How good is Pia? Seriously...
Strange things are afoot in the NFL. From an OT comeback to an embarrassment in Dallas to the lowest-scoring Monday Night Football game in history, football has gotten weird again, and we wouldn't have it any other way. And as for our panel of so-called "experts," Pia still leads the way, proving once again that excluding Phil, everyone with a name that starts with the letter "P" is extremely smart (as in "Pratik").
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)
|Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Carolina||Carolina|
Josh says: You may ask why I am picking a team that hasn't scored a touchdown yet. I'll answer you by saying that Carolina wins less than half of their games without Steve Smith. Even if he plays, he won't be the Steve Smith we knew of last year. Also, Joey Galloway = need for speed.
Abe says: Three weeks ago, no one could have guessed these two teams would start out 0-2, but they did. My explanation for picking Tampa Bay is simple: Steve Smith remains a question mark to play, and home teams always seem to scratch out tough games. And if Carolina's supposedly conservative head coach John Fox tries another "Gamble" similar to last week's punt return fiasco, this pick will make me look genius.
Pia says: Was I the one who picked Carolina to win the Super Bowl? No, no, wasn't me" In the beginning of the season, this game would have generated some excitement"two powerful NFC South teams battling it out. Yet, entering Week Three, both these teams are 0-2 and looking pathetic. Though as Tampa Bay has scored three points in two games, it looks like Carolina will finally get its first win.
Phil says: ESPN's Super Bowl pick, the Panthers, have floundered there first two weeks but look to get back on track against an equally struggling Bucs squad. With Steve Smith most likely back, Delhomme will hit his stride and the defense will fall back into their normal impenetrable form.
Chicago Bears (2-0) at Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
Josh says: We all knew Chicago's defense was stellar, but who knew Rex Grossman was such a beast? Chicago is too well balanced for the Vikings and they do what the Skins could not: win (I'm still bitter).
Abe says: Is Minnesota fo' real? I think not. These two teams play a similar style of football"play rough D and run the ball down the opponents' throat. The game will come down to field position and special teams, which bodes well for Chicago, whose punt returner, Devin Hester, is perhaps the NFL's fastest man.
Pia says: With the fifth and seventh ranked defenses in the league, Chicago and Minnesota are both looking to start the season 3-0. Both teams have been performing well in the first two weeks"Chicago has outscored its opponents 60-7 and Minnesota has allowed only two touchdowns. However, with the Vikings riddled with injuries, the Bears can hope for their first 3-0 start since 1991.
Phil says: The Bears are contenders. The Vikings, pretenders.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Josh says: If Big Ben plays like he did last week at Jacksonville, the Steelers will have a hard time winning many games this year. The orange and black not only feature a revitalized quarterback and a powerful running back, they feature the most flamboyant and talented wideout in the game. Cincy wins because of Chad Johnson's blonde mohawk.
Abe says: Okay, so the Steelers were held scoreless on Monday night, and Big Ben Roethlisberger looked less-than-perfect. I know. I also know that the Steelers are the most resilient, tough-minded team in the league. I don't like the Bengals' chances going into a hostile Heinz Field.
Pia says: Both teams have had to deal with quarterback injuries over the offseason, but whereas Cincinnati's Carson Palmer has picked right up, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger struggled in his first game back last week. The Jaguars sacked and intercepted Roethlisberger twice each while Palmer had two touchdowns and 352 yards in Week Two.
Phil says: The first true test for Palmer and his surgically repaired will be against the team that hurt him in the first place. The Bengals will exact their revenge for their loss last year by torching the Steelers secondary with #85.
Green Bay Packers (0-2) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
|Green Bay||Detroit||Green Bay||Detroit|
Josh says: I really wish I didn't have to pick a winner here. I guess Green Bay isn't as sucky as the Lions. Give this win to Brett Favre and his refusal to die, much less retire.
Abe says: Consider this formula I've devised to avnalyze the Green Bay Packers: (Terrible team) x (Aging quarterback) + (Defense with more holes than swiss cheese) = Zero wins.
Pia says: Brett Favre looks to lead his young Packer offense to their first victory this week against the equally dismal Detroit Lions. He might just get his way with the Lions, who have only scored one touchdown this season and have the 26th ranked offense in the league.
Phil says: Farve needs to retire! He had a great career but this year packers just like those of last year just don't have enough support for him to have any impact. Roy Williams prediction of 40 points won't becoming true any time soon but they'll be able to take down the Packers for their first victory.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0) at Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
Josh says: The Jacksonville defense can play with anybody"even the Indianapolis Colts. Unfortunately though, their offense will not be able to score more points than the prolific Colts offense.
Abe says: I've been telling you for weeks that the Jags are going places. Their defense shut out the defending Super Bowl champs"on a Monday night, no less"and is the hardest-hitting bunch the NFL has seen in a long time. This week my pick for NFL champs will be truly tested in its first of two meetings with Indy. If Byron Leftwich can play smart, not turn the ball over and keep Jax close, the D can surely muster enough big plays to get a third straight W.
Pia says: With QB Peyton Manning breaking Johnny Unitas's career completion franchise record, and WR Marvin Harrison hot on the heels of the fourth all-time career receptions record, the Colts are blazing. The Jaguars are doing pretty fine themselves, spoiling WR Terrell Owens's big day in Week One and QB Ben Roethlisberger's return in Week Two. Look for one action-packed game!
Phil says: This should be one of the best games of the season up to this point as two of the AFC's best teams face off. The edge goes to the Colts as their offense seems as though they haven't missed a beat.
New York Jets (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
|Buffalo||New York||New York||Buffalo|
Josh says: It might just be me, but I think J.P. Losman is turning into a real quarterback.
Abe says: I sincerely hope this game is not on TV anywhere near my cable set. I like the Jets for the simple fact that I wanted to mention the name Jericho Cotchery. Know about him.
Pia says: Jets QB Chad Pennington has won his job and then some with 625 yards and four touchdowns in the first two weeks. The Jets are up against their AFC East rival the Buffalo Bills and QB J.P. Losman, who hasn't been nearly so impressive in his two games.
Phil says: Honestly you couldn't pay me to watch these two teams, but Vegas says the Bills will win. I'm obliged to agree.
Tennessee Titans (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Josh says: I don't know if I can pick Miami anymore after this week, but against the Titans, anyone's got a chance at a victory.
Abe says: Like the Redskins this week, the Dolphins get just what the doctor ordered after their 0-2 start"a horrid opponent.
Pia says: Both of these teams might be 0-2, but it seems like Miami has put in a lot more work. Titans QBs Vince Young and Kerry Collins are both performing poorly and their defense isn't helping any. The Dolphins lost a close one to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week One, and though the Buffalo Bills sacked Miami QB Daunte Culpepper seven times last week, he still managed to go 23-32 for 250 yards.
Phil says: Ronnie Brown meet the weakest front seven in the league. He'll be licking his chops over the career day he is about to have. My fantasy player all star of the week.
Washington Redskins (0-2) at Houston Texans (0-2)
Josh says: Let's get it (we better, or else it's Campbell time).
Abe says: If Houston wins, the Redskins will have to re-examine the purpose and direction of their season. Then again, with a win"which should hopefully come relatively easily against the Texans"the 'Skins can regain their footing in the NFC East and regroup to make a run at the postseason.
Pia says: Ahh finally. A game the Redskins can win. Let's hope. Both teams are 0-2 coming into Sunday's game. Texans QB David Carr has been sacked nine times in two games, Redskins QB Mark Brunell has been sacked six times. It will be a long afternoon.
Phil says: Please let the third time be the charm. If we don't see a W this week were in trouble.
Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Josh says: The Ravens defense is like a tortilla: it'll wrap you up and eat you.
Abe says: I'm not quite sure if I understand Josh's use of metaphor (or is it smile? perhaps personification?), but I certainly agree with his pick.
Pia says: Baltimore was on fire again last week"they still haven't given up a single touchdown. Their defense forced six turnovers and six sacks in the game against Oakland. QB Steve McNair was a little less impressive in Week Two, with two sacks and an interception, but it hardly mattered. The Ravens should run over the Browns as easily as they did the Raiders and the Bucs.
Phil says: I didn't have much confidence in the Ravens this season but Jim Fassel and Steve McNair have me a believer.
New York Giants (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
|Seattle||Seattle||New York||New York|
Josh says: Shaun Alexander finally gets going this week at home. The Seattle D slows down Eli Manning and the Plaxico Burress.
Abe says: If you've forgotten, this is a rematch of last year's game in which kicker Jay Feely missed three potential game-winning field goals and the Giants lost in overtime, largely due to a series of false start penalties because of the noise at Qwest Field. As Beyonc" would say, this game is "D"j" vu."
Pia says: The Giants are upbeat after coming back from a 17-point loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week. Although Eli Manning was sacked eight times, he still had three touchdowns and was 31-43 for 371 yards. While Seattle has the better record, it has been struggling due to RB Shaun Alexander's poor performance.
Phil says: If the AFC's best game is in the Jags at Colts the NFC's equivalent is Giants at Seahawks. Though Seattle hasn't looked themselves the first few weeks they still are the conferences defending champs. That being said with Shaun Alexander questionable because of his sore left foot the edge has to go to Tiki Barber and New York. Either way this game should be won and lost on the ground as it marks the most combined rushing yards from two players in the previous season in one game with 3,740 yards.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Josh says: Right now I'm eyeing the 49ers bandwagon. A win here and I could actually jump on. I actually wanted to pick the 49ers here. Frank Gore is looking like the breakout player of 2006-2007 already. Alex Smith looks like he's improved leaps and bounds from last year, and Antonio Bryant is a legitimate deep threat. Then again this is the San Francisco 49ers and they just don't win two games in a row.
Abe says: Though tempted, I decided to stay away from the Niners even though they won last week, breaking the curse I put on them. As for Philly, Andy Reid will have his troops ready to rumble after letting a victory slip out of their grasp against the Giants last week.
Pia says: After squandering a 17-point lead in last week's loss against the New York Giants, the Eagles are not going to let their guard down this week"even if it is the 49ers.
Phil says: Donovan will pick apart the 49er's poor excuse for a secondary making this a one a blow out.
St. Louis Rams (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Josh says: The St. Louis secondary is one of the softest in the league, and the Cardinals should punish them down the field. Larry Fitzgerald will also have a breakout game for my fantasy squad.
Abe says: I refuse to believe in the hype surrounding the Arizona Cardinals. Kurt Warner has fumbled six times in two weeks, and Edgerrin James has underperformed behind a lackluster O-line. The only thing that worries me about this pick is the Rams' secondary"if it's as bad in real life as it is in Madden07, I'm doomed.
Pia says: Both of these NFC West rivals have been playing mediocrely the last two weeks. Arizona gets the advantage because of its sold-out home turf.
Phil says: I'm still confused about how the Rams managed a week one victory. Cardinals roll.
Denver Broncos (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0)
|New England||New England||New England||Denver|
Josh says: Tom Brady has serious mojo. That mojo and his arm win the Patriots this game.
Abe says: The Pats lost every decent receiver they had save for veteran Troy Brown, and what does Tom Brady do? Continue to pummel teams through the air, utilizing his favorite targets: tight ends (see Benjamin Watson, Daniel Graham and Co.). Oh, and before I forget, plain and simple, Laurence Maroney is a stud.
Pia says: The last time these teams met, Denver robbed New England of its chance for a third consecutive Super Bowl title. The Broncos won the AFC divisional playoff game last January, but has struggled thus far in the 2006 season. With Jake Plummer's appalling 38.6 quarterback rating, New England can look forward to a 3-0 start.
Phil says: I got to stay with my super bowl pick.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Josh says: I'm honestly rooting for the Saints just because a 3-0 beginning to the season would be huge for New Orleans. Just a year ago the same Superdome that this game will be played in was the home to the homeless and a symbol of the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina. All that aside however, the Falcons are a better team and should run the ball down the Saints' throats.
Abe says: Apparently, this game is so important for New Orleans and elsewhere from a philanthropic and social standpoint in the U.S. and around the world, even Al-Jazeera obtained sideline credentials for media personnel. Wow. Now I kinda feel bad about picking the Falcons.
Pia says: Surprisingly this is the more interesting NFC South game (rather than Carolina at Tampa Bay). Both teams are starting out 2-0 after .500 or worse seasons last year and are looking to prove that they have what it takes for the playoffs. And more importantly for the Saints, it will be their first game in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina hit more than a year ago.
Phil says: On pace to set a record for team rushing its hard to see the Falcons faltering against the Saints.
Pia Nargundkar. Pia Nargundkar was Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online during the 2007-2008 school year. More »
Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »
Josh Zipin. Josh Zipin has trouble paying attention for more than three seconds at a time... More »