.

17 (19) – Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs had the game they really needed to help them bounce back. They were able to trounce the Patriots on national television, and gathered up their first takeaways of the season on defense. Plus, Jamal Charles, who was originally diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain two weeks ago, went on to score three touchdowns.

16 (17) – Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are on the right track now after two easy wins against lower-class opponents. However, the next six games on their schedule will be tough ones, starting next week with the Ravens.

15 (16) – Houston Texans

Ryan Fitzpatrick had his average game, but the defense took advantage of a shaky quarterback to give the team the W. To show you how much the defense carries the team, JJ Watt has more touchdowns than Arian Foster and Andre Johnson combined.

14 (11) – New Orleans Saints

The Saints just can’t find a way to get in a rhythm, which puts the most of their comfort zone. They really need to find a way to get things settled if they want to have a chance to win the division.

13 (6) – Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler just had one of those games, but the players in the secondary had a lot of missed assignments, leading to a lot of big passing plays.

12 (20) – Dallas Cowboys

DeMarco Murray is ridiculous right now, and they rest of the team is streaking with him. This wasn’t how everyone pictured the Cowboys’ season to start off.

11 (12) – Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens ground game is good Lorenzo Taliaferro and Justin Forsett, and I think we all expected Steve Smith to have a huge game against his former team. It was a solid outing by both their offense and defense on Sunday.

10 (9) – Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles didn’t do anything on offense. The special teams is what got them ahead early. It’s odd to see LeSean McCoy be completely invisible two games in a row. Obviously, when the offense doesn’t show up, the whole team doesn’t show up.

9 (10) – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers badly needed the win on Sunday to keep up with the rest of the division. But while the teams they need to keep up with were resting this week, the 49ers don’t have their bye week for another three weeks.

8 (4) – New England Patriots

The shakeup on the offensive line really messed things up for the offense. Especially with the lack of skilled receivers on this team, you have to wonder how much this will really torment Tom Brady throughout the season.

7 (7) – Green Bay Packers

The offense got their mojo back in a convincing win against a division rival. However, the Packers are now facing a short week against the Vikings, who also strong-armed their opponent offensively on Sunday.

6 (14) – Detroit Lions

It’s very tough to beat the Lions when they don’t turn over the ball and when their defense is playing better than any other in the league.

5 (8) – San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers took advantage of a bad Jaguars secondary, and the defense took advantage of a rookie quarterback. That’s commanding the situation, which a lot of football teams lack.

4 (5) – Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals had their bye week at a terrible time. They were playing extremely well in the first three games, and are alone in firs place of the NFC West. Yes, Carson Palmer had some extra time to get healthy, but Drew Stanton has been juts fine in his absence.

3 (3) – Denver Broncos

With the Broncos on a bye week, Wes Welker had some extra time to actually get healthy, and not be thrown into more action so quickly after recovering from a concussion.

2 (2) – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals made it through the first three games of the season very easily, coming out with three convincing wins, but now comes the tough part — going 13 straight games without any break.

1 (1) – Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks had the earliest possible bye week this season, but they shouldn’t have such a tough time coming out of it. They aren’t playing their next game until Monday night, against the Redskins, so they probably spent a good amount of their extra time preparing for the Cowboys game the week after.

This OTI piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli, born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, is a huge follower of all things NFL and an avid fan of the Redskins. He writes the weekly Power Rankings as well as “Bookie’s Playbook”, where Eli breaks down the X’s and O’s of various plays and things of the sort. He welcomes all feedback on his articles, and you can always talk to him about anything NFL-related. You can follow him on Twitter @Ebookstaber, but be prepared. He never shuts up.