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Oct. 9, 2004

NFL: Week Five predictions

by Isamu Bae, Page Editor and Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
NFL: Week Five predictions
Breaking the record?

The Patriots won the record-tying 18th straight game last week and now look to
break the record against… the Dolphins. I don't know about this one, what if the Pats go undefeated this season?
Pratik 38-22-0
Izzy 37-23-0
Nick 37-23-0
Mike 34-26-0

Sunday October 10, 2004
Cleveland at Pittsburgh- 1 p.m.
(Pittsburgh -6)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Izzy says:

Tommy Maddox may come back from his injury to find his starting spot dominated
by Big Ben. Ben Roethlisberger gave a surprisingly successful game against the
Bengals, throwing close balls with defenders in his face. That is a mark of future success, if not success now. He certainly has the weapons. The Browns
welcomed back their secondary last week from injuries and proceeded to shut
down the Redskins offense. The Steelers defense has been mediocre, but it has
done just enough to give the offense a chance to win games. Even without
Kendrell Bell, the Steelers will be able to strangle the Browns offense just enough for Duce Staley, Jerome Bettis and the receiving corps to break this game out.

Pratik says:
Cleveland is coming off of an uplifting win over Washington. With the win, they
gain confidence in Jeff Garcia and they prove to the rest of the league that they aren't pushovers (but maybe Washington is, no?), which is very important in a tough AFC conference stocked with smashmouth clubs like Baltimore and
Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh also comes off a tough win against Cincinnati who may be
the best 1-3 team in the league. With Ben Roethlisberger playing better and better every week, Tommy Maddox may return from his injury only to find himself riding pine. I have a lot of respect for Jeff Garcia for having the guts to try and turn Cleveland around, but frankly, he has no weapons that can match up with Pittsburgh's two great receivers or Duce "Yards but no Touchdown" Staley and Jerome "the Bus is Still Rolling" Bettis. Also, if Cleveland is giving up three sacks to Washington's maligned defense, what is Pittsburgh going to do to with their confusing 3-4 that they play to perfection? I give Pittsburgh and Big Ben the edge this week against the Browns in Heinz Field.

Detroit at Atlanta- 1 p.m.
(Atlanta -7)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta

Izzy says:
Detroit is rested up and has displayed a remarkable offensive upgrade from last
year. Rookie receiver Roy Williams is making highlight reel catches almost every week and has been able to stretch the field and raise the level of everyone on the team. Unfortunately that does not reach out to the Lions defense. The Lions are still missing star cornerback Dre' Bly as well as their starting safeties, which is not a good sign against Michael Vick and the rejuvenated Falcons. Vick and the offense has not been very astounding this year- their defense has. Rushing a West Coast Offense will be difficult, especially without starting corner DeAngelo Hall. However the Falcons will be able to keep the Lions from completely dominating the game, and if there is any game for Vick to break out, this is it. The Lions defense is not that good yet.

Pratik says:
Detroit is a good, young team with a contender for rookie of the year, Roy
Williams, making life easier for everybody else on offense and their defense isn't too bad as they are undersized but extremely quick. However, they are still a good two years away from becoming serious NFC contenders. Unfortunately for Detroit, they play an excellent Atlanta team comprised of one-third Michael Vick, one-third a great running game and one-third a better than average defense. These Falcons have a legitimate chance of ending up in the NFC Conference finals as the only team that I think can consistently beat them in the NFC are the Philadelphia Eagles. This will be a fun game to watch simply because of the battle between two very creative and fluid offenses picking apart bewildered defenses. Expect at least one touchdown from Roy Williams, but Michael "I'm an amusement park ride" Vick might actually do the flip in real life. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch some more advertisements during the TV timeouts. Anyway, the Falcons will fly all over the field in the Georgia Dome and secure themselves another win.

Miami at New England - 1 p.m.
(New England -13)



Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New England New England New England New England

Izzy says:
I quote Nick. "The Universe might collapse on itself." That's how sad this game is.

Pratik says:
Ha ha. It's the Miami Dolphins vs. the New England Patriots. This is like David vs. Goliath. If David forgot to take his slingshot along with him, that is. This is like comparing a VW Beetle to a McLaren F2. This is like comparing Silver Chips to Silver Chips Online, just kidding guys…Miami will be lucky to come out of Gillette Stadium with their dignity intact. Oh wait, they didn't have any to begin with.

Minnesota at Houston - 1 p.m.
(Minnesota -4)



Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Houston


Izzy says:
Rested Moss takes on the Houston secondary. Hey, they're really not that bad. But forgive me for being skeptical of a secondary that gave up two touchdowns to Roy Williams.

Pratik says:
After the bye week, Minnesota goes up against the Texans down in Houston. Minnesota had expected Michael Bennett to be back by now, but some moreminor surgery is keeping him sidelined for another two weeks. With injuries to both Bennett and Moe Williams, the Vikings have only two healthy backs in Onterrio Smith and Mewelde Moore. However, Smith is due to begin serving a four-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy leaving the Vikings with Moore as their only healthy option. However, as they are playing Houston, the Vikings hadn't wanted to run the ball all that much anyway. David Carr has finally cut his hair after the Texans won two in a row. Thank goodness, I was beginning to confuse him with Johnny Damon. Anyway, all that lost hair should probably throw off his throwing a bit, especially at the start of the game…I'm kidding. Expect a big game from Culpepper and Moss as a shootout plays out in Texas.

N.Y. Giants at Dallas - 1 p.m.
(Dallas -3.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New York Dallas Dallas New York


Izzy says:
The obvious pick would be the Cowboys. They're rested and they've come off of
an emotional victory over the Redskins. I'm going with the Giants. The Giants'
offensive line is playing at a high level - a level not expected of them this season. That gives Kurt Warner, the fumbling machine, enough time to turn into a passing machine. And a passing machine he is. The Cowboys have been hit HARD by the injury to starting cornerback Pete Hunter which will give Giants receiver Ike Hilliard time to get open. I like the Giants' revived defense- not giving up the game winning punt return to Eagles' tailback Brian Westbrook could have changed their entire season last year.

Pratik says:
After the Giants win over the Redskins in Week Two, all talk of mutiny against Tom Coughlin and disgruntled players in the clubhouse came to an end. Winning cures many things and what is dangerous for the Cowboys is the fact that the Giants may have finally bought into Coughlin's system. I don't like Coughlin's methods personally, but it's hard to argue with results. He's getting things done and he has the Giants, especially the offensive line, where Coughlin's son-in-law plays, performing at a very high level. If the line can maintain this level of output and protect Warner, then they will have a great passing game to go along with the return of Thunder and Lightning (Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber, respectively). Dallas is coming off a bye week in which they barely beat the Redskins, more due to clock mismanagement and ineffectual running by the Redskins than anything spectacular of their own. Bill Parcells will have seen this and beat it into his players to work hard and execute. In this close smashmouth game in Dallas, expect the Cowboys to win on another trick play as the Giants defense is known for over pursuing

Oakland at Indianapolis - 1 p.m.
(Indianapolis -9.5)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis

Izzy says:
Kerry Collins just wishes he could take back last week's game. Or make up for it. Well, he won't get the win, but he just might tear up the Colts' defense. It'll be another shootout for the Colts, as Collins has the ability to hit the long passes with his growing arsenal of weapons. But the Raiders defense likewise is ill-equipped to deal with Peyton Manning and the Colts' offense.

Pratik says:
This is a slightly better matchup than the Miami vs. New England game above.
However, the results will still be pretty much the same. Indy will win another easy game in the RCA Dome after their riveting victory over Jacksonville in Florida last week.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans - 1 p.m.
(New Orleans -3)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans Tampa Bay


Izzy says:
What are the Aints doing? This is not how the Saints were supposed to be this season. This year was supposed to be when the Saints offense exploded with the return of Donte Stallworth and a loaded defensive line was to upgrade their defense. That scheme has seemed to fail, as the Saints are underachieving this season, although granted number one weapon Deuce McAllister is out for at least another two weeks. The Bucs, on the other hand, are struggling mightily. Much has been made of the Bucs' defense, but their statistics are actually not that horrible. It is their offense, which is now being handed to second year quarterback Chris Sims. The absences of Charlie Garner (out for season) and Keenan McCardell (holdout) may be too much for the Bucs to overcome.

Pratik says:
New Orleans comes off a disappointing loss to Arizona?! Who expected that? If it were any other team that they were playing against, I'd have to say that New
Orleans should be ashamed of themselves. However, when the Saints go
marching into the Superdome, they can hold their heads up high because they have not disappointed as much as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Also, with the trade of Mike McKenzie from the Packers to the Saints, the weary Saints defense gets a lot of help in the presence of a strong physical cornerback like McKenzie. Aaron Brooks is grumbling about the inconsistency in New Orleans with one team showing up one week and another team the next. But, I have faith in the Saints, even if no one else does, and I think that they will steal a win from the once-more hapless Buccaneers.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets - 4:05 p.m.
(New York Jets -7)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New York Jets New York Jets New York Jets New York Jets


Izzy says:
The Jets are 3-0 and brimming with confidence. The Bills are 0-3 and brimming
with frustration at missed opportunities (and a beat-down by the Pats last week). I think the Bills are too good to fall this badly, but they really need a turnaround quick, and the Jets offense is not the best of prey.

Pratik says:
Also a version of David vs. Goliath, the Bills face off against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets led by the most accurate young quarterback in the league in Chad Pennington and the other member of the AARP party along with Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin. As long as Martin can keep defenses somewhat occupied on him, Pennington will bomb it out to Santana Moss and burn the secondary. I knowBuffalo had the number two ranked defense last year, but I think that had more to do with Gregg Williams and less to do with the actual players. Expect the Jets to win this one pretty easily.

Jacksonville at San Diego - 4:05 p.m.
(Jacksonville -3)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville


Izzy says:
The Chargers clicked on all fronts last week in a stunning victory against the
McNair-less Titans, and now they face off against the Jaguars team that barely lost to Peyton Manning. Overmatched? You bet.

Pratik says:
Jacksonville at San Diego. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I would actually want to watch this match, I'd say you were crazy. Now, it's almost crazy not to. With LaDanian Tomlinson playing like his usual awesome self and Byron Leftwich on the verge of a breakthrough year, this game has all the offensive eye-candy a guy like me could ask for. Also on defense, the Chargers are actually playing decent for once and the Jacksonville run defense is a beast. This poses an interesting matchup between the best player in football, LT Version 2.0, vs. the mean, green run defense machine of the Jaguars. In situations like this where it's a tossup, I usually give the edge to the home team, simply because the players on the home team can feed off the energy of a crowd like an enormous brain-drain type thing, so I give the slight edge to Jacksonville who win on another last second touchdown drive masterminded by the clutch Byron Leftwich.

Arizona at San Francisco Bay - 4:15 p.m.
(San Francisco -1)

Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Arizona Arizona San Francisco Arizona

Izzy says:
In the past two weeks, Arizona has been playing, wait. (Glances around) Stifling defense. Let's wait for that to sink in. Ok, the Cards' defense is not world-class, it's not championship caliber, but it is definitely doing its job, holding the Falcons to six points and the Saints to 10. Against a struggling San Fran squad, the Cards defense will hold its own again, and Emmitt Smith will continue his march towards another 1000 yard season. No, he will not throw another touchdown. Probably.

Pratik says:
The funny thing is that Arizona is the favorite here. I mean, come on, that's like the Capitals being favorite in hockey season. Oh, wait, there is no hockey season. My friend said the greatest thing to me about that a couple of days ago. He said, "I like not having the NHL around because it just used to clutter up ESPN. Now it's football highlights all the time." Sadly, I must agree with him. Wow, you know a game is boring when you start talking about hockey in the middle of your prediction, so do yourself a favor and don't watch this game. Ok, just so my editors don't get mad at me, I pick the AARP eligible Emitt Smith and the rejuvenated Cardinals over the lowly 49ers.

Carolina at Denver - 4:15 p.m.
(Denver -5.5)


Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Denver Denver Carolina Carolina


Izzy says:
The Panthers are showing none of the game plan that led them to the Super Bowl
last season. Part of it may be because they failed to shore up a weak secondary and let too many offensive linemen go. Whatever the case, a running game against the Broncos is like running a rubber ducky into a brick wall. The Panthers will be forced to throw the ball to win, and forgive me for saying, but Muhsin Muhammad versus Champ Bailey is no contest.
Pratik says:
Another game like San Diego vs. Jacksonville in that Carolina has a great run defense and the Mike Shannahan Running Back Machine always has a great
running game. I think I'm going to go scientific on this pick. Ok, in Denver, the atmosphere is thinner than in Carolina because of the extreme altitude. This thin atmosphere lends a crisp, refreshing twinge to the Denver atmosphere, but it also has the unfortunate side effect of resulting in a lower oxygen intake. People who train with a lower oxygen intake have a higher stamina than those who don't because their body learns to use the oxygen available to it more efficiently. This is why you always see the players getting an oxygen tank after they have a long run in Denver, it replenishes the oxygen supply. Since the Denver players train in Denver, they should naturally have more stamina than the Carolina players who train in Carolina. Therefore, I pick Denver to win against a tired Carolina.

St. Louis at Seattle - 4:15 p.m.
(Seattle -7)


Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
St. Louis Seattle Seattle Seattle


Izzy says:
Seattle has been making the defensive stands it needs and pounding out the
points it needs. It will need both sides of their team to work to defeat the team it knocked out of the playoffs last season- the Rams. Mike Martz seems to have changed his offensive game plan, running the ball a lot last game - a far cry from his pass happiness that has doomed the team the past three seasons. The Rams offense works when it focuses on the run, and the Hawks, despite continued success in shutting down opposing rushing attacks, will find its hands full in this one.

Pratik says:
In keeping with our David vs. Goliath theme, we have the St. Louis Rams (David)vs. the Seattle Seahawks (Goliath). Unfortunately for the Rams, they don't even have the speed advantage of turf at Edward Jones Dome, but must play on real grass for once. As long as Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson can avoid the costly drops they had all last year, the Seahawks are a great team. Their defense isn't atrocious and their offense is pretty good. They play along the lines of the Falcons, except instead of Vick being their playmaker they have Shaun Alexander. I pick Seattle by at least a touchdown over the Rams.

Baltimore at Washington - 8:30 p.m.
(Even)



Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Baltimore Washington Washington Baltimore


Izzy says:
The Battle of the Beltway is much reason to rejoice for folks living in Maryland. The Ravens come off of an embarrassing lost to the Chiefs (the score was close but the game was not) while the Redskins lost to the Browns. The Lewis and Lewis show will come out gunning in this one, leaving Joe Gibbs a nice meeting gift (Gibbs has never played the "Baltimore Ravens").

Pratik says:
Ah. Now we get to the hard part. Some of my peers here at Silver Chips Online, cough…Izzy…cough, have complained about me not making any upset picks. They claim that I pick "safe" while they try to go for upsets. Very well, if that's how they rationalize the fact that I'm leading the overall standings. But to assuage any confrontations, I shall make my upset pick of the week here. I believe that just about all of my colleagues have chosen the Ravens in the Battle of the Beltway. If I was picking "safe" I would do so as well. Nevertheless, let it not be said that I am afraid to walk on the dark side. As my upset pick of the week I pick WASHINGTON. Got that, Izzy? Let me proceed to explain why. The Redskins have the number one run defense in the league giving up a miserly 59.5 yards a game. There are running backs who have gotten that, and more, in one play! I don't know how the defense is doing it but they consistently keep stopping the run. No offense
to any Raven fans out there, but the passing game is built on trickery rather than actual skill. After being burned once by a trick play on Monday Night, Gibbs will not let it happen again. After you shut down Jamal Lewis, who may not play because of his trial proceedings, who really scares you on the Raven's offense? After Lewis, the defense is more likely to score than any offensive player. Randy Hymes is pretty good, but is he good enough to beat the likes of Smoot, Springs, Taylor and Bowen consistently? I don't think so. The one problem for the Redskins will be generating a pass rush. Behind the Chiefs, I think the ravens have the best offensive line in football so it will be tough to pressure Boller and get him to revert back to his errant ways. On the offensive side of the ball is a totally different story for the Redskins however, as they face a defense that is just as good as theirs in the secondary. Will Portis, Coles and Brunell step up and play up to their abilities? Will the receivers catch the catchable balls? Will the offense stop giving the ball away? All of these things must happen for the Redskins if they expect to win on Sunday Night at FedEx Field, but maybe, just maybe, the Redskins will come together.

Monday October 11, 2004

Tennessee at Green Bay - 9 p.m.
(Green Bay -3)



Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Tennessee Green Bay Tennessee Green Bay


Izzy says:
Steve McNair will return for this game and create a shootout much like the Colts did. There's a big difference this time, though: the Titans have a good pass defense. It is the run defense, the pride of the Titans, that has been dreadful this year. Ahman Green is a great running back, but he won't be able to outscore Steve McNair and Chris Brown.

Pratik says:
In a game where both quarterbacks are hurt, but insanely tough, expect both McNair and Favre to play. Amazingly, Favre, after suffering a concussion in the middle of a game last week, came back and threw a touchdown pass to Javon
Walker before doctors reevaluated him and declare him unfit to play. Now that is tough. However, even with a boost from Favre, the Packers lost a close one to the Giants. Another worrisome problem for the Packers is that Lambeau Field no longer feels like the hardest place to play in for opposing teams. If the Lambeau Field mystique is gone, what can the Packers rely on to stop the Titans? I'm telling you that this is going to be a great Monday Night game. If either team pulls away by more than a touchdown, I'll be shocked. As is usual, I'll give the advantage to the home team here as Green Bay goes about restoring their Lambeau Field mystique.



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  • Aaron on October 10, 2004
    Just curious, do your picks take into account the spread or are you just picking straight up? Oh, and Pratik, picking Washington over Baltimore isn't an upset, they are actually favored by one point.
  • Michael Bushnell (View Email) on October 10, 2004
    Just as a very nerdy side note, Seattle doesn't play on real grass, they play on FieldTurf.
  • Isamu Bae (View Email) on October 10, 2004
    I for one just pick the teams straight up. I put the spread in afterward. Pratik is absolutely convinced he has finally made a major upset pick with Washington over Baltimore but he's just in dillusion. He will forever be remembered as Pratik "safe pick" Bhandari.
  • Pratik Bhandari (View Email) on October 11, 2004
    I meant that Washington was an upset pick in that the "safe" pick as Izzy terms it would be the Ravens. As evidenced by Sunday Night's game, the Ravens were the "safe" pick. If Izzy keeps thinking that all of the right picks are "safe" then i have no problem with making "safe" picks all the time.
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