Beat The Man - Week Five

Silly Schleprock…Trix are for kids! Can our prescient prognosticator out-do The Man in the arena? With a Yakuza smile, Scott Jones assures us that it must be so.

Rope-a-dope with The Man… must be what we’re playin’ this year.

The question is: Which one of us is Muhammad Ali?

Last Week: 2-2
Season to Date: 7-6 (swell)

This week I’m going with 5 relatively secure picks to get off the ropes with. Been an interesting season so far. The Jets are 3-0… Tennessee is 1-3. The GiNats are 3-1… DC is 1-3. The Falcons are 4-0… the Panthers at the bottom. Strange days indeed.

However, the mix this week will reflect I remain committed to my pre-season picks. Blind faith? I don’t think so. Stubbornness? Is there a gambler that isn’t? Foolishness? I prefer to think not, but we’ll likely find out who’s the dope and who’s the rope this week… (and thank God Philly has a Bye!).

MINN –4.5 @ HOU
So last week the Texans made Kerry Collins look like… the guy the Giants got rid of. Three picks and a Defensive TD will usually earn you a win. And it did. Does that mean the Texans, who have made more waffles than the House of Pancakes with their play this year – are 5 points close to Minnesota? I don’t think so.

Minnesota has been a disappointment. After lighting up the Dallas secondary, they stumbled in Philly and followed that with an unimpressive win vs. Chicago. Their Defense has not shown the improvement expected of them (note: us Seattle fans have to be happy about that. You betcha!). Does this mean they’re no better than 5 points at Texas? Please, don’t be ridiculous.

If Minnesota cannot beat the Texans this week, in this position, coming off a Bye week? I will no longer consider them a threat to the rest of the league. It will mean they are once again nothing more than a misguided team of spineless character. A collection of athletically gifted dweebs. Which is a bit interesting, because the Texans exhibit some pretty strong character – though they’re still trying to figure out who they are (particularly without Domanick Davis. And a questionable thumb on QB David Carr). Yet, does anyone really believe this is the moment that the Texans become a team… and the Vikings succumb to their wounds? Football is a lot about talent, and a lot about heart. The Vikings have too much talent not to show some true heart and put a stamp on their season right here, and right now.

And I’m willing to bet that they will…

ATL –7.5 vs. DET
I’m just loving the job HC Jim Mora is doing in Atlanta right now. They are flying around and making things happen. Playing with a purpose. Daring and inspired. I’m convinced they’ll keep us on our toes in wk 17 at home (which is good, cuz we might need a reminder to stay focused in that game – heading into the playoffs).

DE Patrick Kerney has a league leading 7 sacks in 4 games, complimenting Brady Smith’s 3 on the other side, while Raiders cast-off Rod Coleman has 3 from the interior. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, that’s 13 sacks from the D-line. In addition, Brady and Coleman are among the team leaders in tackles - with double digits. The scheme appears to be: send the backers like a swarm and funnel the play into the hands of their more than capable D-Line and LB Keith Brooking (note to x-coach Dan Reeves: This is a good plan when you have a thin LB corps, and 2 athletically gifted DE’s. As opposed to YOUR plan of removing a Lineman and adding another fringe LB’er in there so you can play a 3-4 for absolutely no damned good reason. Thank you coach Mora for being a guy that makes sense… and for leaving San Francisco). This means QB Harrington, who has hardly looked impressive, will be playing patty cake dump-off all day – or forcing throws to the only thing he can see downfield, rookie WR Roy Williams.

Detroit proved to me in the Philly game that they are simply not ready yet. They were plainly outclassed by a far superior team. The only concern here is that Detroit has been very stout in stuffing the run. While ATL has been averaging 5.1 a rush and banking on it. Waterbug Dunn may be absent this game (Thu/prob). Which means we’ll be seeing TJ Duckett slamming helmets with the beef that is the success of Detroit’s Run Defense. One thing in our favor there? Duckett is fresh – his playing time has been VERY limited (I know, cuz I’m stuck starting him every week in my fantasy league) and he is just itching to get out there and knock some ass in the grass. (Keep in mind, Duckett’s been riding the bench with 121 yds/5.0 carry avg. While Dunn got the carries and a 4.3 score. And Run Defense means very little when Michael Vick and his 6.7/carry feet are on the field.)

I’d feel better giving 7 or less, but the Falcons have earned my respect and I will proudly lay my money on the table for them… and a Red Hook, please.

JAX –3.5 @ SD
My, my, what a pasting the Chargers put on the Titans last week. That’s a de-cleater! Shocking. The stat-line on that game is just baffling. Yeah, it’s baffling… Like, we can agree on that right? Does the fact that you’re baffled lead you to believe that the Chargers can be expected to have another performance like that this week? Sometimes betting is simple…

The Jags kept it tight last week, forcing the Colts to score with 3min remaining for a BTM win last week (as I said then, no laughing matter). Leftwich had an impressive game, surpassing my expectations with a 300yd day. Their headline D held a red-hot Peyton Manning to 220 yds and 2TD’s, Edgerrin James to 83yds and 1 TD, Harrison to 4 catches and 45 yds, the Colts themselves to 24 pts. (Again, the Jags only managed 17, and that just isn’t enough). Overall, I’d say they managed what they could against the league’s most potent offense.

Now they face the Bolts coming off a cotton-candy win. The reality is the Chargers are not NEARLY that good and everyone knows it. The stat-line says the Jags will have trouble running the ball (as they have all year w/Taylor) and meet great opportunity with the pass. I’ve got a feeling this is the game we begin to hear about Reggie Williams. Jacksonville has a real chance to blow up big in this game, and I think they will. They are going to hold “L.T.” in check and just PUNISH the Chargers through the air. Giving them zero opportunity at a comeback on the arm of Drew Brees. I think we see a blow-out opposite from last week. In fact, as I wrote this up… it just became alarmingly certain.

Jax gets back on track. And that’s that.

CAR +5.5 @DEN

Now, I told you at the beginning of the year that the AFC WEST would be one of the more interesting divisions this year – since it’s an absolute mystery as to who is any good.

Right now Denver is 3-1, having beaten KC, the aforementioned Bolts, and a winless Tampa Bay. Is anyone impressed with them? I’m not very impressed. Their running game has quieted severely since Quentin Griffin set the cameras on fire in wk1 (now w/a 3.6 avg). Jake Plummer has been serviceable if unspectacular.

Carolina now has a chance to redeem themselves following a beating at the hands of the Falcons, and before they meet a well-rested Philadelphia team that I hate to admit looks mighty impressive (grumble). They have the pride to do it. You could say, “Well Schleprock, you told us last week that Carolina was a mess, couldn’t find themselves, and can’t beat Atlanta for nothin’… And now you want us to believe they don’t lay down for nobody?” And I would say “Well, Uma, that was Atlanta, and this is Denver. And this time they’re coming of an embarrassing loss, rather than eking out a win and then getting a week off. And next week I promise I won’t take Carolina vs. Philly cuz they’ll likely just get the crap kicked out of them like Bill will.”

Carolina shows up with pride and 5-point-5. We take them, and a round of Sake for all my friends.

SEA –6.5 vs ST LOU
Yup. They made the page. We’re going to bet on our boys this week. Rejoice!! You wanted it, you got it. All hail the greatest band in the land (no, not KISS, Editor Doug), the Seattle Seahawks!!

As reminded by reader JJ (who doesn’t read during the season because a ‘Rounder’ doesn’t like to be influenced by the opinions of another) a rule of thumb is to never bet on your own team. As I informed reader JJ at the time, that’s a great plan - unless you know they’re going to win because you’re able to separate loyalty from truth (and my record when betting on Seattle is very strong). The truth here is: Seattle looks fantastic. And with the exception of a win against a 49er team still reeling from the spanking we gave them… The Rams do not look stable. The truth here is…

The Seattle Seahawks have done everything they are expected to do and more. The road hex is history, our defense is outrageously stingy, we returned to keep our home stand intact with a historic thumping of San Fran, and now we get to play our Division nemesis who are clearly not what they once were. How complete a failure it would be to not use EVERYTHING that bore us before and absolutely RIP into the Rams and knock their carcass down the mountain. A nest must perch on top. And this is our mountain, mister. Find yourself another.

This will be our day to claim the right to a headline match-up vs. the World Champs next week. It is the PERFECT game to not look past. It is the stamp of approval for future battles. We MUST beat the Rams and we will. For we know the difference from seasons prior. We know failure and what makes it. We know how to win and we know that we like it. We know the difference now. We know us. And we know them. And we know that we must be 4-0 when we march into Foxboro to deliver a message to the world, and end the winless streak of the FORMER… champion.

Get in the ring, b**ch! We’re sharpening our claws…

This week’s punches:

MINN –4.5
JAX –3.5
ATL –7.5
CAR +5.5
SEA –6.5

Beat The Man, simply because… he does not respect you.

G. Scott Jones is a freelance writer who contributes regularly to Seahawks.Net. Reaction of any sort is always encouraged at Top Stories