Can the ‘Skins keep it up?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 5, 2003

Now that I’ve had a chance to come down, there’s something important to remember about the Redskins’ win two weeks ago – they didn’t start playing offense until the fourth quarter, and they got REALLY lucky more than once. Now that they’ve lost the element of surprise, teams will be ready. Will that start this week? Let’s find out…

Washington 21, Seattle 20. This is a battle of offenses, because the defenses shouldn’t be much of a factor. If Clinton Portis gets hot early, Seattle’s defensive line might get embarrassed. On the other hand, if Matt Hasselback can escape the Redskins’ blitzes, he’ll put on a clinic against Washington’s subpar secondary.

Cincinnati 27, Houston 12. The Bengals have been chomping away, but this is how they’ve started the past two years as well, and fizzled out both times. Still, a Texan team whose offense has gotten a beating every week this season might help build Cincinnati’s confidence, and Carson Palmer, Rudi Johnson and Chad Johnson have been loving life on the Bengal offense.

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Indianapolis 30, Tennessee 13. On one hand, there’s a potentially-explosive Colt offense that’s been surprisingly quiet this year. On the other hand, there’s a Titan defense that’s giving up 25 points a game this season. Peyton Manning might make up for lost time today, and without Travis Henry, Tennessee’s offense is already depleted.

New England 16, San Diego 9. Three weeks ago, this might have been too close to call. But after Corey Dillon literally carried the team to victory two weeks ago and Tom Brady showed he could go in the clutch with a 12-for-12 fourth-quarter performance last week, against Pittsburgh, no less, the Patriots seem to have the formula for winning. A balanced Charger attack might give them some problems, but New England should go to 3-1 today.

New Orleans 14, Buffalo 10. This could be a Game of the Week in disguise. New Orleans, playing &uot;home&uot; in the Alamodome, will try to cut Deuce McAllister loose early, while the Bills hope Willis McGahee can get hot. Aaron Brooks hasn’t been playing to potential this year, but he’s more reliable than J.P. Losman – for now.

N.Y. Giants 19, St. Louis 14. The key to winning for the Rams is to keep their offense on the field and hope that Steven Jackson can take advantage of the Giants’ defensive weaknesses. If Tiki Barber and Eli Manning have the ball for too long, they’ll find a way to score.

Tampa Bay 30, Detroit 6. Cadillac Williams is having a blast carrying the ball for Tampa Bay, and the Lions’ defense hasn’t been much for, oh, about a decade. Detroit’s offense is talented, but can’t seem to find the knot that will tie everything together, and the NFC’s top run defense won’t stand around and wait for them.

Jacksonville 28, Denver 16. Jacksonville defense is going to come full throttle at Jake Plummer, and he hasn’t proven he can survive such an onslaught. But even if he does, the Jaguar defense is ranked second in the league, so they might stop him anyway. Fred Taylor went wild on the N.Y. Jets last week, and he’s itching for more.

Baltimore 13, N.Y. Jets 10. I’d like to give this to the Jets for sentimental reasons – hey, I want to see Vinny Testaverde tear it up again – but Baltimore gets it because they’ve had a week off to heal, and because after starting off 0-2, they’re out for blood.

Atlanta 26, Minnesota 21. For so early in the season, this is an important game. With Tampa Bay dominating the NFC South, the Vikings need to keep the momentum they started in a defeat of New Orleans last week. However, Michael Vick is, after all, Michael Vick, and if he’s off for the day, he’s still got Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett around.

Philadelphia 24, Kansas City 23. Donovan McNabb isn’t at full strength with his hernia, and he won’t be again this year. Kansas City seemed on the other side of the momentum, moving up fast before Denver ripped them apart last week. Today, the momentum continues in one direction – for whom is the question.

Dallas 20, Minnesota 16. It’s Junius Jones vs. Randy Moss – whoever has the best game will get his team a win!

San Francisco 17, Arizona 3. The 49ers don’t have an offense, but Arizona doesn’t have anything.

Carolina 17, Green Bay 14. These two teams were great – and not so very long ago.

Last week: 8-5

Overall: 21-23