If a loved one continues to go outside of your relationship to seek affection from another, would you stick with that person? How about patronizing a manufacturer that continues to produce faulty products? At some point, you would realize that it’s time to seek other options if there are no signs of redemption, right? Too bad I can’t say the same for Oakland and Carolina coaches Tom Cable and John Fox. Both have put stock in quarterbacks who so far, have fallen under the bar of expectations. Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell is last in the league with a completion rate of 41.3% and a quarterback passer rating of 39.8. His biggest cons are lack of work ethic, inability to control his weight and fundamentals. Carolina’s Jake Delhomme is more so a victim of circumstance. Given his age, 34, and his injuries, the once Super Bowl starter is on the decline. It’s quite glaring that the arm which once slung passes up and down the field has lost its fire power. That could have a lot to do with why he leads the NFL in interceptions (7). Both Carolina (0-3) and Oakland (1-2) have been cited as teams that need to make changes under center. Their coaches feel otherwise. While belief in a player is admirable, his production must warrant a coach’s support. Cable and Fox better find a way to improve production at the quarterback position if they don’t want the knobs on their hot seats to be turned up.
I’m dealing with a loyalty issue of my own. I’m trying to figure out which teams will be loyal to me in response to my belief in them to win this week. With that said, here we go:
Bears over Lions– Congratulations to Detroit on ending its 19 game losing streak. I can’t say how many for sure, but look for Chi-Town to start a new one.
Bengals over Browns– In successive weeks, Cincinnati earned surprising wins over Green Bay and Pittsburgh, who are both projected playoff contenders. Eric Mangini decided to go with Derek Anderson as his starting quarterback, but it’ll take more than that to holt the Bengals’ momentum.
Texans over Raiders– So far, the pattern of Houston’s season has gone “Loss-Win-Loss”. Looks like they’ll keep the pattern going with another win.
Colts over Seahawks– It looks like the injury bug that bother Seattle is back for a repeat performance. I thought the departure of Tony Dungy would force Nap-Town to lose its sizzle. Boy, did I get that wrong!
Titans over Jaguars– Jacksonville finally got in the win column last week and Tennessee is due for one of its own and here’s where it happens.
Giants over Chiefs– If Larry Johnson was the 1,700-plus yard running back he was three to four years ago, Kansas City at best could keep it interesting. The Chiefs can’t travel back in time, so they’ll just have to endure whatever the G-Men give them.
Ravens over Patriots– Baltimore is 0-4 lifetime against New England. The difference between those games and this one is the Black Birds now have a passing game help its cause in getting its first ever win over the Pats. The streak ends here!
Buccaneers over Redskins– Not only did Washington’s “Debacle in Detroit” produce the lowest point in team history, it also raised the eyebrows of another winless team in Tampa Bay. I need to see the burgundy and gold field an aggressive offense that can score 20-plus points before I’m convinced of its ability to win.
Dolphins over Bills– There is a disconnect between Terrell Owens and Buffalo’s coaching staff. You have to get the ball to your playmakers in order to win. This trend will overshadow Miami’s reliance of the inexperienced Chad Henne, who fills in for Chad Pennington, thanks to a season ending shoulder injury.
Saints over Jets– If you think the “Shutdown Cornerback” is extinct, think again. One has been found in New York and his name id Darrelle Revis. Although he has shut down the likes of Andre Johnson and Randy Moss, he, along with his mates on defense are facing the league’s most well-rounded offense. Watch the N.O. make a statement!
Cowboys over Broncos– So far, Denver’s had the fortune of facing some of the league’s lower brass teams. Dallas presents a tougher challenge, one which will give Josh McDaniel his first loss as head coach.
49ers over Saints– San Francisco let a marquee win slip through their fingers in Minnesota. Trust and believe that on Mike Singletary’s watch, that will not be customary.
Steelers over Chargers– I know Pittsburgh is missing some key components from last season, but it’s arguably the most stable organization in the NFL. What that means is it will not claim ownership to a three-game losing streak. Besides, the next night, Ben Roethlisberger will host Monday Night Raw and the last thing he wants is to stand before the WWE Universe on the heels of defeat.
Packers over Vikings– Write this down…This will be the most highly rated Monday night game of the season and possibly all time. Even non-football fans are going to tune in to see Brett Favre host his former team. This will be good for both ESPN, which will be tickled pink and the NFL community, which will learn life in Green Bay is fine without ol’ #4.
In response to last week’s question, I was able to maintain my double-digit win average with an 11-5 mark. The quest is far from over. If you noticed missing games, that’s because this is the beginning of bye weeks where teams get time off. This week, Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia are resting. For me, there is no bye week. I’ll rest in the offseason. As always, enjoy the games and we’ll do it again in seven days.
By Antoine Hoffman