Bears over Titans: The Bears' season began with a quarterback competition that took place in training camp. Since the coaching staff wanted to be fair to both players, Kyle Orton was asked to tie both shoes, using a complicated double-knot scheme. Rex Grossman, on the other hand, was required to navigate his way through a maze populated by giant insects that can crush cars with their powerful mandibles. He was also blindfolded. And set on fire.
Anyway, we all know how that turned out. But the cruel fates have forced Lovie Smith to once again turn over his offense to Rex Grossman. Which is kind of like asking a suicidal meth addict to babysit your children. Between Rex and Chicago's hopelessly substandard defense, this game has all the fixin's for an epic Bears defeat. Which is exactly why I'm picking them.
Look, every team, no matter how good, has a banana peel game. And it's usually against a team or under circumstances in which they least expect it. Think the Rams throught they'd lose the Super Bowl to the Patriots back in '01? Think the Patsies thought they'd lose to the Giants last season? Nope and nope. Right now, Rex Grossman has everything to prove and absolutely nothing to lose. I say he plays well, the Bears win, and we get ourselves a brand new QB controversy in the Windy City. Good times!
How could they possibly...fail...uh...oh no.
GOOD GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?!
Saints over Falcons: As I said in the Powerless Rankings, the Falcons are playing with house money right now. They were expected to do exactly Jack and Shit...and Jack left town. The Saints, on the other hand, are already on the brink of playoff elimination in the midst of a year of high expectations. They need this game. It could potentially make or break their season.
See, it's just like when you're out at the bars. You could have two women of roughly equal beauty and intelligence, but the advantage almost always goes to the one who's a little more desperate. She's more likely to dress a little sluttier, dance a little dirtier and lower her standards just a little bit more than the other girl. In short: She'll do whatever it takes to win. (And in this case "win" usually means going home with an overweight, middle-aged computer programmer whose wife is out of town for the weekend, but a W is a W, right?) Anyway, that's where the Saints are. They'll do anything to win this game.
Because nobody would watch if they were just "Housewives."
Packers over Vikings: Last week, the Vikings barely beat the Texans. Meanwhile, the Packers pushed the unbeaten Titans to overtime and lost by a field goal. Aaron Rodgers was 22-of-41 for 314 yards and a touchdown against a pretty stingy Tennessee defense while the Vikes were padding their stats against Houston's "Thighs Wide Open" D. I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes a loss is more impressive than a win. But...
Vikings over Packers: You know what? The Packers have the sixth-worst rush defense in the league, allowing 146.4 yards per game. And Adrian Peterson ran for almost 140 yards last week...and he plays his best at home (487 yards on 96 carries in four games at the Metrodome). That can only mean one thing:
The reality is, although Rodgers has turned out to be pretty good, the rest of the Pack are pretty "meh" or worse. My take: They shot their wad against the Titans last week. By Monday morning, you'll have to scape these guys out of AP's cleats.
Jets over Rams: When we were divvying up the interconference games, the FutureMrs said: "Jets + Rams = We All Lose." But I respectfully disagree. All week I've been reading and hearing about how Brett Favre is (finally) washed up, how he keeps throwing picks, how his yardage and QB rating keep dropping every game. But I've watched Brett long enough to know one thing: He can really beat the hell out of bad teams. And that's what the Rams are. A bad, bad, baaaaaad team. So not only will the Jets win, Brett Favre fantasy owners will win...big time (I'm thinking 250+ yards and 3 TDs, and that's a conservative estimate.) Of course, the consequence of this will be that, next week, those people will probably think Favre's on a hot streak and get blindsided when he throws for 162 yards and 3 INTs. But whatever.
Bubba chomp. Bubba chewy chomp.
Another thing to consider: The Jets defense is actually getting really tough. Last week, they held the Bills to 30 yards rushing and sacked Trent Edwards five times. (If only they could have mangled his pretty face a little bit...) On the season, the Jets are holding opponents to 76.0 rushing yards per game, which is fourth in the league behind the Steelers, Vikings and Ravens. That's bad news for the Rams, since their only real offensive weapon is Steven Jackson. Who, by the way, is in coach Jim Haslett's dog house.
On the first play of last Sunday's 34-13 loss to the Cardinals, Jackson "declared himself unprepared to run the play that was called -- an outside cutback run he wasn't ready to handle." Jackson finished with seven rushes for 17 yards. And coach wasn't pleased. Said Haslett: "Steven has got to give us a full day's work this week or he will not play...we can't go into a game not knowing whether he can play or not." Oh really? What other option do you have, coach? Backup RB Antonio Pittman suffered a hamstring injury on that previously mentioned first play and Travis Minor got a concussion on special teams. So it's pretty much SJ or bust. I'm gonna go with "bust."
Eagles over Giants: New York is ranked second in the league in sacks with 30.0. Philly is fourth with 27.0. You know what that means: SACK PARTY!!
My guess is that Peyton's little brother will be this week's sack attack victim. The fact that the Giants keep winning has sort of disguised this, but the youngest Manning hasn't been sucking up a storm lately. After averaging 258.0 yards with a QB rating of 102.2 through the first four games, Eli has has averaged a 78.5 quarterback rating over the past four weeks...while failing to throw for 200 yards even once. And despite the fact that the Giants thumped the Cowboys last week, Eli lost two fumbles, got sacked four times, had an interception returned for a touchdown and threw for a season-low 147 yards. Those are some pretty ugly numbers for a guy who's team won by 21. I bet the Eagles defenders are licking their chops...
Cardinals over 49ers: Let me recap the sitch for you: Coach Mike Singletary is dropping his draws in the locker room and Shaun Hill is replacing J.T. O'Whateverthehell at quarterback. Greeeeeat. That's like having Robin show up to rescue you.
Look, the Cards are the highest scoring team in the league (29.3 PPG). They're also undefeated at home...where they're beating people by 17 points per contest. And San Fran is mournfully defenseless: They're curently ranked 30th in points allowed (28.8 PPG). I just don't see them winning a shootout in 'Zona, no matter how amazing Samurai Mike looks in his tighty whities.