After reading the article I wrote last week I realized a few things. The first thing is I went 3-2 in my picks, not great but it would have made me some money. The second thing is, it is really hard to make picks on Wednesday for Sundays games. The Jacksonville Houston game was a perfect example of that. The Jaguars decided to go with their first round pick Leftwich instead of Brunell, which is good for the long term but a rookie starting quarterback is never a good thing. Well on to this weeks picks…
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs
Let me say this as I start, I am on the chiefs bandwagon. They are my pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year. But this should be a really exciting game; you have a battle of two very improved 4-0 teams. Both have great running backs, I give Priest Holmes of the Chiefs the edge over the Broncos Clinton Portis because he is a more versatile running back with his pass catching abilities. This game has two very important factors in it. The first is former Arizona Cardinal starter Jake “the snake” Plummer ready for a big game. Lets face it playing in the desert the only “big game” they play is when I watch them play the giants and they beat them just to spite me (on a personal note I don’t ever watch games between the giants and cards anymore, that’s the only way the giants can win). The second factor, which is something I pointed out in last weeks game as well for KC, is Dante Hall. This is the most amazing kick returner I have ever seen. He has 6 kick returns for touchdowns in his last nine games. By comparison Brian Mitchell, the NFL’s all time leader in return yards and touchdowns has 13, in his 14-year career. Hall has produced nearly half of that in 9 games.
Gut Feeling: I see the Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, but I don’t see them breaking the Dolphins 1972 mark for going undefeated. Priest Holmes hasn’t looked like himself the last two games due to a groin injury and Jake “the snake” has something to prove. Look for a high scoring game with Denver coming out on top 35-30.
Oakland Raiders @ Chicago Bears
While watching the Oakland vs. San Diego game last week I remembered what I wrote about the Raiders and their superstar Quarterback Rich Gannon. I said to watch out because they were going to make a comeback. I couldn’t help but think I was a moron as the Chargers were up 31-14 in the fourth quarter of that game. Then Gannon must have read my article because he started playing like Steve Young. Tim Brown and Jerry Rice both had over 100 yards receiving and Charlie Garner had 70 rushing yards on only 12 carries. The Bears on the other hand lost to the Packers 38-23 and don’t have much on the way of offense or defense. Kordell Stewart has a quarterback rating of 49.8. Now I know to most people that doesn’t mean anything because it’s easier to make explosives from chewing gum than to figure out a QB rating. Think about this Kordell 49.8, Vinny Testaverde of the 0-4 jets 82.5. My only hope is that the Bears start Kordell all year so they don’t get first round pick Rex Grossman killed.
Gut feeling: There should be nothing better for the Raiders than a visit to the windy city. Expect Gannon and the Raiders to look like the team that went to the Super Bowl and not like the team that played in the Super Bowl. Raiders roll 35-13
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
The Bills lost to the Eagles, shouldn’t that mean their seasons over? No, not yet. The Bengals have already won their one game for the year when they beat Cleveland last week 21-14. Now I’m a big fan of Marvin Lewis and I hope he turns it around in Cincy, but this isn’t the year it’s going to happen. The Bills on the other hand might have a similar situation on their hands this week as they did week one with Takeo Spikes playing his old team for the first time. The Bengals are actually quite talented on offense with three possible big play receivers in Peter Warrick, Chad Johnson, and Kelley Washington. The problem is in the defense where the only real talent lies with right defensive end Justin Smith. I think Drew Bledsoe and all of his weapons will be too much for Mr. Smith and the rest of his Cincinnati counterparts.
Gut feeling: Can the Bengals make it two in a row? Yes they can, if the Bills go without their starting tailback Travis Henry again they will have trouble running the ball again and the Bengals can drop a linebacker into coverage or bring in their nickel package and confuse Bledsoe. But that wont happen, Henry should be back, even if it’s in a limited role it will help the bills maintain some balance. And with Cincinnati double teaming standout wide out Eric Moulds, expect a big game from second year man Josh Reed. Bills win a closer game than they would have liked 24-17
Seattle Seahawks @ Green Bay Packers
The frozen tundra of Lambeau field. It is one of the most storied stadiums in league history. An interesting note about the packers, you never hear about their owners threatening to move or hear them complain about ticket sales or they’re not making enough money. Ever wonder why that is? The city of Green Bay and its residents own the packers through stock and it is written into the teams bi-laws that no one person can own more than 200 shares in the team. So the only way the packers are leaving Green Bay is in Madden 2004. Enough interesting info, on to the game. This isn’t the same old walk all over me Seahawks that we all grew up with, Mike Holmgren finally has this team ready to make a trip to the playoffs with a team built around explosive offense. Matt Hassleback has really matured into a fine Quarterback and he doesn’t have to be much more than that with Shawn Alexander to turn around and give the ball to. Alexander is one of the leagues most underrated players. If you get him the ball enough he is going to break a big run on you, guaranteed. If you took Alexander’s name out of the last few sentences, you could easily just plug in Ahman Green’s name from the packers. Green is a better all-a-round running back because of his pass catching ability. He is Brett Favre’s main weapon. At times he is his only weapon.
Gut Feeling: There was a time a year or two ago I would have laughed at this notion but I think the Seahawks are going to beat the Packers this week. I didn’t even mention above Seattle’s star receiving core or improved defense. I just don’t think Brett Favre is enough to beat teams by himself anymore. And his go to guy, Donald Driver still isn’t 100 percent after landing on his head a few weeks ago. Green makes this game close by getting over 150 total yards but Seattle wins 27-16
Miami Dolphins @ New York Giants
HERE WE GO!!!! I would like to say before I go into this that I am a die-hard Giants fan but I am going to write this as fairly as possible.
The 2-1 Dolphins come into a place they know very well to meet the 2-1 Giants. What are going to be the keys to this game? In two words for the Giants Jeremy Shockey. Not because of his trash talking or any of the other things he does for this offense. The G-men need to get Shockey involved so he can keep all-world linebackers Junior Seau and Zach Thomas off of Tiki Barber. If Shockey gets the ball early, and doesn’t drop it like he did against Dallas, expect the Dolphins to counter by covering with Thomas or Seau or even both. If this happens expect Tiki to have a big day. On the Miami side of things, is there anyone better than Ricky Williams. Number 34 is the truth, and since he got to Miami he has gotten much better at doing one thing, (are you listening Tiki) fumbling the football. Ricky use to fumble all the time in New Orleans, but coach Dave Wannstedt must have taught him something because he is much better at holding on to the rock.
Gut feeling: My gut feeling is that anyone of my friends that is about to read this is going to be really mad at me. Jason Taylor and the rest of that Miami D-line is just going to be too much for the Giants young, inexperienced offensive line. On top of that Tiki Barber is good for about 2 fumbles a game and Shockey about 3 drops. The only chance the giants have is if Kerry Collins has the game of his life and Michael Strahan finds a way to put consistent pressure on Jay Fiedler. I see the Dolphins winning this one 35-21.
New York Jets @ bye week
This is going to be the best game Vinny and the Jets have all year. Finally the Jet fans have something to cheer about, a week where they cant lose! Somehow offensive coordinator Paul Hackett finds a way to even mess the bye week up.
Gut feeling: Bye week 14 Jets 3
That’s all for this week. This is Hector Mercado saying I hope all of your fantasy dreams come true. Well football-wise that is.