What a wild and wacky start we have seen to the 2012 NFL season. Who would have thought that, entering Week 6, we would find perennial power house teams like Pittsburgh and Green Bay sitting with a 2-3-0 record while New Orleans struggles with a 1-4-0 start. Or, how about Arizona and Minnesota both starting 4-1-0 while Atlanta and Houston stand as the only undefeated teams at 5-0-0. In our Readers versus Staffers competition, the Readers jumped out to a lead by winning the first three weeks, the staffers fought back in Week 4 and the competition was a tie in Week 5. So, now we are on to Week 6. This week our reader is that MHR member known as march20. march20writes:
Hey MHR, I'm march20. I've been in Austin for the past 8 years but am currently in Minnesota getting a master's degree in applied economics. The first football game I ever got to watch was the Broncos win over the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII and I have been a huge Broncos fan ever since. I'd like to take this moment to ask Guru to bring back MHR Radio. You're probably too busy to do so which I understand fully but I must say I miss your smooth sexy voice, "sighs and daydreams." Ahem . . . Uhhh, on to the picks.
march20 will be competing with Jess Place. Jess writes:
Jess has been an avid Bronco fan the moments immediately preceding conception. Born in the wilds of El Paso county, his family moved from mountains to Denver when he was four-years-old. Undeterred by the heartbreaking Super Bowl losses of the 1980's, Jess would continue to follow the Broncos while attending college in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was there, perched atop a long sullied dorm room mattress that he witnessed the height of Super Bowl glory. Since those Super Bowl years, Jess has lived and died (mostly died) with the successes and failures of the franchise. A couple years back his season ticket dream became a reality. Jess has also been known to eat whole packages of ham in one sitting and has an unhealthy affinity for salt water taffy (though certainly not ham flavored salt water taffy... That would be gross).
And now, onto the picks
Byes: Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, New Orleans
march20: Polamalu is the heart and soul of this defense and without him they are at best a mediocre defense. However, the entire Titans team is weak and has too many holes and don't have the offensive capabilities to keep up with the Steelers, especially with Mendenhall returning.
Jess: Pittsburgh will win this one handily. The Titans will simply be unable to overcome the emotional strain of being robbed blind by the laughably underperfoming Chris Johnson. This, combined with all the injury issues at QB makes this game one of the more unwatchable ones of the weekend... Good thing it's on a Thursday.
march20: Super Bowl contender > Raiders.
Jess: Atlanta is going to murder Oakland. I can't be any more blunt than that.
march20: One of the most aggressive defenses versus a mistake-prone, worst offense in the league. Can't wait to see Neckbeard out there in garbage time again.
Jess: Dallas always has this annoying habit of bouncing back after tough losses. The Romo bandwagon rumbles to life and the Cowboys are once again incorrectly viewed as a team to be reckoned with... until they get whupped again. This is that game. Plus Baltimore could only put nine points on an inept Chiefs team? Nine?
march20: Cleveland appears to be improving rapidly. It will be interesting to see how much the Browns defense improves with the return of Haden. However, the problems perist with the lineman on both sides of the ball for the Browns.
Jess: Cincinnati wins this one by virtue of the fact that they are the lucky team that gets to play Cleveland this week. Congrats. As far as bye weeks are concerned, this is as close as it gets until the Bengals actual week 8 bye.
march20: This is an interesting matchup between two teams that were not predicted to do well. I feel like Amendola was a huge loss for the Rams and the weak offense is not going to be able to get it going against a Miami defense that appears to be getting it together.
Jess: Frankly, both these teams have an equal shot to win this week. Because St. Louis has a better record by one game, I'm going to have to go with the Rams. I was going to say that I'm picking them because of Jeff Fisher's kick-butt mustache, but, frankly, it's been over-publicized and I'd hate to jump on that bandwagon.
march20: This is a difficult pick for me because I find it difficult to gauge how strong the Colts are defensively. The Jets are a mess of a team when they play elite defenses, but the Colts definitely do not have that. However, they just beat the Packers and are playing for their coach (get well soon Chuck Pagano).
Jess: Despite what ESPN and other news outlets want you to think, the Jets did surprisingly well on Monday night. I was all but certain that Houston was going to give the Jets a butt-whuppin the likes of which were all but certain to make Tim Tebow confuse the Houston defense with one of the seven biblical plagues. Truth be told, the Jets, by-and-large, held their own for most of the game. They're scrappy. They're going up against Indy who are coming off of one of the more euphoric victories they're likely to have all season. I think Indy comes back to earth. Jets win in a close one.
march20: The Eagles pass rush is going to give the Lions o-line and Stafford a lot of problems. As long as Vick keeps his red zone turnovers to a minimum, the Eagles should be able to take this game pretty easily.
Jess: It's the changing of the seasons. Leaves are turning color and there's a cool crispness to the air. Yes folks, it's getting to be fall.... The time of year when Michael Vick scrambles for his life and gets injured. This is that game. The Detroit defense will send Vick packing for a good couple weeks if not the rest of the year.
march20: This is basically a toss-up between two weak teams, so I'm just going to go with the home team here. Cassel looks to be out, but Brady Quinn is hardly an upgrade.
Jess: Brady Quinn and the Chiefs will somehow emerge victorious, not because Quinn is a great QB, but because the only thing that can make the Chiefs abysmal season any worse is a good old fashioned quarterback controversy. They'll get a spark from ol' Brady and they'll notch what I suspect will be their last win of the 2012 season.
march20: It is amazing to think that a team like Buffalo is still only 1 game behind the leaders in the AFC East. Though the Cardinals have a weak offense, the Buffalo defense is nonexistent and the Cardinals secondary will be able to shut down Fitzpatrick.
Jess: Arizona was indeed the team that we all thought they were - one undeserving of their unbeaten record going into last week. I seriously doubt they rebound this week from their week five loss. Buffalo beats them handily.
march20: We all saw firsthand how destructive this New England offense is when it is running on all cylinders. With the potential return of Aaron Hernandez to the lineup, the strong Seattle defense will simply be unable to keep up.
Jess: New England wins because Tom Brady is a jerk (I'm still a little bitter about losing last week).
march20: I have been looking forward to this matchup all year. The Giants always show up for big games, so hopefully the team will get it together mentally in this matchup and give us a good game. However, Alex Smith is really starting to come into his own and Harbaugh always prepares his team well for games.
Jess: This is a game that the Giants have likely had circled on their calendars o for some time. I'm sure they're bitter about all the hype surrounding San Fran this season when the Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champions. I expect the Giants will want to send a message to the NFL and they will do so in beating the 49ers.
march20: The injuries just keep piling up for Washington. It is difficult to gauge how strong the Vikings are, they are a really strong team or have simply gotten lucky in their matchups (I still consider the win over the 49ers a fluke), but it looks like RG3 will be out for an extended period of time and the offense just isn't the same without him.
Jess: RGIII got his bell rung and I'm pretty sure he won't be playing this weekend. That said, mediocrity will rule the day. Vikings barely edge the Skins.
march20: As good as Aaron Rodgers is, he cannot play defense nor pass block. J. J. Watt will be all over him and forcing him to change his throws (anybody want to go in on an over/under J. J. Watts swats?). Foster and Tate will run all over a weak Packers defense and keep Rodgers off the field as the Texans dominate time of possession.
Jess: GB has way too many injuries to overcome in order to beat Houston. Houston may not be as good as everyone thinks (see my comments about the Jets above), but they're better than GB this week and that's all that matters.
What Denver Must Do to Win
march20: Stop. Making. Mistakes. We can all sense the potential of this team. The Raiders game showed us what the offense can be when we simply stop making mistakes. Hopefully, Bay-Bay will work on his ball-handling skills because he is becoming impossible to cover under Manning's tutelage. You simply cannot give momentum to the home team by giving up fumbles like he has. If the offense can get a lead, the defense will be able to dial it up and dominate a weak Chargers o-line.
Jess: Broncos will win this one for sure.... If they show up and play mistake free football, this game will surely be a blow-out. Denver, with the exception of the Raiders, has faced the NFL's best teams and have hung with all of them. I fully expect the Broncos to come out swinging Monday. It'll be the kind of beating that will cause Norv Turner quietly start updating his resume.
Good Luck to both of our Contestants.