Three seasons ago, the Arkansas Razorbacks possessed arguably the best running back stable in all of college football. Thus far, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones have shown what they’re capable of in their young careers. However, there is an ex-factor that has finally shined through the shadows once left behind by his former stable mates. His name is Peyton Hillis.
Who is Peyton Hillis, you ask? He is a downhill runner who is already drawing comparisons to once Tampa Bay stud Mike Alstott. He has 133 carries for 644 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per game and seven touchdowns. I think it is safe to say he is the driving force behind Cleveland’s offense. Maybe it’s just me, but the recent attitude that the Dawg Pound is playing with can be attributed to him as well. Could he be the integral piece to help right Cleveland’s ship?
Ravens over Falcons– Now this is how you kickoff the Thursday night campaign. Both teams have stellar running games and quarterbacks, but the Ravens get the edge in the battle of birds on the strength of its defensive front.
Lions over Bills– As unfortunate as it is for Matthew Stafford to suffer another shoulder separation, Detroit can win without him. Shaun Hill can be serviceable enough to make Buffalo wait a little longer for its first win.
Vikings over Bears– I think the biggest question going into this one is “Which quarterback can be more careful with the ball”? Also, where has Jared Allen been?
Browns over Jets– Gang Green is in for a physical battle. Rob Ryan, the other factor in Cleveland’s recent attitude problem, is leading a defense that may not have household names, but leave a mark when the game’s over.
Titans over Dolphins– Both teams have recently underwent changes in their respective passing games. Randy Moss will suit up for the first time as a Titan while Chad Pennington will get the start for Miami. I’ll take Tennessee since Brandon Marshall is still trying to find his way with the ‘Phins.
Colts over Bengals– Indianapolis, I owe you an apology. I was too quick to hand over your AFC South throne. You are proving that you’re still on your perch while Cincinnati is proving that some changes could be made in the offseason.
Texans over Jaguars– Houston, your showing signs of withering away. I’m giving this one to you only because I don’t know which David Garrard is going to show up, although it wouldn’t shock me if Jacksonville pulls this one out.
Buccaneers over Panthers– Tampa Bay put forth a commendable effort against Atlanta last week. You look like you’re going to make a solid case for yourselves as the NFL’s most surprising team.
Chiefs over Broncos– Denver has the passing attack to compete in this game, but Romeo Cremmel has the scheme needed to help Kansas City rebound from last week’s loss.
Giants over Cowboys– You can’t blame Jerry Jones for promoting within to fill Dallas’ most recent vacancy, but it’s Jason Garrett who some would argue, has not been utilizing his offense correctly. Also, will Jon Kitna survive the onslaught of Big Blue’s pass rush?
49ers over Rams– An awakening has taken place in San Francisco. While Sam Bradford is arguably ahead of the pack in Rookie of the Year honors, the 49ers defense has what it takes to bring him back to earth.
Patriots over Steelers– Although Pittsburgh’s defense is tops in fewest points allowed (15.4 per game), it still has issues overall in its secondary, with Troy Polamalu. I’m looking for Tom Brady to pick apart that group, if he’s allowed time to do so.
Eagles over Redskins– If only Washington had mastered the art of execution and killer instinct, I’d go the other way. Michael Vick is a double-edged sword that can hurt you with his legs and arm. Only time will tell if Washington can keep it competitive.
Enjoy the midweek action, along with the rest of the weekend’s action.
By Antoine Hoffman