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BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Eight
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Before we get started this week, R.I.P. to singer Levi Stubbs and Hall of Fame guard Gene Hickerson. Both men were true giants in their field and their contributions will be felt for many years.
On the field, this season has seen several rookie running backs make an immediate impact for their teams. From Chicago’s Matt Forte (738 yards from scrimmage, six touchdowns) to Oakland’s Darren McFadden (341 rushing yards), the offensive side has been taken care of.
As defensive rookies, several former Black college standouts have made their impact this season as well.
In Cleveland, seventh-round linebacker Alex Hall of St. Aug’s is one of the standouts of the Browns’ five-member draft class. The former Division II All-American has started two games at outside linebacker and leads NFL rookies with three sacks.
In Miami, defensive end Kendall Langford (a third round pick from Hampton University) has played in all six games for the Fish with five starts and has totaled 13 tackles with two sacks.
And finally, Arizona’s first-round pick corner back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from Tennessee State has seen action in all six games, including two starts, registering five tackles and six passes defensed.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Clinton Portis currently leads the NFL with 818 rushing yards. He’s gained at least 120 yards in four consecutive games and needs another 120 this week against Detroit to become only the second player in history with 120 rush yards in five straight games twice in a career (O.J. Simpson in 1973 and 1975).
Portis previously accomplished the feat in his final four games of 2003 with Denver and posted his fifth consecutive 120-yard game in 2004 when he joined Washington.
Denver rookie WR Eddie Royal has 39 catches for 392 yards and two TDs. Who holds the Broncos’ rookie record for most receptions in a season?
A. Haven Moses
B. Vance Johnson
C. Shannon Sharpe
D. Lionel Taylor
(Answer comes at the end of the story).
LAST WEEK: 12-2 (64-38 overall)
Only the ineptness of the Cowboy and Dolphin offenses kept us from having a perfect week. It was a nice way to bounce back after a few mediocre weeks. Can we keep it up? Probably not, but who knows anything can happen. If the Rays can make the World Series, nothings impossible.
CHARGERS vs. SAINTS (At London)
Call this one the “Last Stand Game at Wembley” as these two up and down teams look to stay in playoff contention. Much is being made of Drew Brees’ reunion against the Bolts, however without Reggie Bush in the backfield the reunion could look like a recent episode of “Hell Date”. Both teams are coming off bad road losses coming into the UK and have been inconsistent all year. Just a hunch, I’ll side with the Bolts in what could be a decent game.
GIANTS at STEELERS
A possible Super Bowl preview?? Maybe. An interesting interconference game at the Ketchup place?? No doubt. Despite some bad losses between them, both clubs could make a case for being one of the best teams in their respective conferences. In another “reunion” scenario, Big Blue’s Plaxico Burress goes up against his former mates. Both teams can run the ball and can stop the run so it should come down to the quarterback battle between fellow 2004 draftees Lil’ Eli and Big Ben. In a slight upset, I’m gonna go with the Giants in a close contest.
CARDINALS at PANTHERS
While Arizona was off last week, Carolina made quick work of the Saints at home. The Cardinals come in as the league’s highest scoring team after beating Buffalo and Dallas in consecutive weeks. Keep this in mind — the last time Arizona opened the season 4-2 in 2002, it went on to finish 5-11. Now I don’t think they’ll repeat that feat. However, I do think they’ll have a hard time going up against on the the league’s better defenses on the road.
BUCS at COWBOYS
Remember in Super Bowl XXXVII when the Bucs opened up two and half cans of whupass on the Raiders behind Brad Johnson? Yes, that same Brad Johnson that will be under center for Dallas this Sunday. Remember how the Tampa defense looked like they knew everything then Oakland QB Rich Gannon would do on the field that day? Don’t you get the feeling Chucky Gruden was imitating all of the immobile Mr. Johnson’s tendencies this week at practice? Keep that thought in mind and watch Tampa take this game.
COLTS at TITANS
I hate when sports talking heads proclaim a contest to be a “statement game” for a certain team if they don’t believe in them. We all know that most folks don’t look at the Titans as the AFC’s best team despite their perfect record. Monday night will give them a perfect opportunity. From 2003-05, Indy swept the season series, but the clubs have split the past two years, with no game being decided by more than six points. Indy will keep it close, but I think the Titans will let folks know that their start isn’t a fluke.
Falcons over Eagles: My upset special of the week. Sorry, Eagle fans.
Texans over Bengals: Get a good look at Marvin Lewis. It could all be over by Monday morning.
Redskins over Lions: The Boys from Motown haven’t won in D.C. since the Civil War.
Bills over Dolphins: The Fish will make a game of it, but Buffalo will pull it out.
49ers over Seahawks: Here’s hoping “Samurai Mike” can fire up the troops and kill all the Holmgren’s coming to Frisco rumors.
Chiefs over Jets: Reverend Herm gets his revenge against Gang Green.
Ravens over Raiders: Only watch this game if you have to.
Pats over Rams: Team Tivo brings the Haslett gang crashing back to Earth.
Jaguars over Browns: The bad karma from the Winslow incident will spill onto the field.
Byes: Chicago , Denver , Green Bay , Minnesota.
B. In 1985, Vance Johnson set a franchise rookie record with 51 catches.