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
San Diego (3-3) at Buffalo (4-1): Trent Edwards is back from being concussed (my favorite word), which is probably a good thing, since they absolutely got rolled by the Cardinals two weeks ago after Edwards went down. The bad news is that he has to face a Chargers defense that sacked Matt Cassel four times last week, basically tossing him around like the plastic bag in that video from "American Beauty." Also, always beware of the LaDainian Tomlinson bounce-back game. He's slumped before, but always has that "140-yard, three-touchdown" game when his fantasy owners are about to give up on him that makes us completely forget about what came before. I'm putting this on the table for LDT -- if he doesn't reach double-digit fantasy points this week against a team that gives up 114 rushing yards per game, he cannot appear in any more cool Nike commercials.
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Pick: San Diego
New Orleans (3-3) at Carolina (4-2): How cool is Drew Brees? Honestly, the guy is the perfect NFL quarterback, yet he apologizes to his offensive line for allowing someone to sack him last week? He's currently on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record -- with a better completion percentage -- and he has the Saints on a little bit of a run right now, winning two of the last three. Jake Delhomme, on the other hand, looked miserable last Sunday, posting a 38.6 passer rating with three interceptions, leading the Panthers to a whopping three points against the Bucs. That probably won't cut it at home this week, as the visiting Saints are averaging 28.7 points per game, fourth in the NFL. Oh, and it seems to be a rule that you can't talk about New Orleans without mentioning Reggie Bush, so here goes: Reggie Bush is really fast!!!
Pick: New Orleans
Minnesota (3-3) at Chicago (3-3): Alright, let's review. Minnesota has a fairly crummy passing offense, a solid, young running back that can't do it all on his own, a defense that is better than most and a player named Adrian Peterson on the roster. Chicago has a fairly crummy passing offense, a solid, young running back that can't do it all on his own, a defense that is better than most and a player named Adrian Peterson on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if this game finishes 9-9.
Pittsburgh (4-1) at Cincinnati (0-6): Did you know that Ryan Fitzpatrick is owned by 4.3 percent of fantasy players? Has this 4.3 percent ever watched football in their entire life? Honestly, I'd rather not start a quarterback than have one of my leading point positions hinging on the fact that Fitz and Ocho Cinco find some type of chemistry. Also, the Steelers are the only team ever to go from the best team in the NFL --> a decent team --> not so good --> not bad --> the best team in the NFL" in just seven weeks. After they go 5-1 this week, they face the Giants, Redskins, Colts, and Chargers consecutively. They could be 9-1 or 5-5 and I don't think anyone would be surprised one way or the other.
Tennessee (5-0) at Kansas City (1-4): Basically, the Titans have to lose this game if the 2008 NFL season is to continue on its current crazy path. No way can a 5-0 team that looks to be fairly solid in all positions play a Chiefs team without its star running back -- and with the possibility of Keanu Reeves running out of the tunnel after halftime and getting more of a rise out of Arrowhead crowd -- and beat them. No way, it can not happen. Something crazy needs to happen, like a blocked punt for a win or Brodie Croyle becoming the next Derek Anderson. If the Titans win this game, this sport will make sense again, and I'm not entirely ready for that.
Pick: Kansas City
Baltimore (2-3) at Miami (2-3): Wow, one team that was supposed to be crummy, came out on fire and then decided to be crummy playing another team that was supposed to be crummy, started out crummy but has now found a way to win. I asked this question in the Monday night live chat last week, but I think it merits repeating. If the Dolphins can continue to squeak out victories with Chad Pennington at quarterback and people like Patrick Cobbs, Greg Camarillo, and Anthony Fasano becoming weekly stars, how many teams will be running the Wildcat by years end? I'm setting the over/under at 11 since the Raiders will be the third team to follow suit this weekend.
San Francisco (2-4) at NY Giants (4-1): Sorry San Fran, you guys are a week late on the Giants' letdown game. The play of the champs was so bad last week that you have to just shrug it off and continue on. Teams will have bad games, they will lose to weaker opponents, and Monday night was a perfect example. On a lighter note, do you think Eli Manning has ever been in a fight? I know he's a big guy and was always the star athlete, but I couldn't imagine seeing his "Eli Manning Fight Face" after getting socked across the jaw. I'm sure Peyton used to beat him up a little, and that's exactly why I'm down for complete video surveillence by our government. If a fight between young Peyton and Eli was on YouTube, would it be viewed more than "Two Girls One Cup?" I'm going with yes.
Pick: NY Giants
Dallas (4-2) at St. Louis (1-4): I was chatting with Deadspin's A.J. Daulerio after the news broke about Tony Romo deciding to play through the pain after Brett Favre "made public" their conversation. Basically, Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder that he advised Romo that if he could play, he should, basically calling Romo a word I'm not allowed to use in this space. A.J. made an intelligent observation about this situation. An ESPN reporter (Werder) is basically responsible for Romo's health the following few weeks, as he's publicizing it to the nation. Say Romo gets sacked, mangling his pinkie to look like Chris Elliott in Scary Movie 2. That's Werder's fault.
Detroit (0-5) at Houston (1-4): This is exactly why I hate doing statistical research. I was all excited to look up the last time two teams with one combined win met in the seventh week of the NFL season. I got all pumped, sent out some emails, and Googled some information. Yeah, it turns out the last time this happened was in 2006. Whoopdee doo. Also, a simple question -- if the Lions decided to bring back Barry Sanders to run for them, would anyone be A.) surprised and B.) unhappy? I think to spice up football in Detroit, the management should start doing things like this. Once a week they pick a fans idea and just go with it. Like, for instance, during an offensive possession have your quarterback run out of the back of the end zone without knowing he was doing it. (Checks editor's email) Oh. Yikes.
Indianapolis (3-2) at Green Bay (3-3): The Sports Illustrated cover jinx can take a back seat because I give you the "Once-Over Photo Jinx!" Last week we had Eli as the face of the Once-Over and he threw three interceptions, losing like a sound engineer recording the Heidi Montag CD. The week before that was Brees, who had two interceptions with a passer rating of 68.2 in defeat. Peterson in Week 4 couldn't pull out the win. Aaron Rodgers didn't throw a touchdown when we highlighted him the third week and the Packers went down in flames. Now, we have Peyton Manning going up against the Packers in Lambeau in one of the biggest "He's baaaack" assumed moments ever in sports. I guess everyone has decided to look past the fact that the Colts still can't run the ball. Nah, that doesn't matter. All hail the photo jinx!!!
Pick: Green Bay
NY Jets (3-2) at Oakland (1-4): Did you know that when Favre was drafted by the Falcons in 1991, JaMarcus Russell was five years old? This is the type of information I find important to pass along. This Raiders team is becoming one of the top three worst teams in the league and nobody is really talking about it, but, hey, here comes the WILDCAT!!! Honestly, getting Darren McFadden involved behind center will probably be the best thing for the rookie, who hasn't exactly been tearing it up this season. Besides the bananas Kansas City game where he went off for 164 yards and a touchdown, Darren hasn't found the end zone and hasn't had a game where he rushed for more than 46 yards. No wonder the Raiders are 1-4.
Pick: NY Jets
Cleveland (2-3) at Washington (4-2): Okay, are all you Browns fans ready for this? Last week I wrote about Corey Williams trash-talking the Giants, pointing out that Cleveland wasn't in a position to dog an undefeated team and that it made them look ignorant and childish. Well, here it is: I WAS WRONG! I'm an idiot, the Browns are solid, and Derek Anderson deserves to have banana splits bought for him daily for that Monday night performance. Just for my ignorant post from a week ago, I'm doing this for you Cleveland. Ready? Set?
Seattle (1-4) at Tampa Bay (4-2): Do you think there is any possible way that John McCain and Barack Obama would agree that this is the worst Sunday Night Football game to date? I'm fairly convinced that if they were both on a deserted island, dying of thirst, and came upon a washed-up pallet of Aquafina and a separate pallet of Arrowhead water, the two would end up dying because they'd argue the entire time about which water they should drink. I also think we were one debate away from McCain going all Jim Everett on Barack. It could have happened. Damn you Joe the Plumber, I'm blaming there only being three debates on you!
Pick: Tampa Bay
Denver (4-2) at New England (3-2): Alright, over/under on times we hear the name "Tom Brady"? I'm going with 67. I'm fairly certain Tony Kornheiser's notes for this game are as follows:
-Tom Brady dates a model!
-Tom Brady models!
-Tom Brady cologne!
Also, I'd put $40 of my own hard-earned money that Tony couldn't name four Broncos not named Brandon Marshall, Jay Cutler or John Elway. Speaking of the Donkeys, aren't they one of the few young, exciting teams that you just can't seem to root for? I don't know if it's Mike Shanahan or the fact that Cutler seems a little too pompous for his own britches, but they are the New Orleans Hornets of the NFL and I root against them week in and week out. That said, I think this is a perfect opportunity to tell everyone that Randy Moss has as many touchdowns this season as Hank Baskett. Yep, that Hank Baskett, the one engaged to that Kendra girl. There you have it, your 2008 New England Patriots.