It was October 16, 2005 when the name Jared “The Rodeo” Allen became famous. In a road game against the Washington Redskins, opposing quarterbacks league wide were put on notice as to what their eventual fate would be when he’s lined up on the opposite side of the scrimmage line. Allen, then a Kansas City Chief, recorded five solo tackles and three sacks. Moving forward, he concluded his 2005 campaign with 11 sacks and would go on to become a staple in the discussion of sack leaders. From 2006 to 2009, he averaged 13 sacks a season. Going into 2010, barring any injuries, it’s only right to expect typical work from Allen, right? Well, things don’t always go as scheduled, now do they?
After the first eight weeks of the 2010, Allen could only muster one sack. I don’t know if teams found a way to stile him, the defensive system was tweaked if the disappointment of Minnesota’s season shell-shocked him, but he got over it in the last five games. In that window, Allen has collected 7.5 sacks, which warrants him a total of 8.5 and the 12th spot among sack leaders. Once again, the rodeo is open for business and quarterbacks are getting “rustled up”. It’s safe to say he’ll be back in familiar territory at season’s end.
Colts over Titans– Two, once dominant AFC South outfits are fighting to keep their heads above water. Dwight Freeney recently acknowledged this is his first time being 6-6 as a pro. Yes, there’s a first time for everything, but not a four game losing streak, thus a 6-7 record.
Browns over Bills- It can be argued that Cleveland is the most gritty 5-7 team in the league. Look for the Dawg Pound to go 3-1 against the AFC East.
Falcons over Panthers– Looking at the opposite directions these teams are heading, there isn’t any reason to believe Carolina will give Atlanta its first blemish in the division.
Packers over Lions– Given the competitive nature Detroit has played with this season, I would’ve never guessed its record to be 2-10. The Lions are still trying to overcome the little things that cost them games late, while Green Bay continues to gel as a unit.
Raiders over Jaguars- Two of the top three rushing offenses will duke it out. If Oakland wants to win its game of catch-up with Kansas City in the win column, it’s gotta start with wins on the road. I’ll give them a shot at it in the Sunshine State.
Vikings over Giants– While statistically New York’s defense is better in the sack department than Minnesota’s, Jared Allen’s sudden elevation should help the Vikes a great deal in this matchup. Besides, Tavaris Jackson could provide fits for New York’s front seven, should he play and not throw as many interceptions as touchdowns, per last week’s outing.
Steelers over Bengals- Does this really require an explanation?
Redskins over Buccaneers– Good news comes in a two pack for Washington. First, Albert Haynesworth is suspended for the rest of the season. There were faults on both ends, but at least the force feeding of this circus has been silenced…or has it? Second and most importantly, Tampa Bay’s defense is tied for 30th in sacks. Maybe its inability to put down the quarterback will roll over into this game so Washington’s patch work offensive line can buy Donovan McNabb the time he needs to make plays in the pocket. Of course, he’ll have to choose his spots wisely.
Saints over Rams– As balanced and competitive as this game will be, I’ll take New Orleans on the strength of home field advantage. Look for Sam Bradford to continue making his case as the 2010 Rookie of the Year.
Broncos over Cardinals– Denver will become the third team to win immediately in response to a midseason coaching change. Please see Dallas and Minnesota’s results!
Patriots over Bears– The theory of the effects a short week can have on a team will not be applicable to New England. Is there any question as to who the best team in the AFC is right now?
Jets over Dolphins- In response to being castrated on Monday Night Football, Gang Green will take out its frustrations
on Miami, sweeping the season series.
Chiefs over Chargers– While San Diego is at the peak of its season, Kansas City’s defense has a burst about it that no one saw coming. Add its running game to the equation and the Bolts will suffer a second consecutive divisional sweep in many weeks.
Cowboys over Eagles– Looking ahead at Philly’s remaining schedule and Dallas’ momentum, along with being the host team of this game, this is the best opportunity for a team to give the Eagles one more blemish before they claim the NFC East as their own.
Ravens over Texans– If there is a defense for Joe Flacco to have a career night against, Houston’s is it. Houston are still cellar dwellers in this category and will maintain residence there for another week.
That’s my forecast for the week. Tune in to see how everything unfolds.
By Antoine Hoffman