A day without the Skins
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2002
While the Redskins are sitting at home licking their three-foot deep wounds and wondering what went so terribly wrong against Philadelphia and San Francisco, let’s take a peek inside the mind of the News-Herald sports editor…
Green Bay 21, Carolina 20. Playing at home against a team that used to be as bad as Carolina, it’s easy to assume that Brett Favre could win this without even breaking a sweat. But the Panthers are trying to go 4-0 for the first time in franchise history, and they shut down the (admittedly overrated) Daunte Culpepper-Randy Moss last weekend. The Packers get the Pick because Carolina (it would seem) doesn’t have anyone who can stand up to the Green Bay offense, but a win today could spurn the Panthers onto something special.
Chicago 35, New England 24. Did you know that the Bears considered signing Drew Bledsoe last season before deciding to stick with Jim Miller? Since then, Bledsoe’s racked up 1,017 yards and six touchdowns, while Miller has 676 yards and five TDs. The Bears get the Pick for two reasons; first, they’re anxious to atone for last week’s collapse against New Orleans.Second, the Bill defense doesn’t have anyone who can stop Anthony Thomas, who has racked up 195 yards in the past two games.
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Pittsburgh 17, New England 14. Playing against a team that has a pass defense that has been lit up for 697 yards against New England and Oakland, Browns quarterback Tim Couch has a chance to show the potential that he hasn’t lived up to. On the other side, Kordell Stewart and Jerome Bettis have been unsteady thus far. The Steelers get the Pick because Bettis, in the past, has shown the reliability that Couch hasn’t, but don’t be surprised if the Browns win – even by a bunch.
St. Louis 40, Dallas 3. If the Rams lose today, St. Louis might look like Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict by this evening. But this time, it will be out of frustration; how can a team that’s been to the Super Bowl twice in the past three years start 0-4? The Rams shouldn’t lose today, but they shouldn’t have lost the last three games, either. But sooner or later, they’ll start winning out of frustration alone. If my calculations are correct (though they haven’t been thus far), they’ll tear it up today.
Philadelphia 42, Texas 3. The Eagles are on a roll after smoking Washington and Dallas, and they have the perfect target in a team that’s allowed 15 sacks and hasn’t scored a touchdown in two weeks. The Eagle defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown since Opening Day, and Donovan McNabb and the rest of the offense has racked up 81 points in the past two weeks. On the upside, if the Texans do find a way to win, it’ll be one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
Miami 30, Kansas City 28. This should be a high-scoring affair, but the Tunas get the Pick only because the Kansas City defense has shown weaknesses that Miami hasn’t. Last week, Ricky Williams became the first Dolphin in history to rush for more than 100 yards in three consecutive games. Today, he’ll make it four. Priest Holmes might match or even beat him, but a Dolphin defense that destroyed the Jets last week won’t let the Chiefs take it home.
New Orleans 21, Detroit 10. The Saints, on their way to their first 4-0 start since 1993, have to be wary of a Lions team that nearly stole one from Green Bay last week. But Aaron Brooks has thrown for seven touchdowns this season, and he’s playing against a defense that’s given up 117 points already.
Jacksonville 17, New York Jets 13. After their 30-3 loss to Miami last week, the Jets will taste defeat at the hands of a Florida team again today. A New York defense that has surrendered an average of 172 rushing yards per game this season has to deal with Fred Taylor, who’s rushed for 197 yards in two games. The tandem of Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith won’t make life any easier for the Planes. Curtis Martin, who only has 54 yards this season, needs to have a breakout game soon, or forget about being the second back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in his first eight seasons.
Tampa Bay 30, Cincinnati 13. After the Texas game, this will be today’s other chance for an earth-shattering upset. The Bengals have no chance against a Tampa Bay team that decimated the Rams last week and has an enormous desire to make it in the playoffs. If this were a Disney film, they’d pull it out, but reality can be a cruel mistress, so we’ll go with the obvious
New England 7, San Diego 0. If this game is on television, don’t plan to leave the couch. The Patriots have scored 115 points in three games, while the Charger defense has yielded just 24 in the same span. Bill Belichek is perhaps the league’s best defensive genius, but today he and Tom Brady have to figure out how to mount an offense. But that’s why the Patriots get the Pick; they showed defensive abilities in shutting down Jerome Bettis, Curtis Martin, and Priest Holmes. The Chargers haven’t shown much offensive firepower.
Oakland 20, Tennessee 10. The Raiders’ first two wins were a warm-up for this game; they’re facing the team that kept them from the top seed in the AFC playoffs last year. Rich Gannon has been on a tear, throwing for 403 yards against Pittsburgh last week. A Titan defense that allowed Tim Couch to score two touchdowns in 2:35 last week won’t give him much of a test.
New York Giants 10, Ariz-on a 7. I hereby declare this game as &uot;The Meaningless Game of the Week.&uot; Like most other teams in the NFC, neither team will mean squat come playoff time, so I’ll play paper-rock-scissors and give the Giants the Pick, and move on to things worth my time.
Seattle 24, Minnesota 23. Wow, another meaningless game between two teams that could and should have been district contenders this season. But the Seahawks get the Pick because the Viking defense is allowing 402 yards per game this season, and because Randy Moss’ arrest earlier this week couldn’t help to calm the tension that showed when he got into a shouting match with quarterback Daunte Culpepper last week.
Denver 21, Baltimore 0. A Bronco offense that has beaten St. Louis, San Francisco and Buffalo will have an easy time of it Monday night against a Raven team that has scored seven points. I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again, the Ravens are the best example of how a team that won the Super Bowl just three years ago can be scalped by the salary cap. Keep watching the Orioles, Baltimore fans; they’ll bring a title home before the Ravens will!