The Lineman’s NFL picks — week 6
Ouch, that was about the toughest week the Lineman has had to endure ever in the Pick Six. First Green Bay clangs a last second game winning field goal off the post and loses to the Skins then to cap off a painful Week Five, Brett Favre tossed a last second interception that the Jets return for a touchdown and the Vikings fail to cover – UGHHHHHHH.
Hey, and what is up with the Saints?
Well, we are back for more punishment in Week Six and the good news is we are still above .500 but the Pick of Week needs work.
Record: 16-14. Last week 2-4
Pick of the Week: 2-3
PICK OF THE WEEK: Indianapolis Colts (3-2) at Washington Redskins (3-2) (Line Colts minus-3.5): Wow, this was a tough one. With all the upsets and surprises, it was hard to look down the list of fixtures (as our Brit buddies call the schedule) and find anything that remotely resembled a lock.
I decided to use one of three lifelines this week and put in a call to the G-Man in DC for input. His advice, take the Colts.
Usually the G-Man, whose ability to pick winners ranks right up there with his ability to dunk (being a 54-year old 5-foot, 5-inch, grandfather), is not to be relied on and the rule of thumb is usually to do the exact opposite.
But for the second straight week, I am going to go against the Skins in my Pick of the Week.
With smoke and mirrors, Redskins have posted back-to-back wins over the Eagles and Packers but Washington’s luck runs out with Peyton Manning and the Colts coming to town.
The Redskins have the NFL’s third worst pass defense while Manning is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with 11 and Reggie Wayne is tops in catches with 39 followed by Austin Collie in second with 37.
Washington’s offense is averaging under 18 points a game while the Colts defense is improving and did not give up a touchdown last week in a win over the then unbeaten Chiefs.
The Colts have not won in their last five visits to the Capital going back to 1967.
But unlike the G-Man, this is a slam dunk this week.
Take the Colts and give up the 3.5
Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) (Line Falcons plus 1.5): Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb? If Vick has recovered from his rib injury Eagles coach Andy Reid will let the quarterback off the leash for a grudge match against his former-team. But it is more likely, Kolb, who began the season as Eagles number one, will get a second straight start after guiding Philly to a win in San Fran.
Whoever gets the call, they will have to deal with an Atlanta defence that leads the league in interceptions with 10.
The Falcons like to pound the ball behind Michael Turner and Jason Snelling, who should see plenty of work against a Philly defense that ranks near the bottom against the run.
Atlanta QB Matt Ryan has been steady tossing seven touchdowns, including three to favourite target Roddy White, who is tied for second in receptions with 37.
The Falcons have looked the class act of NFC but need to validate their 4-1 record that includes wins over the 49ers and Browns, who have just one win between them and a narrow win over the struggling Saints.
Atlanta has lost their last five trips to Philly. But no Vick, no VICK-TORY.
Falcons win the Battle of the Birds of Prey.
Take the Falcons and the 1.5 points.
Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) at Houston Texans (3-2) (Line Texans minus-4.5): Everyone is raving about Romeo Crennel and Chiefs’ sturdy defense that is ranked number three in the league allowing an average of just 14.3 points a game but there has not been nearly as much praise (ok none) for the KC quarterback Matt Cassel and a sputtering offense.
The Texans have given up a whopping average of 329 yards a game in the air but Cassel is no Peyton Manning. Speaking of the Colts, KC managed only three field goals absorbing its first loss of the season last week to Indy.
The early season buzz that surrounded the Texans disappeared last week after the Giants administered a 34-10 spanking in front of their home fans.
Arian Foster is the NFL’s top rusher and with receiver Andre Johnson (who led the league receiving yardage last season on 101 catches) back close to full fitness, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub will have more options.
With the exception of an opening-season win over the Colts, the Texans have been hammered at home where they have been out-scored 85-52 and now under to pressure to deliver the goods.
After falling from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, the Chiefs drop another notch this Sunday joining the middle of the pack.
Take the Texans, give up the 4.5.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) at San Francisco 49ers (0-5) (Line Raiders plus 6.5): If you enjoy seeing someone pop an artery, tune into this one. Hard to see how Niners coach Mike Singletary has kept from completely losing it already after watching his team, stumble, fumble and bumble their way to a 0-5 record.
Niners QB Alex Smith was blasted on the sidelines by Singletary for his, shall we say, questionable play during a loss to the Eagles on Monday and better have earplugs at the ready if he makes any more bad decisions against the Raiders or adds to his league worst nine interceptions.
Talk in San Fran is that Singletary’s job is on the line and no doubt their rivals from across the Bay would love nothing more than to drive the final nail into that coffin.
The Oakland defense is second worst in the NFL against the run and San Fran will try to establish a ground game behind Frank Gore.
Raiders also like to run the ball with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush but also count on special teams and defense, like last week when they blocked two punts and returned a punt for a touchdown against the Chargers.
Niners will try to avoid first 0-6 start since 1979 and might well celebrate a win.
But it is hard to believe an 0-5 team can be a touchdown favourite against their biggest rival.
Take Raiders and the 6.5.
Detroit Lions (1-4) at New York Giants (3-2) (Lions plus 10.5): The Lions posted a blowout win last week but head to New York this week trying to avoid equaling another mark for football futility.
It has been 23 games sent the Motowners went out on the road and returned home with a win and a loss in the Big Apple on Sunday will match the record for away losses which – surprise – they already own.
Get the jokes ready if you like but nobody is laughing at the Lions, who have played everybody tough this season with three of their four losses coming by a total of 10 points.
Last week the Lions bared their teeth and mauled the Rams 44-6 behind a total team effort, that saw offense, special teams and defense all contribute points to the Detroit cause.
Shaun Hill, who has proven to be a superb fill in for injured Matthew Stafford, tossed three touchdown passes last week but could be without favourite target Calvin Johnson due to a shoulder injury.
After a wobbly start to the season the G-Men have emerged as the playoff threat they were tipped to be rolling to impressive back-to-back wins over the Bears and Texans.
Suddenly a leaky New York defense is air-tight and tops in the league allowing an average of just 244 yards per game while QB Eli Manning is finding his stride.
The Lions, like the Motor City itself, still need a lot of work, but they have played hard every game and showed lots of heart.
The visiting team has won the last six meetings in this series.
I can’t see the Lions winning this one, but I do see them giving the G-Men a fight.
Take the Lions and the 10.5 points.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Chicago Bears (4-1) (Line Bears minus-6.5): Jay Cutler returns as Bears quarterback after sitting out last week’s win with a concussion and you can be sure Chicago coach Lovie Smith isn’t having any second thoughts about switching up QBs.
Cutler’s replacement Todd Collins completed just six passes for 32 yards and four interceptions but somehow the Bears managed to leave with a win over Carolina.
Among the NFL’s top-ranked until he was knocked out in a loss to the Giants, Cutler is eager to return to the lineup and why not with Bears taking on a porous Seattle pass defence that is the second worst in the league.
After giving up a league high 21 sacks and seeing their number one quarterback laid out like a welcome mat by the Giants, the Bears offensive line must find a way to keep Cutler protected.
The Seahawks travel to Chi-town off a bye week which is usually a plus for most teams, but Seattle is 5-16 after having a week off.
Running back Marshawn Lynch, acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills, make his Seattle debut against a ferocious Bears defense that ranks third against the run.
The Seahawks are a handful at home but away from their own nest they are road kill, with one won in their last 11 away games – all 10 losses by double digits.
Take the Bears and give up the 6.5.
PHOTO: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter of their NFL football game in Indianapolis October 10, 2010. REUTERS/Brent Smith