(6-3) JETS AT (6-3) PATRIOTS
Belichick and Mangini face off with first place on the line. The Patriots won the first meeting between these teams in Week 2, but since then the Jets have found their identity, and it is as a bruising running team who plays aggressive and effective defense. Oh, and don't forget the childlike joy that Brett Favre brings to the table. Childlike joy.
I got to watch 2 primetime NFL games this week, and they were both fantastic, and both came down to the final play of regulation. While the Niners couldn't get it in the end zone against the Cardinals on Monday Night, the Patriots did against the Jets, with Matt Cassel throwing a perfect ball to Randy Moss who pulled it in and dragged his back foot ever so slightly on the pellets of old tires in the end zone turf to tie the game and send it to OT. In overtime though, the Patriots defense had absolutely no way of stopping anything the Jets did. They went right down the field and kicked the game winner. Belichick and Mangini had hot passionate sex at midfield after the game, and the Jets are in first place, and for my money are now the second best team in the AFC.
Final- Jets 34, Patriots 31 OT
Fantasy Heroes- Jets DST 11 pts; Brett Favre QB NYJ 22 pts; Matt Cassel QB NE 42 pts; Thomas Jones RB NYJ 19 pts; Jerricho Cotchery WR NYJ 13 pts Wes Welker WR NE 12 pts; Ben Watson TE NE 13 pts; Jabar Gaffney WR NE 14 pts; Stephen Gostkowski K NE 11 pts
Defensive Stud- Eric Barton LB NYJ 17 tackles; FF
SUNDAY EARLY GAMES
(5-4) BRONCOS AT (6-3) FALCONS
The Broncos are really in first place in the AFC West. It doesn't seem like they should be, because they are bad at pretty much everything besides throwing the ball, but here we are. Atlanta, meanwhile, does a lot of things well, and they probably could hand the ball off to Turner and Norwood 60 times in this game and win. Denver's starting running back today is.....Peyton Hillis! Yeah!
(3-6) TEXANS AT (5-4) COLTS
In the entirety of the Texans futile existence, they are 1-12 against the Colts, and have never ever won in Indy. You all remember the first game between these teams this year right? That was when the Texans were up by 17 and then Bungles Rosenfels started fumbling the ball over the place and the Colts somehow came back and won. Butterfingers and his crew are catching the Colts at a bad time if they want to get victory number 2. Thru the sheer force of Peyton Manning's iron will, and a really really bad game by Ben Roethlisberger, the Colts went into Pittsburgh and got a pretty surprising win last week. This is a game the Colts should win easily, but they haven't made anything look easy all year so we'll see.
(2-7) RAIDERS AT (5-4) DOLPHINS
My sources have given me a preview of a new Wildcat play the Dolphins plan on running this week. I can't reveal very much, but I will reveal that it involves a giant bottle fo seltzer water and a blow up doll.
(6-3) RAVENS AT (8-1) GIANTS
A rematch of that magical Trent Dilfer-Kerry Collins Super Bowl at the dawn of our New Century. Here we are 8 years later, and both of these teams are in contention once again, only this time it's the Giants that will probably do the ass whuppin. Flacco will be missing his best receiver, Derrick Mason, and is going to have to deal with a much more formidable defensive unit than the Texans and Browns ensembles he has depantsed recently. The Giants may have to throw the ball a little more than they'd like to beat the Ravens, but they've certainly shown they can do that too. The Ravens won't get 3 road wins in 3 weeks.
(0-9) LIONS AT (7-2) PANTHERS
I've got a joke for the Lions.
(5-4) EAGLES AT (1-8) BENGALS
The Eagles will win this game by a lot and everyone will say oh the Eagles are back dur dee dur dee dur, then the next time the Eagles play a decent team, they'll lose because they get stopped at the goal line sometime during the game and come away with 0 or 3 points when they should have gotten 6. Their story has grown tiresome.
(5-4) BEARS AT (4-5) PACKERS
A crisp November day with a Bears/Packers game with playoff implications. Every once in a while, life is good. Life won't be good for the Packers if they can't figure out some way to stop the Bears from running the ball on them, as their run defense is terrible and Matt Forte can exploit that. Of course, the Bears have equal difficulties stopping the pass, and the Packers can exploit that too, but the Bears can use the running game to keep the Packers offense off the field, and that means I like the Bears to win this one.
(4-5) SAINTS AT (1-8) CHIEFS
I hereby crown the Chiefs the best 1-8 team I have ever seen. The Saints are pretty much toast at 4-5 in a division where they are 3 games back of one team and 2 back of 2 others. NOLA hasn't won a game outside of the Superdome all year, and I say they won't start today.
(5-4) VIKINGS AT (6-3) BUCS
An important game for two teams that are going to be fighting for a playoff spot for the remainder of the year. My first instinct is to say that the Vikings one dimension of giving the ball to Adrian Peterson is not enough to beat a Tampa team that can stop the run. But can the Bucs really stop the run? The Chiefs ran for 183 yards on them last time out. The Bears rolled up 158 on them earlier in the year. The Bucs have had some success stopping the run sometimes this year, but not all the time. Whether they have a good day or a bad day in that phase will determine who wins this one.
(2-7) RAMS AT (2-7) 49ERS
Mike Singletary's to-do list as interim coach so far reads:
1. Drop pants at halftime- CHECK
2. Send player to the showers during game- CHECK
3. Give bonkers post game press conference after game 1- CHECK
4. Blame second loss on offensive coordinator- CHECK
Now consider that the Rams are even more messed up than the 49ers are. This game could be the Mona Lisa of terrible football.
(6-3) CARDINALS AT (2-7) SEAHAWKS
As much as the other members of the NFC West, who are all 2-7, try to hand the Cardinals their first playoff spot in 10 years on a silver platter, the Cardinals are still the Cardinals, and there's always that bad team gag reflex that results in things like almost losing a game that one of the guys broadcasting was all but telling you to change the channel because it was over. Now they go to Seattle to face a horrible team who is getting their starting QB back. Will they still be horrible? Or will they be upgraded to struggling?
(9-0) TITANS AT (4-5) JAGUARS
Wow this sure feels like a trap game, does it not? I'm not sure if there is a relationship between the 2 events, but I saw Larry Csonka at Costco today buying 48 cases of Cold Duck.
(4-5) CHARGERS AT (6-3) STEELERS
Both of these teams badly need this game. The Chargers are still in the playoff race by the grace of every team west of the Rocky Mountains screwing the pooch this year. They've dropped 3 of 5 and it took KC failing on a 2 pt conversion on the last play to avoid losing a game they were favored by 15 1/2 points to win last week. The Steelers have been doing win one lose one since a 5-1 start, and the way Ben Roethlisberger is regressing we should probably all start calling him Benjamin Button.
(5-4) COWBOYS AT (6-3) REDSKINS
Tony Romo and his enchanted pinkie are back for this must-win game against their arch-rivals. The last time we saw the Cowboys, they were getting the graves of their ancestors desecrated by the Giants. They've lost 3 of 4, and the defense has given up 30 or more points in 3 of those games. And one of them was against the Rams. The Rams! My God.
(3-6) BROWNS AT (5-4) BILLS
The Cleveland Browns Prime Time Victory Tour hits Buffalo this week. Get your popcorn ready for another night filled with 2 yard runs by Jamal Lewis and certain touchdowns clanking off of Braylon Edwards hands. The Bills have lost 4 of 5 after a 4-0 start, and are on the cusp of irrevocable irrelevance for this year. That 4-0 start included wins over Seattle, Oakland, and St. Louis, who are all 2-8 now. Impressive!