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BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Five
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Many teams in the NFL have reached the quarter pole of the season in unfamiliar places. Now we know teams like the Giants, Panthers, Raiders, Texans may be where we thought they’d be.
But with a show of hands out there, who really thought the Bills would be undefeated, the Colts would be 1-2, and that two head coaches would be handed pink slips after just four games?
Yeah, I thought so.
One of the main reasons why certain teams are turning their seasons around are the lack of turnovers.
In fact, teams are protecting the ball at a record pace. Only 3.05 turnovers per game are being committed this season, which would be the lowest average since 1933.
Something to keep your eyes over the next few weeks: Six of the eight division leaders have either a positive or even turnover differential.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK LaDainian Tomlinson has 10,946 rushing yards in 115 career games. The eight-year veteran needs 54 yards Sunday against Miami to surpass NFL career rushing yards leader Emmitt Smith (119 games) as the player to reach 11,000 career yards in the fourth-fewest games. Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson reached 11,000 yards in the fewest games (103).
LT isn’t the only player who can reach the 11,000-yard rushing milestone on Sunday. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor can as well. Taylor (10,928 career rush yards), the longest-tenured Jaguar at 11 years, needs 72 yards against Pittsburgh on Sunday night to reach the mark.
He and Tomlinson would become the 17th and 18th players to reach the 11,000-yard plateau.
Which one of these former Vikings never led the NFL in sacks while with Minnesota?
A. Chris Doleman B. Doug Martin C. John Randle D. Keith Millard
(The answer comes at the end of the column). LAST WEEK: 7-6 (36-24 overall)
Like that great scholar Oscar Madison once said, “There’s no such thing as a sure thing. That’s why they call it gambling”. No truer words can describe last week. Dallas falls at home to the Skins, Reverend Herm and the Chiefs pimp slap the Broncos at Arrowhead, and Cleveland’s offense awakes (insert joke here) against the Bengals. Oh well, that’s what I get for thinking that Arizona could beat the Jets. Through all of that, we were still able to finish over .500. Much like Coach Edwards, I don’t have to fear the fact that Joey Porter will replace me next week — for now!!!
SUNDAY REDSKINS at EAGLES
So much for Jason Campbell having a hard time grasping the “West Coast” offense. After a Week One mulligan in Jersey, Ol’ No. 17 has arguably been the NFL’s most consistent quarterback. They now face an Eagle squad who if not for the stubbornness of their head coach, might be coming off a win themselves. Yo, Andy!! Four straight runs up the middle? I know Brian Westbrook wasn’t playing, but that kind of play calling will come back and bite you in the ass down the road. Right now, I’ve got to lean with the team with the momentum.
TITANS at RAVENS
Let’s just come right out and say it, for those of you who like offensive showcases — you might not wanna Tivo this one. Two physical teams with a bit of history between them over the years makes me think that this will be one of those 7-3, 13-10 sort of contests. Even in their Monday night loss at Pittsburgh, the Ravens left the Black and Gold feeling black and blue. However, I think the Titans offense will be able to generate a bit more points. I must admit Mr. Flacco was somewhat impressive on Monday, but I think Mr. Haynesworth and his buddy Mr. Vanden Bosch may have something to say about that.
BUCCANEERS at BRONCOS
The Brian Griese reunion tour continues this week at Invesco as the Bucs visit an embarrassed Bronco bunch. While Larry Johnson was treating the Denver defense like his personal whipping boys last week, Tampa outlasted Green Bay at home. In my heart of hearts, I really don’t think Tampa could win this game if it’s an offensive showcase. However, if they’re able to dictate the tempo and force some turnovers, it could be interesting. I know the Broncos are usually damn near unbeatable at home, but I’ve got a hunch the Bucs can pull this off.
STEELERS at JAGUARS
In a playoff rematch, two teams who have severely been bitten the injury bug all season limp into a key Sunday night contest. When they were both members of the old AFC Central, these teams always played close, rock ‘em-sock ‘em games. Considering the two game they played last year, that shouldn’t be any different. However, we warned you earlier about how the Steelers’ win Monday night cost them. I get the feeling that there will be a serious hangover effect when they reach Florida.
MONDAY VIKINGS at SAINTS
Much like the previously mentioned Bucs-Broncos matchup, this Monday Nighter looks very similar. Ironically, the Saints have previously played both Denver and Tampa with mixed results (a home win vs. Bucs, a road loss vs. Denver). As for Team Purple, they fell on the road last week to the Titans. The Gus Frerotte experience (insert joke here) was severely thrown back to earth and Plan B (Adrian Peterson) wasn’t much better either. While the New Orleans defense isn’t exactly making anyone forget the ’85 Bears, they probably have enough to stop the Vikes.
Giants over Seahawks: Even without Plax, the beat will still go on for Big Blue.
Cowboys over Bengals: The only fun will be the ass kicking Ocho Cinco will get trying to kiss the Dallas star.
Dolphins over Chargers: Just a hunch that the Fish can pull a surprise on the Bolts.
Bears over Lions: With Millen gone, Coach Marinelli may be sent home by halftime.
Pats over 49ers: Team Tivo has had two weeks to stew over the Miami loss.
Packers over Falcons: Me thinks the Cheeseheads could beat Atlanta with Lynn Dickey under center.
Panthers over Chiefs: Someone please cue up Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life” for Reverend Herm’s bunch.
Colts over Texans: Indy needs this one badly. One more loss will be dangerous.
Bills over Cardinals: Until further notice, Arizona’s defense will be ridiculed until they hold someone under a half a hundred.
Byes: Cleveland , N.Y. Jets, St. Louis , Oakland. TRIVIA ANSWER
Keith Millard did set the NFL record for most sacks in a single season by a defensive tackle with 18 in 1989. However, Doug Martin (11.5 in 1982), Chris Doleman (21 in 1989) and John Randle (15. 5 in 1997) all at one point to led the NFL in sacks while playing for the modern-day Purple People Eaters.