Tomorrow: ‘Skins vs. Dallas

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2005

Dallas 20, Washington 7. The ‘Skins defensive prowess showed in last week’s win over Chicago, but the Bear offense can’t hold a candle to Dallas’, which found a way through the much-tougher San Diego. Granted, I hope Washington wins, but reality says otherwise.

Baltimore 10, Tennessee 3. Both teams are shadows of their former selves, with the Titans giving away most of their players for salary cap reasons and the Ravens’ offense drier than the Sahara. Their defense isn’t as good as it once was either, but they still have Jamal Lewis, who’s looking to cut loose after being held down by Indianapolis last week.

Pittsburgh 30, Houston 16. Willie Parker and Ben Roethlisberger, who made life hell for Tennessee last week, will have a tougher task today in the Texans, but only a bit tougher. The Texan offensive line looked incapable of stopping a ball of aluminum foil from getting through in last week’s loss to Buffalo, and Pittsburgh’s defense is looking sharp.

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Detroit 7, Chicago 3. The Bear defense is pretty good, but their offense looked like everyone had been up all night against Washington. That’s good news for a Lion defense that won’t scare anyone – hey, beating Green Bay doesn’t have the significance it once did! On the other hand, the Detroit offense looked OK last week, so they should win a low-scoring affair.

Cincinnati 27, Minnesota 18.

For the first time, the Viking defense might be better than its offense. Daunte Culpepper fumbled twice and threw three interceptions in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay. The Bengals showed their weaponry, as Rudi Johnson, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer all helped out in a defeat of Cleveland.

New England 24, Caro-lina 17. Chances are, the Patriots won’t need a last-second kick from Adam Vinatieri to win this one like they did in the Super Bowl two years ago; it took them a bit longer than it should have to wake up against Oakland, but they got things together in time, and they’ll be ready for a tough Panther offense. Carolina’s defense is solid, but Tom Brady tends to make good defenses look awful.

Jacksonville 23, Indiana-polis 14. Upset Pick of the week. The Jaguars found a way through Indy last season, and their offense ripped Seattle last week, while the defense shut down the Seahawks. The Colt defense looked spectacular last week, but Baltimore doesn’t bring to bear the offense Jacksonville has.

Tampa Bay 20, Buffalo 19. This is the &uot;Game That Looks Important Now But Won’t Mean Diddly Within Two Months&uot; contest winner. It’s a tough call, but it won’t be once either squad plays anyone with some real skill.

Philadelphia 28, San Francisco 10. While the Eagles looked out of their element last week against Atlanta, the ‘Niners went nuts on St. Louis. Like Michael Vick last week, if Tim Rattay gets hot early, San Fran could take this. But Philly gets the Pick because they’ve had some time to regroup, and because playing against his former team should be enough to get even Terrell Owens focused.

St. Louis 30, Arizona 6. The Cardinals don’t have a defense, and Kurt Warner is the best thing about their offense, which isn’t saying much. St. Louis was stunned by San Francisco last week, and Marc Bulger’s ticked. The Ram defense isn’t among the league’s finest, but, again, these are the Cardinals I’m writing about.

Atlanta 21, Seattle 12. Both Michael Vick and the Seahawks only played half a game last week, but the difference was that Vick’s defense picked up the slack for him, while Seattle let Jacksonville rock them. Vick took apart the Philadelphia defense, which is better than Seattle’s, and the Seahawk offense can’t fly past the Falcons.

N.Y. Jets 21, Miami 20. Both teams were involved in stunners last week, while the Dolphins whaled Denver, while the Jets were hammered by Kansas City. However, the Jets get the Pick for a few reasons. First of all, they would have been closer had Laveraneus Coles not dropped a pair of surefire touchdown passes. Second, they committed several mental error penalties. Third, it’s a safe bet that Denver, like most people, didn’t take Miami seriously without Ricky Williams. The Jets will be more prepared.

San Diego 26, Denver 13. Antonio Gates can make up for his crybaby holdout with a big game today, and a Charger offense that LaDanian Tomlinson couldn’t carry to victory over Dallas needs him. Despire last week’s 34-10 pasting by Miami, Denver’s defense isn’t too bad – it’s just that the offense kept them on the field for nearly the entire second half.

Cleveland 10, Green Bay 7. Last year, this game might have meant something.

Oakland 30, Kansas City 20. Game of the Week. The Chiefs defense got it together last week in a beating of New York, and their offense wasn’t bad either. Oakland’s defense is OK (losing to New England is hardly a cause for shame), and this is Raider fans’ first chance to see Randy Moss at home. If he gets hot early, Oakland might ride straight through. It’s up to Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson to ensure that doesn’t happen.

New Orleans 28, New York Giants 23. Can New Orleans keep working miracles? Hey, they’re Saints, aren’t they? But fantasy aside, they get the Pick because they defeated Carolina last week, and that’s more impressive than a win over Arizona.

Last week: 5-10