Silver Chips Online

NFL - Week Five predictions

How the mighty have fallen

By Andrew Kung, Online Sports Editor and Copy Editor, Nitin Sukumar, Online News Editor and Copy Editor and Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
October 6, 2007
A quarter of the '07 NFL season is in the books, and it has been a wild four weeks, to say the least. The Saints, Bears and Chargers, supposed Super Bowl contenders, are a combined 2-9, with worse record than the Browns, Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Texans and hey, even our 2-1 Redskins. As for our pick 'em pool, defending champ Pia sits in last place after a 5-9 performance last week, while Andrew's slew of unlikely upsets has cushioned his comfortable lead. Will Pia and her beloved Chargers break out of their respective slumps? Another week should further filter the contenders from the pretenders.


Standings:
Last weekSeason total
Andrew 10-440-22
Anshul 6-8 35-27
Pia5-9 (ouch!) 34-28
Nitin 7-7 34-28


Sunday October 7, 2007

Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Detroit Detroit Washington Washington

Andrew says: After picking a Redskins win for the first time in Week Three and being disappointed, I'll go back to my cynical ways. The Detroit offense is dynamite, and with the return of Kevin Jones, more complete, and more scary, than ever. For the burgundy and gold, injuries to Santana Moss and Clinton Portis are too worrisome for the inconsistent offense.

Nitin says: Surprise, surprise, Santana Moss is injured again. The Washington passing game looks dangerously thin with Brandon Lloyd disappearing. Who knows, we might even get to see Keenan McCardell out there.

Pia says: Okay, so the Redskins let the Giants win two weeks ago in a heartbreaking falter in the last minute. But it doesn't mean that the 'Skins are without promise. With a week to rest, recharge and remember how to score, they should be able to top the Lions.

Anshul says: The Redskins played a good two and a half games of football this season. Their last half was hideous in offense and defense. Hopefully they have fixed their offensive problems during the bye week and are ready to play against a questionable Lions defense.

Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Miami Miami Houston Houston

Andrew says: The Miami offense is finally starting to click, despite what their 0-4 record might suggest. After a hot start, the Texans are slumping, and the Dolphins are hungry for their first win.

Nitin says: Houston desperately needs Andre Johnson back, and with Miami's Ronnie Brown carrying both the run and pass, this one will be over by halftime.

Pia says: Miami is floundering all over the place, so regardless of Houston's injury woes, it looks like the Texans will still come up with a win.

Anshul says: Miami has been struggling on both sides of the ball this season, especially on defense. With hopefully a healthy Texans team at home, Miami is going to have to step up big to win. But I don't see that happening.

Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee

Andrew says: The success in Tennessee has got be be one of the pleasant surprises of the young NFL season. The Titans upended the Jaguars and Saints and gave the Colts quite a scare - the Falcons shouldn't be a problem.

Nitin says: Joey Harrington's numbers have left the Falcon brass with a reason to keep Byron Leftwich on the bench. But the Titans' run game has punished opponents repeatedly, with major yards from Chris Brown, LenDale White and Vince Young. Tennessee still has some tweaks to make to their 30th ranked pass attack, but Atlanta should be an easy win to start off a pushover October schedule.

Pia says: A Joey Harrington-led Atlanta team finally got its first win last week against Houston, but a repeat against Tennessee isn't looking probable. The Titans have worked out a decent run game that should be able to find all the holes in Atlanta's D.

Anshul says: The Falcons looked much better last week against the Texans, but their run defense concerns me. With the Titans ranked second in the league in rush offense, and defense, they will be able to exploit that weakness and win at home.

Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
St. Louis Arizona Arizona Arizona

Andrew says: Who knows, maybe our old buddy Gus Frerotte can be the sparkplug that the Rams offense is lacking. He played well with Linehan in Minnesota, and the head coach should resume play-calling duties after three miserable performances.

Nitin says: Matt Leinart has good reason to be frustrated with coach Whisenhunt for letting backup Kurt Warner share the football, but it appears to be working. St. Louis, meanwhile, is dead. Coach Linehan admitted that his Rams have absolutely nothing to build on on their offense.

Pia says: Not much I can say in defense of the 0-4 Rams. Even the Cardinals have managed to gain two wins; wins against otherwise undefeated teams, too. Looks like another disappointing week for St. Louis.

Anshul says: The Rams have nothing going for them right now. Their offense has gotten nowhere, putting up a lastly-ranked 9.8 points per game. The Cardinals on the other hand are out to prove that a dual-quarterback system can work, and they are making a believer out of me. Kurt Warner is experienced, Matt Leinart is young, and together they can make that team win.

Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Seattle Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

Andrew says: Injuries have me smelling upset. The Steeler offense struggled without Hines Ward, who will again sit Sunday. Meanwhile, Shaun Alexander can find holes in a Pittsburgh defense that may be missing Casey Hampton and Troy Polamalu.

Nitin says: These two teams haven't played since their Super Bowl bout. But Pittsburgh appears to be hitting the money this year, with a balanced game anchored by Big Ben, Willie Parker and Troy Polamalu. The Steelers defense has shut down running backs, holding them to only 81.3 yards on the ground this year. Deion Branch will have to give everything to have a chance of winning this one.

Pia says: Both the Seahawks and the Steelers are 3-1, and sadly, both of their losses were handed to them by the Cardinals. Nonetheless, the Steelers are a far more polished of team, crushing their opponents where the Seahawks managed to squeak by. Look for a W for the Steelers in this Super Bowl deja vu.

Anshul says: The Steelers looked sharp in the first three weeks and were poised to take a 4-0 start, but the Cardinals stopped them cold. Hopefully in this Super Bowl XL rematch, they can bounce back and win over the Seahawks.

New York Jets at New York Giants

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New York Jets New York Giants New York Giants New York Giants

Andrew says: The mercurial Giants looked miserable in the first two-and-a-half games of the season, before finally breaking through. Which team will show up on Sunday? I'm guessing the bad one.

Nitin says: Chad Pennington ought to be a bit jumpy before the game. DEs Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan form a two-headed monster on the Giants' line; Pennington will need to react quickly and exploit the Giants' weak secondary. At the end of the day, the Giants will make and take their claim in New York with Brandon Jacobs returning and Plaxico Burress shrugging off his ankle injury.

Pia says: The Giants have managed to salvage themselves these past two weeks, especially with a breakout performance last Sunday night against the Eagles. The Jets on the other hand, crashed last week and handled the previously winless Bills their first win. In the battle of the Meadowlands, it looks like the Giants will triumph.

Anshul says: There is nothing better than when two teams from the same area play each other. Remember when happened with Cincinnati and Cleveland? Well don't expect that kind of offensive show in this match-up, because the Giant's defense is looking much better now. They made McNabb feel like there was not even an offensive line in front of him. Look for that defense to show up again and hit Pennington hard.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans

Andrew says: It looks like David Carr will be under center again. Bad news for the Black Cats, as Drew Brees and Reggie Bush finally get the Saints offense back on track with a divisional W.

Nitin says: New Orleans has had a good week to reflect on their poor start and to work with Reggie Bush to make the running game work without Deuce McAllister. David Carr struggled to find Steve Smith in the open field last week, and I don't anticipate much more on Sunday.

Pia says: Like everyone else, I will give the Saints one more chance. They've had a week off, they're at home and they should finally get the ball rolling against a mediocre Carolina team.

Anshul says: The Saints need to bounce back and the loss of Deuce McAllister isn't going to help. Reggie Bush is not a downhill runner and the Saints are going to need all kinds of offensive help to bounce back. But they will. They're offense will click. This is the last chance I'm taking on the Saints.

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New England New England New England New England

Andrew says: I'm tempted to pick the Browns here - Romeo Crennel is familiar with the Pats and coaching to keep his job, pulling out two impressive division wins so far. Still, does Cleveland have the personnel to contend with Tom Brady and Randy Moss? The short answer (and the long answer) is "no." The Browns might cover the 16-point spread, but a win is too much to ask.

Nitin says: Cleveland's offense is clicking but its defense is porous. Tom Brady and the Pats have averaged a stunning 37 points per game and with the Browns' pass-friendly secondary, that number is sure to rise after this week. Did I mention WR Randy Moss is on pace for 28 receiving touchdowns?

Pia says: A team as good as the Patriots shouldn't be allowed. The poor Browns don't stand a chance.

Anshul says: Tom Brady and company are taking down anyone they are handed. They even managed to rip apart an offensive beauty in the Bengals, so what chance do the Browns stand? Granted they can score, but can they defend? I'm not so sure.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Kansas City Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville

Andrew says: Dwayne Bowe has emerged as a legitimate high-caliber wideout, and he forms an impressive triumvirate with Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzalez. The Jags are playing well too, having won two straight prior to their bye, but the rejuvenated offense and newfound momentum as well as the Arrowhead Stadium fans tip the scales in favor of the Chiefs.

Nitin says: Larry Johnson and the Chiefs disposed of the failing San Diego defense, but with Jacksonville fresh off a bye week, Kansas City will be hard-pressed to repeat. David Garrard is playing some great football and will grind out plenty of yards on the ground.

Pia says: Yeah, sure, Kansas City beat San Diego last week. But it's a whole new week and a whole new ball game. (Plus, I will begrudgingly admit that San Diego has been less than par this season.) KC will have to face an uphill battle against a rested Jacksonville team with a developing offense and defense.

Anshul says: The Chiefs looked good last week, with LJ running well and Damon Huard throwing well. But that was against a struggling San Diego team, and now they face a freshly rested Jaguars club that has been flexing its defensive muscles all season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Indianapolis Tampa Bay Indianapolis Indianapolis

Andrew says: Sure, the Colts have some worrisome injuries to key players, but they're still the Colts. Plus, they have Peyton Manning. What more is there to say? Besides that Nitin is crazy...

Nitin says: I actually like the skills of Tampa Bay's two backup running backs Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham better than the now-injured Cadillac Williams. The Colts took several key injuries last week, including Joseph Addai, Marvin Harrison and Bob Sanders. If the Bucs defense stays consistent and Jeff Garcia keeps up his efficient play, we might just see a huge upset. Call me crazy if you want.

Pia says: This match up is racked with injuries on both sides of the game. So which team is better able to cope? I'd bet my money on Peyton and the Colts.

Anshul says: With Cadillac Williams out for most likely the season, Tampa Bay's chances don't look too good. They will have a chance as the Colts were pretty banged up last week, but Manning is still healthy and should be able to hammer the Bucs.

Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore

Andrew says: The Ravens have not looked good this year. Thankfully, the Niners have looked worse. Trent Dilfer will be looking for revenge, and that worked well for Jamal Lewis. The Baltimore defense is too talented to play this poorly, and a matchup against a aging backup QB is just what the doctor ordered.

Nitin says: An embarrassing loss that never should have happened ought to jolt the unenthusiastic Ravens defense. San Francisco owns rights to the worst passing offense in the league and RB Frank Gore is averaging just 83.3 total yards per game. If Baltimore loses this one they can kiss their division title goodbye.

Pia says: San Francisco's offense is so bad, that it won't even matter that the once-stellar Baltimore defense has been deteriorating by the week.

Anshul says: What has happened to the famed Baltimore defense? Injury? Miscommunication? Lack of motivation? Whatever it is, they need to fix it fast or they will have no chance of catching the Steelers in their division. Hopefully this week will bring about that change, as well as a more effective offense.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
San Diego Denver San Diego Denver

Andrew says: Both of these AFC West-ers have disappointed thus far in the face of high aspirations. I'll take the Chargers, considering the turmoil the Denver offense faces (Javon Walker's knee, Travis Henry's drug tests and nine baby mamas, Jay Cutler's highly entertaining familial bickering).

Nitin says: San Diego is losing my respect as the weeks go by. The only thing Pia and the Chargers have to look forward to is the improved play of LaDainian Tomlinson. Then again, Denver has something Kansas City doesn't: defense.

Pia says: San Diego, I will give you one more week.

Anshul says: Denver is on the rise and San Diego is falling fast. They need help on both sides of the ball and quick if they want to stay alive in the touch AFC. Until they make the needed changes, they won't win and this week won't see those changes.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay

Andrew says: Before the season, this game was marked as a matchup in which the NFC North's leader (Chicago) would steamroll its doormat (Green Bay). Who could have predicted this complete reversal? The Pack is rolling, and the Bears have looked pathetic on offense and surprisingly mediocre on the other side. The Lambeau faithful will go home happy.

Nitin says: Brian Griese isn't much of an improvement over Rex Grossman and Chicago's D still has some key players missing. Brett Favre rolls on.

Pia says: Chicago is in a close competition with San Diego for biggest dud this season. Green Bay on the other hand, is looking to be the Cinderella story of the year. It looks like the tables have turned in this NFC North rivalry.

Anshul says: Chicago has found no answers for their problems. Griese was thought to be that answer over the ailing Rex Grossman, but it turns out he is capable of throwing just as many picks. Wisconsin be proud, the Packers will start the season 5-0.


Monday October 8, 2007

Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills

Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Dallas Dallas Dallas Dallas

Andrew says: Last week saw a gutsy win against the Jets, but Trent Edwards will hit a major snag in his development under the primetime lights. Meanwhile, the Dallas offense continues steamrolling its opponents to the tune of 37.8 points per game. Unless TO blows up between now and Monday, this shouldn't be close.

Nitin says: I'm not down with the "pick against the Cowboys or Patriots" thing just yet. Buffalo will serve as a warmup before the Week 6 New England showdown.

Pia says: Sorry Redskins fans, but it's a fact that we're going to have to deal with sooner or later. The Cowboys are good. Really good. And the crippled Buffalo Bills aren't going to succeed where the Giants, Bears, Dolphins and Rams failed.

Anshul says: Buffalo has nothing going for them offensively or defensively while the Cowboys are rolling. A dominant performance here and a 5-0 start could be all the momentum the Cowboys need to become the dominant force in the NFC, aside from Favre's Packers.

Bye week: Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles

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