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NFL's Tumultuous Second Quarter Begins

Mill Woods

Posted on October 8, 2020 21:19

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NFL games have been threatened by hurricanes and virus outbreaks. Empty stadiums mean a weak home-field advantage. The difficulty in guessing which games will be played — and where — is exceeded only by trying to guess which players will actually take the field from week to week. But nothing will deter a fearless football fan or a fearless analyst from trying to pick the winners. So, here we go with Week Five.

In a season when many players are out of shape from disrupted training, the game still goes at top speed, so knee, shoulder and ankle injuries (which are common every year) are now supplemented by a rash of soft-tissue injuries — groins and hamstrings. Clubs that are still playing football in January may be the ones that simply have more key players in December!

My enthusiasm for the Bills-Titans (undefeated teams) showdown has been cooled substantially by the Titans’ virus mega-outbreak. Yes, the Titans have had time to rest, but who knows how their players will perform?

My favorite game of Week Five is Colts vs. Browns — two teams (both 3-1) with stifling defenses and exciting offenses. I expect a low-scoring contest; both teams favor ball-control offense and bruising defense. Either team could win — especially with Cleveland star Nick Chubb out — but heaven help the Colts if Odell Beckham goes off again like he did last week against the Cowboys; he racked up 154 total yards and three TDs.
 
The NFC’s best contest — Bucs vs. Bears Thursday night — will likely be a defensive head-knocker. Both QBs are MVPs, but I prefer the Bucs due to their superior receiving corps. 

I expect the Sunday night game — Vikings (not as bad as their record) vs. Seahawks (not as good as theirs) — to be close, but not all that interesting; I don’t expect this game to have a lot of memorable moments (the main reason I tune in).

The efficient Rams should handle Washington, but don’t be surprised if newby QB Kyle Allen (Ron Rivera benched Dwayne Haskins) makes things interesting for the Ram defense. With the entire “NFC Least” division underperforming, that nameless Washington bunch might be the appropriate team to take the title.
 
I doubt that the Raiders can hang with the Chiefs, who keep finding new cans of “whoop-ass” to open up, but I do think that will be a fun showdown — with plenty of those memorable moments we fans crave. 
 
Finally: the Monday night Chargers-Saints game should entertain with the exciting, young Charger QB Justin Herbert. After competing last weekend against the oldest active QB — Tom Brady, 43 — Herbert gets to go up against the runner-up — Drew Brees, 41.  I don’t expect the the 22-year-old former Oregon Duck to prevail, but this young gun is fun to watch. Making my pick easier: the Chargers will be without star RB Austin Ekeler, expected to miss 4-6 weeks (hamstring). 

Here are all my picks:

Away                      Home               My Pick
 
1.     Bucs                Bears                Bucs               THUR  
2.     Rams               Washington      Rams
3.     Bills                 Titans                Bills     
4.     Eagles              Steelers           Steelers
5.     Cardinals         Jets                  Cardinals        
6.     Raiders            Chiefs               Chiefs
7.     Jaguars            Texans             Texans            
8.     Bengals           Ravens             Ravens            
9.     Panthers          Falcons            Falcons
10.   Dolphins          49ers                49ers  
11.   Giants              Cowboys          Cowboys
12.   Colts                Browns             Browns
13.   Broncos           Patriots            Patriots          
14.   Vikings             Seahawks        Seahawks
15.   Chargers          Saints               Saints             MON

Stay virus-free. Stay home; enjoy football!

Mill Woods

Posted on October 8, 2020 21:19

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Source: USA TODAY
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