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Sunday, October 23, 2005 

Quick Slants - Week 7

This week got off to early start with Kansas City defeating Miami on Friday night, but there are several great games this weekend. There's no Sunday night game due to the World Series, and the Monday night game (NY Jets at Atlanta) isn't that interesting, but this afternoon will be a great advertisement for DirectTV's "Sunday Ticket" package.

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Cincinnati (5-1)

This game is a golden opportunity for the Bengals to prove if they are for real. Cincinnati has played the easiest schedule so far this season, as their opponents have a combined record of just 10-22. Pittsburgh's schedule has been fairly similar record-wise (11-18) but they have played a pair of .500 teams with pretty good talent (Patriots and Chargers). This could also be a battle between the top two quarterbacks in the AFC according to NFL passer rating. Ben Roethlisberger has 7 TDs this season and has yet to throw an interception, while Carson Palmer has already passed for over 1500 yards and 13 TDs while being intecepted just twice.

San Diego (3-3) at Philadelphia (3-2)

A pair of inconsistent teams meet in this one. Both teams are growing desparate, as the Chargers are two games behind the Broncos and one behind the Chiefs, while all four teams in the NFC East are tied with 2 losses. You have to wonder if the window of opportunity for the Eagles is closing, but I expect them to take full advantage of their run defense and home crowd in this one. San Diego already defeated the defending Super Bowl champs on the road, but the Eagles aren't are banged up as the Patriots.

Dallas (4-2) at Seattle (4-2)

It's a homecoming for Drew Bledsoe as he returns to his native state. The key to this game is whether the Dallas defense can slow down the best offense in football. Seattle has gained 407 yards per game, including 166 per game on the ground. Dallas has given up 293 yards per game (4th in NFC, 7th in NFL), limiting opponents to 95 rushing yards per game. This game is also a coaching rematch from Super Bowl 31 as Bill Parcells matches wits with Mike Holmgren.

Denver (5-1) at New York Giants (3-2)

This could be the highest scoring game of the weekend. Both of these teams have better than average offenses, but their defenses leave a lot to be desired. The Giants are allowing an alarming 417 yards per game, better than only the woeful 49ers. I think Eli Manning will outplay Jake Plummer, but that won't be enough unless they can slow down the Broncos running game. Denver is simply on a roll.

Monday Night
NY Jets (2-4) at Atlanta (4-2)

The contrast between the two quarterbacks couldn't be more dramatic, as the dynamic (but erratic) Michael Vick takes on the steady (but aging) Vinny Testaverde. Expect this game to be decided on the ground.

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