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.
Arizona Cardinals (1-5) @ Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Monday night was a sorry excuse for a football game. The Ravens’ offense was unbearable to watch, but anyone thinking that will carry over to this game because of short rest, is fooling themselves. The Cardinals defense doesn’t compare to how the Jaguars have been playing. Baltimore will get Ray Rice going early and I’m guessing it’s a safe bet that he’ll have more than 8 carries.
Comfort Level: Placing a wager that Rob Gronkowski will be out with an “unidentified infection” in a couple of weeks.
Minnesota Vikings (1-6) @ Carolina Panthers (2-5)
A battle between two first round rookie quarterbacks. Christian Ponder draws a tougher matchup than the 31st ranked pass defense of the Packers this week. But the Vikings don’t have to put any pressure on him. All they have to do is feed Adrian Peterson all day against the horrific Panthers run defense. Jared Allen has 11.5 sacks through 7 games. That’s insane but this Panthers offensive line is protecting well and Cam Newton isn’t an ordinary quarterback to bring down. While Peterson will be able to run at will for Minnesota, the Panthers can keep the pressure on the Vikings offense with Newton’s quick strike potential against a bad Vikings secondary with injuries and other issues.
Comfort Level: Being Chris Cook in a fight with Aqib Talib and bringing a stranglehold to a gun fight.
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) @ Houston Texans (2-5)
Houston won’t take this game lightly. They’ve struggled against the Jags recently and if Jacksonville wins this game they’ll only be 1 game out of first and be the only team left undefeated in divisional play. Both teams have top 10 defenses against the run and the pass but the Jags are only averaging 12 points a game on offense and Houston has one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The Texans play well at home at Arian Foster and Ben Tate is the best duo of backs in the NFL. All Jacksonville’s offense has going for them is Maurice Jones-Drew and I could see him struggling if Brian Cushing shadows him as well as he did Chris Johnson last week.
Comfort Level: Going into a prostate exam and the Doctor cuts on the easy listening station & lights scented candles.
Miami Dolphins (0-6) @ New York Giants (4-2)
The self-proclaimed best cornerback duo in football will get tested in this game. The Giants look to finally get their running game on track and what better matchup to try different things than against the worst team in football. I don’t see the possibility of Miami making this exciting to watch. Brandon Marshall goes for his second wrong prediction in three weeks. Against the Jets he was suppose to be kicked out in the second quarter and this week he guarantees a win. As much as I like Marshall’s game, I wish he would quit making himself look like an ass. When your coach is pleading for challenges to save his job, it’s time to give up all hope.
Comfort Level: Being the guy that got the pizza in the Reggie Bush trade.
New Orleans Saints (5-2) @ St. Louis Rams (0-6)
The Rams score the least points per game in the NFL and give up the second most. Factor that in with the Saints being the highest scoring offense and you can see why I’ll make this brief. I fully expected to see a LSU vs. University of Phoenix Online type wagering line. Surprised the Rams are only +13.5. Wink wink wink, hey dumbass I’m winking at you because you should bet your kids college money, wedding ring, your house, and your mistress house…okay not the mistress house, you’ll need somewhere to stay if you lose the other stuff.
Indianapolis Colts (0-6) @ Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Hooray for me, I get to preview three straight games on win less teams. That’s like going on “The Dating Game” and finding out the bachelorettes are Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen Degeneres, and Oprah (fat Oprah). As far how the game goes, I think it’ll be closer than expected, but I still don’t think Chris Johnson goes off. CJ.5K will probably have less rushing yards than Javon Ringer in this game. The Titans will be too much to handle late and pull out a 4 point victory.
Comfort Level: Wagering that the Lindsay Lohan Playboy will sell highest in the “Meth Head” demographic.
Detroit Lions (5-2) @ Denver Broncos (2-4)
Call me crazy but I seem to think that a quarterback can improve after having four NFL starts. Knowshon Moreno will make himself look like the first round pick he was for the first time in a long time. Expect Tim Tebow to to gash the defense for several 15+ yard runs. I like Detroit but they always battle their own demons of doubt. They have no running game and the only receiving threat outside of Megatron is the tight ends. While you can’t shut down Calvin Johnson, Champ Bailey is fully capable of keeping his numbers respectable. Denver will be crazy with excitement when Tebow comes out the tunnel and don’t underestimate adrenaline.
Comfort Level: Placing Tim Tebow & Kim Kardashian in a locked room for 24 hours with a condom, a knife, season 2 of Seinfeld, and penicillin, to see how it plays out.
Washington Redskins (3-3) @ Buffalo Bills (4-2)
This should be the Fred Jackson story as it’s been most of the year. While the team seems to pretend that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the reason for success this year, it’s obvious that this team will only go as far as Freddy Jack takes them. I do love the move of CJ Spiller to wide receiver though. You have to find a way to get explosive playmakers on the field by any means and this stretches the defense even more. Hopefully Mike Shanahan realizes that Roy Helu is perfect for this system and gives him the bulk of the carries over Ryan Torain. Another rookie that Mike needs to quit holding back is Leonard Hankerson. With Santana Moss out, John Beck needs a guy that can make great things happen and that’s Hankerson.
Comfort Level: Watching NFL players continue to mimic everything rappers do and start kissing coaches after good plays, like Lil Wayne kissing Birdman. (I chose to leave out the video on this one!)
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (2-4)
You have to be concerned with the team traveling to the west coast and Andy Dalton playing in one of the toughest environments in the NFL, but the Bengals do come off a bye and should be refreshed for this trip. Bernard Scott gets the start while Cedric Benson is out with his suspension and he faces a stingy rush defense but he has to know that this is his one chance to shine this week. The Seahawks looked horrid last week and now face a top 5 defense. This game will probably be ugly and both teams will have a chance to win it.
Comfort Level: Home alone watching Rob Gronkowski’s girlfriend “work” and then realizing afterwards that the blinds are open & the neighbors are having a cookout.
Cleveland Browns (3-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (5-1)
Both teams have quality defenses. This game should be similar to last week’s Browns vs Seahawks game and the 49ers / Bengals matchup from earlier in the year. Defenses will give their offenses plenty of opportunities and it’ll just come down to which offense can make more happen. Frank Gore has been on fire and I expect him to keep that engine running but he will have to carry the load as I expect Alex Smith to regress in his game manager mode. I fully expect 2-3 picks from Smith against this Browns defense. The Browns have had a ton of distractions and the running game hasn’t helped Colt McCoy this year. McCoy can expect more of that this week but he finally needs to take more chances and mid range throws. He hasn’t made defenses respect the deep ball so they are just sitting on the underneath routes and the run.
Pick: (Upset) Browns
New England Patriots (5-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)
Through 7 weeks two receivers in this game have combined for over 1500 receiving yards. Wes Welker has been getting all of the love for his 785 yards but the story after tonight will be Mike Wallace who has 730 yards this far. The thought is that the Patriots will spread the field against Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers with the pass. The Steelers have the #2 ranked pass defense but are struggling versus the run. I believe New England should pound the law firm and Stevan Ridley in a healthy dose. If they did that they would control the clock and win the game. Hopefully for Pats’ fans Bill Belichick is pulling Jedi mind tricks when he says that they will blitz Ben Roethlisberger a ton. Has he ever watched Big Ben. He strives in those situations and New England doesn’t have a pass rush. If he’s serious, Mike Wallace will beat the 32nd ranked pass defense like a drum all day on the fly.
Pick: (Upset) Steelers
Comfort Level: Being Troy Polamalu in the post game shower and having Big Ben always get confused by your hair when he enters and sees you from behind. *Shawshank
Dallas Cowboys (3-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)
I’m excited for this game. Not only because it’s going to be a great game but because the last 100 (what it feels like) prime time games this year have been snooze fests. Also, these two teams hate each other and they’ve both got out the gate slow this year but are now both improving each week. They are hitting each other at the right time for the viewing audience but the wrong for one another. It’ll be intriguing to see the number 1 rushing attack of Philly against the number 1 rush defense of Dallas. My money is on Dallas bending first. Michael Vick is primed for a performance like we saw last season. I don’t expect Dallas to come out lame but Philly needs this a little too much.
Comfort Level: Being from Philly and not realizing that the rapture happened until several months later after the locals visit another city.
San Diego Chargers (4-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
Arrowhead can change the outcome of games but Philip Rivers hasn’t been effected by it too much in his career. Is this the same Philip Rivers though. He hasn’t looked like it for the most part. The Chargers defense has played good but given up big plays. The offense is similar, they move the ball with ease but don’t get the points that are out there. The Chiefs are hot right now and they need to win the time of possession battle. Hand the ball off to Jackie Battle 25-30 times and let him wear down the Chargers defense. As they focus on the running game, Matt Cassel could have one of those hot streaks that he gets into with Dwayne Bowe. Rivers needs to find his old form and now he has a chip on his shoulders after being questioned about his play. I expect him to remind us what he can do and find a way to be successful without Darren Sproles.
Comfort Level: Watching as your son’s Halloween costume gets a little more feminine each year. Jack Sparrow, a male witch, Michael Jackson, Elton John, then finally Catwoman as their super hero.
Bye Week Teams
Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
Chicago Bears (4-3)
Green Bay Packers (7-0)
New York Jets (4-3)
Oakland Raiders (4-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3)
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock