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TSN: Week 6 primer: Righting some wrongs


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Week 6 primer: Righting some wrongs

Posted: October 12, 2005


If you've read this column before, chances are you've seen me be wrong about something NFL. What happens in this league isn't exactly a crapshoot -- it's like that popular poker the kids are playing. Just because you know what's showing doesn't mean you aren't about to flop or be up a river without any form of rowing instrument.

So, I'm here to right some of those wrongs, in my personal version of My Name Is Earl. Here's a sampling:

167. Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell are still viable NFL quarterbacks. I stand corrected as I look at their records this season, seeing what they can do when well-protected in the right offense. Never underestimate what coaches such as Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs can get out of veteran quarterbacks on whom other coaches have given up.

34. The Steelers are an exciting team. I realize it's fun to watch their blockers at work, opening holes for any running back behind them. And then you have talented open-field guys in Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El. Big Ben, I'm glad you'll be OK -- every second-year QB in this league wishes they had your athleticism and poise.

203. The Colts can play defense. Welcome to Dungyball. I love it. Pound the ball. Pound the opponent. Make life easier on All-Galaxy quarterback. They no longer care if you love offensive fireworks or great fantasy stats. That's why this team is more dangerous than ever.

1. Panthers over Jets?. I don't feel good about my Super Bowl pick right about now, but that doesn't keep me from picking games. ...


New York Giants at Dallas. Speaking of Bledsoe, he and fellow old Parcells Patriot Terry Glenn have enjoyed quite a reunion. Let's see, Jason Witten, Ben Coates. Julius Jones, a young Curtis Martin. I seem to remember the Parcellian effort of getting such a team to the Super Bowl by winning an AFC title game over ... Tom Coughlin's Jaguars.

Now Coughlin's Giants come to town on a roll. Their offense has been impressive, with Eli Manning-to-Plaxico Burress as the headliner. Then there's Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey, who both drive linebackers crazy.

Both teams have no problems moving the ball with balance -- the problems come in the secondary. Dallas took advantage of the Eagles' one-dimensional offense last week, playing pass without worrying about the run. Its front seven can't do that this week.

Barber, a little Brandon Jacobs and Shockey's presence over the middle will keep things open for Plax downfield. With Jones banged up, the Cowboys may lose a little explosiveness, but Glenn, Witten and Keyshawn Johnson will find plenty of room to run routes.

In the preseason, I gave the G-Men a slight edge over the 'Boys for the NFC's last wild-card berth in 2005. Coming off a bye, I give them a slight edge here in what should be a very entertaining game. Giants 31, Cowboys 29.


New England at Denver. Meet the new Pats, who are much like the non-Super Bowl 2003 Pats. While their defense continues to work hard and has Bill Belichick behind it, injuries have depleted its best talent. Therefore, it's now up to Tom Brady to direct the offense to big point totals week after week. Unfortunately for opponents, he has the talent to do so.

When Brady gets fired up, like he was after the Martytalk last week, he gets on fire on the field. It doesn't matter who they're playing, where or when. Sure, Jake Plummer plays his best ball at home and the Broncos have the right mix of running and play-action passing to burn that depleted defense several times, but Brady will stay in his zone, coming up with -- what else? -- another big fourth quarter. Patriots 27, Broncos 24.


Ronnie Brown at Carnell Williams. While Cadillac stormed out of the garage and just as quickly went to the body shop for carrying a heavy load in Tampa, his former Auburn teammate Brown is coming along steadily in Miami. Brown will need to start sharing time with a Williams again -- Ricky -- but that should only keep him fresher for the long haul. The Bucs' offense hasn't been quite the same when not riding Caddy, so it will need to work in more Michael Pittman to keep its prized first-round pick on the field for the rest of the season.

The Bucs and Dolphins are very similar in many other ways, including their veteran front sevens and underrated receiving corps. Brown and Williams will both feel like this is an old-fashioned SEC defensive slugfest, and I'll go with the home team to win on a Matt Bryant field goal. Buccaneers 17, Dolphins 14.


Jacksonville at Pittsburgh. Whether Ben Roethlisberger plays, don't expect the Steelers to change what they're doing. They catch a break against a team that doesn't have the offense to match their defensive prowess. Expect Pittsburgh to match the Jags physically, sticking with a power running game and equally hard-hitting on the other side of the ball.

The host's 3-4 will limit both Byron Leftwich and Fred Taylor, while Ward and Randle El will come up with some pivotal plays behind the Jags' secondary. Once again, Jeff Reed will be money when it counts. Steelers 16, Jaguars 13.


San Diego at Oakland. When he sees the Raiders on the schedule, LaDainian Tomlinson's eyes light up like Las Vegas. He has consistently hit the jackpot against their defense, a sieve that has catered to his every move and cutback. Oakland is a bit improved with the 4-3 up front, but Tomlinson can even run through a steel door.

The Raiders, however, have this guy named Randy Moss, who should have some illuminated pupils of his own as he waits to take on the Chargers' cornerbacks. Kerry Collins will deliver by air, but his team won't be able to match what LT does by ground. Chargers 35, Raiders 31.


St. Louis at Indianapolis. When the MNF producers put this game on the schedule, they must have been hoping for a Northwestern over Wisconsin instant classic fun-and-gun carnival (I'm still beaming over that one). The aforementioned Colts defense will make sure that doesn't happen. The Rams' only shot to stay in a shootout is with the passing game, but their pass protection is no match for Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis flying off the edges.

As for the Colts' offense, it will be a feast for the senses against a Rams defense that misses plenty of tackles and consistently has players out of position. Peyton and Marvin, the record is yours in prime time. Colts 34, Rams 17.


Minnesota over Chicago. I'm thinking we will see a different Vikes team out of their bye week, because if not, Mike Tice won't be Vike Tice for much longer. Expect more running, more short passing, more easy reads to help Daunte Culpepper, whose banged-up knee needed the rest.

The Bears counter with a stout defense, especially at home, but their reliance on man-to-man coverage will hurt them again as Minny's receivers will get behind them for key plays. The Vikings' run defense also gets a break with Thomas Jones likely out, and they have the front seven to tee off on Kyle Orton. Vikings 20, Bears 10.


Seattle over Houston. I'm pleasantly surprised that Seattle has finally turned the corner. It won a big road game, and its offense finally is starting to reach its full potential with Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck. That 'Hawks offense won't need to worry about ballhawks this week, either -- the Texans still are looking for their first takeaway of the season.

As for Houston's offense, well, it is far from turning any corners. A Sunday night road game against a fired-up host means an early night of it. Seahawks 38, Texans 13.


Carolina at Detroit. With injuries/suspensions hitting their talented receiving corps, the Lions will need to rely on running Kevin Jones and playing near-flawless defense to win games. That won't happen against the Panthers, who will use their "cinco" alignment to sell out and stop Jones and drive another secondary batty with Jake Delhomme-to-Steve Smith. Panthers 27, Lions 19.

Atlanta at New Orleans. The Saints' difficult season will continue after their 52-3 throttling to Green Bay and losing Deuce McAllister for the season. Whether it's Matt Schaub or Michael Vick, the Falcons will have no troubles running or passing, and their run defense against Antowain Smith and pass rush against Aaron Brooks will cause major trouble. Falcons 27, Saints 17.

Cincinnati at Tennessee. As long as the Titans have Steve McNair's arm and Jeff Fisher's mind, they will be a difficult draw every week, but this isn't a good matchup for their defensive personnel. Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow will see first-hand how well he USC-trained Carson Palmer, who will pick apart their young secondary with deep balls to Chad Johnson and Chris Henry. Then another Johnson and Chris -- Rudi and Perry -- will put away the game late. Bengals 31, Titans 24.

Cleveland at Baltimore. Why do I feel like the Ravens' defense is a running commercial for Under Armour? They need to play like a disciplined unit instead of undisciplined individuals if they must protect their house with their 46 defense. They probably wish they still had the Browns' Trent Dilfer as their quarterback, but they will be happy they still have Jamal Lewis against the team to which he still gives nightmares. Ravens 20, Browns 16.

Washington at Kansas City. Politically incorrect Native American nicknames aside, this is an intriguing matchup (See, I avoided using "powwow" there). I like KC's offense to come out flying after a bye despite facing DC's tough defense. With the energy of Arrowhead, the Chiefs' defense also plays better, and they will want to take it out on someone after the Eagles' debacle. Those someones are Brunell and Clinton Portis. Chiefs 24, Redskins 13.

New York Jets at Buffalo. I am a fan of Vinny Testaverde, and it's not just because of the same first name, different spelling. He is what you expect of a veteran who knows his limitations, and that's as a caretaker to complement Martin and their defense. Martin will find room to run against a vulnerable Buffalo front seven, and their speedy defense matches up pretty well against Willis McGahee. Jets 20, Bills 17.


What the heck happened to the Eagles in Week 5? Having too many banged-up players starting plus playing against a Parcells-coached team seems to be the answer. They need this bye to recover badly, and they should have much more spring in their steps against San Diego. ...

The Packers ended their losing streak in style, but they will need to forget their fun against the Saints and refocus fast. Minnesota (twice), Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Philadelphia are the opponents in their next six games. ...

The Cardinals have two offensive stars in wide receiver Larry Fitzergald and Anquan Boldin, but as long as they can't run the ball or can't stop the run consistently, they won't beat teams that can do both. ...

The 49ers, the only team to lose to those Cards, have pretty much put up the white flag by turning to rookie quarterback Alex Smith. Although taking his lumps now will help him later, they have no shot against teams with superior defenses -- such as Washington and Tampa Bay, which are next on the schedule.


Week 5 straight up: 8-6

Week 5 record vs. the spread: 6-8

Season record straight up: 45-29

Season record vs. the spread: 35-39

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Has this dickhead even watched the team over the last couple games? No way we only score 13 on the Chiefs. At least he doesn't have them scoring 30+ points, but still... :dunce:

Why do people here get so defensive every time we are picked to lose. Guess what? We aren't going to go 15-1! No way we only score 13?? Our scores for the year are 9, 14, 20 (in OT) and 19. 13 isn't that far fetched. Dickhead. (Is it ok for me to call somebody the same thing that they called somebody else?)

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I also believe that we will win the game. Does that mean that thinking we will lose 24-13 is so completely absurd that the writer needs to be personally attacked?

Hey fellow Redskins fan I was just trying to be a little funny and to personally go after the writer, was not my intention...from all of the media who picks against our team each week...I relish in it. :)

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Did you guys even read the first few lines of the article?

The guy said he was wrong about Joe Gibbs and Mark Brunell. He admitted fault. That's something that I've seen *NO* other sportswriter do.

Do I agree with his prediction? No, but I give him some respect for at least admitting that he's wrong from time to time.

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People get things wrong in predictions all the time guys, dont be so down about it. Its the postgame reports that we should jump on if theyre inaccurate. Anyone can predict a football score and get it wrong, a clear concise factual analysis of a football game is something far more difficult to write correctly and actually show you know what youre talking about. I say wait till monday before we start burning journalists at the stake.

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Though following that up with a prediction that we're going to get blown out, pretty much negates that.

I don't agree at all.

When you are employed by a media source to predict the outcome of football games, then you are accordingly employed to analyze the teams and figure out who you think is better and who will win on any given Sunday.

This guy put forth some reasons (that the Chiefs offense will rise up, behind the strength of the fans at Arrowhead) and gave some respect to our defense.

That you don't agree is one thing but by your logic any prediction that wasn't in the 'Skins favor would be disrespectful. I don't buy that at all.

And 24-13 is not a blowout.

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How is losing 24-13 a blowout. Lets say that the refs don't call the 4th down holding call on Denver and the sack of Mark Brunell on the Skins 40 stands. The Broncos get one first down and Jason Elam kicks a FG. We are all of a sudden losing 24-13.

The TSN article seems like a reasonable prediction to me. It's not the way I see it going down but it could easily end up that way. I mean seriously, if we all did pushups after each touchdown like some college students do, we would still all be fat and out of shape.

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Every week the Skins O has faced a stout D. The weakest was probably the Cowboys, maybe the Bears. But the Broncos and Seahawks had top 10 defenses. I think this is a game the Skins can score points and control the clock. I see the Skins putting up three or more touchdowns. The defense will rebound and play tougher against the Chiefs then the Broncos. The Chiefs have potential for more points, but I think a healthier secondary is gonna make it difficult on Green and crew. Plus the Skins will control the clock with Portis and making their 3rd downs. This offense has gotten better each week, this is the week they put points on the board.

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