By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN NFL Picks: Week Six
By Tony McClean
Updated: October 12, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — And then there were two. With the Ravens’ loss at Denver on Monday Night, there are now only two undefeated teams remaining — the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts.
As for you fans with the other teams at the spectrum, ones that are either win less or have just one win — take heart. Recent NFL history says that your season is far from over.
In fact, in 13 of the past 16 seasons, at least one club has started 1-3 and/or 1-4 and qualified for the playoffs, including the 2001 Super Bowl XXXVI champion New England Patriots and, last year, the NFC North champion Chicago Bears.
Also, since the playoff field was expanded to 12 teams in 1990, 19 clubs have begun their season 1-3 and five 1-4 and advanced to the playoffs. Just a little something to help you make it through another week.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Through the first five weeks of 2006, the NFC has posted a 9-6 (.600) record against the AFC and aims to take the series outright for the first time since 1995 (the AFC has won eight of the past 10 seasons with two years ending in a tie). In fact, the AFC has posted a 306-248-2 (.554) record entering 2006 since the conference’s run of Super Bowl success started in 1997.
The Arizona Cardinals make their first appearance on Monday Night Football since 1999. Since the start of the ’99 season, which tailback has run for the most total rushing yards on Monday Night Football?
A. Ahman Green
B. Edgerrin James
C. Curtis Martin
D. Marshall Faulk
(Answer comes at the end of the column.)
LAST WEEK: 11-3 (49-22 overall)
Okay, not bad, not bad. Now if I had been just smart enough to not take the Cardinals (OUCH!), the Ravens (DOUBLE OUCH!!), and the Jets (DADDY, MAKE HIM STOP!!) last week, I might have had a perfect week. At least we got back into double digits for the first time in a few weeks. However, I may never live down the Jets pick. Yikes!!!
EAGLES at SAINTS
Could this be an early NFC playoff preview in the Dome? Both teams are coming off huge division wins at home: New Orleans over the Bucs, Philly over the Tuna Helpers. Not since the days of Dalton Hilliard and Rueben Mayes in the 80′s have the Saints had as potent a 1-2 combination like they have now in Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. Coach Payton has been able to get them both at least 15-20 touches a game and not have it upset the offensive flow. It’s that kind of thing that will keep New Orleans in the mix for the season and for this game Sunday.
PANTHERS at RAVENS
Now that Baltimore has gotten that first loss out of their system, they return home to face a Carolina team that appears to have found themselves on both sides of the ball after a slow start. While some may attribute Monday’s bad weather to the loss, there were some things on offense that just didn’t look right about the Ravens during the Denver game. I know the Panthers lost LB Dan Morgan for the season earlier this week, but I have a hunch that they may still have enough to grab a key road win.
SEAHAWKS at RAMS
When we last saw Seattle’s finest, the Birds were trying to pick themselves up after an ambush at Chicago. Now after a bye week, Holmgren’s Heroes travel to St. Loo to battle a tough division foe. Very quietly, the Rams’ offense has undergone a slight transformation to more of a ball control style in contrast to its “Greatest Show On Turf” days. Defensively, they’ve stayed about the the same. While I think the Rams will make a game of it, I think Seattle will bounce back with the win.
RAIDERS at BRONCOS
An old rivalry that has become very, very stale over the years is this week’s feature game on NBC. This game was good for at least a few good plays and a few good fights back in the day. When watching this game now, you just wait for the inevitable Raider mistake or Raider penalty. The Broncos capitalize on it and either get a touchdown or settle for another in the seemingly endless stream of Jason Elam field goals. Will the Raiders muster up anything to pull off an upset on national TV. Awwwww, you know the answer to that don’t ya??
BEARS at CARDINALS
The Chi-Town defense gets fresh meat in the Valley this week as Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinhart is the guest in a special Monday Night edition of “Who Are The Bears Beating On”. Also, the nation gets a chance to see Edge and the boys at their new digs in Glendale. On paper, this look like a bit of mismatch. But keep in mind that Hollywood Matt has looked impressive in his starts. However, he’s going up against a different kind of animal this week. I believe they call them “Monsters From The Midway”.
Texans over Cowboys: The upset special. Right after the game Tony Romo becomes T.O.’s newest shouting partner.
Falcons over Giants: Just a hunch that the Michael Vick Experience will catch Big Blue napping after their win against the Skins.
Bills over Lions: The Dick Jauron Reunion Tour (He played and coached at Detroit) continues. This time he gets a win.
Steelers over Chiefs: The Black and Gold should win, but not without a fight from Reverend Herm’s bunch.
Bengals over Bucs: Sorry, Chucky. You’re not winning this week and next week (hosting Philly) ain’t lookin’ good either.
Dolphins over Jets: After last Sunday, I wouldn’t pick the Jets to beat the Washington Generals this week.
Redskins over Titans: Tennessee will make it close (again) just to lose in the end.
Chargers over 49ers: We’ll take Rivers over Smith in a battle of youngins.
BYES: Cleveland, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England.
TRIVIA ANSWER: A. In 13 MNF games since 1999, Green Bay’s Ahman Green has rushed for a total of 1,138 yards on 252 carries (4.5 ypc) and nine touchdowns. Edgerrin James is second with 756 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games.