Producer Paul’s Picks: Week 5

Producer Paul’s Picks: Week 5
October 6, 2013, 11:15 am
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The Case for Matt

After the team’s second straight early exit from the playoffs, the quarterback’s worst possible nightmare materialized to start the season. Throwing to the opponent seemingly as much as his own teammates and sitting at 2-2 heading into what the fans surely think is a must-win game. So, what if this happens to Matt Schaub on Sunday: 18-32, TD, 2 INT and an 11-point loss to a team that went to the Super Bowl last season?

Panic, pandemonium, more jersey burning, calls for T.J. Yates and probably even Case Keenum, not to mention calls for Gary Kubiak’s job. And it would all be absurd.

The above scenario already happened to another Matt – Matt Ryan. Ryan and the Falcons bounced back from that 2-3 start in 2011, went on to the playoffs with questions about the QB swirling.

From January 2012 Sports Illustrated:

“But can Falcons QB Matt Ryan continue to throw deep—and finally go deep—in the playoffs? He failed to reach 200 yards against Green Bay last January or in a 2008 wild-card defeat to the Cardinals, completing just four passes of 20 yards or longer in 69 total attempts. In his two postseason games Ryan, 26, has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three).”

To recap:
Schaub through two postseason games:  63-89, 605 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Matt Ryan through two postseason games: 46-69, 385 yds , 3 TD, 4 INT

And then this happened in Ryan’s ensuing playoff appearance in January 2012: 24-41, 199 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT in a 24-2 loss to the Giants, making Ryan’s playoff record 0-3 and leaving the team’s fan base wondering if he could ever be the guy to lead their team to a Super Bowl. That was with Roddy White and Julio Jones.

In three playoff games: 3 TD, 4 INT, less than 200 yards passing in each game.

Ryan and the Falcons breezed to the AFC South title in 2012 and after a dramatic home escape against Seattle, they lost to the 49ers in the NFC title game. ‘Matty Ice’ is 1-4 in the playoffs, yet he is now one of the highest paid quarterbacks after signing an offseason contract extension.

In case you missed it in the haze of smoke coming from the Reliant Stadium parking lot, the Falcons are off to a 1-3 start after an early season tough schedule stretch similar to the Texans, and struggling to score in the red zone.
Ryan is entering his sixth season, Schaub is entering his seventh season as a starter and everyone including me is going to take Ryan in any sort of office or top quarterback ranking debate. He has a better football arm – not baseball, I roped a double off him in high school – and opponents are putting him in the same company as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Schaub won’t ever get that treatment, but he could throw multiple interceptions per game, maybe even a few more pick 6s, and the Texans won’t – and shouldn’t – make a change until they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The drop off to Yates is that great. So wait for the jersey bonfire until then.

Picks in bold:

Texans +7 at 49ers
The 49ers are showing early signs of that Super Bowl runner up, “might-not-make-the-playoffs” look. Patrick Willis banged up, Colin Kaepernick struggling, the Aldon Smith DUI/PR fiasco, and the unstable head coach that could easily let it all come unraveled. Just have that feeling that the Texans win this one.

Titans +3 vs. Chiefs
Guess what Oct. 28 is?! Anyone? No one? Two years from the day that the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick $24 million guaranteed as part of a six-year contract extension.

Dolphins –3 vs. Ravens
Do you think Eugene Monroe walking out of the Jaguars locker room after the trade to Baltimore went something like the scene in Something About Mary when Ben Stiller got released from jail?

Rams –12 vs. Jaguars
If this were a blackjack hand I would surrender. And whenever I see people surrender, I think – why are you even playing?

Colts +3 vs. Seahawks
Seahawks are playing with house money after pulling it out in Houston last week. If they go on the road for the second week in a row against an AFC playoff contender and win, well, my hat is off sirs.

Bengals -1 vs. Patriots
The reverse letdown, letdown game. Bengals with a big letdown at Cleveland last week come home for a game that they’ve had circled since the beginning of the season. The Patriots let down on the road after a big Sunday Night Football win against supposed NFC contender Atlanta.

Packers -7 vs. Lions
Nice little nugget from the crew at @NFLN_Playbook: Matt Stafford was 3 years, 10 months old the last time the Lions won at Lambeau.

Saints -1.5 at Bears
Short week or not, the Saints roll and Jimmy Graham continues to lead my fantasy football team to the promised land.

Eagles +3 at Giants
The Giants have a golden opportunity to make even the Eagles awful defense look staunch.

Cardinals +2 vs. Panthers
Wait…the Cardinals just traded their starting left tackle…which means the Steelers aren’t giving up on the NFC North!

Broncos -9 at Cowboys
I am very much looking forward to my first trip to Jerry World.  Alas, it’s not for this game, but a pair of mediocre college teams the night before when Notre Dame plays Arizona State.

Raiders +4 vs. Chargers
There is no chance I stay up for this.  I’d probably even suffer through another episode of The Newsroom if the season weren’t over instead of watching this game.

Falcons -10 vs. Jets
If Atlanta falls to 1-4 they might burn No. 2 jerseys in the parking lot. Wait, no they won’t, Atlanta is the worst sports town ever. They don’t even sell out playoff baseball.

Last Week: 7-6-1 Season: 27-30-1

Texans - Team News
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) is listed as probable for Week 8. Johnson practiced in full Friday after being limited early in the week. He'll continue to play through his ankle injury. Johnson is a mid-range WR2 for Sunday's game...
Oct 24 5:19PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Johnson doesn't need full practices at this stage of his career. He's a solid WR2 for Sunday's game against the Titans.
Oct 23 4:37PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) said he'd be surprised if he doesn't play in Sunday's game... Clowney hasn't played since tearing his meniscus in Week 1. He says he plans to "push through" the soreness that's still in his knee. If the training staff lets...
Oct 23 11:41AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Ryan Fitzpatrick admitted he "didn't get it to Andre [Johnson] nearly enough early"... Johnson finished with 5-77-0 on nine targets, but had just one catch for four yards through the first three quarters. After the game, coach Bill O'Brien said that Johnson...
Oct 23 8:03AM Read More
Brian Cushing - LB
Texans ILB Brian Cushing will miss at least one week with a knee injury. It's a blow to an already vulnerable Houston run defense, and a nice upgrade to Bishop Sankey's Week 8 matchup. Justin Tuggle and Mike Mohamed figure to start at inside...
Oct 22 8:32PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps coming off Monday night's loss. He'll remain a WR2 for Week 8 against the Titans.
Oct 22 5:22PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Wednesday's practice. The Texans listed Foster as "not injury related," but he missed practice time last week with a groin issue. Foster has a matchup with the Titans' No. 22 ranked run...
Oct 22 5:15PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
According to, there's a "decent chance" Jadeveon Clowney (knee)... "He feels good," coach Bill O'Brien said Monday. "Well see how it goes this week in practice. We'll be able to make a determination pretty soon about whether...
Oct 21 3:58PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham caught two passes for 24 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers. Graham was targeted three times, but dropped the other. It can be considered one of Graham's better statistical games of the season, which obviously means he's nowhere near...
Oct 20 11:31PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught five passes for 77 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins each saw a team-high nine targets. There was nothing special about Johnson's night. His biggest play was a 24-yard grab on a deep in route in...
Oct 20 11:25PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught six passes for 108 yards in the Texans' Week 7 loss to the Steelers on... Hopkins and Andre Johnson each saw a team-high nine targets. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw it to whichever receiver was working against embattled Steelers CB Cortez Allen. ...
Oct 20 11:16PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 14 yards on five carries and caught an 11-yard touchdown in the Texans'... Blue was the vulture on the opening-drive 11-yard score after Arian Foster managed 59 rushing yards to get the Texans near the goal line. Foster is an every-down back,...
Oct 20 11:09PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21-of-32 passes for 262 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception... Fitzpatrick played well for much of the first half, leading the Texans on three consecutive scoring drives to open the game. It was a train wreck thereafter. One play...
Oct 20 10:56PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-23, Week 7 loss to the... Foster got off to a blazing start, rushing for 59 yards on the Texans' 94-yard opening touchdown drive, but was vultured by Alfred Blue for the 11-yard touchdown catch to...
Oct 20 10:47PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is inactive for Monday night's Week 7 game against the Steelers. Clowney's lateral agility wasn't where the Texans wanted it to be in pre-game warmups. He's been out since undergoing knee surgery after Week 1. Whitney Mercilus is...
Oct 20 6:09PM Read More

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