I can understand why NBC dropped the Seahawks-Bears game from its schedule, but how can they say that this is a better match-up and keep a straight face? By the time the 4th quarter rolls around, the only people who will still be watching this game are either in the Boston area or have Tom Brady, Randy Moss or the Patriots defense/special teams on their fantasy teams.
Broadcasting a game that will be over by the middle of the 3rd quarter has to be NBC's way of providing Al Michaels and John Madden some extra compensation by allowing them to talk about the Patriots and Tom Brady for 3 ½ hours. I can't think of any other reasons for it. Can you? Pick: Patriots -14 ½
New Orleans (-1) at Houston – So do you think the fact that the Texans passed over Reggie Bush to select Mario Williams will come up at all this weekend? Fortunately for Williams (and Texans fans), these teams won't play again until 2011. What's that you say? The Super Bowl? Yeah, riiiiiiiiight. Pick: Saints -1
Kansas City at Indianapolis (-14 ½) – How can a team coming off back-to-back losses, and with a few injuries to boot, be favored by more than two touchdowns to a team that is just a game out of 1st place? Oh yeah, Brodie Croyle and his ‘Bama Bangs will be making his 1st NFL start and Larry Johnson is still on the shelf. Pick: Colts -14 ½
Oakland at Minnesota (-6) – Some games you look to see how one team's receivers match-up against an opposing secondary or how a team is using a back-up running back against an imposing run defense.
these two teams, I'm basing my prediction solely on one position comparison:
NY Giants (-2 ½) at Detroit – I still don't think both of these teams are going to make the playoffs, but I think the Lions are a much better team at home and the Giants doesn't have the secondary to account for all the wide receivers a Mike Martz offense throws at them. Pick: Lions +2 ½
San Diego at Jacksonville (-3) – Just so I'm clear about the events of last Sunday night's Chargers-Colts game, allow me to recap: The Chargers used 1st quarter kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns to jump out to a 23-0 lead, at home, midway through the 1st half against a conference rival who was playing without key players at multiple positions.
An injury replacement starting at cornerback, who was matched up against the Colts' best receiver, intercepted a two-time league MVP quarterback three times. Overall, the Chargers intercepted that same quarterback six times (who threw 9 interceptions all of last season has been to 7 Pro Bowls), and the only reason the Chargers won the game was because the most clutch kicker in NFL history missed a chip-shot field goal attempt with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. As you can probably guess, I'm not really impressed with the Chargers these days. Pick: Jaguars -3
Miami at Philadelphia (-10 ½) – It's a smart move by Cam Cameron to put 26-year old rookie quarterback John Beck into the starting lineup. It'll give the next head coach some film to work with.
It was also a good move by Cameron to push the return of Ricky Williams to the team to next Monday. Could you imagine Williams in the same area as Andy Reid's kids? Pick: Eagles -10 ½
Arizona at Cincinnati (-3) – Whether he's plying teenage girls with wine coolers, puking out the back window of a teammates' SUV or hauling in 50-yard bombs from Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry is the kind of guy who makes things happen.
Bengals offense really blossomed when they reintroduced their criminal element
to it a week ago, and
Of course it can. The team that despises you (ok, they despise your former owner, but there's some residual resentment there) is coming to town with the red-hot quarterback you initially gave up on. Oh, and they're probably going to beat you. Pick: Browns -3
Age jokes aside, this is actually a hard game to prognosticate. At 8-1, it's clear that the Packers are no joke. But the Panthers have a pretty good secondary and you've got to think that Julius Peppers is going to start getting some sacks. The Panthers are a much better road team, so I'm going out on a limb here by predicting that they'll at least keep it close. Pick: Panthers +10
Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta – I'm pretty sure Falcons head coach Bobby Petrino still thinks he's coaching in college. How else can you explain how he'd let the media inform quarterback Joey Harrington that once Byron Leftwich is healthy, he'll be the starting quarterback again.
Joey Harrington may suck, but he has been in this system a few months longer than Leftwich and he's been at the helm of the Falcons two-game winning streak that has put them within striking distance of the NFC South lead. Petrino has let yet another situation spiral out of control, and this one involves the starting quarterback. This shows me that Petrino is better suited for the college game, where players have limited media access and are on scholarship. Pick: Buccaneers -3
The Seahawks were less than a yard away from getting within Josh Brown's field in overtime of the divisional playoff game in January, and don't think that Mike Holmgren has managed to forget that or that he hasn't been sending some not-so-subtle reminders to his team that the guys in the white jerseys that they'll be lining up against on Sunday prevented them from going to another NFC Championship game last year.
St. Louis (-3) at San Francisco – Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver comprise FOX's "A" team, with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa FOX's "B" team.
Last Week: 4-9-1 (Yikes!)
2007 Season: 66-73-5