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- Week 9 Predictions - Tom Brady and Peyton Manning Duel Again

Chris Pokorny November 4, 2007
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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Patriots vs. Colts.
Belichick vs. Dungy.
Undefeated vs. Undefeated.
Brady vs. Manning.

Hype it any way you want to; this has been billed as the biggest game of the year by every media outlet out there. The list of reasons why this game has a high magnitude level need not be explained, because everything speaks for itself. What does need to be stressed are the other high magnitude games this week. Cowboys vs. Eagles? Steelers vs. Ravens? Packers vs. Chiefs? Browns vs. Seahawks? That's only naming a few folks, because you won't get many weeks pitting so many evenly-matched teams against each other at this point in the season.

Let's get right into this week's predictions with the games of the week...



New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are arguably two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. They go head-to-head again this week.

New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts. Notice the emphasis above on the word "the". Make sure you're pronouncing it correctly, because if you say it without the quotes, the title doesn't sound nearly as exciting. As the introduction stated, any way you put this game, the magnitude and energy surrounding it is beyond belief. Peyton Manning and the Colts have had their fair share of struggles against the Patriots before, but after three straight wins against them, including last year's AFC Conference Championship game, whose to say that Indianapolis shouldn't be the team being billed as "the best team in history" heading into the game? Marvin Harrison may play a big role in the outcome of the game, depending on whether or not he plays. He was medically cleared to return to action, but a final decision will lay on the shoulders of Tony Dungy.

Harrison can play, but if he does so, his injuries may extend for a few more weeks. If he doesn't play, he should be perfectly healed by the team's next contest. So, do you put Harrison in and risk further injury in the biggest game of the season, or do you rest him and hope that Reggie Wayne can carry the load again (which he historically not done versus the Patriots)? Personally, it'd seem to make sense to activate Harrison, and play him only on "x" number of downs. Meanwhile, Tom Brady hasn't had to worry about rallying from behind this season. By halftime, the combination of Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth, and/or Benjamin Watson allow him to put 30+ points on the board to go along with a clean jersey. This game shouldn't be a blowout, but I'd have to favor the Colts for two reasons: they are playing at home, and they've already had experience this season playing in games that were tight late. Colts 34, Patriots 28


Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles. It's often that a defining point of the season comes for a certain team in the NFC East with how competitive the division always is, and that fact still stands this week on Sunday Night Football. Donovan McNabb has been too inconsistent overall during the first stretch of the season, but the offense has started to revolve more around Brian Westbrook again, as it should. In turn, McNabb has also turned his gameplay up to another level, including in a game I thought the Eagles would suffer in last week against Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings. In facing Dallas though, it means yet another return to Philly for one Terrell Owens.

Owens will undoubtedly want to steal the spotlight, but will a brand-new, fat contract affect his gameplay, as crazy as it may sound? The career of Michael Vick went downhill following his large contract, and Marc Bulger hasn't faired too well in St. Louis. My answer to the question in regards to Romo: no way. Romo's demeanor is already too erratic (in a good way) to actually let something like that affect his mentality. After all, this is a guy who has shown zero signs of nervousness following a botched playoff snap last season. I expect these teams to split the season series though, and taking the advantage at home is exactly what the Eagles will do here. Eagles 26, Cowboys 24


Seattle Seahawks vs. Cleveland Browns. Who would have thought that at the mid-way point of the season, these offenses would be heading in opposite directions. Matt Hasselbeck has been in dire need of a big-play receiver, but Deion Branch's chances of seeing the field against the Browns don't look very good. Shaun Alexander has been criticized and booed by his fans for turning in career lows week after week. Something in Seattle's offense needs to click, and they'll hope that's the case against a Browns defense that still struggles all around and lost their leading tackler, D'Qwell Jackson, to an ankle injury. It's easier said than done against the Browns though, because they can strike at any time.

It almost is beginning to seem impossible for Derek Anderson to not hook up with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow for at least a pair of touchdowns per game. The Browns' offense has been lights out at home, and even executed their gameplan to perfection on the road last week to improve to 4-3, building their first two-game winning streak in years. Anderson's thrown six touchdowns to zero interceptions over his past two games, and has played fairly well overall against any type of defense he's had to face. The Seahawks definitely has higher expectations heading into the season, but without the assistance of their home crowd, the Browns, who are actually favored in this game, should come away with the win. Browns 27, Seahawks 23


Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. Remember when the Pittsburgh Steelers used to be a running football team with "The Bus", Jerome Bettis? And, remember when the Baltimore Ravens knew how to pound the ball with Jamal Lewis to compensate for a lackluster passing attack? While each team featured two solid running back -- Willie Parker for the Steelers and Willis McGahee for the Ravens -- I'd have to bank on the passing games making the difference in this Monday Night Showdown.

Ben Roethlisberger has been throwing the ball well, and even established an "old" relationship with Hines Ward for the first time in ages (seemingly). Knowing the Ravens dominated Parker last year and the fact that they've been vulnerable to deep passes, I expect the Steelers to stretch the field with Santonio Holmes on several occasions. Steve McNair will be back at quarterback for the Ravens, who just cannot establish a solid attack. The Ravens are lucky to have won four games by now after an easy schedule, but the road ahead does not look too bright. Steelers 28, Ravens 13


San Francisco 49ers vs. Atlanta Falcons. I certainly wouldn't want to have this game on the tube this weekend. This game features two teams that are not at all exciting to watch right now, mainly for offensive struggles. The Falcons will give the Joey Harrington train another go-around, while Alex Smith looks to get more acclimated to the offense again in his second week back. When both offenses struggle, it should come down to the defense, and that's where the 49ers still excel by far. 49ers 21, Falcons 14

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills. The Bills have been playing very well at home, and despite my lashings towards them in the offseason for losing Nate Clements and London Fletcher, the defense has held its own, certainly much more than the Bengals have. T.J. Houshmandzadeh said the Bengals can't win with just field goals: well, you can't win with a minor-league defense either. The Bills made the decision to go with J.P. Losman at quarterback again, but the real breakout player here will be Marshawn Lynch. Bills 20, Bengals 17

Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions. It's difficult to say that the Broncos have a "great" secondary anymore, because week after week it seems like I'm having to praise Dre Bly and Champ Bailey for their reputations rather than how they are actually playing. Right now, they aren't playing horrible, just not "great", and that's what they've been able to do as individuals in the past. I look at the real problem continuing to lay on the offensive side of the ball: 13 points at home isn't going to cut it. The Lions aren't a pushover team: they proved that by sweeping the Bears, something I thought they'd have zero chance of doing. Lions 24, Broncos 14

Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs. It pained me last week to pick against Brett Favre in the Packers, because while I had all the faith in the world in Brett Favre to lead his team to victory, I thought the Broncos would simply bring their "A-game". It took overtime, but Favre did it again, leading Green Bay to a 6-1 record. The Chiefs are coming off the bye week and will look to attack the Packers on the ground, primarily with Larry Johnson still. You can't expect this game to be a blow out on either side, but with the sputtering signs the Chiefs' offense has shown against some of the tougher defenses in the league, I'll bank on them falling in Arrowhead. Packers 20, Chiefs 17

San Diego Chargers vs. Minnesota Vikings. I wanted Adrian Peterson to get the ball more often last week, and I was somewhat satisfied by his number of touches. Nothing will change the fact that the Vikings don't have a quarterback though, and they'll be searching for one in April's draft or in free agency come year's end. The Chargers know the run will be coming, and will crush Peterson all day long. And, if Tarvaris Jackson decides to throw the ball, it'll still be ugly. The only thing that'll keep the Chargers' scoring total low is Minnesota's run defense. Chargers 30, Vikings 10

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New Orleans Saints. I believe. Not in Quinn Gray, but in the resurgence of the New Orleans Saints. I was somewhat caught off guard by Jacksonville executing the gameplan I stated they needed to execute without David Garrard. That win was monumental on the road, but Gray's not a starting quarterback, and the Saints need to exploit that fact by being aggressive on offense. That's easier said than done since the Jaguars' defense is very tough all around, but Drew Brees is also showing why the Saints have a little mojo in them to counter that. Saints 24, Jaguars 17

Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets. I'm sure the Redskins can't wait to get further away from New England, because the disgust of the loss to the Patriots last week should still be stuck in their mouths. Washington needs to have realize it was only one game though, because they should easily be able to overmatch the Kellen Clemons-led Jets. Antwaan Randle El has been held without a touchdown this year -- look for that to change this week as Jason Campbell rolls. Redskins 27, Jets 16

Arizona Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Another tough game to pick this week. The Buccaneers have to be heartbroken after two very closes losses in the past two weeks, as they take on veteran quarterback Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals this week. Coming off of the bye, the buzz surrounding the Cardinals seems to have died off, but I don't think they are receiving enough credit for their chances of winning this game. Warner can move Arizona's offense quickly, and after coming off of the bye week with all of their primary weapons healthy, I'm taking the Cardinals in my upset special after a third straight heartbreaker for the Buccaneers. Cardinals 27, Buccaneers 24

Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans. In another game not expected to be filled with offense, the Tennessee Titans are expected to roll at home. The Titans' run defense ranks atop the league, and DeShaun Foster is so critical to Carolina's offense being able to establish much of anything without Jake Delhomme under center. David Carr will probably get the start, and that sounds like a turnover-bound day for the former No. 1 overall pick. Vince Young needs to establish himself in the passing game for once this season. He won't do it here, but the Titans will come away with another low-scoring win. Titans 16, Panthers 14

Houston Texans vs. Oakland Raiders. Two new starting quarterbacks were named for this game: Sage Rosenfels for the Texans and Josh McCown for the Raiders. Rosenfels takes over in Houston due to the injury to Matt Schaub. Houston's problem has still been getting off to a strong start, and without knowing Andre Johnson's status yet, I can't see the Texans running away with the game against the Raiders. Oakland's offense gelled well earlier this season under McCown, and I expect Oakland fans to feel proud to see another win go on the board. Raiders 20, Texans 14


Last week, my survivor pick saw the New York Giants defeat the Miami Dolphins, as I built a season-long four-game winning streak. I feel ready to use another team I've been saving this week: the San Diego Chargers. Pitted up against the Vikings, Minnesota doesn't stand a chance to score, let alone win against a red-hot Chargers team.


Predictions Record to Date: 77-39 (And I actually thought I'd have reached 80 wins by now.)
Last Week: 8-5 (Eek! Only 8 wins? I feel like I've committed a sin.)
Survivor Streak: Won 4 (Min over Atl, Den over Oak, Car over Atl, [NYJ over Buf], Ari over StL, Cle over Mia, Cin over NYJ, and NYG over Mia.)

New England and Indianapolis will be quite a sight. Who will come out on top?

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