NFL “N Sider”: “I’ve got 500 channels. Why aren’t all the games on?”

It was some week for the National Football League. With plenty of off the field stories taking most of the headlines, the on field happenings were forced to take a back seat. While Chris Simms’ hospital stay, Shawn Alexander’s attempted faith healing and T.O.’s “accidental overdose” on pain killers and subsequent suicide attempt rumors are interesting, there are some pretty compiling stories surrounding this Sunday’s upcoming games. That’s right folks, I said ” The Games”.
Last Sunday, the Carolina Panthers might have just saved their season, thanks in large part to the play of the “last original Panther”, kicker John Kasey. The Panthers can take a big step in the right direction this week as the Cats host the surprising NFC South leading New Orleans Saints Sunday afternoon in Charlotte. With Terry, Howie and the Fox NFL Sunday gang on hand to take it all in, this is a prime opportunity for Carolina to make a big statement. Those who make a living at such things, believe Carolina is a touchdown better than the Saints. I tend to agree with the professionals. The Cats should take this one by around 7 points.
The Redskins have had a bumpier than expected start to the 2006 season and talk in DC now is that the Skins’ Super Bowl hopes are shakier than Frank Robinson’s job security with the Nationals. The Jags come to town on Sunday and Washington needs a win to try and right the ship. In my opinion, Jacksonville and Jack Del Rio just don’t get enough love. I’ll take the Jags by 10 or more here.
So far this season, the San Diego Chargers are looking every bit a Super Bowl contender. Philip Rivers has made a nice transition into the starting role and LT has been, well, LT. The Bolts’ D has also showed a nasty streak in them but the Chargers first real test of the year comes this Sunday in Baltimore. While I like San Diego’s chances of making a deep playoff run, I’ll give the edge to the Ravens in this one. Baltimore wins in a close one.
Maybe the best match-up of the weekend takes place in Chicago as the Bears and Seahawks do battle. Even without Alexander, Seattle will be a good test for the Bears and their highly thought of defense. I like the home team and expect a little more offense that some might think. The Bears win by three and stake their claim on being the NFC’s best team.
My upset of the week takes place in New Jersey as the up start Jets do to Payton what little brother Eli and Giants couldn’t do….send the older Manning and his Colts home with a loss.
While there are some pretty good match-ups this weekend, there are also some real stinkers. After looking at some of these games, I had a great idea. I was talking with avid NFL watcher Chan “Harry” Harrison the other day and heard once again the complaints about Time-Warner Cable for not offering the NFL Network in the Triad. As most of you know, the NFL Network will start showing selected regular season games starting on Thanksgiving night and that has many, like Harrison, up in arms since Triad viewers will be left in the lurch. So back to my idea. With games like Cleveland at Oakland and Miami at Houston, this would be a great opportunity for the NFL Network to get an early start to showing games. Start showing games like that and I’ll bet people won’t be so eager for Time-Warner to get the NFL Network anymore. OK…so that was a bad idea. In all seriousness, if people want the NFL Network, call the cable company and let them know. If all else fails, I am told that Chan and a few of his confederates plan on picketing outside Time-Warner’s Spring Garden Street offices. I can assure you, no one wants that.
Now on to the lightning round….I have Buffalo over Minnesota, Dallas all over Tennessee, KC over San Fran, Atlanta gets past ‘Zona, the Rams over the Lions in the Holt Brothers Bowl, and Cincy over New England. Miami and Cleveland win, only because someone has to. On MNF, take the Eagles but I’m hoping Brett still has a little of that good ol’ Monday Night Magic left in him.
That is the N-Sider for this week. Andy should be back newt week unless of course, he takes that job at the NFL Network. If so, we’ll probably never hear of him again, at least not around here. Enjoy the games and happy watching.