By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Seven
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Somewhere in football heaven, Pete Rozelle is smiling.
After watching the upsets and fantastic finishes in Week Six, the old adage that the late NFL commissioner used as his longtime mantra and calling card (i.e. “Any Given Sunday”) was reinforced in several stadiums all over the league last week.
If there’s anything that has truly defined the first half dozen weeks of the 2008 NFL season, it’s been huge upsets and last-second wins. There have already been many memorable comebacks in the NFL season so far — and it’s only October.
In fact through the first six weeks of the season, 28 of 88 games (31.8 percent) have been decided by a fourth-quarter comeback. That puts the 2008 season on pace for the highest percentage of games with a fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history.
Keep this in mind — In 1989, 70 of the 224 regular-season games (31. 3 percent) were decided by fourth-quarter comebacks. With 11 weeks left to play, the best of the league may be just around the corner.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
The 600th game in the history of Monday Night Football — the longest continuously-running prime time entertainment series in television history — will be played this Monday night when the New England Patriots host the Denver Broncos.
Entering Sunday’s play, Saints’ RB/KR Reggie Bush leads the NFL in receptions with 41. Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, who is the only New Orleans Saint to lead the NFC in catches?
A. Danny Abramowicz B. Eric Martin C. Dalton Hilliard D. Joe Horn
(Answer comes at the end of the column).
LAST WEEK: 7-7 (52-36 overall)
Picking upsets can be very tricky, especially when you pick the wrong ones. We had the Texans (barely) and the Jags. However, we got killed in the final seconds by the Bears and Cowboys. Not to mention the Redskins and Giants laying an egg as well. Even with all of that, an even week is sort of a compromise. Here’s hoping we can bounce back a little better this week.
CHARGERS at BILLS
Now that they’ve had a couple of weeks to lick their wounds, the Bills return home to take on a Charger team that’s flying high after their Sunday night whupping of Team Tivo. QB Trent Edwards will likely be back under center for Buffalo and that should boad well for them. They’re 13-6 following a bye, and haven’t lost after an off week since 2004. The Bolts are currently the NFL’s highest-scoring team (29.7 ppg), but they still haven’t been able to run the ball consistently. I get the feeling that Buffalo’s D will give Phillip Rivers some problems and win the game for Dick Jauron’s bunch.
SAINTS at PANTHERS
While the Saints were tearing a new one on the Raiders last week, Carolina was getting themselves ripped on the road at Tampa. When you consider the growing confidence of Atlanta, this NFC South battle has even more added importance for both teams. We all know that New Orleans has one of the league’s most exciting offenses (412.2 ypg), but their D along with turnovers and penalties have made them no better than a .500 team. The Panthers’ offense isn’t as explosive as the Boys from the Bayou, but they also aren’t as inept as they appeared last week. I may regret this later, but I think Carolina can bounce back.
BROWNS at REDSKINS
Redskin fans might not wanna hear this right now, but last week’s loss may have been the best thing that could happen to them. Yes, I know Pete Kendall’s very bad impersonation of John Riggins had you kicking the dog this week, but you do have an opportunity to learn from it. Instead of worrying about if you’re the second or third best team in the NFL, focus on being the best team in the Baltimore-D.C. area. All you have to do is look at the team that’s coming to FedEx Field Sunday. While they may have done you a favor by beating New York, you still have to prove that you’re better than Romeo’s bunch on the field. As bad as last Sunday was, you can come back from it.
COLTS at PACKERS
Before I start this pick, I have a note for Coach Dungy: “MY BAD!!!” Jeez, I swear I thought I saw you mouthing the words, “Shut up, Tee Mack” on the sidelines last week. However, telling the world that No. 18 had two surgeries instead earlier this week soft of confirmed my previous suspicions. The Cheeseheads bounced back from their home loss to Atlanta by dismissing a real bad Seahawk squad. While the thrashing of Baltimore may have helped Indy right the ship for one week, the possible loss of Joseph Addai (hamstring) is likely to push them back a few pegs. Sorry, coach — I think you’re gonna be mad at me again.
SEAHAWKS at BUCS
No disrespect to Seattle or Tampa, but I think the real reason that John Madden is skipping this game is because this has the makings of being an awful game. Both teams, already offensively challenged, have gone through a combined five quarterbacks just this season. Yeah I know the Bucs beat up the Panthers last week, but even with a winning record they just don’t really thrill me. As for Seattle, they’re off to their worst start since 2002, the last time they finished with a losing record. I can’t figure out to make a pick or yell, “Daddy, make the bad football players go way!!!!”
BRONCOS at PATRIOTS
This aforementioned milestone game matches two teams coming off some bad losses. Team Tivo got spanked by San Diego while Denver was beaten at home by the desperate Jags. Both teams’ defenses have left a lot to be desired this season. How so? Well, the Pats have allowed a total of 89 points while losing two of the last three games. In fact, New England is trying to avoid losing three times or more in four games for the first time since a four-game losing streak from Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 2002. As for the Orange Mush, they’ve allowed 400 or more total yards three times this season, including 416 in last week’s loss. I’m gonna flip a coin and lean toward the visitors, but not by much.
Cowboys over Rams: Even with Brad Johnson possibly under center, you really can’t expect St. Louis to do it again.
Giants over 49ers: Considering how bad Big Blue looked on Monday night, this could get ugly early.
Bears over Vikings: Faster than Hawk Harrelson can say “He Gone!!”, Chi-Town will bounce back.
Steelers over Bengals: Cincy will keep it close early and then find a way to self-destruct.
Raiders over Jets: Just a hunch that the Silver and Bleak will rise and surprise Ol’ No. 4.
Titans over Chiefs: They may not be the NFL’s best, but Tennessee should still be unbeaten by the end of this week.
Dolphins over Ravens: Note to the Fish D — The last two minutes really DO count!!
Texans over Lions: This will as exciting as watching fat guys play poker on T.V.
Byes: Arizona , Atlanta , Jacksonville , Philadelphia.
D. In 2004, Joe Horn’s 94 catches tied him with St. Louis’ Torry Holt for the most in the NFC. By the way, Danny Abramowicz led the NFL in receptions in 1969 with 73 grabs.