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Stepping up

Time for struggling teams to play up to their abilities

Posted: Thursday October 6, 2005 11:50AM; Updated: Thursday October 6, 2005 11:58AM
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Week 5 Matchups
New Orleans (2-2) at Green Bay (0-4)
I have no logic for this one. Pack coming off a short week, all beat up, no running game, totally demoralized, 0-2 this season at Lambeau and the Saints are getting it together defensively. Step up, Robert Ferguson.
Green Bay 30, New Orleans 17
Baltimore (1-2) at Detroit (1-2)
Pretty soon, Brian Billick, you'll have to suit up and play quarterback for your teetering bunch. How about the Lions with a commanding NFC North lead, by the way?
Detroit 16, Baltimore 6
Tampa Bay (4-0) at New York (1-3)
Speaking of teams desperate for a quarterback change. Herman Edwards has made one. "There are no more trades out there for us," he told me the other day. "We have what we have. We'll make the best of it." And Vinny Testaverde knocks his old team from the ranks of the unbeatens.
Jets 20, Tampa Bay 9
Miami (2-1) at Buffalo (1-3)
Olindo Mare is the man of the match. Just because Gus Frerotte can't solve the Bills' D, that's no reason why the Dolphins can't kick four field goals for the win.
Miami 19, Buffalo 10
Chicago (1-2) at Cleveland (1-2)
What an offensively challenged game this one Will be. If I have to pick a hero, I'll take Trent Dilfer, surviving six sacks and throwing no picks, over the well-chased Kyle Orton.
Cleveland 13, Chicago 10
Seattle (2-2) at St. Louis (2-2)
The game of the weekend, but not because anyone's playing defense. I like Marc Bulger to shred the Seattle secondary, which suddenly realizes how much it misses Ken Lucas.
St. Louis 29, Seattle 27
New England (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1)
Now you should be completely confident New England will win. Every time I pick the Pats to go into a deep sleep, they rise up and smite someone. The thing that worries me about the Pats now is their inability to pressure the quarterback -- at all.
Atlanta 28, New England 17
Tennessee (1-3) at Houston (0-3)
When Bud Adams shows his face at Reliant Stadium, I wonder if he looks around and thinks: If I were as suave, as politically savvy and pleasant to be around as Bob McNair, I could have gotten a stadium like this built and I wouldn't have had to move my team to Tennessee?"
Houston 17, Tennessee 10
Peyton Manning and Alex Smith meet at midfield before the game, shake hands warmly and quasi-hug. Manning says: "Kid, you know that thing called the tackle box? Well, make sure you run out of it a lot today and throw the ball away, because Dwight Freeney's coming for you like a freight train."
Indianapolis 31, San Francisco 8
Philadelphia (3-1) at Dallas (2-2)
Add Bill Parcells and his defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer, to the list of coaches who can't quite figure out how to make Donovan McNabb sweat. It would help if Parcells could find a way to get Julius Jones going.
Philadelphia 21, Dallas 16
Washington (3-0) at Denver (3-1)
The key to this game, and I bet Jake Plummer will hear it in his sleep tonight, is Denver not turning the ball over. If the Broncos don't, I guarantee they win. But if Jake is Arizona Jake and Sometimes-Denver Jake, I can make no such guarantee.
Denver 20, Washington 10
Carolina (2-2) at Arizona (1-3)
The real story here is Neil Rackers. He enters the game 16 for 16 in field goals, exits it with six more, and just might be about to do to the single-season field-goal record (39) what Jerry Rice did to the career receptions record.
Carolina 20, Arizona 18
Cincinnati (4-0) at Jacksonville (2-2)
As much as I have loved the Jags over the last couple of years, I now simply like them. Yes, I've fallen out of love. That's what 8-9 over the last 17 games has done to my affections. The Bengals, on the other hand, will officially be the league's most intriguing team after Sunday night.
Cincinnati 23, Jacksonville 10
Pittsburgh (2-1) at San Diego (2-2)
I know, I know. A rout, you say? How can you pick a rout with the Chargers coming off two emotional, physical games (Giants, Pats) and coming off an East Coast trip last week, and blah, blah, blah. Well, it's easy. The Chargers are really, really good. And LaDainian Tomlinson is the best player in the NFL right now.
San Diego 33, Pittsburgh 13

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