Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL Sunday Preview

Well, both teams in the bay area had a good week 1, and each will try and build off that and get win number 2 this week. Again, the Raiders will be on the road, but they'll have a much easier task at hand than what the 49ers will have in their host at Candlestick.

The Raiders ran wild vs. the Broncos on Monday night, and although the Bills look like a much stronger defense than Denver's, I think the game plan for Hue Jackson's squad will be much of the same. A lot of Darren McFadden, and some Jason Campbell basic passes when they need them. They're pretty evenly matched with Buffalo, so it should be a very good game to watch and if they can execute a little more through the air offensively this week, they should be in pretty good shape. That is, or course, if their defense is up for the task again. The D-line got tremendous pressure on Kyle Orton in week one and will have to do so again in week 2 because Ryan Fitzpatrick has the ability to pick them apart if they don't. The Raiders have to keep their eye on bay area native and play-making wideout Stevie Johnson (pictured making that tremendous TD grab in week 1), but can't lose track of tight-end Scott Chandler like the Chiefs did or else they'll get burned. I don't think the Bills are quite as good as their 41-7 opening win over KC, but they are a lot better than people realize and have an underrated, all-around back in Fred Jackson that will take up a lot of the defense's attention as well. With Buffalo being at home, and coming of the huge win and Oakland coming off a short week and a little banged up, I still give the edge slightly to Buffalo, but again, if Run DMC gets going early and opens up the passing game a bit, then the Raiders should be able to make it a tight ballgame.

Prediction: Bills 27, Raiders 23

For most of the 49ers/Cowboys preview, we did a whole post here, but still have some points to make and reinforce. Like, stop, at least contain Tony Romo. That's going to really be the whole key to the game for San Francisco. They have a real brand new secondary and will really be put to the test this week in going up against Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Whitten, who the 49ers should stick Donte Whitner(pictured) on and hopefully he holds him in check like he did Zach Miller last weekend. Felix Jones is also a play-maker out of the backfield in the passing game. The 49ers should really keep an extra DB on the field at all times and force the Cowboys to try and run the football. If the Niners can do that, then they'll have a shot. They're also going to need to cause a turnover or two, and again, they will have to hold onto the ball on offense, cause if they lose the turnover battle, or even if they match-up in turnovers with Dallas, it won't be good news. They have to win that area, and that's something they can actually do. They need to press Tony Romo like New York did late in Monday Night's game. Romo was picking the Jets' highly-praised secondary apart for 3 quarters, but then they got some pressure on him and he made some bad decisions, playing on the road. The 49ers crowd has to be loud and help this defense, and of course, offensively, give them a lot of Gore and a little bit of Alex, but come out shooting early to keep the Cowboys honest and from piling 8 in the box. Still see the 49ers losing by at least 7.

Prediction: Cowboys 24, 49ers 17


Other games to watch: Besides the Niners and Raiders games, a few other games I'll be watching pretty closely will be the Vicks 2nd trip back to Atlanta, but first since becoming a starter in Philly and one of the best QB's in football, better than his days in Atlanta even. That should be an interesting one that I see going Philly's way, unless Atlanta rattles up Vick and rams Michael Turner right through Philly's undersized defensive front: Eagles 24, Falcons 21.

Also, I think the real game of the week will be the San Diego/New England projected shootout. I had San Diego picked as my pre-season favorite in the AFC. I just think it's Phil Rivers' time and with Vincent Jackson back, Gates in his prime, Ryan Mathews ready to break out and Mike Tolbert there in case he doesn't, they really have it all offensively. Their big question coming in is defense, and they're D won't get a tougher task this year than what they're about to face Sunday in Foxboro. Tom Brady took the commanding early season MVP-lead with a 517 yard performance vs. the Dolphins and looks primed for another big season. The Patriots have some questions on defense though, and if they gave up 412 yards to Chad Henne, they could give up 500+ to Rivers unless they tighten up. Still don't know why they cut Brandon Meriweather, one of the leaders of that defense and a young player still in his mid-20's. This game should see 60+ points scored, and I'll stick by my pre-season favorites, even though they're on the road and weren't as impressive as the Pats in their win over the Vikings: Chargers 38, Patriots, 31

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