My Bolts had Week 10 off. Even though they were on their bye week, they may have had their most productive week of the season.
That's right, just sitting on their couches, going fishing, watching their college teams play, catching up with their family and friends, or simply doing "honey do's" turned into many great things for the Chargers and their chances to make the playoffs.
Looking a little deeper, this is what I am talking about:
1. The AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Denver Broncos. This was a game that many had considered a gimme for the Chiefs. After all, the Broncos had been getting whipped like Zenyatta driving late to the wire. The Chiefs went in overconfident and the Broncos jumped ahead by 35 points!!!
2. The Broncos won! Yes, that is a plus for the Chargers as well. You see, one of the largest problems for the Bolts is that they get very full of themselves, even before they beat anyone. The Broncos winning this game not only brought the Chiefs within reach, without needing help, but it showed the Chargers that the Broncos are not a team to look past. I fully expect the Chargers to take the Broncos seriously now.
3. Over this long bye week, many of the Chargers starters got healthy and are ready to return. Expect Siler, English, Floyd, Naanee, Dielman, and Kaeding to return for the Monday night matchup. Antonio Gates and Ryan Matthews are also talking as though there is a good chance that they may be ready by Monday night as well, although they may not practice all week.
4. The Chargers have from November 8th to the 22nd to work on and fix their special teams problems. Norv Turner has promised that there will be no more blocked punts this season, so I hope they figured things out.
The only negatives that may be an issue for the Chargers this week would be:
1. Denver is playing at a high level on offense. Their pass game is great and their running game is picking up.
2. The rust may have built up for the Chargers after such a long layoff. Especially for the guys who are coming back from injury.
I say, blow the whistle and let's play some football!
Enjoy the games. I hope you had a better Week 10 than I did.
Last week: 6-8
Season total: 79-65
Now, on to this week's picks!
You'll just have to take my word on this one. I had the Bears on my ESPN Pigskin Picks, so I feel okay going ahead and picking them here, even though the game is over.
Tyler Thigpen was all the rage, going into tonight's game. Doesn't anyone realize that he was a third-string quarterback for the Dolphins? There is probably a reason that he was their third choice. Nuff said.
My score would have been:
Bears 24 Dolphins 13
Not overconfident about this game as Buffalo has some skill and I am not sold at all on the Bengals. That being said, the game is in Cincy and Terrell Owens had a huge game last week.
Seems he and Carson Palmer are getting their timing worked out. That is bad news for the Bills.
Bills 24 Bengals 30
It's been an odd year for Jerry Jones and his Cowboys. I don't care who is their head coach, Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, or Jerry Jones himself, there is no way that the Dallas Cowboys should be 0-4 at home!
I can actually see Detroit making them 0-5, but my gut tells me that the thrill of having a new head coach and actually winning last week will still be with the Cowboys.
Sorry Dallas fans, looks like your draft pick is going down a little further after this one.
Lions 16 Cowboys 24
One of the best teams in the NFL vs. one of the worst. Nothing else to say.
Ravens 31 Panthers 10
Honestly, I don't like this pick. However, after last week, it is clear that God is their co-pilot.
Browns 24 Jaguars 27
A few weeks ago, I would have laughed when I saw this matchup and written off as a Steelers win. Even though the Raiders upset the Steelers in the past, there was no way that it would happen again, especially in Pittsburgh. Now, I have to at least admit that this game has the potential to be very good.
Yes, the Raiders have climbed on top of the AFC West and I will go so far as to say that they deserve to be there....for now.
The return of McFadden has electrified the Raiders run game and with the help of my Bolts, Jason Campbell has proven to be a decent quarterback. I give the Chargers some credit since the Raiders were happy to go with Gradkowski until the Chargers knocked him out of the lineup.
All that is great, but here is what I think the problems are for the Raiders this week.
For one, the Raiders must be able to run the football to be successful. The Steelers defense eats running backs for lunch.
Second, Mike Tomlin doesn't like to lose. He almost never loses two in a row.
Finally, Pittsburgh is at home and will not be embarrassed their two weeks straight.
Raiders 18 Steelers 24
There is a big part of me that thinks that too many people are giving up on Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins after the drubbing that they took at the hands of Michael Vick and the Eagles. Something tells me that McNabb has too much pride to lay down two weeks in a row.
Then, I remember that McNabb is not the only player on the Redskins. There are 11 players on defense who have to show up too. Last week, the Skins defense was pathetic. It looked like Albert Haynesworth apparently wants to add nap time to the new collective bargaining agreement.
Yes, the Redskins defense is not stopping the run, or the pass, so that makes it hard to pick them.
I'm not a big Titans guy, but they should have enough, at home, to beat the reeling Skins.
Redskins 20 Titans 31
Were the Chiefs exposed over the last two weeks? Maybe. Will the Cardinals be able to take advantage of their weaknesses? Not likely. Chiefs are struggling, but not bad enough to lose this game.
Cardinals 13 Chiefs 34
The torch has been passed. Aaron Rodgers is the man and Brett Favre is looking for a graceful way to make it to 300 straight games and back on the tractor in Mississippi.
The Vikings are a mess. Favre is not even close to 100 percent and seemingly the whole team hates their head coach. Not a good combination.
The Packers are coming off of a bye and know Brett Favre like the back of their hands.
Packers 33 Vikings 20
Seems like the Texans should be the team with the horseshoe up their arse, but it is not anything like that.
The Jets have been playing like a team of destiny, winning back-to-back weeks, on the road, in overtime. In both of those games they were the favorite to win with relative ease and struggled to pull it off.
The Texans not only got their quarterback hurt (expected to play), but lost on a Hail Mary, at the end of regulation, to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Texans 16 Jets 20
The Falcons are coming into their own. They are also riding high after a very nice comeback victory over the Ravens last Thursday night.
The Rams...are the Rams. They could at least keep it close, but I can't see them winning.
Falcons 30 Rams 18
I came this close (picture my thumb and forefinger very close together) to picking the Niners this week. Not that I think they are as good as the Bucs, but cross-country travel tends to take a toll on teams.
Then again, it normally is more difficult to travel East than West and let's face it, the Niners struggled against the Rams last week at home.
Bucs have a shot at the playoffs and will not be looking past the Niners.
Bucs 28 Niners 14
Welcome back, Reggie Bush. Looks like the playmaker will be back in the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Seahawks.
The Champs have not looked like world beaters this year, but they have shown more than enough to take the Seahawks, especially in their home dome.
Seahawks 13 Saints 31
Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. But is he good enough to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, in New England, without Dallas Clark? I doubt it.
Could the Colts pull this one out? Sure they could. This year, "ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!" (picture Kevin Garnett).
This game is also good news for the Chargers. Let the Patriots beat up on the Colts on Sunday so they may be a little slow the following week against the Bolts.
Colts 20 Patriots 31
All right, I'm going to get this one wrong, most likely. After watching the terrible performance of Eli Manning (and enjoying every minute of it) and then watching the heroic effort of Michael Vick last week, it's hard to pick against the Eagles this week.
However, the Eagles have a short week. The Giants are wanting to prove that the Dallas loss was a fluke and that they truly are an elite team.
There is no way Vick can do that again...is there?
Giants 34 Eagles 19
Love him or hate him, Philip Rivers is an outstanding NFL quarterback. What he has done with this Chargers team has been nothing short of amazing. Yes, they are 4-5, but I'll tell you right now (and later too) that very few quarterbacks in the league would have a record that good with what he has had to work with.
Here is the funny part. The last two wins for Rivers and the Chargers have been with a lot of backups on the field. In many cases, there were back ups to the back ups on the field. Now, after a long bye week, the Chargers go back to war with the guys who were 2-5. Hmmm. Is getting the starters back such a good thing? I think so.
The Broncos come into this game flying a mile high. They bushwhacked the Chiefs last week and left them for dead. If the Chargers have their usual slow start, they may be in a hole too deep to climb out of. Either way, Norv has promised to shake McDaniels' hand after the game.
I say, advantage Chargers after getting back their skill players and having an extra week to game plan for the Broncos. Being at home should help as well, as they are 3-1 at home this year.
Broncos 23 Chargers 34
Feel free to comment about this week's game! I'll get back to you ASAP!