With the Bills having a bye week it would normally be difficult for me to get motivated for NFL Sunday but I was saved this week by the International Series game at Wembley.
It is always a great week here in the UK with the build up to our 5th annual International Series regular season match-up between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I was so stoked after this week as during the build up to the big game at Wembley both fan events in Trafalgar Square looked amazing with such a great atmosphere, man I wish I could have gone!
It started with the screening of Jerry Maguire on Friday night with guest stars including the legend that is Cuba Gooding Jr. There was a Q and A session with the commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday morning followed by the main fan rally from lunch time on Saturday again at Trafalgar Square.
I have to say that my personal highlight was hearing that the NFL is planning to start hosting two regular season games here in London at Wembley Stadium. I am hoping this means double the chance of seeing the Buffalo Bills here in the UK.
OK so on to the big game itself, it started off quite slowly for the Bucs as Daa Bears took an early 7 point lead as Matt Forte waltzed through the Tampa defence culminating in a 32YD TD run.
Tampa ended their first drive with a punt and what followed in the next three plays was quite surreal. Tampa intercepted Jay Cutler on a screen to Marion Barber, then on the very next play Freeman was intercepted on the 1YD line by Conte and just when you think you have seen everything Ronde Barber gets to Matt Forte in the his own end zone for a safety. The first ever safety in an International Series match making it 7-2.
Sadly despite it being a home game for the Buccaneers it seemed as though both the game and the crowd was going the way of the Daa Bears. Chicago dominated this game from start to finish with a total of 4 interceptions. Despite a late come back attempt from Tampa, Chicago left Wembley with a 24 – 18 win.
Is it me or are the games just getting harder and harder to predict as the season goes on? Just when you think you are getting a handle on who is playing well and who isn’t, Jacksonville decide that this week they will mostly be beating Baltimore 12 - 7. Seriously what happened there, it is almost as though they decided they would give one of their best players the week off as Ray Rice only got 8 carries. I am sure I'm not alone it wondering what on earth they were thinking.
A big thank you to the Green Bay Packers who just keep rolling through opponents and keeping some normality to my predictions.
Here are all the results from week 7:-
Washington 20 vs 33 Carolina
Seattle 3 vs 6 Cleveland
Atlanta 23 vs 16 Detroit
Denver 18 vs 15 Miami
San Diego 21 vs 27 New York Jets
Chicago 24 vs 18 Tampa Bay
Houston 41 vs 7 Tennessee
Pittsburgh 32 vs 20 Arizona
Kansas City 28 vs 0 Oakland
St Louis 7 vs Dallas 34
Green Bay 33 vs 27 Minnesota
Indianapolis 7 vs 62 New Orleans
Baltimore 7 vs 12 Jacksonville
The Colts are continuing to struggle and as you can see from above, they got absolutely destroyed by the Saints this week. The first 9 Saints possessions led to scores making me wonder if the Colts defence actually bothered to suit up or if they played their back ups!!!!
One other game of note this week was the return of Carson Palmer as the Raiders took on the Chiefs. Although he did not start he replaced Boller and I agree with EJ as I too think in the next few weeks, despite an average performance this week, we will see the return to greatness of Palmer.
OK ladies and gents, now onto EJ's corner, here is a recap of the questions and his insights:-
Adri - Who would you say are the Top 5 O line men in the game today and which team has the best unit as a whole?
EJ - Top Offensive Linemen:
#1: Nick Mangold (Center Jets -- truly the QB of the Jets, calling out blitzes and run blocking schemes)
#2: Joe Thomas (Tackle Browns -- best tackle in the game, someone you would want protecting your blind side for sure!)
#3: Jake Long (Tackle Dolphins -- same as above)
#4: Jahari Evans (Guard Saints -- versatile to pull on runs and a stump to move on a pass rush)
#5: D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Tackle Jets -- stud in college and pros)
Best Unit: NYJ -- see above as 2 of their linemen reached my top 5.
Adri - I know how much you love the Vikings so would love to know which area's they should be looking to draft next year?
EJ - It is going to be a rough season for them as they lack depth and talent in essentially every position. Plus they are now in a QB quandary on whether or not to stick with an ineffective vet in Donovan McNabb or get their rookie Christian Ponder some experience. In my opinion give Ponder the ball as the season already is lost and he will pick up some invaluable experience.
In terms of draft needs -- where to start as they suck in every position except RB due to having a monster like AP who reminds me of the running style of the greatest Walter Payton. Truly, I feel they need to focus shoring up the gaps on both the offensive and defensive lines as this is what I feel determines the outcomes of many games.
Adri - Do you think that Brandon Lloyd will bring much to the Rams offence, was it worth the trade or should they have waited till next year’s draft?
EJ - Brandon Lloyd = very little impact with the Rams. Yes, he will put up better stats than he did in Denver this season, but even Mike Sims-Walker who the Rams picked up during Free Agency hasn't had a big impact. The Rams could have used some draft picks to get their defence fixed or get another RB as Steven Jackson seems to have lost a step.
What about Carson, Carson, Carson (Chris Berman -- best commentator, the way he says Carson Palmer)? I really like the fit with him in Oakland having an established running game with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush (a lot better than what he had with the Bengals) and some solid young receivers not whining to get the ball like Chad Ochocinco. He will be rusty for a few weeks, but if he kept himself in shape he may become a top 10 fantasy QB.
Thank you again EJ, as always loving your work buddy. If I may buddy, for next weeks edition can I get you to throw three questions my way and I will provide the answers as always next week, cheers buddy.
I am really looking forward to my Bills return to action next week against the spluttering Redskins. This is a big game for me as it involves bragging rights with one of my best friends. If we loose I will not be able to show my face for a while so come on Bills lets hit them with a stampede led by Fitzmagic!
To help get you all in the mood ready for next weekends action, check out the Top 5 Catches from this week:-
Also I found this nugget this week, please check out the Nuttiest moments of week 7:-
I shall keep the finale short and sweet this week, so as always guys, girls and fellow #Billsmafia 'Thanks for stopping by'