Friday, October 14, 2011

Escape From New York

It is a 363 mile drive from the Buffalo Bills home turf of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY to Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ; stomping ground of the New York Giants. For many years the Bills faithful have made the standstill argument that the Buffalo Bills are the only "true" New York team because of Metlife Stadium’s location within New Jersey state lines.

Matching up for only the third time in over ten years, the often harmless Upstate New York team now has the opportunity to prove their worthiness for recognition as New York State's sole NFL team.  The only difference is this year, the Bills have found a consistent quarterback.

Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick, a prominent leader of this Cinderella team.  After beginning the season on fire statistically, Fitzpatrick has since come back down to earth, but has continued doing nothing but the right things to lead his team to victory.  Although he may not have the fire that Snake Plissken possessed in the 1980s classic film "Escape From New York", the "Amish Rifle" has consistently provided a spark for his Bills.

Despite the Buffalo Bills (4-1) coming off a big win, they travel to New York as underdogs to face a Giants team (3-2) trying to regain their footing after a crushing loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Following the week 5 defeat, Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin stated what he has sought to improve during this week’s practices. "We didn't complement each other at all today. This week the sloppiness of the game, the turnovers, you know you are not going to win when you are handing people the ball (at) point blank range."

Most NFL fans are well aware of the struggles that the New York Giants have had turning the ball over. However, few and far between are conscious of the Bills' league leading +11 turnover differential this season (16 total takeaways).

Through 5 weeks of football, the Giants are still winless over a team with a winning record, a fact that favors the AFC East's first place Bills, especially if the "G-Men" are unable to minimize their giveaways.

After the Bills key win over the Philadelphia Eagles, team-captain George Wilson declared, "When you make mistakes, it’s alright to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. We learned from those mistakes a year ago."

Five weeks into the regular season, the Bills have already met their win total from 2010. However, the Bills are still on the prowl to prove their belonging as an upper echelon NFL team.  Keep an eye out for Ryan "Snake Plissken" Fitzpatrick to ignite his team's fire in this week 6 showdown.

The Buffalo Bills will attempt to "Escape From New York" (New Jersey) with a win over the Giants at 1:00 ET on CBS.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Week 5 Winners & Losers: The City That Never Sleeps

The Biggest Loser: New York City

Could all of the losing be the reason for New York City waking up in their sleep tonight?  New York's NHL Islanders and Rangers failed to combine for a win on Saturday, but the losing didn't stop there.  The Jets entered a game versus the New England Patriots that only few expected them to win.  The overall performance was again unimpressive, causing one to ask, "Did Rex Ryan guarantee the Super Bowl, or the sewer hole?"  The 2-3 New York Jets now have a stonghold on 3rd place in the AFC East, ahead of only the 0-4 Miami Dolphins. 

Onto the New York football Giants... hmph.  The Seattle Seahawks are not a good
football team.  Charlie Whitehurst is not a good quarterback.  Any New York sports fan can say what they want about injuries, Eli Manning, etc.  The truth is, whether Eli Manning makes one of those throws at the end of a game that is as handsome as he, or a receiver knocks a pass right into the opponent's arms, the G-Men just can't finish.  Luckily the Buffalo Bills defeated the Eagles, giving the Giants one less thing to worry about for the time being.  However, next week will bring that same Bills team to the Meadowlands in a test of each team's abilities to finish.

Winner: Oakland Raiders
As strange as it may sound, even though they are among this week's top losers (Al Davis), the Oakland Raiders were also among this week's top winners. After the death of Owner Al Davis, I was certain the Raiders would come out to perform. The impressive part about this win wasn't that the Raiders won by way of Darren McFadden, who was seemingly shut down by the Houston Texans run defense all day. Jason Campbell didn't throw for half as many yards as Matt Schaub, but Al Davis' team hung tough, and he led them to victory. We will see this team in the playoffs.

Loser: Philadelphia Eagles
Before the start of the season the Philadelphia Eagles were pinned as the NFL's "Dream Team". With week 5 complete and a record of 1-4, all they can do is dream of fulfilling that nickname.  The talent is there, now it's just a matter of putting it all together.  All eyes are on Andy Reid, his struggling offensive line, and the questionable hiring of Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo.  If the beaten & battered Eagles don't right the ship in week 6 against the division rival Washington Redskins, all hope is lost.  The Andy Reid era is on the verge of coming to an end.

Winner: Tim Tebow & the Denver Broncos (possibly)I'm tempted to call the Denver Broncos as a whole losers only because they gave quarterback Tim Tebow his shot at the end of last season, saw that he could be successful, yet still benched him this year.  After Kyle Orton chipped in a mere 34 yards, and one interception passing in the first half, he was pulled, and Tebow, not Brady Quinn, got his second shot.  Broncos fans want it, Jesus fans want it, and Tebow now has a chip on his shoulder bigger than ever.  The best part about Tebow is that throughout college, through his few games playing in the NFL, Tebow didn't win by "throwing the right way", or being a "pocket passer", he plays the game as a pure competitor.  If the Broncos stick with Tebow, together, they are winners.

Loser: Matty Ice & the Atlanta Falcons
Just a year after reaching the NFC Championship game, the Falcons have now dropped to 2-3.  Once a prospective candidate for this year's MVP, the Falcon offense has yet to get on track.  Atlanta showed some signs of life Sunday Night.... for one quarter, then seemingly fell into a numb state.  To make matters worse, Julio Jones was taken into the locker room in the second half with one of those dangerously lingering hamstring injuries.  Next week Atlanta faces a sexy offense led by Cam Newton, can the Falcons keep up?

Winner: Kansas City Chiefs
In the first two weeks of the season, the Chiefs allowed 89 points against.  Since those troubles, this team has overcome injuries to Jamaal Charles and Tony Moeaki, key components to an offense that is showing new signs of life.  Granted it was a winless team that the Chiefs defeated this week, Matt Cassel earned some swag points throwing for 4 touchdowns (Dwayne Bowe & Steve Breaston each grabbing 2), and RB Jackie Battle ran the ball 19 times for 119 yards.  Don't get used to it, but at least Kansas City had something to cheer about today.

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