PEWTERREPORT.COM STAFF STANDINGS

Scott Reynolds 88-54

Jim Flynn 79-63

Hugh MacArthur 77-65

LAST WEEK

Jim Flynn 8-8

Scott Reynolds 8-8

Hugh MacArthur 7-9

Atlanta at Baltimore (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Beaten. Haggard. Downtrodden. The analytic approach didn’t work.  The college buddy approach didn’t work.  When all else fails, find the female you trust that doesn’t follow football but somehow wins the weekly pool. This tortured logic is how I found myself on a barstool next to Theresa, a professional investor and good friend, at Paddy O’s pub looking for answers (I thought about cutting out the beer part, but that seemed far too extreme). The first thing you need to know about Theresa is that she has friends from Baltimore, and that portends a big day for the Ravens. Baltimore

Reynolds – I hope Hugh uses the terms "beaten, haggard and downtrodden" in his concession speech when he buys me dinner at the end of the season. Both defenses are really banged up, but Atlanta’s is really suffering from injuries with defensive ends Patrick Kearney and John Abraham out for this game along with cornerback Jason Webster. Linebacker Edgerton Hartwell, defensive back Jimmy Williams and defensive tackles Grady Jackson and Rod Coleman are listed as questionable. That’s enough to make me pick the Ravens at home. Baltimore

Flynn – The Falcons picked a horrible time to put together a two-game losing streak. Atlanta has lost to Detroit and Cleveland over the past two weeks. Those teams have combined for 5-13 record this season. So what makes anybody believe the Falcons will leave Baltimore with a win over the 7-2 Ravens, who have the defense to keep Michael Vick contained? Baltimore

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Theresa held her nose. “Such terrible choices. I don’t like either of these cities.” As the barkeep poured the Amstel Light, the Steelers became the tallest midget. Pittsburgh

Reynolds – I will not be surprised one bit if Cleveland wins this game. Cleveland and Pittsburgh has been a one-sided rivalry for some time, but it is a rivalry nonetheless. I think the Steelers are healthier at this stage of the game and I like them in a close one. Pittsburgh

Flynn – Don’t look now, but the Browns are playing decent football right now. But the Steelers are coming off an impressive win over the Saints last Sunday, and although this game should be close, I’m not convinced the Browns the defense to rattle Big Ben and Co. Pittsburgh

Buffalo at Houston (1:00 Sunday ET)

MacArthur – This pick was a breeze. My friend Theresa is a red-state gal, and wears her colors proudly on Election Day. This past Tuesday, she was befuddled, but not bowed. “Bush is from Houston,” she said. Texans over the top. Houston

Reynolds – If the Texans can sweep the Jaguars, which they did, I’ll have to start taking them more seriously. Fine, I will. Houston

Flynn – The Texans pulled off yet another upset over the Jaguars last week, and the Bills nearly did it in Indianapolis last Sunday. If Houston were playing Jacksonville again, I’d pick the Texans. But they’re not. Buffalo

Minnesota at Miami (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – We rolled this one around for a while, and it actually took a second order of Amstel before Theresa remembered that she used to do quite a bit of marketing in Minnesota, and really liked the land of 10,000 lakes. We toasted a Vikings victory, and promised to dedicate the next beer to remembering exactly what it was she marketed in Minnesota. Minnesota

Reynolds – The Dolphins have been … gulp … playing well behind Joey Harrington. They’ve knocked off Chicago and Kansas City in consecutive weeks. That’s good enough for me to pick them over a struggling Minnesota team who might wilt from the heat. Miami

Flynn – Miami has won two straight. Minnesota has lost three straight. The Vikings just aren’t a good team outside of the Metrodome, and the Dolphins have been playing quite well as of late. Have to go with the Dolphins at home in this one. Miami

Chicago at New York Jets (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I took a deep breath as this pick approached, but Theresa assured me that whatever she marketed in Minnesota was also being marketed by her in Bear country, so I exhaled and marked this one down. Chicago

Reynolds – The Jets are coming on and have been the surprise team in the NFL. But I think with seven games left, the Bears have the lead in the NFC and need to keep their foot on the pedal. The Bears have more to play for and they should be hungrier. Chicago

Flynn – I just don’t see the Jets pulling off the upset two weeks in a row. The Bears are quite balanced, and they have the defense to get the Jets offense, which is converting 43 percent of its third down attempts, off the field. Don’t be surprised if this one is close, but be very surprised if the Jets upset the Bears. Chicago

Washington at Tampa Bay (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – By now my modus operandi is clear: I hate to pick against the Bucs. They have cost me 5 games in the standings so far this year, but Theresa agrees that if you don’t take them at home against a 3-6 team with a first-time QB and a new running back, then you just haven’t checked in with your answering service. Tampa Bay

Reynolds – I’m not a homer for the Bucs – and this pick is clear evidence of that. However, I’m not a Bucs basher, either. I think the Bucs could and should win this game, especially without Clinton Portis and seeing that Jason Campbell will replace Mark Brunell for his first start at quarterback. But the Bucs have lost plenty of games they should have won this year. It pains me to say this, but … Washington

Flynn – Finally a matchup that’s favorable for the Buccaneers. The Redskins are coming into town with a rookie quarterback who has never taken an NFL snap and minus Clinton Portis. Yes, the Bucs have lost three straight games, but they should have revenge on their minds vs. the ‘Skins, who eliminated them from the playoffs last season. If that’s not enough get the Bucs a win, I’m not sure if they’ll win another game this season. Tampa Bay

St. Louis at Carolina (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – This game was a slam-dunk. As a professional investor, Theresa has three clients in North Carolina. As a woman, she dated a man from St. Louis. A very, very, bad man. Carolina

Reynolds – Carolina got a big win at Tampa Bay’s expense, but it was enough to keep their playoff hopes alive. If this game were in St. Louis I would have gone with the Rams, who are more than capable of beating the Panthers. But St. Louis isn’t a strong road team. Carolina

Flynn – The Rams are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks in Seattle. The Panthers are coming off an unimpressive win vs. the Buccaneers. This one will be close, but homefield advantage and St. Louis’ suspect defense, which is allowing 143 yards rushing per game, will be enough for the Panthers to pull this one out. Carolina

New England at Green Bay (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Theresa lives near Boston, so this pick was also a no-brainer. Tom Brady also usually doesn’t have three bad games in a row. New England

Reynolds – Boy, the Patriots are struggling with back-to-back losses, and that doesn’t happen often. The below-average Green Bay Packers should be the perfect tonic. New England

Flynn – Surprise. The Patriots are on a two-game losing streak. Brett Favre has the Packers playing well, but not well enough to send Tom Brady and the Patriots home with a three-game losing streak. New England

Oakland at Kansas City (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – This match was a struggle. As the bartender topped off our rounds, Theresa remarked that Oakland was near San Francisco, which is one of her favorite cities. I took several swallows of sparkling Amstel Light, shook my head, and just marked it down. Oakland

Reynolds – Kansas City at home in November? That’s almost a guaranteed win – regardless of who the quarterback is. Losing Tony Gonzalez will hurt, but I expect a big day from Larry Johnson. Kansas City

Flynn – The Chiefs are coming off a tough loss in Miami and are difficult to beat at home, especially against a division rival like the Raiders, who just plain stink. Kansas City

Cincinnati at New Orleans (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Theresa has a good friend from New Orleans. I spent one New Year’s Eve in New Orleans. Thankfully for both of us, it wasn’t with Theresa’s friend. I have connected through Cincinnati on planes. Theresa insists she can find Cincinnati on a map without help. We both agree that gumbo beats Delta connections. New Orleans

Reynolds – The Bengals are in the downward spiral. Everyone is waiting for the Saints to head in one, too. I like the fact that this one is in New Orleans. That should give the Saints the edge. New Orleans

Flynn – I’m not sure how any team can recover from a loss like the one the Bengals had at home against the Chargers last Sunday. Don’t you just get the feeling that the Bengals are about to implode? Cincinnati’s defense won’t be able to stop Deuce McAllister or Reggie Bush, and that will be the difference in this one. New Orleans

Tennessee at Philadelphia (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – This pick was the breeze of the evening. As soon as I read off the game, Theresa said, “Al Gore is from Tennessee.” I couldn’t argue. Philadelphia

Reynolds – I just can’t buy into Tennessee. I know they’ve had some surprise wins and Philly has had some surprise losses, but I don’t think that will be the case with this one. I just don’t like the Titans. Philadelphia

Flynn – Hmm. Let’s see. You’ve got an Eagles offense that’s averaging 390 yards per game and a Titans defense that’s surrendering about 370 yards per contest. Common sense tells you to pick the Eagles in this one, but that no longer applies in today’s NFL, which features plenty of upsets each week. However, I’ll take my chances with common sense. Philadelphia

Detroit at Arizona (Sunday 4:05 PM ET)

MacArthur – Now this is a game where the mojo of the talented Theresa really picked me up. “ I think the Lions have the best uniforms in the NFL,” she said. I smiled knowingly. Giggled to myself because I felt the sunshine of the promised land, and penciled it in. Detroit

Reynolds – Yuck. I just can’t pick Arizona. I couldn’t pick Arizona if they were playing Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas. I’ll take Rod and the fighting Marinellis. Detroit

Flynn – Does anyone even really care about this game? I certainly don’t, although I’d be interested in seeing if Denny Green will get fired after his team gets downed at home by the Lions. Detroit

Seattle at San Francisco (Sunday 4:05 PM ET)

MacArthur – I tapped my empty glass impatiently, as the Irish bartender scampered over to refill my pint. Theresa looked at this match-up and sighed. “Who doesn’t like to visit San Francisco?” she said. In between swallows of a full pint, I replied, “Indeed.” San Francisco

Reynolds – Will the return of Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander help Seattle find its groove, or will the Seahawks sputter due to the duo’s rust? I’m going to go with the former and pick Seattle. If Frank Gore (concussion) plays, I think San Francisco could pull the upset at home, though. Seattle

Flynn – The 49ers have the opportunity to pull within one game of the first place Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West division. Unfortunately for the 49ers defense, which ranks 26th overall, the Seahawks offense is getting Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander back this week. Seattle

Indianapolis at Dallas (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – This game was painful to pick. Theresa has a friend named Mark. The Cowboys are Mark’s team. With the gloom of fall misting the panes of glass on Paddy O’s windows, I confronted Theresa and asked if this was really a good enough reason to believe the Colts were finally going to lose their first game of the 2006 season. “Oh yes,” she replied. Dallas

Reynolds – The Colts are undefeated and while the Cowboys have the best chance of handing Indy it’s first loss, it isn’t going to happen. They will have to literally outshoot and outscore the Colts, and Tony Romo doesn’t have the ammo in his belt to outshoot a gunslinger like Peyton Manning in a close, high-scoring affair. Indianapolis

Flynn – I believe the Colts are good. I also believe they might be the best team in the AFC. However, I’m having a tough time believing the Colts are as good as 10-0. The Cowboys, who have the defense to rattle Peyton Manning and Co., will prove that by handing the Colts their first loss of the season. Dallas

San Diego at Denver (Sunday 8:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – This game was another gimme. Theresa’s investment firm has an office in San Diego, and like most rational human beings, she thinks that San Diego is a wonderful spot to go visit. Nothing against Denver, but the sushi in San Diego beats Rocky Mountain Oysters in Denver 10 times out of 10. San Diego

Reynolds – I think San Diego might have expended too much energy to come back last week versus Cincinnati. I like Denver’s defense, especially at home. I think San Diego can win, especially if the game gets to be a shootout, but the Broncos defense will be the difference. Denver

Flynn – San Diego’s come-from-behind win in Cincinnati was unbelievable. It will be difficult for the Chargers to pull off another road win in Denver, though. The Broncos were sloppy against the Raiders last week but will need to pull it together to beat the Chargers. Playing at home will help them do that in a tight one. Denver

New York Giants at Jacksonville (Monday 8:30 PM ET)

MacArthur – As last call resonated throughout Paddy O’s, and the pulsating fizz of an ultimate draft made its way down our necks, the easiest game of all came to the table. “My dad was a die-hard Giants’ fan,” Theresa said. We made a final toast, and this slate of games was in the books. New York

Reynolds – I can’t figure out this Jacksonville team. They are psycho. And I wonder if injuries aren’t starting to catching up with the Giants a little bit. But both teams are really banged up. I decided to seek counsel from my five-year old daughter, Ellie. I asked Ellie if she liked New York or Jacksonville better. She said New York. I asked her if she liked the Jaguars or the Giants better. She said the Jaguars. According to Ellie, I need to pick the New York Jaguars, but that’s impossible. I asked her again, for clarity, and she said that she likes Jacksonville because one of our dogs is named Jackson. That’s good enough for me. Jacksonville

Flynn – If the Jaguars can’t beat the Texans, how are they going to defeat the Giants? However, the last time Jacksonville lost to Houston, the Jags responded with big wins over the Eagles and Titans. The Giants can afford to lose this one. The Jaguars can’t, especially at home. Jacksonville

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