Friday, October 15, 2004

NFL: Week 6 picks

San Francisco at Jets... Jets
The Niners are better than their record indicates. Their offense and defense is ranked 14th and 12th, respectively. Coming back late against Arizona is one thing. It's quite another to beat the forbidable Jets. Without much consideration, I take the Jets big.

Carolina at Philadelphia... Philadelphia
Carolina came up huge in last year's NFC title game in Philly. This week is another story. Their offense is depleted, having lost Steve Smith and both RB's, DeShaun Foster and Stephen Davis. Philadelphia is one of only two elite teams in the NFL today. McNabb will have trouble with Carolina's strong secondary, but he can rely on Brian Westbrook to give him a solid performance. Carolina can keep it close but lack enough offensive firepower to compete with McNabb & Co.

Kansas City at Jacksonville... Kansas City
With two weeks rest, Kansas City comes into Florida Sunday with hopes of saving their season. I can't imagine coach Dick Vermiel allowing this one to slip away. Kansas City still has a shot. Denver at 4-1 is the only big contender. San Diego will fade and Oakland isn't a threat. Two weeks ago, K.C. beat a very good Baltimore Ravens team on the road. Jacksonville has been sliding as of late, losing their last two games to Indianpolis and San Diego. There's a reason Kansas City won 13 games last season. They have the same offensive pieces and a slightly improved defense.

San Diego at Atlanta... Atlanta
The Chargers have been a big surprise of 2004. Sitting at 3-2, they face the NFC South leading Atlanta Falcons this week. I'd say this is a fairly even contest. A good defense (Atlanta) can usually stop a good offense (San Diego). However, last week a very good San Diego offense handily defeated the great defense of Jacksonville. But that game was at home in San Diego. I'd like to see some more explosives out of Mike Vick this week. I'm going with the home Atlanta Falcons.

Washington at Chicago... Washington
What an awful game. I don't want to give this game more thought than it deserves. Joe Gibbs has to be decent enough to find a way to beat this terrible Bears team. Who cares?

Cincinnati at Cleveland... Cincinnati
Cincinnati WR Chad Johnson has been talking a lot of trash this week. He sent a bottle of antiacids to the Cleveland squad, saying that he'll make them sick on Sunday. Carson Palmer has to do a better job of protecting the football. So far this season, he's thrown 7 INT passes. As long as Cincinnati does a decent job of containing RB William Green, I believe they can make enough big offensive plays to win the Battle of Ohio. In a mild upset, Cincinnati on the road.

Seattle at New England... Seattle
This game had even more luster before St. Louis rallied late to defeat Seattle at home. Still, that doesn't change the fact that Seattle's a very solid football team. Frankly, New England hasn't faced much this year. They've beaten the hapless Cardinals, Dolphins, and Bills, and have faced resistance in all three games. It's difficult to go though a season 16-0. I actually think Seattle has enough defense to keep Corey Dillion below his 5-yards average per carry. I may regret it later, but Seattle can pull off the upset.

Green Bay at Detroit... Green Bay
This is kind of a gut pick. All the signs show that Green Bay is going South fast. But Green Bay/Detroit is a special rivalry. Regardless of record, both teams usually come and play their best football. Green Bay has enough pride to come back from Monday night's humiliating loss to Tennessee.

Houston at Tennessee... Tennessee
Last week showed that Steve McNair is back. And if he's healthy, Tennessee has a shot at beating anybody. Chris Brown has been better as of late at RB. I like Tennessee in a relatively high scoring affair.

Denver at Oakland... Denver
Coach Mike Shanahan has done very well during his career vs. Oakland. I have a hard time picking Oakland when I see that Kerry Collins has already thrown 7 INT passes. Champ Bailey and the Denver secondary will have a field day with Oakland. The Raiders best chance is to run Amos Zereoue early and keep the game close. If Denver gets up early, Collins will have to throw the ball and inevitably get rattled. Denver should have enough to up their record to 5-1.

Pittsburgh at Dallas... Pittsburgh
I'll admit, I'm hot on this Ben Roethlisberger kid. He's got something special, going 3-0 in his first three NFL starts. Even the best young QB's can't achieve that success. Cowher hasn't named him the permanent starter, so he's still playing for a job. Duce Staley has played well enough to keep a lot of the pressure off the rookie. Pittsburgh has a pass defense that will pick Vinny off if he throws the ball 40 + times. I know Dallas is favored, but Pittsburgh has the momentum on their side.

Minnesota at New Orleans... Minnesota
Daunte Culpepper is having a MVP caliber season. New Orleans 29th ranked defense cannot and will not slow down Culpepper. Despite Minnesota's wretched defense, they have too many offensive weapons to lose to this Saints team. It might take 40 points to do it, but Minnesota ends up getting by the Saints.

Tampa Bay at St. Louis... St. Louis
The Rams are riding high after last week's great comeback in Seattle. The Bucs were able to win their first game, as well. The most important point is that ABC must be disappointed with how this game has turned out. Tampa's struggled mightily and the Rams aren't the St. Louis team of two years ago. Brian Griese is scheduled to get the start for Jon Gruden's offense. I've seen Brian Griese play and he's nothing to write home about. St. Louis in a walk.


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