By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN NFL Picks: Week 10
By Tony McClean
Updated: November 9, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — While it’s Week 10 in the NFL calendar, this week is also the unofficial midway point of what has been an entertaining season. The usual suspects like the Colts, Broncos, Giants, and Seahawks are on the top of their respective divisions.
Among some of the major surprises this year are NFC South leading Saints and the AFC North leading Ravens. However, there are also a bunch of preseason contenders like the Panthers, Vikings, Bengals, and Eagles all sitting on the fence at 4-4 If you’re a fan whose team sits on 4-4 this weekend, take a heart in this. Since 2000, 13 teams have reached the halfway point of the season with a record of 4-4 or below and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.
For example, the 2001 New England Patriots started 4-4, then won seven of their last eight games en route to an 11-5 regular season record, a division crown, and the team’s first Super Bowl championship.
A year later, half of the entire playoff field consisted of teams that started 4-4 or below, including five of the six AFC playoff participants (Cleveland, Indianapolis, N.Y. Jets, Oakland and Tennessee).
While it’s great to be in first place at the midway point, sitting on the 4-4 fence isn’t exactly a bad place to be at this time of the year as well. If nothing else, you know that recent history is on your side.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Here’s a surprising look at changing quarterbacks. Only nine of the 32 NFL teams are currently using a different signal caller than the one who started on Opening Day. This doesn’t include the Steelers, who started Charlie Batch over the injured Ben Roethlisberger against Miami on Opening Night against Miami.
New York Jet rookie running back Leon Washington currently the team in rushing with 397yards. Which player holds the Jets’ record for the most rushing yards in his rookie season?
A. John Riggins
B. Freeman McNeil
C. Matt Snell
D. Johnny Hector
(The answer comes at the end of this column).
LAST WEEK: 9-5 (76-48 overall)
Not bad, but we could have and really should have done better. Didn’t expect Rex Grossman to get a Phoenix flashback against the Fish. Also, we didn’t expect the Boys from Motown to give Michael Vick the business in the dome. We did have the Skins (barely) and Saints, but we hurt ourselves counting on the Vikes and (gasp!!) the Patriots.
REDSKINS at EAGLES
This may not be an “elimination game” in the NFC East, but it’s safe to say that the loser of this contest will find themselves in deep doo-doo come Monday morning. While the Eagles had last week off, Grandpa Gibbs’ boys are still basking in the glow of their last-second battle with the Tuna Helpers. Last year, Washington swept the season series with Philly for the first time since 1988. However, the Eagles are 7-0 following a bye since Andy Reid took over. Still feeling the taste of a bad home loss to the Jags, I think the Eagles look to change that.
JETS at PATRIOTS
Now that the annual Colts Week hype is over, the Patriots look to solidify their hold on the AFC East as Mr. Mangini comes back to the ol’ neighborhood. Way back in Week Two, the Jets gave New England all they could handle in a 24-17 loss. Sunday could wind up being a very Incredible Hulk day for Gang Green. The Pats are coming off a loss and they’re angry. And y’all know about that whole thing about facing Dr. Bruce Banner…….I mean Coach Belichick when he’s angry. Need I say more?
RAMS at SEAHAWKS
When they met in St. Louie just a few weeks back, it was one of the season’s best games that saw the Seahawks pull out a 30-28 victory. The loss was part of a three-game slide by the Rams that saw them go from 4-1 to 4-4. Simply put, a Ram win and things are all even in the NFC West with seven games to go. A Ram loss and there is a two-game deficit and the Seahawks would hold the tiebreaker. Like we did in the Cowboys-Redskins game last week, we’ll go with the “most desperate team” angle and stick with the Rams.
CHARGERS at BENGALS
Two teams heading in opposite directions will meet at Paul Brown Stadium. You can officially call them the Bickering Bengals following their loss to Baltimore Sunday. If they keep this up, you can officially call them preparing for the draft. While Cincy has struggled on offense, the biggest problem for the Lewis gang is the other side of the line. Cincinnati is 24th in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 129.2 yards per game. That noise you hear in the background is LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured) licking his chops. This could get ugly early. We’re talking Aunt Esther having Shabba Ranks’ baby ugly.
BEARS at GIANTS
Thanks to the new flex scheduling, NBC gets to showcase this week’s NFC showdown on national television. While the Bears finally suffered their first loss, Big Blue struggled but held on against the Texans. The win was costly as New York saw Michael Strahan and Amani Toomer go down to injury and will not be available for Sunday’s game. Toomer’s injury will knock him out for the season. We all now know that Da Bears are beatable, but will Lil’ Eli have enough weapons to go up against the Monsters? Here’s something to think about: New York has not beaten Chicago at home in the regular season since 1969, losing the last four visits by the Bears.
***image7***BUCS at PANTHERS
One of the most perplexing teams to figure out this season gets a chance to right its ship Monday night against a reeling Tampa team. When we last saw Carolina two weeks ago, the much vaunted Panther defense was being handled by Tony Romo in his first NFL start. In fact, Carolina ranks 21st in the league in rushing defense and 20th in pass defense. Needless to say, but for them to make a serious playoff run they’ll have to get better. Much, much better. Considering the ups and downs of the Tampa offense, this should be a good night for the Panthers to show their claws.
Bills over Colts: There it is — the upset special of the week. If doesn’t happen, blame the boss (Hi, Roland!!!)
Cardinals over Cowboys: Upset special number two — Coach Green’s parting shot.
Falcons over Browns: Oh, you know Romeo’s not talking to me now!!
Chiefs over Dolphins: Reverend Herm is my early Coach of The Year candidate.
Ravens over Titans: The master (McNair) gives the student (Young) another lesson to learn.
Lions over 49ers: Which now means, Frisco wins in a romp.
Jaguars over Texans: Jack Del Rio will not allow his troops to lose a second time to Houston.
Vikings over Packers: Minnesota’s playoff push must begin this Sunday at the dome.
Saints over Steelers: If New York and Chicago are 1-2 in the NFC, New Orleans is a solid No. 3 and can get better.
Broncos over Raiders: Three words for Denver offensive lineman — WATCH THE JEWELS!!!
TRIVIA ANSWER: C. In 1964, Matt Snell ran for 949 yards in his rookie season with the Jets. It still stands as the most by a rookie in team history.