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NFL surprises have been good and bad

Packers, Lions on wrong part of list

October 11, 2012
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Now that we're about a third of the way into the NFL season, there are a number of surprising teams, both good and bad.

As head coaches like to divide up the season, we're in the middle of the second quarter right now. If this was a football game, you'd already have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen the rest of the way, but there's still time to made adjustments and change the ultimate outcome.

So who will continue on the road they've begun, and who will slam on the brakes and change direction for better or worse? Only time will tell, despite what all the prognosticators guarantee.

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Here's my nominees for biggest surprises and flops, with their records:


1. Minnesota (4-1) and 2. Arizona (4-1): I give the nod to the Vikings only because the Cardinals look ready to flop after the stinker they had at St. Louis last week.

3. Atlanta (5-0): Not so much for playing well, but for building a 3-game lead in the notoriously tough NFC South after just five weeks.

4. Indianapolis (2-2): You do realize they've already equaled last season's win total?

Honorable mentions: Miami (2-3), St. Louis (3-2), Chicago (4-1) and Houston (5-0).


1. New Orleans (1-4): I figured the Saints might struggle compared to years past, but I thought they'd at least get off to a good start.

2. Green Bay (2-3) and 3. Detroit (1-4): Not surprising that the Packers have a one-game lead on the Lions, but for last place in the NFC North?

4. (tie) Denver (2-3), Washington (2-3), N.Y. Jets (2-3) and Carolina (1-4): Four of the most overhyped teams in the offseason because of quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III, Tim Tebow and Cam Newton. I know the Jets probably belong in their own category, but you can only blame the national media so much for being stupid in love with Tebow and wanting to have his baby.

Honorable mentions: Tennessee (1-4) and Buffalo (2-3).

Now onto the Week 6 picks:

Today, 8:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee - The Titans have lost every game by more than 20 points, except against Detroit. That says more about the Lions than anything. Steelers, 31-10.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Philadelphia - Philly is a bakery full of turnovers, yet the Eagles win more than they lose. Maybe this game will have 20 turnovers, 11 or 12 committed by the Lions. Eagles, 28-22.

Oakland at Atlanta - Every blowout I predict turns into an upset or a game that comes down to the last play. For the Raiders' sake, Falcons, 40-10.

Dallas at Baltimore - Baltimore allows yards, but also forces turnovers. Sounds like something the Cowboys offense is adept at. Ravens, 29-19.

Cincinnati at Cleveland - The Browns bring a knife to a gunfight, not good in a rivalry game with Cincinnati embarrassed at home last week. Bengals, 34-24.

St. Louis at Miami - In the preseason, this game looked crucial in determining the No. 1 draft pick in 2013. Now, it's a pair of teams battling for first place. Rams, 17-13.

Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets - The Colts are growing up quickly, but you know how kids get carsick while traveling? Jets, 20-16.

Kansas City at Tampa Bay - A battle for the No. 2 pick in 2013 behind the Browns. Buccaneers, 16-9.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Buffalo at Arizona - Egad, the AFC's worst defense vs. the NFC's worst offense. Something's gotta give. Cardinals, 27-24.

New England at Seattle - Either New England coach Bill Belichick will run circles around the Seahawks' Pete Carroll, or Carroll will shoot himself in the foot repeatedly trying to prove Belichick can't run circles around him. Patriots, 24-17.

N.Y. Giants at San Francisco - It's way too early for the Giants to be pulling wins out of the hat. They save it for December and January. 49ers, 30-19.

Minnesota at Washington - Will RG III be cleared to play after his concussion on Sunday? Even if he is, will he be a bit gun shy? Vikings, 30-23.

Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Green Bay at Houston - A good week for the Packers to bounce back. Except it'll feel like hitting granite with this opposition. Texans, 31-27.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Denver at San Diego - Also a good week for Denver to bounce back. And the Chargers will deliver a hurt like a feather pillow. Broncos, 27-20.

Last week - 11-3, 79 percent. Season - 46-31, 60 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



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