Looking Ahead – Week 4/5

Once more with a look forward to the weekend:

Worst NFL game of the week
– This is getting pretty easy. You just look at the games involving Kansas City and St. Louis and decide which one is more painful. That has worked so far, but I am actually going to do something different this time around. Kansas City hosts Denver. That won’t be exciting, and the Chiefs won’t win, but the Broncos have an explosive offense and should be able to burn up the scoreboard. Scoring is fun to watch. Buffalo visits St. Louis. That one will be interesting for a couple of reasons – we can see what Trent Edwards can do in a glorified practice, and we can see if Trent Green still has any game. That leaves me with my choice – Cleveland at Cincinnati. Two broken teams with enormous problems. The potential for true terribleness.

Best NFL game of the week – Washington and Dallas is an interesting divisional battle, and Philly at Chicago could be good, but my clear choice is one that wasn’t even on the radar at the start of the year – Minnesota at Tennessee. The Vikes are hungry and desperate for wins. The Titans are strong defensively, and surprisingly competent on offense. Probably won’t be an offensive thriller, but should be interesting, and will really be well coached.

Games with teams with most to prove – San Diego at Oakland. The Chargers have to rebuild from their horrible start, and keep the momentum going from Monday night. Oakland might have some pride, but their coach, if he is still their coach, is on a personal vendetta to make his owner look like the ridiculous moron he is.

Ridiculously over-hyped
– No game specifically fits into this category, but you can rest assured that the Dallas hype machine is going to shift into an extra gear with every win.

Oddest line – Dallas (-11) vs. Washington. I get it that Dallas is very good, and I truly believe in them, but Washington is a decent team and a division rival that will be fired up with a coach that has a lot to prove. Dallas should certainly be favored, but I see it as a sign of public euphoria and nothing more that they are favored by this much.

Best college game of the week
– The obvious choice would be Alabama at Georgia, but I am still on strike from the SEC until they prove that they can play interesting football with at least a hint of offense. This game should probably have that, but I’m still hesitant on principle. Instead, I am going to go out on a limb and pick one that the bookmakers think will be lopsided – TCU (+17.5) at Oklahoma. I am of the current but obviously fluid opinion that the Sooners are the second best team in the country. I’m also of the opinion that the Mountain West is very good – the fourth best conference in my eyes behind the SEC and the Big’s 12 and Ten. TCUhas played well on both sides of the ball this year, and will be on a mission. It could be close, or Oklahoma could put on a real show. Either way it is very interesting.

Filling me with dread – Michigan opens their conference schedule this week against Wisconsin. The Badgers are really good and Michigan really isn’t. Unless the Wolverines used their week off to recruit new players and learn to play football this one could get really ugly for my boys.

Four interesting games between unranked teams
– North Carolina (+8) at Miami. Two ACC teams on a steady climb. Both have been better than expected this year so far. Only one can survive here. Fresno State (-6.5) at UCLA. Just how low can the Bruins go? It seems almost impossible to believe they started their season with an upset win. Buffalo (+6.5) at Central Michigan. This is a potential thriller between two impressive MAC teams that know how to score. The stakes are high in this one which could be a preview of the MAC Championship. Virginia Tech (+7) at Nebraska. So far, Bo Pellini has made it look easy. This is his first real test, though, so this is our chance to see just how far the Huskers have come.

Biggest line
– Texas A&M is favored by 28 in a game that I can’t find any merit in whatsoever. Army is outclassed by virtually anyone in Division I, and the Aggies have been weak so far. Not a good game by any definition.

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