BASN NFL Picks: Week Four

By Tony McClean
Updated: September 28, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — So just how much are we supposed believe what we’ve been seeing on the field during the first three weeks? It all depends on your perspective. Did the road wins by the Bears or Bengals make you a true believer last Sunday?
Did the road losses by the Jags and Falcons make you not think of them as serious contenders? Are the Giants, Steelers, or Patriots really as bad as they looked last Sunday? Before you answer that question, lets take a look at some very recent history.
Just last year at this time, six teams were above .600 (2-1 Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and St. Louis) and all missed the playoffs. In that same vein, two clubs were below .500 (1-2 Carolina and Chicago) and made the playoffs.
It kinda lets you know that while you can afford to have a lousy start, a fast start doesn’t always guarantee long term success either. Just something to chew on while you figure out who to sit or play on your fantasy team this week.
With New Orleans’ victory over Atlanta Monday night, the Saints’ Sean Payton became the third man in the past 75 years to become head coach of a team that won three or fewer games the previous season and guide it to three consecutive wins to begin the next season. Ironically, the last coach to turn the trick will face Payton Sunday — Carolina’s John Fox. The two were assistants together at the New York Giants, serving as the defensive and offensive coordinators, respectively, on its Super Bowl XXXV team.
Last week, Washington’s Mark Brunell broke the NFL record for the most consecutive passes completed in a single game. Who holds the record for the most consecutive passes completed in a two-game span?
A. Donovan McNabb
B. Dan Marino
C. Ken Anderson
D. Warren Moon
(The answer comes at the end of the column)
LAST WEEK: 6-6 (30-13 overall)
Ugh!! We needed the Saints win just to get to .500 this week. Taking chances on the Jags, Giants, and Cards burned us big time. However, we did have the Panthers and Philly. But we also had to sweat it out with the Fish and the Ravens. No, Romeo is still not speaking to me. Thanks for asking.
After surviving a late scare at Tampa, the Panthers return home to face a division foe they haven’t beaten at Bank of America Stadium in two years. The Saints are still riding the emotion of Monday’s return to the Superdome. But will there a serious letdown for New Orleans. In many ways, this game will probably be a bigger than Monday’s for Brees, Bush, and the gang. Clearly, this will be a big test for the New Orleans D. They may keep it close put I think they slowly come back to earth on Sunday afternoon.
Pick: Panthers.
The league’s top two defenses square off in a very interesting game in Baltimore. For those of you who think it’s the Ravens who are No. 1, you might be surprised to realize it’s the Bolts who are the top-ranked D through three weeks. However, the Lewis Gang isn’t far behind, especially with a league-leading plus-10 takeaway/giveaway margin. So this has all the makings of a low-scoring defensive struggle, right? In that case we’ll take the experienced QB over the young gun.
Pick: Ravens.
That other Lewis Gang in the AFC South may have made a statement in their win at the Ketchup place last week. On the other side, the Pats were out played and outhit at home against the Broncos. As we told you during our previews, as great as Tom Brady is, he still can’t do it all by himself. Even New England’s running attack was somewhat shut down last week. It’s been a while since Belichik’s boys have lost two straight (December of 2002). That long while may be coming back again.
Pick: Bengals.
What’s going on, Tee Mack? You’ve picked three straight home teams to win. What gives? You really aren’t gonna try and tell me that the Jets are gonna shock the world and beat the Horseshoes are you? Peyton Manning has already won more games at the Meadowlands this year than Eric Mangini, so you really can’t be picking Gang Green to win this. Are you? Okay, here’s something to chew on: When Mangini was the New England’s DB coach/defensive coordinator from 2000-05, they had a 7-2 record against the Colts. Oh, man so you’re picking the…….????

Pick: Colts (Ha ha, made ya look, made ya look)
The Birds may have won the battle last week in their whupping of Big Blue, but Shaun Alexander’s foot injury could lose them what will be a war in Chi-Town. Da Bears made it interesting last week at the Metrodome before they pulled out an impressive win against the Vikes. Two of last year’s top teams in the NFC will meet in what could possibly be a playoff preview. Losing the MVP will hurt Seattle, however look for them to put the ball up in the air a little bit more on Sunday. With ex-Patriot Deion Branch still trying to get his feet wet, the former Super Bowl MVP could have his breakout party right at Soldier Field.
Pick: Seahawks.
Only a real wise ass would dub this game the T.O. Bowl, but considering the week he had we’ll just leave that alone. As for on the field, the Cheeseheads finally got into the win column last week as Favre and company smacked the Lions. Philly took all their frustrations on the Niners last week in their huge win at Frisco. The big question really is can the Packers D keep it close. Probably not, especially when you realize that the Iggles are a commanding 7-0 vs. NFC North teams since realignment in 2002.
Pick: Eagles.
Falcons over Cardinals: The real “Dirty Birds” at the end of this one will be Arizona.
Vikings over Bills: Buffalo will make it close, but not close enough to win it.
Dolphins over Texans: The Mario vs. Reggie questions are already coming up in Houston.
49ers over Chiefs: Just a hunch. K.C.’s D is still not where it should be to contend.
Cowboys over Titans: Note to Jeff Fisher: I know he’s green, but please start Vince. He can’t be much worse than Kerry Collins.
Rams over Lions: Now I won’t pick the Boys from Motown again unless they’re playing Azuza Pacific. (Please, no hate mail from angry Azuza Pacific grads!!)
Browns over Raiders: A peace offering pick for Romeo (And if Cleveland wins, then Coach Shell won’t be speaking to me).
Jaguars over Redskins: Mark Brunell gets to see his old mates…….from the fetal position.
BYES: Broncos, Giants (Whoops, Seattle just scored again!!), Steelers, Buccaneers.
TRIVIA ANSWER: A. Donovan McNabb holds the NFL record for most consecutive passes competed over a two-game span with 24. That was 10 straight on November 28, 2004 against the Giants and 14 in a row on December 5 2004 against Green Bay.