The New York Jets Acquire Percy Harvin

Posted by Jack Tumen

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Well, better late than never.

The Jets made the first big trade splash of the season, trading for Seahawks’ receiver, Percy Harvin. The move comes less than 24 hours after the Jets lost to New England on Thursday Night Football and dropped their record to 1-6 on the season.

As a Jets fan, I have a few thoughts on this. First, I’m pretty psyched the Jets have finally added an offensive play-maker like Harvin. They haven’t had a guy like this maybe since Santana Moss – and when you line him up next to Eric Decker, that receiving corps suddenly becomes more than respectable.

Second, I can’t believe what they gave up to get him. One conditional draft pick?! Considering that Seattle gave up first, third and seventh round picks to get him from Minnesota, this is a steal for New York. The pick is said to be between a second and fourth-rounder, most likely based on performance and playing time. Some may argue a second round pick is a little much for a guy who’s battled injuries for a long time; but he’s a proven play-maker that will have an instant impact in this offense and help Geno Smith immensely. He also adds value in the return game; an area the Jets have been anemic in since special teams aficionado, Mike Westhoff, retired from coaching.

Third, I’m slightly irked that they waited until the season was all but over to make this deal and keep the fans interested. 1-6 is impossible to climb out of and this is more like a job-saving move for GM John Idzik than anything. Making good use of his Seattle ties, it’s about time he did something right personnel-wise this season.

Should be fun to see how this unfolds.

Jacked Up Picks: Week 7

Posted by Jack Tumen

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Bad week last week, going 6-7 with one push with the tie. I’m at 42-32 on the year.

Bye weeks: Eagles (5-1), Buccaneers (1-5)

Jets (1-5) @ Patriots (4-2): The Jets managed to keep pace with Peyton Manning last week, leading after the first quarter and only trailing by seven in the fourth. The potential is there but this team just can’t seem to put four quarters of football together. Going into a short week at New England, it’s a low-upside situation. NE 27, NYJ 14

Vikings (2-4) @ Bills (3-3): Buffalo played the Patriots tough at home last week; now they get a lesser opponent in Minnesota. The Vikings were stifled by Detroit’s defense. Buffalo’s no slouch on that side of the ball and there’s nothing that leads me to believe that Teddy Bridgewater can put together multiple touchdown drives on the road. Home sweet home for Buffalo. BUF 24, MIN 13

Falcons (2-4) @ Ravens (4-2): Two teams going in opposite directions. Atlanta couldn’t get its offense going at home against a weak Chicago secondary. Baltimore ended their game in Tampa in the first 10 minutes of play. Joe Flacco’s been hot and Steve Smith should continue his tear against the NFL’s worst defense. BAL 30, ATL 20

Browns (3-2) @ Jaguars (0-6): Jacksonville had its best shot at win number one last week but Josh Scobee had his game-winning field goal attempt blocked in the waning seconds. The Browns have developed a physical, tempo-setting style of play that opponents are struggling to adjust to. It could be a closer game than anticipated but Cleveland is simply the better team. CLE 20, JAX 13

Panthers (3-2-1) @ Packers (4-2): Carolina’s offense exploded last week as Cam Newton finally had a big game. Aaron Rodgers orchestrated a masterful game-winning drive, pulling a fake spike to keep the drive alive late. Going back home, I just don’t see how Rodgers can lose right now. GB 34, CAR 24

Dolphins (2-3) @ Bears (3-3): The Bears at this point are exactly where they should be; .500 with some good days and some bad days. Miami gave it all they had but not even Superman could stop Aaron Rodgers from winning that game. I think the Dolphins bounce back with a surprise win in Soldier Field sunday, further exploiting Chicago’s defensive lapses. It won’t be easy, though. MIA 31, CHI 28

Bengals (3-1-1) @ Colts (4-2): Cinci’s defense has been gashed for nearly 1,000 yards of offense over the last two weeks. Andrew Luck is ascending to greatness as quickly as anyone in football. Playing at home, I think he continues that tear against a defense that’s still trying to find its bearings from the New England game. IND 37, CIN 31

Saints (2-3) @ Lions (4-2): Detroit is one of the surprise teams in the league this year, playing stout defense and allowing a league-low 13.7 PPG. Calvin Johnson is expected back this week which would be a huge boost for Matthew Stafford. Drew Brees is coming off a bye week as New Orleans tries to right the ship. A win here for Detroit would prove they’re for real – let’s see it happen. DET 33, NO 27

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Seahawks (3-2) @ Rams (1-4): All of a sudden, the Seahawks aren’t so high and mighty anymore. Sherman and co. have allowed far too many big plays over their heads and have some major soul searching to do to earn back elite status. Don’t get me wrong, Seattle is still an upper-echelon team; but this is where we find out if they can overcome the Super Bowl hangover. Even against the 1-4 Rams, getting a divisional win is a start. But will it happen? I think the Rams surprise; Robert Quinn gets his first sack of the season. STL 24, SEA 23

Titans (2-4) @ Redskins (1-5): Washington has put up some fights this season. They didn’t go down easily against the NFC West and return home to play the lowly Titans. Jordan Reed is now healthy and this offense should find success at home. NFC East > AFC South. WAS 31, TEN 16

Chiefs (2-3) @ Chargers (5-1): The Chargers are firing on all cylinders and have another divisional opponent in their sights this weekend. Oakland exposed a weak spot in San Diego’s defense, stretching the field with a vertical passing attack as Derek Carr tossed four touchdowns. The Chiefs, however, simply don’t have the vertical personnel to replicate that performance; they like to keep the game closer to the line of scrimmage and win short-yardage situations. For that reason, I like San Diego to keep it true at home. SD 29, KC 21

Giants (3-3) @ Cowboys (5-1): Just when the Giants have it all figured out, they don’t. Dallas is peaking right now after winning in Seattle. Victor Cruz is done for the year and the Giants have some more regrouping to do before they go on their next three game winning streak. Dallas returns home to a ruckus crowd and gets it done. DAL 28, NYG 24

Cardinals (4-1) @ Raiders (0-5): Here we are nearly half-way through with the season and Arizona sits atop the NFC West. You could make the argument that Bruce Arians is the best head coach in football right now. Tony Sporano is the new Tom Cable in Oakland as the Raiders have a little more fight in them. Carson Palmer returns to Oakland to put the stamp on the Black Hole. The Raiders won’t make it easy, though. AZ 28, OAK 27

49ers (4-2) @ Broncos (4-1): Death, taxes and Peyton Manning breaking records; History will be made Sunday night as Peyton only needs three more touchdown passes to pass Brett Favre for the all-time record. San Fran can fight but there’s no stopping the inevitable here. DEN 27, SF 23

Houston (3-3) @ Pittsburgh (3-3): No one wants to fall below .500. The Texans played quite well last Thursday and have basically a mini-bye to prepare for a Steelers team that’s in a downward spiral after getting clobbered by the Browns. Arian Foster vs Le’Veon Bell will be a fun battle to watch. Based on morale and time off, I like Houston. J.J. Watt’s on fire. HOU 26, PIT 21

Just A Thought: What Gives, Robert Quinn?

Posted by Jack Tumen

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Rams gave it all they had on Monday night; but the 49ers were just too much to handle. They couldn’t get to Kaepernick and he tore them apart.

In fact, the Rams haven’t gotten to anyone this season. They have just one team sack on defense.

One sack.

Now, Austin Davis has done an admirable job of filling in at QB for this team; but let’s be honest, we all knew the Rams were screwed when Sam Bradford went down. However, it’s becoming apparent that the most important injury for the Rams wasn’t that of their franchise quarterback; it was defensive end, Chris Long.

Last season, Robert Quinn recorded an astounding 19 sacks. Long had himself a respectable 8.5 on the other end of that D-Line. But since Long has been sidelined, Quinn has a total of zero sacks this season. Zero. For a guy who had three seasons worth of sacks a year ago, something just isn’t right here. These two complimented each other as book-ends on a fearsome front.

When healthy, St. Louis has one of the top three defensive lines in the league, up there with Detroit and the Jets. But even the best players need teammates to take some of the pressure off them. Chris Long was that guy for Robert Quinn and it’s showing in a big way in 2014.

Jacked Up Picks: Week 6

Posted by Jack Tumen

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

After Thursday night, I’m at 36-25 for the season.

Byes: Chiefs (2-3), Saints (2-3)

Patriots (3-2) @ Bills (3-2): Not many people would have guessed the Buffalo Bills would be fighting for first place in the AFC East more than one-third into the season. New England reminded their fans why they shouldn’t panic by beating the last unbeaten team in primetime. Buffalo’s coming off a hard-fought win in Detroit that ended with the Lions’ former Head Coach, Jim Schwartz, being carried off the field. This is the first game of the Terry Pegula era in Buffalo. It’s a wrong-place-wrong-time situation for New England.

BUF 27, NE 26

Ravens (3-2) @ Buccaneers (1-4): Baltimore’s coming off a hard-fought loss to Andrew Luck. Tampa Bay spent two-weeks worth of energy trying to upset the Saints in New Orleans in a high-scoring overtime affair. Mike Glennon clearly gives the Bucs their best chance to win games and they’ll give the Ravens a run for their money in this one – But their defense is just too leaky.

BAL 19, TB 17

Steelers (3-2) @ Browns (2-2): In their first meeting, Pittsburgh fell asleep and almost let the Brownies pull off a stunner. Cleveland proved they can ball by pulling off the biggest road comeback in NFL history last week. The Steelers have a tendency to play down to lesser opponents as we saw last week in Jacksonville. Brian Hoyer keeps Johnny Football glued to the bench in this one.

CLE 28, PIT 24

Panthers (3-2) @ Bengals (3-1): Carolina one-upped the Bears at home last week and have proven they can win close games. Cincinnati was a victim of New England’s wrath but they return home where they’re virtually unbeatable, having won their last 11 contests. A.J. Green won’t be playing in this one which will force O.C. Hugh Jackson to get creative; but Carolina’s backfield is decimated with injuries and that doesn’t bode well against Cinci’s front seven.

CIN 29, CAR 20

Broncos (3-1) @ Jets (1-4): There’s just too much turmoil in the Jets’ organization right now for them to realistically compete with Peyton Manning. Unless Mo Wilkerson and company can get to him repeatedly, there’s a chance Peyton hits 508 on Sunday against New York’s decimated secondary.

DEN 35, NYJ 20

Lions (3-2) @ Vikings (2-3): Detroit collapsed at home to Buffalo and they look like they’ll be minus Megatron and Reggie Bush this week. The Vikings should be getting Teddy back after their long week and I think they’ll find a way to win this divisional matchup against a Lion’s team that’s struggling to find its identity.

MIN 23, DET 21

Packers (3-2) @ Dolphins (2-2): Miami’s defense has shadily allowed the second-fewest yards in the league – that stat is about to change. Aaron Rodgers has had a nice long week off since obliterating the Vikings last Thursday. Miami may be coming off their bye week but Joe Philbin needs Aaron Rodgers more than Rodgers needs Philbin.

GB 28, MIA 17

Jaguars (0-5) @ Titans (1-4): For two teams at the bottom of the barrel, one squad has much more to be excited about; that would be the winless Jaguars. Blake Bortles is making Jacksonville look pretty smart for taking him third overall and he’s starting to develop a rapport with his young weapons in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. It’s a team that will grow together over time and I like them to get their first win of the season after Tennessee imploded at home last week.

JAX 27, TEN 21

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Chargers (4-1) @ Raiders (0-4): The first game of the Tony Sporano era won’t be an easy one as the red-hot Chargers come to town. Luckily for the Raiders, they surprisingly excel in defending the Chargers’ strength; they’re fifth in the league in pass defense. However, the sudden emergence of Branden Oliver doesn’t bode well for Oakland’s 31st-ranked rush defense. That kid’s the real deal. San Diego has also allowed just 63 points on the season, the least in the NFL by a hefty margin. Oakland will put up a fight but fall just short.

SD 23, OAK 19

Bears (2-3) @ Falcons (2-3): Points shouldn’t be hard to come by in this one. Both offenses can easily put up 30+ while both defenses can’t stop a nosebleed. Matt Forte should run wild against Atlanta’s bottom-five rush defense. But home-field advantage will be key in this one as the Falcons play like a different team under the dome. Julio Jones finds pay-dirt more than once in this high-scoring affair.

ATL 33, CHI 31

Cowboys (4-1) @ Seahawks (3-1): This could be the best game of the weekend. Seattle allowed Kirk Cousins to find holes in its secondary on Monday night and never put the game completely out of reach until the clock ran out. Dallas has been playing out the best-case scenario of its season thus far, riding DeMarco Murray on offense and disguising weaknesses on defense. In fact, Dallas’ pass defense currently ranks higher than Seattle’s in YPG allowed. Shocker, right? I had a hard time picking this game but I’m going with Russell Wilson at home. The 12th man reminds Tony Romo of the ghost of playoffs past.

SEA 29, DAL 27

Redskins (1-4) @ Cardinals (3-1): Whether it’s Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton or Logan Thomas at quarterback, the Cardinals have the offensive personnel and coaching staff to win games in this league. Bruce Arians and Tom Moore have done a great job of keeping it simple for their guys. Even without Calais Campbell, ‘Zona’s the better team and they win at home.

AZ 24, WAS 17

Giants (3-2) @ Eagles (4-1): Anything can happen in these NFC East battles. The Giants have finally figured out how to win games, pulling off three straight victories. Philly didn’t look all that convincing as they almost let the Rams come back on their own turf. Getting Lane Johnson back didn’t ignite their run game either and with Jason Kelce still out, I’m picking the Giants to improve to 4-2.

NYG 34, PHI 26

49ers (3-2) @ Rams (1-3): Despite their record, the Rams have impressed with Austin Davis at the helm. Jeff Fisher has done a good job of making something out of nothing with a third string quarterback and a bunch of WR2s. San Fran got back on track over the last few weeks, winning two close games at home. The Rams surprisingly allow the fewest passing YPG in the league but allow just about the most on the ground. The 9ers pound the rock well but I’m taking the Rams to win a hard-fought battle at home on Monday Night Football.

STL 22, SF 19

Jacked Up Picks: Thursday Night Football Edition

Posted by Jack Tumen

Andre Luck - Joe Robbins:Getty Images

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

My schedule’s been a little crunched this week so I’m picking this game ahead of the Sunday games in the interest of time.

11-4 was my record last weekend, so I’m at 35-25 for the season.

Colts (3-2) @ Texans (3-2): This game has the potential to be the best Thursday Night Football game of the season; that’s not saying much. There’s nothing that leads me to believe that the quality of this game will be any better than the other TNF match-ups simply because these teams are on four days rest.

Andrew Luck leads the NFL in passing with 1,617 yards, 14 TDs and 6 picks with underwhelming offensive personnel. Reggie Wayne is certainly on the downside of his career while T.Y. Hilton can’t shoulder the weight of a passing attack. Dwayne Allen has been superior to Coby Fleener at tight end and Ahmad Bradshaw is simply better than Trent Richardson in that backfield. With a decimated offensive line, J.J. Watt should have a big impact in this game.

The Colts defense is slightly underrated. Although I like Ryan Fitzpatrick as a gun-slinger, I don’t know if he can keep pace with Luck in a shootout. DeAndre Hopkins could have a big game but it might not be enough. The better team has won these Thursday games and that trend continues in this battle for first place in the AFC South. That team is the Colts.

IND 24, HOU 14

Jacked Up Picks: Week 5

Posted by Jack Tumen

Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Peter Aiken/Getty Images

I squeaked out a winning record last week, going 7-6 which leaves me at 24-21 on the year. Let’s get to it.

Byes: Dolphins (2-2), Raiders (0-4)

Vikings (2-2) @ Packers (2-2): Three Thursday nights in a row; three blowouts. The better team just wins these games and the Packers are the better team in this one. Minnesota lived up to my prediction last week by upsetting the Falcons, but it’s just too quick a turnaround for a hobbled Teddy. Playing at Lambeau doesn’t help either.

GB 31, MIN 17

Bills (2-2) @ Lions (3-1): Buffalo benched E.J. Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton this week – I think that was a huge mistake. It’s just a waste of your first round pick and it completely shatters the development of a young quarterback. Detroit has been a pleasant surprise and their defense should stymie the Bills offense this week.

DET 28, BUF 13

Ravens (3-1) @ Colts (2-2): It’s apparent that Steve Smith is the best offensive weapon for the Ravens right now as he’s third in the NFL in receiving. Joe Flacco would do right by himself to continue feeding him the ball. Andrew Luck is starting to get the Colts in a rhythm as he leads the league in passing. This is a great AFC matchup at this point in the season. I’m going with the Ravens to get a leg up in their division and sack Andrew Luck three times.

BAL 27, IND 21

Browns (1-2) @ Titans (1-3): Tennessee is exactly the team I thought they’d be; leaderless and searching for answers. Cleveland is coming off a bye and should be ready to get back to .500 against the underwhelming Titans who might still be without Jake Locker. The Browns can win a sluggish one.

CLE 13, TEN 7

Bears (2-2) @ Panthers (2-2): Both teams are coming off brutal losses. Carolina’s starting running back this week is Darrin Reaves. Yep. Darrin Reaves. Chicago is much more well suited to bounce back quickly under Marc Trestman than Carolina is under Ron Rivera. Kelvin Benjamin may still find success against the Bear’s weak secondary but this is Chicago’s game to lose, even on the road.

CHI 23, CAR 20

Texans (3-1) @ Cowboys (3-1): The battle for the Lone Star State couldn’t come at a better time. J.J. Watt and co. have a real challenge ahead of them against DeMarco Murray and the league’s best rushing attack. The Cowboys’ defense has exceeded expectations and could give Ryan Fitzpatrick fits all afternoon. It would be hugely disappointing if Dallas lost.

DAL 27, HOU 17

Steelers (2-2) @ Jaguars (0-4): I called Pittsburgh’s letdown last week against the winless Bucs. Dare I say they let another winless team get its first “W” as well? Pittsburgh is having some concerning internal issues and injuries on defense will be hard to overcome over the next few weeks. Blake Bortles should have a better outing but anything less than 10/150/2 for Antonio Brown would be a letdown.

PIT 34, JAX 24

Buccaneers (1-3) @ Saints (1-3): Strangely enough, these are the two teams scrapping it out at the bottom of the NFC South. Tampa Bay found life last week with Mike Glennon at the helm. New Orleans’ main concern is on offense as Drew Brees hasn’t been able to find any rhythm with his guys. Tampa couldn’t get the Saints at a better time; but under the dome is a hard place to win.

NO 26, TB, 19

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Falcons (2-2) @ Giants (2-2): The Giants have it figured out, for now. Atlanta predictably let one slide against the Vikes and their defense isn’t equipped to deal with Rashad Jennings and Larry Donnell. Barring a Giant-like setback, Eli and co. should take care of business.

NYG 24, ATL 21

Rams (1-2) @ Eagles (3-1): Philly’s ready to bounce back after getting dominated by San Fran. Even off the bye, it would take a miracle for St. Louis to outscore the Eagles. Brian Quick just isn’t enough.

PHI 33, STL 21

Cardinals (3-0) @ Broncos (2-1): Both squads are coming off byes and are top-five in the power rankings. Arizona’s played mistake-free football under Bruce Arians – but Drew Stanton might not cut it this week. If Carson Palmer can’t go, Peyton should be able to take care of business. The Cardinals aren’t going down without a fight, though.

DEN 28, ARI 26

Chiefs (2-2) @ 49ers (2-2): A battle of unknowns. Kansas City humiliated the Patriots on national television and displayed great balance on offense. San Fran was able to manhandle Philly’s high-flying offense as Nick Foles looked lost. Alex Smith returns to the Bay Area to settle the score, but home field advantage might be what tips the scale in this one.

SF 20, KC 16

Jets (1-3) @ Chargers (3-1): San Diego’s the hottest team in football right now. The Jets are better than their record says, losing by only one score in each of their last three games. The Chargers have zero run game and if they were playing any other defense I’d make the argument that a balanced attack is key – but the Jets’ secondary is mighty vulnerable and Philip Rivers might end up throwing the ball 50 times. It could be a trap game for the Chargers, but until I see Gang Green turn it around, I just can’t pick them.

SD 29, NYJ 24

Bengals (3-0) @ Patriots (2-2): A top-five team will be a great litmus test for the Patriots if they think they can bounce back. Another primetime defeat will be the end-all-be-all for New England’s reputation as an AFC powerhouse. Bill Belichick can’t draft wide receivers for his life and that’s apparent more than ever. Cinci’s stout defense takes care of the Brady Bunch.

CIN 31, NE 21

Seahawks (2-1) @ Redskins (1-3): Kirk Cousins took a step back last Thursday. He’s had a nice long week to think about how he’ll approach the Legion of Boom…The Legion of Boom have also had two weeks to think about how they’ll approach him.

SEA 30, WAS 20

 

Enjoy the weekend.

NFL Quarterly Report: Wake Me Up When September Ends

Posted by Jack Tumen

Gregory Shamus

Gregory Shamus

Believe it or not, the NFL season is 25% complete. After the first month of play, it’s time to hand out some awards and evaluate who’s up and who’s down.

All-First Quarter Team: Through the first four games, there are some clear standouts. Players that sat out on the week four bye are eliminated from consideration, so keep in mind that these stats will only reflect players who started all four September games. Consider this a fantasy team of sorts.

QB – Philip Rivers: The savvy gunslinger completed 70.1% of his passes in September, only behind Drew Brees. His 1,155 passing yards were good for sixth while his 8.43 yards per attempt led all QBs. He and Aaron Rodgers are the only passers to own a 9:1 touchdown-interception ratio this season. Most importantly, he’s led his team to a 3-1 start while taking down the defending champs in the process. Rivers has been revived.

RB – DeMarco Murray: This Cowboy is currently on pace for 2,408 yards and 20 touchdowns; 303 more yards than Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. His 99 rushing attempts lead the league as Dallas is truly committed to running the ball behind that stout offensive line. 534 rushing yards through four games is pretty unheard of. Murray is clearly the best back in football.

WR – Antonio Brown: With his 7/131/2 performance on Sunday, Brown completed his 20th consecutive game with at least five catches and 50 receiving yards – an NFL record. He’s tied for first with five receiving touchdowns and is fourth with 427 yards. Out of all the top wideouts in the league, Brown is the only guy without a proven compliment playing across from him, making the volume of his production that much more impressive. He’s clearly the top option in Pittsburgh’s offense and is one of the best weapons in the league.

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

WR – Jordy Nelson: He leads the league in receptions and yards. Even with the dangerous Randall Cobb playing across from him, Nelson continues to be the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers. He won’t be slowing down any time soon.

TE – Martellus Bennett: It’s easy to go with Jimmy Graham here; he leads all tight ends with receptions and yards and is clearly the top weapon for New Orleans. But what makes Bennett so impressive is the fact that he’s really the fourth best offensive option for Chicago behind Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. Bennett has one more touchdown than Graham and has been unstoppable in the red zone. For a journeyman, he’s doing quite well for himself.

O-Line – Bengals: This is the only bye week exception I’m making in this post. It’s noteworthy that Andy Dalton has been sacked zero times through his first three games. Every other team has surrendered at least three sacks thus far.

K – Dan Bailey: He hasn’t missed a kick in his last 29 attempts, a Cowboys’ record. Kickers like Bailey are hard to come by. He’s the definition of automatic.

Front Seven – Jets: Despite being 1-3, the Jets allow the fewest rushing yards in the NFL and lead the league in sacks with 14. They’re undeniably elite.

Secondary – None: There haven’t been any shutdown secondaries through the first four games; you can pretty much throw the ball on anyone. The Patriots allow the fewest passing yards per game, but after Monday’s performance, that stat is pretty fluky. Detroit’s notable as well.

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Offensive ROY – Kelvin Benjamin: The former Seminole is a top-10 receiver through the first quarter of the season, amassing 329 yards and three TDs. He’s a matchup nightmare for defenses and is clearly the best offensive weapon for the Panthers right now; and yes, by that I mean better than Cam Newton.

Defensive ROY – Kyle Fuller: He’s currently tied for a league-high three interceptions and has forced two fumbles. His football instincts are off the charts and his presence is huge for a reeling Chicago secondary. Fuller is a star in the making.

Breakout Player – Larry Donnell: The Giants once again produce a quality tight end that no one has ever heard of before. Donnell’s three touchdown performance last Thursday put him squarely on the map. He’s currently top-10 in receptions league-wide and should become Eli’s security blanket going forward.

Surprise Teams – San Diego, Dallas and Houston: The Chargers are the hottest team in football right now and it’s fun watching Philip Rivers slice up defenses week in and week out. Mike McCoy has done a great job of turning around Rivers’ career just as it was tailing off; The Cowboys’ defense has held up much better than most anticipated. After they stifled Drew Brees in primetime, you have to imagine that if they play decently, their offense can ultimately act as the defense. I mention Houston mainly because of record. Their schedule is pathetically easy but they could be a problem for the Colts in that division as Houston takes care of it’s patty-cake opponents.

Letdown Teams – The Entire NFC South + New England: Atlanta is predictably 2-2 with a great offense and shoddy defense. Carolina’s offense continues to sputter and its defense just isn’t the same elite unit it was a year ago. Tampa Bay finally clawed out its first win but I thought this Lovie Smith team would be better; Mike Glennon is clearly the better option at quarterback. But the Saints – what is going on with the Saints, man? I still believe in Drew Brees but the fact that they couldn’t figure out the Cowboy’s swiss-cheese defense is disturbing. As for the Patriots, that Logan Mankins trade may turn out to be the move that ended the Brady-Belichick era

League MVP – DeMarco Murray: Now that he’s finally staying healthy for an extended period of time (knock on wood) we’re finally being treated to the “real” DeMarco. This kid is one special player and the Cowboys are doing a great job of featuring him on offense even with guys like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten around. With that offensive line bullying its opponents, it’ll be fun to kick back and watch DeMarco run wild. No player means more to his team’s success right now than Murray.

We’ll reassess again at halftime.

Coming Up: Week 5 Picks