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
Oakland (2-4) at Baltimore (3-3): Basically, it's impossible to read anything into Oakland's win over the Jets. Both offenses would have had a better chance of scoring with Faith Hill than with a touchdown in overtime, so you just card that as an ugly win and move on. Maybe more astounding than the win over Brett Favre and company for the Raiders is the fact that if Baltimore wins this weekend, they will at worst be tied for the second wild card spot, with Joe Flacco at quarterback! A little consolation for Flacco after last week -- he isn't the worst-rated passer in the league to play six games anymore, just second to last. Maybe Terrell Suggs was right about one thing.
The top sports headlines of the day
Arizona (4-2) at Carolina (5-2): Have you ever sat around and wondered what a backup quarterback uses as a pick-up line? Any NFL player can gets girls, but you've still got to say something. "Hey, if that other dude gets hurt, I'm going to be right behind center?" "Maybe you could back me up?" I wonder the same about punters as well, but I'm assuming they just wear as much NFL garb as possible to bars and hope a girl asks if they're a fan. Also, through seven weeks, Kurt Warner has more fantasy points than Adrian Peterson, Brandon Jacobs, LaDainian Tomlinson and Peyton Manning. Yep, it's been one of those years.
Tampa Bay (5-2) at Dallas (4-3): Honestly, what can you say at this point? The Cowboys went from a 3-0 team fresh off a dominating performance against Green Bay to a 4-3 team that could legitimately be 4-5 heading into the bye week. On a side note, I'm convinced Wade Phillips is one of those guys who's asked by his wife what he wants for dinner, answers, and just nods his head wearily when she immediately spits out, "I don't want Chinese, we're eating Mexican!" Poor guy.
Pick: Tampa Bay
Washington (5-2) at Detroit (0-6): If you're the Lions, you know your season is going poorly when the other team has to be up 21-0 or more to be respected by the rest of the league. Also, I've decided to list other things that have happened to the Lions that would be embarrassing for just about any football team in this world.
-- You fire Matt Millen and things don't improve
-- Your quarterback is Dan Orlovsky
-- Orlovsky is another oblivious safety away from losing his job to Drew Stanton
-- You may or may not have been told a gameplan by Favre to beat the Packers, and still lost 48-25
-- You're ranked 22nd or lower in every major statistical category.
Not to keep piling on Detroit (even though it is fun), but they have zero winnable games left on their schedule. Don't believe me? Take a look. In their final ten games, Detroit faces two teams currently sporting a losing record, and those are the Vikings (3-4) and the Saints (3-4). But luckily for Lions fans, it does appear that there is a god up there somewhere -- the game is going to blacked out for the first time in 50 sellouts, so you don't actually have to watch this team fall to 0-7.
Buffalo (5-1) at Miami (2-4): I have said it before and I will say it again -- if the Bills aren't 11-2 heading to the Meadowlands to play the Jets in Week 15, it's a complete disappointment; this is the first of a stretch of games that should be had by Trent Edwards and company. Also, a quick fantasy tidbit for those that actually care -- Lee Evans has caught a touchdown pass in each of the last three games, and the Dolphins are home to the sixth-worst pass defense in the league. I'd say the chances of Evans catching another one in the end zone are fairly solid.
St. Louis (2-4) at New England (4-2): Can we all please relax on this "Matt Cassel might not be that bad" talk? Please? The Broncos pass defense is horrible and Cassel's touchdown passes were a 13-yarder to Randy Moss in the end zone, a 27-yard pass to Moss that was made with Randy's legs and a six-yard pass to Wes Welker. It isn't like he's bombing passes 40 yards down the field and hitting receivers in stride or anything. Still, if Steven Jackson doesn't play for the Rams, this game could be USC-Washington State status.
Also, if Tom Brady ends up having another surgery or two and can't really play in the NFL anymore, it will seriously be the fastest fall in sports ever. Tiger Woods could start shanking every shot, a la Tin Cup, and it still wouldn't compare.
Pick: New England
San Diego (3-4) at New Orleans (3-4): Did you know that neither of these teams have ever won a game in London? Basically, these two teams remind me of that really attractive girl who comes back for the five-year high school reunion. She went to college, was the hot freshman, ended up shacking with a number of fraternities, did blow, drank, found a boyfriend, had her heart broken, partied even more, and now has two kids and looks a lot more like her mom than the prom queen. Whoever wins this game will be in good shape, and the other might as well have found out they're pregnant again. I have to give the edge to the Saints because of the soon-to-be famous Once-Over curse. Last week's victim, Peyton Manning!
Pick: New Orleans
Kansas City (1-5) at NY Jets (3-3): Man Brett Favre sucks. The dude really, really sucks. I don't even care if the report of him feeding the Lions with info is false, it's the fact that it's believable that we should pay attention to. What other quarterback the league could be accused of calling an opposing team to rat on his former team and leave you unsurprised in the process? When I heard that for the first time, this is the face I made. I wouldn't go as far as saying Favre has entered the Tyson Zone, but he might be in his own zone for people who are crazy in a more lawful sense. When the best sports example I can come up with to compare Favre to is Chad Johnson, that can't be good.
Pick: Kansas City
Atlanta (4-2) at Philadelphia (3-3): Matt Ryan continues to be awesome, leading to this thought -- if you're a quarterback, isn't going to college all four years the most beneficial thing you can do? Think about it -- Peyton, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and now Ryan. Is this the advice we start giving to quarterbacks like Colt McCoy? I'm normally a numbers guy, just because I never want to get called out by Fire Joe Morgan, but Matt actually looks like he's comfortable in the pocket, and I feel that has carried over to the rest of his teammates. I'm going with the rookie on the road, especially since even a 432-point Eagles defeat wouldn't disrupt Philly, whose fans probably won't even notice through all the Phillie headlines.
Cincinnati (0-7) at Houston (2-4): Good news from Bengals camp. Chad Johnson said he's going to stick with "Johnson" on the back of his jersey for the rest of the season. Sadly, the "good news" intro wasn't even a joke; that was probably the best thing to come out of Cincinnati in weeks. If you don't think Steve Slaton is having a big game at home, you're crazy. Thomas Jones and Mewelde Moore rushed for two touchdowns against the Bengals in the last two weeks. Can the Texans make it three straight?
Cleveland (2-4) at Jacksonville (3-3): So Cleveland, you win two games and convince everyone that you aren't horrible, only to get slaughtered against Washington. Now heading to Jacksonville, who may or may not be good themselves, the Browns again look like the team that started the season poorly. Hey Braylon Edwards, a little advice -- when the ball comes at you and hits your hands, close them really fast. It helps to catch the ball.
NY Giants (5-1) at Pittsburgh (5-1): Ahh, the game of the week. If you didn't get a chance to read our own Adam Gretz on the debate of whom is currently the better quarterback, you're missing out. I'm totally with Gretz, even though I'm not completely sold on Big Ben. I think he holds onto the ball two seconds too long on just about every play. Also, I say that if Pittsburgh can win this game at home, it solidifies two themes of the season thus far -- the Giants are overrated and the Steelers are underrated.
Seattle (1-5) at San Francisco (2-5): When I was younger and used to throw down soda like there were naked pictures of Oksana Baiul at the bottom of every can, I was the pickiest person ever. "Pepsi, did I say I wanted a Pepsi?" Now, I'm the same way with energy drinks. Honestly, I'd slap a friend if he/she handed me a Monster or Rockstar. Do I look like I'm 14? No, alright, thanks. But, if that same friend had a sugar-free Red Bull he wanted me to have, I'd probably take out family members for that can. I have no idea why I like Red Bull, it tastes like how I suspect neon tastes, but I still drink that stuff like cancer is cured with every sip. Also, if you're wondering why I'm talking about energy drinks, it's because I refuse to even speak of this game. I'd rather watch someone mop a floor.
Indianapolis (3-3) at Tennessee (6-0): Kerry Collins has become the quarterback that every team needs. No, he isn't that great and yes, he is past his prime, but the guy knows his role. Complete some 10-yard passes when necessary, avoid getting sacked if at all possible and make sure that, when handing the ball off, it's set firmly in the running back's chest. Honestly, if 97% of quarterbacks approached the game like Collins, teams would be exponentially better. Trust me, this is true. The Colts receiving corps has also become the Denver running attack for fantasy football. Reggie Wayne might have a tremendous game, but guys like Dallas Clark and Anthony Gonzalez combine for six touchdowns. When Manning drops back, you might as well have one of those United Way kids from the Saturday Night Live skit, because they have just as good a chance at catching one of his passes than Marvin Freaking Harrison.