By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
This N’ That With Tony Mack: NFL Picks: Week 9
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — And then there was one.
With the Steelers win over the Patriots last Sunday, The Philadelphia Eagles are now the league’s lone undefeated team. The schedule makers must have know what they were doing when they put Week Nine’s games together.
Fresh off that win, the Black and Gold host the Iggles at Heinz Field Sunday in the battle of Pennsylvania and a possible Super Bowl preview. Since Ben Roethlisberger replaced Tommy Maddox as Pittsburgh’s QB, the Steelers have been on a roll.
In, fact Big Ben is the subject of our factoid of the week. With a victory Sunday, he will tie former Steeler Mike Kruczek (1976) for the most consecutive wins by an NFL rookie QB since 1970. With nine TD passes, Big Ben has already set the team’s rookie mark in that category. Ex-Notre Dame standout Terry Hanratty had eight in 1969.
In other games this week, New England will try to bounce back by visiting St. Louis, the resurgent Houston Texans visit Denver, and the Colts and Vikings will meet in what should be an aerial showcase between Daunte Culpepper and Peyton Manning at the RCA Dome on Monday night.
LAST WEEK: 7-7 (67-50 on the year) We nailed the Pats loss along with the Jets and Falcons bouncing back. However, we took a chance on Motown, Carolina, and San Fran and got burned badly. I’m getting tired of 7-7 every week, but at least it’s .500.
SUNDAY EAGLES at STEELERS Can they make it two straight over unbeatens? The Steelers can become the first club in NFL history to defeat teams with at least 6-0 records in consecutive weeks. The last team to try it was the 1934 Detroit Lions, who lost in back-to-back games against the Chicago Bears (No, Marty Mornhinweg wasn’t coaching the team!!). While history may be against them, I think they have a shot.
CHIEFS at BUCS By scoring 100 points in their last two wins and seeing the Broncos fall to Cincy and Atlanta in that span, K.C. has put themselves back into the AFC West race. The D still isn’t anything to write home about, but they haven’t had to deal with it over this stretch. While Brian Griese has given Tampa a bit of a boost since he’s taken over at QB, the Bucs still aren’t ready for contention yet.
PATRIOTS at RAMS Now that New England has fallen back in the pack, you can bet that Bill Belichik was in their ears all this week at practice. They face a Rams team that still has egg on their face following an awful performance in Miami two weeks ago. Both teams have playoffs in their radar so this is a big game for each of them. I just get the feeling that Mike Martz will do something silly to cost St. Louis a win.
TEXANS at BRONCOS The epitome of two teams meeting that are heading in opposite directions. Houston may be becoming a player in the battle for the AFC South, while the Broncos appear to be reeling in the AFC West. Even the vaunted Denver ground game has had its problems over the last few weeks as well. Houston’s win against the Jags last week opened some eyes. They’ll be even wider following this Sunday.
MONDAY VIKINGS at COLTS I hesitate to call this a Super Bowl preview because neither teams defense would stop anyone when needed. Still, this Monday Nighter has all the makings of another back and forth, non-punt game. The key may be whether Minnesota will have a healthy Randy Moss at their disposal. Tony Dungy must be having nightmares watching the defensive team films every week. Rest up, TD. It’s about to get worse.
OTHER GAMES Jets over Bills: It will be close again, but Gang Green should still prevail.
Panthers over Raiders: The Silver and Black slide continues. Is George Blanda available?
Cowboys over Bengals: What was I thinking in picking Cincy to beat the Titans?
Lions over Redskins: If Motown can’t win this game, then the playoffs are out of the picture for this season.
Cardinals over Dolphins: Because someone must win this god awful game.
Giants over Bears: There shouldn’t be a letdown by Big Blue.
Chargers over Saints: Don’t forget about the Bolts. They’re in the AFC West race too.
Seahawks over 49ers: The Birds try to re-establish a home-field advantage.
Ravens over Browns: Baltimore gets some payback from its Week One debacle.
NOTE: Coming up later this week on BASN, our mid-season NFL report cards on all 32 teams. See which teams get a passing grade and which ones that will have to stay late after class.