BASN NFL Picks: Week Five

By Tony McClean
Updated: October 4, 2007

NFL Sunday Ticket

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Just a few casual observations as we look back at the first quarter of the NFL season and try to not to think about the Mets’ complete collapse and how it coincides with the slow starts of last year’s NFC finalists, the Saints and Bears. (By the way, can Rex Grossman pitch in relief??).

— Note to A.J. Smith: As the losses keep mounting, the time will come for you to admit that letting Marty Schottenheimer was the biggest mistake of your career. In warp speed — or in this case, the time it took for Norv Turner to sign his contract — the Chargers have gone from contenders to chicken tenders. Just remember, when you make it personal, it always comes back to bite you in the ass.

— After last week’s lost at Detroit, do you think Lovie Smith has either Vince Evans and or Bob Avellini’s number on speed dial?? Like we told you last week, there’s a reason why this is Brian Griese’s fourth team in the last six seasons. He’s had more jobs than the “Headleys” from “In Living Color”.

— Here’s what’s even scarier about the Patriots’ league-leading defense. Defensive back Rodney Harrison returns Sunday after his “hiatus” and Richard Seymour isn’t too far behind. We should learn a bit more about “Team Tivo” within the next few weeks when they battle the Cowboys and Colts. I could make a crack about taping both of these games, but I’m too big of a person for that.

— Finally, I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong as I was last week when I picked Miami to beat Da Raidahs. Seeing Daunte Culpepper personally squish the Fish was almost as enjoyable as watching the Doug Williams Super Bowl against Denver. And almost as satisfying.


After setting an NFL record with five combined kick-return touchdowns (three punt, two kickoff) last year as a rookie, Chicago’s Devin Hester has already added two more scores (one punt, one kickoff) this year and has seven in his career. With his next kick-return touchdown, Hester will tie Hall of Famer Gale Sayers (eight) for the most in franchise history.


Before their return as an NFL franchise in 1999, who was the last Cleveland Brown to have a 1,000-yard receiving season?
A. Michael Jackson
B. Webster Slaughter
C. Ozzie Newsome
D. Reggie Rucker
(The answer comes at the end of the column).

LAST WEEK: 6-8 (26-20 overall)
And the walls came a tumblin’ down!! After a couple of weeks of double-digit wins, reality bit me where it hurts to most. While the Lions and Browns came through for me, the Texans, Chargers, and Jets (and several others) really let me down. Now I’m not paranoid, but I swear while watching the Phillies playoff game, I thought I saw Jimmy “The Greek” Rollins writing out his football picks in between innings. Oh, the agony!! First, the Mets get eliminated by Philly and now this!!

Wow, how time flies! Just two seasons ago, these two teams met in Detroit for the Lombardi Trophy. That night, the Black & Gold finally got their “one for the thumb” in that victory while the Seattle folks cried “foul” and a few other expletives. Both teams are coming from different directions: Da ‘Hawks whupped up on the Niners, while Pittsburgh was handed its first defeat by the Cardinals. While I think Seattle will make this a close game, I get the feeling the Steelers will be looking to get back on track.
Pick: Steelers.

The surprising Bucs will step into the lion’s den this weekend as they take on a very wounded Colts squad. Indy won last week, but it may cost them Sunday. Standouts Marvin Harrison, Joseph Addai, Bob Sanders, and Rob Morris will all likely be out due to injuries. Don’t look for Tampa to give them any sympathy. They’ve lost “Cadillac” Williams and Luke Petitgout to season-ending knee surgeries this week. So who wins that battle of attrition. I know Jeff Garcia has been a magician this season and that we’re not that far from Halloween, but I think that’s asking a bit much.
Pick: Colts.

Like many teams this season, Romeo Crennel’s Browns have been slightly under the radar this season. How much so? Chew on this: Cleveland is 11th overall in total offense, 10th in passing and 15th in rushing. Good stuff right? Unfortunately, we must look at the other side of the record. The defense ranks 31st in total yards allowed (427.5 per game) and will be facing a versatile and explosive Patriots offense. Now I’m not hatin’ on them, but me thinks there’s a better chance them giving up 50 than scoring 50.
Pick: Patriots.

The Cheeseheads just keep rolling along as they host their longtime rivals on Sunday Night Football. By the way, I will keep a running tally of John Madden’s references to Brett Favre on the evening. I suspect I will need an abacus or two along with mine and my brother’s toes to keep up. As we previously mentioned earlier, don’t be surprised if either Kyle Orton or the corpse of Sid Luckman takes over by the third quarter. Either way, it’s not gonna look good for a man named Lovie.
Pick: Packers.

Has it really been 1989 since Buffalo last hosted a Monday Night Football game? Shocking, but true. They’ll be facing a monumental task as the seemingly unbeatable Dallas Cowboys invade Orchard Park. Through four weeks, the Cowboys’ 151 points are 22 more than the NFL record-holding 1998 Minnesota Vikings had at the same point. Much like last week’s MNF game, this looks like a walkover — right? As we have learned, there’s always room for one ridiculous upset every week. I may regret this later and I probably won’t be allowed in the state of Texas for a while, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.
Pick: Bills.

Jaguars over Chiefs: Reverend Herm’s bunch falls gently back down to earth.

Texans over Dolphins: A loss to the Fish will make re-think my “contender” status for this team.

Jets over Giants: That whole “Mangenius” label may be tossed aside if they fall to Big Blue.

Saints over Panthers: Just a hunch that New Orleans will find a way to win.

Cardinals over Rams: Yo, Coach Linehan. It’s the offensive line, not the quarterback.

Titans over Falcons: Could be a trap game for VY and the boys. But I don’t think so.

Redskins over Lions: Sorry, Motown. Brian Griese will be getting beat up by another team this week.

Broncos over Chargers: I know Marty struggled with Denver, but Norv can’t and won’t do much better.

49ers over Ravens: The Super Bowl “reunion” continues as Trent Dilfer takes his pound of flesh from Baltimore.

TRIVIA ANSWER: B. In 1989, Webster Slaughter set a franchise record with 1,236 yards. That season, he caught 65 balls for six touchdowns as Cleveland won its fourth AFC Central Division crown in five years.

BYES: Cincinnati, Minnesota, Oakland, Philadelphia.