Has it really been a week since my last post? Really? Where did the week go you ask? Life happened...but more on that in a second.
Week 10 proved to be a wacky and wild week. Several upsets, several "almost upsets", a crazy shootout, and fantastic Sunday night game. What can we take away from last week? Is there anything we can learn? There are a few things...
- This season...anything goes. A favorite really isn't a favorite. I think we're all aware of that by now.
- The Colts and Ravens barely pulled out wins over lesser opponents...were real weaknesses found? Or just a case of a good team taking a week off? We'll find out this week.
- The Bengals have some serious issues, and were overrated coming into the season. But man, what a fun game to watch.
- A trained chimp...hell, an untrained one at that...could do better picking winners by throwing darts at a board than I can using all my logic and rational thought. On second thought, the untrained chimp probably wouldn't do very good...he'd eat the dart and then pee on something...the trained chimp though...he's a force to be reckon with!
With that ringing endorsement...let's get on with the picks...
St. Louis at Carolina
I think I've posed this question every week...but I'll go the broken record route and ask again...which Panthers team shows up? The Steve Smith-Great D Panthers? Or the Sleepwalk through the season Panthers?
So far this season, the Panthers are in the middle of the pack Defensively...and more worrisome are in the lower 3rd for rush D. Not good when you're facing Stephen Jackson.
Meanwhile, the Rams have had a up and down season themselves....being good enough to win the games they should, and lose the games they should....and admirable quality. So who has the upper hand?
For the answer I turn to the chimp...chimp? He's just scratching himself...yeah, that's how I feel on this one too. The chimp and I are going with the Rams, based more on a "the way this season is going..." rationale, than anything else.
Washington at Tampa Bay
The MNF game last week affirmed 2 things for everyone...
- Gradkowski, if he had any magic to begin with, has used up all of it.
- Joe Theismann needs to find a different profession. And this is a popular opinion throughout the world of the internet.
This is an epic battle of 2 teams whose seasons are going nowhere fast...they're playing for 3 things now...draft position, get the youngsters some time, and padding fantasy stats everywhere.
We get our first look at Jason Campbell. And so ends the Mark Brunell Redskins era...and thank god. Mark has been on his last leg for way too long...and having to continue to watch him was really hurting my eyes. This seems like going to a Mega-Supermarket....where all the produce is either overly ripe or overly green....that's not a good things for Skins fans.
The Chimp just threw on a Pirate hat and danced wildly around the room. Based on that, I'm going with the Bucs. For as bad as Gradkowski looked last week, I having a feeling Campbell is going to look worse in his first start.
Cincinnati at New Orleans
Man, watching Marvin Lewis' face at the end of the Chargers game last week was painful. He was somewhere between disbelief, anger, frustration, and tears. My heart went out to him...and my mouth laughed. Couldn't help it...for some reason I get a big kick out of watching teams that get over-hyped in the offseason, fall apart during the regular season. And yes, I am a heartless jerk, and yes, I can see my reflection in the mirror.
Meanwhile the Saints fell apart against the Steelers...which I'm sure got a lot of people saying things like, "well, Cinderella the ball is over." But hey, on the bright side Reggie "MVP" Bush got into the end zone finally...and sorry Shaun, I had to take the dig.
If this game isn't billed as the "Battle between the Sinners and the Saints"...then all fun has left the media. Who am I kidding, there are probably TV execs just falling over themselves to tell the broadcasters to say that one.
The Chimp reminded me, "don't bet against the Saints at home this year"...although he said it by flinging a copy of Katrina by Susan M. Moyer at my head. Saints take this one, and if Joe buck happens to do the game, he'll use the Sinners and Saints line about 18 times.
Tennessee at Philadelphia
Philly was able to pull one out last week...beating up on a Skins team that looked lost. It's nice when you have an attacking D and a slow, old QB...that makes for a good game. Now what happens when that same D comes up against a mobile QB? We'll find out this week.
VY's numbers haven't been all that pretty, but can you tell me the Titans would be as competitive if Kerry Collins or Billy Volek were under center? I really like Vince, there's something about the guy, he just seems like the real deal. He doesn't have the jaw dropping speed that Vick has, but he's got more size and the General attitude. I'm looking forward to watching him for the next 10 years.
As for this game...Chimp? It looks like the he's making the Hook'em horns sign...wow...really? OW! Sorry, okay, yes, I get it. I won't question your picks anymore, just please don't fling anymore poo at me. Titans squeak one out at Philly, and the crowd...well, let's just say, they'll pull a "Chimp" by the end of the game.
Chicago at NY Jets
Okay, I think everyone knows who I'm going to pick in this one....so I'm not going to bore you with analysis. Instead, I'm going to regale you with this...
My little Daughter has taken to being very interested in sports. She gets very excited when I say, "You want to watch football with Daddy?" Of course, she calls all sports "Baseball", but that's mostly because she's got her "B" sounds down cold. She not only likes to watch football, but read about sports as well, as an old Sporting News has become one of her favorite books. It's the one that contains the Urlacher article that I raved about on this site. Anyway, I've been teaching her about the Bears and Urlacher...I've got it to the point that I can say, "what team does Urlacher play for?" And she goes, "rawrrr"...which is her Bear growl. It's these small victories that make the difference in life.
I'm ignoring the chimp on this one, even as he runs around the room arms outstretched, making a flying noise. Bears win this one, sweeping the New York teams.
Minnesota at Miami
Here are 2 teams heading in different directions...
Miami has been flying high with wins over the Bears and Chiefs...who knew that Joey Harrington could lead a team to victory?
While Minnesota hasn't been the same since getting dismantled by the Pats on National TV...losing to the 49ers and Packers. Their Offense has been particularly bad.
Here's a sign something is wrong...when you hire an Offensive Coordinator to be your new head coach...and the Offense takes a step back and the Defense starts to shine. What's up with that? Can we call it the Billick Phenomenon? Many different things could be wrong...wrong personnel, more talent on D than O, radical change in O philosophy...but it's an early warning sign of a bad coach. I'm not saying Brad Childress is a bad coach....just warning that if this keeps up, he could be headed that direction. And before any Ravens fans job on me, I'm not saying Billick is a bad coach, just that he's the poster boy for this oddity.
The chimp just threw on his Dan Marino jersey...god, I never should have bought that for him. But he looked up at me with those big, sad Chimp eyes, and I caved. Dolphins continue to role, the Vikes sink farther from the playoffs.
Oakland at Kansas City
At first glance this game pits the 25th ranked Rush D against LJ. Not a good thing for the Raiders.
But when you take a closer look, the Raiders are in the middle of the pack for yard/att avg. So it's more a failing over the overall team, than the rush defense.
That being said, the Chiefs will run, and run a lot.
And the Chimp agrees...as he does his best Art Shell impersonation...standing as stiff as a board not blinking...and then starts cackling hysterically. Raiders put up a little fight, but LJ wears them down.
New England at Green Bay
In college, my buddies and I were at a "Javier Vazquez" Bar...it was in the rotation, but couldn't be counted on, so we tried to avoid it. We knew the layout, and when they had their specials, but weren't completely on the same page with the bar staff. Anyway, this particular night, the Bouncer yells, "Bars closed, finish up and get out." I was a little tipsy, so I finished off my beer and told everyone we needed to leave. As I got up, I realized I had to pee...I mean really pee...the "I've been drinking for the last 2 hours in this same spot" pee. So I announced to my friends I had to pee, and then made a bee line for the door. I ran across the street to the parking garage where our car was, and proceeded to let it flow.
Suddenly, there was a hand on my shoulder...and I looked up to see a Cop staring me down. I simply said, "Let me finish, and I'll be right with you." He waited, then proceeded to give me a $75 public urination ticket. The whole time, I was waiting for my friends to show up, and start laughing...but they never did. I took the ticket and headed out to find my friends.
Where did I find them? They were still in the bar. The bartender was an early bird, announcing 30 minutes before close to get out. We actually celebrated my ticket with another beer.
And why am I sharing this? It kind of sums up my feelings about the Pats...after the Vikings game, I sort of ran out of the bar, assuming that the game was over, and the Pats were that good. I then proceeded to pee all over myself and get a ticket (the Colts and Jets games)...and now I'm back in the bar with everyone else thinking, maybe these guys do have all those holes everyone was talking about at the start of the season?
The Chimp says it doesn't matter in this one, the Pats win...as he illustrates by defecating on a Favre bobblehead. And sorry if that offends, I can't control the chimp.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
So there still is some fight in these Steelers. Well, that's one question answered.
As for the question of should Big Ben and Troy play? I'll let the rest of FanNation fight that out.
I've been bashing the Browns all season for being a boring team, well I won't fghjfsfghhgnssrgyfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfghfg
Whoa, sorry, fell asleep on the keyboard there. As I was saying, I won't talk about...hold on a sec, I'm not even going to say it, don't want to doze off again. Let's move on.
The chimp signifies the Steelers will win this one, by raising a bottle of Miller Lite, muttering something along the lines of "Man Law" and then downing the bottle. Great, a drunk monkey, just what I needed. Get ready for talk about "Can the Steelers make it all the way back after their terrible start"...the airwaves will be flooded with it next week.
Atlanta at Baltimore
No Ray Lewis. Not good. Say what you will about him being a step slower and on the backend of his career, but he's still the heart and soul of the Ravens D if not the team. When you lose a player like that, it can have a very deflating effect.
Honestly though, the outcome of this game is completely dependent on the Falcons and their gameplan. If they play to their strengths, run, run, run, run and play-action pass off the run...they'll beat the Lewis-less Ravens. But, if they decide to have Vick drop back and throw 40 times, they'll lose, just as they did against the Lions and Browns.
The Chimp fires 10 straight bananas over Alge Cumpler's head...looks like the Falcons try to throw their way out of this and lose. Maybe they'll figure it out next week...
Buffalo at Houston
The Bills made a valiant attempt to save us all from the "Colts are going to undefeated" talk...but fell short. And they did so shorthanded, and calling a very conservative game plan. That's why this week, I'm taking...
...Sorry, the Chimp is picking the Texans. He's citing the Jauron factor...and also just shrugged his shoulders and put on a Texans cap...as if to say, "That's how this season has been going".
Detroit at Arizona
Did I mention that the Cards are done this season? They're in the "Wake me when the off-season is here" mode?
Now, even the chimp knows that you don't draft 3 straight WRs in the 1st round...but he also knows that this Cards team has checked out...which he illustrates by holding up a "Fire Denny" picture.
Seattle at San Francisco
It looks like Shaun and Matt are going to play...but even if they aren't, the fact that the Hawks are almost through the woods on these injuries will be a very uplifting thing....it's a nice boost of energy for the team.
I'm going to be sad to see the Seneca Wallace era come to an end...he's been a lot of fun to watch. I could see a lot of teams winning with him at QB. And maybe the NFL would figure him out, and maybe he wouldn't have a great career, but I think he can play in this league, and I think he could be better than at least 10 of the other starting QBs in the league.
One final thought on this game...when are the 49ers going to start getting better? It's been like a decade since they've been good. It's sort of weird for me, cause all through the 80's and early 90's they were the model franchise...and that's all I knew them as...and now...they're terrible. And they seem to do everything wrong. So when are they going to get better?
The Chimp just pulled out a copy of Madden and a can of chunk y soup...and is gleefully dancing around the room. I'm going to go ahead and guess that this means the Seahawks win.
Indianapolis at Dallas
Here's everyone's upset pick.
I have mixed feelings on this one....
On the one hand, I really want to Colts to lose. I just can't stand all the talk about them, and I just want that to stop.
On the other hand, I don't see anyway that the Boys win this game. Even after the close call last week, I don't see this team beating the Colts.
So where does that leave us?
The Chimp is pacing back and forth, hands folded behind his back deep in thought. He doesn't seem to have an answer...
Here's what we're going to do...I'm picking the Colts. But let's just say, you won't see me shedding a tear if they lose.
San Diego at Denver
42 points in a quarter...
Against a team that hasn't scored more than 31 in a game this season....and hasn't broken 20 points in 7 of their 9 games. Of course, with their D they don't need too. But can they hang with the Chargers?
Was last Sunday the death of Marty ball? Or just a reprieve? And are we seeing the evolution of Philip Rivers into a star NFL QB? I say, let's wait on deeming Marty ball dead...if they go balls to the wall this week, I'll start thinking about it. And I think Rivers has got a great future ahead of him.
The Chargers are still hurting on D...Merriman is out serving his suspension, and Luis Castillo is nursing a ankle sprain. But luckily, they are facing a Jake Plummer led offense that is struggling to put up points.
So can the Denver D shut down the Chargers O? Do the forgotten units have enough juice to do some damage of their own? I say this is going to be a close game no matter what the outcome....
...the Chimp...well, since I started typing this, he's been wearing a Chargers helmet with dark visor, and stiff arming the sofa...so my guess, he's picking he Chargers.
NY Giants at Jacksonville
Do you think the Giants special teams still sees flashes of Devin Hester in their sleep? One of those, they can see him, they're trying to run as fast as they can, but it's like they're in quick sand dreams?
Do you think Jay Feely has been walking around, muttering things like, "Coach, I can't kick it 50 yards...mmm....50 yeards? No coach can't make that...nah...Man, 50 yards is a long way...hmmm...No comprende '50 yards'...next time I'll just say it, I'll just stand up to him..."
On the other side of the ball, I'm guessing the Jags have been muttering to themselves all week, "The Texans? Must have been a bad dream."
Both teams need this game. The Jags would drop to 5-5, and inch closer to the playoff bubble with a loss. While the Giants need to keep pace with the Bears, Saints and Seahawks for the top 2 seeds in the NFC.
The Giants have the added problem right now of trying to find enough healthy bodies to field a team. I mean who else is going to go down on this team? I'm amazed that Coughlin himself hasn't had a JoePa injury on the sideline yet.
But the Jags have, what I'm calling, Vikingsitis. It's where you have no talent at WR and the guys you do have, just drop everything thrown their way. How hard is it to catch the damn ball? It's what a WR is paid to do.
I'm handing this one over to the Chimp. He promptly grabs a DirectTV dish, and smiles as wide as he can...I'm going to have to take that as a sign the Giants with this one.
Well, that's all of them. The NFL season is another week closer to the end. Another week closer to the end of Denny Green's employment.
Remember, these picks were made by a trained Chimp. While better than picks made by myself, I still don't vouch for their authenticity or accuracy. But go ahead, bet the mortgage based on them...
For a different take, here are Shaun's picks.