It was August 2002 when underappreciated rap legend Scarface’s album “The Fix” hit shelves worldwide. One song that was vital to that album’s success was “Guess Who’s Back”, which featured Jay-z and Beanie Siegel. The title of this acclaimed hit is ever so significant to the current events of the National Football League. Here’s how:
A. Ben Roethlisberger reports to the Pittsburgh Steelers for regular season work after serving a four-game suspension, stemming from legal issues. Pittsburgh is on bye this week, which will further benefit Roethlisberger in his imminent return to the starting position.
B. Santonio Holmes, a former target of Roethlisberger, will make his regular season debut as a New York Jet after serving a four-game suspension of his own. This return should help out Gang Green’s offense a great deal.
C. Brian Cushing, the 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year, will suit up for the first time as a Texan this week after serving a four-game suspension for failure to comply with the NFL’s ant-doping policy.
While all these are interesting stories, there is none greater than what took place on October 6th. The return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Randy Ratio is back! “Pull your 84 jerseys out, I think it’s gonna be a fun ride”, Moss warned Viking Nation at his press conference. Purple Passion is here! I could go on and on about this, but there are games to pick, so without further ado:
Jaguars over Bills- Coming off a huge win against Indianapolis, there is momentum for Jacksonville to ride on. I can’t say how much gas it has, but it’ll be enough to get by a Buffalo team still searching for offensive identity.
Broncos over Ravens- This is an intriguing match. Denver has the top pass offense while Baltimore is the top dog in pass defense. Ray Rice isn’t as healthy as he’d like to be but plans to gut it out. I’ll go with the boys from the Mile High State on the strength of its running back corps having more depth.
Chiefs over Colts- I know it’s impossible to think Indianapolis can lose two straight games, but in addition to being banged up, they are 29th in both sides of the rushing game, offense and defense. Kansas City may be in the bottom half in passing yards, but being well coached covers that blemish, their defense is arguably the fastest in the league and they have the kind of backfield that can consume the clock, limiting Peyton Manning’s minutes with the ball.
Redskins over Packers- Pure physicality is what will win this game for Washington. Pound the rock with Ryan Torain, Keiland Williams and Chad Simpson. Also, make Albert Haynesworth as big of a part of the defensive front as they did in Philly, and a win is attainable for the burgundy and gold.
Lions over Rams- While this game features teams with a combined record of 2-6, it will be one to watch. They will leave it all on the field. I feel like Detroit has the intangibles needed to turn the corner, it’s just a matter of shaking off those little crazy things that prevents wins. Congratulations Silver & Blue, you get your first win.
Bears over Panthers- It’s Julius Peppers’ turn to experience homecoming. In a recent interview, he expressed how disgusted he was with Carolina’s lack of professionalism in ending the eight year relationship. Come Sunday, he’ll do more than just talk about his frustrations.
Bengals over Buccaneers- With Terrell Owens’ output of a week ago, could Cincinnati’s offense be peaking at the right moment? Cedric Benson has been a key contributor as of late. Now it’s #85’s turn! Tampa Bay won’t roll over and concede the game, but they’re still trying to get “there”.
Falcons over Browns- This game will feature a lot of running, but having the likes of Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White will help Matt Ryan balance out the offensive attack in a close, competitive game.
Giants over Texans- And with no hesitation! New York’s Sunday night drubbing of Chicago was an eye-opening experience. That team’s talented, but has underperformed thus far in this young season. Houston is last in pass defense and although Eli Manning hasn’t quite lit it up with his arm, Houston is prime for the picking. Brian Cushing is back, as mentioned earlier, but how good is he in dropping back into coverage?
Saints over Cardinals- Have teams figured out the N.O.? New Orleans only have one loss, but the point differential in wins is smaller than that of a season ago. Speaking of figuring out, Arizona named Max Hall the starting quarterback for this game. At the risk of sounding facetious, who is he?
Cowboys over Titans- Dallas will come back to action the same way it went into the bye week, on a winning note. They’re rested, they’re home and have an eighth ranked rush defense that could cause Chris Johnson to rush for under 100 yards for the third time in his last four games.
Raiders over Chargers- Oakland matches up well with San Diego. The Silver and Black are at home, can defend the pass and Darren McFadden is running out of his mind. Not to mention, San Diego is still at that part of the season where it waffles between wins and losses. Why not?
Eagles over 49ers- If David Carr got the start, I would go the other way. With Michael Vick being out up to two weeks, Kevin Kolb is looking to take advantage of every opportunity given to redeem himself. I can’t say he’s going to have an All-Pro outing, but he will want to do enough to ward off any possible feelings of buyers’ remorse that Philly’s management could be considering.
Vikings over Jets- Randy Moss will once again visit Revis Island. He found brief comfort in his first visit with two catches, 38 yards and one touchdown. This time around, he could be more even more productive. Remember, Darrelle Revis called him a slouch. I’m sure that’s still fresh in Super Freak’s mind. On the flip side, New York’s running game will face a true test against Minnesota’s defensive front. Unless the younger Shonn Green becomes a true compliment in yardage to LaDainian Tomlinson, Gang Green’s backfield is in for a rough night.
Last week, I broke even at 8-8, which puts me at 37-27 for the season. I’m on a mission to get back to familiar territory myself. Enjoy all week five has to offer and watch me pull off a double-digit win week.
By Antoine Hoffman