Hello and welcome the first edition of FanNation NFL GameDay. This will be a weekly feature in which LP, Agrippa, a guest, and I, Pitt Panther, answer questions and have discussions about the NFL, and make predictions about the coming week's games.
Due to scheduling conflicts, we will not have a guest for the first week. Our guest for week 9 will be Dyhard. If you would like to volunteer to be the guest in week 10 or any other week, go here
Now, without further ado, let's get started.
Question 1: Should Kellen Winslow have been suspended?
LP: No. Kellen Winslow has the most receptions on the team and he is a productive receiver. Only Braylon Edwards has more receiving yards than him. Winslow said that he was "disappointed" that the team needed to suspend him for speaking about his medical situation. If I were the Browns, I would not have suspended one of my best receivers. I say no.
Pitt: I say no as well. He wasn't trying to insult anyone; he was just speaking the truth. The Browns should be less concerned about their public image and more concerned about the health of their players. These infections have become far too common for Browns players. The organization needs to find a way to put them to an end. They appear to be more concerned about him saying he had a staph infection than they are about him actually having a staph infection. This was a very poor decision by the Browns, in my opinion.
Agrippa: So let me get this straight, the organization that is going to pay him $2,150,000 this year treats him like a piece of meat. That's one expensive cut. I think the suspension is just from the Organizations perspective. The Browns are sending a clear message that this is their team and if you get out of line there will be consequences. In the day in age where a player can b***h and moan till he gets what he wants (contract renegotiated, trade) the line has to be drawn for some people.
I agree that there is a serious problem that must be taken care of when it comes to the cleanliness of their facilities however this should have been handled in house. There must be limits set for these lose lipped athletes and I'm sure with their actions players will think twice before biting the hand that feeds.
LP: You have a good point there, Agrippa. The whole country doesn't need to know about his infection... so why would he make such a big deal about it? He could have just kept it less public so there are not stories about it everywhere.
I still say it was a bad decision by the Browns to suspend one of their best receivers. We will just have to wait and see how it plays out on Sunday.
Pitt: Something that must be noted is that the Browns have had a relatively high number of cases of staph infections. This is a major problem for the organization. They need to be more concerned about the health of their players. LeCharles Bentley's career might be over because of a staph infection that was reportedly life-threatening. This is a major issue and instead of solving it, they're lashing out at a player for talking about it.
Agrippa: Staph is a very serious issue. UNC Asheville senior Kenny George recently had part of his right foot amputated due to this illness.
It's a definite PR hit and it's something that should be discussed with those whom matter. Kellen could have easily asked to meet with the Ownership too vent instead of airing out his dirty laundry in the media. You just don't do that when you're a professional.
Pitt: I'm okay with them fining him a few thousand dollars, but to suspend him for a game without pay is too harsh. He never said anything that was false. What he said needed to be said. Maybe this will force the Browns to put an effort into stopping this problem.
LP: Pitt, I agree. Everything he said was true. He should not be suspended for a game WITHOUT PAY just for talking about his medical status. If he would have told the media false comments, then I can see the Browns suspending him without pay. But everything he said was true.
Question 2: At this moment, who is the best WR in the NFL?
Pitt: My pick for the best WR in the NFL is Larry Fitzgerald. The guy is unbelievable. All the QB has to do is throw it in his general direction and there's a good chance he'll make the catch. He has excellent hands and can go up and get it better than any other WR in the league. Here's what he's on pace for in 2008:
96 receptions, 1,456 yards, 13 TD
Agrippa: Call me a homer if you like but I'm going with the most unheralded receiver in the NFL, Andre Johnson. He is the only receiver in the league averaging over 100 yards per game and he is as consistent as they come. If you look at the QB play in Houston since Andre first arrived it has been anything but consistent. No matter whom the signal caller is he seems to get his yards and stays productive. What other receiver can you think of can make it to the Pro Bowl twice with David Carr behind center?
He is on pace to catch for 1,669 this year which is remarkable considering he is on a basement team in a conference with stellar defenses. He is the best in the league and deserves some recognition.
LP: Call me a homer too... I'm going with Greg Jennings. He leads the league in receiving yards and has 4 touchdowns. Greg has the best average for receivers with over 30 catches. He also has 12 catches that went for over 20 yards and 5 catches that went for over 40 yards which is the best in the league! Greg Jennings is a young playmaker and that is what makes him the best WR in the NFL.
Agrippa: It may be a little early to add Fitz in there. He is 5th in yards. He does have a knack for making that catch in the endzone but I don't see him as a breakaway type receiver. It's all objective when what one would consider the "best". I think there is a strong case for Andre due to his hands and speed. He has also done it with inferior QB play.
LP: Agrippa, I think Fitzgerald can be argued to be the best in the league. He has 546 yards and has 15.2 yards per catch. Fitz also averages 91 yards per game which is 7th in the league. He is also tied for 1st in Touchdowns with 5. So I'd say that Fitz can be argued.
Pitt: I don't think it's early for Fitz at all. At the age of 25, he already has two 1,400 yard seasons and is on pace for another one this year. Over the last 4 seasons, here are his 16 game averages:
99 receptions, 1,379 yards, 10 TD
While I think Fitz is the best, both Jennings and Johnson are great receivers and not far behind in my eyes. One thing's for sure, it will be a lot of fun watching these guys play for the next several years.
Question 3: Will the Cowboys make the playoffs?
Pitt: I'm going to say that they just miss out. They play in the toughest division in the NFL and they also face some pretty tough opponents outside their division. Not having Tony Romo is a major setback. I see them being 4-5 when Romo comes back, which, coupled with their schedule, makes me doubt they will make the playoffs.
Agrippa: I'm going to say yes they make it. Jones will not allow Brad Johnson to be the determining factor on their playoff destiny. Look for him to make a move and pick up a QB if Dallas loses to Tampa. They have way too much talent and he has spent way too much money to be watching come Dec and January.
LP: No. Like Pitt said, they play in the toughest division in the NFL and they have to also face some tough teams outside their own division. They play the Bucs (5-2), Giants twice (5-1), Washington (5-2), Pittsburgh (5-1), Baltimore (3-3), and Philadelphia (3-3). The Cowboys already have 3 losses, and any one of those games could be another loss. They lost S Roy Williams for the rest of the season. Tony Romo, rookie Felix Jones, and Terence Newman are all out with injuries. They are already on a 2-game losing streak and they could lose 2 more until their bye week in week 10.
Agrippa: Well I've been drinking too much to actually want to put the effort to dispute that. Wild card at least.
Pitt: Alright, Agrippa the inebriated. LOL. What QB can they pick up? There really isn't anyone available that's any better than Brad Johnson. They're going to have to put with him until their bye week, and I don't think they'll be able to beat Tampa Bay or the Giants. As LP showed, they've got a tough schedule. They're loaded with talent, but it's going to be close and I don't think they get in.
LP: Brad Johnson cannot lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. If you seen the Cowboys-Rams game, you would have seen Johnson throw 3 INTs and only 1 TD. He also got sacked 3 times, so that shows that a 40-year old QB cannot make quick moves. He completed only 17 of 34 passes, which is 50.0%. Brad Johnson simply cannot lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. Big D right now, stands for Big Drama as that is all that's going on right now.
Question 4: Tampa Bay at Dallas. Who wins?
LP: Tampa Bay. Dallas is having a roller-coaster season. They just lost to the Rams 34-14 last week and their morale isn't too good right now. The Bucs are 5-2 and the Cowboys are 4-3... I just don't see the Cowboys beating the Bucs this week. I'm taking the Bucs.
Agrippa: Tampa Bay.
Pitt: I've got Tampa here. The Rams are a very bad team. When you lose to them by 20, you don't look very good. The Bucs are a very good team and I think they'll be able to shut down the Brad Johnson led Cowboys offense and score enough points to win.
Question 5: Washington at Detroit. Who wins?
Pitt: Washington is the obvious pick here. Detroit is just flat out bad. Washington should be able to contain the Lions offense (Lions offense is an oxymoron) and look for Campbell, Portis, and Moss to all have big days against Detroit's pitiful excuse for a defense. The Redskins win BIG.
LP: Washington. Well the 5-2 Redskins are traveling to Detroit to face the 0-6 Lions. The Redskins beat the Lions in their last meeting last year in Week 5, 34-3. I see somewhat the same score this year as last year. I'm taking the Skins.
Question 6: Buffalo at Miami. Who wins?
Pitt: I'm taking the Bills. This should be Trent Edwards' first multi-TD game of the year. Miami's biggest weakness is pass defense. But be careful Buffalo, if Edwards can't exploit the Dolphins' shoddy pass defense, Miami could pull the upset here. I think Edwards gets it done.
LP: Buffalo. The Bills are going down to Miami to have a division battle against the Dolphins. Bills won their last meeting last year, 38-17. The Dolphins are coming off a 2-game losing streak and I don't think that is going to end this week. I'm taking the Bills.
Question 7: St. Louis at New England. Who wins?
LP: St. Louis. The Rams are traveling east to face the 4-2 Patriots. The Rams are coming off a 2-game win streak against 2 good teams. Steven Jackson looks like he has found his running game after getting 160 yards and 3 touchdowns against America's Team. I see the Rams pulling off yet another upset against the Pats.
Agrippa: New England
Pitt: I'm taking New England. Both of these teams are coming off big wins, but only one of these teams is actually good. That team is the Patriots. In this game, New England has one job and one job only; Stop Steven Jackson. I think Belichick and the Pats will be able to contain Jackson, and thus contain the Rams offense. The Patriots get it done.
Question 8: San Diego at New Orleans, in London. Who wins?
Pitt: I'm taking the Aints. The San Diego Chargers have absolutely no pass defense. Look for Brees to have a HUGE day. I'm talking 350+ yards 3 TD huge. I'm picking the Saints to win a shootout off the strength of Drew Brees' arm. Perhaps after this, people will realize Antonio Cromartie isn't that great a CB.
LP: San Diego. These 2 teams will travel to London to play this week. This is a game between 2 pretty evenly matched teams. Both 3-4 and both are coming off a loss last week. The last time these 2 teams met was back in 2004, the Chargers won 43-17. I see the Chargers winning this game in London.
Agrippa: San Diego
Question 9: Kansas City at New York Jets. Who wins?
Agrippa: New York Jets
Pitt: I'm taking the J-E-T-S JETS JETS..... I forget the rest. Without Larry Johnson, the Chiefs offense is about as vibrant as Larry King. We could see a rare shutout in this game. That's how bad the Chiefs are. The Jets win big.
LP: Kansas City. The Chiefs are 1-5 and due for a good game. WR Dwayne Bowe is doing it for the WRs. He has 34 receptions, 410 yards, and 2 TDs. I just think the Chiefs are due up for a good game, and that is why I have them beating the Jets this week.
Question 10: Atlanta at Philadelphia. Who wins?
Pitt: I'm taking the Eagles here. This is a very bad matchup for the Falcons. They are very poor defensively, and the Eagles offense will be at its best so far this season with Westbrook, Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis coming back this week. Offensively for the Falcons, they need Michael Turner to play well if they want to do anything offensively. Unfortunately for them, the Eagles are ranked 9th against the run and Turner struggles mightily against good run defenses. They're also starting a rookie QB, which could spell disaster against a Jim Johnson defense. I think the Eagles win this one handily.
LP: Atlanta. Atlanta is coming off a bye week and a 2-game winning streak and they are hot right now. Philly is also coming off a bye week and a 1-game winning streak. Rookie Matt Ryan has stepped in and has done awesome. Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, and Roddy White have been the Falcons' offense this year. The Falcons will pull out the win against the Eagles.
Question 11: Arizona at Carolina. Who wins?
Pitt: I think the Panthers pull out a close win here. The Cardinals are one-dimensional offensively and the Panthers are ranked second against the pass. I think the Panthers will be able to contain, somewhat, the Cardinals passing attack and eek out a victory here.
LP: Carolina. Carolina is coming off a win against the Saints and they are looking good. DeAngelo Williams has been carrying the load this season and he has been doing a good job with that. Carolina will get the W this week.
Question 12: Oakland at Baltimore. Who wins?
LP: Baltimore. Both Baltimore and Oakland are coming off wins. Baltimore looks like the better team so I'm going with the Ravens over the Raiders.
Pitt: I've got the Ravens prevailing here. They've got a great defense and should be able to hold the Raiders to relatively low amount of points. The Raiders aren't very good defensively, so I think the Ravens will be able to rely a lot on the run to lead them to the low-scoring victory in this game.
Question 13: Cincinnati at Houston. Who wins?
LP: Houston. Well the 0-7 Bengals travel down to Houston to play the 2-4 Texans. The Texans are coming off their only 2 wins of the season and they are hot. Texans will win this one.
Pitt: I'm picking Houston. I really like this team. Their defense is slightly below average, but they're young and improving. Offensively, they have a solid QB in Schaub, a very talented young RB in Steve Slaton, and one of the best receivers in the league in Andre Johnson. The Bengals are a mess. I see the Texans winning their 3rd straight as they try to get back into playoff contention.
Question 14: Cleveland at Jacksonville. Who wins?
Pitt: I don't really like either of these teams, but I'm going to have to take the home team, Jacksonville. They should be able to run against the Browns porous run defense. There was talk of these teams possibly moving up and winning their divisions. Now, I doubt either makes the playoffs.
LP: Jacksonville. Jaguars are coming off a win and their bye week. They are 3-3 and they will get over the .500 mark today. Jaguars over the Browns.
Question 15: New York Giants at Pittsburgh. Who wins?
LP: New York Giants. Both teams are 5-1 and this should be a good one. Brandon Jacobs is playing good football and I don't see him stopping. The G-men will pull off the very close win.
Pitt: If you like offense, then you will hate this game. Both of these teams are great defensively. Pittsburgh should be able to take care of Brandon Jacobs and Eli Manning. In the end, however, I think the Giants win. I don't think Pittsburgh will be able to run the ball effectively and they'll be forced to pass. This will enable the Giants to just pin their ears back and come after Big Ben, through his offensive line. What has Roethlisberger done to his offensive linemen for them to treat him so poorly? The Giants win a nail biter.
Agrippa: New York Giants
Question 16: Seattle at San Francisco. Who wins?
LP: San Francisco. The 49ers are on a 3-game losing streak and they need a good game. I see them beating the 1-5 Seahawks this week.
Pitt: I've got San Francisco here. I think the Niners are actually a pretty good team. For the most part, they were able to move the ball very well against the Eagles. Frank Gore is a superstar at RB. I think the Niners are just going to give him the ball and say, "Get us a win Frank." I think Mr. Gore delivers.
Question 17: Indianapolis at Tennessee. Who wins?
Pitt: I've got the Titans here. The Colts just cannot stop the run. I'm predicting Chris Johnson and Lendale White combine for over 200 yards from scrimmage and pull the Titans to a victory. The Colts will struggle offensively against this great Titans defense. I think the Titans win and cement themselves as the new kings of the AFC South.
LP: Indianapolis. Indy will pull off the upset this week. They didn't have that good of a game against the Packers last week, but the Titans are due for a bad game. They are 7-0 but they have Kerry Collins at QB and the Colts will have pressure on him all day. Colts over Titans.
Question 18: Who should be on upset alert?
LP: Indianapolis over Tennessee. See #17
Agrippa: Not too many out there but I think Matt Hasselbeck gets it going with his receivers returning to the team that made the playoffs last year.
Pitt: It's not a major upset, but Saints over Chargers. The Chargers are ranked 32nd against the pass, the Saints lead the NFL in passing yards. What do you think is going to happen?
Question 19: Who is your player to watch?
LP: Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans. Schaub has been hot lately and he is up against a poor Bengals defense this week. They have allowed 6 passing TDs in the last 3 games.
Pitt: My pick is Thomas Jones, RB for the New York Jets. I think he'll have a breakout game against the Chiefs' atrocious run defense. If Lendale White can toast them for 149 yards on 17 carries, then Thomas Jones is in for a BIG day.
Agrippa: Plaxico Buress. I see Plax making a huge play to be the difference maker in a close game against the Steelers.
Question 20: Who is your player to disappoint?
Pitt: My pick is Michael Turner, RB for the Atlanta Falcons. Turner is not as good as his numbers so far this year suggest. Here are his stats in his 3 games against teams who are ranked in the top 20 against the run:
57 carries, 152 yards, 2.7 avg, 0 TD
Philadelphia is ranked 9th against the run. Ruh-roh.
Agrippa: Kurt Warner comes back to the real world and has a mediocre game with interceptions costing them the win.
LP: Edgerrin James of the Arizona Cardinals. Tim Hightower has been getting more and more carries as the season goes on and Edge could have fewer than 1,000 yards for the first time since 2002.
That's all for us here at FanNation NFL GameDay. We wish you a merry Sunday.