Friday, October 16, 2009

NFL Weekend Preview: Week 6

The Saints and Giants clash in the Superdome this weekend in a game that may just go a long way to determining NFC Home Field Advantage.

The NFL has blessed us this weekend by giving us multiple good games this week. If last weekend was clean out the garage week, this weekend is get out to the sports bar week. We are about a month or so away from Thanksgiving, but this is an excellent week to give thanks to the football gods for the bounty we are about to receive. Now if I can just get both of my fantasy teams to win on the same weekend, I’ll be set! Anyway, on to the picks…

Bengals 27 Texans 14 – As a fantasy owner of both Matt Schaub and Steve Slaton, I’d like to see the Texans start putting it together offensively. The Bengals surely will be flexed at some point this season to a primetime game, right? Has there been a more interesting team week in and week out? Bill Simmons mentioned in his column this week that they have not yet had an uninteresting game, plus having the whole HBO Hard Knocks angle as well, this team’s Q-rating has shot through the roof. They are now known for more than just having an outspoken receiver who gave himself a goofy name. Plus, they are a solid team to boot. Good job by the Bengals so far this season. This game feels like it could be a letdown game, but I’m going to stick with the Bengals until they give me a reason not to do so.

Packers 24 Lions 21 – I attended the Packers-Lions game last season at Lambeau. (Read about it here) The Packers put the finishing touches on the Lions winless season, but despite the Lions ending winless with a 31-21 loss, they put up a good fight in Green Bay, and there were some nervous moments for the Packers faithful. I expect that the Packers win, just because they have to make a statement that they can beat a terrible team at home after a bye when their super talented receiver is out with an injury. If the Pack loses this game, I am officially throwing in the towel on their chances. Lets just say that I’m regretting picking them to win the Super Bowl and leave it at that.

Ravens 31 Vikings 27 – Unlike last week, the NFL is providing us with some extremely tasty match ups this week. Here is one of the first of those games that look to be very good on paper. Despite the fact that they are coming off consecutive losses to the Patriots and Bengals, I still believe that the Ravens are a very good team. Playing the red hot Vikings in Minnesota is not an easy way to break a losing skid, but one thing that I feel like has been lost in the Vikings is that it’s not like they are taking down contenders every week. Their wins so far have come against a pathetic Browns team, a sad Lions team, a team in the Rams who may challenge for worst team ever, a team in Green Bay who I am this close to dropping like a bad habit, and a team in the 49ers that looked good right up until they lost 45-10 to the Falcons last week. Plus, there is the threat of the Favre late season collapse lingering around Minnesota like the elephant in the room, and lets not forget that they have THIS MAN in charge of the whole Viking ship. (Seeing Brad Childress in charge of a salad bar would make me nervous.) I’m not guaranteeing that the ship hits an iceberg when late November rolls around, but I’m just saying it’s not outside the realm of possibility either.

Saints 33 Giants 30 – Is there any doubt this is the game of the week? If you go by my power rankings, and lets face it…practically everyone does. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I am delusional, thank you for asking!) These are the #2 and #3 teams in the NFL going head to head. I really like watching the Saints play, they may or may not be good enough to win a championship, but I am hoping that they get close this season, as I don’t know if there is another team that plays offense more beautifully. When they are playing at their peak efficiency, Drew Brees feels like he’s conducting a symphony. The Giants have been obliterating people, even with a gimpy quarterback. Not that obliterating the Raiders means much, pretty much Don Knotts, the California Atoms, a European immigrant, and a kicking donkey could beat the Raiders. (I need to see Gus again.) However, the Giants look good against everyone, and I won’t be surprised if they do win this game, but I’m going to take New Orleans because I want them to win and I think they’re really good.

Steelers 23 Browns 10 – The Steelers don’t seem to have the same fire this season, perhaps it’s the “Disease of More” syndrome where teams that win championships lose their hunger to do the little things they need to do to win. I just don’t know if Pittsburgh is playing anywhere near well enough to repeat. They shouldn’t have to play at their peak to win this week however, as the Browns are another one of those absolutely dreadful teams. Here is guessing that Derek Anderson improves from last week’s performance. If he doesn’t he can’t stay behind center much longer, it’s not like Brady Quinn was setting the world ablaze when he was starting earlier, but 2-17 with an interception is comically bad. (I thankfully didn’t see the game, so I have no idea how Buffalo was unable to beat a team with a quarterback that completed only 2 passes, but that is a remarkable achievement.) It’s a shame that this game that used to be such a big rivalry now has all the excitement of a stack of Federal Tax forms.

Panthers 16 Buccaneers 9 – This is an all points bulletin for the Carolina running game. Last year, they recognized that because their quarterback was a bit lacking in the skills that make one a good quarterback that it might be a good idea to lean heavy into the run game. This year they have only gone over 100 yards as a team one time. That is insane to me, as why go away from the one thing that both gave you an identity and victories? John Fox has long been deemed a solid NFL coach, but something is wrong on his offense right now, and more Jake Delhomme is probably not the route to victory. That said, I’m still going with the Panthers to win, because Tampa…not so good.

Chiefs 13 Redskins 10 – Ugh, I have zero interest in watching this game. I sincerely hope that the local Denver television affiliate doesn’t decide to air this game just because the Chiefs are in the Broncos division. That happens far too often around here, and I get stuck watching Raiders and Chiefs games when I’d much rather watch teams capable of stringing together two consecutive first downs. The Redskins are favored by as many as eight and a half points in this one, and while they MIGHT be better than Kansas City, Washington probably shouldn’t be giving more than two or three points to anybody. This is a team who only has two wins overall and they are by two points to the Rams and three points to the Bucs, the Skins might win this game, but despite how atrocious Kansas City obviously is, I have a hard time seeing the Chiefs lose by more than a handful of points, and I’m actually going to take the Chiefs to win outright. This may turn into this week’s version of the horrible Bills-Browns game that ended 6-3. I am not expecting a fantastic contest in our nation’s capital.

Jaguars 33 Rams 13 – This is how weird the NFL can be. The Jags lost their game last week 41-0 to a team that was 1-3 when the game started, and yet the Rams are so terrible that the Jags are favored by over ten points in Vegas. Not only that, but if I were in Vegas, I would gladly put a few bucks on the Jaguars because I think they should easily cover the spread, even though they themselves are not very good at all. Let me know if any of that made sense, because my head is spinning.

Seahawks 24 Cardinals 23 – I actually feel like this is going to be a dynamite game to watch. If Seattle wants to salvage it’s season, this is about as close to a must win game as it gets, and perhaps they are revitalized after laying wood to the Jags last week. I got to see first hand last month how the Seahawks have some pretty devout fans, and I’m going to give a very slight nudge to them because of the home field advantage and the fact that the Cardinals don’t have a long history of travelling well. Arizona is not what you would call a consistent team, when they are good they can beat anyone and when they are bad they can lose to anyone, so I don’t feel like I have much of a read on this game at all. When it doubt, go with your heart, and I sorta dig the Seahawks as long as they avoid the snot green uniforms. (Although even those unis are growing on me.)

Eagles 50 Raiders 3 – How high would the spread have to be on this one for me to bet on the Raiders? Yup, 48 points. The Eagles are solid, and the Raiders are continuing what is quickly becoming their annual tradition of slow starts rapidly devolving into the team quitting on whoever Al Davis hired to run the train wreck this year. This year we have the added perk of the guy they are collectively quitting on perhaps being indicted on felony assault charges for attacking one of his assistant coaches. God, I love what the Raiders have become; you can practically set your watch to their implosion each year now. Oh, it’s early October, I guess the Raiders are quitting again…YUP!

Patriots 27 Titans 17 – The Pats have to be licking their wounds after having Josh McDaniels and the Broncos come back from a 17-7 deficit in the second half. This is the sort of thing that isn’t supposed to happen to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Fortunately for New England, they have a snake bit Titans team headed to Foxborough this Sunday which should help get them healthy and back to their winning ways. The Titans were perhaps playing over their heads last year, but when people start to make rumblings that perhaps it is time to get Vince Young behind center that may be a sign that it’s not your year.

Jets 26 Bills 6 – Buffalo has the stink of failure on their team, and they are heading to the Meadowlands for a date with a Jets team that has to be ticked after losing their last two games. The Jets seem to be a significantly better team, they are playing at home, and they didn’t just lose a game in which they allowed only six points and lost, so signs seem to be pointing towards an easy Jets victory. Although you might not know if you rode in my car with me, I like to follow signs. I’m taking the Jets to win big, Book it!

Bears 20 Falcons 19 – After a less than stellar pairing of Colts and Titans last week, NBC must be thrilled to have what looks to be a good game on tap. The Bears are on a three game win streak, and the Falcons have looked great apart from one less than stellar week at New England. I’m expecting a big game from Jay Cutler and company this week, as a win in Atlanta would be a solid victory for the Bears hopes, and I just feel like they have it in them after resting last weekend. Between this game, Saints vs. Giants, Bengals vs. Texans, Seahawks vs. Cardinals, Broncos vs. Chargers, and Vikings vs. Ravens, this may be a memorable weekend of NFL football.

Chargers 24 Broncos 17 – I do believe in the Broncos, really I do. I think they have an excellent chance of winning this game and this division. However, the Chargers need this one worse than Denver does, the game is in San Diego which has been a bit of a house of horrors the past few years for the Broncs, and I think it’s possible that with the victory over the Pats, the week of adulation in the media, and Josh McDaniels’ many fist pumps after the game last week that Denver may be reading their press clippings a bit too much this week. This game scares me, because after all the good vibes of the first five games, the Broncos are due for a little rain to fall in their lives. I’m going to also be a little superstitious, because I’ve picked against them more than I’ve picked them thus far, and it’s been working. So I’ll say that the Chargers get an important win and the Broncos head off to their bye week licking their wounds just a little and getting ready for the gauntlet that is the final 10 games on the schedule. I’m excited for the game not just because it’s a huge tussle in the AFC West, but also because we’re going to see the road version of the 1960’s uniform, and the accompanying white and brown vertically striped socks. So that is exciting for me, as I am guessing (and hoping) that this is the last time I’ll see them in those uniforms. I dig the old retro stuff, but it’s one of those things they only need to break out every fifty years or so to keep it special. Plus, although I love them, I’m man enough to admit that they are amazingly ugly. Anyway, GO BRONCOS!

My Picks Scorecard:

Last Week: 8-6
Season to Date: 51-25

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