For two wide receivers, October 8th, 2009 will be etched in their minds as a day of new beginnings. Braylon Edwards, whose career in Cleveland has been anything but glorious, looks to leave behind the injuries, controversy and dropped passes as a New York Jet. Then there’s Michael Crabtree, who ended his five month holdout over a contract dispute, finally reconciled with San Francisco, officially becoming a 49er. I can’t say how soon their presences will impact their teams, but it is safe to assume they are looking to rid themselves of the issues that gave them infamy. In falling one game short of my double-digit win average, I too am on a quest for redemption.
Without further ado, here we go:
Ravens over Bengals– In a game that could go either way, I’ll give Baltimore the edge on the strength of home field advantage.
Browns over Bills– Given Buffalo’s refusal to get Terrell Owens more involved in the offense and Cleveland’s determination to show there will be life after Braylon Edwards, why can’t the Dawg Pound get its first win here?
Redskins over Panthers– With the acquisition of new Offensive Consultant Sherman Smith, maybe Washington will be able to take advantage of a defense’s weakness. For instance, Carolina’s rush defense allows the most rushing yards per game (roughly 183). Shouldn’t speedy hometown favorite Marcus Mason get consideration for playing time?
Steelers over Lions– Congratulations Pittsburgh, you will get your first road win of the season in Detroit.
Cowboys over Chiefs– Even though Tony Romo’s late season jitters have come in the first quarter of 2009, Dallas will somehow escape Kansas City and enter its bye week with a win.
Giants over Raiders– Even if Eli Manning sits out to nurse his foot injury, has Oakland done anything since the Monday Night season opener to suggest it can pull off the upset?
Eagles over Buccaneers– Does Donovan McNabb’s health percentage really matter here? The fact of the matter is he will be back and will perform in a way that asks “Ay, remember me?”
Vikings over Rams– I just lost count as to how many lopsided games are being played this week.
49ers over Falcons– With all the attention that Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White get, how many of you knew Atlanta’s defense is ranked 30th. San Francisco knows, so look for the 49ers to expose the weaknesses and tighten its chokehold on the NFC West.
Cardinals over Texans– With the extra week of preparation, Arizona will walk out of this offensive shootout victorious.
Patriots over Broncos– Tom Brady is getting his rhythm back, which tells me not to bet against New England often. If for some reason Denver pulls this one out, I just might become a believer.
Jaguars over Seahawks– Once again, the injury bug is claiming victims in Seattle. Having to play without the likes of Matt Hasselbeck, Lofa Tatupu and Walter Jones makes it impossible for the Seahawks to generate wins.
Colts over Titans– Okay, the time for Tennessee to push the panic button is now. Kerry Collins’ inept performances and the lack of deep threat receivers makes the Titans offense one-dimensional. Jeff Fisher needs to find something that will end the losing streak. Too bad it won’t happen against Indianapolis.
Jets over Dolphins– Even if Braylon Edwards went elsewhere, this game was still in favor of New York. Why? The presence of Chad Henne gives Miami’s passing game an unknown identity while the Jets’ pass defense allows under 180 yards per game. It’ll take more than the Wildcat to save Miami in this one.
As mentioned earlier, I fell a game short of my projected weekly average. While 9-5 is not bad, it’s not a mark to settle for either. I have a standard to uphold, and familiar territory awaits me. So until next week, enjoy the action.
By Antoine Hoffman