|ESPN.com: 2007||[Print without images]|
All hail the Hecto-tron DA-42! What a Week 5 we had! If not for the Saints playing, well, like they have all season and the late heroics from Brian Griese, we'd have had a perfect week. A dozen correct picks is nothing to sneeze at. So let's look at the record thus far:
Week 4 (no spread): 12-2; Season-to-date: 47-29
Week 4 (spread): 9-5; Season-to-date: 44-32
Speaking of sneezing, did you know that in the Middle Ages, people believed that when somebody sneezed, their heart would stop beating, and that person's soul was able to be snatched by evil spirits. Today we know this belief is silly and that sneezing does not lead to demonic possession. However, this weekend I sat next to a man who spent 20 minutes standing on one foot with his hat on backward while humming "Oops, I Did it Again" because he was convinced that if he stopped, the Colts would fumble. Perhaps we haven't advanced all that much after all. Anyway, on to the Week 6 Projections:
Minnesota at Chicago (-5 1/2)
Coming off their bye week, the Vikings will return Tarvaris Jackson, who had missed two games because of a strained groin, to the starter's job. Minnesota should be able to handle the anemic Bears running game, but mustering offense of their own could prove problematic. Expect a low-scoring affair, with Brian Griese finding one of his tight ends late to earn the narrow home victory.
Spread pick: Vikings
Miami at Cleveland (-4 1/2)
They lost their starting quarterback, Trent Green, for awhile, perhaps forever. While the name Cleo Lemon doesn't exactly scream success, nobody thought much of Derek Anderson when he took the field in Week 2, either, and all he did was throw for about a zillion touchdowns. OK, maybe Cleo just hands it to Ronnie Brown 30 times. Either way, he and the Dolphins get their first win.
Spread pick: Dolphins
Washington at Green Bay (-3 1/2)
Green Bay is the only team in the league that I would bet their defense will get more yardage returning fumbles then their running backs will total from scrimmage. Still, Brett Favre is connecting with Greg Jennings and James Jones on a regular basis, and at home there's no reason to think they can't end up on the right side of the final score.
Spread pick: Redskins
Cincinnati at Kansas City (+3 1/2)
Larry Johnson has played poorly, and now the "legendary" Brodie Croyle will be charged with providing the passing yin to Johnson's rushing yang. It's possible one of the two holds up their end of the bargain, but we can't imagine both of them succeeding. We'll leave it to you to pick which one does better, but regardless, we think Cincy will eke out this one.
Spread pick: Chiefs
Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-2 1/2)
Wanted: NFL running back. No experience necessary, just a clean bill of health. While the Bucs have played well this season, it is really hard to win games when you have nobody in the backfield. Kenneth Darby? Hey, didn't he sing "Wishing Well" back in the day? Tampa Bay might be wishing they were well, but they're not, so we shed some butterfly tears and select the Titans.
Spread pick: Titans
St. Louis at Baltimore (-9 1/2)
If the Ravens had a powerhouse offense, we'd pick them to win this game by three or four touchdowns. Since they rely more on Willis McGahee running the ball, we foresee a quick affair, with Baltimore scoring on long drives and then picking up some first downs to kill the clock and the Rams' hopes of a win.
Spread pick: Rams
Houston at Jacksonville (-6 1/2)
In week 5, we saw a return to the Jags we once knew - a stifling run defense, and Fred Taylor and Mo-Jo providing a one-two knockout punch. We're hoping that wasn't a one-performance-only return. Houston could get between five and seven field goals from Kris Brown, but they'll need a bit more than that to win the game outright this week. They won't get it.
Spread pick: Texans
Philadelphia at New York Jets (+2 1/2)
Forgive Donovan McNabb if he starts flashing back to his last trip to the Meadowlands. Those 12 sacks the Giants put on him are probably still fresh in his mind ... but the boys in Green are definitely not the boys in Blue. Once McNabb realizes this, he should be able to right the sinking Philadelphia ship and deliver a decisive and much-needed victory.
Spread pick: Eagles
Carolina at Arizona (-4 1/2)
Matt Leinart is done for the year, and Kurt Warner gets to move from part-time novelty act to the main stage. He has proven to be more than capable in small doses, but running the whole shebang again? The jury is still out. He'll make some mistakes, but in the end, we think the good outweighs the bad and the Cards squeak by.
Spread pick: Panthers
Oakland at San Diego (-10 1/2)
LaDainian Tomlinson returned to form in Week 4, and then promptly took a nap Sunday so Michael Turner could have a chance to shine. Well, at least L.T. is well-rested for this week's game. I don't think Oakland will have an answer for him, and I don't think this one will even be close.
Spread pick: Chargers
New England at Dallas (+4 1/2)
We'll cut Tony Romo some slack and predict he was just looking ahead to this one when he stunk up the joint in Buffalo. To his credit, he was still able to right himself and rally the Cowboys on the game-winning drive. Actually, he did it twice in the same game, which is quite the accomplishment. Still, he was looking ahead for a reason. Because the Patriots are really, really good.
Spread pick: Patriots
New Orleans at Seattle (-6 1/2)
Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in! I don't want to pick them. I really don't. If they were playing the Steelers or the Colts or even the Niners, I wouldn't pick them. But all those teams are off this week, and the Seahawks are a bad team who are lucky to be 3-2. Against my better judgment ...
Spread pick: Saints
New York Giants at Atlanta (+3 1/2)
The Bills showed last week that when it comes to Monday Night Football, you throw out the records. Home teams come to play. That said, the defense of the Giants has truly stepped up their play of late, and there's nothing on the offensive side of the Falcons line that threatens to change that trend. While we expect it to be close, we also would be truly surprised if the result were any different than we've predicted.
Spread pick: Giants
The Hecto-tron DA-42 has mounted a comeback in the ESPN Eliminator Challenge picks. We went 5-1 in Week 5, with the lone setback being those darn jinxes from Louisiana. We'll avoid the bayou this week and see if we can't improve on our season record of 19-11. This week's selections:
Gold Picks: San Diego, Philadelphia
Silver Picks: Baltimore, Arizona
Bronze Picks: Miami, Chicago
Now if everybody can cross their fingers, throw some cayenne pepper over their left shoulders and twirl an umbrella over their heads, we're a lock to go undefeated this week. If you don't, and we lose a few, then it's obviously all your fault. Until next time ... good luck!