I would like to state my envy for the surrounding areas of Denver, as well as half of Nebraska.
The aforementioned regions of the United States are the ONLY areas not being subjected to this game, and that’s only due to the Denver Broncos having a 4 PM EST home game against the New York Jets that blacks out FOX’s late game.
Can you imagine this? Two teams who have shown next to no redeeming qualities this season are given a coveted late game spot, simply because a few players involved have “tabloid implications”.
In a normal scenario, if Favre, Tony Romo, Randy Moss, or Jerry Jones had no bearing on this game, you might find it switched out to 1 PM, whereas a game featuring the 2-2 Seahawks at 4-1 Chicago, or even 4-1 Atlanta on the road against 3-2 Philadelphia, would get the designated 4 PM slot, since the interest is supposed to be rooted in putting the most intriguing matchup forward for the majority of the fans.
But hey, it’s the TMZ era. What could be more intriguing than watching either never-gonna-give-it-up, gonna-keep-pants-down Brett Favre, or “you better make it to the Super Bowl and play in your own stadium, or it’s going to make our prognostication look bad” Tony Romo, wind up 1-4 and in a deep hole?
Boy, the media we have to live with. Favre or Romo are the golden children, and if they suck, the headlines don’t go to the winners. They go to why Favre and Romo suck.
Speaking of suck, I regressed in my picks last week to break-even, ending up 7-7 for the week. The late games Sunday killed me, as I’d chosen New Orleans, San Diego, and Dallas, with disastrous results. But hey, new week, new opportunity, so hey, won’t ya join me?
WEEK 5: 7-7
FOR THE YEAR: 41-35
14. Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Eric Mangini, you heartwarming scamp, you. Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme have some issues with their respective ankles, so you’re thinking about wetting Colt McCoy’s feet, which is fine, but against Pittsburgh’s defense? That’s like teaching your son to drive on the Autobahn with a blindfold. Ben Roethlisberger returns, and I think he’ll be fine as long as the defense does what it’s been doing, and that’s annihilating quarterbacks. McCoy is not going to survive this one without taking a beating.
SCORE: Steelers 31, Browns 10
13. Chicago over Seattle
I’m intrigued by this match-up, but my Spidey sense tells me that the Bears are going to continue pasting everything in their path. Seattle’s schizo “we’re good/we suck” act is the only real monkey wrench I see shutting down Mike Martz’s CutlerTron 3000, but it’s a safe bet that Matt Forte’s not going to go home without being a fantasy hero again. On a side note, poor Todd Collins. Throw four interceptions and you not only get put right back on the bench behind Cutler, but behind Caleb Hanie as well. Caleb Hanie? Yeouch.
SCORE: Bears 27, Seahawks 10
12. New York Giants over Detroit
I like the Lions, because they finally snapped like some bullied four-eyed kid in junior high and laid into one of their 31 tormentors. Of course, they beat up the kid who bullies them and is often bullied themselves (St. Louis), but Detroit really showed some pop in those punches. Sadly, they face a real bully this week, and that’s a defense that Tom Coughlin has apparently scared straight. Knock Jay Cutler out? Check. Embarrass Houston’s offense? Check. Unless they have a letdown, the Giants are going to leave Detroit stuffed in their own locker.
SCORE: Giants 27, Lions 13
Peyton Manning loses to Jacksonville, and then can’t get anything going offensively against Kansas City. I’d say this is as good a time as any for the Peyton Manning Bounceback Special, sponsored by Sony. What could be more fun than watching Manning light up DeAngelo Hall for three hours? The Redskins will fare well on offense, as long as the Colts spotty run defense can’t shut down Ryan Torain, but it’s still Peyton in primetime. Manning will have one of those career days we’ve become accustomed to, and it puts Indy back into consideration for a Super Bowl pick.
SCORE: Colts 37, Redskins 21
10. New Orleans over Tampa Bay
I remain like Bart Simpson at Kamp Krusty, when the corrupt businessman and the bullies ran the place, and it rendered Bart a bug-eyed delude, staring straight ahead, mumbling “Krusty is coming, Krusty is coming” to try and remain optimistic. I’m the same way when it comes to the dominant Saints, who have yet to dominate this season, or even vaguely resemble their old championship selves. I’m going to keep picking them until they dominate someone, so I can claim credit for their turnaround. This seems like a reasonable strategy.
SCORE: Saints 27, Buccaneers 14
9. New York Jets over Denver
It’s a demolition derby game. That’s when one wrecking machine and another collide, and one of them invariably gets blown to smithereens. Kyle Orton is, for some reason, one of the most prolific passers in the league this season, though those reasons probably have to do with “garbage time throws” and “being Josh McDaniels’ meal ticket”. Staring them down is that Jets defense that batted Brett Favre around like a fieldmouse before devouring him on Monday Night. Something tells me that Orton’s numbers are going to dip jussssssst a little bit.
SCORE: Jets 31, Broncos 17
8. Tennessee over Jacksonville
It’s Monday Night, all my rowdy friend will be here for Monday Night, and they’ll all be there to watch Chris Johnson put on his performance of the season. I think he’s due, and I think the Jags are riding too high right now. There’s nothing better than The Chris Johnson Experience opening up a can, especially when he knows the cameras are on him. On the other side of the ball, everyone overlooks Tennesee’s defense, which ranges between “bend but don’t break” and “surprisingly dominant at times”. David Garrard may not have such an easy night.
SCORE: Titans 28, Jaguars 17
7. San Francisco over Oakland
Yes, I’m THAT confident. They HAVE to win, and it has to happen yesterday. Mike Singletary’s rah rah speech to Alex Smith, one that looked more like a Scared Straight special, played all through the week on NFL Network, and that’s the type of thing that drives a man to succeed. Oakland has a Star Wars motif, so why not just treat the defense like 11 hapless Stormtroopers? Smith gets it done this week and, at 1-5, finds himself in striking distance of the NFC West lead. Seriously.
SCORE: 49ers 24, Raiders 14
6. Kansas City over Houston
Why not ride the trend some more? KC’s defense managed to leave Peyton Manning more confused and bothered than a blinded Melissa Etheridge in a fish market, and Houston just gets beat by defenses who bring it. Romeo Crennel’s D gives no quarter, and they won’t Sunday. Houston’s going to put up some points, but so will the Chiefs, and could happen on a pick-six or two.
SCORE: Chiefs 24, Texans 17
5. Minnesota over Dallas
I choose to not give these two teams any more attention, lest I be accused of being one of George Bodenheimer’s relatives. So here’s my score.
SCORE: Vikings 24, Cowboys 17
4. Philadelphia over Atlanta
What’s the time? Homer time. What’s the time? Homer time. Atlanta’s the best team in the NFC right now as far as I’m concerned, but the Eagles did manage to stuff Frank Gore on Sunday, and they’re capable of doing the same to Michael Turner (provided no early letdown). Atlanta’s struggled against some bad teams like Cleveland and San Francisco, so the Eagles, if they play mistake free, have a good shot at taking this one. The interesting subplot will be seeing if they implement Jerome Harrison right off the bat and allow him and LeSean McCoy to confuse the Falcons’ sometimes suspect defense.
SCORE: Eagles 20, Falcons 17
3. Miami over Green Bay
It seems more than likely that Matt Flynn will make his starting debut after Aaron Rodgers had his brain scrambled on Sunday against the Redskins. Either way, healthy Flynn or dizzy Rodgers, I like Miami’s chances. Here’s a team that, when you get past their crappy special teams output against New England, still have a constricting defense. Lately, Green Bay’s been hindered by not having a running game, and now with both tight ends and Rodgers on the mend, their offense is in dire need of a jump start. A rejuvenated Chad Henne, as well as a steady offensive burst from Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, send the Packers to 3-3
SCORE: Dolphins 24, Packers 20
2. St. Louis over San Diego
Injury to Mark Clayton and pasting by the Lions aside, I really like the Rams. I like them more than the Chargers, who beat themselves more than the average male teen. The Chargers defense, old gray man, she ain’t what she used to be, and Sam Bradford has the capacity to learn things as he goes along. I think he takes the embarrassing loss to the Lions to heart, and then works extra hard to beat a team in disarray like San Diego. This seems like a good day for Steven Jackson to run wild. Someone should ask the Chargers if they miss LaDainian Tomlinson yet.
SCORE: Rams 21, Chargers 20
1. New England over Baltimore
It’s like a Super Bowl MVP summit: Tom Brady, Ray Lewis, and now the legendary Deion Branch comes home to Foxboro. I smell a tightly contested game, with Flacco and Brady getting picked several times and frustration sets in before Wes Welker comes through with a desperation touchdown to seal it for the Pats. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting game, a rematch of a blowout playoff game from January, and I’m more interested in seeing this than Four Inch Favre and Tony Baloney anyday.
SCORE: Patriots 14, Ravens 13
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