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NFL Takes Center Stage

Mill Woods

Posted on October 15, 2020 22:14

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Politics and the pandemic may be dominating the headlines, but there are also other sources of high drama — in a more entertaining arena — sports. The NFL, no longer competing with the NBA, will now compete with the MLB playoffs to capture more of the screen time in America's living rooms. It is mid-October, also known as Week Six in the NFL.

I think the new "really big show" (props to Ed Sullivan) — the NFL — is more than a match for its competition. In this news-heavy season, we all want plenty of our political and pandemic news and drama. But many of us also crave our usual "rites of autumn", which include a healthy dose of fall football.

Because we’re seeing playoff-type atmospheres after only five weeks, I expect satisfaction with this weekend's schedule. Most matches will be entertaining, at the very least; the biggest showdowns feature teams that may meet again in January.
 
In what I consider the most important game of the week, I like the Steelers to break the Browns’ winning streak. The Steel Curtain is intact, and lately, that explosive Steeler offense, led by Ben Roethlisberger, is steadily healing and improving. The Browns are a worthy rival, having a wicked defense of their own, combined with a gutsy and confident offensive general in Baker Mayfield. This should be a classic showdown in the suddenly-super AFC North division, where only the Bengals are out of contention.
 
In an even bigger matchup of quarterbacks, I think the imperfect Bucs will surprise the recently-perfect Packers. I like the defensive savvy of DC Todd Bowles and that hard-hitting Tampa defense. They will need confidence, power, finesse and speed to counter the many tricks of the Packers’ wily veteran QB, Aaron Rodgers. The Bucs' offense has "Tom Terrific" tossing to an all-star receiving corps, but don’ forget about their increasing ability to run the ball. The Packers suddenly have a potent running attack as well. But I don’t think the Packer defense is as reliable as those aggressive, young Bucs, so I’ll go with Tampa in what should be a thriller.
 
The Bills and Chiefs try to bounce back from their first losses of the season, going head to head in Buffalo. That’s yet another must-see game for me. Although I expect Buffalo to make a better showing Sunday — the Bills were not themselves in that blowout loss to the Titans — I just can’t see the Chiefs dropping another one.
 
The Bears-Panthers contest should also offer a lot of drama, as Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater tries to tame that vicious Bear defense. This is likely to be more of a blue-collar slugfest than a dazzling display of star power, but I like games that are heavy on defense and ball-control offense, even if the score stays low.
 
Here are all the weekend matches – and my picks.  I went 10-5 last weekend.
 
My Week Six Picks                 
 
         Away               Home              My Pick
 
1.     Broncos           Patriots           Patriots                      
2.     Texans             Titans              Titans
3.     Browns            Steelers           Steelers          
4.     Ravens             Eagles            Ravens
5.     Washington     Giants              Washington   
6.     Falcons            Vikings            Vikings
7.     Lions               Jaguars           Lions               
8.     Bengals           Colts                Colts   
9.     Bears               Panthers         Bears
10.   Jets                  Dolphins          Dolphins         
11.   Packers            Bucs                Bucs
12.  Rams               49ers               Rams
13.  Chiefs              Bills                 Chiefs 
14.  Cardinals         Cowboys         Cardinals

Enjoy!

Mill Woods

Posted on October 15, 2020 22:14

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Eleven AFC teams have had their schedules affected by coronavirus outbreaks. Three games have moved to different weeks. Other...

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