By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Four
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Because baseball usually begins in the cool weather of April, we always here the old axiom “the pitchers are ahead the hitters”. What about prolific scoring in football? Three weeks into the NFL season, are the offenses ahead of the defenses?
Let’s take a peek back at these scores from last weekend: Dolphins 38, Pats 13; Falcons 38, Chiefs 14; Titans 31, Houston 12; Broncos 34, Saints 32; 49ers 31, Lions 13; Seahawks 37, Rams 13; and Chargers 49, Jets 29. All of those points came through less than half of the schedule.
In fact, NFL games are averaging 44.1 points per contest through three weeks of the season — the highest such mark at this point since 2002 (44.7). Last week, 747 points were scored in 16 games, the 10th-highest point total in history in a single weekend.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
When the Buffalo Bills visit St. Louis this Sunday, they will seek to start the season at 4-0 after beginning 2007 at 1-3. With a win, the Bills would become the eighth club in the past five years to start a season at 4-0 after beginning 1-3 or 0-4 the previous year. All seven teams qualified for the playoffs.
Six rookie running backs currently lead their teams in rushing, and four of them are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. Who was the last rookie back to lead the NFL in rushing?
A. Jerome Bettis
B. Edgerrin James
C. Eric Dickerson
D. Barry Sanders
(The answer comes at the end of this column).
LAST WEEK: 9-7 (29-18 overall)
Like everyone in America and the Western hemisphere, I had the Pats. But it was worth a loss to see the smug fellas from Foxboro get pimp slapped at home. To me, the bet of the year was the Chargers at home against the Jets. The Saints, Colts, and Bears really let me down. However, we tried to warn you about the surging Bills and the Falcons at home. Overall, it was a decent week considering the upsets and other things.
REDSKINS at COWBOYS
Call this a litmus test for Jim Zorn and his Skins. They go to the place with the hole in its dome to face what George Allen used to call “the god damned Cowboys!!!!!” It’s not gonna help that Jason Taylor will likely miss this game due to injury. When you add the fact that Dallas may have found another go-to receiver in Nate Austin last week, this is looking like a Mission: Impossible scenario for D.C. But remember, this is a division battle and that should amp them up a bit. That being said, I think they’ll keep it close, but the Boys will likely pull it out in the end.
VIKINGS at TITANS
If someone had told you during the summer that Gus Ferrotte and Kerry Collins would meet in a key game during the season, you’d more than likely try to rent them a room in the Hotel Silly. Oh, well, life in the NFL is stranger than fiction. These two “field generals” will meet in an interesting battle at LP Field. Keep this in mind: Tennessee now owns the NFL’s longest active regular season winning streak (sixth straight dating back to 2007) after New England’s 21-game run ended Sunday. Collins has been effective, completing 61.2 percent of his passes, and when you add a balanced run game, I’ll give the edge to the Titans.
PACKERS at BUCS
The Cheeseheads are still licking their wounds after their home loss to Dallas, while Tampa literally stole a win at Chicago last week. As is always with the Bucs, Chucky has already been through two quarterbacks and has a third in waiting. The defense is still decent, but overall Tampa still looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. While there are still some folks in Green Bay that won’t put away their Favre bobble heads, they must realize that even with last week’s loss, Aaron Rodgers was still the best choice under center. They may not be feeling it now, but eventually they’ll come around.
EAGLES at BEARS
What got lost in last week’s sack-filled win against the Steelers, Philly and Donovan McNabb were able to generate enough offense to beat up on Pittsburgh. Most of it was done without meal ticket Brian Westbrook. He’ll likely be back in action Sunday. As for Da Bears, since their surprising road upset win over Indianapolis in their season opener, Chi-Town has blown double-digit leads in the second half to lose their last two games. If the Eagles can give “Big Ben” a Broad street beat down, I think someone should alert Kyle Orton’s next of kin immediately.
RAVENS at STEELERS
For the first time in a while, the Black and Gold pride got slapped around for the football world to see. Ironically, one of the last teams to do this to them is coming into the Ketchup Place on Monday night. However, the unbeaten Ravens really haven’t been tested this season. They’ve beaten the two alleged teams from Ohio while having a game at Houston postponed due to Hurricane Ike. One gets the feeling that last week’s loss at Philly will be a serious wake up call to Mike Tomlin’s crew.
Panthers over Falcons: You already know the formula: Good defense-Falcons lose, Bad defense-Falcons win. Carolina has a good defense……Oh, well…….
Bills over Rams: Screw the Pats and Jets, Buffalo could very easily win the AFC East. There, I said it!!!
Cardinals over Jets: Rumor has it that Ol’ No. 4 has been heard calling Laveranues Coles by the name of Donald Driver.
Bengals over Browns: Welcome to the “Dead Man Walking” Bowl. Loser gets to share a six-inch meatball sub with Matt Millen.
Jags over Texans: Jacksonville’s attempt to save their season continues this weekend.
Broncos over Chiefs: Apparently, Reverend Herm has Len Dawson, Bill Kenney, and Steve DeBerg on speed dial.
Saints over 49ers: This could be a very high scoring affair. We’ll lean towards the home team.
Chargers over Raiders: Al Davis’ game of chicken is more embarrassing than an episode of “Flavor Of Love”.
Byes: Detroit , Indianapolis , Miami , New England , N.Y. Giants, Seattle.
B. In 1999, Indy’s Edgerrin James led the NFL in rushing with 1,553 yards and 13 TDs. A product of the University of Miami (Fla.), the “Edge” was the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft.