The weekly competition between the Readers and the Staffers has grown very, very tight. The Readers have won four weeks, the Staffers have won four weeks, and one week ended in a tie. Overall, the Staffers have a 4-game edge (78-46 to 74-50). With things all tied up, who will be like our Broncos (who will handily defeat the Carolina Panthers this weekend) and walk away with the victory? This week our reader is that MHR member known as PR_Rasta. PR_Rasta writes:
Greetings Bronco Country, my name Etienne and I’m from Puerto Rico… currently living in Jacksonville though. No I’m not a Rasta, but I used to think I was and started using nickname the net, and for lack of creativity (laziness) I stuck with it. Now for the obligatory how I became a Broncos fan story… My dad is a lifelong Bears fan (thankfully I was spared that disappointment) and for some reason he had the Broncos / Browns 1987 Championship Game. The only thing I remember is The Drive and being a fan of John Elway since, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about any sport at the age of 7 till then. So the rest is history… and fast forward to the present. I get this email telling me I get a chance to face one of the staffers, so I was like sweet!! Hopefully I’ll draw Scotty who’ll make it fun I though and then I go down the list I was sent and mu counterpart Is none other than…… Stephen Rabon!!! Who?? Yea that’s what I thought, then I said to myself well let’s check the staff page so I can study my opponent. Nope, no luck there… Ok maybe someone else will face him before me and I can ask him. Guess what! He only participates once in the contest and it’s against yours truly! I smell Bshroutgate! J Nonetheless, I eventually find out he is MHR Steve by my great powers of deduction and a fateful twitter retweet and my suspicions have been tempered… So now it’s on to why we’re here.
PR_Rasta will be competing with Stephen Rabon. Stephen writes:
My name is Steve but most of you know me around here as BroncoPH. Just last season I was in your shoes taking on the Kaptain in this contest and, if I remember correctly, had a solid successful pick rate around .400. Clearly this had the rest of the MHR crew concerned enough to bring me on staff lest I continue to dominate. I came to MHR as a reader almost two years ago which was perfect timing as the Denver Broncos have been, without a doubt, the most interesting and enjoyable team to follow over the past 18 months and further proves that there isn't a better team to call ourselves fans of. I look forward to watching the Broncos make yet another push into the playoffs and hopefully bring back to back years of a home playoff game for the first time since the Super Bowl years and enjoying every moment of it here on MHR.
And now, onto the picks
Byes: Arizona, Green Bay, Washington, Cleveland
PR_Rasta: MJD is out and Jax just won’t be able to match to a Colts team that definitely has a fire to them. I’d love to root for my new hometown team but I can’t see them winning another game. The Packers game gave me hope when I saw the score and when I actually switched to watch them I realized their offense needs tons of work and they just aren’t built to win this season. They lack in too many areas and won’t overcome Luck & Co.
Stephen: I trust Jacksonville to win games they should like I trust Bernie Madoff to run my 401K. This game is more about Jacksonville's inability to play professional football than it is about the upstart Colts who are trying to find out if Andrew Luck is really that good or if Curtis Painter was that bad. Colts should have a big game away from home for the first time this season.
PR_Rasta: I’d rather lose the Broncos cap than pick Oakland against anybody. Regardless the Raiders will again demonstrate that they are the Raiders and the Ravens should win comfortably.
Stephen: College taught me three things that didn't involve memory loss. You'll get taxed. You will die. And the Ravens will win games at home. Vegas is even spotting the Raiders 7.5 points but I'm taking the Ravens and the points. Carson Palmer and Co. are about to discover what this grim, ungainly, ghastly, guant and ominous bird of yore meant in croaking "Nevermore." (little Poe for all my literature friends out there)
PR_Rasta: I think the defending champs beat the Bengals in a similar way to how we beat them in terms of how the game flowed. While the Bengals impressed me last weekend and they need this win at home, I have to believe Eli will bounce back and regain their championship form this week.
Stephen: Cincinnati has had a rough go of it the past couple of weeks. Now they are about to lose to both Manning brothers back to back and become the first team to do that since the Williams' sisters lost to the Peyton in Eli in last years Oreo dunking contest. The Bengals are being spotted 4 points for their trouble but the Giants will hand them their sixth loss of the season.
PR_Rasta: I like Joe Philbin, I like Tannehill and I like how Reggie Bush resurrected his career. I hate the city of Miami but not more than I hate the state of Tennessee. By this logic and the fact that Bud Adams has put the Titans on notice, I don’t see them winning.
Stephen: Bottom line if the Titans want to beat the Dolphins they are going to have to figure out how to get CJ2K into open space and keep the Dolphins impressive pass rush out of Hasselbeck's face. If this game were in Tennessee I may give the Titans more of a shot but the lamest Hard Knocks team in history Dolphins should take this game from a sad Titans team that's green with envy that they offered Manning all the tapenade in all the land and still couldn't bring him to their organization.
PR_Rasta: Vikings are starting to show their true colors and I think this week the Lions get revenge for their earlier loss against them. I’ve always liked the Lions post Stafford have always been a few players away from being a good solid team. While they still are (dbs, rb and ol come to mind), I think they’ll edge the Vikings in a tight game this week.
Stephen: Something has happened with Christian Ponder and after a solid start to this season the Vikings are watching unbelievable play from Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin being washed away. The Lions, on the other hand, seem to finally be clicking on defense and are just waiting for the offense to catch up. Only 1 TD catch for Calvin Johnson? That's about to change. Detroit goes to 5-4.
PR_Rasta: The Patriots could easily be undefeated right now; they’ve lost their 3 games by a combined 4 points. Last time these two teams played, Pats won by 24. This time maybe they win just by 20.
Stephen: Hahahahahahaha. Tom Brady does dress funny though.
PR_Rasta: Who dat!?! Dat’s Drew Brees taking away the Falcon’s undefeated mark. The Falcons can’t last (Cause I said so) and the Saints are motivated, add some Jambalaya and a Crawfish broil and I believe we have an upset. This Eagles win for the Saints was big and the last time someone counted the Saints out they won the Super Bowl, of course this year that won’t happen because we got Peyton Freaking Manning, but they’ll still beat the Falcons.
Stephen: This was my first tough call. I'm a believer in the Saints and I think they are getting better and better but I can't bet against these unbeaten Falcons. The Falcons are simply too balanced and have too many weapons for the Saints atrocious D to overcome. I see the Falcons doing to the Saints what the Broncos did though the game will be closer as the Saints do score points at home.
PR_Rasta: See Raiders description. *Side note: I hope the Bucs don’t demonstrate that they are the Bucs and lose this game…. Other than that, if they can beat Oakland, they can beat broken Chargers who won last week only because they were facing the worst team in the league.
Stephen: Tampa Bay has been impressive but the Chargers are playing with their backs against the wall. The Buccaneers have also never score more than 24 points against the Chargers and are 1-8 all time. I like this Bucs team but my money is on the Chargers.
PR_Rasta: I think this is a tossup. What Jets team will show up? What Seahawks team will show up? I’ll put my money on Russell Wilson over Sanchez any day though.
Stephen: The Jets are a mess. The Seahawks are scary at home. Tebow could help this team but as they continue to let him waste away the Jets' season will also waste away and it's definitely not going to get better trying to beat the Seahawks in the toughest stadium to play in. I wouldn't pick Mark Sanchez to win a pillow fight.
PR_Rasta: I think the Cowboys, who in the middle of some games have shown flashes of brilliance, will win this matchup of colossal disappointments. I also think Romo will win the Interception battle by a pick, which will then turn into 3 sacks Mike Vick and a missed field goal.
Stephen: The Eagle's O-Line is something to be behold. Tony Romo is an equal opportunity passer. The Eagle's Defense can get turnovers. The Dallas D-Line can destroy quarterbacks. Philadelphia is a tough place to play. I'm giving this game to the home team and expecting both QB's that start this game not to finish the game.
PR_Rasta: The 49ers are going to beat the Rams; this is just a simple fact of life. Any 8 year old can tell you this will happen.
Stephen: I had this dream the other day that Alex Smith completed greater than 90% of his passes his last game. CRAZY, I know. Could you imagine if he could actually do something like that? The Rams would be screwed. On a fantasy side... Go Frank Gore!
PR_Rasta: I don’t think the Bears def will be as dominant against Arian Foster and the Texans O. Me & JJ Wyatt are gonna have some fun watching him terrorize Cutler all through this game.
Stephen: If the Chicago Defense doesn't score three touchdowns and if Houston lets the Chicago offense try to score the Texans will prove just how lopsided this Bears team is. I'm looking forward to watching the Texans put a pout on Cutler's face in his own home.
PR_Rasta: After a great week of football, we end it with this game. Call me excited to see how many fantasy points Big Ben can make on the Chiefs. Steelers win big here and Chris Berman streaks through the field afterwards.
Stephen: Putting this game on MNF is simply mean. The Chiefs are.... terrible. The Steelers are just starting to get the machine going. Plus Todd Haley playing his old team? Steelers may win by 35. Vegas is only giving the Chiefs 11.5. With money this easy to come by it's hard to believe we're in a recession.
What Denver Must Do to Win
PR_Rasta: Carolina is not your typical 2-5 team and I don’t think we should treat them as such. It’ll be a challenge to go after Cam and not lose contain on him. I think we need to frustrate Cam and our DBs should match up fine with their receivers, which is a big plus. I honestly believe we can run the table, even against the Ravens. Call it the PFM Effect or whatever you want but watching them this season has being F’n awesome. No matter what happens or what mistakes are made, I always feel like we have control of the game. This’ll be a fun rest of the way and I’ll be swimming in the Kool Aid.
Stephen: We have to protect Peyton Manning. The Panthers have a DT sack tandem that are scary good. They can pressure the QB with just their front 4 which allows more of their linebackers to drop into coverage and benefits their blitz schemes. The Broncos O-Line has been so solid all year but losing Kuper right now definitely hurts. If the Broncos O-Line can continue to give Manning just enough time to develop plays and he's not running for his life all game our offense can easily put up 32 on this team. Turnovers are the other big key. If both of these teams play solid football and minimize their own mistakes the Broncos are superior all over the field. The Broncos cannot, however, give Cam Newton extra chances to get his team back in the game.
Good Luck to both of our Contestants.