Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 9:46 AM
Guess what everyone wanted to know this morning at work, school or the local coffee shop was ...Was that the real Houston Texans we all watched last night?
The team that once-upon-a-time had folks in/around the Lone Star State dreaming about a"perfect season"following that 5-and-oh start instead looked amateurish in that 42-24 home loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Go ahead and provide your own alibi, Texan fans: Maybe playing two games in one week (see the Monday Night Football win at the New York Jets) took something out of Gary Kubiak's club or maybe the team just suffered too many mental lapses as lining up offside on a Green Bay punt and leaping onto a teammate (a no-no) in an attempt to block a gimme Packers field goal were just two of the many brain cramps this Texans team exhibited in this prime-time embarrassment.
The other side of the coin said the Packers were"due"to put things all together and the 6-TD performance by 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers was super stuff indeed as was the ability of the GB defense to totally defuse the Houston ground game when the Texans were searching for ground success (see RB Arian Foster with just 29 rushing yards on 17 carries) but you do have to ask yourself if the Texans are legit contenders to this year's Vince Lombardi Trophy or were they mere imposters all along?
Meanwhile, the other team that headed into yesterday's Week 6 action - the Atlanta Falcons - didn't exactly appear to be world-beaters either but PK Matt Bryant's monstrous 55-yard field goal with one tick left on the clock pushed the Birds past the dogged Oakland Raiders 23-20 and maybe the best part of this win for the Falcs was they overcame their own quarterback's shaky showing:
Matt Ryan aired three interceptions - the most he's thrown in a game since 2009 - and the Atlanta defense yielded a whopping 149 yards rushing and still the NFC South crew wound up in the winner's circle and so maybe that is one big thing that right here and right now separates the once-beaten Texans and the now 6-0 Falcons:
One team played a painfully bad game and was torched; the other played pretty miserably and still found a way to win.
Put a little circle around this latest Atlanta win - and keep in mind the Falcons have a bye in Week 7 before resuming action on Oct. 28th in Philadelphia.
Okay, there were only three NFL Week 6 Sunday afternoon road winners. Here's their little wrap-up stories:
NEW YORK GAINTS 26, SAN FRANCISCO 3 - Now you really do have to wonder why - in the first place - the SF 49ers were 7-point betting favorites for this"rematch"of last year's NFC Championship Game.
Not only did the G-men keep the Niners' offense out of the end zone all day long, but Tom Coughlin's crew shoved San Fran's highly-respected defense all over quiet Candlestick Park - did you think prior to this game that Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw would rush for 116 yards on 27 carries (did you see 'em smiling with those fancy sunglasses on after the game - he hardly could contain himself!) or that NYG would finish with a combined 180 receiving yards from the three-headed wide-out corps of Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks and that QB Eli Manning wouldn't be sacked a single time ... not like last year's title tilt, right, when Manning was treated like a test-car dummy?
DETROIT 26, PHILADELPHIA 23 (OT) - Hey, the only road team to win in the 1 p.m. ET or"early"games was this Detroit Lions bunch that trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter but never stopped forging straight ahead. No, the Lions weren't gonna get to OT and than blow it as was the case back in the 44-41 loss in Tennessee back in Week 3.
Instead, Detroit - facing the real possibility of starting this 2012 campaign at 1-4 SU (straight-up) - roared back to win when fossil-like PK Jason Hanson boomed a 45-yartd FG in the extra session all the while after WR Calvin Johnson (6 catches for 135 yards) made some of the most dramatic catches you'll ever see. The tippy-toe job along the sidelines was magical and in this pass-first NFL it proved - once again - that a dominant wide receiver can be one of the most important people on the field.
Johnson - who had an 11-yard TD catch called back because of offensive interference - still doesn't have a TD catch from QB Matthew Stafford but they can worry about that some other time!
BUFFALO 19, ARIZONA 16 (OT) - Check this out:
The Cardinals - now 4-2 this year - have seen four of their six games this season decided by 4, 2, 3 and 3 points (they've also now split a pair of OT verdicts while beating Miami in Week 4) and so this"Cardiac Card"bit apparently never gets too old but what will PK Jay Feely tell his grandkids one day about this particular game ... that he drilled a franchise-record 61-yard FG to force the overtime period but than his 38-yarder that would have won it was tipped wide?
Feely will be the one who nabs most of the headlines here but do give some credit to the Bills who bounced back from those 52-28 and 45-3 losses the past two weeks against New England and San Francisco, respectively, as the much-maligned Buffalo defense registered five sacks and made the game's biggest defensive play with the OT interception by Jairus Byrd setting up the game-winning field goal by Rian Lindell. Hey, you can't kick the Bills around in the media every week, you know!
Tonight, it's ...DENVER (2-3) at SAN DIEGO (3-2) - 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
If you listen closely to Denver Broncos' QB Peyton Manning, you get the distinct impression that this team is very much a "work-in-progress":
One week the Broncos are digging themselves major holes against the likes of Atlanta and New England (yes, both recent road games this season) and yet two weeks ago there was Denver plastering Oakland 37-6 as Manning and Company were"spot-on"and so what gives tonight in this AFC West clash that figures to be a real turning-point affair for both of these squads?
Manning - who's thrown for 1,1013 yards with 8 TDs and 0 INTs in his last three games - has really developed a special rapport with young WR Demaryius Thomas who last week caught nine balls for 180 yards in that 31-21 loss in New England but check out how San Diego's secondary defends Thomas here: They could"double"him at times and leave openings for Manning-to-WR Eric Decker passes in the middle of the field. Stay tuned.
One offensive key for the Bolts: QB Philip Rivers has thrown 20 career TD passes against Denver - the most against any one single team - but will he be afforded solid pass protection here after he was sacked five times for 44 net lost yards in last Sunday night's 31-24 loss to New Orleans. Just sayin'!
Did You Know? - San Diego is an electric 9-2-1 ATS (against the spread) in its last dozen head-to-head showdowns against Denver.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have the Side/Totals of the NFL Week 6 Monday Nighter between the Broncos at the Chargers plus get all the NCAA & NFL Football and Major-League Baseball Championship Series Winners too every day -- climb aboard right now with America's #1 Handicapper. Check in with us on Game Days either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winners.
THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT
Let the SEC pound its chest again!
The season's first BCS Standings were released last night as there was Alabama at #1 and - surprise, surprise - Florida at #2.
Okay, so the Gators had risen to #3 in the polls and so it's no great upset here that Will Muschamp's crew - fresh off Saturday night's 31-17 win at Vanderbilt - were considered second-best to the Tide and slightly ahead of #3 Oregon and #4 Kansas State but could we be headed this year to an SEC Championship Game between 'Bama and Florida that will make the real BCS Championship Game a touch anticlimactic?
Meanwhile, it's real nice that Notre Dame is #5 in the opening BCS Standings - but do the Irish really deserve such a lofty perch right now above the likes of one-loss SEC squads LSU and South Carolina. Highly doubt it!
And that question continues to loom ... will the Big 12 champ be helped or hut by the fact its conference no longer plays a championship game?
If you believe K-State will run the table, than not playing in a Big 12 title tilt will be a big help to Bill Snyder's crew but wondering just how many BCS-related folks are angling right now for an Alabama vs. Notre Dame championship?
The answer: More than a few!
NOTE: Catch our Mid-Week Update in the next Jim Sez as we tackle all the latest NCAA Football News & Notes plus we'll get you the NFL Week 7 Thursday Night Preview between the Seattle Seahawks at the San Francisco 49ers.