12 October 2006

2006 Week 6 Picks

When the schedules were set up, I'm guessing the NFL brain trust figured a mid-season Eagles/Saints matchup to be a real dud. Both teams were dead last in their divisions last year. The Eagles didn't win a single divisional game, and the Saints won only one - their season opener against the Panthers. Sleeper of a game between a team widely viewed as past its prime and a team widely viewed as never having had a prime to get past.

Now? Both teams are 4-1 and are leading their respective divisions. Hot damn! The big question about both at this point is: are they paper tigers or the real deal?

The Eagles are playing great - record-settingly great, as a matter of fact. But we've beaten the Texans (1-3), the 49ers (2-3), the Packers (1-4), and, in a killer and emotionally charged game, the Cowboys (2-2), losing only to the Giants (2-2). In other words, we've only beat 1 team that's at .500, and none with a winning record.

The Saints, meanwhile, finally seem to have their act together. Sean Payton's got them playing decent ball, and the addition of Drew Brees and Reggie Bush is looking like genius. Deuce McAllister's return to good health hasn't hurt them any, either, and former Eagles Hollis Thomas and Mark Simoneau seem to be fitting in as well as former Saints Donte Stallworth and Darren Howard are in Philly. But the Saints have beaten the Browns (1-4), the aforementioned sad sack Packers (memo to Favre: RETIRE), the Bucs (0-4), and, in a killer and emotionally charged game, the Falcons (3-1), losing only to the Panthers (3-2).

See any similarities?

Some rookie kid from Toledo lit the Saints up last week, so look for D-Mac to have a big day. But the Superdome is a hostile environment for visiting teams in a way it hasn't been in years (maybe ever), and the denizens of Crescent City, having few other bright distractions, are in a fever pitch of team spirit familiar to, well, Philadelphians. Do we win? I think so - the Falcons are a paper tiger - but I'm expecting another nail-biter.

In other matchups:

The Bills, on the heels of a humiliating thrashing at the hands of the Bears, meet a Lions squad that seems to be improving. They led the Vikings for 3 quarters last week, and had they remembered that football games REMAIN 4 quarters, would have pulled off the upset win. Call it Bills in a close one.

I expect the Ravens to kill the Panthers, not only because the AFC is generally the tougher conference, but also because they have to be smarting after that ugly MNF loss to the Broncos.

Look for the Bengals to whup up on the Bucs. Although I bet rookie QB Gradkowski has another good game. Gruden might not be in such a hurry to get Chris Simms back if the kid keeps playing this way.

Cowboys better beat the Texans, or the Tuna will probably have a coronary right on the sideline, and fire everyone from the assistant coaches to The Player to the towel boy from the ambulance on his way to the hospital. I'll tell you what, though, the Texans, although they're still losing, are looking somewhat better and are coming off a bye. If the Cowboys lose, $50 says Jerry Jones fires the Tuna if he refuses to bench Bledsoe.

Despite the Giants' total lack of consistency this season (and the fact that they can't seem to remember to take the field until the fourth quarter), I figure them for a win over the Falcons, as long as they can keep Vick from running. A bit of advice? Let Vick pass all he wants - he has a lousy completion rate, and every time he airs it out it presents the possibility of at least an INT if not a defensive TD. Vick's 24th out of 30 in passer ratings, has thrown only 3 TDs, and has thrown 2 picks. The only reason it's not more is that Vick only has 90 attempts, lower than anyone but Vince Young, who's only played two games.

The Seahawks take on the surprising Rams in a battle for the NFC West (since neither the 49ers nor the Cardinals will be in the running unless both other NFC West teams mysteriously disappear off the face of the earth...soon). The 4-1 Rams, as you may recall, finished 6-10 last year. Know who else finished 6-10 last year and is now 4-1? The Eagles! Of course, unlike us, the Rams weren't at the bottom of their division last year, but that's only because the NFC West stinks. Before the season started, I would've called this a gimme for the Seahawks. Now, without their #1 offensive weapon, who knows? I'll take the Rams, just to be contrary.

Speaking of Vince Young, the Titans almost dealt the Colts the surprise of the year (no, the Colts' impending loss in their first playoff game doesn't count, because we're ALL expecting that). The Skins D can't seem to pull it together this year, and as Deadhead Skins Fan's Spouse observed, Brunell seems to play up or down to the level of whoever's playing around him. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss, take note. You're gonna have to pull his a** out of the fire, not the other way 'round. I'm going with the Titans on this one, partially because the Skins are L-LW-W-L so far, which, if they keep the pattern means they're due a loss, then two wins (Colts and Cowboys), and then a loss to us. If they can keep this up all season, they'll drop both of their matches with the Eagles, so I'm rooting for that.

The Chiefs are playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and I might get to go to the game! I'll be in The Burgh for a conference this weekend, and a good friend who lives up there is trying to score some tickets. Since I might be there, and the Steelers are my AFC team, now would be a good time to pull it together, Roethlisberger. If not, Coach Cowher, please reconsider Charlie Batch. He QBed your only win so far this season. That has to be worth something. But hopefully Big Ben will be feeling better after the bye week and will lead the Steelers to victory. I hate going to games where my team loses!

The Dolphins/Jets game is my official pick for Most Painful Game of the Week. Yikes.

The Chargers will crush the 49ers, and Raiders, seeing as you're facing the Broncos in Denver, you might want to take my advice and look into that forfeiting thing. You're gonna get creamed anyway, and Denver has some GREAT bars and clubs. I'm just sayin'.

Poor Cardinals. I predict that you'll be humiliated by the Bears on MNF. Hey! Maybe they can snatch the "worst loss in the history of MNF" crown from us! If you guys could manage that, we'd REALLY appreciate it.

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