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# Gridiron
The Redzone: Cry me a Rivers
To the detriment of many fantasy owners, Philip Rivers is having a very poor season. However, Steven O’Rourke thinks he can turn it around in time for the Chargers to make the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (6-0) @ San Diego Chargers (4-3)

IT TELLS YOU just how far Philip Rivers’ stock has fallen when fantasy football managers, so often a key indicator of how well a player is doing, are dismayed that they are unable to drop the Chargers quarterback.

Not trade Rivers, drop him. They know nobody, not even the guy who drafted the kicker in the fifth round, is stupid enough to accept Rivers in a trade.

Rivers, in his eight season out of North Carolina State, has thrown just seven touchdowns in as many games this season. On top of that he has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled six times this season including a critical turnover on Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With the score at 20 apiece and just 48 seconds on the clock, the Chargers had a first down at the Chiefs 15 yard line. All Rivers had to do was hand the ball off, run down the clock and let his kicker bring San Diego to 5-2.

Instead, he fumbled the routine snap and the Chiefs went on to win in overtime.

On Sunday he faces Aaron Rodgers who has almost three times as many touchdowns (20) and just three turnovers.

With the Packers coming off a bye week and an undefeated season still very much a possibility, the omens don’t look good for San Diego.

Yet, there is hope.

Green Bay are ranked 31st against the pass, giving up 289 yards a game, and in their last game before the bye they relied on an almost perfect performance from Rodgers to overcome Christian Ponder and the lowly Minnesota Vikings.

If the Chargers secondary can contain Rodgers — no easy task, mind — Rivers certainly has the talent to take advantage of the Packers’ one weakness.

Verdict: This prediction will probably come back to haunt me when the Packers win by 30 points but form is temporary, class is permanent. Rivers is too good to continue being this bad and the Packers have to lose eventually. Chargers by 6+.

New York Jets (4-3) @ Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Few would have predicted nine weeks ago that the New York Jets would come into this game needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

However, the Bills sit proudly atop the AFC East with the biggest points total in the American Football Conference (211) while the Jets have struggled to get anything going on offence and are currently ranked 29th in the NFL.

It’s unlikely that three teams from this division will make the postseason this year and this fixture has all the trappings of a winner-takes-all playoff game.

Verdict: The Jets have lost both games following a bye since Rex Ryan took over in 2009 while the Bills are looking to win their first five home games for the first time in 16 years. Bills by 9+.

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Baltimore Ravens (5-2) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2)

Week one showed that this match up, along with Cowboys/Eagles and Jets/Patriots, is one of the best rivalries in the NFL.

Following a 35-7 hammering, the Steelers left Maryland that day with their tails firmly between their legs while Ravens fans began to whisper the words “Super Bowl.”

However, the Ravens have been very much hit and miss since then, losing to both the Titans and the Jaguars and needing a late game rally to overcome a 21-point deficit and beat the Arizona Cardinals last week.

The Steelers on the other hand have been virtually flawless, going 5-1 in the six games since including an impressive victory over the New England Patriots last week with their only loss coming to the Houston Texans.

Verdict: The Steelers’ two losses this season have come in the only two games they’ve allowed a running back to have more than 100 yards rushing. Given the form Ray Rice is in, Ravens by 6+.

All fixtures and predictions

  • New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills – Bills
  • Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys – Cowboys
  • Cleveland Browns @ Houston Texans – Texans
  • Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts – Falcons
  • Miami Dolphins @ Kansas City Chiefs – Chiefs
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints – Saints
  • San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 49ers
  • Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders – Raiders
  • Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans – Bengals
  • St. Louis Rams @ Arizona Cardinals – Cardinals
  • New York Giants @ New England Patriots – Patriots
  • Green Bay Packers @ San Diego Chargers – Chargers
  • Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Ravens
  • Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles – Eagles

Steven O’Rourke is the Offensive Co-ordinator of Tullamore Phoenix American Football Club, winners of the IAFL DV8s national title in 2010 and 2011. Tullamore are always recruiting new players so, if you’d like to play football and not just read about it, Steven would love to hear from you.