The Schein Nine  

 

Bold predictions: Matt Schaub rebounds; Ray Rice runs wild

Have you checked out Sunday's NFL schedule? There are nine juicy, compelling and delicious games, loaded with drama and potentially extreme competition.

I'm foaming at the mouth looking at these matchups, so here are bold predictions for each one, Schein Nine style.

1) Andrew Luck will outplay Russell Wilson


Seahawks-Colts is the game of the week. Seattle is 4-0, even though its offense hasn't truly hit its stride. Indy is 3-1, the highlight being a 20-point pasting of the 49ers in San Francisco.

Wilson, the Seahawks' star quarterback, was on our "Schein on Sports" SiriusXM Radio show this week and raved about his team's character after another pulsating comeback win. But Wilson did stress that, when he meticulously studies the film, he sees a lot for Seattle to clean up, starting with third down, which the Seahawks have converted just 34 percent of the time.

Wilson now is studying film of that Colts-49ers game, when Indy held Colin Kaepernick to 170 total yards (150 passing, 20 rushing). Wilson explained that he likes to find a defense's tendencies and direct Seattle's strengths to take advantage of an opponent's potential weakness.

But Andrew Luck has all the weapons he needs. Trent Richardson, acquired two weeks ago, adds great balance in the running game. Reggie Wayne has no fear. Coby Fleener is finding his groove, coming off a five-catch breakout last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Both quarterbacks will play well in their first head-to-head matchup, but Luck has a knack and will take care of business, even with Seattle's loaded defense on the other side.

2) Matt Schaub won't throw a pick-six, will play well in San Francisco


Schaub not throwing an interception that's returned for a touchdown kind of counts as breaking news these days, considering he's inexplicably coughed up a pick-six in three consecutive weeks.

I think the Houston Texans are angry about their 2-2 start -- I know J.J. Watt is. I also don't think Schaub is this bad. Plus, I like the way DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson match up with the 49ers' defensive backs -- consider what Colts receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Reggie Wayne were able to accomplish against the Niners, recording 59 and 58 receiving yards, respectively.

San Francisco will win a tight game, but Schaub will be rock steady for Houston, which still will make the playoffs in the AFC.

3) Ray Rice will run for 100-plus yards vs. the Dolphins

The Ravens are smart. They know their play selection is out of whack. Joe Flacco was picked off five times last week. The offensive line (specifically Bryant McKinnie) has grossly underachieved, sparking a trade for Eugene Monroe.

Baltimore needs to get back to basics. Ray Rice has been nicked, and his number hasn't been called much. But the Ravens are recommitted to the run, so Rice will break out in a major way in Miami.

4) Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will burn the Saints


New Orleans has been amazing this season with a 4-0 start. I thought the Saints were a playoff team, but I never dreamed their defense would be this good.

The fun times come to a halt this weekend.

Bears coach Marc Trestman smartly stressed the positive after his team's first loss of 2013. I saw the outcome of that game as being more of a credit to Reggie Bush and the Detroit Lions than anything to criticize Chicago for.

The Bears' offensive line will bounce back. Jay Cutler will bounce back. His receivers match up well with New Orleans from a size and skills standpoint. I love Marshall against the Saints' defensive backs. Jeffery had his first 100-yard game last week. I like this game for him and tight end Martellus Bennett. And I think Matt Forte will spark the Bears on the ground, giving them needed balance.

Power Rankings: Pats are legit
Elliot Harrison says the Patriots settled any doubts about their lofty spot this week. Plus, a new No. 1 takes the reins. More ...

5) New England's D will frustrate the Bengals


Vince Wilfork's season-ending injury is a big deal, but the Patriots' defense quietly is off to a strong start, ranking sixth in the NFL in points allowed. Chandler Jones is frustrating opposing quarterbacks and already has three sacks. Aqib Talib is making key plays, like his fourth-down, game-clinching swat of a Matt Ryan pass last week.

Meanwhile, I don't trust Andy Dalton in a big spot.

6) Aaron Rodgers will throw for 400 yards and four TDs vs. the Lions


The Green Bay Packers are 1-2, and nobody is talking about them. Rodgers will give the NFL a wake-up call Sunday.

Rodgers is 8-1 in his career against the Detroit Lions, completing 69 percent of his passes against them. Yes, Detroit's defensive line has a mismatch against Green Bay's offensive line. Whatever. Rodgers will carve up the Lions' secondary, which ranks 21st in the league against the pass.

The NFC North goes through Green Bay, not Detroit.

7) The Chiefs' defense will bottle up Chris Johnson



Thousands shared stories telling us why they love football in a contest to win a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. We chose 10 finalists. Now you choose the winners.

I'm very impressed with the 3-1 Titans, who are playing great ball for Mike Munchak. But losing Jake Locker for three games with a hip injury is a momentum-killer and curbs the enthusiasm in Tennessee.

Andy Reid and Alex Smith rightly receive much credit for Kansas City's 4-0 start, but don't overlook coordinator Bob Sutton's amazing impact on the Chiefs' seventh-ranked defense, which is maximizing the talent former general manager Scott Pioli acquired throughout the years. With Dontari Poe anchoring the re-energized defense in the middle, Johnson won't be able to go off.

Kansas City will jump out to a lead and take the Titans out of their flow and balance in terms of play selection. Tennessee has legitimate weapons at receiver and tight end, but I have my doubts about Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

8) LeSean McCoy and the Eagles will go bonkers on the Giants


The Giants have a major problem: They aren't any good. The defense is awful, allowing a league-high 36.5 points per game. The pass rush is non-existent, collecting a league-low four sacks in four games. Justin Tuck is having another down year. Jason Pierre-Paul isn't healthy. The Giants are starting linebackers who shouldn't be in the league. The defensive backfield is weak, with a league-high 10 touchdown passes allowed.

If you're looking to place blame for the Giants' 0-4 start, blame GM Jerry Reese, who assembled this team. I feel bad for Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin.

It will get worse for the Giants on Sunday. Eagles running back LeSean McCoy leads the NFL with 468 rushing yards and 608 yards from scrimmage, and he will mesmerize Big Blue's porous defense. New York has struggled to stop opposing tight ends; Philadelphia's Brent Celek averages a hearty 18.7 yards per catch.

I picked Chip Kelly's team to win the NFC East at the beginning of the season -- not because I trust the flawed Eagles, but because I don't trust anyone else in the division. Philly will get back on track in an explosive way, with McCoy going over 160 yards from scrimmage.

9) Tony Romo will throw for 300 yards and three TDs -- in a loss


If you read my Monday column, you know I can't go against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. I won't apply logic.

The Broncos will win their 16th consecutive regular-season game by seven or more points, but Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten will go to work against Denver's defense, which is without shutdown cornerback Champ Bailey and ranks 30th against the pass. The Broncos might only win 38-24.

Slackers.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15