In what has been a dark cloud of a season for the 2009 Washington Redskins, a silver lining does rest within it. If you take a closer look, you will see that the lining is branded number 98. Its, or his name, is Brian Orakpo. National Football League legend suggests that the running back position is the easiest to adjust when entering the pros, fresh out of college. When you look at what Orakpo has done, with three games left in his rookie campaign, one could make that same argument for defensive end. As a rookie who is being asked to take on a second job as an outside linebacker, Orakpo has 34 tackles (22 solo, 12 assisted), one forced fumble, two passes defended and 11 sacks. Orakpo recorded four sacks in a week 14 win over the Oakland Raiders, which ties him with Ken Harvey, Dexter Manley, Phillip Daniels and Diron Talbert for most in a single game. If the young pup is doing this kind of damage while pulling double duty, the possibilities are endless if the defensive coordinator allows him to put his fingers in the dirt full time (that’s football talk for playing defensive end, his natural position). I think it’s safe to say Orakpo will bring home the 2009 Rookie of the Year trophy and secure a slot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster.
At the rate he’s going, the nickname “Osackpo” will catch on and be remembered for years to come. Week 14 was also big for me, as I rebounded from an 8-8 debacle to go 13-3. Let’s see if the momentum carries over into this week, shall we?
Colts over Jaguars– After weeks of playing the diplomatic role, Indianapolis has publicly announced its pursuit for perfection. Jacksonville wants to stay in the hunt for the postseason, but its one dimensional offense won’t go blow for blow with the Colts.
Saints over Cowboys– Reggie Bush took it upon himself to announce the New Orleans’ pursuit to perfection in week six. So far, so good! In the two games that Dallas has dropped, the typical center of blame, Tony Romo, has played well. Now who’s to blame for the potential Cowboys’ collapse in 2009?
Ravens over Bears– The Jay Cutler experiment has gone sour in Chicago. He can’t be the only one to blame for this downward spiral. What happened to Matt Forte? What about the offensive line? Look for some changes to take place in the Windy City’s this offseason.
Patriots over Bills– These are not your early 2000s New England Patriots. Despite its deficiencies, which include a downgraded defense
and a penetrable offensive line, the Patriots will narrowly escape one of their division rivals.
Cardinals over Lions– Just when I thought Arizona was becoming an elite team in the NFC, its recent play suggests otherwise. A visit to Detroit is the perfect cure to help the Cardinals gets over that beating from the 49ers.
Texans over Rams– Houston will pad its win column with another game, on its way to being a .500 team at best.
Titans over Dolphins– Tennessee’s season can be labeled disappointing, yet remarkable. They’re disappointing because of the 0-6 start, yet have only lost one game since digging themselves that huge hole. The Titans will not lose another game this season.
Chiefs over Browns– In the battle of “Who are they” running backs, Kansas City’s Jamal Charles and Cleveland’s Chris Jennings are looking to prove they are the future for their respective teams. Both defenses are tied at 28th in rush defense. I’ll give the edge to Kansas City on the strength of home field advantage.
Jets over Falcons– Both teams started out generating buzz, only to lose their sizzle throughout the season’s progression. Darrelle Revis has become the best cornerback in the league and Chris Redman too, will be put on notice.
Eagles over 49ers– Given Dallas’ typical late season collapse and New York’s recent uncertainties, Philly will cease the opportunity to tighten its grip on the NFC East trophy.
Broncos over Raiders– Denver owns the league’s second best pass defense, and with Oakland’s pass offense being second to last, the Broncos will once again gallop to victory.
Bengals over Chargers– As hot as San Diego has been lately, they are due for one more loss. Cincinnati has the balanced offensive attack needed to prolong the Chargers’ clinching of the AFC West.
Packers over Steelers– Green Bay has somehow strengthened its offensive line, which was once its ailment. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has worked its way out of the playoffs and the towels aren’t the only terrible things in the Steel City.
Buccaneers over Seahawks– In a game that can go either way, I guess I’ll be charitable and give Tampa Bay one more win.
Vikings over Panthers-Rush attack vs. rush defense is the theme of this game. The duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will have their hands full against Minnesota’s defensive front. On the other end, Adrian Peterson has been quiet over the last few weeks. Carolina’s rush defense hasn’t fared well in stopping the run. Maybe this is the week he has one of his typical performances.
Redskins over Giants– As New York’s play worsens, Washington’s improves. Where are the bingo jokes for Sherman Lewis now? Since the Skins’ areout of the playoff hunt, it can dash the playoff hopes of a hopeful contender on its way to the offseason.
There are only three weeks left of the regular season. Enjoy as much action as possible because it’ll be all said and done before we know it. We’ll do it again next week.
By Antoine Hoffman