Panthers over Cardinals. The Arizona Air Show -- second in the league at 273.2 yards per game -- truly is an awesome spectacle to behold. When the Cardinal's are playing at home, that is. They're only 1-2 on the road, and their last away game on the East Coast was that 56-35 faceplant against the Jets. Now they're heading to Carolina, where the Panthers are undefeated this season. And, as I mentioned in this week's NFC Powerless Rankings, the jungle cats rank second in pass defense, allowing only 168.7 yards per game. It's like their D magically transmogrifies every opposing QB into Tavaris Jackson. I'm sorry, Kurt. Your God cannot protect you against these defensive demons. Which is how the Panthers are getting it done, by the way. They're strictly middle of the pack on offense: 16th in passing (210.0 YPG), 15th in rushing (114.0 YPG) and 16th in total offense (324.0 YPG).
"Thanks for the inspiration coach!" Part I: "We've got to take this home show on the road." - Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Stat curse of the week: Panther's kicker John Kasay is 14-for-14 on field goal this season, extending his streak to 19 straight dating to last season. But forget about the numbers: Kasay is more than just a kicker for Carolina. (He also hand-washes the team's jock straps after every game, making them silky soft and Springtime fresh!)
Ominous fact of the week: The last time the Cardinals opened the season at 4-2 (back in 2002), they went on to finish 5-11.
Cowboys over Buccaneers. Whew. Sorry I'm so flushed and out of breath. I've spent the last several hours having wild, crazy, hanging-from-the-chandelier monkey sex with the Cowboys' downfall. Of course, their collapse isn't a physical thing, so I had to, uh, use a stand-in...
I call her "How's my ass taste, Dallas?!" And we're in love.
ANYway, as fun as it's been watching the 'Boys implode, this game has one of those "wounded animal with its back against the wall" feels to it. And, as well as Tampa has been playing lately, I don't like thier chances on the road against a desperate team. Especially since their only win away from home came courtesy of one of the Bears' patented fourth-quarter collapses.
The "Awwwwww, that's so sad (but not really)" quote of the week: "It's like we've been riding a wave. Now, the wave is gone. We're just like everybody else. No matter what the talent is, publicity, whatever goes on here, it doesn't really matter." - Cowboys linebacker Bradie James, regarding his team's "Lucifer cast violently out of Heaven"-like fall from grace.
The "I don't think that word means what you think it means..." quote of the week: "The season is still prevalent." - Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears, regarding the fact that his team needs to look both ways before the chickens hatch. Or something like that. And because I have too...
Redskins over the Zeroes. Detroit is giving up 167.5 rushing yards per game. That makes them next to dead last against the run. Washington, on the other hand, ranks third in rushing by trampling over their opponents for 158.1 YPG. It doesn't take one of the world's leading footbawfulologists -- which I am, by the way -- to see where this is leading.
Out-of-context quote of the week: "There are times when there are big holes and there are times when there is not much of a hole." - Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen.
The "Uh, if you say so, coach" quote of the week: "I feel that the progression of this team this week was a good one." - Lions coach Rod Marinelli, regarding his team's progression. But, hey, when you start on the bottom, there's no place to go but...you know what? They're stuck at the bottom.
Chargers over Saints. Ah, finally! A battle of two teams that have shocked the football world by being much worse than anybody could have anticipated. And now they get to take their Suckfest across the pond, continuing America's policy of quiet revenge against the British for overtaxing our tea or whatever all those years ago. Take that, you filthy Redcoats.
"Thanks, Captain Obvious!" quote of the week: "He has been a big part of what we have been able to do offensively and it's an injury that we have to deal with." - Saints coach Sean Payton on the out-of-commission Reggie Bush.
The "Game Inside The Game" of the week: This has all the makings of a revenge game for Drew Brees, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Chargers a few seasons ago. Said Mr. MOLEY MOLEY MOOOOOOLE: "I'd be lying if I told you it was just any other game. But certainly I'm not blowing it out of proportion, and I'm not putting any added pressure on myself or my team." He then turned to Pierre Thomas and screamed "WE HAVE TO WIN THIS ONE OR I WILL HATE YOU BITCHES FOREVER!" and ran out of the locker room in tears. Note that Brees leads the league with 2,224 passing yards this season. So, you know, I think the Saints will be throwing the ball and stuff.
Eagles over Falcons. The torture that Jigsaw puts his victims through in those Saw movies is going to look like a five-year-old pulling the wings off of a fly compared to what the Philly defense is going to do to Matt Ryan this Sunday. I'm talking dark, disturbing, unspeakable things. I am being deadly serious here. I sincerely believe there's a very good chance of an "OH MY GOD CHRIS SIMMS LOST HIS SPLEEN"-type incident. Hey, maybe I'm way off base about this. But I really hope that Matt tells his mom he loves her before kickoff. I'm just sayin'.
Hey, look on the bright side: At least you aren't Matt Ryan!
"Thanks for the inspiration coach!" Part II: "This was a significant game in general for us. It's important we establish more consistency and eliminate some of the highs and lows." - Eagles coach Andy Reid, regarding the team's Week 6 cornholing of the 49ers.
The "Ya know, I don't think they're going to stop..." quote of the week: "We're not going to stop. You may get us every once in a while, but we're not going to stop. - Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, regarding Philly's defensive mindset.
49ers over Seahawks. Mike Singletary was named interim head coach of the Niners for his fiery passion, not his knowledge of Xs and Os. Still, this quote from San Fran's new head man is probably a cause for concern: "I don't really know...what button to press here and what button to press there." Dude! Seriously, how can you not know...
Oh. Uh, well, never mind then. What the hell? Maybe it's best not to press any buttons. Just be happy your first game as a head coach is against sad sack loo-hoo-hoosers like the Seahags. That's like getting a practice game!
"Thanks for the inspiration coach!" Part III: "Right now, the guys realize that we do have something here. To what degree, I don't know, but we do have something here." - Niners coach Mike Singletary, regarding...I have no idea.
The "Well, no shit, Sherlock!" quote of the week: "Our confidence on offense isn't where it should be." - Mike Holmgren, regarding the fact that his team's offense couldn't score in a room full of hookers downing whiskey and Rohypnol shooters.
Steelers over Giants. The Steelers lead the league in sacks with 25. The Giants are tied (with the Eagles) for second in sacks at 21. Let me feed these numbers into the Bat Computer...okay, reading the printout...holy protect the quarterback, Batman! These teams are averaging about four sacks per game between them. And you know what that means: SACK PARTY!!
Now, on paper, this game seems to favor the Giants. Sure, the Steeler's have the league's top-ranked defense, which allows a paltry 228.3 YPG. But their offense is, um, not so good, averaging a meager 298.8 YPG...which ranks 25th in the NFL. Conversely, the Giants are strong on defense (ranked fourth and allowing only 275.2 YPG) and offense (second overall and gaining an amazing 395.0 YPG). Here's where the "Yeah, but..." comes in. Let's look at the murderer's row New Yawk has faced through their first six games: Washington (before they got their act together), St. Louis (ditto), Cincinnati, Seattle, Cleveland and San Francisco. So you'll understand my skepticism.
The "Uh, Really? I had no idea..." quote of the week: "There's always that little thing inside of you that wants to be the best, so I've got to get another Super Bowl before he does." - Ben Roethlisberger, regarding the heretofore unknown Ben Roethlisberger-Eli Manning Rivalry, which unbeknownst to anyone has become, by default, the premier QB versus battle in the league.