Last week I forgot to take into account the blowout factor. Players like Robert Griffin III and C.J. Spiller we're well on their way to hitting my lofty targets before disappearing in the fourth quarter. Why aren't more teams like the Patriots and play all 60 minutes? We're going big and bold this week, relying on the best players in the NFL to help boost the record before the stretch run.
When you're struggling, like I am, you turn to someone like Brady, the ultimate stopper. Forget the Rob Gronkowski injury. Aaron Hernandez will be back and wide receiver Brandon Lloyd is due for a breakout game. The Pats will actually miss Gronk's blocking in the run game and will go the air more often without their start tight end.
Sanchez has thrown over 30 times in a game three times this season, including 41 attempts against New England in a 29-26 overtime loss. The Jets quarterback is coming off a solid game against the Rams and will be confident he can attack the Patriots' secondary. They're going to need to be aggressive if my first prediction turns out to be true.
Texans receiver Andre Johnson is the hottest receiver in the NFL, but Calvin's not far behind. On Thursday, the Texans are not going to rely on their star receiver nearly as much as they did against the Jaguars on Sunday, when he set the franchise record with 273 yards. They have too many weapons on offense to target Andre 19 times like they did against Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the Texans' 37-34 over the Jags revealed their secondary is almost as bad as Detroit's. The Lions have nothing to lose now and are going to lean on Calvin even against double coverage.
So far, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has the highest passing yardage total against the Niners, 303, back in Week 1. The revenge factor will fuel the Saints after last season's heartbreaking playoff loss. San Francisco's D is riding high after its demolition of the Bears, but they'll face a tougher offensive line and a motivated Drew Brees.
The Giants have had a bye week to regroup and they're facing a banged up Packers defense that has issues in the red zone. Manning hasn't thrown a touchdown since Week 7 against Washington and hasn't had a multi-TD game since Week 5 against Cleveland. But with rumors flying Eli has a "dead arm," multiple reports say he looks good in practice this week. And Manning typically steps up to answer critics when he has down stretches. Eli burned me on this same prediction the last time the Giants played, so he better not screw it up again or I'm taking him off my "elite" list.
The Dolphins' defense is a bit underrated and hasn't been the main reason Miami is sliding. They kept the Bills' offense out of the end zone last week. The Seahawks, who are only 1-4 on the road, will try to hammer the Fins' defense with running back Marshawn Lynch, but Miami ranks ninth against the run and should be able to hold up.
The Falcons aren't running consistently and will try to take advantage of the NFL's worst pass defense. The Bucs don't seem that concerned about giving up so many yards in the air because their offense has been so effective during their four-game win streak. Expect another wild game for the Bucs with MVP candidate Ryan doing whatever he wants against an undermanned secondary.
Even after the game was out of hand, RGIII wasn't afraid to take off against the Eagles last week. In a must-win situation, Griffin won't hold back against the Cowboys and he'll cause fits for the Dallas defense.
After his 236-yard receiving game last Sunday, the Jacksonville rookie will come back to Earth in a hurry. He certainly will have more confidence, but it's hard to imagine quarterback Chad Henne can get that hot two weeks in a row with this offense.
The Bears' D was embarrassed last Monday night against the NIners, and will be eager to show they're still one of the best in the League. The Bears lead the League with 30 takeaways and will try to punch the ball away from Minnesota's playmakers.