It's nice to see the best division in the NFL, the NFC West, on Thursday night football this week as the Cardinals play host to the Seahawks. There are no teams in the NFC West with a losing record as the Seahawks sit at 5-1, the Niners are 4-2 and the Rams & Cardinals are 3-3.
Before I get to talking about tonight's game, there was report in the Wall Street Journal about how the NFL was thinking about putting a second game on Thursday night. The NFL has already replied by saying that it hasn't even discussed, so let's just assume that it's not happening, which is fine with me. There's no need for a second Thursday game. One is enough.
What the NFL should consider is how they schedule the Thursday games because the way they are currently set up leads to poor quality of play and there's a greater chance of injury due to the lack of proper rest. How do you solve it? Schedule Thursday games for teams that are on their bye week. Obviously in weeks two and three you can't do that because the byes start in week four, but once you get to week four that's the way it should be. Two teams coming off the bye and playing the Thursday game would be much better than seeing teams play on three days rest. I realize they would get more time off after the game, but that's not a big deal. It's the game that matters more than anything. Think about it, NFL. It would be the best thing they could do.
Last week I went 11-4 straight up, so after two strong weeks in a row I'm 57-35 (.620) on the season straight up.
Seattle (5-1) at Arizona (3-3) 8:30 PM
Any time two NFC teams square off you can usually expect a low scoring, defensive type of game because that's how the teams in the division are built. That's what I expect in this game.
What the Cardinals have going for them in this game is the home field advantage. They're 2-0 at home this year. While the Seahawks are known to be dominant at home, they are not the same on the road. In their games away from home so far this year they barely beat the Panthers 12-7, they won 23-20 in OT to the Texans and they lost 34-28 in Indy. Still, I don't think they have to worry about a turnover prone QB in Carson Palmer (Seahawks are #2 against the pass) and a Cardinals team that is 24th in running the ball.
If the Cardinals can avoid turning the ball over or if they win the turnover battle they can win this game. I just don't think they're on the same level as the Seahawks. The Cardinals need to pass the ball to be successful, but against the Seahawks that may prove to be difficult. Do you really believe that WR Larry Fitzgerald is going to have a big game against Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, who is the best in the game at his position? I don't think so. Last year in two games against the Seahawks, Fitzgerald caught just 5 balls for 65 yards. I know Palmer's a better QB than what they had last year, but that's a telling stat. The Cards will have to find other ways to manufacture point and I don't think they have enough offensive depth to do that.
I'm going with the Seahawks. While I don't think their offense will have a huge game, I think they will force two or three turnovers and convert those into points. It won't be a pretty game to watch, but the Seahawks are one of the best all around teams in the league because of the way they can stop people (aside from that Indy game). I think they win and cover the 6.5 points. Seahawks 23-13
Fantasy Football Five Thoughts
1. If you're like me and you have Adrian Peterson in one of your leagues then you're probably wondering when he might have a 150 yard rushing day with a couple of TDs. Playing against the hapless Giants (26th against the run) should help Peterson have one of those monster days we're used to seeing. I know he has a new QB in Josh Freeman with him, but the Vikings will still try to run and since the Giants have shown an inability to stop anybody I expect Peterson to have a big day.
2. I've been impressed by new Eagles starting QB Nick Foles in his two starts so far this year. With Michael Vick's injury (hamstring) keeping him out at least this week and maybe more, Foles is guy you should look at as a starting QB in your league. His 493 passing yards and 5 pass TDs (with no picks) in two games are impressive. The Eagles have one of the best offenses in the league while leading in rushing yards, so Foles will put up great stats especially against a Cowboys defense that is being decimated by injuries. Scoop up Foles in a league if he's available (likely gone now) and definitely consider him on your Draftstreet team as well.
3. I'm glad to see that Panthers QB Cam Newton had a huge game last week because he's one of my favorite young QBs in the game. I still don't think he has a great group of WRs to help him out, but when he's in that zone he's so productive. Last week against the Vikings he had four TDs (3 passing, 1 rushing) and no picks. The week before at the Cardinals he had three picks with no TDs. What Cam will we get going forward? I think with matchups against the Rams (inconsistent D), Bucs and Falcons in the next three weeks I think Newton's going to be very good with high expectations the rest of the season.
4. If you own key Washington performers like Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon my advice is to hang in there. There are reports this week that RG3 is feeling better and plans on running more (last week he ran for a season high 77 yards). With games against the Bears, Broncos, Chargers, Vikings and Eagles coming up they play some defenses that could give up a lot of points, so look for the Redskins offense to put up the kind of points they did last year when they made the playoffs. Can they stop teams? I don't know. Doesn't matter in the fantasy world. Hang on to your key Washington guys or trade for them if you can.
5. That zero catch performance by Saints star TE Jimmy Graham was a shocker last week. Credit the Patriots for having a great defensive plan against him. This week his team is on a bye, so hopefully he can bounce back from that. I was really impressed by Niners TE Vernon Davis' big day last week with 180 yards and 2 TDs. I'm not sure if he's consistent enough to be considered great (he has four games with three catches or less), but if you have him you're starting him because there are not that many other options out there. The good news is he says he's as healthy as he's been all year, so hopefully Davis can continue his upward trend.
I'll be back tomorrow with my picks for the rest of this week's games.