Donovan McNabb's Redskins Brave The Warpath vs. Eagles With Picks for Week 10
Week 10 of the 2010 NFL season continues on a few days after the Atlanta Falcons started it off with an impressive victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
In a scrum between two teams on the brink of the playoffs, Atlanta made the rest of the league stood up and noticed them in case they hadn't already. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan extended his record to 18-1 while playing on his home turf, and the win over Baltimore kept them very much in position to stay home throughout the post season.
While many teams come into this weekend with playoff dreams long gone or on life support, others need this weekend to establish dominance and momentum as the season heads down the stretch.
Here is how it may play out :
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Two of the many erratic NFL teams this season. Both are capable of blowing each other out. While both teams run the ball well, neither is especially impressive on defense.
Jaguars quarterback David Garrard has been playing better as of late, and both of these .500 teams need to win to have realistic playoff dreams. Indianapolis sits with Tennessee over them in the division, so a loss here can quell aspirations.
It may come down to the passing game, but Houston's best receiver and tight end are hobbled. With both starting quarterbacks having tossed seven interceptions already, that may make a difference.
Jaguars 27 Texans 17
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins 2010 season took quite a bad blow with a loss last week. Another loss may well be considered the final nail to the coffin holding post season aspirations, now barely on life support.
Tennessee's 26th ranked passing offense gets a much needed boost from the addition of wide receiver Randy Moss, especially after the promising Kenny Britt went down with a bad hamstring injury.
The starting quarterbacks will be in the spotlight here. The running games on both sides are well known and respected, but the passing games are not been consistent. Miami's Chad Pennington will need to be especially sharp attacking the Titans 23rd ranked passing defense, after surprisingly being named the starter this week.
Act of desperation by Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano?
Dolphins 23 Titans 17
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
The Bengals season is over, as most said it was the day the paired perennial jackasses Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco together. Though the dynamic duds have decent stats, it comes at the expense of the offense and quarterback Carson Palmer showed he was more submissive to the malcontents than a leader. It still isn't enough, because Ochocinco was last heard whining about being double teamed a few days ago.
Indianapolis should not be winning, yet they are. With seemingly half the roster injured, they are seemingly scooping guys off the unemployment line for quarterback Peyton Manning to throw to and succeeding. This may be the best season he has ever had.
Cincinnati has an excellent pair of young cornerbacks, yet both have had an off year. Though their defense isn't great at stopping the run, the Colts are playing with not much depth because of injuries. Manning will have to carry his team again.
Colts 34 Bengals 23
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
The Vikings went from contenders to crybabies in eight weeks. They now got players crying to the media about how much they hate their head coach instead of keeping it in-house and resolving it. Call this attention seeking act the "Brett Favre Effect".
Yet they are sitting in a fork in the road that can easily lead them to a revival. A win Sunday has them a step closer to revival, though their future schedule will not be an easy task. This game will pretty much rest on the erratic arm of Favre, coming off his best game in this season.
For as much trouble as Chicago has had offensively, a win here vaults them into first place. They don't run the ball much, so the Vikings secondary has to be ready. Though Minnesota has the tenth best pass defense in the NFL in yards allowed, there is also a lack of interceptions and sacks so far.
Minnesota can get well real fast against a suspect Bears offensive line, but Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was brought in, for a load of draft picks, to win these type of games. Yet it will have to be their defense that wins it as usual, as the 29th ranked offense may have issues against the Vikings fifth ranked defense.
Vikings 27 Bears 13
Detroit Lions @ Buffalo Bills
Too bad the late great author George Plimpton can't sue Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford for plagiarizing his "Paper Lion" shtick. He could take all that unearned money Stafford is pocketing, and give it back to the team while forcing a drop in ticket prices.
Stafford is probably gone for the year again, just like last year, because of injuries. Detroit has given him $50 million of guaranteed money for 13 games, 19 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions over two seasons. Move over JaMarcus Russell, we have the poster boy for a needed salary cap on rookies about to become the biggest bust in the past decade.
Buffalo is where the Lions were two years ago, as far as being without a win. Yet their future does not appear as rosy yet like the Lions did in 2008. Shaun Hill replaces Stafford, and has been mostly excellent. The best backup quarterback in the NFL has led Detroit to the eighth rank passing attack, but he is dealing with an injured forearm himself.
Buffalo is excellent against the pass, so the Lions need to run well to win. Detroit's running attack has been poor all year, so it is quite a task. I have picked the Bills to win their first game the past two weeks to no avail. I will pick Detroit so Buffalo can finally win one.
Lions 17 Bills 13
New York Jets @ Cleveland Browns
Legendary defensive guru Buddy Ryan has pretty much stayed on his farm since leaving the NFL in 1995. Maybe he will make the trip to Ohio, because his twin sons will oppose each other. It is also Browns head coach Eric Mangini's time to face the team that fired him two years ago, and Jets wide receiver Braylon Edward's should expect to be lustily booed by the "Dawg Pound" upon his return to Cleveland.
The eldest Ryan won his first Super Bowl ring with the Jets in 1969, something Rex Ryan has long been claiming New York would do again this year. Rob Ryan has a Browns defense that has played poorly most of this season, but the unit appears to be turning the corner. After giving up just 17 points to the high powered New Orleans Saints two weeks ago, they held the New England Patriots to just 14 last week.
Both teams need to run to win, something that does not escape either Ryan. The young starting quarterbacks on both teams need to excel, and the Jets youngster has a lot more game experience under his belt than Cleveland's young signal caller.
This may be a game where Browns Pro Bowl returner Joshua Cribbs makes the difference, and he is due to break out because his 2010 season has been pretty mediocre so far.
Browns 16 Jets 9
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carolina has been devastated by injuries this year, and they played three quarterbacks last week. Tampa Bay needs to win this to keep pace in their division, while the one win Panthers seem destined to battle for the top draft pick in 2011.
Buccaneers 17 Panthers 14
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
Kansas City got dealt some reality in a tough loss last week. Their defense gives up a ton of yards, especially against the run. For as awful as Denver has been, they have the seventh ranked defense in yards allowed.
The Chiefs need to pound the ball against a suspect Broncos run defense, while Denver needs to find theirs for the first time this year. Denver's rushing attack is so erratic, they should consider putting reserve quarterback Tim Tebow at fullback.
Expect Denver to air it out when they need it most. Kyle Orton is second in the NFL in yards passing per game with 313.6, yet his 12 touchdown passes has been matched by the Chiefs Matt Cassell.
Chiefs 20 Broncos 17
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals
Both teams are pretty lousy, yet they are both very much in contention for the NFC West title. Expect wacky plays to decide this snooze-fest.
Seahawks 21 Cardinals 17
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Promoting offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to head coach over Wade Phillips is subtraction by subtraction. Though Phillips had to go, Garrett is probably one of the biggest reasons Dallas has only one win this year.
He has forgotten the running game, so the Giants pass rushers can pin their ears back. Though the Cowboys are telling reporters how pumped they were in practice this week, New York has a veteran squad who fully understands they will probably get the best shot that Dallas has to offer.
Giants 27 Cowboys 24
Saint Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
Defense leads the way for the Rams as they look to continue their surprising 2010 season in this divisional battle against a disappointing 49ers. San Francisco has a good defense themselves, led by Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis and his 70 tackles and a sack. The Rams have linebacker James Laurinaitis with 61 tackles and two sacks.
The Niners expect to start 2006 Heisman winner Troy Smith at quarterback, while the Rams counter with 2008 winner Sam Bradford as their starter. Smith appears to be a journeyman type, while Bradford has shown some promise at times.
The halfbacks are the stars of the offenses. How effective Steven Jackson and Frank Gore are against very good run defenses will hold the key to the outcome.
Rams 24 49ers 16
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers
This is an intriguing battle between a pair of 6-2 teams.
The Patriots are fresh off being stomped by a Cleveland Browns team that ran the ball down their throats while playing good defense. This is a formula Pittsburgh has practiced since 1970 for the most part.
While the Steelers do not have the smash mouth running back Cleveland has, they are effective on the ground despite having backs attempting to return from concussions. Losing left tackle Max Starks for the season is a tremendous blow.
While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has not been horrible upon his return from suspension, Pittsburgh needs more from him if they are to improve their 27th ranked aerial attack. New England has the 29th ranked defense, and they struggle especially against the thrown ball.
New England will rely on quarterback Tom Brady, because trying to run against the Steelers top ranked run defense it near impossible this season. The Pittsburgh pass defense is ranked 24th, so the Patriots will need to block well against the Steelers blitzes. New England also needs to beat the depleted Steelers offensive line to win.
Steelers 28 Patriots 24
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Game of the Week
Donovan McNabb seems to be at his best when the chips are down and against him. The Redskins veteran quarterback was embarrassed two weeks ago by being benched late in the game, then having his coaches, the Shanahan's, lie about the reasons as to why it occurred.
He has been benched before, in 2008 by Philadelphia. He responded to that by throwing 14 touchdowns against five interceptions over eight games, winning six. His ego bruised, his reputation besmirched by lies, and facing the team that dumped him a few months ago, McNabb knows his future in Washington is tenuous and a strong outing will shut up the Shanahan's and other critics.
Philadelphia has had their own quarterback stories themselves this season. Michael Vick stepped in for an injured Kevin Kolb and excelled until he was injured in the Eagles first meeting with the Redskins. He has now returned to health, and was sharp last week in a victory over an Indianapolis team that defeated Washington three weeks ago.
The Redskins need this win desperately, sitting at .500 now. Philadelphia needs it just as bad to stay within reach of the division leading Giants. They both face a tough schedule ahead, so this game can set a tone of how the rest of the season will go because so much emotion is riding high.
With the Redskins rushing attack in question, as Clinton Portis' return is questionable and Ryan Torain is coming off a knee injury, McNabb will have to be nearly perfect for Washington to sweep the series between the two rivals this year.
Redskins 31 Eagles 27