NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Just when you think you know anything and everything about the NFL, crazy stuff happens. Like Vinny Testaverde literally coming off his big, comfy couch to lead Gang Green past the previously unbeaten Buccaneers.
Or like Drew Bledsoe having a 1996 flashback and handing the Eagles a major whuppin in Big D. Even Brett Favre made up for four weeks of frustration by opening a new one on his Cajun cousins.
So now five weeks in, only one team sits undefeated, the 5-0 Colts. Indy will look to go 6-0 when they host the Rams at the RCA Dome on Monday Night Football. Interim head coach Joe Vitt will take over for an ailing Mike Martz on the sidelines.
Other games of note this weekend: The Giants, coming off a bye week, meet the Tuna Helpers in an NFC East title at Dallas; the Chargers look to bounce back with a trip to Oakland’s “Black Hole”; and the Redskins head to Arrowhead to meet the Chiefs.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
In this decade alone, two “perfect” teams through five weeks missed the playoffs that year (’00 Jets, 4-0; ’03 Vikings, 5-0). In fact, since 2000, a surprising 28 clubs reached the sixth week of the season with winning records (seven at at least 4-1), yet failed to make the playoffs.
On the reverse side, nine teams entered Week 6 with losing records, turned their seasons around and reached the playoffs, including six division winners: Saints (1-3) in ’00; Pats (2-3) in ’01; Jets (1-4), Steelers (1-3) and Titans (1-4) in ’02; and 1-4 Packers last year.
Speaking of the Colts. Who was the Horseshoes’ head coach the last time they started a season 6-0?
A. Ted Marchibroda
B. Don Shula
C. Weeb Ewbank
D. Jim Mora
LAST WEEK’S ANSWER
In Bill Parcells’ first season with the Jets, Adrian Murrell led the team in rushing with 1,086 yards and seven TDs.
LAST WEEK: 9-5 (41-28 overall)
Like many folks, I got blindsided by the Tuna Helpers’ uprising against Philly. We just missed on Cincy and the Falcons. While Matt Schaub played well as Vick’s replacement, he did what every fails to do. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER leave Tom Brady enough time to beat you.
GIANTS at COWBOYS
When the schedule came out in April, who would have thought that this would be a battle for first place in the NFC East. Dallas did their part last week by knocking off Philly. You just know Tom Coughlin was look at Sunday’s game nodding his head and taking notes. The last time these two teams met, Big Blue pulled out a 28-24 squeaker in the season finale. A lot has changed since then. However, I think the winner will remain the same.
PATRIOTS at BRONCOS
Just when you’re ready to push New England to the curb, they find a way to beat you. However, the Pats are playing their fourth road game in the past five weeks. The Broncos have their own streaks going. They have won four in a row and they dearly remember their last dealing with the Pats. A Monday Night loss back in November of 2003 was one of the reasons why Denver opened the playoffs on the road. Can the Broncos get a measure of revenge. Me thinks it’s too tough for Belichik’s boys to keep this up.
CHARGERS at RAIDERS
A trip to the “Black Hole” is never easy. Especially when it comes after a tough home loss on Monday Night Football. However, keep this in mind: The Bolts swept the Raiders last year for the first time since 1992 and Marty Schottenheimer has more regular season wins over Dah Raiders (22) than any other head coach in NFL history. Shouldn’t this be just a walkover for San Diego? Uh oh! Sniff! Sniff! I smell an upset!
REDSKINS at CHIEFS
Welcome to The Geezer Bowl as two of the most successful coaches in NFL history meet for the first time since November 28, 1982. Between them, Dick Vermeil and Joe Gibbs have six Super Bowl appearances and four Super Bowl wins. Grandpa Gibbs holds a 3-1 lifetime advantage over Vermeil. Despite the loss last week, Washington played decently against Denver while K.C. is still licking it’s wounds after a Bronco loss as well. Something tells me that Clinton Portis will see the Chiefs’ defense and his eyes (and legs) will light up.
RAMS at COLTS
Mike Martz may have done himself a favor by taking this week off. Indy is coming off another impressive performance from both sides of the line as they dismissed the Niners. St. Loo got outlasted in a shootout at home against division rival Seattle. Now they must travel to take on a team that appears to be on a mission. While the Rams offense should make it interesting, you get the feeling that they’ll just be in the Colts’ way.
Browns over Ravens: Don’t look now, but Romeo has Cleveland playing some decent ball.
Bears over Vikings: What will be more embarrassing: the boat revelations or losing to Chicago?
Panthers over Lions: The Boys from Motown will keep it close, but not quite close enough to win.
Falcons over Saints: If Mike is back, then it’s a lock.
Jaguars over Steelers: Even if Big Ben doesn’t play, I think the Jags’ D will have something for the Black and Gold.
Dolphins over Bucs: Nick Saban bounces back while Tampa takes a step back.
Bengals over Titans: The Pacman Jones vs. Chad Johnson battle will be more interesting than the last Jones-Tarver tussle.
Bills over Jets: Kelly vs. Vinny. What the hell is this? A “Backstreet Boys” reunion?
Seahawks over Texans. Note to Dom Capers: Mr. McNair may want to see you after this. And it ain’t Steve.
IDLE: Arizona, Green Bay, Philadelphia, San Francisco.