Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday Morning Kick Returns

In honor of Mr. Reggie Bush I've decided to name this post after his specialty instead of the tired old 'Monday Morning Quarterback.' I mean who would you rather be reminded of: a guy like Reggie Bush or Drew INT Bledsoe?
Let's rundown the action. (Bucs game not included-scroll down)

Pats 20, Fins 10
MY PICK:Pats 34-14
It took a while for the Pats offense to get cranked up, but thanks to a questionable PI call on Miami in the 4th quarter New England held on to defeat their division rival. It came after Assante Samuel's 2nd INT of the day gave the Pats the ball on the MIA 26. A couple of plays later Will Allen was called for the penalty on an under thrown ball to Doug Gabriel and Brady immediately capitalized with a 1-yd toss to Heath Evans for the 10-pt final margin. Not exactly the impressive performance everyone was hoping for the Pats against the hapless Fins; QB Joey Harrington got his first Fins start and fared okay, save for the 2 picks, but after a story floating around that Duante Culpepper & Harrington got into an argument Friday should only make the miserable situation in South Florida more chaotic. But for the Pats a win is a win, and at 4-1 they now sit squarely in the drivers seat for another division crown.

Giants 19, Skins 3
MY PICK: Giants 30-24
How do two teams that score alot of points and have mediocre defenses manage to combine for only 22 points? When the Giants, behind defensive leader Michael Strahan (3 TKS, 1 sack) hold the high-scoring Skins to a measly 164 total yards of offense, QB Eli Manning is an efficient 23-33, 256yds, 1 TD, and Tki Barber rushes for 123 yards, that's when. Heck the Giants D played so well even LaVar Arrington made a big play against his former mates.

Vikings 26, Lions 17
MY PICK: Lions 19-17
The Lions had this game. I mean HAD it. They led 17-3 just a minute into the quarter when Minny got a TD to make it 17-10. Then the wheels fell off for the Lions-appropriately enough considering the play at Ford Field: Detroit QB Jon Kitna's fumble (he had 3 picks,too) was recovered in the end zone for another score, the Vikes added another FG with 3 minutes left to take a 19-17 lead (hey, I had that score right) and then smashed the Lions face in the dirt with a 45-yd INT return for a TD with 1:30 left. Plus Detroit lost star WR Roy Williams to a back injury early in the game. Ouch babe. Better get that resume ready, Rod.

Panthers 20, Browns 12
MY PICK: Panthers 28-12
Pretty close prediction here, and if the Panthers offense could have capitalized on a banged up Brown secondary the score would have been closer to mine. But the Panthers are known for their fierce defense, and boy were they fierce here: uncaged animal DE Julius Peppers terrorized poor little CLE QB Charlie Frye to the tune of 1 sack, 1FF, and 5 hits on the QB; he was the leader of the pack that registered 2 sacks, 2 INTs and unrelenting pressure of the inexperienced quarterback. Although Me-sahwn (1TD) & Steve Smith were held in check, DeShaun Foster ran for 106 yds and the defense took care of the rest. So Carolina (3-2) climbed over .500 and now sit lurking just behind New Orleans & Atlanta in the NFC South.

Bears 40, Bills 7
MY PICK: Bears 26-14
I guess I need to forget the notion that the Bears are a defense-oriented team; after putting up 77 points in the past 2 games and outscoring their opponents by a whopping 156-36, Chicago is becoming known as an offensive force as well. QB Rex Grossman continues to leads a well-oiled attack that has been anchored by Bernard Big Play Berrian; he is leading the league in TD receptions (4) and 40-yd+ plays (5), netting one of each in this one. His long was a 62-yder from Grossman that led to a TD that made it 27-0 before the half. So the Bears are now 5-0 and have combined a tenacious D with a stout O. Sounds like a Super Bowl recipe to me.

Rams 23, Packers 20
MY PICK: Rams 27-16
My-oh-my the Pack are a hurtin bunch of cheeseheads after yet another loss on their precious home tundra. Thanks to an effective and again error-free performance from Rams QB Marc Bulger (18-28, 228 yds, 2TDs), who hasn't thrown an INT this season in 214 attempts, the Rams sent Green Bay to their 3rd home loss this year and 15th in their last 27. Yikes. So much for the Home Tundra Advantage. The good news for Green bay: Favre didn't throw a pick. Hey, you gotta take every little thing you can get when you're 1-4, right?

Colts 14, Titans 13
MY PICK: Colts 38-9
Well you can't blame me for my score, the Colts were 18.5-pt favorites after all. But it almost
came out of this match with the Titans rookie QB Vince Young with a loss as Indy had to rely on a late TD for the 3rd straight week to eke out a win. This week it was a Manning to Harrison 2-yd score with 5:00 minutes left that saved the Colts the embarrassment of losing to a win less team. Young was a non-factor in his 2nd start (10-21, 63 yds) but his 19-yd TD run in the 1st gave Tennessee a 7-0 lead. But the Colts continue to struggle without Edge James anchoring the running game; although the Colts ran for 154 yds, the Titans gained 214 on the ground.

Jags 31, J-E-T-S 0
MY PICK: Jags 21-17
Wow, has anyone's stock fallen faster than Chad Pennington's? After starting the season like a house on fire (2-300yd games, 6 TDs) the Jags defense reduced him to ashes in their whitewashing of the Jets. Pannington was a meager 10-17 for 71 yds, 0TDs & 3 INTs as the JAX defense allowed only 177 total yards in the shutout. Looks like they shook off the effects of giving up 36 to Washington last week. But it might be a long time before Pennington and the Jets shake off the effects of this stink bomb. Oh wait, they play Miami next.

49ers 34, Raiders 20
MY PICK: Niners 24-3
Things keep going from bad to worse for the awful Raiders as they blew a 13-7 halftime lead
and then let their cross-Bay rivals pummel them into submission by allowing 27 second half points. The only highlight for Oakland was randy Moss' 100th career TD catch; but with Frank Gore rushing for 134 yards, Alex Smith tossing 3 TD passes and the defense shoring up in the 2nd half, the rebuilding Niners picked up a nice win. The Raiders, meanwhile, continue to sink further into the Black Hole that their stadium is nicknamed, except this hole is called the NFL cellar.

Chiefs 23, Cards 20
MY PICK: Cards 26-23
One of these years the Cards are going to live up to their preseason press clippings and come out and win some games and bring excitement to the Arizona desert. Trouble is, by then no one will care because everyone is tired of waiting for that year to come. But the Cards may have taken a step in the right direction as newly installed starting QB, rookie Matt Leinart, showed promise in leading the offense for the first time. The Heisman winner hit star receivers Anquan Boldin & Larry Fitzgerald for 1st quarter TDs, but the defense couldn't hold the lead, giving up 13 4th quarter points. Welcome to the NFL, pretty boy.

Eagles 38, Cowboys 24
MY PICK: Eagles 31-28
Boy Donovan McNabb looked a lot lighter in this game. Oh yeah, that's because he was lifting a 300-lb gorilla off his shoulders. McNabb was very effective in removing the weight of last season's TO-induced disaster off the whole city with his 354 yds & 3 TDs (1 rush), while his Cowboy counterpart was just beginning to feel the wrath of the idiotic receiver. Bledsoe was a horrid 18-38 with 3 INTs, the last one returned 102 yards for the game-icing score by Lito Sheppard as the Boys were driving for the tie. After the game, Owens threw Bledsoe under the bus when asked why he didn't see more balls thrown his way early in the game: you know who's pulling the trigger was his response, referring to his QB. If he keeps his tired act up, someone is going to pull the trigger for real on this guy, and this time it won't be ruled "an accident."

Chargers 23, Steelers 13
MY PICK: Chargers 24-21
How could the Chargers lose? I mean they were wearing the best uniforms in the NFL, throwback or otherwise. But even though the Chargers rarely win in their powder blues, last night facing the artsit fomerly known as Ben Roethlisberger & the Steelers was smooth sailing for them. Despite being shut down in the first half (they trailed 13-7 and had 98 total yards, 80 coming on one drive) but then their D, and QB Phillip Rivers, took over the game in the 2nd half. Rivers, in his 4th career start, came into his own this night, steadily guiding the Chargers on 4 consecutive scoring drives and the nasty San Diego D held A-Ben-dicitis & Pittsburgh to a mere 49 yards in the 2nd half. Ben had 2 costly 4th Q picks as well, and that brings his total for the past 4 games, including the Super Bowl, to no TDs & 9 INTs. Wow. Looks like the caretaker has lost the keys to the house.

My record ended up being 11-2 (not vs. the spread) so that means it must have been a pretty easy week. Tonight we have undefeated Baltimore (4-0) going to the Mile High City to take on the equally as impressive (defensively) Broncos (2-1.) Scoring should be hard to come by in the cold air of Invesco as these 2 stingy teams boast the 2 best defenses in the league. Whoever can put together a couple or 3 scoring drives will win this one.
The Broncos don't lose at home very often, especially on chilly nights on National TV (just ask the Pats), so I'm going to go with (gulp!) Jake the Fake and the Broncos to pull out the snorer, er squeaker.
MY PICK: Broncos 13-10

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