Since week three, Anquain Boldin has been battling an ankle injury. It was aggravated in the week eight loss to Carolina. Despite the hindrance, Boldin arrived to Soldier Field expecting to play in Arizona’s week nine matchup against the Chicago Bears. So, he warmed up, felt good about how his ankle responded to the conditions of the grass and hit the locker room to dress for kickoff. One problem…his gear was removed from his locker. This was coach Ken Whisenhunt’s way of letting the three-time Pro Bowl receiver know he was placed on the inactive list. He admitted he broke the news to Boldin shortly after the inactive players list was submitted. Whisenhunt deactivated Boldin because he felt the field was thick and loose, which could’ve resulted further aggravation of the injury. “We have a tough stretch coming up, and a couple of division games. I wanted to make sure he was ready to go”, Whisenhunt said. “Nobody was man enough to come and tell me what was the situation,” Boldin replied. Surprisingly, Whisenhunt had no problem with Boldin’s response. Maybe because he too felt the situation could’ve been handled better. Either way, the second half of the season has arrived and there has to be cohesion if Arizona wants a postseason return. Here we go:
49ers over Bears– Isn’t it ironic to see Mike Singletary on the opposing sideline of Chicago’s? Look for San Francisco to bring its losing streak to a holt.
Panthers over Falcons– Given that Atlanta’s rush defense allows 123 rushing yards per game, the best strategy is to put the offense on the backs of DeAngelo Willams and Jonathan Stewart so they can run Carolina to victory.
Dolphins over Buccaneers– Behind the arm of rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay finally got one in the win column. Miami is in desperation mode and needs this one to stay alive in the AFC East.
Vikings over Lions– Does it get more lopsided than this?
Steelers over Bengals– Did you expect Cincinnati to battle Pittsburgh for the AFC North crown? As tough of a matchup as this is, Pittsburgh gets the edge, thanks to home field advantage.
Titans over Bills– Vince Young equals rejuvenation! Chris Johnson has been running out of control. Going off topic a bit, given that Tennessee is in need of a deep threat receiver and Buffalo has squandered its acquisition of Terrell Owens, is it out of the realm of possibility to make a homecoming of sorts as a Titan in 2010? He played his college ball in Chattanooga…I’m just saying!
Broncos over Redskins– On the heels of a two-game losing streak, this game is right on time for Denver, as it tries to maintain its legitimacy as an AFC contender.
Saints over Rams– You can bank on St. Louis to pound New Orleans with a heavy dose of Stephen Jackson, but he alone won’t be enough to match points with the New Greatest Show on Turf.
Jets over Jaguars– In its return from the bye week, Gang Green wants to make an example out of Jacksonville that tells us the 3-0 start was not a fluke.
Chiefs over Raiders– In this battle for last place in the AFC West, Kansas City looks to accompany its disposal of Larry Johnson with a win over its bitter rival.
Cardinals over Seahawks– If Arizona jumps out to a big lead the same way Detroit did a week ago, don’t bank on Seattle to pull off a repeat, comeback win.
Cowboys over Packers– Unless Green Bay’s offensive line has become more anchored overnight, Aaron Rodgers is going to have another rough day in the office.
Eagles over Chargers– I’m thinking Brian Westbrook will be fully recovered from the concussion he suffered in week eight, which should give Philly’s offense an added dimension to an already potent attack.
Patriots over Colts– New England’s pass offense will have the luxury of facing a depleted Indianapolis secondary. Look for Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker to take everything the Colts’ defense gives them.
Ravens over Browns– Oh, how Jamal Lewis would love to stick it to his former team. Unfortunately, Cleveland doesn’t have much support to help him make this a reality. Baltimore’s defense is a shell of its former self, but it should be able to hold a Browns’ offense still trying to find its way.
For the year, I’m 85-44, thanks to my 9-4 output last week. Please note from here until season’s end that the weeks will kick off on Thursday night. As always, enjoy the games and let’s get back at it in another 168 hours.
By Antoine Hoffman