The Tuesday Morning Gunslinger: Getting the Monkey Off Your Back; Defense Can Still Win You Games; Stick A Fork In Them; Audibles & Power Rankings

In recent years, it seems that the Panthers have been the little brother to the Seattle Seahawks. Heading into Sunday’s matchup, the Panthers were 0-4 against the Seahawks since the start of the 2012 season (0-3 in the regular season). Despite being competitive in all 4 losses, the Panthers always seemed to be not be able to finish games one way or another. But Cam Newton came through for the Panthers when they needed him the most.

Despite being down 9 points with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the light went off in Cam’s head and he became Superman. For the first 52 minutes of the game, Cam went 9-23 for 112 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 18.8 to go along with 14 points. But in the final 8 minutes, Cam went 11-13 for 157 yards, 1 touchdown, a passer rating of 142.6 two touchdown drives totaling 13, including the game winning touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 32 seconds left.

Have the Panthers played a weak schedule thus far? Yes. Are the Seahawks a great team? No…well, not right now at least. But this is still a very tough team, and winning in Seattle isn’t easy. After all, that was just Russell Wilson’s 3rd home loss. But for Seattle, this win was important. Sure, in the NFL every win matters, unlike college football where you have to win with style points. You can look at this Panthers team and tell they are different. They have 11 more games to go, but for a team….a quarterback who was on the verge of falling to 0-5 against their supposed “big brother”, Cam Newton helped the Carolina Panthers get the monkey off of their back. 

Photo Cred: Carolina Huddle

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Three of the bigger Week 6 wins occurred because of great team defense.

The Broncos, Eagles and Steelers are here to remind you that playing good defense can keep you in the game and often win you games when your offense isn’t acting right.

Denver: The Broncos defeated the Browns in OT 26-23 and you honestly have to feel like the Broncos are winning not because of Peyton Manning, but in spite of Peyton Manning.

Manning completed 26 of 48 passes for 290 yards, with a nice 75-yard touchdown strike to Emmanuel Sanders but he did throw three interceptions, 2 of them to linebackers. But the number 2 ranked defense came through for this offense once again, helping them secure this win. And to be fair, this offense stinks. They can’t pass block, they can’t run block, they can’t pass the ball nor can they run the ball. And no matter how much Manny wants to make this a team failure:

“Why am I encouraged?” Emmanuel Sanders said of Peyton Manning. “His team is still 6-0 and he’s not playing his best ball, and we’re not playing our best ball as an offense.”

It stills falls back on the fact that the Broncos can’t get their running game going consistently and that Peyton is washed. And for all the criticism Peyton is getting, the teammates should understand why he is getting that criticism. That’s the great Peyton Manning…people are so concerned about “Is the real Peyton Manning coming back?” I’d tell them to hold their breathe. He’ll flash at times…make plays when the team needs him. But he’s gone. You know, Peyton’s numbers are comparable to another future Hall of Famer at just about the same point in his career.

In 2010, a 40 year old Brett Favre (in his 18th season) struggled mightily. Through his first 6 games that season, Favre  completed 104 on 179 attempts for 1,191 yards, 58% completion rate, seven touchdowns and 10 picks. What are Peyton’s numbers like? He has 146 completions on 237 attempts for 1,524 yards, 61% completion rate, seven touchdowns and 10 picks. That season didn’t end to well for Favre as it was his last season. We still have 10 games and the playoffs to go this year, but only time will tell for Peyton……

Philadelphia was able to just beat up on the Giants Monday Night despite the fact Sam Bradford threw 3 picks and the offense looked a little above “aight” for the night.

The Eagles allowed the Giants to total 247 yards, but only 167 yards after the opening 80-yard touchdown drive. This defense also forced 4 turnovers, including Nolan Carroll pick 6 that changed the entire mood of the game during the second quarter. The defense actually forced a turnover on 3 of its next 4 possessions following that Giants opening drive TD.

“Our goal is to be the best in the league and be elite,” cornerback Byron Maxwell said. “We got work to do, but we are heading that way.”

This defense is very good – even with Byron Maxwell looking like toast most games.

Take away the garbage-time touchdown from the Saints, the defense has allowed 17 points over the past eight quarters.

This season, the Eagles are giving up just 18.3 points per good, sixth in the NFL. The secondary, which was 31st against the pass last season, is currently 19th, allowing 260.7 yards per game. The defense is still strong against the run, giving up just 94.2 yards per game, eighth in the league. Add that all up, and you have a defensive unit that is top-10 in points, top-10 against the run and has created 16 turnovers in six games. And it’s pretty amazing because the entire offseason, the talk was about the offense and the moves made. Nothing was mentioned about how they lost from last year and replaced them with

And just realize, this defense is always on the field. All 4 starters in this secondary played 70 snaps last night. Safety Malcolm Jenkins has said there has been games where he has played 90+ snaps. So although this defense is 19th against the pass, take into account all the garbage yards they give up.

It’s worth mentioning (at least in my opinion) that the Eagles have one of the best front 7’s in the NFL. More specifically, their front line is amazing. Fletcher Cox is one of the elite 3-4 DEs in the NFL and he’s great every single week. Bennie Logan is slowly becoming one of my favorite players, his play is getting better every week. These two, combined with Cedric Thornton, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham and the always amped up Connor Barwin torment offensive lines and quarterbacks.

They sure as hell did it Monday Night…

Pittsburgh; But speaking of awesome front 7’s and great 3-4 DE’s, let’s give the claps (ba dum tsssss) to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This defense the last 14 quarters of football have done enough to keep their offense in the game and give them a chance to make enough plays to secure a win. Sometimes it works (Rams, Chargers, Cardinals) other times it should of, but the offense didn’t do their job (Ravens).

Coming into the season, expectations for this defense were very low. But after 6 weeks, their performance has been high. The last two weeks against the Chargers and the Cardinals, the Steelers defense has limited these offense’s to 20 and 13 points respectively. Keep in mind these are both very good offense’s. But the win against the Cardinals, that was a big win.

Coming into the game, this Cardinals offense was the highest scoring in the league, scoring around 38 points per game. Despite the fact the defense gave up 421 yards to Carson Palmer and 196 to WR John Brown, the defense was able to force both these players into big turnovers when they needed them the most. Not to mention the fact the Cardinals made a few trips to the endzone, but they only put it in once and the Steelers got off the field on 3rd down (5/12). After the Cardinals first quarter score, the Steelers held this high powered offense without a touchdown for over 53 minutes.

The two picks brings Pittsburgh’s interception total to five, while the team has now forced five fumbles, with four recoveries. The Steelers also added a sack on Sunday, bringing the total to 17.

And unlike the Broncos and Eagles, this Steelers defense held on long enough for the offense to come through and win the game. Mike Vick got hurt and Landy Jones led 2 touchdown drives, including throwing a slant to Martavis Bryant and letting him do all the work on an 88 yard touchdown catch and run.

Just wait for Ben to get back.

This will always been a quarterback driven league. But ignore what the clowns in the media are saying. You need to be able to run the ball and play good defense to be a true contender. The Steelers can do both. The Eagles are slowly figuring out the run game. The Broncos offense is a hot mess but as long as their defense is doing what they do, they are easily a contender.

The Broncos Defense smothers you

The Eagles defense suffocates you

The Steelers defense grabs your ankle and won’t let you move until they are ready to catch up and take control

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Stick A Fork In Them. They’re Done:

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • The AFC South minus the Colts
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Detroit Lions
  • Chicago Bears
  • Kansas City Chiefs

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Audibles:

The Audibles section of theTMG will consist of 3 hot takes solely. No explanation for them either although if you want to debate, you can find me at @itsablackguy or @OnThe50YardLine

  1. DeAndre Hopkins is a better wide receiver than Odell Beckham Jr., just not as good of a dancer.
  2. The Chargers stink and the NFL and their fans should be prepared to see the Chargers go 7-9/8-8/9-7 with a ton of last minute losses
  3. Rex Ryan isn’t as good of a coach as we thought he was and the Bills will finish 4th place in the AFC East.

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Power Rankings (Top 10):

  1. Green Bay Packers (6-0)
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (6-0)
  3. New England Patriots (5-0)
  4. Carolina Panthers (5-0)
  5. Denver Broncos (6-0)
  6. New York Jets (5-1)
  7. Atlanta Falcons (5-1)
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)
  9. Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
  10. Buffalo Bills (3-3)

Lookout every Tuesday for theTMG. If you ever have any suggestions, hit me up!

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