The first quarter of the 2012 NFL Weekly Picks contest has ended. If you will remember, through the first three weeks, the Readers owned the Staffers, not only winning each of the match ups, but building an impressive five-game lead (26-19 to 21-24). The staffers were having serious confidence issues and were wondering if 2012 was going to be their contest version of the Broncos 2010 season. H-Bizzle, Fabio Brazil and SoCalBroncoFan had defeated the powerful trio of Kirk Davis, Sayre Bedinger and Troy Hufford. Then Topher Doll took up the competition for the Staffers and not only posted a win in the weekly contest, but narrowed the gap to a single game(12-2 to 8-6 in the weekly contest, while the Readers still lead overall 34-25 to 33-26). This week's competition promises to be a fierce one. This week our reader is that MHR member known as Hogblog. Hogblog writes:
Hello MHR. Let me introduce myself. My screen name is Hogblog. Why, you ask? I'm born, raised, and educated in Arkansas; a life long, hard core, dyed in wool Razorback fan. So how does a die hard Hog fan become a Bronco fanatic? Easy, you graduate from the University, get hired by a major oil company,and get transferred to Denver during the Elway years. If that wasn't enough, they drafted a young safety from Ark named Steve Atwater in 1989. At that point, my fate was sealed. I became a devoted Bronco FANATIC. I've been enjoying the orange and blue concoction for 20 years now. So, with that little intro, let's get to the picks.
Hogblog will be competing with John Bena. John writes:
John Bena here, or The Guru as I'm known of around these parts. I'm the Grand Pubah of Mile High Report. After a 13-1 week last I'm ready to steamroll the competition! I have my own picks each Thursday for those of you that want to go head-to-head with me on a weekly basis.
And now, onto the picks
Byes: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay
Hogblog: The addition of Janoris Jenkins, a strong linebacking core, and two solid edge rushers against an unproven Arizona QB, Kolb, will be too much for the Cardinals, as it was for the Seahawks. Jeff Fisher prevails again at home!
John: No explanation needed.
Hogblog: The Packers will prevail here, but I do think the young Andrew Luck will provide more of a challenge than people think against Green Bay's questionable defense.
John: Aaron Rodgers knows he dodged a bullet last week against the Saints. The Pack need to be careful with an emotional Colts team still reeling from the news about their Head Coach having Leukemia.
Hogblog: Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed, Heloti Ngata, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice...that says it all.
John: This is the classic trap game, but Matt Cassel has too much pressure on him not to fail. We could see Brady Quinn if Cassel repeats the turnover fest we saw last weekend against the Chargers. Oh, and Arrowhead simply is not an advantage for the Chiefs any longer.
Hogblog: While Miami had a good showing last week and proved to be a worthy opponent vs Arizona, they will not have the same result at Cincinnati. Too much defense and too much offense. Miami will struggle, and Tannehill will not have the same success two weeks in a row. The fun stops this week.
John: It's hard not to be impressed with Andy Dalton and the Bengals, even if they still haven't beaten anyone all that good.
Hogblog: Rothlisburger at home @ HInes field and Harrison, if he returns, will be too much. Steelers with two losses already = not a happy bunch. Instate rivalry be damned, this one goes to the home team.
John: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are back. Michael Vick somehow avoided turning the ball over last week against the Giants. He won't get so lucky this week.
Hogblog: Upset! For the second week in a row, Atlanta faces an extremely mobil, highly efficient quarterback who will do to the dirty birds at home what Cam couldn't complete in the dome. RGIII makes good this week. Does the venerable Guru have the courage to pick the Skins?
John: I really, REALLY want to pick the 'Skins, but there is something about this Falcons team this year. They simply find a way to win and that type of winning is contagious.
Hogblog: Weeden vs. Eli = long afternoon at the Meadowlands for Cleveland. Giants by a wide margin.
John: New York has a tendency of playing down to it's opponent, especially in games that don't fall in primetime. The Browns, however, are the worst team in football. Even Eli can't screw this up, can he?
Hogblog: Cam Newton proved very effective last week against Atlanta in the dome, but came up short. Seattle came into St. Louis overconfident and was stuffed by a hard hitting and swarming Rams defense. This week the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch are too much for the Panther's D, while Seattle's defense will shut down Newton's freelancing QB style on both sides of the ball.
John: The football gods are still pissed at the 'Hawks for their win over the Packers two weeks ago. The Panthers snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory against the Falcons. Never upset the football gods.
Hogblog: Da Bears-Cutler, Marshall, Forte, and a nasty Bears defense with Peppers, Okoye, Paea, Idonije are just too much to overcome for a weak Jacksonville team led by Gabbert. The Bears defense will maul MJD. Say a prayer for Gabbert...won't you?
John: Jay Cutler will be everyone's darling QB again after putting up big numbers against a hapless Jags team. That Bears' schedule sure is tough!
Hogblog: Really? Do I even need to comment?
John: I don't know if there is a worse way to lose a game that the way Buffalo did it last week. Up 21-7 with 10 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, at home, against a rival Patriots team that had lost 2-straight, the Bills proceeded to give up 45 points and lose by 24. The Niners are pretty good and I don't think Buffalo could travel any further.
Hogblog: I am drinking the purple koolaid on this one. As I "Ponder" this decision, my gut says Minnesota is very much improved and showing signs of becoming the Vikings once again. With Locker on the shelf, I see this as an easy win for the Norseman.
John: This year's surprise team might just be Minnesota, though I have picked them every week this year - with the exception of the Indy game. Adrian Peterson is running like a man possessed and Christian Ponder is the last starting QB to have NOT thrown an interception. That is a recipe for winning.
Hogblog: The New Orlean's 0-4's gets their first win. New Orleans showed life vs. Green Bay @ Lambeau Field last week. This week, the home crowd crazies will carry Drew Brees into a dismantling of the San Diego defense. Cajun style home cookin' coming up!!!!!
John: Sure, San Diego is 3-1, but their offense looks pathetic. The only decent defensive team they played completely shut them down. The Saints are too good to keep losing, and with a record set to be broken on the next Drew Brees TD pass, the time is NOW for New Orleans to break through.
Hogblog: Houston will unleash it's weapons in the big apple and destroy the hapless J E T S (jets, jets, jets) regardless of which quarterback Gang Green starts. J.J. Watt, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster and the wrecking crew will unleash a Texas style A$$ whippin' on New York.
John: Houston is the best team in the NFL. The Jets suck. Enough said.
What Denver Must Do to Win
Hogblog: Fellow MHRers, we must get big-pressure from our frontline D. We need consistent, sustainable coverage in the back! Brady will try to repeat what he did last year in the playoffs; he will complete passes to anyone and everyone with a heartbeat. We need a repeat performance this week from Manning and the offense using the no huddle, while McCoy implements the same balanced play-calling he used to DOMINATE the Raiders. Del Rio must disguise his coverages and blitz packages effectively because Brady will have an entire week to break down exactly how we shut down the Raiders. We must control the ball and the clock, and get points from every drive. If we don't, they will. This has the makings of an old fashioned shoot-out. Get your popcorn(or whatever delicacy Kirk has lined up for us this week) ready. GO BRONCOS!
John: As for the Broncos, I know we don't pick the Broncos game around here, for obvious reasons, but I am picking Denver to beat New England. Denver can do some things that give New England troubles, and the Denver defense can really give Tom Brady fits. Denver must avoid what happened to them against the Falcons, and they must convert Red Zone opportunities into touchdowns - not field goals. If the Broncos can avoid being Gronk'd, and avoid the big turnover, they are stronger on Special Teams and on Defense. It should be a classic.
Good Luck to both of our Contestants.