26 October 2006

2006 Week 8 Picks

Let the battle of the two most schizophrenic teams in the NFL commence! Will we be the Eagles who beat the Cowboys, or the Eagles who screwed up everything there was to blow in the first half, fought back in the second half, and still managed to lose to the Bucs? Will the Jags be the team who shut out the Steelers and crushed the Jets, or the team that inexplicably lost to the Texans last week? Will Byron Leftwich play? What about Donte Stallworth? Who knows?

To quote philly.com: "As disturbing as the defeats have been, the Eagles are not in unfamiliar territory in one respect. This is the fifth time in the last seven seasons that coach Andy Reid's team has opened the season 4-3." Leaving aside the anomalous mess that was the 2005 season, that means in 4 of 7 seasons under Big Red, the Eagles have started 4-3, and in 3 of those seasons, we've gone to the playoffs anyway. In 2 of those seasons, we've gone to the NFC Championship game. So we're a long way from "game over."

All I know is that I don't want to go into the bye week at .500, so guys, please pull it together and stop the carelessness! Defense: let's try getting OFF the field on 3rd down. Receivers: let's try CATCHING the passes and then HANGING ONTO THEM. Backs: same deal. NO fumbles. O- and D-lines: y'all are doing great. Keep it up! (But D-line, I'd like to see some more sacks this week, please.) D-Mac: you had one bad half. Shake it off, man.

There's no reason we can't beat these guys. Then again, there was no reason we shouldn't have beat the Bucs and the Giants (I'm willing to let the Saints game go, because they just had our number from the get-go). Let's not let the Giants get too far up on us, OK?

In the other matchups...

In the Cardinals/Packers game, look for the Cards to squeak their first win of the Leinart era. This game almost won Most Painful Game of the Week if it weren't for...

The Texans/Titans game. Watch the dregs of the AFC South duke it out. Or not. Ugh.

The Falcons/Bengals game should be interesting. What happened with Mike Vick last week? All of a sudden, he actually looked like a QB, not a running back who just happens to throw the ball every once in a while. Usually when he starts airing it out, you see something more like the Giants game, where he threw some picks. Of course, he threw picks against the Steelers, too, but they just seem jinxed this year. Putting up 38 points and still losing? That's some crazy #$%^ right there. The Bengals haven't exactly been brilliant this year, either, but look for home field to provide the advantage.

The Ravens are playing the Saints at home. The AFC is the tougher conference, blah, blah, blah, yackity-smackity. Fact is, it's damn hard to beat the Saints at home this year. I don't expect that to change Sunday.

In the battle of the second-string QBs, I'm going to have to go with the Chiefs. Damon Huard's having a good year, and Seneca Wallace didn't exactly look commanding when he took over for the injured Matt Hasselback in the Seahawks loss to the Vikings last week.

49ers: you know how I advised the Raiders to just go ahead and forfeit in, like, every game so far this year? Two words: Brian Urlacher. One word: Decapitation. Three words: game-time 2-for-1 Buds (at your friendly neighborhood sports bar). You do the math.

Calling a winner of the Bucs/Giants is painful. Both teams have spanked us with a great deal of assistance from our very own selves, so once again, I'm in the position that I want them both to lose. The Bucs have posted two surprising wins under Gradkowski, but I think that streak's coming to an end in the Meadowlands this weekend.

The Rams/Chargers game should be a good one, too. Both are #2 in their respective divisions, and both are legitimate playoff contenders. Should be a great game. They're playing in San Diego, but Charger fans are not known as a menace, so I'm not sure how much of a bump that will give the home team. This one could go either way. Coin flip says Rams.

The Broncos have mustered a very tough D this year, but I just don't see how 13 points is going to be enough to beat the Colts.

I can't think of a single reason why the Jets shouldn't kill the Browns. Which probably means the Browns will win. That would be funny.

Even without Big Ben (and frankly, Charlie Batch is a GREAT backup), look for the Steelers to post their first road win of the 2006 season against the Raiders.

Tony Romo: Welcome to the NFL, ****. See the Cowboys season sink into Redskins territory as they lose to the Panthers Sunday night. I wonder if Captain ME! will cry.

I have to pick the Patriots for Monday Night Football, but the Vikings could surprise them, particularly as they're playing in Minnesota. Say, who's playing for the Patriots these days? Other than Tom Brady, Corey Dillon, Kevin Faulk, Tedy Bruschi, Jabar Gaffney, Mike Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison, I've never even heard of most of these guys.

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