6. Eli continues to produce: When talking about the Giants, I usually start with Perry Fewell’s defense because they can pressure with four down lineman and he isn’t afraid to dial up some unique looks to get to the QB. However, when you break down this football team (that is alone atop the NFC East), we need to discuss Eli Manning. In the win over the Dolphins, the Giants’ QB threw for 349-yards and 2 TDs. He continues to get the ball down the field, use play action, throw the back shoulder fade, etc. That wasn’t an overly impressive win vs. the winless Dolphins (and the schedule gets rough for the Giants), but with Manning’s continued production, can we can we call the Giants the favorites to win the East?
ICONRay Rice scored 3 TDs in the Ravens 30-27 comeback win over the Cardinals.
7. Ravens’ comeback: We saw some shaky football from the Ravens in the first half (similar to the Monday night loss). Joe Flacco struggled to run this offense, the defense couldn’t protect a short field and the Baltimore special teams didn’t tackle on the Patrick Peterson punt return. Different ball game in the second half when this club came out of the locker room down 24-6. The Ravens started to get the ball to WR Anquan Boldin, Terrell Suggs and the defense repeatedly collapsed the pocket vs. Kevin Kolb and Ray Rice produced in the red zone. Plus, the fade route to rookie Torrey Smith to set up the winning field goal? A luxury to have when you have a WR that can separate down the field and make a play. A win the Ravens had to get with a matchup vs. the Steelers next Sunday night.
8. Don’t forget about the Niners: Jim Harbaugh’s club is 6-1 because they controlled the line of scrimmage (again) in the 20-10 win over the Browns. This is what you are going to get from the 49ers for the rest of the season. Line up, use the 2-back power running game, win up front and play solid defense. Gore ran 31 times for 131-yards with a TD and Alex Smith was efficient (and didn’t turnover the football). It almost sounds too simple when you break it down, but when you look at the NFL right now, the only team with a better record than the 49ers are the 7-0 Packers. Harbaugh can coach.
9. The Bills’ defense: When you matchup vs. an offense that is struggling to move the ball, you exploit it in this league by bringing pressure. That’s exactly what the Bills’ defense did vs. John Beck and the Redskins in Toronto. George Edwards’ unit recorded nine sacks, forced two interceptions and held the ‘Skins to 178-total yards of offense—with only 26-yard rushing—in the 23-0 shutout win. No question the Redskins are dealing with injuries on the offensive side of the ball, but this game was decided by the Bills’ ability to apply pressure and play coverage in the secondary. And with the New England loss, Buffalo is back in first place in the AFC East.
10. The Bengals win their 4th straight: It is a quiet 5-2 for the Bengals, but don’t look past Marvin Lewis’ squad. The Bengals went out west (without RB Cedric Benson) and took care of the Seahawks 34-12 with big plays, defense and special teams. Mike Zimmer’s defense held the Seahawks to 5-15 on third downs; shut down the run game and we once again got to see rookies Andy Dalton and A.J. Green connect down the field for a TD. Still a very young roster in Cincy, but they continue to win. I like this ball club.
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