Easy Like Sunday Morning is a quick hit post that looks at the games to be played later in the day where I give you a little insight on each matchup and what I’m watching for. It’s a light hearted way to blend comedy with America’s true, favorite pastime. So crack you a cold one, fire up the computer and let me guide your way to the day’s games ahead. Six days a week you may dread, but today I give you football knowledge that’s easy like Sunday morning.
I’ll also give my pick for each game with my “comfort level”. Usually when I give people my picks, they ask me how comfortable should they be with them and I always reply with a real life situation. For instance, if I was to say “riding in a car with Kenny Britt and the cops pull us over,” then I’m not too confident in the pick. But if I tell you that I’m “lying in the hammock with one sock on, wearing boxers and a pair of Blu Blockers,” then it’s a safe bet.
Washington Redskins (3-2) @ Carolina Panthers (1-5)
Washington would be wise to keep it real vanilla this week. John Beck needs to have great technique…putting the ball in the running backs’ bread baskets. That’s all I would want him to do if I was Mike Shanahan. The Panthers are capable of scoring a ton of points but they face a quality Washington defense. The Redskins have a good rushing attack and will attack this horrific rush defense of Carolina. Time of possession should be all that’s on the Skins’ mind.
Pick: (Upset) Redskins
Comfort Level: While you’re at Wendy’s getting their new burger, the conference call you’re on hears you ask for Dave’s Hot & Juicy.
Seattle Seahawks (2-3) @ Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Charlie Whitehurst is capable of getting the most out of Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin has been hot of late and draws a favorable matchup. The Browns have struggled on the ground and shouldn’t get going against the stout Seahawks rush D. Whitehurst has been groomed to succeed while in San Diego and his limited time in Seattle. He’s inconsistent but capable of making every throw. If he’s figured out a way to take the mental mistakes out of his game, watch out for the Hawks.
Pick: (Upset) Seahawks
Comfort Level: Being a midget, post game reporter in a NFL locker room.
Atlanta Falcons (3-3) @ Detroit Lions (5-1)
Matt Ryan has looked uncomfortable this season in the pocket. His offensive line draws a tough matchup vs the Lions today. The Falcons will need to get their running game going and prevent the Lions from pinning their ears back and blitzing Ryan. Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson should be able to play pitch and catch against a struggling Falcons pass defense but everyone knows that the Lions don’t have a rushing attack. The Falcons should stay in nickel or dime all day and force Detroit to run the ball.
Pick: (Upset) Falcons
Comfort Level: Things heating up on the couch with your date and then she all of a sudden stops to jot down the information from the Valtrex commercial.
Denver Broncos (1-4) @ Miami Dolphins (0-5)
The situation is so bad in Miami that the Dolphins will honor opposing quarterbacks when they come into town. Speaking of Tim Tebow, his style of play will open up the running game and his personality will rejuvenate the locker room. He draws a great matchup for his first start of 2011. It’s ironic that Demaryius Thomas is finally healthy and stepping into the #1 role vacated by Brandon Lloyd, the same week that his fellow 2010 1st round draft pick (Tebow) gets the start against the man he was drafted to replace (Brandon Marshall). Miami’s is down in the dumps and the Broncos have an exciting new beginning.
Comfort Level: Being Tim Tebow meeting Dolphins’ owners Jennifer Lopez & Serena Williams and when they go back to his place, they see all of his collectible toys, bicycle, and part-time job at Smart Tech. (“40 Year old Virgin”)
San Diego Chargers (4-1) @ New York Jets (3-3)
A lot of talk this week about the Chargers beating weak opponents but who have the Jets beat? They beat Jacksonville, Miami, and a Dallas team that had a Tony Romo meltdown. I’ve said it all year, the Chargers always start the season slow and they’re doing it again this year but they’re finding ways to win this year. The Jets key to winning is a strong rushing attack and not making Mark Sanchez pass a lot. New York hasn’t shown me anything this year to make me think that they can do that. Expect Ryan Matthews to have a career day and Philip Rivers to pick apart as the Jets get knocked back on their heels.
Comfort Level: Hayden Panettiere when she mentions to Scotty McKnight that they should role play and he has her put on the full Jets uniform with Shoulder pads, helmet, and Mark Sanchez jersey.
Chicago Bears (3-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)
The reports coming out of London is that this has the feel of a Bears home game. Funny, seeing how it’s the Bucs who are most likely to play their yearly and maybe even move the franchise there. I reported that during the offseason that I could see Tampa moving to London in a few years and I was called crazy. Now rumors are leaking out that it might not be that far fetched. The Bucs are a young, talented team and if they win now, it’ll be next to impossible to move this team. The Bucs will improve their chemistry as the year goes on but in a 3 week stretch they have gone to San Francisco, then back home, and now to London. They have a bye next week but that won’t help the jet lag today. All of New England will know Matt Forte by the end of today.
Comfort Level: Being a dentist in England.
Houston Texans (3-3) @ Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Huge early season divisional game. If Chris Johnson stays in his funk, which I believe he will, the Texans can tee off on Matt Hasselbeck. Houston needs to get Arian Foster going early and often. If the Texans can get Foster 25+ touches and control the time of possession, they’ll come out the victors. A lot of the running game success depends on the health of James Casey. How important is Casey? If he plays Texans win, if not give it to the Titans.
Pick: (Upset) Texans
Comfort Level: Cortland Finnegan while checking the Texans’ injury report daily to see if Andre Johnson would be firmly inserting fist to face.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-4)
The duct tape crew just keeps winning. The Steelers are banged up and everyone thinks they’re too old. While they can’t move like they use to, there’s something to be said about experience and confidence. Also, they’re playing the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t been able to get going because the Cards don’t have a respectable #2 threat. Pittsburgh will come after Kevin Kolb all day and he’ll be lucky to be able to walk in a straight line to the locker room by half time.
Comfort Level: Having Chris Berman cloned and having to listen to his awful nicknames and analysis on every football game in the NFL. Chris “Is It cold in here” Burrrman. Kill me now.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) @ Oakland Raiders (4-2)
This will be an our running game is better than your running game, umm game. There will be passing lanes for Matt Cassel to attack and he’ll make some throws. Kansas City will be up by halftime and in a dramatic moment that gets way overhyped, Carson Palmer will come out in the second half and “lead” the Raiders to the win by being better than Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor.
Comfort Level: Being Hue Jackson in April when he’s watching all of the other NFL teams draft quarterbacks that will be their franchise for the next 10 years.
St. Louis Rams (0-5) @ Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
File this one under the no brainer department. Dallas is getting healthier each week. There’s a chip on their shoulder and they realized that while no one has claimed their division they can’t afford too many more loses. This game is primed for a Tony Romo showcase. He’ll look spectacular and all will be forgotten by the Cowboy faithful, like every other year under his reign as quarterback. Lastly, remember these three words: Demarco Freaking Murray!
Comfort Level: Trying to convince your teenage son to not be a Cowboys fan and you have this picture of Michael Irvin hanging in your baesment.
Green Bay Packers (6-0) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
Really? Why even play this game. I know I know, Any Given Sunday. But come on. Aaron Rodgers will pick apart the Vikings defense, especially with Chris Cook out and possibly no Winfield. Rodgers could go all Babe Ruth and call his shot and then throw the touchdown there. Adrian Peterson will face 8 men fronts all day and there’s nothing Christian Ponder can do to make the Packers respect him.
Comfort Level: Hoping to date a Vikings’ player and you put enjoy not being able to breathe under your list of hobbies on Match.com. (Chris Cook arrested for Strangulation, now you get it?)
Indianapolis Colts (0-5) @ New Orleans Saints (4-2)
Doesn’t get much better than Peyton Manning vs. Drew Brees in primetime…oh, wait. Seriously though, can we start flex scheduling earlier in the season? How many times do we have to watch the Curtis Painter / Kerry Collins led Colts in primetime? This shouldn’t be too entertaining unless you like high scoring one-sided games. At least there’s Game 4 of the World Series to switch over to.
Comfort Level: Being Peyton Manning and signing a new deal for $26 million this year because he felt like he could play. Don’t expect the media to say anything about this.
Baltimore Ravens (4-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)
Thank God that Monday is not a travel day for the World Series and Game 5 will be on. Can we have two more lopsided prime-time games than Colts vs. Saints and Ravens vs. Jaguars?
Comfort Level: The Jaguars would have the same chance of winning if they were being coached by Vanessa Del Rio instead of Del Rio.
Bye Week Teams
Buffalo Bills (4-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
New England Patriots (5-1)
New York Giants (4-2)
Oakland Raiders (4-2)
San Francisco 49ers (5-1)