Archive for October, 2003

Week Nine Preview

Friday, 31 October, 2003

By Zack Cimini

Here is a look at this weekend?s games.

Indianapolis at Miami
We will be able to see the real Brian Griese in this game. The Dolphins offense struggled after their first half burst, and still isn?t getting the effort they need from their offensive line. Ricky Williams has been held in check and needs to get some holes this week. Marvin Harrison has been notorious for annually tearing a part the Dolphins awesome secondary. It could be Reggie Wayne this time, because Patrick Surtain has been holding his corner spot down.

Oakland at Detroit
Joey Harrington and the Lions have been terrible since their week one win against the Cardinals. Injuries have plagued them on both sides of the football, and right now they seem to be the worst team in the NFL. The Raiders have struggled but still could turn around their season with a big winning streak. Marques Tuisasosopo will get the start and could revitalize this offense like he did against Kansas City.

Chicago vs. San Diego
Drew Brees is starting to feel the heat and could lose his job to Doug Flutie if he continues to struggle. Chris Chandler has done a solid job moving the football, and will have to hand the football off to rookie Brock Forsey. As long as Chicago plays their style of game they should win with their kicker Paul Edinger.

Dallas vs. Washington
All the sudden the Cowboys are feeling the pressure after one loss. Bill Parcells knows that his young team needs to bounce back, or a let down could end up happening. Like we said from the get go, it?s all up to Quincy Carter. If he can settle down and control himself in the pocket than this team will roll off wins. Joey Galloway and Terry Glenn are always open deep, and the Cowboys defense doesn?t give up that many points.

Jacksonville at Baltimore
Byron Leftwich has showed a lot of promise, and hung in there last week against Tennessee. This could be the type of game he could win, because it?ll likely be low scoring. Kyle Boller isn?t going to kill you with his arm, and the Jaguars will be geared up for stopping the run. If Leftwich can limit his interceptions and continue with the 2-3 big plays a game than the Jaguars should win.

Carolina at Houston
The Texans have found themselves their starter of the future with rookie Domanick Davis. Davis has quietly had two straight monster games. Once David Carr is healthy we may finally see Carr excel with a balanced attack. Carolina?s defense was vulnerable last week against the Saints, but should have no problem forcing Tony Banks into mistakes.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay
Aaron Brooks has finally got the passing game going a little bit. Deuce McAllister has been solid all season long, and now the Saints could turn their season around. They almost pulled at a victory against Carolina last week, and will need this one to keep their season alive. Tampa Bay has been shaky all year long and won?t be able to keep up with the Saints offense. As long as Aaron Brooks plays the way he has been than the Saints should win this comfortably.

New York Giants vs. Jets
This should be an offensive shoot out, and I?d expect Kerry Collins to out duel Chad Pennington. Pennington hasn?t had enough playing time yet, and we saw that last week when he threw a costly interception. That is definitely a throw he wouldn?t have made, and makes you wonder if the Jets should have kept Vinny Testaverde in last week. Last week the Giants offense was able to go up and down the field on the Vikings, and should be able to do that with their passing game this week.

Pittsburgh vs. Seattle
Besides Seattle?s one-point come from behind win against St. Louis, all of their wins have been ?easy?. Their schedule has been easy so far and now we will start to see the real Seahawks. They already fell to the Bengals last week and even in their wins have looked shaky. Even though the Steelers are 2-5 they still present plenty of mismatches for the Seahawks. This is also do or die for the Steelers because another loss would put their season in a chokehold

Cincinnati vs. Arizona
The Bengals are actually in a solid position in their division. The Cardinals on the other hand are three games below .500, but a dangerous team. Their massive offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage last week and allowed for over 200 yards rushing for the Cardinals offense. The key to this game is how well Jon Kitna plays. Chad Johnson has tore up every defense this year, and the Cardinals should be no different.

St. Louis vs. San Francisco
The 49ers are in a most win situation and might be without their starting quarterback in Jeff Garcia. Garcia is listed as questionable and it?ll be difficult for him to go with a bad ankle. Tim Rattay has had enough experience that he should be able to fill in well. The key to this game is the 49ers defense. The last time they played the 49ers were able to limit Bulger and forced him into some bad throws. They?ll need to get after him again or we?ll see some big plays from Torry Holt.

Philadelphia vs. Atlanta
With Vick out until December you can count the Falcons season over. Who knows it could end up working out great for the Falcons. It?ll be like with the San Antonio Spurs when David Robinson was hurt all year long and then they were able to draft Tim Duncan. The Falcons will get a very high pick next year and should be able to get that ?one? dominant player that could propel this team. As for this game the Eagles are starting to look a little better every week, and should continue on that pace this week.

Green Bay at Minnesota
The Vikings suffered their first loss of the season, and now have to face their rivals in the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay needs this win to try to catch up to the Vikings in their division. On the other hand the Vikings could separate themselves by four games of anyone in their division with a win. This should be an interesting game and will fall into the hands of Green Bay?s defense.

New England vs. Denver
All of the sudden the Broncos have three losses and the Patriots are a top the AFC East. At 6-2 the Patriots have quietly been a dominant team and have done so without even figuring out their offense yet. Tom Brady has done a solid job with the talent he has been given, and the Patriots defense has been just fine without Lawyer Milloy. Denver usually plays well on Monday Night and could benefit from the fact that this should be a low scoring game. Clinton Portis and a few solid passes from Danny Kanell should be enough for the Broncos to win.

Week Nine Picks

Friday, 31 October, 2003

Overall Record: 64-38

Miami over Indianapolis
Oakland over Detroit
Chicago over San Diego
Dallas over Washington
Jacksonville over Baltimore
Carolina over Houston
New Orleans over Tampa Bay
NYG over Jets
Pittsburgh over Seattle
Cincinnati over Arizona
St. Louis over San Francisco
Philadelphia over Atlanta
Minnesota over Green Bay
Denver over New England

MNF Works Out

Wednesday, 29 October, 2003

By Zack Cimini

MNF Works Out
By Zack Cimini

Who would have thought the NFL would turn to the Cardinals organization for an emergency? Well they did and it actually worked out perfectly.

Because of wildfires in California, the NFL was forced to move the game to Arizona in less than 24 hours. So the Cardinals stadium workers had to work extra hard, and the Chargers and Dolphins had to make their way to Arizona. John Madden and the whole Monday night crew had to adjust quickly as well. It was a quick change of events that fell into place, and resulted in a predictable Dolphins 26-10 victory.

The main factor of the game is how well it made the state of Arizona look. Not only did they give away tickets for free, but all tickets ended up being handed out. Donating money wasn?t a problem either, as the estimated amount totaled $200,000. The weather was perfect for football and I don?t think anyone would have known the difference between the game being played in Arizona or San Diego.

A question that has been brought up is why didn?t they play the game in Los Angeles or Oakland? Well, the NFL felt that they should move the game to a place where a game was just played. The Cardinals had just played on Sunday and defeated the 49ers, and is only 365 miles away from San Diego. It?s around a six to seven hour bus ride for John Madden and extremely quick for a plane ride for the players. As soon as the Cardinals organization and ASU agreed on the idea, it was all set.

Right now the league is deciding on who will get to host the 2008 Super Bowl. Arizona was one of the states up in the running, and you would think something like this would give them the extra edge. The Cardinals new stadium will be done in 2006 and no one can argue with the weather down there during the winter season. It?s notorious for it?s ?snowbirds? because of the perfect weather.

In the end it was just great to see the NFL able to maneuver quickly and not have to postpone the game. If this would have been a baseball game there is no doubt it would have been canceled and postponed.

Cards Get A "W"

Tuesday, 28 October, 2003

by Zack Cimini

It was a crazy game but it ended with a Cardinals 16-13 victory. The key to winning going into the game was limiting the 49ers offense, and that was exactly what the Cardinals did.

The defense contained Terrell Owens to just over 50 yards receiving, and the 49ers leading rusher was Jeff Garcia. When you do that to the 49ers offense there is a good chance that you are going to win.

One of the main reasons the 49ers struggled on offense is because Jeff Garcia was out of the lineup for three series, and even when he got back the 49ers offense wasn?t in sync. There lone touchdown when he came back was a fluke fumble, that was scooped up by one of their offensive lineman for a touchdown.

On the offensive side of the football the Cardinals did just enough to win. Jeff Blake played solid and for the first time in awhile threw no interceptions. His stats have a tendency to be either over 300 yards passing or minimal. This week it was less than 100, but the Cardinals made it a strong point that they were going to run the football this week.

Marcel Shipp had a career high in yards (165) and carries (35) and will challenge Emmitt Smith for his job back. For that many carries he did a very solid job protecting the football.

One thing the Cardinals don?t want to have to do is kick six field goals a game. Their offense needs to do a better job inside the 30 yard line, and try to put up touchdowns. If they would have lost this week, that would have been the reason.

At 2-5 now the Cardinals and head coach Dave McGinnis are going to just take it one week at a time. This week they?ll be facing a young talented Bengals team that is on a roll. The Cardinals will need to keep the Bengals offense off the field, so the game plan will have to be executed the same. The defense will also need to concentrate on containing Chad Johnson, who has tore up every defense so far this season.

Week Eight Picks

Sunday, 26 October, 2003

Overall Record: 56-32

New England over Cleveland
Dallas over Tampa Bay
Baltimore over Denver
Chicago over Detroit
Tennessee over Jacksonville
Pittsburgh over St. Louis
NY Giants over Minnesota
Cincinnati over Seattle
New Orleans over Carolina
San Francisco over Arizona
NY Jets over Philadelphia
Indianapolis over Houston
Buffalo over Kansas City
Miami over San Diego

Making A Run

Wednesday, 22 October, 2003

By Zack Cimini

Every year there are teams that start off a season horribly and end up turning it around. It?s interesting how it unfolds, and they often end up making the playoffs as a ?hot? wildcard team. Here we?ll try to break down which teams have the best chance at doing that this year.

1. Pittsburgh
The Steelers can probably get away with losing seven games and still win this division. They?ll all probably end up bunched up together and it should come down to the last week of the season to determine the division winner. Bill Cowher always gets his team to adjust by mid season and then starts rolling off wins and once their defense starts playing well, they should be fine. Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress will be the scariest set of receivers to stop in the playoffs.

2. NY Giants
This team is just too good to not make a run. Unless the Cowboys fold, a division title is likely out of the question, but a wild card is still a possibility. The problem hasn?t been their defense; it has been turnovers on offense. Kerry Collins is just not getting enough protection, and they?ve also lost a lot of close games. Once their offense starts clicking they should be a fun team to watch.

3. NY Jets
Chad Pennington took over this team in the same predicament last year, and turned the whole year around. A win this week at Philadelphia would bring them to 3-4, and in a solid situation for a run. Lamont Jordan has been running the ball well, and Santana Moss is revitalizing their passing attack. They are always a scary team and even if they don?t make the playoffs they should win around seven or eight games.

4. New Orleans
The Saints have played absolutely horrible, but miraculously have three wins. If Carolina folds like they have in the past, than the Saints could end up winning the division. Tampa Bay has been shaky this year, and just doesn?t scare teams with their offense. Aaron Brooks is the most dangerous quarterback in the league when he is on, and Deuce McAllister has quietly had a great start to the season.

5. Oakland
Oakland is likely done, but with Rich Gannon likely out for a couple of weeks it might give Marques Tuiasosopo a chance to show he should be the starter. The Raiders have a bye this week, but Tuiasosopo would get a chance a week later. Gannon is getting up there in age, and could be the reason why the Raiders have faltered. A team just doesn?t go from the Super Bowl to nothing with the same exact players. A change in chemistry could spark this team, but with five losses a playoff berth is likely out of consideration.