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The Pitt Panther Strikes Again
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Hello and welcome the fourth 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.

Our guest this week is dp169

 

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Question 1: Who is the best running back in the NFL?


Pitt: I believe that Clinton Portis is the best running back in the NFL. He does everything you want a running back to do. He's great at running the ball, he's great at catching the ball, and may be the best blocking back in the NFL. He has also been pretty consistent; the last time he had less than 70 yards from scrimmage in a game was on December 2, 2007. He's the best all-around running back in the NFL.


dp: Clinton Portis is a very nice pick, good all around back. My pick is the biggest back in the NFL, Brandon Jacobs. While he isn't the receiving threat Portis is, he is a threat to hurt someone when he has the ball running towards them. Nobody with more than 70 attempts has an average as good as Jacobs (5.4); he is tied for the league leaders in TDs with 11. Jacobs holds the nickname "The Juggernaut;" you can't tell me that's not scary.


Agrippa: Both nice picks but I'm going to go with the leading rusher in the league at this point with Adrian Peterson. Some of the knocks on AP last year where with his ability to stay healthy and being consistent throughout the season. This year there should be no question he has answered his critics, disproving both to be a non-issue in 08. Averaging at least 22.5 carries per game this year should answers any question in regards to his durability. His 110 yards per game this season should answer any consistency questions one may still pose. Though he is on a team with some of the worst pass support he has managed 1,100 yards with 7 TD's and 5 yards per carry. What puts him over the top for me guys is his killer instinct to go for 200+ on you on any given Sunday. AP in my humble opinion is the best back in the NFL.


LP: I guess that leaves me with Michael Turner... well Turner has helped rookie QB Matt Ryan totally revamp this Atlanta offense, and has helped the Falcons go 6-4 so far this season. It seems like whenever Turner doesn't have a 100-yard game, he has a less-than-80 yard game. But he has gotten four 100-yard games, including one 200-yard game against the Lions in Week 1. He got 220 yards on 22 carries and rushed for 2 TDs. He also got 100-yard games against the Chiefs, Packers, and Raiders. Turner is relied on pretty heavily, averaging 22.8 carries per game. Even with their good rookie, Matt Ryan, they still rely on Michael Turner to carry the run offense. If the best RB in the NFL isn't Portis, Jacobs, or Peterson... then it has to be Michael Turner.



Question 2: What should happen to the three Vikings defensive linemen facing suspension?


LP: Kevin Williams and Pat Williams should get what they deserve... a 4-game suspension. They took an over-the-counter weight-loss pill that tested positive for Bumetanide, which is a banned substance. They supposively took the banned substance, so they should serve the time. They said they took the pills to reach prescribed weight standards, but the NFL sees it as a "masking" for steroids. In other words, they took the weight-loss pill to cover for the steroids.


Pitt: I don't think Jared Allen should be suspended. Let's stop pretending that quarterbacks are somehow more fragile than other NFL players. Allen made a late hit and got penalized for it. The story should end there. If it's really bad, maybe fine him, but you don't suspend someone for hitting another player in the heat of a moment in a contact sport.

As for the Williams brothers from separate mothers, I think they should serve the 4 game suspension that the rulebook prescribes. Rules are rules; you break them, you pay the price.


dp: Jared Allen was fined 25K, are you kidding me? According to my sources, he's getting $21,119,256 this year alone, which is 0.001% of this year's salary for him. That's the equivalent of me getting fined $41 for a helmet to helmet late hit. I will give anyone, ANYONE $41 right now to let me put a helmet on and hit Aaron Rodgers helmet to helmet at full speed.

As for the Williams, they are looking at suspension for trying to lose weight? What is the NFL thinking? They have no proof they were "trying to cover up steroids." That's B***S***! Goodell has his priorities all wrong, and the players have to suffer because of it.


Agrippa: Pat and Kevin Williams deserve whatever fate is bestowed upon them. You are a professional athlete! It is your job to know what you are putting into your body! It is your job to know what you can and can't take. Why are linemen taking weight-loss diuretics in the first place?

Now with the Allen incidents I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say that he should receive some type of suspension. This is a violent sport and that's why judgment and caution should always be in the forefront of these players' emotions. These men are fine tuned athletic weapons and anyone can get hurt seriously at any given moment. If you consistently endanger another player outside of the rules, some action has to be taken. QB's are different Pitt. They are in a vulnerable position. They are usually looking to make a play and oft unable to protect themselves like other positions would be able to when contact is inevitable. So I think a suspension would be just to send a message to those players who seem to consistently fail to keep their emotions in check.



Question 3: What are your thoughts on the way the Steelers - Chargers game ended?


LP: I just thought it was a bad call by the referee, but the Steelers ended up winning the game anyway. Well first, it was a legal backward pass that hit the ground and was returned for the touchdown by Troy Polamalu. But, after an instant replay review and crew conference, the on-field ruling of a touchdown was incorrectly reversed to no touchdown by an illegal forward pass by San Diego. If this had been handled properly, Pittsburgh would have declined the penalty for an illegal forward pass and taken the touchdown.

I've been pretty disappointed by the NFL officiating lately.


Pitt: The refs made a mistake there. They made a big deal out of nothing. Either way, the game was going to end as a Steeler win. They should have just stuck with a Polamalu touchdown as it originally appeared to be. That lateral did not look forward to me, and I don't even know why they were reviewing it. They should have just given the Steelers the TD, and ended the game. Instead, they created a controversy where there wasn't one because it affected gamblers. Just a poor job of handling that situation.


dp: It was a fumble and a touchdown, no review needed. The guys upstairs must have had some money on the game or something, it wasn't even that close. Could you imagine how pissed Steeler fans would have been if they lost that game? I can't, I'm not a Steeler fan at all, and I would have been pissed. The officiating all around the NFL is on the down slope, it needs to be fixed ASAP or the game will suffer greatly. This is the NFL's chance to be the greatest sporting event in all of America, don't screw it up.


Agrippa:
I agree with you guys as far as this whole incident was mishandled. It's clear that there was no forward pass on the lateral. It makes you think, who are these clowns in the booth reviewing this stuff? My 6 year old nephew can see there was no forward pass. There was a touchdown scored and it should have counted. It was pointless, none the less speaks to the validity of the whole process. This crew should be nowhere around a game that's going to matter in the playoffs.



Prediction records:
Agrippa: 31-10, 75.6%
Pitt: 30-11, 73.2%
Guests: 18-9, 66.7%
LP: 23-18, 56.1%


Question 4: Cincinnati at Pittsburgh.  Who wins?



Agrippa: Pittsburgh. It's a shame what's going on in Cincinnati. Seems like everything's been downhill since Palmer went down in the playoffs couple of years back. Steelers win this. Need I post a reason why?


LP: Steelers. Pittsburgh beat San Diego last week, and the Bengals tied with the Eagles. The Bengals just cannot beat the Steelers.


dp: I think this is an obvious choice, Pittsburgh wins in a landslide.


Pitt: Pittsburgh will hold the Bengals to single digits in this game.  There defense is great and the Bengals are completely inept offensively.  I see a big win for the Steelers.



Question 5: Houston at Cleveland.  Who wins?



Pitt: I'm taking the Texans.  Their defenses are about equal, but the Texans have a slight advantage offensively.  I think this will be a relatively high scoring affair with Houston winning by less than 10.  I'm expecting a big day from Steve Slaton in order for this to come to fruition.


dp: Cleveland is 1-4 at home and Houston is 0-5 on the road. Neither one of these teams seem to want to win this one, but I like Brady Quinn pulling this one out in a close one.


Agrippa: Houston will take this. Sage has been playing decent barring some bad last minute throws. I like Houston's run attack. Browns rank 28th against the run. Look for Slaton and Green to have a good day.


LP: This will be a close game, but I've got the Texans. The Browns would've lost if Ryan Lindell would've hit a last-second field goal. I'm taking the Texans in a close one.



Question 6: San Francisco at Dallas.  Who wins?



Pitt: The Cowboys are just the better team, plain and simple.  They win by at least two touchdowns.


dp: San Fran may have won big last week, but that sure won't happen again. Dallas wins in good fashion with Romo back.


Agrippa: Dallas wins this one easily. San Francisco has been playing decent under Singletary; however, with Romo having one more week into mix of things, I see a long day for 49ers 29th overall defense.


LP: Cowboys. They are coming off an important win against the Redskins, and they will beat the Niners. Tony Romo is back... so that's always a good thing.



Question 7: Tampa Bay at Detroit.  Who wins?


Agrippa: Tampa takes this one. Lions have to win one right? Who wants to take them though? Not I. Detroit's offense is horrid and their D has to be one of the worst ever.


LP: As much as I want to take the Lions to win... I have to go with the Bucs. Detroit is 0-10... that pretty much explains it.


dp: Will Detroit win a game? Not this week. That Tampa defense has a pretty good shot at a shutout and they might score a little to.


Pitt: Bucs win HUGE.  The Lions are making a mistake by starting Culpepper.  They should be playing either Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton.  Just look at the Chiefs. They realized they were out of it, so they decided to give Tyler Thigpen a try.  Now, they may have found their QB for the future.  If Detroit had any idea what they were doing, they'd do the same with either Orlovsky or Stanton.


Question 8: New York Jets at Tennessee.  Who wins?



dp: The Jets are on a four game winning streak, but the Titans are on a ten game winning streak. The Titans winning streak continues in a close game that comes down to the end.


LP: Game of the Week right here... this will come down to the last minutes of the 4th quarter. I'm taking the Titans. Favre will throw at least 1 or 2 INTs, and Tennessee will take advantage.


Pitt: I'm taking the Jets with the upset here.  The Jets have a great run defense, which should stall the Titans running game, which is what their offense needs to be successful.  The Jets have a pretty good secondary that will take advantage of any Kerry Collins mistake.  The Jets will force Kerry Collins to beat them, but he won't be able to.


Agrippa: Titans stay unbeaten. Titans' defense sways me in their direction. The phenomenal pass defense should be able force Favre into some mistakes which will be the difference in the game.



Question 9: Buffalo at Kansas City.  Who wins?



Pitt: Buffalo.  I think Trent Edwards gets back on track against the Chiefs terrible pass defense.  The Chiefs have a budding young offense, but their defense will make them lose this one.


dp: Buffalo is one of their last five, and Kansas City has lost their last four games by 18 points. It may not be a huge upset pick, but I'm taking Kansas City in the upset.


Agrippa: Bills are on a 3 game losing streak and cost me my only blemish in my week 11 picks. Bills still possess a very decent team and the Chiefs cannot stop anyone with the worst defense in the league.


LP: Bills. They need to win this game in order to have a good chance to make the playoffs. After their last-second loss to the Browns on MNF, they need some redemption.



Question 10: Chicago at St. Louis.  Who wins?


Pitt: I'm taking the Rams to pull off an upset.  I'm expecting a big day from Marc Bulger in order for my prediction to be realized.  It's entirely possible because of Chicago's terrible pass defense.  They're ranked 30th in the league.  It is their Achilles heel, and I think it's their downfall in this game.


LP: I would love to take the Rams... but I think the Bears will come out on top. The Rams got blown out by the Niners last week, 16 to 35.


dp: Kyle Orton should be more ready this week and St. Louis has given up 35 ppg over their last four games. The Bears won't score that much, but they win by two touchdowns.


Agrippa: Bears bounce back and win this against St Louis. They still have to be embarrassed with their week 11 loss to GB. Look for them to come out and stuff Jackson for what Grant did too them last week. They still are 6th against the rush.



Question 11: New England at Miami.  Who wins?


LP: This should be a close game, but the Patriots won't let the Wildcat run wild this week. I've got the Patriots in a close one.


Agrippa: New England takes this rematch. It seemed like an embarrassing early loss for the Pats but as the season progressed the Fins proved to not be as bad as some thought. Hoodie will not allow the wildcat formation to surprise him this season. Look for a well coached game on the Pats side for a convincing win.


dp: Miami is on a four game winning streak and seems like a nice pick, but the Patriots remember the 38-13 loss in Foxboro in week three. Pats win a close one.


Pitt: I'm picking the Dolphins to pull out a squeaker.  The Fins have one key to this game; stop Matt Cassel.  Their pass defense has been their only weakness thus far, and they must make sure it doesn't bite them in the arse against the Pats.  I think they keep Cassel relatively in check and pull out a close, hard fought victory.



Question 12: Minnesota at Jacksonville.  Who wins?


LP: Both teams lost last week. But with all the drama going on in Minnesota with the steroid accusations... I'm taking the Jags. MJD and Garrard will have a good combination of run and pass this week.


Pitt: I think the Vikings will win this one handily.  The Jags rely heavily on their run, which happens to be the biggest strength of the Vikings defense.  MJD shuts down against anything that resembles a good run defense.  I see a big day for Adrian Peterson and an easy win for Minnesota.


dp: Jacksonville is 1-4 at home this year. In AP's last five games, his worst performance is 85 yards. He gets 150 in a big win.


Agrippa: Vikes take this one. These teams both are experiencing inconsistency at the QB position. Difference will be rush D and the Jags rank 20th in the league. In comes Adrian Peterson, league leading rusher.



Question 13: Philadelphia at Baltimore.  Who wins?



Pitt: Philadelphia.  I think the Eagles win a low scoring, smash mouth, hard fought victory here.  The Ravens are very one-dimensional on offense and the Eagles will key in on that.  Flacco will learn to know that Jim Johnson is pure evil.  The Eagles are able to score just enough points against a tough Ravens D to escape with a W.


dp: This game is going to be a defensive game, I'm talking 20 points total. Baltimore wins at the end.


Agrippa: I'll take the Eagles. They are not this bad. Say it is not so? Something's has got to give and I think McNabb gives it. Eagles still have one of the best offenses in the league (6th) and Flacco's inexperience cancels out the Ravens stout D. Look for them to be on the field a lot.


LP: Well the Eagles TIED to the Bengals last week, and I don't see McNabb doing any better than he did. Baltimore will come out and establish their passing game.



Question 14: Oakland at Denver.  Who wins?


LP: Oakland is just very disappointing this year... again. Denver by 14+.


Agrippa: Take the Broncos. Cutler has been stellar in his last two games with 4 TD and 1 pick with 663 passing yards. Look for him to roll against Oakland to their 3rd straight win.


dp: Another one of those no-brainers, Denver wins by 30. Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal get 2 TDs a piece, and Scheffler get one to.


Pitt: SHOCKER!  I'm taking the Raiders to upset the Broncos.  This is a trap game for the Broncos.  They think they'll breeze by the Raiders and are already looking forward to next week's game against the Jets.  Not so fast, friendo.  This is a good matchup for the Raiders.  They rely heavily on the run, which Denver can't stop.  Denver relies heavily on the pass, which is actually a relative strength of the Raiders defense.  I think the Raiders pull out a HUGE upset.



Question 15: Carolina at Atlanta.  Who wins?


LP: These are 2 teams that outperformed their preseason expectations. Carolina will move to 9-2 after this week.


dp: Carolina struggled against Detroit and Atlanta almost beat Denver at the end. Roddy White holds on to the game winner this week as Atlanta wins at the end at home.


Agrippa:
I like Carolina in this one. Matt Ryan is overrated and struggles against good defenses like Carolina's. Falcons' defense gives up a lot of yards and Carolina's run game will make the difference in this game.


Pitt: I'm taking the Falcons to pull out a tough victory at home.  Atlanta is 4-1 at home, while Carolina is just 2-2 on the road.  I think they ride Michael Turner to victory, along with a bomb or two from Matt Ryan.



Question 16: New York Giants at Arizona.  Who wins?



LP: Giants are arguably the best team right now. They beat the Ravens 30-10. NYG has scored 30+ points in their last 3 games, and they will do that again this week. Giants in a good game.


Pitt: I'm taking the Cardinals in a close game.  They have a pretty good run defense and should be able to keep the Giants running attack in check.  On offense, no one, not even the Giants, can stop their passing attack.  The Cardinals win a close one.


dp: Giants win a game that totals 50 or more points. Kurt Warner does not throw for 300 yards that would make his 5th game in a row.


Agrippa: Giants win in close one. Giants have been running on everyone. AZ 7th ranked run defense will be no acceptation. Giants D has the skill to get to Warner. Warner struggles against aggressive pass rushes and tends to force the issue when doing so.



Question 17: Washington at Seattle.  Who wins?


Agrippa: I'll take the Skins in this one. Washington still has Portis and a great defense. Seahawks are horrible this year. Other than their 21st ranked rush attack they rank 26th or lower in scoring ,yards on offenses and defense.


Pitt: The Redskins will win this one by a HUGE margin.  They will shut down the Seahawk offense and Jason Campbell will have a great day and lead Washington to a commanding victory.


LP: Seahawks are 2-8, and they're not getting much better. I've got the Skins by 10.


dp: Portis gets back on track this week and runs all over that terrible Seattle defense. Washington's defense holds Seattle offense under 250 total yards. Skins win by 17.



Question 18: Indianapolis at San Diego.  Who wins?


Pitt: I'm taking the Colts here.  Peyton Manning will have a MONSTER day and will lead Indy to a victory.  This is it for LDT.  IF he has another bad showing against a soft Colts run defense, then he can kiss his distinction as an elite back goodbye.


LP: The Colts are on a 3-game winning streak, and fighting for their playoff berth. They will get the win against the Chargers this week.


Agrippa: Colts are on a roll and Manning seems to be returning to last year's form Over the last 3 wins he has passed for 7 TD's with 814 yards. The Bolts are yielding 267 pass yards per game, good for 32nd in the league.


dp: The battle of underachieving teams. Both teams are middle of the road numbers wise on offense and defense. Indy's on a three game winning streak, they make it four this week.



Question 19: Green Bay at New Orleans.  Who wins?


LP: Green Bay demolished the Bears last week, and they will stay hot. After an amazing performance by Ryan Grant, the Packers don't have to depend on Aaron Rodgers much. I've got the Pack.


Agrippa: I'm taking GB here. The Saints are not as good as we thought and their defense is just too big of a liability. Packers take this one dominating on both sides of the ball. With Brees stalling, the Saints are sitting ducks.


dp: The guy that decides this game is Ryan Grant. GB has a great passing defense, but Drew Brees will score. Ryan Grant has an amazing game, but it won't be enough. Home field advantage helps the Saints win yet another close game.


Pitt: I'm taking the Packers here.  This will all come down to Drew Brees and the Saints passing game.  New Orleans' only strength happens to be the Packers' biggest strength.  I think the Packers will be able to keep Brees in check and roll to a victory on the arm of Aaron Rodgers.



Last GD's upset alerts:
Pitt: Kansas City over San Diego; San Diego won
Agrippa: Indianapolis over Pittsburgh; Indianapolis won
LP: Detroit over Jacksonville; Jacksonville won
Yoda: Rams over Jets; Jets won

Question 20: What team should be on upset alert?



Agrippa: Baltimore. Eagles are better than their record reflects. Don't let the tie to the Bengals fool you.


dp: Buffalo. Tyler Thigpen has been doing very well lately and will be the main contributor. Trent Edwards has 3 TDs and 8 INTs in his last four games, and it's getting worse every week. He will lose this game for Buffalo.


Pitt: Denver.  This is a trap game for them and I think Oakland pulls off the upset.


LP: Minnesota better watch out for the Jags. Jacksonville was beating the Titans at halftime, but then gave it away. MJD and Garrard will have a good combination of run and pass this week... Jacksonville will take this one.



Last GD's players to watch:
Pitt: Chad Pennington: 22/36, 209 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 74.9 rating
Agrippa: Adrian Peterson: 30 rushes, 196 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions, 33 yards
LP: LaDainian Tomlinson: 22 rushes, 78 yards, 4 receptions, 39 yards
Yoda: Daunte Culpepper: 5/10, 104 yards, 1 INT, 47.5 rating


Question 21: Who is your player to watch?


dp: Jay Cutler is going to have a field day with that Oakland D. I thinking numbers like 400 yds, 5 TDs.


Pitt: My player to watch is Steve Slaton of the Houston Texans, who face the Cleveland Browns.  Slaton has been very good this year, but hasn't gotten a ton of carries (his high is 18).  With Schaub down, I think the Texans ride Slaton to victory by giving him at least 20 carries and I think Slaton rewards them by giving them at least 120 yards.


LP: Watch out for Peyton Manning... if you have him on your fantasy team, you better start him. He is going up against the worst ranked pass defense this week. Peyton can have 300+ yards this week.


Agrippa: Peyton Manning. He will have his best day of the season against the league's worst pass defense.



Last GD's players to disappoint:
Pitt: Andre Johnson: 7 receptions, 66 yards
Agrippa: Brian Westbrook: 13 rushes, 26 yards, 3 receptions, 33 yards
LP: Peyton Manning: 21/40, 240 yards, 3 TD, 95.8 rating
Yoda: Trent Edwards: 13/23, 120 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 49.2 rating


Question 22: Who is your player to disappoint?


Pitt: Jay Cutler.  After two big games in a row, I think he'll revert back to the form he was in in the games prior.  I predict that Cutler will struggle against a pretty good Raiders pass defense.


LP: Any player on the Bengals roster. They are going up against the Steelers, who have the best defense in the league.


Agrippa: Brett Favre. Tennessee has a stellar defense and Favre tends to try and make too much happen when things aren't going his teams way.


dp: Donovan McNabb. With that horrible game he had against Cincy; imagine what Baltimore will do to him. I mean, come on, he didn't even know they could tie?

 

 

Pitt: That's it for us here with FanNation NFL GameDay.  On behalf of myself, Agrippa, LP, and dp169, I'd like to thank you for reading.  We'll see you next time on GameDay.

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