Let the bye weeks begin!
With the Redskins enjoying their bye after all but gift-wrapping a win for the Giants last week, we can drift our attention to the rest of the league. The Patriots, Colts, Steelers, Cowboys and Packers (wait, the Packers?) are all undefeated as we move into the fourth week. Meanwhile our beloved sports editor Andrew has jostled to the front of the pack of so-called "experts." This week of games will bring the hope of the playoffs to some teams while effectively erasing it from others. And if Andrew continues to lead, an investigation will ensue into his possible use of illegal video equipment.
|Last week||Season total|
Sunday September 30, 2007
Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons
Nitin says: Houston might catch a break with DeAngelo Hall probably serving a quarter-long suspension, but the passing game isn't all that great without Andre Johnson anyway. Falcon's QB Joey Harrington has improved with each game, even against sturdy Carolina and Jacksonville defenses.
Pia says: The Texans have finally emerged as a respectable team. After starting 2-0, and giving the Colts a run for their money last week, the Texans have at last let the sun shine in H-town. Not so for the Falcons, who are still struggling to find their groove.
Anshul says: Houston will be missing their main offensive threat in Andre Johnson. But there are other players on that team that can step up, especially in the underrated Andre Davis. Plus, their defense gave the Colts a little bit of a scare last week, so they should be able to march into Atlanta and take out a still questionable Falcons team.
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
|Minnesota||Green Bay||Green Bay||Green Bay|
Nitin says: Green Bay is re-emerging on defense and Brett Favre is giving the impression that he might still have it in him for another season or two. RB Adrian Peterson already has a minor injury and QB Kelly Holcomb couldn't escape the sack last week. The NFC North is getting more interesting by the week.
Pia says: Oh venerable Brett Favre, please forgive me for ever doubting you. In the span of an offseason, Favre has turned from the degenerate senior citizen to the Favre of yesteryear. Meanwhile the Vikings don't look like they're going to Valhalla any time soon.
Anshul says: The Packers are looking like the Packers of the good old days, when they won the first two Super Bowls and five NFL championships under Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr. Brett Favre is playing like the good-old-days and the Packers' defense has shown how dominant it can be. Minnesota has got too many holes in their pass-defense to stop the Packers, who aren't too big of a run team anyway.
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys
Nitin says: Steven Jackson is out, so unless Brian Leonard steps it up fast, the Rams will be out of playoff contention very quickly. But it's not like Leonard's efforts will matter much this week; the Rams enter Tony and Terrell's dictatorship in Dallas. Romo and the Cowboys effectively sent the reigning NFC champion's quarterback to the bench.
Pia says: Even when Tony Romo has a "slow start," he manages to pass for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys are plowing through their opponents and a Steven Jackson-less Rams aren't going to stop them.
Anshul says: Dallas has emerged as the team to beat in the NFC with a convincing win over Chicago last week. In addition to killer offense by Romo,T.O., and Barber in the backfield, their defense has been playing well. St. Louis has problems now with Steven Jackson out and Bulger playing bad last week. Sure, he had broken ribs, but this week won't be a whole lot better for him. Dallas will shut them down at home.
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins
Nitin says: Oakland's D can shut down Chris Chambers and leave Trent Green with little to go with, but he still has Ronnie Brown out of the backfield. Brown took over against the Jets and Oakland has given up over 125 yards to the rush per game this year. Though the Dolphins have given up more, they did so against some elite backs and LaMont Jordan is by no means a Clinton Portis or Marion Barber.
Pia says: I think Oakland fulfilled its win quotient last week with a triumph over the sorrowful Cleveland Browns. Two in a row would be too much, don't you think?
Anshul says: Lane Kiffin clearly knows what he is doing as a coach. After having his kicker iced in week 2 by Mike Shanahan, he returned the favor to Brown's kicker Phil Dawson who had his game-winning field goal attempt blocked. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm hoping for Daunte Culpepper to step in for the injured Josh McCown and show the power of the Oakland Raiders. They got a good rush offense with LaMont Jordon and Culpepper should be able to boost their pass offense. It's their defense that concerns me and the fact that an experienced quarterback like Trent Green will be able to find holes in it.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Nitin says: Obviously the big news is Gross is out and Griese is in. But how about that Chicago defense? It fell apart last week and Detroit's offense is no pushover either. RB Kevin Jones figures to take a bigger load this week as the Lions try to stabilize a weak run game.
Pia says: As terrible as I feel for poor Rex Grossman, it was the move that Chicago had to make. The Bears were going nowhere with a tough defense and a stagnant offense. Perennial backup Brian Griese shouldn't have too much trouble jumpstarting the offense against the Lions' defense, who let up a whopping 56 points last week.
Anshul says: Finally, Grossman is out. Sure he made it to the Super Bowl last year, but with a defense that was able to shut down high-powered offenses to back him. Now, the defense has been performing well, but the offense has been lacking. With Brian Griese, that offense should start clicking. Back when he started for Denver, from 2000-2002, he threw far more touchdowns than interceptions and completed over 60% of his passes each season.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Nitin says: The feared Baltimore defensive players look like they're hardly trying and they certainly won't have to start this week. The Browns might be able to put some points on the board if they can utilize second and third receivers well; Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow will be shut down all day.
Pia says: Baltimore is on the unusually long list of teams who did well last year and are struggling this year. They better watch out; if the Cincinnati/Cleveland game was any indication, the Browns can catch a defense off guard. Nonetheless, Cleveland has a little too many holes for me to pick them in the upset here.
Anshul says: Baltimore has been unable to win games by close margins when they have clearly outmatched their opponents. All their games have has close decisions for them. But with hopefully a healthy Steve McNair playing this week, that offense can get to work and put up some points and take a bit of pressure off the defense. The Browns have holes all over the place, mainly on defense. Baltimore will take them on a ride here.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
|Buffalo||New York||New York||New York|
Nitin says: With J.P. Losman out, the Bills' fate will probably rest with the abilities of rookie RB Marshawn Lynch. The Jets haven't exactly been firing on all cylinders, but this will be a good match up for Chad Pennington to regain some composure.
Pia says: This AFC East match up isn't going to be much of a rivalry. The Jets have Pennington back and healthy, and the Bills still look like they don't know what hit them.
Anshul says: Buffalo still has not been able to get it moving through the air offensively. They need help on both sides of the ball. They rank last in the league in yards per game, pass yards per game, and points per game. Defensively, they rank last in the league in yards per game, pass yards per game, and rush yards per game. They have way too many holes to compete right now.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
|Seattle||San Francisco||San Francisco||Seattle|
Nitin says: I don't like watching Shaun Alexander playing with a supposedly "insignificant" injury. Homefield advantage and a relatively healthy Frank Gore will help the 49ers overcome the division favorites.
Pia says: Both teams suffer from the unexplainable spell that's been cast on most of the top running backs this year. With lacking running games, neither NFC West team has been spectacular. San Francisco in the upset, just to make things interesting.
Anshul says: The 49ers has been able to get its offense moving, but Seattle should have the edge with a better overall passing and rushing game. This is going to be close.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
|Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Carolina|
Nitin says: Regardless of whether Jake Delhomme or David Carr controls the offense this week, Tampa Bay's defense is just too consistent. Carr will have to connect to Steve Smith early and often to give his Panthers a chance.
Pia says: With Jake Delhomme possibly out for the game on Sunday, Carolina loses the steady force on its offense. Their defense can't save them so it will all hinge whether former Texans starter David Carr can make magic with Steve Smith as well Delhomme could. I wouldn't count on it. Jeff Garcia and his boys are taken charger after Week One's initial disappointment.
Anshul says: Jake Delhomme may not be starting this week, but it shouldn't matter too much. With homefield advantage and an effective offense, as well as explosive opportunity in Steve Smith, Carolina will pull off a win.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
|San Diego||San Diego||San Diego||San Diego|
Nitin says: LT and LJ, the two top rushers from last year, have started off combining for a measly 270 yards through the first three weeks. The Chargers' Tomlinson will have a much better shot to do damage than the Chiefs' Johnson. Even though San Diego's defense has been shot down twice already, Kansas City is no big bad monster either.
Pia says:Finally a team the Chargers can beat. Well, hopefully.
Anshul says: Kansas City has been a real bust of a team this season. Both running backs also have been unable to get something going on the ground, but the Chargers at least have a passing game that is fairly consistent. That paired with their defense will dominate a fading Chiefs team.
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Nitin says: From what Jay Cutler has done so far, it doesn't look like Bob Sanders will have to break a sweat.
Pia says: The Broncos have scraped by pathetic teams these first three weeks, so don't be fooled by their 2-1 record. The Colts on the other hand have Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, home-field advantage and an uncanny knack for winning streaks in the beginning of the season.
Anshul says: There are only a few teams in the league that can beat the Colts, and the Broncos are not one of them. At least not on the road. Jay Cutler is not experienced enough and doesn't have enough weapons on offense to give the Colts' defense a hard time.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals
Nitin says: I've got to hand to Kurt Warner, he almost pulled off a huge upset with the help of Anquan Boldin against the Ravens. But then again, that's Kurt Warner; shine for a few snaps and then drop the ball. Steelers' RB Willie Parker gets another shot at an awful defense as he looks to keep up his 125 yard rushing average.
Pia says: A mediocre team last season, the Steelers have transformed back into the Super Bowl team of a couple years ago. Led by a new coach, Pittsburgh has pummeled the first three weak teams they have faced, and Arizona should be no different.
Anshul says: I've heard of a two running back system, and that's effective. But a two quarterback system has yet to have worked in the NFL. The Steelers are rolling right now and are becoming a major contender in the AFC. Their defense, their offense, and their special teams are all great. They are a well-balanced team and should roll into Arizona and give the Cardinals a long night.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Nitin says: Kevin Curtis and Donovan McNabb made their first mark this year, now it's time for Philly's Reggie Brown to help bring back the Eagle's offensive potential. The Giants are looking to hold down the fort until Brandon Jacobs comes back, but with "Plexiglas" Burress nursing a bad ankle, New York will take another divisional loss.
Pia says: Philly finally found its game in its 56-point blowout of the Lions. Look for a lower scoring but still solid performance at the Meadowlands Sunday. The Giants got lucky last week and will fall to a team with a more established offense.
Anshul says: Philly has experienced its burst, so look for their offense to cool down a bit this week. But McNabb is back and that offense is going to work wonders over a questionable Giants defense. New York will drop another game, but their record won't do justice to how much better their team is than was expected.
Monday October 1, 2007
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals
|New England||New England||New England||New England|
Nitin says: Cincinnati and New England are fun to watch when they decide to go to the air, but the Pats succeed in the run game where the Bengals don't. In fact, with Rudi Johnson likely to be out this week with a hamstring injury, the Bengals have no one to turn to.
Pia says: Both teams have explosive offenses, but Cincinnati's D is a lot more questionable than the Pats'. New England can look to chalk up another one in the W column.
Anshul says: Cincinnati offense, good. New England offense, really good. New England defense, good. Cincinnati defense, not so good.
Bye week: Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars
Andrew Kung. Andrew Kung is a rising Magnet junior who is psyched for a year of Chips Online. He has lived in New York, Michigan, and New Mexico prior to his current residence in Maryland. As a cynical sports fan, he is not often disappointed, but not … More »
Pia Nargundkar. Pia Nargundkar was Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2007-2008 school year. More »
Nitin Sukumar. Nitin's middle name is Antonio Gates. More »