PEWTERREPORT.COM STAFF STANDINGS

Scott Reynolds 52-21

Jim Flynn 47-26

Hugh MacArthur 45-28

LAST WEEK

Jim Flynn 13-1

Scott Reynolds
13-1

Hugh MacArthur
10-4
 
New York Giants at Atlanta (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I’m going back to my good teams win at home theory with a bit more intestinal fortitude this week. Atlanta is ranked 31st in the NFL in passing, but when you rush for 234 yards a game, you don’t need to throw much. Coming off a bye, John Abraham’s groin should be healed enough to help put heat on Eli Manning, who is having a good season, put still throws the ball up for grabs when under pressure. Atlanta

Reynolds – My two chums here like to quote all of these fancy stats. The only stat I’ll use for this game is that the decibel level inside the Georgia Dome is going to be really, really high. I expect Rod Coleman, Patrick Kerney and John Abraham to use that crowd noise to get a jump on Eli Manning and draw some false starts from the G-Men’s O-line. The Giants need Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyoria to show up. Atlanta

Flynn – The Giants defense is solid against the run, allowing just 87 yards per game. However, it’s also allowing opposing offenses to convert a whopping 53 percent of their third down tries this season. The Falcons use homefield advantage to knock off the Giants. Atlanta

Houston at Dallas (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Houston has the number one rated passer in the NFL and the 28th-rated offense. How can this happen? They cannot run. When Ron “tippy toes” Dayne is your leading rusher, you are in trouble. Dallas also does not let teams run. This means David Carr will no longer be the NFL’s top rated passer next week. Not even Drew Bledsoe can keep the Texans in this one. Dallas

Reynolds – Look for a big day from Terrell Owens. Bill Parcells is smart enough to know that even though he doesn’t like T.O., he needs to keep him happy to keep him quiet. If T.O. has a big day, Dallas wins. This game will be closer than the experts think it will be. Dallas

Flynn –Drew Bledsoe managed to keep his starting job for one more week against a Houston defense that can’t get itself off the field on third downs. Dallas

Philadelphia at New Orleans (1:00 Sunday ET)

MacArthur – My friends, good teams do win at home, but I will continue to insist that New Orleans is not a good team. I am not impressed by their wins over Cleveland or Green Bay, or by their gift win over Tampa Bay last week. Philadelphia however, has the number one offense in the NFL and a sack happy defense that will get after Drew Brees. Pencil Philly and Chicago into the NFC Championship game. Philadelphia

Reynolds – While I would be wise not to agree with a dude whom I have a seven-game lead over (that being Hugh), he is right when he says New Orleans is coming back down to Earth. They’re better, but they’re not playoff-bound yet. On the other hand, Philly is. Philadelphia

Flynn – The Bucs receive some much-needed help from Philadelphia when it escapes New Orleans with win by blitzing Drew Brees unmercifully. The bad news is the Bucs and rookie QB Bruce Gradkowski face the Eagles the following week. Philadelphia

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

MacArthur – Now let’s all huddle up and hold hands on this one:  The Buccaneers are simply not going to go 0-16. They aren’t going to go 0-6. The winning starts now. The Bengals are coming off a bye, but they still cannot stop the run. The Buccaneers will run hard at them, and there is little film of Bruce Gradkowski for the Bengals to evaluate. To beat the Bengals, you must shut down Rudi Johnson and hit Carson Palmer. This game will show that predictions of the Buccaneer defense’s demise were premature.  Tampa Bay

Reynolds – Here’s the straight talk. Bucs got killed by a better team in Week 1 – the Ravens. Over the next three games they showed they could hang with Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans, but they beat themselves. Until the Bucs stop doing the most dangerous thing you can in football – beat yourself – I’ll keep picking against them. Do I think the Bucs can beat Cincy? Yes. But can they help from beating themselves? They have to prove it to me. Cincinnati

Flynn – The good news for the Bucs is they should be able to establish the running game with Cadillac Williams, who faces a Bengals defense that’s giving up 144 yards rushing per game. The bad news is the Bucs defense hasn’t shown the ability to stop the opposing offense’s ground attack or tackle on a consistent basis this season, and things don’t get any easier with Rudi Johnson and a potent Bengals offense in town. Cincinnati

Carolina at Baltimore (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Our good teams at home theory continues in Baltimore. This looks like a super premium match-up, but the Panthers have been playing like regular unleaded. Their record is average, their offense is average and their defense is average.  Baltimore’s defense is way above average, and their offense has gotten by as the defense is third in the league with a plus-7 turnover ratio. The Cats will limp home with another loss, as the Ravens get back on track after last Monday night’s struggle in Denver. Baltimore

Reynolds – Tough game to pick. I can see either team winning this one. I’d like Carolina better if this game were in Charlotte. I think Baltimore finds some offense this week behind the home crowd. Getting out to an early lead is important. Jake Delhomme can put up TDs at home or on the road. Baltimore

Flynn – The Panthers won’t even attempt to run the ball vs. the Ravens defense, but that bodes well for them seeing as Steve Smith is their most dangerous weapon. However, homefield advantage a potent Baltimore pass rush will make it difficult for Jake Delhomme to find Smith on Sunday. Baltimore

Buffalo at Detroit (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – I’d really like to see Rod Marinelli get his first win this week at home.  If he does, it will be a tribute to his team’s toughness.  He has the 32nd-rated rushing offense in the NFL and a team that is rated 30th with a minus-5 turnover ratio – always a staple of the Mike Martz offense. Add to that good news the likelihood that 3 starting offensive linemen will be out this week (these would be starters that have allowed Jon Kitna to be sacked 19 times already this season, as well as generated the aforementioned 32nd-rushing offense, so you can imagine what the replacements will be like). Oh, and Roy Williams is hurt.  Buffalo is not a good team, but they couldn’t be catching the toothless Lions at a better time. Look for a low scoring game with lots of Willis McGahee. Buffalo

Reynolds – Stats, stats, stats. You know what they say, Hugh … stats are for losers. Well, sometimes they are important. I’ll go with instincts in this one. Like the Bucs, the Lions are finding ways to lose instead of getting beat. I can’t pick the Lions anymore until they prove to me that they aren’t their own worst enemy. Buffalo

Flynn – The Lions keep getting closer to recording their first win under Rod Marinelli, and the Bills, who are surrendering 308 yards and 21 points per game are just what the doctor ordered. Detroit

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

MacArthur – The Rams are a 4-1 team that is not as good as its record. They were life and death with the Packers and Cardinals, and gave up 34 points at home to a terrible Lions’ offense. Seattle has had two weeks to lick its wounds from being hammered by the Bears, and with Jerramy Stevens coming back, they won’t need Shaun Alexander to pound St. Louis. Seattle

Reynolds – St. Louis has been beating up on slightly lesser foes. The defending NFC champion Seahawks aren’t a lesser foe. Because the game is in St. Louis, the Rams have the chance to score the upset, especially without a healthy Shaun Alexander. I like Seattle in a close one. Seattle

Flynn – The Rams head in to this game in first place in the NFC West division, but they’ll come crashing back down to earth when some legit contenders, the Seahawks, invade their dome in a game Seattle needs more than St. Louis. Seattle

Tennessee at Washington (Sunday 1:00 PM ET)

MacArthur – Well, I guess 1,000 yards of offense and 67 points for the two games prior to meeting the Giants last week wasn’t much of a trend after all. The Redskins should be and are embarrassed by a pitiful 3-point output in the Meadowlands. As for the Titans, whatever that mirage was against the Colts last week disappears at FedEx Field on Sunday. Washington

Reynolds – The Titans are catching an angry Redskins team at the wrong time. They showed improvement in a narrow loss to Indianapolis, but trying to win at Washington will be a tall order. Washington

Flynn – The Titans gave the Colts a good fight last Sunday, but they’ll be out of gas in Washington. The Redskins offense is coming into its own and will be too much for the Titans to handle. Washington

Miami at New York Jets (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Why is Miami so bad? Avoiding the tempting Joey Harrington joke, simply put, this team has no offensive line. At 22, they have given up more sacks than any team in the league and 84 yards on the ground each week gives them the 27th rated rushing attack. There is a silver lining here. The New York Jets are about as bad on defense as Miami is on offense. I’m really tempted to pick the Fish, but then those two haunting words fill my head again: Joey Harrington. New York Jets

Reynolds – Forget the Bucs. The Dolphins are easily the most disappointing team in the league. I can’t pick them to win any more until they actually do it, which they won’t this week with Joey Harrington at the helm. I like the Jets at home. New York Jets

Flynn – Teams that get blown out 41-0 usually come out swinging the following week. That said, the Jets will be landing some punches against the struggling Dolphins. New York Jets  

San Diego at San Francisco (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Unless the Chargers miss the flight, this is the lead pipe cinch of the week. San Francisco has played well at home, but they have given up more points than any team in the NFL. LT will run and run and run, and the Charger defense will lay the wood to Alex Smith. San Diego

Reynolds – I love San Diego’s defensive line. That’s a bunch of junkyard dogs right there. Look for them to bite Alex Smith early and often. Philip Rivers and LT are too much offense for San Fran’s young defense to contain. San Diego

Flynn – The 49ers offense is coming together, averaging 328 yards game. However, this week it falls apart when the Chargers come into town with one of the league’s most balanced offensive attacks. San Diego

Kansas City at Pittsburgh (Sunday 4:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Pittsburgh cannot run and they cannot pass. Heck, they aren’t even playing good defense. However, their schedule has been brutal, with their their losses coming at Jacksonville, at San Diego, and at home against Cincy in a match they threw away.  Kansas City surprisingly has the 4th-rated defense in the NFL, but their two wins have come against the 49ers and Cardinals. I am not impressed. Pittsburgh

Reynolds – Asking a so-so team like the Chiefs to win two road games in a row is a tall order. The Steelers need to get healthy against an average Chiefs defense. Look for Willie Parker to have a good day and for Ben Roethlisberger to not have a bad day against K.C. I’ll take homefield advantage for the Steelers, who aren’t going to make the playoffs this year. Pittsburgh

Flynn – The Steelers manage to stop the bleeding for a week by taking advantage of homefield advantage against the Chiefs, who just aren’t the same team away from Arrowhead. Pittsburgh

Oakland at Denver (Sunday 8:15 PM ET)

MacArthur – Wait, maybe this is the lead pipe cinch of the week … or perhaps the season? Disclaimer: Any similarity between the Oakland Raiders and an actual professional football team are purely coincidental and not intentional. Denver

Reynolds – This game is going to get as ugly as Randy Moss’ hair and Warren Sapp’s mug. Look for a Bronco beatdown – Mile High style. There may even be some fisticuffs on the misfits’ sidelines. Denver

Flynn – The Broncos keep pace with the Chargers in an important AFC West division game. The good news for the Broncos is the 0-4 Raiders are already packing it in. Denver

Chicago at Arizona (Monday 8:30 PM ET)

MacArthur – Rubbing my eyes, I cannot choose between lead pipe cinches!  The only thing falling faster than Cardinal fan attendance is Edgerrin James’ yards per carry, which now stands at 3.1, and will be down into the 2s next week.  The Bears defense is second in the NFL with a plus-10 turnover ratio and is second in the NFL with 18 sacks.  Matt Leinert, if you are a praying man, now is the time. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.  Chicago

Reynolds – The Bears will be looking to make a statement on national TV – good teams win big games on the road. Arizona isn’t exactly a big game. As an opponent, they stink. But it will be their first game on Monday Night Football since dirt was created, so the Bears will be fighting hype and atmosphere as much as the Cardinals themselves. Matt Leinhart will meet Tommie Harris and then meet the ground a second later. Chicago

Flynn – Arizona picked a bad week to face the hottest team in football. Chicago is averaging 31 points per game. Its opponents are scoring just seven. It’s hard to believe Matt Leinert is going to miraculously lay out the blue print to Chicago’s suffocating defense in just his second pro start. Chicago

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