Washington at Seattle, Saturday, 4:30 pm
Sean Taylor's death has sparked a suddenly dangerous Redskins team. They've gone 4-1 since Taylor passed, with the only loss coming on a last-second field goal at home against the Bills. Had the legendary Joe Gibbs not tried to call two timeouts to ice kicker Rian Lindell, the Skins may have won that game too.
Washington will go up to the Pacific Northwest and start quarterback Todd Collins, who is 4-0 and has a passer rating over 100. Who is he? I have no idea, but after some careful research I have discovered that he is a 13-year veteran drafted in the second round out of Michigan by Buffalo. He has played for the Bills, Chiefs and Redskins and has thrown exactly 27 passes since 2000, before his current stint as a starting quarterback.
Seattle comes in as the preseason favorites to run away with a horribly weak NFC West. At 7-1 this season at home, the Seahawks' claim as the best home-field advantage may be legit. Shaun Alexander had four rushing touchdowns this year, rushing over 100 yards just twice. They come into the weekend with Alexander and Morris splitting time, which could be effective against the Skins. With all that said, this is a 10-win team that no one really knows or cares about, Redskins in the upset.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, Saturday, 8 pm
It's easy to go with the popular vote and say the Jags will upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
It's easy because the Steelers are in the exclusive company of Kansas City and Miami as the only teams to lose to the Jets this season. The Jaguars have owned Pittsburgh in the past few years and play the same style of tough defense and hard-nosed running to win. The Steelers are an underdog at home, so if I were betting, I would take the Steelers, but I'm not, and they lost to the Jets so they must be worse than everyone thought.
Fred Taylor has come out and criticized Heinz Field's sod. He is not happy running on it and said they should spend the money to install FieldTurf. These two met earlier this season in the Steel City, with Taylor going for 147 yards and a touchdown. He shouldn't have a problem as the Jaguars will win and face the music in New England next weekend.
NY Giants at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1 pm
The Giants have once again struggled down the stretch but have managed to limp into the playoffs, Eli has been about as reliable as Britney Spears participating at a PTA meeting, and they only beat one team with a record above .500 all season.
And now for the bad news: Tiki Barber may be rooting for brother Ronde's Bucs on Sunday.
Reports have come out that Tiki may be giving his brother tips on what to expect from Big Blue. This isn't too much of a surprise after Tiki left on bad terms following a first-round exit from the playoffs in 2007.
The Giants have played well away from home, losing only to Dallas on the road this year. I guess Eli thinks if he's not in Giants Stadium that no one is watching. Look for a very good Tampa defense to give the G-Men big problems, but as I always do, I'm going against my gut feeling, picking the Giants on Sunday.
Tennessee at San Diego, Sunday, 4:30 pm
The Titans have a top-10 defense, the Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson. This game could get ugly in favor of San Diego. There are also reports of Vince Young not playing Sunday because of a nagging injury. Either way they do not stand up to the Chargers, probably losing by more than two touchdowns. Bottom line: LT probably outscores the Titans.
Jaguars at Patriots
Chargers at Colts
Giants at Cowboys
Redskins at Packers