Wednesday, September 21, 2005
In their first week, Learned Foot and Anoka Flash battled over three games, with Foot coming out the victor in two and Flash the other. We learned Tampa Bay is a better team than people gave them credit for. Given they are travelling to Green Bay this week and that the two combatants wish not to pick too many Packer or Viking games, we'll leave the Buccaneers for a week or two. Nevertheless, the board this week has some interesting games. Here are the three I choose. This week's theme: testing sophomore quarterbacks.
- New England @ Pittsburgh (-3). The Pats looked vulnerable last week against a tricky blitzing Panther defense, and Pittsburgh has both a good front seven and a new, slashing running back in Willie Parker. But Belichick is the only genius not recognized by a MacArthur grant, and you figure this has to be the game he gets New England's Patriot faithful down from the ledge. The game figures to be put in the hands of Ben Rothliesberger, because that's the guy Belichick will want to force into mistakes.
- NY Giants @ San Diego (-5.5). Numbers like 5.5 are weird in pro lines, and this is a weird game. The 2-0 Giants finally go on the road after their "road" game Monday night at Meadowlands against the Saints, where Eli Manning looked good. He faces an 0-2 team that made the playoffs last year after passing on him for rejuvenated Drew Brees. The Chargers are desparate for a win, but can't generate enough excitement to merit a line of six.
- Cincinnati (-3) @ Chicago. The most interesting games this week are the interconference ones. Here we have Carson Palmer seeming to have made a step forward, and he faces a team with a quarterback that, before an injury his senior year, was considered to be on the same level. The Bears will be considered for real if they win this game; a Bengal win means Pittsburgh has some serious competition.