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Sept. 25, 2004

NFL: Week Three predictions

by Isamu Bae, Page Editor and Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
There were some returning old faces last week as the Colts, Ravens andPanthers, among others, regained form with a shoot-out or a nearshut-out, depending on the team. There were some continuing surprises(like the Jags) and some continuing disappointments (the Bills), andfor many good teams that faltered in Week One, this is the week tostart picking up some momentum for a good run for the division.

Chips Staff Standings:


Sunday September 26, 2004
Arizona at Atlanta – 1 p.m.
(Atlanta -10)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
TheFalcons are looking good after a rather unexpected blow-out of the St.Louis Rams. But I wonder if coach Mora is going to bite his nails offafter seeing Falcons quarterback Michael Vick pull some dangerousstunts (for those of you in the dark, Vick did a flip over a defender).While Vick is proving to the NFL that he is definitely turning theFalcons into a one-man team, the Cardinals would like anyone, anybodyto become a one-man army. Quarterback Josh McCown has been downrightsad (no touchdowns yet, seven sacks), and although that could beattributed to the absence of receiver Anquan Boldin, it is not like theCardinals are deficient on athleticism on offense. In fact, sadly, theonly reason why their scores are close is because they have an oddsuccess defending their own zone. That's why Vick and the Falcons aregoing to explode to a second straight blowout, finishing the driveswith points.

Pratik says:
Atlanta seems to have refinedtheir offense from the beginning of the season and the scary thing foropposing defenses is that Michael Vick seems to be back to his old selfbefore the broken leg he suffered last year. As Vick and the rest ofthe Atlanta offense become more and more comfortable in the newlyinstalled West Coast offense and with a great rushing attack takingsome of the pressure off of Vick, the Falcons are really flying high.The Cardinals, on the other hand, have been in a perpetual nosediveever since Anquan Boldin, last year's Offensive Rookie of the Year, wasinjured before the season started. Expect Vick to have another greatgame, like last week's blowout against St. Louis, and the Falcons towin by at least a touchdown.

Baltimore at Cincinnati – 1 p.m.
(Baltimore -2.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Theinjuries that may affect their teams the most this past week may havebeen the ones to two tight ends. Rookie Kellen Winslow went down forthe Browns and, for the Ravens, their perennial Pro Bowler Todd Heapwent down for up to a month. What does this mean? Heap leads the teamwith receptions and receiving yards… again. That is not good for aRavens offense, which will suddenly find itself being run-stoppedaggressively due to an even more anemic pass offense. On the otherhand, Marvin Lewis' Bengals are healthy- a far cry from the rest of thedivision. The Bengals are looking to begin moving up, and this is asgood a chance as any.

Pratik says:
Baltimore still seems tobe underperforming to me, even after the win over Pittsburgh andCincinnati is becoming more and more dangerous with Carson Palmer andChad Johnson getting it done on offense. But Baltimore still has one ofthe best defenses, on paper at least, and sooner or later they willplay up to their capabilities. The most troubling thing for Baltimoreis the total lack of offense that is plaguing them. Everyone knew theirpassing attack was going to be iffy at best with no top of the linereceivers (like T.O.) for Boller to target, but their problems havebeen compounded by the sudden ineffectiveness of Jamal Lewis as well asthe severe sprain suffered by their best receiver, tight end Todd Heap.Maybe the Ravens will rediscover the defense they fielded in 2000 andcarry the team to the top, but who knows? As long as Ray Lewis canavoid the Madden curse, however, I won't count the Ravens out of anygame.

Chicago at Minnesota – 1 p.m.
(Minnesota -9)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Look at this game this way: the Bears no longer have a secondary. Now look at the Vikings. Yeah.

Pratik says:
Chicagocomes off an impressive victory over longtime rival Green Bay inLambeau Field and Minnesota sulks at home after dropping the MondayNight game to the Super Bowl bound Eagles. So why will the Vikings winthe game? Because Mike Brown, the best player in Chicago's secondary,is out with a season ending injury. Without Brown, the Chicagosecondary, which has lost three of four starters, will have a toughtime shutting down the Vikings dangerous passing game. Also, theVikings will be playing with renewed vigor since this is one of the feweasy games left on their schedule. I predict Moss and Culpepper willstep up this week and put a hurting on the wounded Bears.

Cleveland at N.Y. Giants – 1 p.m.
(New York Giants -3)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
New York GiantsNew York GiantsClevelandNew York Giants

Izzy says:
Comingoff of an emotional win, the Giants look to build a winning streakagainst the Browns. As luck would have it, the Browns just lost half oftheir offense- Kellen Winslow is out. While the Giants offense is notmuch better off, their defense is on a whole new level compared to theBrowns. They have a dominant pass rusher (Michael Strahan) and a decentsecondary, compared to the Browns' absolute lack of a pass rush and noreal secondary to boast. It won't be a blowout and it'll be ugly, butthe Giants will slug this one out for a tough win.

Pratik says:
Whywatch this game? Cleveland is really reeling after the loss of theirfirst round pick, tight end Kellen Winslow, after he suffered a brokenfibula in Sunday's loss to Dallas. And the Giants barely beat the'Skins even after they forced seven turnovers. Since no one importanton the Giants is injured, I'll say the Giants win.

Houston at Kansas City – 1 p.m.
(Kansas City -8)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
HoustonHoustonKansas CityKansas City

Izzy says:
Unlessthe Chiefs make some drastic changes to their defense, the Chiefs arelikely going to be out of the playoffs. Far out of the playoffs. Theyhave been torched for 150+ yards in two straight games and there are nosigns of stopping. Domanick Davis comes into town for the Texans. TheChiefs will have their hands full stopping Davis (assuming he doesn'tfumble) and Andre Johnson, while the Texans underwhelming defense willbegin meshing this week to stop the Chiefs dead in their tracks. Ohyes, Priest Holmes being out for the game also helps, too.

Pratik says:
Thisis a surprise matchup of two teams who are both winless. Houston hashad tough losses to Detroit and San Diego. Kansas City has lost toDenver and Carolina because they cannot stop the run even if theirlives depended on it. Unless the Chiefs fix their baffling inability tostop the run, they will not make it to the playoffs and may not evenhave a winning record; no matter how good their offense is. Also, whatwith Priest Holmes banged up and questionable for Sunday's game, I pickHouston in a game that will stabilize one team for the rest of theseason and end it for another.

Jacksonville at Tennessee – 1 p.m.
(Tennessee -6)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Jacksonvillehas one of the best run defenses this season, but it also has one ofthe worst offenses. The Jags have scored a total of one offensivetouchdown so far, including zero from the preseason. No matter howdominant their run defense is, such a pathetic offense will mean theirluck will not continue. Coach Del Rio has established the defensiveside of the ball, but now he must begin opening games up for secondyear quarterback Byron Leftwich to manhandle. That time may come soonerrather than later as the Titans rumble into town, humiliated aftergiving up a lead to another division rival, the Colts.

Pratik says:
Jacksonvilleis a surprise 2-0 team going into Week Two, but this is the week itends. Scoring only 20 points in two weeks is no way to win footballgames, no defense is that good. They face an angered Tennessee teamafter Tennessee was trounced by Indianapolis. The string of good luckfor the Jaguars will end and the Titans defense will cage ByronLeftwich and the Jaguars.

New Orleans at St. Louis – 1 p.m.
(St. Louis -7)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
St. LouisNew OrleansSt. LouisNew Orleans

Izzy says:
Ouch.Deuce McAllister is out for at least a month. Saints quarterback AaronBrooks can turn his game on at times, absolutely taking over, but canhe do it for the next month or so as Ki-Jana Carter becomes his primaryrunner? I don't think so, unless Brooks has suddenly matured. The Ramsoffense is looking for a victim to spark themselves with, and thedamaged Saints are just the right team to beat up on.

Pratik says:
Bothteams are in trouble here: St. Louis because Marc Bulger keeps throwingpicks and New Orleans because Deuce McAllister is injured for 4-6weeks. If Aaron Brooks can keep playing like he did last week, theSaints should be fine. St. Louis is at home where the turf gives theman advantage because of their team speed, but if Bulger can't get it toHolt and Bruce, the Rams have no chance. I pick Brooks and the Saintsin a close one at Edward Jones Dome.

Philadelphia at Detroit – 1 p.m.
(Philadelphia -4.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Detroitis 2-0, but how long the undefeatedness will last is up for grabs. Ibelieve it will end this Sunday as they take on the Eagles at home.McNabb and Owens lit up the game Monday Night against the Vikings andthe Lions are just not nearly as good as the Purple men. The absence oftheir top cornerback Dre' Bly to even touch Terrell Owens is just amark of how wide open TO will be.

Pratik says:
Detroit is agood, young team who has a chance to reach the playoffs. If they wereplaying an average team, I'd have to give them the benefit of thedoubt. But they're not. Detroit goes up against the PhiladelphiaEagles, who, with their newfound passing attack terrorizing opposingdefenses, have a great chance at getting to the Super Bowl if they stayinjury free. Unfortunately, the Lions just don't have the veterandefense needed to go deep into the playoffs or to compete with theEagles. Owens will get at least one touchdown as Philadelphia doublesup on the Lions.

Pittsburgh at Miami – 1 p.m.
(Miami -1)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Wakeup Big Ben. Steelers quarterback rookie Ben Roethlisberger takes hisfirst start against, oh great, the Dolphins. Big Ben opened up for 2touchdowns and 2 picks in his first NFL action against a great Ravensdefense and now he will make his first start against another soliddefensive squad. The Dolphins, with no defensive line, still are tryingto pound the ball with Lamar Gordon. The fact that Ricky Williams couldgo anywhere with that line is testament to how important he was to theDolphins. But the present is the present. Beating on a rookiequarterback is just what the Dolphins need to ensure they do not go0-16 this season.

Pratik says:
Since Tommy Maddox is out,Ben Roethlisberger gets the start at QB for the Steelers. People sayhe's better than Maddox was, but I'm still not sold until he gets somemore experience. Also, the Miami defense is not exactly the same as thepractice squad. Since Miami barely lost to Cincinnati, you have tothink that the defense has realized that they have to do everything forthe team by themselves. The sooner they accept the fact that they'relike baseball pitchers who get no run support because of an awfuloffense (see Randy Johnson), the sooner they'll get better. I thinkthat Miami will pull out a close one by harassing Big Ben on everyplay.

San Diego at Denver – 4:05 p.m.
(Denver -10)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Studback LaDainian Tomlinson is still looking for a first career touchdownagainst the Broncos and it may still not happen. The Broncos defensehas become incredible with the addition of Champ Bailey and their rundefense has been absolutely unstoppable. LT, battling onward with ashoddy offensive line, will continually see defenders in his faceagain. It'll take a miracle for LT and the Chargers to pull out of thisone with a rushing touchdown, much less a win.

Pratik says:
SanDiego is definitely defying all expectations this year. They keep doingbetter than people expect; maybe they actually are better than I givethem credit for. They lost a close one to the N.Y. Jets who are alsolooking in playoff form with Curtis Martin playing like he's ten yearsyounger. But going against the Denver defense with the Mike ShannahanRunning Back Machine (currently turning Quentin Griffin into a star),San Diego has got a very slim chance of winning. Unless Tomlinson pullsoff something really special, give this one to the Broncos.

Green Bay at Indianapolis – 4:15 p.m.
(Indianapolis -6)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick
IndianapolisIndianapolisGreen BayIndianapolis

Izzy says:
BrettFavre's Packers gave away a win last week with a fumble (returned for aTD) and two picks. This week they play the high-powered Colts, but maybe in luck as Edge is going to share carries with an injury. Guesswhat, however. The Colts bring in Dominic Rhodes, an almost-forgottenundrafted running back who rushed for 1100 yards as Edge's replacementbefore. The Packers cannot let up a relentless run stop, but they dohave Peyton Manning to worry about. Look for the Packers to slip under500 this week.

Pratik says:
Green Bay comes off a blowoutloss to the Bears and they're not feeling too good as the Bears arethey're long time rivals. Also, with Mike McKenzie back in play for thedefense, the team is very balanced and primed for a playoff run in thefinal seasons of Brett Favre's career. However, they play Indianapoliswho, along with Minnesota and Philadelphia, have one of the mostprolific offenses in the league with a young, fast defense built totake away the passing game. Unless Ahman Green has a monster game, Indywill take this one easy.

San Francisco at Seattle – 4:15 p.m.
(Seattle -11)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Stoutrunning game, clogging run stop, upper-tier pass defense, now all theSeahawks need is for their somewhat high-profile receivers to startholding onto the ball. The Hawks barely defeated the Tampa Bay Bucslast week- a victory that was far closer than it should have been,given the Bucs' sorry offensive state of affairs. The Hawks, however,now move against the 49ers, who have an injured tailback in KevanBarlow (although he will play) and a loss of one of their startingwideouts in Cedric Wilson. Things aren't looking bright for the Ninersas they give the ball to the arm of QB Ken Dorsey. The game will beclose on the merit of the Niners' surprising defensive play but theHawks, led by Shaun Alexander, will still run away with a victory.

Pratik says:
SanFrancisco looked pretty good against the Saints, but that was mainlybecause Deuce McAllister was out of commission and the fact that theSaints have no defense to speak of. Seattle, however, looked right athome after squeaking past Tampa Bay in Tampa. I really don't think thatthe 49ers are going to give much of a challenge to the Seahawks athome, so look for a Shaun Alexander touchdown to be the difference inthis one.

Tampa Bay at Oakland – 8:30 p.m.
(Oakland -3)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Ex-Bucsface off against the Bucs (well, ok, only Warren Sapp) in thisslaughter. The Bucs are struggling to mount any sort of offense andtheir defense is still getting accustomed to each other. Meanwhile theRaiders are aging. Again. I'm going with the oldies on this one. TheBucs are struggling too much while the Raiders are keeping up in gamesand, like last week, winning them.

Pratik says:
The biggeststory of this game is the fact that Jerry Rice lost his streak of 275straight games with a catch. I think that someone must have known aboutthe streak and maybe Gannon or someone high up on the coaching staffwas just really mad at him because how can a guy forget a streak likethis? Anyway, with Tampa Bay struggling to find any kind of offense,the Raiders will pull out a close one down in the Black Hole.

Monday September 27, 2004
Dallas at Washington – 9 p.m.
(Washington -1.5)

Izzy's PickPratik's PickMike's PickNick's Pick

Izzy says:
Asmuch as Gibbs' return has created fanfare, his team is far toomistake-prone, and the worst nightmare for Gibbs has come to pass-Brunell is injured for the MNF game. I think Ramsey still has the toolsto be a great quarterback in the future, but unfortunately now is notthe future. Even if the Cowboys have oldies at every key offensiveposition, I'm going to have to go with them. Not as much explosivecapabilities as the Skins, but far more reliable come clutch. The gamewill be a defensive struggle, no doubt about that. I just feel theCowboys have a better shot with this one, if only because of VinnyTestaverde at quarterback against Ramsey.

Pratik says:
Finally,we come to the FedEx Field masterpiece of Monday Night. With therenewal of an old NFC East rivalry rooted in the deep, dark annals ofpro football's past. These two teams have been rivals for just about aslong as most people can remember and with two legends calling the shotsfrom the sidelines, expect a smash-mouth football game stylized afterthe "East Coast" offense: running, running, and some more running. Thedefenses in this game will rely heavily on the blitz to aid in the pass
rushand to get to the immobile quarterbacks (Vinny Testaverde and PatrickRamsey). I like Washington's running back situation better than Dallas'and you know that the Redskins will not turn the ball over even half asmuch as they did against the Giants. Look for a great game from
ClintonPortis who will want to prove to Gibb's that he made the right choiceand to make up for that abnormal two fumble game last Sunday.

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  • cowboysRule on September 26, 2004
    Izzy... Brunell is starting, man.
    But don't worry, the cowboys will still win handily.
  • you guys on September 27, 2004
    y'all are such morons. byron leftwich is the man.
  • bean on September 28, 2004
    "you guys" is right jacksonville is madd good
  • uh no they aren't on September 28, 2004
    They beat Denver last week because a fumble by Griffin, and this week they only beat Tennessee by 3. This is Jacksonville in case you don't know.
  • philli (View Email) on September 17, 2007 at 6:34 PM
    I dont know what you guys are talking about, everybody knows that the Lions are going to slotter the Eagles.
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