Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Week 6 postmortem

At 10-4 for the week, at least I can say I'm back in double digits. As soon as I sent off my selections to The Writers' Picks, I started second-guessing three of them. As it turns out, those three were what stood between me and 13-1. Carolina was in the right spirit, however, and spent 59 minutes trying to give its game to Detroit. In the end, the Lions just wouldn't take it.

Atlanta over New Orleans: One of many games I either lost or nearly lost in the final minute. You explain to me how the Saint Anthony Saints get their asses handed to them in historic fashion last week, then come back -- with the late Antowain Smith in the backfield -- and nearly stuff the Falcons.

Cincinnati over Tennessee: A win is a win, but a 4-1 team shouldn't be playing from behind for 55 minutes against the Titans, even on the road.

Tampa Bay over Miami: Ricky Williams is back, but so is Gus Frerotte. Williams (five carries, 8 yards) had missed 20 games. What's Ronnie Brown's excuse?

Chicago over Minnesota: Avast, ye swabs! I feel sorry for Daunte Culpepper. And Zygmunt Wilf. And Mike Tice, even ... a little. The Vikings are trying to get Minnesota to do a deal for a new stadium, and if we were to draw up a list the things that would help make that happen, the top 10 probably wouldn't include an oral-sex-at-sea scandal. Prepare to be boarded, indeed. On the field: As former Bear Paul Edinger trotted out to try his first field goal, the Chicago crowd booed lustily, and for the first time in his career, Edinger turned Chicago fans' boos to cheers.

Dallas over N.Y. Giants: The way the Cowboys disassembled the Eagles last week, this seemed a simple call. Next thing I knew, we were in the final minutes of a game at Texas Stadium in which the Cowboys appeared to have beaten an NFC East rival. Please don't let the Dallas secondary collapse again. Please don't let the Dallas secondary collapse again. Whoops! Never guessed Eli Manning would throw it to Burress and Shockey, huh? P.S.: The Brandon Jacobs fumble on the goal line didn't mean as much as the TV told me it did. P.P.S.: Perhaps Jose Cortez's game-winner gets him off Larry Allen's death list, but the clock is ticking for the Drake Alumnus Billy Cundiff Era to resume.

Kansas City over Washington: At some point I'm going to have to start picking the Redskins again, but not ... just ... yet. I thought that, playing in Arrowhead, fairly healthy, K.C. would eke this out. Graciously, Washington helped by dropping the rock like it was buttered. Next week, the 49ers come stumbling into FedEx Field, and Mark Brunell prepares to party like it's 1999. Just for reference: The last time Washington scored more than 40 points in a game was the 2001 season.

Denver over New England: If it's an even-numbered game, this must be the Patriots' week to lose. Yet with half the team injured, they were still in it. Regardless, a few weeks ago, when I said I suspected (but couldn't prove) the Broncos were a sham? Yeah, I was wrong there. But with Jake Plummer under center, disaster's always a distinct possibility. Especially now that Plummer has lent Kyle Orton his mustache. Ew. After the game, Broncos safety John Lynch said of the Pats, "They certainly showed what a champion is all about." To which Tom Brady responded, "Oh, I won't forget that, John Lynch."

Buffalo over N.Y. Jets: This was the first time a game has featured two opposing quarterbacks who between them have played for every team in the NFL. I was just inclined to expect more from Week 2 of the Kelly Holcomb experiment than Week 2 of the Vinny Testaverde experiment. Especially when Holcomb is handing off to Willis McGahee.

Seattle over Houston: My Best Bet. Everyone's Best Bet. No doubt whatsoever. Shaun Alexander is a beast on Sunday nights. Down and Distance Two-Play Sequence of the Week: The Seahwaks had first and goal from the Texans' 9 when Houston linebacker Charlie Anderson sacked Matt Hasselbeck back at the 23. Though he was on an 0-4 team that was down 28-10 in the fourth quarter, Anderson still found it appropriate to do a little look-at-me-dust-myself-off dance after the sack. On the next play, Alexander blasted through the entire Texans defense to make it 35-10.

Indianapolis over St. Louis: Points scored on the Colts in the first three games of the season: 16. Points scored on the Colts in the first 12 minutes Monday night: 17. There was bad news for Colts fans in that their team can give up a lot of points if it gets caught napping, but there was good news in that their team didn't panic when it was suddenly down by 17.

Jacksonville over Pittsburgh: Sunday's only upset, and thus the only missed pick that I'm not kicking myself over. When the season began, the Steelers seemed to be one of the few teams with a rock-solid backup quarterback. Har-dee har har. Now, Jacksonville is a strong team with a gutsy QB and a dogged defense, and I would never in a million years imply that they didn't deserve to win this game. That said, Tommy Maddox lost this game.

Detroit over Carolina: Detroit is a crummy football team, Carolina an uninspired one. With the Lions at home and coming off an ugly, ugly win over the Ravens, I made them a "genius" pick: They win, I look like a genius. They lose by one point in the last minute of the game, I look like less than a genius, but still pretty smart. It's a win-win situation! Except for the Lions, I mean. This was the first time I watched a sizable chunk of a Detroit game this year, and I was sorry to see that all those awful things written about Joey Harrington are true. It's too bad, because he is a really nice guy and a genuine class act. But he panics under pressure, he takes bad sacks, he throws three-yard outlet passes on third and 9. When he isn't throwing behind his receivers, he's hanging passes high and getting them killed over the middle. He wouldn't be starting if Jeff Garcia's leg wasn't wonky, and he won't be starting as soon as Garcia's leg is unwonky. Is Harrington done in the NFL? No, but I have seen Joey Harrington's near future, and it looks like Jeff Blake's recent past.

Cleveland over Baltimore: Yeah, well. Trent Dilfer, blah blah blah. My bad.

Oakland over San Diego: Three daring picks, three losses. Perfect score!

SEASON: 56-32

Down and Distance's exclusive POW-R-'ANKINGS are the most accurate assessment of team strength available on the Internet or any other -net. The formula behind them predicted 10 of the past 15 Super Bowl winners, and 14 of the last 15 Super Bowl winners finished the regular season No. 1 or No. 2 in the POW-R-'ANKINGS system. Get it? Unlike with other, lesser ranking systems, no opinion is involved. None. This is hard-core science screaming to be heard in a parlor full of charlatans. Teams are ranked on a centigrade scale, with 100 representing the NFL's strongest team and 0 its weakest. (Key: WK6 = This week's ranking. WK5 = Last week's ranking. PWR = POW-R centigrade score)
11 Colts100.00 1713Dolphins47.95
22 Bengals82.76 1815Redskins47.70
34 Bucs75.74 1924Bills46.82
43 Steelers71.512019Lions46.70
516Bears70.19 2121Patriots40.09
611 Seahawks69.602222Rams37.87
76 Chargers68.112325Titans37.48
85 Giants64.50 2423Raiders35.63
97 Packers64.42 2520Browns34.17
108 Falcons61.772627Cardinals30.14
119 Cowboys61.352729Ravens30.03
1210 Eagles60.16 2826Jets29.75
1312 Broncos60.062930Saints20.93
1414 Panthers54.383028 Vikings12.19
1517 Jaguars53.41313149ers11.94
1618 Chiefs53.05 3232Texans0.00

Eliminated from Super Bowl consideration (what?): Texans

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