The Once-Over: Week (Ocho) Cinco


With attention spans dwindling, we forego full game-by-game previews to give you the essentials you need to know about every contest this glorious NFL weekend. Click here to go back in time.

The 1s

Tennessee (4-0) at Baltimore (2-1): Okay, fine, I'll agree, the Titans are a good football team. They're giving up just 11.5 points per game, best in the NFL, they have a competent quarterback that doesn't do anything flashy but also doesn't make a lot of mistakes (only one interception in four games) and a rookie running back in Chris Johnson that made every fantasy owner that didn't snag him do a collective head slap. Interesting little comparison here, last week Johnson had just 19 less yards than Adrian Peterson with one less carry and as many touchdowns. Also worth noting, the 4-0 Titans have just one nationally televised game the rest of the season, October 27 against the Colts, while the Browns still have four. Does Al Davis also dabble in national television scheduling? Cool.

Pick -- Tennessee




Kansas City (1-3) at Carolina (3-1):
Can we all agree that the Chiefs win over the Broncos last week was about as solid as the team can play giving the personal they are trudging around with? Okay, good. Now, this Carolina team is sneaky good and I'm sure they are happy being the "undervalued NFC juggernauts." Also, could you think of a harder running back group to face in your first five games than LaDainian Tomlinson, Peterson, Matt Forte, Michael Turner and now a rejuvenated Larry Johnson? The fact that the Panthers defense hasn't allowed any of these guys to find the end zone this year is pretty incredible. I guess we will see if LJ can keep this recent success going in hopes of taking a little pressure off Kansas City's quarterback (looks up name) Damon(double checks last name) Huard.

Pick -- Carolina

Chicago (2-2) at Detroit (0-3): I honestly might DVR this game just to see how many "Thank All That is Good and Holy Millen is Gone!" signs are in the stands. I'm going over/under 416. I am not from Detroit but just hearing how happy everyone is that this nightmare is finally over makes me giddy for Lions fans. I hope all the best for you guys. Also, since I'm in such a positive mood, I think the Lions upset here. The Bears just won a game they had no business winning against a Brian Westbrook-less Eagles team and if Detroit is looking to get that monkey off their back, they better do it against the Kyle Ortons.

Pick -- Detroit

Atlanta (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2):
So, if Matt Flynn starts this game, do we automatically have to compare him to Brett Favre as well? Is that a new rule in Wisconsin? I say yes, it makes it more fun. Consecutive losses for the Packers make it incredible realistic that Aaron Rodgersisn't the second coming of Christ, even though I'm still a fan. Green Bay is 26th in the league in rushing defense, so Turner has a chance to go off. On the flip side, the artist formerly known as Ryan Grant is going up against the best run defense in the league, and since he's having about as good a year as Amy Winehouse, I'm going to assume he struggles. Could the Falcons really upset this team in Lambeau? Two words -- Matt Ryan.

Pick -- Green Bay

Indianapolis (1-2) at Houston (0-3):
(This is me throwing up my arms.) What do you make of either of these teams? The Colts would legitimately be looking at an 0-3 hole if not for the determination and straight slingin' power of Peyton Manning. Coming off a bye week, Indy has to be the obvious favorite, but both teams have underachieved tremendously this season. Also, the receiving core of these two teams has a lot more talk than walk in '08. Reggie Wayne has been okay, Andre Johnson has been ehhh and Marvin Harrison looks similar to the way Harrison Ford did in the latest "Indiana Jones" movie. As much as you want to pick the upset here, the Colts just don't really lose to the Texans.

Pick -- Indianapolis

San Diego (2-2) at Miami (1-2):
When you can honestly say the sentence "Jamarcus Russell picked us apart in the first half" you have to be concerned about the near future of your defense. Ranked 28th in the league in total defense, the Chargers are giving up 28 points per game, getting picked apart by the Jets, the Panthers and the Broncos. I will say this about the Dolphins this week -- if Ronnie Brown can rush for four touchdowns and throw for another, they have a great shot at win their second game in a row.

Pick -- San Diego

Seattle (1-2) at NY Giants (3-0):
People keep ranting and raving about the defending champions this year, but they have faced a shaky early season Redskins teams, the Bengals and on the road against the Rams. We all realize that two of those three teams haven't won a game, right? The Giants now go Seattle at home, Cleveland on the road and then San Francisco at home. If they aren't 6-0 going into Pittsburgh in Week 8 it will a huge disappointment. That said, Seattle with Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett has the second best running game in the league this year, averaging 166.3 yards per game. They will have to do a little more than that to open up the passing game for Matt Hasselbeck, who has the third worst quarterback rating in the NFL right now, but is the highest rated quarterback that is married to someone on "The View," so he's got that going for him.

Pick -- NY Giants

Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (2-2):
This is the game of the week, right? The best division in football has two teams squaring off that are going in opposite directions. The Redskins looked pitiful in their first game against the Giants, but have bounced back with three straight including a win over the Cowboys that made me look dumber than usual (hard to do). The Eagles were 2-0 and had people gushing about them even after a loss to the Cowboys on Monday night, but dropped a winable game to the Bears and now are possibly going a second week without the most capable back in the league thus far in Westbrook. Good thing for the Eagles is this has letdown game written all over for the Redskins.

Pick -- Eagles

The 4s

Tampa Bay (3-1) at Denver (3-1): The Broncos are going to lose games like the one last week mainly because they are good but not great. That said, they are 2-0 at home and will be looking for some nasty "Tru Blood" style plasma Sunday afternoon against the Bucs. Honest question for Jay Cutler -- when do the Diabetes questions get old? I mean, I hear about it in every broadcast and I'm sure he gets the "how did you feel?" pitches after most games all the time. Does the Cutler-Diabetes conversation replace the "You know, Romo isn't just a good football player, he's a complete athlete, have you seen his golf game" or the "Greg Paulus was the highest ranked football player coming out of high school but chose Duke basketball" as the easiest broadcasting fill when you have nothing else to say? I say yes.

Pick -- Denver

Buffalo (4-0) at Arizona (2-2):
My buddy was at Macaroni Grill in Scottsdale on Monday and ran across Matt Leinart picking up some food. My friend's exact words, "He looked like s***, it was noon and I guarantee he just woke up." I guess it is safe to say that we will continue to see Kurt Warner, even if he has a 14 turnover game like last week, if Leinart is snoozing until noon as the backup QB. Also, if Buffalo doesn't finish 12-4 with this schedule it would be an honest disappointment.

Pick -- Buffalo

Cincinnati (0-4) at Dallas (3-1)
: As nice at Tony Romo seems, and he seems like a very solid guy, when does he go into "F-you TO I'm not throwing you anything" mode? I mean, you're getting called out by a guy that touched the ball 83 percent of the time last week and then complained about not getting the ball? The only bonus for Terrell Owens is he is facing the only receiver in the league this week that makes him seem stable by comparison. Chad Johnson is saying he is going to kiss the star in the end zone which is funny on so many levels, but mostly because he assumes he is going to get in the end zone catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick. I find it a little ironic that the same year that the Manning-Harrison machine finally slows, Ocho Cinco and Carson Palmer look like they have as much chemistry as the Medill School of Journalism. I guess when taking the trip to watch them a few years ago, they should have made it clear that they weren't supposed to imitate everything the Colts pair did.

Pick -- Dallas

New England (2-1) at San Francisco (2-2):
It is scary times in New England land. They got pounded like a featherweight in prison two weeks ago to a Dolphins team that's fairly comparable to this 49ers team and after the bye week are back on the road trying to find an identity. I mean, Tom Brady is rather incredible but they shouldn't be night and day with the guy out. I'm still waiting for one or two big names (Randy Moss, Wes Welker) to publicly compliment and praise the talent of Matt Cassel even if they don't believe it. Nothing soothes jitters like confidence and if someone could go out and say how happy they are with this new quarterback, it might make things a lot better. Also, this is my new favorite picture of the NFL season thus far. J.T. O'Sullivan = excited.

Pick -- New England

Sunday Night

Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2): If you can look past the Super Bowl ring and the millions of dollars per year to play a sport, life is probably pretty tough for Ben Roethlisberger. A start to the season as quick as Usain Bolt, he is now having to go on the field with Mewelde Moore as his running back and an offensive line that blocks as consistently as Spud Webb. The Jaguars on the other hand look to have finally found that cruise control button, beating Indy on the road and a "better than their record indicates" Texans team at home. The Pittsburgh defense, ranked second in the league, will have to dig extra deep if they want to stay in this game, because it sure doesn't look like their offense is doing much.

Pick -- Jacksonville

MNF

Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2): Basically this is a battle of two teams that need a win as bad as anyone. The Saints have struggled with offensive injuries while the Vikings have struggled with Tavaris Jackson. Honestly, watching him run the two-minute offense last weekend was seriously depressing. The Saints defense has been rather nonexistent this season so if the passing game can do anything on Monday night, AP should have free reign to dominate the Saints. Also, Peterson is due for one of those 180 yards, 3 TD games, isn't he? I think this is the defense he can do it against.

Pick -- Minnesota

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