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Nov. 13, 2004

NFL: Week Ten predictions

by Isamu Bae, Page Editor and Pratik Bhandari, Page Editor
A lot has happened this week. The Eagles are reeling from being utterly dominated by the Steelers. Miami lost their coach. The Giants suddenly are without their two starting defensive ends. What a strange, strange week.

Nick 80-50-0
Izzy 80-50-0
Pratik 79-51-0
Mike 79-51-0
Sunday November 14, 2004
Baltimore at New York Jets - 1 p.m. (Baltimore -1.5)

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

Izzy says: The Jets trot out Quincy Carter as their quarterback in the hopes of stalling (and succeeding at staying in the playoff rest) until starter Chad Pennington returns from his strained rotator cuff. What does that mean? Quincy Carter looked magnificent throwing his 50 yard rainbow in garbage time last week, but the last time he started was last year in the playoffs for Bill Parcells' Cowboys. While Carter is a talented athlete, he will succumb to far too many mistakes (I call two fumbles and two picks), especially against a hawking Baltimore Ravens defense. The Ravens offense has picked up a bit lately as Kyle Boller began displaying the talent that prompted the Ravens to draft him as the franchise quarterback last year. This is the time where the Ravens begin to dominate- their November and December records are outlandishly good.
Pratik says: Chad Pennington is out two to four weeks with a strained rotator cuff, which bodes well for the Ravens. Pennington's backup, Quincy Carter, is not a bad quarterback, but he's not at the level Pennington is on. Baltimore is licking its chops after avenging a week one loss to the Browns last week and they will go after the Jets without abandon. Curtis Martin has rediscovered his form, but I don't think he can compete with 11 guys who can put a hurting on him. Expect Jamal Lewis to teach the young Jets defense what a large, strong and fast NFL running back can do.
Chicago at Tennessee - 1 p.m. (Tennessee -7)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee

Izzy says: Just because Craig Krenzel was able to quarterback his team to victory against the Giants last week does not mean the Bears are back and hunting for blood. The Giants had lost both Strahan and Washington, their starting defensive ends, for the season, effectively destroying much of their pass rush. The Titans on the other hand used the bye week to rest up injured stars Steve McNair and Chris Brown. Just because they play against a horrible team in Chicago will they be allowed a relatively easy win in what is turning out to be a disastrous season.
Pratik says: Craig Crenzel has taken over from Jonathan Quinn, and immediately the Bears saw the impact a moderately good quarterback (coupled with a number of fortuitous injuries to the Giants) could have on the team as they surprised the New York Giants 28-21. The Bears are beginning to seem a bit better as the defense begins to gel together and the A-Train is rolling over everyone and everything in sight, but I still don't think they can compete with a team like Tennessee. Steve McNair is not what he once was and the defense isn't as dominant as it used to be, but the Titans have something special in Chris Brown and they can still move the ball effectively down the field. Expect the Titans to show the Bears what it takes to win in Music City.
Detroit at Jacksonville - 1 p.m. (Jacksonville -3)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Detroit Detroit Detroit Jacksonville

Izzy says: David Garrard coming in to replace Byron Leftwich for 2-4 weeks is not the sign of doom and despair, but it does put a severe damper on the Jags' ability to win. Remember, most of the Jags' wins have come on the last drive of the game. Without Leftwich' poise and uncanny leadership, it may be difficult for the Jag to hope they can eek out a win this week, especially against a motivated Lions team that has returned Roy Williams to near full-health.
Pratik says: Detroit is just a conundrum for most people. Last year, they couldn't beat anyone on the road. This year, they can't beat anyone at home, evidenced by the game last week where they lost to the Redskins 17-10. But with all of the attention that has been garnered by Roy Williams, one amazing fact that has escaped most people is that the Detroit offense is second worst in the league, ahead of only the Baltimore Ravens anemic offense. Jacksonville comes off a bye week in which they were able to ruminate on the mistakes that led to their 20-6 loss to Houston two weeks ago and I believe that they will look to beat up on another up-and-coming team in Detroit. However, expect the Lions to win because Byron Leftwich is injured in this rumble in the jungle…err…All Tel Stadium.
Houston 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: The Texans have never been able to contain Peyton Manning and there is no reason to believe it will end now. The Texans will play out a shootout but will ultimately lose simply because they have no answers for Peyton's offense.
Pratik says: Denver spanked Houston last week, whereas Indianapolis pulled out a close one over Minnesota last week. Anyway, it seems as if the AFC South has a plurality on great quarterbacks, what with Steve McNair, Byron Leftwich, David Carr and Peyton Manning all taking up residence in the division, and this will be another great battle between two great quarterbacks in Carr and Manning. Carr doesn't have half of the weapons that Manning has, but then again Carr is facing a defense that is really bad. Manning will have to go out and score at least four touchdowns with his offense to ensure a win, but I think he can do it, so expect Manning to win the duel with Carr.
Kansas City at New Orleans - 1 p.m. (Kansas City -4.5)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Kansas City New Orleans Kansas City Kansas City

Izzy says: The season is coming apart fast for the Saints, who now fight solely for pride. Their team has split viciously between the lack of any leadership and stupid mistakes, epitomized by Aaron Brooks passing 10 yards behind him to an ineligible receiver, are dragging them down. The Chiefs are motivated to bounce back after a tough loss to the Bucs and hope to ride Derrick Blaylock to another marathon.
Pratik says: Now normally, I'd have said Kansas City over New Orleans. But these are not normal times my friend as the Priest has been sidelined with a MCL strain. Kansas City fans are wailing because this really is a must –win game for them to stay in the playoff chase. New Orleans isn't going to take it easy on them, however, as they too know the bitter taste of defeat, perhaps more than anyone else after last year's debacle in the last regular season game. After the miraculous throw-back/lateral ridiculous runback for a touchdown, all they had to do was kick an extra point to get a shot at the playoffs. John Carney, however, missed the PAT and the Saints were left outside the pearly gates of playoff heaven. Kansas City has no one even remotely close to Priest Holmes' ability in their backfield so Trent Green and Tony Gonzalez will have to step it up to win this game. To give you a reasonable parallel, Kansas City losing Holmes and putting in his backup, Derrick Blaylock, is like Indianapolis losing Peyton Manning and putting in his backup, Jim Sorgi. All I can say to console Kansas City fans is…uh…you're not Dolphins fans, right?
Pittsburgh at Cleveland - 1 p.m. (Pittsburgh -4)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

Izzy says: Now that the Steelers have vanquished perfection at home, they ride Big Ben and their punishing running game to stadiums away from home. That alone gives the Cleveland Browns a fighting chance- the Steelers may be up for a letdown. Don't count on it, however, as the Steelers have far too much veteran leadership, especially in Jerome Bettis, to melt down too much.
Pratik says: Wow. Blowout in the works here. Big Ben and the Bus will keep the Steelers well ahead of the Browns.
Seattle at St. Louis - 1 p.m. (St. Louis -1)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Seattle Seattle St. Louis Seattle

Izzy says: Both of these teams were overrated coming into the season, but none moreso than the Rams and their underachieving defense. Last season the Rams had a solid defense, led by converted-safety Aeneas Williams. Now Williams looks old and the rest of the Rams defense looks just as plodding… preventing the Rams from winning despite their tremendous receiving corps. The Seahawks? No one knows what happened to them other than that they have been dropping key balls (not a surprise) and losing tough games (very surprising). The Hawks remember losing the overtime game to the Rams by going into disarray and will come back with a vengeance, waiting to turn their season around. Pratik says: Both of these teams are so unpredictable, it's likely that flipping a coin may be the best way to predict the winner, but here goes my best shot. I think the key here is defense. Both of these teams have great offenses, but that means squat when you have no defense to back it up (see Indianapolis). Since the Seattle defense is much better than the St. Louis defense and because Seattle looked sharp in their trouncing of San Francisco, I'll give this one to Seattle.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta – 1:00 p.m. (Atlanta -4)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Atlanta Tampa Bay Atlanta Atlanta

Izzy says: The Bucs out-scoring the Chiefs and their history of shutting down Michael Vick makes this an interesting game (one of very few this season, unfortunately), but I will chalk it up as another win for Vick and simple West Coast Offense practice for the Falcon's offense en route to the playoffs.
Pratik says: Tampa Bay is the only defense around that has enough speed to spy Michael Vick with one linebacker and get away with it. In fact, after the offense stepped up and scored 34 points against the Chiefs horrible defense, it isn't that much of a stretch for Tampa Bay to score at least 20 against the Falcons, who were slaughtered by the Chiefs on the ground for eight rushing touchdowns. The Falcons will have to learn how to make consistent gains on offense, a struggle for a young team such as theirs. First of all, if you look at most of their successful drives, the Falcons are a hit or miss team. If a play hits, it goes for a big play, otherwise, it fails spectacularly. When the Falcons play a pretty good defense like Tampa Bay's that isn't as susceptible to the long plays, the Falcons will have a hard time moving the ball on offense. Expect the Falcons to lose to the Buccaneers.
Cincinnati at Washington – 4:05 p.m. (Washington -3)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Washington Washington Washington Cincinnati

Izzy says: I have a lot of respect for what Marvin Lewis has done in Cincinnati as well as his defensive genius, but the Bengals are simply not getting it done in terms of rushing offense (32nd in the league). Against a rejuvenated Clinton Portis, that bodes ill for the Bengals- anything less than 150 yards and a win will be disappointing for Portis and the 'Skins.
Pratik says: The interesting thing about this game is not whether the Redskins will win (which they will), but rather how many yards Clinton Portis is going to pile up against the NFL's worst rushing defense. The Redskins switched to zone-blocking last week, which allows Portis to choose his own holes to run through, and he torched the Lions defense for 147 yards. As long as Washington keeps on riding Portis strong legs (and his throwing arm, apparently), the Redskins should pull this one out over the Bengals.
Carolina at San Francisco – 4:15 p.m. (San Francisco -1)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
San Francisco Carolina San Francisco San Francisco

Izzy says: The Panthers lost to the Raiders. I'm sorry, but that's almost as low as you can go. The Panthers have lost too many key players this season and even a painfully stripped-down Niners squad will be able to beat the former Super Bowl contenders.
Pratik says: Ugh. Carolina wins in another ugly game involving the 49ers.
Minnesota at Green Bay - 4:15 p.m. (Green Bay -4)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Green Bay

Izzy says: Even without Randy Moss, the Vikings' offense is not dead. Here's my logic: the Vikings almost beat the Colts. The Colts throttled the Packers. Vikings will beat the Packers just because the Packers have no secondary and the Vikings' defense is not horrible.
Pratik says: Oooh! Can Minnesota light up the Packers defense as they have over the last couple of years? Yes. Can Green Bay count on Brett Favre to lead them to victory in Lambeau field? No. Frankly, Brett Favre is now the second-most important cog in the offensive machinery in Green Bay. The most important gear is Ahman Green. If Green has a good day, then so will Favre, otherwise, watch out. Minnesota proved that they can score without Randy Moss in Monday Night's shootout at the RCA Dome. If Culpepper and Crew can perform like that against the Packers, they should pull out an easy win in dairy country.
New York Giants at Arizona - 4:15 p.m. (New York Giants -2.5)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Arizona Arizona Arizona New York Giants

Izzy says: I wonder if Coach Coughlin ever wondered what it would be like without starting defensive ends Michael Strahan and Kelley Washington for the season. Well, Giants fans, hope he had a backup plan. Without both starting defensive ends and having lost stud defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin to free agency, the Giants' defense does not look scary. At all. If they cannot rush the Cardinals' Josh McCown, he can kill you with his myriad of weapons- and he will against the Giants this week.
Pratik says: With the Giants reeling from the loss of Michael Strahan and coming off a loss to the lowly Chicago Bears, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Giants lost to Arizona, who come off a nailbiter in Miami where they won by virtue of a missed extra point. Especially with the Cardinals group of wide receivers troubling the mediocre Giants secondary, expect Arizona to pull an upset over the G-Men.
Buffalo at New England - 8:30 p.m.(New England -7)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
New England New England New England New England

Izzy says: You know, last year these games used to be fun to watch. Now it looks like slaughter. Bill Belichik is thoroughly out-coaching Mike Mularkey and it would not be surprising to see the Patriots absolutely romp like they did earlier this season. Pratik says: Buffalo played spoilsport last week as they beat the Jets and knocked Chad Pennington out of the game, but unless they knock Tom Brady out of the game as well, they won't have a chance against the reigning Super Bowl champs.
Monday November 15, 2004
Philadelphia at Dallas - 9 p.m. (Philadelphia -6.5)
Izzy's Pick Pratik's Pick Mike's Pick Nick's Pick
Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Izzy says: The Cowboys have five whole turnovers this season. Five! That's as many as the number of touchdowns Daunte Culpepper throws in one day! The Boys' defense and offense have absolutely died this season and there is no reason to believe they can stand up to the Eagles- especially if they must rely on running, oh gosh, Eddy George down the Eagles' throats. No chance, silver boys, no chance.
Pratik says: The T.O./McNabb "conversation" on the sideline has been blown way out of proportion and Donovan McNabb is way too much of a professional to let any hypothetical squabbles stop him from willing his team to a win. Expect a rededicated Eagles team to fly high through the air as McNabb and T.O. reconnect for at least one TD.

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  • ?? on November 14, 2004
    "The Colts throttled the Packers."

    when did this happen? did you actually watch the game? i think the packers were only down 1 score on that last drive before walker fumbled it...

    come on get your facts straight
  • Isamu Bae (View Email) on November 14, 2004
    Actually, surprisingly, yes, I did watch the game. And the first half of the game disgusted me.

    If I remember correctly, the Packers lost by a good two touchdowns. The fact that the Colts' defense made a play, ANY kind of play, is in fact, in Colts' speak, a throttling. From watching that game, it was pretty obvious whose defense was inferior. Granted, the Colts' offense is pretty freakish, but the Vikings, with a healthy Michael Bennett, have just as explosive an offense- even without Randy Moss.
  • Hail to the Redskins on November 14, 2004
    CLINTON PORTIS IS A MONSTER...I predict that he breaks the single game rushing record with a whoppin' 307 yards (I already put my money on it in Vegas)!!!!!
  • Anonymous on November 14, 2004
    "Mike's Pick

    way to spell indianapolis sco
  • yea right! on November 14, 2004
    "but the Vikings, with a healthy Michael Bennett, have just as explosive an offense- even without Randy Moss."
    yea right....Daunte Culpepper has been held to one touchdown and less than two hundred fifty yards in each of the last three games.... there is no way that they are as explosive (he is still extremely accurate, but nowhere near as explosive)...and MICHAEL BENNETT....o yea his 9 career touchdowns are real explosive...give me a break!
  • uhhh on November 14, 2004
    izzy i really don't understand your logic. the colts making any defensive play is a throttling? they FUMBLED JAVON WALKER as soon as he TURNED AROUND. and if i remember correctly, the packers were at the 50 yd line, about to score another TD, which would have TIED THE GAME. that's not a throttling, even if the colts scored on their next drive. that's called a close game last time i checked.

    just as explosive offense without randy moss because of michael BENNETT?? smith's as good, if not does not equal moss.
  • Isamu Bae (View Email) on November 14, 2004
    Michael Bennett runs a 4.25. That's purty fast. The reason why he doesn't have very many TDs is because once he gets inside the 10, the Vikings handed it off the Moe Williams. The 9 touchdowns he DOES have have all been 10+ yards, and I believe most of them happen to be 90 yard runs. Also, Culpepper didn't have Marcus Robinson last game, and the offensive coordinator was being pretty conservative because Kelly Campbell kept dropping the long bombs. Turns out their offense is quite explosive, as they scored 4 TDs today.

    As for throttling. A goal-line stand is considered throttling an offense. How come a game-changing forced fumble on a star receiver after being passed-to by a star quarterback is not?

    And I do think Michael Bennett is better than Smith. There are almost no tailbacks that can bring a carry outside as fast as Bennett can... it's just that the man is so injury prone the team is afraid he's gonna break his neck if they use him now. But talent-wise? Definitely more explosive than Smith. I think they should just use Bennett as a receiver, but I'm not sure he has good enough hands *shrugs* He certainly has the speed.
  • Distraught on November 17, 2004
    Portis got... what? 17 carries? What's it take to give the ball to the star running back, huh?
  • stephen bean the only jag fan on November 18, 2004
    ha the jags are going to the playoffs this year #1 in the divison B#$%$ hahahah
  • Pratik Bhandari (View Email) on November 18, 2004
    I'm with you "Distraught." In those 17 carries, Portis got 81 yards. That's an average of 4.76 yards a carry! If they had ran the ball 32 times, he would've gotten 152.5 yards. But I think the biggest problem is that the Redskins get behind early and then they can't catch up because they have a horrible passing game. Even though they have a horrible passing game, they need to keep throwing, however, because running the ball would take too much time off the clock.
  • Jon on November 19, 2004
    The solution: Patrick Ramsey.
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