PEWTERREPORT.COM STAFF STANDINGS

Scott Reynolds 80-46

Jim Flynn 71-55

Hugh MacArthur 70-56

LAST WEEK

Scott Reynolds 7-7

Jim Flynn 6-8

Hugh MacArthu
r 6-8
 
Cleveland at Atlanta (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Well, the deep statistical analysis approach yielded 6-8 last week, so I was going to go completely in the other direction and pick my wife’s favorite uniforms this week to break the jinx.  However, I collected my senses and headed to a favorite local watering hole with my college buddy Scott, who despite being a Redskins fan is a pretty good guy, and has been arguing with me about football for almost 25 years. Together, we decided beer was the right approach to creating the correct atmosphere for choosing games.  Well, it didn’t take but one sip of the first beer to decide that Cleveland stinks and Atlanta is at home, so we toasted to a Falcons victory.  Atlanta

Reynolds – I like Atlanta big over Cleveland at home. The Browns are coming on and becoming a competitive team, but the Falcons are asserting themselves in the NFC behind … Mike Vick’s passing game? Say it ain’t so. Atlanta

Flynn – The Falcons are 2-0 vs. AFC teams this year, and the Browns are just 1-3 on the road. Cleveland resembled a decent football team in San Diego last Sunday, but the Browns are catching the Falcons, who were upset in Detroit last week, at the wrong time. The Cleveland defense simply is no match for Michael Vick, whose Falcons need this game to keep themselves in the hunt for the NFC South division title. Atlanta

San Francisco at Detroit (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I told Scott that two bad teams makes for a tough choice.  Of course, last week the Fish seemed like bait to the Bears, but we both agreed after half a beer that the Lions at home had to beat a terrible road team.  Scott said two words: “Roy Williams.”  Detroit

Reynolds – It’s only a matter of time before the Lions buy into what Rod Marinelli is selling. I think that time is now. The Lions are 2-6, but I look for them to make some noise in the second half of the season. Here’s a game they can win at home and move to 3-6. I’m guessing Detroit wins six or seven games this year. Detroit

Flynn – While no one around the league really cares about this game, the 49ers and Lions are both coming off of big wins against the Vikings and Falcons, respectively. San Francisco’s defense isn’t good (holding the Vikings to three points was the exception, not the norm). Detroit’s only two wins of the season have come at home, and a third win is in order against a San Francisco team that just doesn’t play well on the road.  Detroit

Houston at Jacksonville (1:00 Sunday ET)

MacArthur – This game was also one we didn’t spend much time on….with Leftwich on the bench, the biggest threat to the Jaguars has been neutralized.  Next.  Jacksonville

Reynolds – I know Houston scored a big upset by beating the Jaguars, but that was with Byron Leftwich at quarterback. Now this is David Garrard’s offense and I expect the Jaguars to dish out some payback on their home turf. Jacksonville

Flynn – Jacksonville got upset by Houston a few weeks ago, but that will prove to be a fluke as the Jaguars are on a roll, having knocked off the likes of Philadelphia and Tennessee in consecutive weeks. Houston will make it close, but the Jaguars and their defense will prove to be too much for the Texans to handle. Jacksonville

Green Bay at Minnesota (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Scott was getting to the halfway point in his beer and we began to fret about this game.  Minnesota was atrocious last week, but the Packers looked even worse mailing it in against the Bills, and Brett Favre has had a career of horror in the dome.  We toasted Brad Johnson (former Redskins and Buccaneers’ QB) and knew that victory was at hand.  Minnesota

Reynolds – Minnesota’s offense is struggling and weak. The Vikings defense is actually pretty good. If the defense can force Green Bay’s offense – QB Brett Favre in particular – to turn the ball over, the Vikings will win at home. If not, I expect the Packers to prevail. I’ll go with the home team. Minnesota

Flynn – After starting the season strong, Minnesota has come crashing back down to reality, losing two straight games to New England and San Francisco, respectively. Green Bay had a chance to get back to .500 last week and blew it in Buffalo. Brett Favre tends to struggle in domes, especially the Metrodome. New Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin is familiar with Favre and knows how to beat him – by pressuring him and creating turnovers. The Vikings will do just that and down the Packers in a close one. Minnesota

Washington at Philadelphia (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I couldn’t allow Scott to pick this game.  With his devotion to the Redskins, it was too emotional.  He did give me some clues on how to pick the game, however.  He described the Skins’ last second (zero second?) win against the Cowboys last week as a “miracle” and said the team looked “dead” during most of the game.  Though they have lost three straight, I think the Eagles coming off a bye are ready to get back in the win column.  Sorry, Scottie.  Philadelphia

Reynolds – This game is at Philadelphia and I think that will prove to be the difference-maker. Washington won last week on a fluke play. They were luck to win. The Redskins’ luck runs out as Donovan McNabb and Bryant Westbrook should be able to exploit their defense. Philadelphia

Flynn – Washington’s defense is just what the doctor ordered for a Philadelphia offense that has struggled over the past two games. This game has serious playoff implications as both teams are trying to catch up to the first place New York Giants in the NFC East division. Look for Donovan McNabb to pick apart Washington’s secondary and for its defense to come up with a couple of key turnovers in this one. Homefield helps Philly prevail over the ‘Skins. Philadelphia

San Diego at Cincinnati (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – This game called for much gnashing of teeth and another round of beers.  We both felt that San Diego had the better team, but Cincinnati has lost some agonizing games, and is a desperate home team, so we bet that Carson Palmer gets it back together again.  Cincinnati

Reynolds – The Bengals aren’t the Super Bowl contender that everyone thought they would be. The Chargers are an intense team and will carry that intensity on the road this week to send the Bengals reeling. Cincy really needs this game, but they won’t get it. San Diego

Flynn – The Chargers are 6-2 on the season, but they’re clearly not the same team away from home. Both of their losses have come on the road this season. However, the Bengals are reeling, having lost two straight games. The Chargers just barely got by the Browns last Sunday, but Cincinnati’s defense is no match for Ladainian Tomlinson. San Diego

Buffalo at Indianapolis (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I can’t remember which one of us was in the bathroom when this game came up.  But that is probably the same place most fans will go if they are forced to watch this one.  Indianapolis

Reynolds – The Patriots went down to Peyton and the Colts last week in Foxboro. They won’t have as much trouble with Buffalo. Indianapolis

Flynn – The Bills don’t have the offense to keep up with Peyton Manning and Co. in Indianapolis, and they don’t have the secondary to limit Manning in the passing game. That means the Colts will remain undefeated for at least one more week. Indianapolis  

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

MacArthur – Scott and I agreed that the Fish have had their win of the season.  I have no idea what Faustian bargain Damon Huard has made, but count me as a believer for another week.  Kansas City

Reynolds – I correctly called last week’s Chiefs win, which allowed me to win the week. I thought Kansas City would gain have gained some confidence with home wins that would carry over into a win at St. Louis. That’s exactly what happened. The Dolphins, fresh off an upset in Chicago, have a chance to beat K.C. if they can stop Larry Johnson, who is on fire right now. Good luck. Kansas City

Flynn – Don’t look now, but the Chiefs are 5-3. However, four of those wins have come against NFC teams. Miami managed to kill Chicago’s hopes of pulling off an undefeated season, but the Bears quarterback Rex Grossman had some costly self-inflicted wounds in that contest. Backup QB Damon Huard is doing a nice job of taking care of the football and keeping the Chiefs offense moving without injured QB Trent Green. Look for that trend to continue Sunday. Kansas City

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

MacArthur – Scott and I both agreed that the Patriots will be pretty agitated after their five-turnover loss to the Colts.  The Jets will be good eventually, but we’re betting on a ticked off Brady and a ticked off Belichick.  New England

Reynolds – Look for the Patriots to rebound big at home against a spunky Jets team. ‘Nuff said. New England

Flynn – The Patriots just don’t lose back-to-back football games, as my astute colleague Hugh MacArthur wisely pointed out several weeks ago when I picked New England to lose to the Bengals. Although the Jets will play the Patriots tough, I won’t make that mistake again. New England

Baltimore at Tennessee (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – As the next round came, we felt the games getting easier.  The Ravens love to shut down the run, and Vince Young is not ready for prime time.  Baltimore

Reynolds – Baltimore is capitalizing on a suddenly weak AFC North. Having beaten the Bengals, they are in the driver’s seat and need to keep on winning. The Ravens offense and defense are clicking together. Baltimore

Flynn – The Ravens have found an offense with Steve McNair healthy and Brian Billick calling plays. That’s a scary notion for the Titans, who are surrendering 369 yards and 27 points per game. Baltimore

Denver at Oakland (Sunday 4:05 PM ET)

MacArthur – I think Oakland would be an underdog vs Ohio State.  Scott thinks Oakland should be playing in another state.  Denver

Reynolds – No analysis required. Denver

Flynn – Even this hated rivalry won’t be enough to inspire the Raiders to pull off the upset over the Broncos, who proved to be mentally tough last Sunday in rebounding from a tough loss to Indy with a win in Pittsburgh. That toughness, and Denver’s defense, will be enough to get the Broncos a win over the Raiders in the Black Hole. Denver

New Orleans at Pittsburgh (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – I was thinking, that just perhaps, the Saints might be for real after last week’s Tampa beatdown.  Scott took a swallow of Sam Adams and reminded me that, well, they are still the Saints.  Pittsburgh

Reynolds – The Steelers are really questioning themselves right now, but I think they’ll score an upset win at home. The Saints haven’t won this many games this early in the season that they don’t know how to handle it. New Orleans should win, but a prideful Steelers team will bounce back and score an upset. Pittsburgh

Flynn – Stick a fork in ‘em. The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-6 and done. The Saints, on the other hand, are 6-2 and appear to be just getting started. Move over, Ben Roethlisberger. Drew Brees is coming into town, and has his team playing well enough to leave Pittsburgh with a win over the defending Super Bowl champs. New Orleans

Dallas at Arizona (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Scott cast this game as another in the “boy are we pissed off we lost last week” column.  Dallas

Reynolds – Is there any way Arizona could win this game? Maybe if the entire Dallas Cowboys team got food poisoning on the day of the game. That’s highly unlikely. Dallas

Flynn – Most teams don’t rebound easily or quickly from the type of loss Dallas suffered in Washington last Sunday. The good news, however, is Arizona still is reeling from the Bears’ come-from-behind win several weeks ago. Arizona has historically played Dallas tough, but the Cardinals just don’t have the offense or defense to hang with the Cowboys in this one. Dallas

St. Louis at Seattle (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Seattle has too many good players hurting.  It was enough to get by Oakland, but we both think the Rams have something going, and could handle the Seahawks on the road.  St. Louis

Reynolds – Seattle beat a dreadful Oakland team last week, but I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Louis scores a road upset. In fact, I’ll pick ‘em. I think Jim Haslett’s defense can handle Seattle’s neutered offense that misses Tim Hasselback and Shaun Alexander. St. Louis

Flynn – This game has first place in the NFC West division at stake. Even without Shaun Alexander, Seattle should be able to exploit St. Louis’ suspect run defense with Maurice Morris pounding the rock. Seattle

Chicago at New York Giants (Sunday 8:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Scott ordered last rounds as we considered this game.  At first, it seemed difficult to choose, but then we remembered that half the Giants’ defense wouldn’t be playing and Amani Toomer was on IR.  That, and the bartender said Urlacher was good to go.  Chicago

Reynolds – Wow. Did NBC score the best games or what this year? Sunday night is the new Monday night. I think the Bears are coming down to earth with Rex Grossman’s turnovers. I think the Giants will be able to do enough on offense against a stingy Bears defense at home. New York Giants

Flynn – Miami laid out a blue print for how to attack Chicago’s defense last Sunday en route to victory over the Bears. Run the ball early and often and win the battle in the trenches. That’s easier said than done, but the Giants have the offensive linemen and running back to get the job done against a potentially potent Chicago defense. Look for Tiki Barber to carry the Giants offense on his back while their defense forces Bears quarterback Rex Grossman to turn the ball over a few times in this contest. New York Giants

Tampa Bay at Carolina (Monday 8:30 PM ET)

MacArthur – Last game.  Last call.  I am out of answers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Every piece of information I can imagine says the Panthers should win this game.  Still, the Bucs tend to do the unexpected.  I paid the tab, and I hold my breath.  Tampa Bay

Reynolds – If the Bucs have a first quarter lead, I think they can win this game. Bruce Gradkowski has to start fast and open things up for the running game. Tampa Bay’s defense must hold the Panthers to less than 20 points. Torrie Cox will be the key in this game. If the Panthers exploit him, the Bucs will surely lose. Carolina

Flynn – The second half of Tampa Bay’s 2006 regular season looks like it will have a similar start to the first half. The Bucs have lost six of their last seven games to the Panthers, who are 4-4 and need to win this game to keep pace with the Falcons and Saints in the NFC South division race. Little pressure from Tampa Bay’s front four will translate into a big night for Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith. Carolina

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