By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN’s NFL Picks: Week Six
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Could this be the most pivotal week of the early season?
With 11 teams entering Sunday’s action with just two wins in six weeks, the window of opportunity could slowly be closing shut. At the other end, there are the Titans (5-0) and Giants (4-0), the league’s only remaining unbeatens.
Tennessee has a bye this week. Meanwhile, Big Blue concludes the week on Monday night aiming to become the seventh defending Super Bowl champ to open the season with a 5-0 record.
While many you who may be unsure about where your team really stands through the first half dozen weeks, chew on this. Things definitely can turn quickly in the NFL, and past seasons prove it.
Since 2000, for instance, 43 teams had winning records entering Week 6 with at least a quarter of their games played — and still missed the playoffs.
On the other hand, 12 clubs had losing records at this point in the season and advanced to the playoffs, including the 2001 New England Patriots (2-3) who would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI, and last season’s San Diego Chargers (2-3), who played in the AFC Championship Game.
Just something to think about as we progress.
FACTOID OF THE WEEK
Through his first five games with the club, Atlanta’s Michael Turner has rushed for a league-leading 543 yards and six touchdowns. With 139 yards this Sunday against Chicago, Turner will top the mark of Pro Football Hall of Famer (and former Falcon) Eric Dickerson (681) for the most rushing yards by a player in his first six games with a new team.
What active player has the most career touchdowns?
A. Terrell Owens
B. LaDainian Tomlinson
C. Randy Moss
D. Marvin Harrison
(Answer comes at the end of this story).
LAST WEEK: 9-5 (45-29)
We were able to bounce back a bit after last week’s lackluster performance. While I was glad we called some minor upsets (i.e., the Fish over the Bolts; Redskins over Iggles), we still got burned by the Jags and Packers at home. Not to mention watching the Saints die a slow death on Monday night and the Bills get beaten by the Cards. But as always, we’re looking to have a short memory and move on.
BEARS at FALCONS
The Dirty Birds were able to flip the script last week as they went into Green Bay and defeated the Packers. Atlanta returns to find a (dare I say it??) explosive Chicago offense waiting for them. In fact, the first place Bears have an offense that ranks ninth in the league in scoring with 25.6 points per game. They thoroughly spanked the Boys from Motown last week at Ford Field. If you read this week’s factoid, you already know that Atlanta’s offense is centered about Michael Turner. While rookie QB Matt Ryan seems to be handling the transition decently, I get the feeling that he’ll get a new look on life after the Bears leave Dixie Sunday night.
RAVENS at COLTS
Lemme come right out and say it — Peyton Manning still hasn’t completely recovered from his off-season injury and it’s starting to show. Yes, I know he’s led tremendous comebacks in their wins. But Ol’ No. 18 just doesn’t look right to me. The Horseshoes are living way too much on the edge on both sides of the line. This week, Indy faces a Baltimore defense that’s holding opponents to a league-low 207.3 yards per game and are third in points allowed (14.0). While I know the Ravens are still offensively challenged after all of these years and they’re trying to nurture a rookie QB in Joe Flacco, I feel that Indy’s ripe for pickin’. Colts, consider this your wake up call.
COWBOYS at CARDINALS
Did the “unstoppable” Dallas defense really allow 22 points to the Bungles at home last week? Did they really have to rally just to hold Cincinnati off? We really need Arsenio Hall here to say “Makes you go ummmmmmmmm!!” Given the uncertainty of the availability of a certain Mr. Jones this weekend, could this be an upset in the making? Arizona looked mighty good last week knocking the Bills from the ranks of the undefeated. Especially after they gave up half a hundred to the Jets just a few weeks ago. Seriously though, as much as I think Arizona and friends will fight like the dickens to keep it close, I think in the end it will be the guys with stars on their helmets that will prevail.
PATRIOTS at CHARGERS
Team Tivo’s excellent adventure on the West Coast continues this week as they battle the Chargers in a rematch of last year’s AFC title tilt. Two factors to think about entering this game. The 49ers gave New England all they could handle last week (including five sacks of Matt Cassell) before falling 30-21. Also, with America’s sweetheart under center in their last meeting, San Diego was just a turnover or so away from upsetting BB’s boys in Foxboro. I get the feeling that L.T. is ready to break out of his funk and take it out on Team Tivo.
GIANTS at BROWNS
After struggling to beat Cincinnati in overtime a few weeks back, the defending champs opened up a can and a half of pure whup ass on Seattle last week at the Meadowlands. All of this was done without WR Plaxico Burress. So this begs the question, do the Browns have a chance? It’s bad enough that this franchise hasn’t beaten Big Blue since 1985 and haven’t beaten them at Cleveland since 1973. I know the current Cleveland players have absolutely nothing to do with those prementioned numbers. However, these guys recent history isn’t really anything to write about.
Panthers over Bucs: I know it’s early, but Carolina could become a very, very serious X-factor in the NFC.
Jags over Broncos: Maybe I’m being stubborn, but I’m still not believing in Denver.
Texans over Dolphins: Even with their ineptness, Houston has to win a game eventually.
Eagles over 49ers: Even with Westbrook, Philly should have enough to beat Frisco.
Packers over Seahawks: The Cheeseheads bounce back against their former boss.
Vikings over Lions: Just a reminder that the Pistons’ home opener vs. Indiana is scheduled for October 29th.
Bengals over Jets: Just a hunch that Cincy will do what they couldn’t do the last time they came to the Meadowlands.
Redskins over Rams: Could be the ultimate trap game. But seriously, the Rams are just godawful.
Saints over Raiders: The traveling freak show from Oaktown gets worse and worse every week.
Byes: Buffalo , Kansas City, Pittsburgh , Tennessee.
Terrell Owens (136) can move past Marshall Faulk into sole possession of fourth place on the list with a touchdown Sunday. With one touchdown, Harrison (124) can tie Walter Payton for 10th all-time with 125 touchdowns. L.T. (133) can become only the third player to rush for 120 touchdowns in a career, and Moss (127) will seek to continue to climb the charts after passing Jim Brown with his 127th touchdown last week.