16 September 2006

2006 Week 2 Picks


OK, I know only a very foolish person would make sweeping predictions about what's going to happen in our division after only one week of football, but, by God, I am that fool. Here's how I see the division falling out after only one week:

I think the contenders for winning the division are us and the Giants. I see us each winning one and dropping one to the other team. Because we're playing in our house this week, call tomorrow a win for us in a close game, with a likely loss to the Giants at the Meadowlands in December. (All bets are off on that game if either team is playing for a playoff spot, though.)

So what needs to happen for us to beat the Giants tomorrow? One major piece will be which Eli Manning shows up - the guy who's starting to look like Peyton's brother, or the guy who gets easily flustered and makes a lot of dumb mistakes? If our strong D line can pressure him enough, I think we'll see Mistake-Prone Manning, rather than Getting-to-the-Playoffs Manning. Our D line needs to contain the Giants' Westy (Tiki Barber, and I thought it was time to compare him to Westy rather than the reverse), and our secondary needs to shut down Plaxico Burress. Shockey shouldn't be a problem if we're hitting Manning hard, because the Giants will have to keep Shockey back to block. Look for contributions from Rod Hood, who's looking to have a big year this year so he can go elsewhere next year, and Dexter Wynn, re-signed after Lito's sprained ankle and who thus has something to prove, in the secondary. And I'm also hoping the entire Giants team evident dislike of Tom Coughlin works in our favor.

On the O side, our line needs to give Big D time to complete those long passes to my new favorite player, Donte Stallworth, and open up some lanes for Westy and Buck to pound out some yards on the ground. Look for Buck to have a big day, although I think the chances that they sit Westy this week are nearly zero, unless his knee's in much worse shape than they've been letting on. Game's too important. Look for Westy to play this week and sit next week against the 49ers if he's still hurting. I hope to see our Reggie and Hank Baskett making some big offensive contributions this week, too.

Apologies to Cool Web Dude (Skins fan), but I think there's no way the Skins beat the Cowboys this week. Which is sad, because, as you loyal readers know, I hate the Cowboys above all others. But the Skins D seems to be taking lessons in suckitude from their O, and the Cowboys are likely to be fired up for the whole game, rather than just the first quarter, this week. Looking ahead, I could see us winning one and dropping one to the Cowboys this year, too, depending on how quickly TO is able to decimate their locker room, but we do have the advantage of playing them in our house early, possibly before things have completely fallen apart, and playing them in Texas late in the season, by which point I predict The Tuna will have burst a blood vessel, TO will be having daily on-air confessionals with his BFF Michael Irvin, and Drew Bledsoe will be in hiding somewhere with his teddy bear and a bottle of Beam.

Looking at the rest of the games, the Dolphins had better beat the Bills, or I may have to retroactively take away my vote for them to win AFC East. I'll turn this car right around, Mister! Even without Steve Smith, I see the Panthers beating the Vikings. On the other hand, I never would have picked the Vikings to beat the Skins in their home opener, so they could surprise me. Bengals will likely destroy the Browns, likewise Bears, the Lions. The Texans just can't catch a break, playing us first, and now the Colts. Did they lose a bet? Look for the Raiders to be shut out again (this week by the Ravens) advancing them in their quest for 0-16 season. Figure Aaron Brooks to either get killed mid-way through the season or to just wise up and refuse to take the field anymore at some point. "Mr. Brooks, meet Mr. Turf. Oh wait - you already know each other, don't you?" Same deal for Green Bay against the Saints, who will get to start the season 2-0 for the first time in, I think, forever. The Bucs/Falcons thing could be pretty ugly for the Bucs, too - sorry Chuckie (no I'm not). If the Seahawks don't stomp the Cards, my crystal ball predicts that they'll get killed in their first playoff game this year. And as long as Jeff Wilkins' leg holds up, the Rams should be able to take the 49ers...THIS year. Broncos/Chiefs could be a pretty close game, although the Chiefs lost to a much better team last week than the Broncos did, and by not much more. I think the Pats/Jets game will be a lot better than anyone would have thought when the 2006 schedules were being set up. Titans/Chargers should be a pretty good game, too. Steelers/Jags is going to turn on whether Big Ben plays (and if he's really ready to be back), whether Polamolu plays (and whether he's really ready to be back), and whether Byron Leftwich plays like he did first quarter last week or rest of the game last week.


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