Notes from the North
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At this point in the week, I'm usually bristling with questions. But, this time around, the only thing that keeps running through my mind is this: after picking Carolina to beat the Giants and then watching New York put together its best, all-around effort to date and thump the Panthers 36-7, why do I even bother trying to make picks every week?

So what are the questions we expect (hope) to have answered this week?

1. Will the replacement refs, under intense pressure that grows every week, finally make that killer mistake that changes the outcome of a ball game? Will we see a fifth down in the last minute? A "tuck rule" moment but worse? A temp official actually make a block so that his fantasy league RB can score a TD?

2. Which of Lake Erie's two inconsistent clubs will carry the day? Buffalo was woeful, then powerful. The Browns have looked decent but not great, with the strength in their defense. Are they good enough, however, to take away Ryan Fitzpatrick's quick throws and make him look like a bum?

3. Is Houston truly the AFC's best or have they just feasted on mediocre competition so far? The Texans are 2-0, with convincing wins over Miami and Jacksonville. Their defense has allowed 8.5 points per game against these two also-rans. Now that their Florida run is over, can Houston actually stop a decent offense like the one they're putting together in Denver? Will the Texans trounce the Broncs and prove that they really are the AFC's elite team?

4. Is Seattle ready to play with the big boys? Can the Seahawks' improved defense keep Monday's game against Green Bay close and give Russell Wilson and his ball-control offense a chance to win it?

5. Whither Tom Brady? Fran Tarkenton is calling him old. I've been saying he can't throw the deep ball any more. Arizona is saying, "Hey Dude, we beat your a--". Is it possible for Brady and the Patriots to turn things around in Baltimore against a Ravens team that seems, well, pretty good? Are the Patriots done? Or is it the Baltimore defense that's starting to go grey?

6. And what do we make of Arizona? Lots of people are pointing out that they've got the best record in the league over the last, what is it, seven regular season games going back to last season. And now they've beaten the Patriots. Are they a force to be reckoned with? We'll find out when they host the tough, tough Eagles this weekend.

September 21, 2012  03:35 PM ET

*shakes paw in the air*

**** Tuck Rule! Once is definitely enough.

 
September 21, 2012  03:35 PM ET

LOL - the filters caught that one...

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