Seven things we love about football
The picks are getting harder and harder to select each week, as we seem to be heading into unknown territory. Winless teams like the Chiefs are getting their first victories, and undefeated teams like the Giants are receiving their first losses. We here at SCO Predictions love the unpredictability. It reminds us of that old paradox: expect the unexpected. But where does "the unexpected" put us? To be honest, we're really not sure.
What we do know is that we're in for another exciting week of NFL predictions. The records for the pundits have evened up, and match-ups are poised to provide more than enough entertainment to last a Sunday. Particularly, the 49ers v. Texans game is set to be explosive. San Francisco RB Frank Gore will make his first start since his injury, and 49ers rookie WR Michael Crabtree will make his debut. So stay tuned, faithful readers, Silver Chips is here to brighten up your weekend.
Rose: 59 - 30
Dennis: 59 - 30
Ava: 61 - 28
Sunday, Oct. 25
Indianapolis Colts (5-0-0) at St. Louis Rams (0-6-0)
Rose - Indianapolis
Dennis - Indianapolis
Ava - Indianapolis
Ranked number one in the league for 326 pass yards and number three for more than 404 total yards, the Colts are certainly formidable. Peyton Manning only adds to the team's potential. The quarterback had 36 out of 44 passes during the Colts's last match against Tennessee, but stated that he will not take advantage of the Rams's losses by slacking off when he encounters them this week. He plans to activate the same skilled game plan, which will lead the team to another success. Unfortunately for St. Louis, it looks like they will continue the NFL's longest losing streak.
This is most likely the easiest game to predict this week, if not this season. Indianapolis's incredible passing game has helped them reach a 5-0 record, and St. Louis's turn-over tendencies have brought them to a 0-6 record. Try guessing who will win.
No doubt the Colts will take this one. Peyton Manning will absolutely tear the Rams's secondary apart. Sure, the Rams have Steven Jackson, but running backs are pretty useless unless they have a good line to run behind. Jackson is the only threat to St. Louis, so he'll be targeted and shut down early. This will allow the Colts an easy win.
New England Patriots (4-2-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6-0)
Rose - New England
Dennis - New England
Ava - New England
The Patriot domination at the home stadium last week was almost overwhelming. Now the team leads the AFC East and won't need to exert much effort to beat the lowly Buccaneers. Despite QB Tom Brady's recent knee surgery, New England has great potential to continue their domination. Especially with Tampa Bay's winless status, it's clear the Patriots will use this easy game to solidify their strong hold on the division.
New England gave a stellar performance last week against Tennessee, crushing them 59-0 in what was unquestionably QB Tom Brady's best game this season. I don't see the Patriots losing against a mediocre team that has averaged less than 300 total yards a game. I just wish we could give London a better match-up. The Patriots defeat the Buccaneers.
Brady and Bunch will eat Tampa Bay alive on Sunday. When he trounced the Titans last week, Brady showed us he could really bring some heat to a game. The Titans and the Bucs are actually similar teams (both winless and unremarkable), but the former has a better coaching staff. If the Patriots can beat the Titans, Tampa Bay should be no problem at all.
Minnesota Vikings (6-0-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2-0)
Rose - Minnesota
Dennis - Pittsburgh
Ava - Pittsburgh
Minnesota remains undefeated, not like anyone is surprised. Although the last few minutes of their game against the Ravens was a bit of a nail-biter. As Baltimore crept up on the Vikings with ten minutes left in the game, the expected Minnesota victory was no longer in sight. But with Brett Favre on board, a loss was virtually impossible. The quarterback was nothing short of incredible, managing 21 of 29 passes for three touchdowns and a total of 278 yards. The Steelers are developing a decent record as well, but the Vikings are too strong to be taken down now. The Vikings will continue their winning streak.
Is this match-up the game of the week? It definitely could be. Undefeated Minnesota faces the defending champions in Pittsburgh. Though the Steelers aren't the impenetrable team they were a year ago, their passing attack is solid; QB Ben Roethlisberger passed 417 yards last game. On the other hand, the Vikings are getting fiery quarterback action from old reliable: Brett Favre. If Roethlisberger plays anything like he did last week, the Steelers might just be able to hand the Vikings their first loss of the season.
This meeting between two out-of-conference rivals should be close, and very entertaining. La Favre is starting 6 – 0 for the first time ever in his career, so I was inclined to pick the undefeated Vikings. But the Steelers really come alive when they play at home, so I think Sunday will be when Minnesota's ride comes to an end.
San Diego Chargers (2-3-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-5-0)
Rose - San Diego
Dennis - San Diego
Ava - San Diego
Unfortunately for San Diego, their bye week two weeks ago did little to cure the defensive problems that plagued their 38-28 loss to Pittsburgh Oct. 4. Their 34-23 loss against Denver the following week was a major disappointment. Now the Chargers only have a slim chance of snagging a fourth consecutive AFC West championship. They'll have to prove their ambition against Kansas this week to better their odds, and it looks like the vision of success may do the trick. The Chargers will barely control this relatively even match-up.
San Diego is coming off a difficult loss to their division rivals in Denver, one of the only remaining undefeated teams in the league. The Chargers are still an able team with a passing attack that may be able to do some damage to opposing defenses. Kansas City is slowly improving on both sides of the ball and finally got their first win over Washington last Sunday. Nonetheless, the Chargers are a better team and have the odds on their sideIn.
I have to mention the travesty that was Kansas City's first win against the team who shall not be named. Kudos to the Chiefs for pulling out a victory nonetheless. Despite their win, Kansas City is still a terrible team with a defense ranked last in the league. The Chargers are coming out of a tough loss against a tenacious Denver, but are a quality team overall. They should win on Sunday.
Green Bay Packers (3-2-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-5-0)
Rose - Green Bay
Dennis - Green Bay
Ava - Green Bay
After their first 26-0 shutout victory since 2007 against Detroit last week, the Packers are feeling pretty good about themselves. They don't even need the advantage of Cleveland's last place ranking in order to grasp a victory this Sunday. With two depleted positions, Green Bay is turning to older players - ones that will surely bring expert skill to the field.
For Green Bay, Cleveland's speedy playmaker and special teams superstar Joshua Cribbs is a threat. He'll likely return the ball for a touchdown every kickoff. But the question is, once again, whether the Packers offensive line can hold their own to protect QB Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay takes the cheese.
Green Bay will get another win this week. The Packers looked really strong when they completely shut out Detroit last Sunday. Admittedly, it is not a hard task, but nonetheless they're performing well. Cleveland, on the other hand, is struggling this season.
San Francisco 49ers (3-2-0) at Houston Texans (3-3-0)
Rose - Houston
Dennis - Houston
Ava - Houston
Rookie WR Michael Crabtree makes his debut for the 49ers this week, which is an exciting new development for San Francisco. However, it's not certain if Crabtree will be a positive addition to the team. During his last game in January, he managed a record low of only 30 yards. After an eight-month hiatus, his ability is questionable. Houston, on the other hand, is now third in the league for more than 292 passing yards. The Texans should clinch this game.
This is a game between two teams with immense potential. The big story here will be how San Fransisco WR Michael Crabtree fares in his debut as a first-round pick. Houston impressed last week after beating the Cardiac-Cats, and ranked QB Matt Schaub among the elite passers in the league. Watch for returning 49ers star RB Frank Gore; he was running very well before his injury. San Francisco beats the Texans in an exciting game.
The Texans gave Cincinnati the business last week. Matt Schaub, Andrew Johnson and Steve Slaton have been playing especially well. Notably, the 49ers signed Michael Crabtree, the college superstar wide receiver from Texas Tech. Also, Frank Gore is finally returning from injury. This game will definitely be a close one, but the Texans will emerge triumphant.
Buffalo Bills (2-4-0) at Carolina Panthers (2-3-0)
Rose - Carolina
Dennis - Carolina
Ava - Carolina
Right now, the Bills are facing a plethora of injury. Starting quarterback Trent Edwards will not play due to a concussion, while receiver James Hardy has recuperated from his knee surgery and will play for the first time in 10 months. Hardy will be forced to show he still has it, and may not demonstrate adequate strength. The unfortunate loss of Edwards makes Sunday's game an intense battle between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carolina's talent Julius Peppers. The Panthers have the edge on this one.
Carolina has enough key players. WR Steve Smith, RB DeAngelo Williams and DE Julius Peppers should have a major impact on the team's performance. Unfortunately, all three have been extremely quiet in their play this season. Fortunately, they look to be waking up from a long slumber after several dormant weeks. Buffalo has WR Terrell Owens, who was one of the biggest play makers in the league last season. He has also been in hibernation. This game is his chance to shine, but he won't shine bright enough to beat the Panthers.
This game is a battle of bad teams. Both the Carolina and Buffalo head coaches are in the hot seat with the NFL, and it's always hard to win in a tumultuous environment. I'm going to go with the Panthers purely because of their home field advantage.
New York Jets (3-3-0) at Oakland Raiders (2-4-0)
Rose - New York
Dennis - New York
Ava - New York
Now that Raiders coach Tom Cable squeezed out of assault chargers for attacking a former assistant, Oakland is under less stress. But the team still pales in comparison to their Sunday competitor. Even Cable acknowledged that Jets QB Mark Sanchez is looking fierce. New York will snag this victory.
Oakland QB JaMarcus Russell has 10 turnovers this season. So what's New York's key to winning? Do some of the same. The Jets need to create havoc for the Raiders on offense, and make sure no one calls a timeout they don't have (sorry, McNabb). Jets take the express flight over the Raiders.
It appears as though the clock might have struck midnight on the Jets's Cinderella story; they now have three losses in a row. Mark Sanchez didn't even have any touchdowns last week. On Sunday I think they'll walk out of the locker room ready to seal a win on the west coast. Oakland's big victory over Philadelphia was a fluke, and their 2-4 record also bodes well for the Jets.
Atlanta Falcons (4-1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (3-2-0)
Rose - Atlanta
Dennis - Atlanta
Ava - Atlanta
One thing is for sure: under coach Wade Phillips, the Cowboys have won their last two games following bye weeks. But history isn't looking to repeat itself this time. Dallas's only victories have come from games against winless teams, and the Falcons didn't allow any sacs in their last four games. Atlanta will certainly emerge victorious.
Not many can deny Atlanta's offensive explosion. With QB Matt Ryan, RB Michael Turner and the recent emergence of WR Roddy White, the Falcons have become the predator. Dallas has also enjoyed the rise of WR Miles Austin, who had a 250-yard performance on Sunday. The 'Boys aren't going to catch the Falcons this week.
Another game that's probably going to be a good one. I'll say it once again, but Tony Romo's going to have to come up big this game and prove himself. He's too inconsistent right now, and the game is going to come down to Romo's turnovers. If he limits the turnovers and throws for a couple touchdowns, the Cowboys are in business. But if the Falcons's defense can force Romo to throw some picks and fumbles, Atlanta's win is pretty much guaranteed. Since the Falcons are hot right now, with Matt Ryan and Michael Turner performing superbly, I'm going to go with Atlanta. It's a very winnable game for Dallas, but Romo's playing is too unstable.
New Orleans Saints (5-0-0) at Miami Dolphins (2-3-0)
Rose - New Orleans
Dennis - New Orleans
Ava - New Orleans
New Orleans has been lucky with their competition recently. They've encountered reasonable teams, which have helped them maintain their flawless record. But we can't attribute their undefeated status entirely to luck. The Saints possess the best offense in the league, and Drew Brees works wonders for the team. Will they reach the 6-0 marker for the first time in 18 years? Against the 2-3 Dolphins, it's very likely.
New Orleans is in the talks for the top spot in the league after defeating New York last week. They had a one-two punch, consisting of their unstoppable air attack and effective ground game. On the other hand, Miami still has its renowned Wildcat offense. It will be interesting to see how the New Orleans secondary approaches it. The Saints's victorious march continues.
It looks like New Orleans will still be undefeated going into Week Eight. Drew Brees did magnificently last week against the Giants, and proved that he can pull out a win against the cream of the crop. It'll be smooth sailing for the Saints on Sunday.
Chicago Bears (3-2-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-0)
Rose - Cincinnati
Dennis - Cincinnati
Ava - Cincinnati
There's some drama wound up in this game. Bears elite RB Cedric Benson will play against his former team, although he claims there will be no revengeful feelings. Regardless, it's unclear whether we can expect full commitment from Benson. Chicago defensive tackle Tommy Harris may sit out Sunday's game due to injury, which would impact Chicago defense. Looks like Cincinnati may have the upper hand on this one.
Both of these teams were on a unprecedented hot streak before last week. Chicago's running game didn't emerge as well as the team had hoped, which deterred their winning chances. Cincinnati's pass defense was also unable to get off the ground. The outcome of the game will depend on each team's ability to fix these flaws, but the Bears will see more production out of RB Matt Forte. Chicago wins it.
The Bengals have been a bit of an upstart. They lost to the Texans last week, and Chicago's record is fairly solid. However, Chicago's wins haven't been against heavyweights, and I can't forget that the Bengals beat the Ravens once upon a time. If Cincinnati can shut down Devon Hester, the team will be fine. Especially when they're at home on a hot streak.
Arizona Cardinals (3-2-0) at New York Giants (5-1-0)
Rose - New York
Dennis - New York
Ava - New York
This game will be a test of offensive and defensive power. The Giants will employ their famous rushing attack on the best run defense in the league, as Arizona allows less than 60 yards per game. While the two may be a fairly even match, Giants receiver Steve Smith has shown that he still plays a fierce game; he currently leads the NFC with 41 receptions and 525 yards. My bet is with New York on this one.
New York suffered its first loss last week, but that doesn't mean they are any less prominent in the league. New York's impenetrable defense is a force to be reckoned with, and it's offense is still quite strong. Arizona still has the receiving power of Larry Fitzgerald, and has been getting production from QB Kurt Warner. However, expect the Giants to tower over the Cards.
New York really disappointed us at the Superdome last week! Regardless, Kurt Warner is a fickle QB and the running game for the Cardinals has been a bit lackluster this season. Giants will win in the Meadowlands.
Monday, Oct. 26
Philadelphia Eagles (3-2-0) at Washington Redskins (2-4-0)
Rose - Philadelphia
Dennis - Philadelphia
Ava - Philadelphia
Enough is enough. The hope for a Redskins victory came and went with the Kansas City Chiefs. Washington's NFL season is doomed for all practical purposes, and I just don't see the Redskins squeezing out another win anytime soon. Even with Eagles LB Omar Gaither injured and off the field for the remainder of the season, the home team just won't be able to effectively channel the little strength they have. Philadelphia takes the win.
Let's face it: Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb made a fool out of himself last week when attempting to call a timeout he never had. On top of that, his accuracy saw a sharp decline. The Eagles will need him to step up as a leader in order to get a win in Washington. Redskins fans will have their eyes glued on new offensive play-caller Sherm Lewis and his ability to score. Since this is a rivalry in one of the most heated divisions, expect a close game. But the Eagles should bounce back.
I think it's pretty obvious as to who will win this one. There's no strategy to discuss: the Eagles have got this one locked up. But as far as the Redskins go, there's tons of controversy! Jim Zorn is remaining head coach, although he has given up play-calling responsibilities to his "recently hired consultant" Sherman Lewis, according to the Washington Post. Secondly, Jason Campbell is starting against Philly (not so sure how that one will work out), but his job security is still on the rocks. So, while the game on Monday may be an uninteresting shut out, following Redskins changes will definitely make up for the lack of drama.
Dennis Chae. Whhaazzaaa, I'm Dennis Chae. I love my Baltimore Ravens and shoes. In fact, I collect sneakers and am always looking for a new pair of Nikes. The Ultimate Fighting Championship is probably going to be the greatest thing ever in a year or so. I ... More »
Ava Wallace. More »
Rose Wynn. I love piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and the ladies of the Blair Pom Squad. More »