New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was rather impressive on Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
By Matt Noonan
Quick hits – from around the NFL.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett admitted that “it was nice to win” on Thursday, as his team rallied to defeat the Denver Broncos, 24-23. However, despite the limited performance of starting quarterback Tony Romo, back up Stephen McGeeleft fans wondering, if he’s someone the squad can rely on down the road? It’s way too early to answer that particular question, yet, it’s quite possible that one day, McGee could be the starter, but he needs to do more than convert on two-point conversion plays. McGee finished the game with 208 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Broncos head coach John Fox was pleased with quarterback Tim Tebow’s on-field presence, however, I think it’s an obvious that Kyle Ortonwill retain his starting job. Orton completed two-of-six passes for 37-yards, while Tebow finished the game with 91 yards, but no touchdown. In fact, former Notre Dame star, Brady Quinnended his evening with one touchdown pass to Eron Riley, but who knows if either player will make the final cut.
The New England Patriots were rather hot on Thursday, as they beat up the Jacksonville Jaguars, 47-12. Tom Brady, Chad Ochocinco and Wes Welkersuited up, but instead, watched backup quarterbacks, Brian Hoyerand Ryan Malletcombine for 335 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Yet, despite the successful play of both quarterbacks, running backsStevan Ridley and Richard Medlin combined for four rushing touchdowns.
However, the Patriots did encountered some negative issues, which included fumbling the ball twice, as well as special teams struggles, such as kicking the ball out of bounds and mishandling snaps. Although, I am sure head coach Bill Belichick has told his team that’s unacceptable.
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled in his NFL debut, as he finished the game with nine completions. Gabbert didn’t register a single touchdown or interception too.
OTHER NOTES —
*Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolbended his evening with four completions for 68 yards. However, despite just seven pass attempts, Kolb’s Cardinals did defeat the Oakland Raiders, 24-18
Ravens-Steelers always offers an intriguing matchup!
Happy Saturday to all! Below are our Noontime Sports NFL Week 4 Games to Watch, so make sure that your remote has a fresh set of batteries and the sofa has an empty seat available because these three games that can’t be missed!
Also, let’s see how Matt Noonan does this week, especially since he is currently above .500 this season with a [6-3] record!
Baltimore [2-1] at Pittsburgh [3-0]: The AFC North will be on display this weekend in Pennsylvania, primarily in the city of Pittsburgh, as the Steelers take their [3-0] record into a must win contest against divisional foe, Baltimore. The Steelers have jumped out to an undefeated start and its possible that credit is owed to head coach Mike Tomlin, but also, his defense too. The Steelers defense has held their opponents to an average of 11 points per game, which is first in the NFL. They also rank third in rushing yards allowed too, [59.7 yards per game].
Ravens running back Ray Rice is listed as questionable and was limited in practice on Friday, so the pressure will certainly fall on the shoulders of quarterback Joe Flacco, but can he continue to hit his receivers in stride and avoid dangerous hits from Troy Polamalu and James Harrison?
The Steelers have sacked their opponents quarterback 10 times this season, which will put a great deal of pressure on the third year quarterback from Delaware. Although, Flacco has dealt well against pressure in most situations since entering the league and does have a decent wide out by the name of Anquan Boldin, who leads the Ravens receiving core with three touchdown receptions.
Look for a physical, brutal and in your face type of contest, but due to the Steelers track record against their rival, [12-4], which includes winning against them in the playoffs, expect Pittsburgh to earn their fourth victory of the season and enter their upcoming bye week atop the AFC North.
Prediction: Steelers 24 – Ravens 17
McNabb vs. Vick... this should be interesting!
Washington [1-2] at Philadelphia [2-1]: Quarterback Donovan McNabb returns to the city of “Brotherly Love” and is supposedly expecting cheers not jeers, but who really knows what QB #5 will get once he steps foot onto the gridiron. McNabb and his Redskins enter Sunday’s much-anticipated affair with only one win against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Philadelphia Eagles have won two of their last three and a main reason is the resurgence of quarterback Michael Vick. In his last two starts, Vick has thrown five touchdown passes, as well as tallied 575 yards through the air. Although, despite Vick’s early success, running back LeSean McCoy has rushed for 209 yards and scored four touchdowns. McCoy has also averaged a total of 6.1 yards per carry, which could be an issue for Mike Shanahan’s defense that ranks last in yards allowed and 31st in defending against the pass.
This particular game will be interesting, especially with the return of McNabb, but with the way the Redskins have been playing since their first win of the season, expect the Eagles to push their current winning streak to three.
Prediction: Eagles 27 – Redskins 17
Can the Patriots secondary stop the Dolphins air attack?
New England [2-1] at Miami [2-1]: It is a new month for both the Patriots and Dolphins who enter this game [0-2] against their AFC East rival New York “Football” Jets. Yet, a win for either team would put them in the passenger seat of this division, also known as second place.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady leads an offense that is ranked first in points, but the Dolphins defense could challenge this explosive unit since they have held their three opponents to an average of 17 points per game. Running back Fred Taylor is expected to be sidelined on Monday, which will put pressure on Brady to spread the ball around, but also on head coach Bill Belichick’s running game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis played a significant amount of time against the Bills last Sunday, so expect the third year back to receive a majority of the handoffs. Yet, if the Patriots will be successful, it doesn’t all rely on their offense, but their struggling defense that has allowed an average of 397.3 yards per game.
The Dolphins can cause problems for opposing coordinators on offense, especially when they utilize their favorite formation, the Wildcat offense. Running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have combined for 319 yards and one touchdown, but expect the lethal two-headed running attack to challenge a Patriots defense that has not stopped the run this season. Bills running back C.J. Spiller may have only rushed for 29 yards, but his kick return made the Patriots special teams look awful.
Lastly, expect quarterback Chad Henne to pick apart this Patriots secondary, especially with receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 166 yards and scored one touchdown against the Jets.
Overall, this is an intriguing Monday Night game, but Brady did mention that Sun Life Stadium is a place where it is tough to gain momentum, but easy to allow it to slip away. Don’t expect any Patriots miracles, which is why the Dolphins will win this one.
Kisha K. Tapangan from Patriots Insiders and Necessary Roughness joined Noontime Sports to preview the upcoming New England Patriots-Miami Dolphins game on Monday October 4, 2010 and discuss some interesting NFL Week 4 story lines.
It is officially another “Football Friday” at Noontime Sports, which means it is time to dish out our three games to watch on Sunday. Matt Noonan is currently 4-2 with his picks, but let’s see how he fairs this weekend. Enjoy week three of the NFL and root for Noonan and Noontime Sports!
Are you ready for a classic Texas football "air it out" classic with Romo and Schaub?
Dallas [0-2] at Houston [2-0] – 1:00pm: They say everything is bigger in the state of Texas, but this game is definitely… BIG! Both teams have come out of the gates in different directions, but in all honestly, who would have imagined the Texans would be in first place entering week three of the 2010 season? Their 2-0 record may not be a fluke, especially since they’ve exhibited the fact that they can rally when trailing an opponent, which was demonstrated in week two against the Washington Redskins.
Quarterback Matt Schaub is the proud owner of a passer rating of 102.6 and has already thrown four touchdowns. His offense ranks first in points (32.0), overall yards (440.5) and rushing (157.5), as well as sixth in passing yards (283.0). Although, the focal point has been running back Arian Foster who has recorded three touchdowns and 300 yards on the ground. Foster will be an important part of the Texans offense, yet the Cowboys rank sixth in the league for their run defense. Also, defensive end Mario Williams could cause nightmares for the Cowboys offensive line because he has already recorded 4 sacks in two games. Look for Williams to cause matchup problems for both the left and right tackles.
The Dallas Cowboys have shown signs of greatness, but the biggest issue that needs to be addressed is their running game. Running backs Marion Barber, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice have under performed in the past two games, combining for 132 yards and no touchdowns. Quarterback Tony Romo was very vocal this past week and demanded that the running attack needed to be more balanced and incorporated more into the various plays that are chosen by offensive coordinator and former Cowboy quarterback, Jason Garrett. The Cowboys running attack was a vital part in ’09, so look for Barber, Jones and Choice to receive more attention on Sunday.
Despite their failures to produce first downs or touchdowns on the ground, wide receiver Miles Austin has recorded 20 catches for 288 yards and one touchdown. Austin currently leads the league in receiving yards. If the offense can put points on the board early and often, it will take the pressure of their struggling defense who has allowed an average of 297 yards per game.
This matchup has all the makings for both teams to air it out constantly, but most importantly, the Cowboys need to shut down Foster, early and often, otherwise, it will be a field day for the second year back. In the end, the Cowboys will earn their first victory of the 2010 season and head into their bye week with a record of 1-2. Prediction: Cowboys 28 – Texans 24
Are Falcons fans ready to watch Jason Snelling take on the Saints defense?
Atlanta [1-1] at New Orleans [2-0] – 1:00pm: The New Orleans Saints escaped a close, but exciting Monday Night affair with the San Francisco 49ers in week two, as kicker Garrett Hartley secured the victory with 2 seconds remaining the fourth quarter. The Saints return to the Super Dome on Sunday to face their NFC South foe, the Atlanta Falcons. While the Falcons are flying high after their week two wallop against the Arizona Cardinals, this matchup seems pivotal for both squads.
With Reggie Bush sidelined, the Saints will need to rely heavily on Pierre Thomas and fullback Heath Evans to lead their ground attack. The Falcons have not appeared equipped or able to stop the run thus far this season, especially since they have allowed an average of 130.5 yards per game on the ground. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one, they couldn’t stop running back Rashard Mendenhall, who scored the game’s only touchdown.
Quarterback Drew Brees will need to pick his spots perfectly, since the Falcons defense ranks 10th in passing yards allowed. Although, the Saints offense may not appear as they did in ’09, but the defense has clearly been the catalyst in securing two difficult wins this season. Pressuring the running backs and receivers is a must for the Saints defense.
The Falcons looked unstoppable against the Cardinals. Quarterback Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes and running back Jason Snelling scored twice on the ground too. The offense will need all of their players, including running back Michael Turner, receivers Roddy White, Harry Douglas and tight end Tony Gonzalez to play up to their potential if they are to beat the defending Super Bowl champions.
The Saints have won seven of their last eight games against the Falcons. If the Falcons defense can force the Saints to run the ball, it could turn into a victory for the men dressed in red and black. Prediction: Falcons 30 – Saints 26
Can the Jets defense stop Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams?
New York Jets [1-1] at Miami [2-0] – 8:20pm: An early meeting that could decide the faith of the Jets and Dolphins 2010 season. The Dolphins have defeated the Jets in three of their last four meetings, which included a win on Monday Night Football in ’09.
Against the Minnesota Vikings, the Dolphins defense prevented quarterback Brett Favre from having one his magical field days. Favre threw three interceptions and did not toss a single touchdown pass. Running back Adrian Peterson tallied 145 yards of offense on the ground, but scored only once against a Dolphins defense that ranks first in points allowed. The defense has been a major factor, but so has outside linebacker Cameron Wake, whohas recorded two sacks, one in each of the past two games.
Both quarterback’s for each team hasn’t been incredibly sensational, but have at least kept their teams in each game. Chad Henne is off to a slow start with only one touchdown toss, while Jets signal caller Mark Sanchez has connected for three touchdown passes. Both Dolphins running backs, Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown have combined for 237 yards on the ground, but yet to cross the pylon. The Jets defense has held their opponents to an average of 50.5 yards on the ground, which could be an issue. Yet, against the Jets in week five in ’09, Brown ran 21 times for 74 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Overall, if the Jets can ignore the paparazzi and buzz surrounding wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who was arrested this past week for a DWI, as well as allow Sanchez to spread the ball around, then expect a “Gang Green” to earn a victory. Although, sloppy mistakes and errors will allow the Dolphins to escape with a 3-0 record. Miami’s defense will be the biggest factor in this contest, which is why the Dolphins will be victorious and earn their third “w” of the season.