Yeah, we shit the bed this week and got the picks up a little bit late. Our laundry list of excuses: Snider's caught up in Rays fever while simultaneously battling the ravages of age through an exercise program ostensibly designed by the Ultimate Warrior; Sal's embroiled in a vicious smear campaign against a myriad of minor annoyances; Bardi's chained himself to his desk in a preemptive effort to thwart the repo man and shouts, "Unhand me, you knave!" whenever someone approaches. I myself am deep in the midst of a top-secret project that absolutely necessitated attending last night's GWAR concert at Jannus Landing and getting astonishingly drunk whilst being showered with (hopefully) fake bodily fluids.
So, yeah, compiling the football predictions for this week was a bit of a logistical nightmare.
Joe Bardi sez:
Cincinnati Bengals @ Dallas Cowboys
So much for the undefeated season. Dallas looked positively mortal last week while getting smoked by arch-rival Washington. To make matters worse, T.O.'s post-game presser went a long way toward reestablishing the wide out as a locker room cancer. Fortunately, the antibiotics Dallas needs has arrived in the form of the god-awful Cincinnati Bengals. Possibly the worst team in the league, the orange cats will serve as a suitable punching bag upon which the Cowboys can pound their season back into shape. If the Boys are ever going to put up 40 on the scoreboard, this is the week.
Buffalo Bills @ Arizona Cardinals
Poor Arizona. Last week, the Cards got torched by Father Time and the Jets, surrendering 56 points before the bloodshed was through. This week, its another AFC East foe on the agenda, as the 4-0 Buffalo Bills ride into town looking to beat down the Cardinals and head into the bye week undefeated. Don't expect Buffalo to put up the kind of points the Jets did, but don't expect the Cards to put up much of a fight either. And someone get Kurt Warner to retire already!
New England Patriots @ San Francisco 49ers
Head-scratcher of the week. New England is coming off a bye week, and I have to believe that Belichick will have the Patriots ready to play. The Niners are, at best, a wildly inconsistent squad that can put up points almost as fast as they surrender them. This contest comes down to which New England team shows up. If the Pats look anything like the team that won 21 regular season games in a row, the game will be over early. However, if New England looks like the team that Miami ran over two weeks ago, San Fran just might have a change. At this point, New England is a three point favorite. Flip a coin. Then bet the opposite of whatever the coin says to do.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
What is the status of the Colts? At 1-2, another loss will spell trouble for a franchise that has become a playoff regular. It's luck of the draw that Indy has to deal with the lowly 0-3 Texans this week. Can Manning right the ship? (Is there any doubt?) Can the defense come together without Bob Sanders? (They always seem to.) I expect the Colts to show steady improvment throughout the rest of the season, with the team peaking right as the playoffs start. And that march to the postseason begins this week with a 28-14 victory in Houston.
Fantastic Sal Sez:
San Diego Chargers @ Miami Dolphins
Hmm. Something tells me the Fins used up their three wishes to the NFL genie two weeks ago when: 1. They beat the Patriots, 2. They destroyed the Patriots on their home turf and 3. Ricky Williams didn't light up a victory ganja. Welcome back to reality, boys.
Tennessee Titans @ Baltimore Ravens
Another match-up of top-ranked defenses that no amount of editing and inspiring Sam Spence music can make watchable in the highlight reel. But it's also my stone-cold, lead-pipe lock of the week: Titans 2, Ravens 0.
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles
So you've just come off a nationally televised upset of the Cowboys, and your reward is: The Eagles. In Philadeliphia. A team, by the way, that was upset by the Bears. The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles secondary tends to give up big plays. Take the Skins and the points.
The Lowly Intern sez:
Expectations soar improve slightly for the Lions in their first game After Millen. Unfortunately, the steaming pile Millen left behind remains intact. Look for Bears rookie RB Matt Forte to prove that bitchslapping Detroit's defenseless defense is indeed his, ahem, forte.
Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers
The Falcons bring a league-best ground game to the not-yet-frozen tundra to take on a Packers D that's so far been as porous as a moldy block of swiss cheese against the run. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is also nursing a sore shoulder. Somewhere, Brett Favre is watching with a grizzled smirk on his face, perhaps while also enjoying a nutritious bye-week snack of rusty nails and fresh blood. Atlanta runs amok, and irate Packers fans pelt Rodgers with an array of feminine hygeine products.
Seattle Seahawks @ New York Giants
Even without WR Plaxico Burress available to lend his expertise, the Giants shouldn't have any trouble resolving this domestic dispute on their home turf against a suddenly frisky Seahawks air attack. New York in a romp.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Carolina Panthers
You gotta be kidding me. A feckless Chiefs team heads off the reservation only to get mauled by a resurgent Panthers offense. Next.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos
The question isn't whether or not the Bucs can put points on the board against Denver's "reluctant matador" style of defense. The question is whether or not they can contain the Broncos vaunted passing game enough to make those points stick. It's close, but I lean toward no.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Pittsburgh's Super Bowl hopes took a huge blow with last week's season-ending injury to RB Rashard Mendenhall. This week, they turn to something called Mewelde Moore. Ew. I think the Jaguars pounce on this dinged-up Steelers crew, and gain some Super Bowl momentum of their own.
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (Monday Night)
Classic matchup. The Vikes bring a punishing rushing attack and a stout defense, while the Saints feature the league's most prolific air show. If this was a real football game (i.e. outdoors, preferably in inclement weather) I'd heavily favor Minnesota. Coincidentally, both teams play in domes, which means the Saints would have the advantage here both at home and on the road. Too close to call, but my magic 8-ball says, "Fucking Awesome."