PEWTERREPORT.COM STAFF STANDINGS

Scott Reynolds 59-27

Jim Flynn 55-31

Hugh MacArthur 53-33

LAST WEEK

Jim Flynn 8
-5

Hugh MacArthur
8-5

Scott Reynolds 7
-6
 
Pittsburgh at Atlanta (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – This should be an interesting game. The Falcons’ run defense was exposed last week as Tiki Barber gashed them for 227 yards on the ground.  For the season, Atlanta is giving up 107 yards per contest on the ground and 4.2 yards per rush.  Unfortunately for the Falcons, Pittsburgh can run the ball, averaging 126 yards per game, good enough for eighth in the league. The other statistic of note in this game is that Michael Vick’s passer rating is 66. That’s 66 as in he still couldn’t hit the side of a barn from the inside. Simply put, the Falcons cannot pass enough to win, and Big Ben is starting to look like the Big Ben of old. Even with Joey Porter out, I see a repeat of last week’s beat down at the hands of the Jints.  Pittsburgh

Reynolds – Atlanta is in its usual tailspin right now and Pittsburgh seems to be finding its groove with a big, blowout win against Kansas City. Pittsburgh’s defense has the speed and aggressiveness to shut down Atlanta’s running game. The only prayer the Falcons have is that its at the Georgia Dome. Pittsburgh

Flynn – The Steelers received a big confidence boost last week by beating up on the Chiefs. The Falcons are reeling from their home loss to the Giants and can’t afford to drop two straight at home. While Pittsburgh doesn’t have New York’s ground game, it does have a defense that can contain Michael Vick and Warrick Dunn. The pressure is on the Falcons, and history suggests they will crumble under the Steelers Sunday. Pittsburgh

Carolina at Cincinnati (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – As I mentioned last week prior to the contest against the Buccaneers, Cincinnati cannot stop the run. They are currently giving up 140 yards per game on the ground, which ranks them 25th in the league. Why Jon Gruden threw the ball 44 times in a one score game is a question you will have to ask him. I don’t think Carolina will follow the same game plan. The Cincinnati offensive line has also continued to have problems keeping Carson Palmer upright. He can’t complete passes on his back. This is a match-up of two teams going in different directions. Steve Smith is healthy, and the Panthers will grind the ball on the ground for the W.  Carolina

Reynolds – Cincinnati’s confidence has to be shaken after two-straight losses to New England and Kansas City. The bye week between the games didn’t help. Carolina is surging since its come-from-behind win against Tampa Bay and is one of the better teams on the road. Carolina

Flynn – Don’t look now, but Carolina is one of the hottest teams in the NFL and is coming off of an impressive win in Baltimore. Even though Cincinnati needs this one badly, its defense isn’t good enough to contain Steve Smith. Carolina

San Diego at Kansas City (1:00 Sunday ET)

MacArthur – Kansas City showed what they are last week in Pittsburgh, which is not a very good football team. Beating San Francisco and Arizona will not help you against a good team. San Diego proved it was a good team by beating Baltimore in Baltimore. They will run and they will pass, and it will not be close.  San Diego

Reynolds – The Chiefs are reeling and the Chargers are rocking. That’s all the analysis you’ll need for this one. San Diego

Flynn – San Diego might be the most balanced team in the NFL. The Chargers are converting 48 percent of their third downs, and their defense is allowing just 11 points per game. Kansas City’s defense, which is allowing offenses to convert nearly 40 percent of their third downs, won’t be able to get itself off the field Sunday. That’s not good news for the Chiefs defense, which faces a Chargers offense that is scoring an average of 30 points per game. San Diego

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

MacArthur – If this game was in Detroit…………nah, the Lions still couldn’t win. Detroit is beginning to resemble a MASH unit.  Their offensive line is still a mess, and now the running game is hurting, literally. Kevin Jones has a hip pointer, FB Cory Schleshinger has a bad hammy. Back-up Shawn Bryson is likely to go on IR, and that leaves….Brian Calhoun, he of the five NFL carry resume, as the only healthy back. No one to block. No one to run behind blocks. Lots of passes in the Meadowlands.  New York Jets

Reynolds – I said I wouldn’t pick the Lions to win a game until they did. You know what? I’m still not picking them. I think the Jets are playing hard right now and I like them at home. New York Jets

Flynn – This game is a tough one to call. The Lions will have a chance to move the ball and score some points since the Jets defense is allowing offenses to convert nearly 47 percent of their third down attempts. However, homefield advantage and the fact that the Jets are playing teams tough this year (with the exception of Jacksonville) should help them pull out a win in a close one. New York Jets

New England at Buffalo (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I just keep coming back to those two word – J.P. Losman.  Come to think of it, here are another two words:  Tom Brady. The Patriots bandwagon rolls on towards a bye.  New England

Reynolds – Buffalo seemed to be putting up a fight earlier this year, but it just couldn’t get over the hump. A loss to lowly Detroit last week must have the Bills questioning themselves. I like New England big in this one. New England

Flynn – The Bills always play the Patriots tough at home, and they nearly defeated New England in Week 1. However, things have changed since then. New England is one of the league’s hottest and most balanced teams, and Buffalo is falling part. The Patriots will take care of business at home. New England

Jacksonville at Houston (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – David Carr finally fell out of his perch as the NFL’s highest rated passer last week, and with a thud. Things don’t get better with the Jacksonville defense coming to town this week.  Byron Leftwich will have a turnover or two to create excitement, but the Jags have too much talent to lose to Houston.  Jacksonville

Reynolds – Houston is just a bad football team. On the other hand, Jacksonville is a good football team. More often than not, good teams beat bad teams in the NFL. I’ll take the good team. Jacksonville

Flynn – The Jaguars don’t have the Cowboys’ offense, which put up 34 points on Houston last Sunday, but they do have a great defense. The Texans won’t be able to move the ball on Sunday, which will help the Jaguars escape Houston with a win. Jacksonville

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

MacArthur – Brett Favre vs a terrible Miami secondary?  The Fish to finally get over the hump and begin winning at home?  Joey Harrington against a terrible Packers secondary?  Joey Harrington?  Joey Harrington?  Oh, how I hope the Fish run the ball.  Miami

Reynolds – Both of these teams are B-A-D. Coin flip says … Green Bay

Flynn – The Dolphins played the Jets tough last Sunday, and they’re about due for a win. While Brett Favre could have a good day through the air against a suspect Miami secondary, the Dolphins come up with enough turnovers to pull this one out at home. Miami

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

MacArthur – Philadelphia is leading the league in sacks.  Philadelphia’s offense is throwing the ball again, with abandon.  64 percent of their plays the past few weeks have been passes. The Bucs’ problems have been stopping the run this year, not the pass.  With Gradkowski running for his life, and thank goodness he can run with that 4.58 speed, look for lots of Cadillac and lots of rollouts, sprint-outs and bootlegs. The Bucs finally get some turnovers via the air, and the mojo begins to return.  Tampa Bay

Reynolds – I really want to believe the Bucs can beat the Eagles. I just haven’t seen enough from this defense to make me believe they have turned the corner just yet. Tampa Bay’s offense has some spark thanks to rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski, but he’ll be facing a very tough defense thanks to blitzin’ Jim Johnson. Philadelphia

Flynn – Bruce Gradkowski can officially throw his name in the hat for Rookie of the Year honors if he moves the ball against a Philadelphia defense that will be relentless in blitzing him. But even if Gradkowski survives or even thrives, Tampa Bay’s defense will have a tough time stopping Philadelphia’s No. 1-ranked offense without cornerback Brian Kelly. Philadelphia

Denver at Cleveland (Sunday 4:05 PM ET)

MacArthur – Believe it or not, this is a trap game. Denver laid an egg offensively at home against a bad Oakland team, and they must be looking past the lowly Browns in this road trip. It will be closer than the lines say.  Denver

Reynolds – No analysis required for this gimme pick. Denver

Flynn – Denver’s defense is for real, and Cleveland’s offense is pathetic. The Browns might play their hated rival close, but they’re just not good enough to beat ‘em. Denver

Washington at Indianapolis (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Out with Corey Simon and in with the underachieving Booger McFarland. If Clinton Portis is healthy, he should run and run and run in this one. Lately, other teams like the Titans have been running and running on the Redskins. The Colts don’t run it that well, and the Redskins’ offense finally turns up.  Washington

Reynolds – Tennessee barely lost to Indianapolis, but did beat Washington. Using some irrational logic, I’d say the Colts are a bit better than the Redskins. Indianapolis

Flynn – Indianapolis’ offense is arguably the league’s most potent, especially at home. Washington couldn’t take care of Tennessee at home last week, so what makes anyone think the ‘Skins can beat the Colts on the road? Indianapolis

Arizona at Oakland (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Last week I predicted Edgerrin James’ yards per carry would be under 3 for the season by this week.  Now that that has occurred, we have to decide who is worse in this match-up of the lowly. Oakland is coming apart at the seams, and even though they are home, I will take Matt Leinert and his band of troubadours.  Arizona

Reynolds – Boo. Hiss. Anyone who wants to watch this freak show should have their head examined. Arizona

Flynn – Teams don’t typically rebound from losses like the one Arizona had against Chicago last Monday. The Cardinals could be reeling from that meltdown for weeks, but even the 0-6 Raiders aren’t good enough to take advantage of it. Arizona

Minnesota at Seattle (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Seattle got a big scare last week, but not this week.  Minnesota has been a surprise, but there is way too much offense from the Seahawks for the Vikings to contain.  Seattle

Reynolds – I like Seattle at home because they can put up the points. Minnesota’s offense is struggling, which should be no surprise with Brad Johnson at quarterback. This game will be close, though. Seattle

Flynn – Seattle is riding off a wave of emotion from its thrilling last-minute win on the road in St. Louis. Even without Shaun Alexander, the Seahawks offense can score points. Minnesota’s defense is playing well, but not well enough to beat the Seahawks on the road. Seattle

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

MacArthur – Drew Bledsoe should be enough to put me off picking the Cowboys, but the Giants are due for a letdown after big wins over the Skins and Falcons.  The Dallas defense will make it hard running for Tiki Barber, who will be thinking of his post-retirement future after this one.  Dallas

Reynolds – Dallas’ defense is one of the stingiest in the league. However, the Giants have shown the ability to come up with some tough road wins at Philadelphia and at Atlanta. The hits keep coming for the G-Men. New York Giants

Flynn – The Giants are coming off an impressive win in Atlanta, but Tiki Barber, who rushed for 185 yards last Sunday, and Co. won’t be facing the Falcons’ defense this week. Instead, they’re going up against a Dallas Cowboys defense that is giving up just 67 yards rushing per game and is allowing opponents to convert just 28.1 percent of their third down attempts. That’s not good news for Barber or Eli Manning. Dallas

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