By Tony McClean
Updated: November 11, 2005
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Now that a certain wide receiver from Philly (What? Freddie Mitchell? Todd Pinkston?) has been asked to clean up his room and leave, let’s get back to what happens on the field.
Here are just some brief observations and questions through Week Nine:
– Now that the Colts have gotten rid of that monkey off their back, they must work on that Black and Gold gorilla on November 28th
– Will the Priest Holmes injury eliminate the Chiefs from the AFC West race and put the Chargers and Raiders back in it?
– Last year’s doormats, the Niners and Dolphins, have had their moments, but they are both still a major work in progress.
– I know he has a contract extension, but just when does someone hold Matt Millen accountable for the mess that is the Detroit Lions
– Say it with me: The Los Angeles Vikings…..Nah, it just doesn’t sound right.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
This Sunday when they host Minnesota, the New York Giants can become the third team in league history to reach 600 total wins (regular and postseason), joining the Chicago Bears (665) and Green Bay Packers (637).
Since 2000, what team has the best home record in the months of November and December?
LAST WEEK’S ANSWER
With 60 career 100-yard rushing games, Jerome Bettis has the most by any active back in the NFL. Curtis Martin is second (57) followed by Edgerrin James (46) and Marshall Faulk (41).
LAST WEEK: 9-4 (75-49 overall)
Again, we took some chances on some upsets (i.e. Raiders, Dolphins) and got burned a bit. But for the most part we stayed above water. It might have been better if I had bothered to pick the Titans-Browns game. I was so busy ragging Romeo about losing to the Texans, I forgot to pick last Sunday’s game. Forgive me, Coach Crennel. Like those Philly 76er teams from the 80′s, I owe you one.
RAMS at SEAHAWKS
Last month, the Birds went into St. Louis and outlasted the Rams 37-31 in a shootout. Now they can all but put a strangehold on the West with a win Sunday. In a game that features the league’s top two offenses, look for this one to be another last one with the ball wins it affair. In fact, their past six games have been decided by an average of six points. This includes last season’s playoff game in Seattle. Unless the Rams find a way to stop Shaun Alexander, it will be a long day for St. Loo.
BRONCOS at RAIDERS
With the taste of another bitter division loss on their breath, Oakland returns to the Black Hole to meet the first place Broncos. Surprisingly, the two quarterbacks enter this contest with decent stats (both have 12 TDs, with just 3 picks). This series has been dominated by Denver since Mike Shanahan has been on the scene. They’ve won 15 of the last 20 meetings. Keep this in mind: Three of Oakland’s losses come by a total of only 13 points. I think Denver will prevail, but look for this to be a close one.
REDSKINS at BUCS
Could this be a possible playoff preview? It depends on who you talk to. The Bucs have fallen off a bit after a hot start, while the Skins got a huge home win last Sunday against Philly. The last meeting between the two came in the season opener last year when Washington prevailed in a 16-10 battle. While the Skins come in a little hotter, I think Tampa will bounce back after a pair of bad losses.
BROWNS at STEELERS
Good Ol’ Charlie Batch didn’t look to bad last week after more than a year layoff. Not that the Packers defense is anything to gauge his performance on. However, it appears that Big Ben will be back under center. That won’t be good news for Romeo and the gang. The Browns hope they have the antidote to the Steelers’ begrudging ground defense that ranks fourth in the league. Pittsburgh has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 20 games – the best active mark in the NFL. Unfortunately, their isn’t a running back on the Cleveland roster that really scares anyone.
COWBOYS at EAGLES
When these teams met last month, the Tuna Helpers came out flinging and routed the Eagles 33-10 by throwing for 289 yards. Since then, Marion Barber has taken over for an injured Julius Jones as Dallas’ feature back. As for the Eagles……well, you know. While it may be a bit of hyperbole, it is also very safe to say that Philly’s playoff lives rests on this game and the rest of the games this month. I may be a bit stubborn, but I think they can make a legitimate postseason run. And it’ll start with this win at the Linc.
Chiefs over Bills: Buffalo will keep it close, but even with Mr. Holmes, K.C. will prevail in the end.
Bears over 49ers: Early Coach of the Year nod should go to Mr. Smith.
Colts over Texans: Although wouldn’t it be a hoot if after all the hype, the Horseshoes lay an egg against Houston?
Jaguars over Ravens: Speaking of laying an egg, that sounds like the Baltimore offense.
Patriots over Dolphins: As bad as the Pats looked, they could still take the East.
Panthers over Jets: Right now, Carolina may be the team to beat in the NFC.
Giants over Vikings: Minnesota. On the road. It’s be windy. You get the picture.
Falcons over Packers: I’m waiting for Michael Irvin to say Atlanta would be better off with Favre instead of Vick.
IDLE: Cincinnati, New Orleans, San Diego, Tennessee.