Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Steelers could move into first place this week in the AFC North while on their bye. That's how crazy things have been in the division this season.

Even more crazy? The Cincinnati Bengals could go from first place to last place.

Here's who I like in this weekend's games involving the division:

Cincinnati (plus 2) at Houston
The Texans went into Cleveland and won last week to knock the Browns out of first in the AFC North. Now, they’ll knock the Bengals out of the top spot.

Take Houston, 27-23

Cleveland (plus 3) at Atlanta
The Falcons are 4-0 against the NFC South, 0-6 against everyone else. But they’re 4-6 and in first place in the division. Cleveland is 6-4 and in last place in the AFC North.

Take Cleveland, 24-20

Baltimore (plus 3 1/2 ) at New Orleans
The Saints have lost two in a row at home to fall to 4-6 but are tied for first in the NFC South. Baltimore, like, Cleveland is 6-4 and tied for last in the AFC North. Saints should regain their home mojo.

Take New Orleans, 31-24


adamg said...

People who think Tomlin is a poor game mgr, hope you watched the Cin-Tx and Cle-Atl games.

Instead of running on 3rd and 2 and using some time off the clock, maybe even getting a first down, or forcing Cle to call TO, Atl throws a deep pass incomplete. That left them with a 51 yd FG to take the lead, which, thankfully, their PK was able to make w/44 secs left. Then they kick off out of endzone instead of forcing Cle to return the ball, using up time and/or a time out. On the final drive, Cle uses its last TO, then throws a complete pass over the middle. No one on Atl's defense is aware enough to not tackle or touch him thus leaving Cle enough time to get their FG unit on to kick the winning FG.

In Houston, we have TX with about 1:45 left, no TOs, down by 9. There isn't a 9 pt play in football, but there's O'Brien opting to go for a TD and using up all remaining time, rather than taking a quick FG, going for the onside kick and at least having a chance to score the winning TD.

Anonymous said...

Blount led NE’s rushing with 78 yds on 12 carries (6.5 avg) with 2 TDs.

adamg said...

Ironically, at least one of the media who fanned the flames for the Steelers to dump Blount now thinks they should have kept him, but suspended, instead of released, him.

marc said...

i watched the whole browns game. if I'm Arthur blanc, I fire mike smith today. the coaching in that game was as bad as any of us has ever seen. if an experienced coach makes those mistakes, he doesn't deserve to be a head coach.

regarding blount, 73 of his yards came in the second half when the game was already a blowout. keep in mind, blount leaving the field early and skipping the locker room stuff could have just been the final straw for the coaches. we don't know all that is going on behind the scenes and they may have finally said, enough is enough. I wish he was on the team, but if management views him as too much of an issue, then I defer to them. they typically do a good job of handling these things.

so far, not a great weekend for the steelers. browns win because mike smith is a horrible coach and the bengals cruise to victory in part because Houston keeps their QB in with a torn right pectoral muscle. maybe the saints can salvage something.

dale, could the release of blount been an easier decision for the steelers because they are high on this harris kid?

Anonymous said...

Agree 100%, if Blount didn’t buy into the team concept, then don’t let the door hit you on the way out. However, two things are bothering me about this whole episode, and no, one of them is not tampering, the joke was funny Marc, I took it more seriously than you did because of spygate.

First, this article where Blount says: “Bill is a straightforward shooter. He’s a 100 percent honest person.”

Again, reading between the lines seems to imply that other people may not have been. If the Steelers promised Blount shared carries with Bell to get him to sign, then didn’t live up to the promise, it’s understandable why he was unhappy. Again, he has to keep his end of the bargain, but a 6.5 average yesterday is very acceptable. Not running Bell until the wheels fall off is also very acceptable. He didn’t seem to have any problems last year with the Patriots and Belichek, so it bothers me that he did have problems with the Steelers and Tomlin, maybe a different type of leadership in NE.

Second, the strategy and consequences of getting rid of Blount didn’t seem to be well thought out. Granted, getting rid of a malcontent strengthens the team unity. However, if a player is unhappy, he now knows that all he has to do is act up, then he’ll be released without any consequences. Not having a proven backup and allowing a quality backup to leave to a super bowl contender don’t seem like strategies either.

Did anyone realize that Brian Hoyer is 10-4 as a starter with the Browns? While we didn’t let a Johnny Unitas go, Hoyer is nothing but a game manager who wins. No, he’s not the sole reason the Browns are doing well, in fact, sometimes he gets in the way, but he’s part of the reason for winning in Cleveland. Again, it goes back to strategy, consequences, having a plan B, you know, the things that management should be taking into account before making moves.

Both the Pats and the Brownies want to thank you Mike, the Christmas presents are in the mail.

adamg said...

Wow, Mallett played with a torn pec? I'd have never known it by his throws. He was tossing some frozen ropes out there even at the end of the game.