Back in fourth grade at Bancroft Elementary School in Andover, Mass., one of my midterm progress reports in Mrs. Vaughn's class noted that I had a lot of enthusiastic energy but needed to focus more of it on my work.
If only Bill Belichick had been my teacher back then. How great would that have been? His progress report would've simply read: "It's a midterm grade. So, really, who cares?"
Say what you want about Belichick, but you've got to admire his monotonous press conferences and the regularity with which he handles the media's questions. Whether it's arrogance or genius is up for interpretation, but I do know we've come to view his non-hyperbolic retorts as a thing of eloquence (well, maybe not).
But seriously, how great would it be to see Belichick as a guest judge on "The Voice" or "American Idol", or better yet, have him take over Chris Harrison's role as host of "The Bachelor"? We really need to find a way to make this happen. That right there is must-see TV.
Let's get to this week's ratings.
Moving On Up
Doth my eyes deceive me, or did I see Joe Montana out on the field Sunday in San Francisco playing under the pseudonym "Blaine Gabbert"? Okay, that's a stretch, but it was nice to see the Niners finally get a win. Gabbert's not the long-term solution in San Francisco, and may not even be the top choice to quarterback his family's Thanksgiving Day football game, but he played well enough to earn the win. He's up two points to a 74 OVR.
The Jacksonville Jaguars' Allen twins have put up almost identical numbers this year. Allen Robinson has 707 receiving yards and six touchdowns, while Allen Hurns has 635 yards and six touchdowns. It's not surprising then that their Madden ratings are equally similar. Both are up one point this week with Hurns at 83 OVR and Robinson at 85 OVR, respectively.
Moving On Down
On paper, it looked as though Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans had a solid game last Sunday against the Giants. The second-year player caught eight passes for 150 yards, but also had six dropped passes in the game. He's down only a point, though, to 87 OVR. Maybe if he'd imagined the ball as a roll of toilet paper he would've had more success...
Great Caesar's Ghost
Eddie "Are You Going To Eat That?" Lacy seems to be having more success plowing through buffet lines than defensive lines this season. The Packers running back is down just a point to 85 OVR. Seriously, how's he still ranked in the 80s? Hopefully, Lacy's career doesn't flame out like former Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Six bold predictions for Week 10
6. Since Gus Bradley arrived in Jacksonville in 2013, the Jaguars have gone 3-17 on the road, and haven't won a road game since December of 2013. Depending on how the Jaguars do in the second half of the season, the Gus Bradley era could be headed for a disappointing end. But when you watch the Jaguars play, you feel they are better than their record indicates, and the good news for them is that they aren't out of the AFC South race thanks to Andrew Luck's injury (plus the fact the AFC South is a bigger disappointment than the third Hemsworth brother). I'll take the Jaguars on the road in Baltimore.
5. It's funny how quickly life can change in the NFL. In less than a month we've gone from declaring Miami Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell the frat brother reincarnation of Don Shula to wondering who his replacement will be. You can't blame Miami fans for initially getting excited, though. In his first two games as coach the Dolphins put up 82 points, but have managed just 24 points total in their last two outings, both losses. It's looking more likely than not that Campbell's tenure as Dolphins coach won't extend past this season, but I think the Dolphins will still manage a few more wins. I see Miami scoring a victory on the road in Philadelphia, prompting some celebratory Campbell chest bumps on the sideline.
4. The Cleveland Browns haven't won a game in Pittsburgh since Week 5 of the 2003 season when Tim Couch faced off against Tommy Maddox in what many described as a harder watch than Shaquille O'Neal's performance in "Kazaam". Cleveland has lost 11-straight in the Steel City, but I'll say Cleveland gets the road win and ends the losing streak (even if Roethlisberger somehow manages to play).
3. In their past three games, the Green Bay Packers defense has given up nearly 1,500 yards to opposing offenses. There's only so much Aaron Rodgers can do, people. Fortunately for the Pack, they return home to Lambeau Field this week for a game against the cowardly Lions. Rodgers is 6-0 in his career at home against Detroit, and I expect him to put on a clinic Sunday. Rodgers throws for over 400 yards and gets five touchdowns.
2. New Broncos tight end Vernon Davis was targeted just once in last Sunday's loss to the Colts, but don't expect that trend to continue. The Broncos didn't trade for him just to have him stand around looking spiffy in a new uniform. I expect Davis to have a huge home debut Sunday against the Chiefs, catching two touchdown passes from Peyton Manning, which is saying something considering Davis has not scored a touchdown since Week 1 of the 2014 season. It's been a while, but Davis gets his on Sunday.
1. The loss of Dion Lewis hurts for the defending Super Bowl champions, but if there's one team that can sustain that type of loss it's them. The Patriots live by the mantra, "Next Man Up," and have proven time and again that they can find players to plug into their system to keep things running. But even if they did have Lewis this Sunday, I would still pick the Giants to upset them this week. New York may not seem like a viable threat for the 8-0 Patriots, but keep in mind a 9-7 Giants team once beat a 13-3 Patriots team in the Super Bowl. Oh, yeah, they beat that undefeated squad in 2007, too. For some reason, whenever Manning plays the Patriots he becomes that sweaty overweight guy playing basketball at the YMCA who hits every shot without fail when ordinarily he is the worst player on the court. The younger Manning brother hands the Pats their first loss before Peyton can.