Can the ‘Skins recover?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Washington 26, Philadel-phia 13. Whoever grabs the first life preserver wins. These teams are going down faster than my bank account (well, almost), and both are in desperate need, not only of a win, but of a confidence-building (i.e., 49-0) win. Terrell Owens got suspended for running his mouth again (in other news, sun to rise in morning), and Donovan McNabb is starting to look like Steve McNair with an injury every five minutes. That, and the fact that Washington always plays better at home, gives the ‘Skins the Pick.

Tennessee 10, Cleveland 9. Games like this should be outlawed, if for no reason than the only thing that can happen is for someone to get hurt. Once a team gets to a certain point, they should just take the rest of the year off practicing and healing.

Kansas City 35, Oakland 34. One of the best rivalries in NFL history continues. These two always put on a barn-burner, as their last three games – all Chief wins – have been decided by a combined 14 points. That’ll probably continue today, but only because neither squad has much of a defense.

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Atlanta 30, Miami 10. The bad news for Atlanta is that Michael Vick is having a subpar year. The good news is that Warrick Dunn is kicking so much hind end that no one’s noticed. Miami’s coming off a good performance against New Orleans, but they’ve been bipolar all year.

San Diego 33, N.Y. Jets 14. The Jets team that knocked San Diego out of the playoffs last year is an injury-riddled shell of what it once was. Despite being 4-4, San Diego’s 27.6 points per game are the highest in the AFC, and its defense is coming off a hot defeat of Kansas City.

Detroit 19, Minnesota 12. These two remotely-decent teams might put on a show. Daunte Culpepper’s out for Minnesota, but Brad Johnson came in and did fine against Carolina last week. However, the Lions get the Pick because they better be rabid after missing a chance to lead the NFC North with an overtime loss to Chicago last week.

Carolina 42, Tampa Bay 17. From the records (two 5-2s squaring), this looks a bit more exciting than it might actually be. Cadillac Williams and Brian Griese, two of the main reasons the Bucs were 5-1, are hurting, which showed in a loss to San Francisco last week (Man, I wish I could go back in time and put money on that one!). Jake Delhomme went medieval on Minnesota last week, and he’s anxious to prove himself some more.

Jacksonville 24, Houston 20. The Texans have some momentum after finally winning last week, but Jacksonville’s out for revenge on the squad that knocked them out of the playoff picture last year.

Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 7. Marvin Lewis turned Baltimore’s defense into the league’s finest, and he’s made Cincinnati’s pretty scary too. That’s bad news for a team that’s never been too high on offense.

Chicago 27, New Orleans 6. The Saints are in the middle of nowhere, and they’re not moving. Chicago’s got a great defense, and its offense is getting better.

Seattle 42, Arizona 13. Shaun Alexander cut loose for 140 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-12 win over Arizona Sept. 12, and nothing on either side has changed since then.

N.Y. Giants 58, San Francisco 3. Last week, the Giants ran roughshod over Washington, which beat the 49ers 52-17 two weeks ago. Get the picture?

Pittsburgh 30, Green Bay 8. Ben Roethlisberger probably won’t play today. That’s OK; the Steelers probably won’t need him.

New England 24, Indianapolis 21. This is why my phone will be off the hook Monday night. Indy, particularly Peyton Manning, tends to choke against the Patriots, while Tom Brady is at his best against the Colts. This could be very important as the season goes on.

Last week: 9-5

Overall: 62-52