Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Sorry for the day late all, Friday proved to be quite a busy day indeed for this guy, driving four hours back and forth to the Mass South Shore to meet up with my airline pilot uncle, who was making a quick and rare stop to the East coast. That and the unseasonably beautiful weather had me out golfing and doing my old routine at the parents’ house. It was a much welcomed vacation from the vocation.
I hope everyone had a great day of Tryptophan-induced laziness. I know I did. What else is there to do on Thanksgiving anyway? Oh wait, Football. Wow, almost let that one slip by me. In the middle of the family visiting, turkey consumption, Scrabble playing, and light beer drinking, I managed to sneak in about 4 hours of football coverage between the two afternoon games, both of which I predicted correctly in the quick Monday blog I posted. My Lions have yet again lived up to their moniker’s first letter (hint: L), the Dolphins look to be a sudden powerhouse who’ll make life miserable for a good deal of teams down the stretch, Romo has become a new Tom Brady, and Chucky still looks like he could bite off someone’s nose at any moment.
As for the NFL Network premier, I had to say I was impressed. Granted, I was one of the few who was able to enjoy the Gumbel and Collinsworth telecast on beautiful HDTV. One thing to note, during the broadcast, the camera angles they would use prior to the snap appeared to cover a wider part of the field than the CBS and FOX broadcasts. It was actually very cool since you could see the defensive unit in full, and you could also watch what the safeties were doing with blitzes and coverage. Collinsworth as always was brutally honest, actually referring to the Jake Plummer as “awful” at one part of the telecast. How can you not love this guy’s honesty? He might be too personal for national TV, but with the knowledge he has of the game and its players, he should be able to say whatever he wants.
Alright, time for the picks as I have already rambled far too much.
49ers at Rams, Sunday 1pm
Any reasonable human being should expect the Rams to climb out of that depressing 5 game skid against the 49ers, however I do not claim to be reasonable by any measure. It is clear that Frank Gore has become a very good back, and with the history of the Rams run defense this year (see LT, LJ) and his 127 yard performance during the week 3 matchup this season, you have to expect the Gore train to run wild yet again. I say very good, because if Frank Gore has already become a “great” back, then I’d say half of all NFL teams have “great” backs. After all, it looks like as many as 24 backs have a decent chance of breaking 1,000 yards this season. Remember the good ole days when 1,000 yards was a helluva season? It looks like that number is going to have to be re-evaluated, possibly increased to 1,300 yards. Too bad it is such an ugly number. Anyway, I think the 49ers will win this game by winning the time of possession battle. Gore is good for 145 or so.
Final Score: 49ers 24, Rams 21
Bengals at Browns, Sunday 1pm
As a Chad Johnson owner in my fantasy football league, the last two weeks has been essentially a celebration of why I took him with my 2nd pick. With help from his 450 yards and 5 TDs in the last two weeks, I have moved atop my league with great authority. Even though I still claim to have the best team overall, my fellow leaguers agree to disagree with my sentiments. Anyway, there doesn't seem like a man can cover him again, and maybe, just maybe, Carson Palmer will get good protection in the pocket for the 3rd week in a row. If that happens, and Chad's hamstring doesn't pop, expect yet another big game from CJ. Which, would be very nice, for me.
Final Score: Bengals 38, Browns 17
Cardinals at Vikings, Sunday 1pm
Here's a game to watch right here. A team who doesn't catch passes against a team of uber-talented players who can't win. Who is going to try and give the game away harder? I'll be honest, I expected those Cardinals to finish 9-7 or 8-8 this year, which clearly isn't happening. Since the Vikings have a decent defense, I can only assume that the Vikings will take their head out of the toilet and step up to win one game. I can’t see these guys scoring very much either, but I think that Chester Taylor might finally run wild. I’m guessing about 130 yards and a touch.
Final Score: Vikings 17, Cardinals 10
Jaguars at Bills, Sunday 1pm
Jags burnt me last week, despite dropping what, like 10 passes? David Garrard must have a very odd spiral or something because there’s no reason why any NFL receiver should drop a pass. Besides that, I’d say the Jags are a darn good team when their Defense shows up. Their defense is 3rd in the NFL in scoring, trailing only the Patriots and Bears, respectively, in that category. We all know that Lee Evans isn’t going to get another 265 on Sunday against Rasheed Mathis. The Bills aren’t going to score a bunch of points in this one, which means they will probably lose.
Final Score: Jaguars 26, Bills 14
Panthers at Redskins, Sunday 1pm
Redskins defense is in shambles. Redskins offense is in shambles. Throw up that white flag Washington, you are being viciously attacked by a pack of rabid Panthers. The Panther’s defense is finally performing to specifications, and who knew all it took was for the team to go out to dinner together every Thursday night? I read that they started that a few weeks ago, and they have been stout ever since. Jason Cambell played well last week, he really did, and I picked him to pull one out, but to no avail. Well, I’m confident enough to say he won’t pull one out this week, and the Panthers might hold the Redskins to negative points. Of course, that’s not exactly possible, but if they shut out the Skins and force a safety, that’s basically negative points right? Well that’s what I’m seeing happen. The problem with predicting shutouts is that there are so many ways for the Redskins to score without performing offensively, that it really isn’t fair to the predictor. In that case, I’ll spot them a mysterious 8 points to cover whatever might happen out of the Offense’s control.
Final Score: Panthers 26, Redskins 8
Saints at Falcons, Sunday 1pm
I look forward to watching this game, I just hope it’s on the tube. I love the NFC south matchups for some reason. They have some very exciting players spread throughout the entire division. This matchup features some very exciting players, including Michael Vick and Reggie Bush. I’m hoping for a shootout, and I think we might in fact, be treated to one. Expect the Saints to cut down on the mistakes they made last week and score big points. The same with the Falcons, you gotta think that Michael Vick can escape the funk he’s in. He’s been terrible lately, again, and perhaps a big day running the ball is in order this Sunday.
Final Score: Saints 31, Falcons 29
Steelers at Ravens, Sunday 1pm
Should be a good hard nosed battle of AFC North teams. Now I’m not a real big fan of either team, although I’ve said that the Steelers might run the table. My gut tells me that Pittsburg will find a way to win this week, but that depends on how many mistakes Big Ben makes in the first half. I expect a low scoring, physical grind with the winner being the first one to 20 points.
Final Score: Steelers 22, Ravens 17
Texans at Jets, Sunday 1pm
Woo hoo, here’s a real showdown. Gosh, I pick the Jets with no rationale because these teams fail to excite my football feelings. I said that the Jets won’t lose to another bad team all year long, and I’m sticking to that philosophy.
Final Score: Jets 24, Texans 10
Raiders at Chargers, Sunday 4:05pm
Okay, LT might score four TD’s for the 3rd straight game? Yes, very possible. I still can’t believe he put up 4 last week against the Broncos. What is to stop him against the Raiders? I hope he runs for 200 yards and scores five times. Wouldn’t that be something. Perhaps the best is yet to come for LT, we shall see, and we’ll enjoy it no matter who’s fantasy team he might be on.
Final Score: Chargers 40, Raiders 7, LT 24
Bears at Patriots, Sunday 4:15pm
Most would argue this is the game of the week, and I'd tend to agree with most people. I think that the Bears are the only truely good team in all of the NFC. They should be happy and finish at 13-3. No they will not finish with a 14-2 or 15-1 record. They are a good team, but come on, this is Rex Grossman we're talking about. I know that Josh is going to be very upset with me, but I'm picking the home team to win this one. I don't think one player on either side is going to have a good offensive game, and it will be the defensive strategies that win the end. Bellichick is going to do something wild to screw up Gross-man at QB, and the Patriots are going to steal a victory against the formidable Bears in a tight matchup of two league powerhouses. Brady won't throw for more than one touchdown or so, but will get enough done to move the ball when needed.
Final Score: Patriots 24, Bears 21
Giants at Titans, Sunday 4:15pm
These Giants have bothered everyone this year with their inconsistency. All of a sudden, Dallas looks like they have grabbed ahold of the NFC east. If Eli continues to struggle, the Giants might actually fall into a wild card race. I look at the Giants as the NFC’s Chargers. They have a do all running back, an excellent TE, a young, promising QB, and some solid WRs with a decent, pressure defense. The difference is injuries and inconsistency, and this would be a game in which the Giants should win to shake the recent headaches for NYC. Then again, my track record with Vince Young has been terrible. I have never picked VY’s outcome correctly. He is my unicorn. I’m going to have to go against him, which means he’s going to pull something USC-like and beat the Giants. Gotta go with common sense though on this one and hand it to Eli and the G-men.
Final Score: Giants 28, Titans 24
Eagles at Colts, Sunday 8:15pm
The experts can sugar coat this game all they want, but we all witnessed a big primetime matchup fall apart with the collapse of McNabb’s knee last Sunday. This game should for all intents and purposes be an absolute blowout. The Colts are pissed about finally losing last week, and the Eagles have Jeff Garcia at QB. With McNabb, they were still struggling to stay .500. I’d say that when healthy, McNabb is good for at least 8 wins a season. Without him, the Eagles might win 1 more game this year. Some “experts” will claim that the Eagles will hold the Colts in check by taking advantage of their weak run defense. It ain’t gonna happen. You watch, I won’t be surprised when the Colts hold the Eagles to under 100 yards of rushing. This is a team that might just completely pack it in and prepare for next season already, but who knows. My prediction is that Manning and the Colts become Super Bowl contenders once again this Sunday.
Final Score: Colts 49, Eagles 17
Packers at Seahawks, Monday 8:30pm
A Monday night matchup everyone doesn’t want to witness! I do like the Matt Hasselbeck- Brett Favre connection, as Hasselbeck was Favre’s backup in the 90s for the Packers. He plays a similar style of football, but he is obviously less reckless. As for Favre, he’s scheduled to start despite hurting himself last weekend in the blowout. He doesn’t have much of a choice now that Aaron Rodgers is out for the season. Who is their 3rd string QB anyway?? It doesn’t really matter, if Favre can walk, Favre will play. It’s too bad watching a proud veteran try to keep working. He just can’t give up the game. It is Monday night though, and he has historically been a star on Monday’s. The game isn’t at home, but I still think Favre might have one last trick up his sleeve for Monday night.
Final Score: Packers 21, Seahawks 17
Hope everyone has a great weekend. Enjoy the weather if you are in the Northeast, as winter is coming! You’ll hear from me again on Monday afternoon, and thereafter, Friday. Peace and Love.