Monday, October 16, 2006


Wow- what a week. Seven games were decided by a FG or less, and many of them went right down to the final minute. Three winless teams got on the board (Bucs,Titans, Lions), and even though my Pats didn't play, there's still plenty for me to write about.

Let's review:

Bucs 14, Bengals 13
MY PICK: Cincy 34-24
Scroll down for full review of this one.
MY REC: 0-1

Giants 27, Falcons 14
MY PICK: Falcons 33-28
WHAT HAPPENED: Tiki Barber gashed the Falcons run defense like, well like Atlanta usually gashes other teams' run defenses. Brother of Ronde ran for 185 yards and he didn't get them on a ton of little short runs. His yardage came on 26 carries and he had 9 runs of 12 yards or more- every time I turned around he was hitting a huge hole and running down field for a big gain. The Giants gained 259 yards on the ground, 439 total yards. It was an embarrassing taste of their own medicine for Atlanta, although their ground game (223 yards) was not too shabby; Warrick Dunn ripped off a career-long 90-yd TD to open the 3rd quarter to help boost that total. Another embarrassing fact was QB Mike Vick's 2 turnovers (1INT, 1 fumble) and the numerous hard hits he took, including a brutal late hit in the 4th quarter when Antonio Pierce rammed into Vick as he crossed the out of bounds line like a bunker buster, sending Vick flying into the sidelines. Message sent: Vick, the Falcons, and their pride took a serious beating from the Giants in this one.
MY REC: 0-2

Panthers 23, Ravens 21
MY PICK; Carolina 17-13
WHAT HAPPENED: A little more offense in this one than most people expected, especially when you consider the fact that Raven QB Steve McNair went out of the game in the 1st quarter with a neck injury. But former B'more starter Kyle Boller came in to throw 3 TD passes, which kept them in the game against the suddenly Super Bowl-ish Panthers. Carolina has rebounded from their putrid 0-3 start to win 4 in a row, and it's no coincidence that their 2 losses came with WR Steve Smith on the sidelines and their 4 wins have come with him on the field, making a variety of acrobatic catches & back-breaking long gains. Smith torched the normally stout Raven defense for 189 yards & 1 TD and Carolina QB Jake Delhomme, under fire for not having a good season thus far, threw for a career-high 365 yards and 2 scores. Not a good showing for the Ravens, especially coming off that 13-3 stinker in Denver. Luckily they have the bye to regroup.
MY REC: 1-2

Cowboys 34, Texans 6
MY PICK: Cowboys 37-12
WHAT HAPPENED: Well it finally happened- T.O.D.'s play on the field finally overshadowed his enormous mouth and gigantic ego off of it. Owens had only 5 catches for 45 yards, but 3 of them went for touchdowns as the Cowboys overcame a 6-3 halftime deficit to rout the Texans. QB Drew Bledsoe threw 2 touchdown passes to Owens, including his 200th career TD, the 12th QB in history to accomplish that feat. And as you can see, T.O.D. celebrated his first score in his usual subtle way. So all is well in Big D- for at least a couple of days.
MY REC: 2-2

Lions 20, Bills 17
MY PICK: Detroit 19-17
WHAT HAPPENED: The Lions finally got a win, the first of new head coach Rod Marinelli's career. And they got it by utilizing the offensive weapons at their disposal: WR Roy Williams had career highs in receptions (10) and yards (161) plus a touchdown, and RB Kevin Jones, the former Va. Tech star who has been hampered by injuries his whole career, contributed with 127 yards and a score as the Lions got off the schneid. The Lions also shut down the NFL's leading rusher, Willis Magahee, holding the power back to just 66 yards on 17 carries. Congrats to Coah Marinelli, a quality guy and coach who has his hands full with that team & ownership in Motown. Oh, how 'bout my pick by the way? Toot toot!
MY REC: 3-2

Saints,27 Eagles 24
MY PICK: Saints 25-21(toot toot!)
WHAT HAPPENED: It's officially gotten to the point that you should not go against New Orleans under any circumstances, no matter who or where they are playing. The new America's Team just keeps on winning, knocking off the powerful Eagles for their 3rd win in their renovated Dome home since returning from 23 game exile this September. QB Drew Brees (27-37,275, 3TDs) continues to be the driving force behind the resurgent Saints, running the offense with smooth precision and never panicking in the face of adversity- kind of like the entire team and region it represents. Joe Horn went for 6/110 and although star draft pick Reggie Bush has yet to dominate, the Saints continue to do just that. "The Saints, are comin'..."
MY REC: 4-2

Seahawks 30, Rams 28
MY PICK: Seattle 24-20
WHAT HAPPENED: It would take more space than I can afford to attempt to explain all the crazy things that went on in this game. To sum it up the Rams ran out to a 21-7 lead thanks to 2 Marc Bulger - Torrie Holt TDs and a 2yd TD run by Steven Jackson. But Seattle came back on the strength of Deion Branch's best game as a Seahawk(toot toot-okay enough of that); the former Patriot had 6 catches for 76 yards & 2 TDs. Then it got weird. With Seattle leading 27-21 with 3:00 minutes left, Bulger threw a pass to Holt that he juggled, brought in, and without breaking stride raced 67 yds for the go ahead score. But on the ensuing drive the Hawks marched down field, got a favorable non-call that Rams coach Scott Linehan thought would have run off the remaining time on the clock. Not so fast Scotty. Herculean Hochuli ruled no runoff on the flag, Seattle lined up for a FG,, and Josh Brown nailed a 54 yrader as time expired for the heart breaking loss for St. Louis. Wow.
MY REC: 5-2

Titans 25, Skins 22
MY PICK: Washington 31-10
WHAT HAPPENED: Vince Young got his first NFL win, the Titans got out of the win less column, and the Skins bit it by losing to such a weak team. Nothing else to say about this train wreck of a game.
MY REC: 5-3

Jets 20, Fins 17
MY PICK: Jets 19-9
WHAT HAPPENED: As usual when these two division foes meet it ended up coming down to the wire. The Jets had been cruising with a 20-3 lead in the 4th quarter when the Fins decided to make a game of it. Joey Harrington marched Miami on 2 late scoring drives, the last a 1yd TD by RB Ronnie Brown that cut it to 3 pts with under 3 to go. But a late 50-yd FG attempt by Olindo Mare came up a few yards short, and the Jets escaped with the win. Nothing like a couple of crappy teams battle it out to see who's less crappy.
MY REC: 6-3

Steelers 45, Chiefs 7
MY PICK: Pitt 21-10
WHAT HAPPENED: The Steeler awoke from their season-long slumber to destroy the Chiefs in a game that said "we're back." Pittsburgh had,'t won since the NFLs Thursday Night Opening Night against the lowly Dolphins, and Ben Roethlisberger hadn't thrown a TD since the AFC Championship game. Boh those things changed as A-Ben-dicitis had his best game of the season (16-19, 238 yds, 2TDs, no INTs), reprising his old role of mistake-free game manager. The Steelers also ran for 219 yards, and held KC RB Larry Johnson to 26 yards on 15 carries. Ouch. Speaking of ouch, Johnson, who was tackled by a vicious face mask last week that drew an enormous fine, tackled Steeler safety Troy Polamalu by his long locks after Polamalu intercepted a pass in the 3rd quarter. To his credit, Polamalu said it was no big deal: "It doesn't matter to me if he tackles me by my hair or my ankles." Now that's a real man!
MY REC: 7-3

Chargers 48, Niners 19
MY PICK: San Diego 28-16
WHAT HAPPENED: either I really overestimated the Niners or severely underestimated the Charges. Or a little bit of both. San Diego continued to play the way they paled in the second half of last weeks' come-from-behind beating of the Steelers. LaDanian Tomlinson scored a career high 4 touchdowns, and Phillip Rivers continues to make people not regret losing Drew Brees with his best start to date as a Charger. Rivers threw for 334 yards on 29-39 efficiency and let LT do the rest- now that's what I call a smart QB. Look out AFC, the Chargers are now resembling the team that had preseason prognosticator calling them a SB contender.
MY REC: 8-3

Broncos 13, Raiders 3
MY PICK: Denver 37-3
WHAT HAPPENED: I forgot that despite the awesome defense the Broncos possess they havbe an equally horrible defense. And the Raiders are just straight-up horrible. Denver became the second team since 1934 to not allow more than 7 points in each of their first 5 games; they allowed only 3 points for the 2nd straight game. I mean this defense might be better than the Bears, Panthers and Ravens combined. But the offense is just not doing enough to ensure the defense gets a win (sound like the Bucs of this millennium.) QB Jake the Fake Plummer was only 11-18 for 102 yards- C'mon, that's embarrassing! Lucky they can run the ball (144 yards) and that defense is good enough to shut down a pile-of-puke team like Oaklnad. But when it comes time to play a high-scoring squad, we'll see what gives.
MY REC: 9-3

So there's the recap. Tonight's game between the Bears and Cards could be interesting as well,; interesting to see how many points the Bears will tally today, and how many times they'll pick off Leinart.
MY PICK: Bears 31-7

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