For the first time since 1970, no team made it to 4-0. Last week, nine underdogs, based on betting lines, won games. I mean, an undrafted rookie quarterback led a team over the defending Super Bowl champions 30-20, and they didn't score a passing or rushing touchdown. These sort of results show that the league of parity has even more parity than normal. After a month of play, 22 of the 32 NFL franchises are either in first place or are behind by only one in the loss column. Needless to say, it's been hard to get a grasp on this young season. A team that gets hot can separate itself real fast.
This week, your Houston Texans take on the Kansas City Chiefs in the BBQ Bowl. Okay, it's not really the BBQ Bowl, although Houston and Kansas City are 1-2 when it comes to the Q, but it should be an interesting match-up nonetheless. The rest of the 3-2 AFC South? They're broadcast in prime-time for our scouting pleasure. The other 11 league games provide some juicy match-ups as well.
After the jump, get the skinny on the Week Six activities. After the previews, the BRB Pick 'Em League gets turned on its head after a wild Week Five. Before you jump, here's your handy 506 TV coverage map. Who is ready for some GUS JOHNSON? LOUD SHOUTS OF JOY! GUS JOHNSON AND STEVE TASKER, BRBERS! If you need your fix on GUS, then this website will hold you over until Sunday.
The storyline here is Michael Vick against his old Atlanta team. The Falcons have a good front seven, but defending Vick opens a whole set of problems - especially on pass rush and the deep bomb to the speedy Eagle receivers. Defensively, the Eagles need to disrupt young Matt Ryan to stand a chance. The Eagles are top-five in sacks and interceptions, so I like the home team's chances. Eagles win 27-17.
San Diego Chargers (2-3) @ St. Louis Rams (2-3)
The Chargers make you want to go "WHAT?!" The Chargers have the league's #1 offense, #1 scoring offense, and the #2 overall defense. The problem? They lead the league with nine fumbles, and their special teams is awful. At home? The Rams are tied for third-most fumble takeaways, with six. The match-up seems favorable, especially since it's on the road, where the Chargers are 0-3 and lose games they shouldn't...like this one. If the Dome is a rockin', don't come a knockin'...Rams win 27-24.
New Orleans Saints (3-2) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
The Bucs are ahead of the Saints in the NFC South. Wow...did anyone see this coming? The Saints' running back corps has been reduced due to injury, which has really slowed the offense. A one-dimensional passing attack will make things easier for the Tampa Bay defense that has picked off a second-best nine passes. Call me crazy but...Buccaneers win 24-23.
Detroit Lions (1-4) @ New York Giants (3-2)
Did you see Ndamukong Suh last week? Tipped a pass at the line, stuck with it, and made the interception. It's too bad Detroit doesn't have a team of Suhs - the leader for Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Giants' defensive line should abuse the Lions, and I'm 100% sure about this...check the imprints on Reliant Stadium's turf if you doubt this. Giants win 34-13.
Miami Dolphins (2-2) @ Green Bay Packers (3-2)
Remember when the Packers were the hot team in the NFL? My, my, my, how the tables have turned. From QB Aaron Rodgers' concussion to TE Jermichael Finley's devastating loss to FS Morgan Burnett's season-ending injury, there are few Packers who haven't been on the injury report. Miami comes in rested and is a physical team, so I'm taking the Dolphins to push around the wounded Packers. Dolphins win 27-20.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) @ Chicago Bears (4-1)
If Seattle's not at home, they're already in danger of losing. In fact, the NFC West has only won one road game this season - Arizona at St. Louis. The Bears defense looks pretty stout. With Jay Cutler back, the Bears should roll here. Bears win 27-10.
Baltimore Ravens (4-1) @ New England Patriots (3-1)
In the playoffs, the Ravens beat down the Patriots. I think the result is the same here. The Ravens defense should stifle Tom Brady & Company, and Baltimore should get enough from their offense. Ravens win 27-17.
Cleveland Browns (1-4) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
It's the return of Ben Roethlisberger. Last season, the Browns were able to harass him, keeping Pittsburgh from the playoffs. A part me thinks that the Browns can generate some heat on Ben (Cleveland's 13th in sacks while Pittsburgh is allowing a sack every nine dropbacks), but the Cleveland offense will not do a thing against the Steel Curtain. Steelers win 20-3.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) @ Houston Texans (3-2)
I've discussed what needs to happen yesterday for a Houston win. I believe the Texans have the tools necessary to attack Kansas City's weak points. It's time to put my name on it. Texans win 23-17.
New York Jets (4-1) @ Denver Broncos (2-3) (Sunday 10/17 at 3:05 CDT)
The Jets don't have the invincible secondary of a year ago, and Darrelle Revis may miss Sunday's game. If you have a bunch of weapons, you can move the ball on the Jets' defense. They will stop whatever running game the Broncos attempt to have, but the second-best passing attack in the league should move down the field. Defensively, the Broncos are struggling to stop anyone. Due to that, New York should manage to score enough points to win. Jets win 31-23.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) @ San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
49ers owner Jed York declared that, despite being 0-5, the 49ers would win the NFC West this season. You have to admire the man for his belief, but the 49ers need to win a game. The Raiders are coming off a fantastic win over San Diego, so I'll try the 49ers, one last time, in a letdown game. If the 49ers don't win here, I will only pick them against Carolina, and that'll be the end of that. 49ers win 20-16.
Dallas Cowboys (1-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-3) (Sunday 10/17 at 3:15 CDT)
Who would've predicted this? The Cowboys aren't smart enough to run the ball apparently. They did it well against Houston, but not against anyone else. Even then, I remember the Vikings front four versus Romo last season. Randy Moss has typically performed outstandingly well against the man who didn't draft him. If they can cut down on the turnovers, Minnesota would win in a laugher. The ol' Textslinger is quarterbacking, though, so it's going to be needlessly close...Vikings win 34-31.
Indianapolis Colts (3-2) @ Washington Redskins (3-2) (Sunday 10/17 at 7:20 CDT)
The Redskins offensive coordinator is rather familiar with the Indianapolis Colts, having faced them as the Texans' coordinator. Ryan Torain has been successful in the Washington zone-blocking scheme, so he could potentially have a good day. Still, I like the Colts in this one if they can keep LaRon Landry off of Peyton. I will admit the idea of Landry hitting Manning is a good one, but still...Colts win 24-20.
Tennessee Titans (3-2) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) (Monday 10/18 at 7:30 CDT)
Same record, near similar total defense rankings, and this game is hard to call because these teams are pretty similar. While both secondaries are vulnerable, the key will be who can slow the other pass rush down. I expect to see Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson on a lot of screen passes and draw runs. Close match? Favor the home crowd (insert "two Jacksonville fans" joke here). Jaguars win 31-30.
Bye Week Teams:
Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Surprise! After losing Kurt Warner, cutting Matt Leinart, starting-then-benching Derek Anderson, and now rolling with Max Hall, the Cardinals are over-.500 and leading the NFC West. I'm really not sure how Arizona fans should feel. Relieved?
Buffalo Bills (0-5)
This team is terrible. An imperfect season is definitely possible. The loyal Buffalo fans deserve a lot better than what this franchise has given it over the past decade.
Carolina Panthers (0-5)
Their young defense is actually pretty good. They're aggressive and keep the games tight. Whether it's Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen, the offense just can't score enough points to take advantage of their defense. There are also rumors that DeAngelo Williams and/or Jonathan Stewart could be up on the trading block since this team's going through a full rebuild and wants draft picks. They'll get some wins because that defense is going to give them opportunities.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)
The Super Bowl hype is on life support right now. Back-to-back losses to the Browns and Bucs? Really? Carson Palmer just doesn't look right, and the pass rush is downright pathetic. Very much alive in the Wild Card race, the Bengals need to get the ship right during the bye week.
Weekly BRB Pick 'Em Update
Twas a rough week for pickers everywhere as nine underdogs won their games this past Sunday. Only 13 of 49 pickers (because leacheatsbabies missed his pick submission again...if he's listening or if anyone is interested in joining) had a week above .500, which was a season-low total. Even BRB Pick 'Em Dominator SATexan struggled this week, and he's been money all season long. Despite the murky NFL picture, one BRBer rose to the challenge and walked away easily with the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence...
If the Texas A&M Aggies can't win on the football field, then one of the famed and faithful 12th Man crowd can find success on the virutal field of BRB Pick 'Em. In a week that tripped up a lot of pickers, TAMU's very own krkenney avoided the traps to score the biggest points win since week one.
The philosophy (and English) major, similar to NFL leading rusher Arian Foster, did what he does in the philosophy classroom: Critically think about the problem (the NFL weekly schedule) and rationally debate the merits of each team. What did this profound thought lead to from krkenney? Correctly picking six of the nine underdogs who won on Sunday. Not only did krkenney nail most of the underdogs, but nailed all of his double-digit confidence points as well. In such a difficult pick week, it cannot be overstated how impressive krkenney's 11-3 week was and how it helped move him into 3rd in the overall standings.
For giggin' all the other BRB Pickers who could not keep up with his intellect, let us all raise a Shiner Hefeweisen, a favored beer of his, to krkenney - Week Five BRB Pick 'Em Winner of the Andre Johnson Award for Ass-Kicking and Excellence.
"Should've Put Money On It" Game of the Week: 46 of 48 BRB Pickers correctly called Baltimore beating Denver.
"We Know Nothing" Game of the Week: No one correctly predicted the Cardinals to beat the Saints. It was a major upset. The fact that the Cardinals won without a passing or rushing touchdown melts my mind.
Sippin' on Battle Red Drank: Taco Joe, Distant_Texans_Fan, USMC Texan, Jordann, CFHTim, pvavocalist, texanmaniac, txknight, Houston Transplant, DilloTex, tehGrindCrusher, Xmant2000, NoSafetiesNeeded, SouthernLion, Shake, rrtx, RED56, LisaK, ketchuppants7, WhiskeyR, and Jaws all overdosed on the Battle Red Drank last week by putting 14 max points on the Texans.
Hidin' Out In the Back of the Meeting Hall: krkenney and TexanKevin both picked New York over Houston...they saw clearly last week.
The Rex Grossman "F**k It, I'm Goin' Deep" Award: chrisd21 went big on 7 point underdog Tennessee. How big? Chris sunk a full 14 points on the underdog Titans to beat Jerry's boys in Dallas. It doesn't get no deeper than 14 on a big underdog. Major props to Chris for showing Rexy-like fearlessness.
The David Carr Misguided Faith Award: RED56 put 12 points down on 7.5 point underdog Kansas City to beat Indianapolis. He only wanted to see Indy lose...as we all do, and as the 49er faithful wanted to see David Carr this past Sunday. Can't fault him for pulling for the shocker that nearly happened.
The Charlie Casserly Decision Making Award: While ketchuppants7 put up a 3-11 week, no one who submitted a full week score fewer than Jaws' 13 points. Like Charlie Casserly on draft day, all of Jaws' picks, the ones he was so sure of that he put up high points on, went bust. It was a rough day for Jaws as Rip Jersey almost outscored him on one correct pick. Better luck week, Jaws. If Charlie Casserly can land a job on TV as an insider after failing as a general manager, you can bounce back too.
For Comparison's sake...strictly straight up:
John McClain: 7-7 (45-31) .
BRB Pickers: 6-8 (42-34).
ESPN Average: 6-8 (42-34).
TexansDC: 6-8 (40-36).
Jerome Solomon: 5-9 (39-37).
BRBer with the best weekly record: krkenney (krkenney) 11-3.
BRBer with the most weekly points: krkenney (krkenney) 83 points.
Overall best record: SATexan (Cake) 52-24 leads by 2 games over riversmccown (Glover Quin Never Allows TDs)
Overall points leader: SATexan (Cake) 464 points leads by 30 points over riversmccown (Glover Quin Never Allows TDs)
Don't forget to submit your picks by Sunday, BRB Pickers. Congrats once again to krkenney! Enjoy this weekend's slate of football and GO TEXANS!