BASN NFL Picks: Week Nine

By Tony McClean
Updated: November 1, 2007
NFL Sunday TicketNEW HAVEN, Ct. — It’s an argument as old as the Crusades and as long as War And Peace. It’s football’s equivalent to the age old question: Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Who is more valuable? The quarterback throwing a bushel of touchdown passes or the playmaking receivers that catch them? Over the last few weeks, we been told by anyone and everyone that New England’s Tom Brady is clearly the NFL’s MVP at the midway point of the season.

30 touchdowns, just under 2,500 yards passing, and just two picks? Check. A completion percentage just under 75 percent (74.2) and an ungodly passer rating of 136.2. Double check.

Those are the kind of numbers that fantasy league geeks have wet dreams about. But wait one second. All last year we were told by the football geniuses that because Mr. Brady had “inferior” receivers, it was a “miracle” that they reached the AFC title game.

So management goes out and gets one the game’s best receivers in Randy Moss, along with two other talented receivers (Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth) so when teams predictably double-team Mr. Moss, they take their games to another level, but it’s Brady who’s the MVP?????

Look, I know quarterbacks get too much of the blame when things go south or not enough credit when things are going well. But to say No. 12 is the overwhelming choice as MVP, case closed, I beg to differ. I know Randy had his problems in Oak-Town, but he should be mentioned in the same breath as Brady.

Here’s my point: Moss is averaging just under 17 yards (16.6) per grab. While Welker has more receptions (56 to Moss’ 47), me thinks he’s getting theose kind of numbers because of the aforementioned double-teaming of Randy. Welker had 67 grabs all last season for the Fish with one score. He has six scores this season.

Now this isn’t a Wayne Chrebet outperforming a Keyshawn Johnson situation here. This is a decent receiver who is benefitting from having one of the game’s best deep threats wearing the same uniform as him. Being an MVP is making the others around you better.

Point No. 2: Last year through the first eight games of the season, Brady had 14 TDs and eight picks including a four-pick game in a 27-20 home loss against (Surprise!!!) the Indianapolis Colts. If anything, the presence of Randy Moss has more than greatly helped Mr. Brady put up his “MVP” numbers.

Just answer this question: Would Brady, Welker, and others be able to put up these kind of numbers for the Patriots if Randy Moss was still in Oak-Town?? No disrespect, but I think you and I both know the answer to that simple question.

Now I also know that mainstream media cynics are waiting for Randy to have a “T.O. moment”, but I have some sad news for you. If the Pats are this “unstoppable” team that everyone is calling them, barring injuries, it’s probably not gonna happen anytime soon.

Just one man’s opinion.

Oh, and by the way and note to all of the previous and future New England Patriot opponents. Just what frickin’ part of “No. 50 is eligible” do you really not understand?

Heading into the ninth week of the season, four teams — the Cleveland Browns (4-3), Detroit Lions (5-2), Oakland Raiders (2-5) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) — have already equaled or surpassed their win totals of last year. The Washington Redskins (4-3) can accomplish the feat this week when they visit the New York Jets. If Washington earns a victory, it will mark only the fourth time in 20 years that at least five teams have equaled or surpassed their previous season’s win total through nine weeks.

What team holds the all-time record for the most consecutive home victories on Monday Night Football?
A. Raiders
B. Eagles
C. Dolphins
D. Cowboys
(Answer appears at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 10-3 (59-41 overall)
Despite getting burned by the Niners (damn!), Bears (double damn!!), and Bucs (triple damn!!!), this was a nice comeback week for yours truly. I’ve come to the realization that the Niners just aren’t ready for prime time and that the Jags are the most annoying team to pick wek-to-week. The Cheeseheads made us sweat on Monday Night, but the ending made it all worthwhile. Besides, the Broncos should have lost at two or three games like that earlier this season anyway.

While I know the world can’t stop talking about the Texans-Raiders game, I thought just for giggles I’d lead with this game between a couple of undefeated teams at the RCA Dome. This game has gotten more hype than a P. Diddy name change or a Beyonce sighting combined. We all know about the numbers that New England and Indy have put up this season. To me it comes down to this: Indy has the NFL’s best pass defense (allowing 165.4 ypg), and New England has the top passing offense (303.8 ypg). Bottom line: the champs are the champs til you beat them and I just don’t think the Pats can beat them.
Pick: Colts.

Question, folks. After Monday night’s last gasp win at Invesco, do we finally start taking the Cheeseheads seriously? It’s sure is hard not to. Even the most harshest Brett Favre critic (that includes yours truly) has to look at this team in new eyes. No. 4 has kept his interceptions down to a bare minimum and the Green Bay defense seems to get better and better every week. They now travel to K.C. to face a Chief squad that despite being outscored 113-102 on the season has won four of its last five games. For the second straight week, I’ll take a chance on Green Bay on the road.
Pick: Packers.

We’ve already mentioned the major turnaround that Cleveland is experiencing during the first half of this season. Romeo’s bunch finds themselves right in the middle of the AFC playoff race while Seattle is at its usual spot atop the NFC West. However, Holmgren’s Heroes have been an up-and-down bunch most of the season. They’ve always played well after the bye under Coach Mike, but they seem to be a bit more vulnerable on defense this season. While Cleveland will prbably wave to Charlie Frye on the sidelines, I think they may have him leave the Dog Pound on the short end of the stick.
Pick: Browns.

Ah, nothing says Sunday Night Football like a rowdy crowd at Philly. The Pats-Colts hype has been so thick that most of the nation has forgotten that “T.O. RETURNS TO PHILLY THIS WEEK”. Considering the fact that the Eagles have dropped their first two division games this season, this is beyond a must win for Donovan and the boys. Both teams are coming off wins against the Vikings, so running the ball will likely be at a premium. After signing his new deal, it’s safe to say that Tony Romo will be buying the first round of drinks late Sunday night. Especially after coming off a good road win.
Pick: Cowboys.

The taste of a bitter loss at Buffalo from two weeks ago is still in the mouths of the Ravens as they travel to Ketchup Field in Pittsburgh Monday night. The Black & Gold dismissed the Bengals last week and look to keep their home record perfect. Pittsburgh is outscoring its opponents 84-19 in three home games this season, and has won six of its last seven at Heinz Field with the only loss coming to Baltimore. In their last meeting, the Ravens literally beat up on Big Ben at Baltimore. Gaining a new attitude under rookie head coach Mike Tomlin, I think the Steelers will exact some revenge on the Birdies.
Pick: Steelers.

Bills over Bengals: If Buffalo was in the NFC, they’d be a wild card contender.

49ers over Falcons: O.K., we’ll give them one more week. But geez, they should be able to beat the Dirty Birds.

Lions over Broncos: I may regret this later, but the Boys from Motown are making John “10 wins” Kitna look like Namath before Super Bowl III.

Chargers over Vikings: This could get ugly very, very early.

Saints over Jags: I’m closing my eyes while making this pick.

Redskins over Jets: Yo, Mangini!! Give Brad Smith a chance will ya??

Bucs over Cardinals: No matter who starts for Phoenix, the Tampa D should put the clamps on them.

Titans over Panthers: Yes, VY was awful last week. But he won’t be lousy in back-to-back weeks.

Texans over Raiders: Hi, remember us? We’re from Texas and were previously contenders. NOT!!!!!!

Byes: Chicago, Miami, N.Y. Giants, St. Louis.

A. From 1970 through 1985, the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders won 12 consecutive home games on Monday Night Football. With a win against AFC North-rival Baltimore at Heinz Field this Monday, the Steelers can match that record. Dating back to 1992, the Black and Gold have won 11 straight home MNF games.