Pocket Doppler Prognosticators: Week 5
Last year, each Friday the 3 Founding Fathers of Pocket Doppler (yours truly, BigSnakeMan & Chris Richards) would square off in picking the winner of the Packers, Sunday night & MNF games in an attempt to prove their football acumen and entertain. We’re not sure either of those things happened. So this year, the Founding Fathers will be joined by two Pocket Doppler veterans: favored stepson Rich & Senior Angel Colleen. Like last year, we’ll keep a running tally throughout the season.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Pocket Doppler Prognosticators. Entering into Week 5 the current standings are:
Some definition at the top with BigSnakeMan & Colleen picking all the winners plus the bonus Badgers/Cornhuskers game correctly & I have company at the bottom seeing as Chris for some reason picked Nebraska to beat Wisconsin. Rich sits in the middle because he cuddled up with Sanchez & Sexy Rexy in his incorrect Jets/Ravens pick. We have the first of our ‘makeup’ picks this week as well seeing as the Packers play the Sunday night game. Let’s see what everyone thinks about the Week 5 games.
Eagles at Bills (Makeup Game) – I was afraid Wally was going to pick this as the ‘Make-up Game’, so naturally that’s the one he chose. Buffalo has overachieved for most of the season although they stumbled last week at Cincinnati. Philadelphia spent the offseason seemingly signing every high profile free agent under the sun, supposedly transforming themselves into a Super Bowl favorite overnight. So far, they’re having trouble fitting all their fancy new pieces into a championship puzzle. These teams have more alter egos than the Brewers’ Nyjer Morgan so it follows that it’s problematic to determine which of them will show up on any given Sunday. That’s my long-winded (worded?) way of saying that I don’t have a clue who will win this game, so it’s coin flip time. By default, I’ll take the home field Bills by the standard 3 points.
Packers at Falcons – This is another matchup that’s giving me pause. The Falcons are tough to beat at home and should be highly motivated to avenge last year’s playoff loss at the hands of Green Bay. The Packers have been relying on their prolific offense to overcome an uncharacteristically porous defense and they would appear to be due for a letdown. If I were Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith, I’d repeat the strategy they employed in their regular season victory over the Packers; pound away at them with stout running back Michael (The Burner) Turner, if only to control the ball and keep it out of the hands of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. (This would have the added benefit of piling up points for my fantasy team.) Taking all this into account, the surface signs point to a Falcons win, right?….Wrong, oh pigskin breath! To me, something is missing with this Atlanta team. They look good on paper but they got positively boatraced at Chicago and seem to struggle against the better teams, of which the Packers are clearly one. Even if the Packers give up some plays, I don’t think the Falcons can keep up with the Packers’ offense. This is the way of the NFL these days. Green Bay remains perfect (record-wise) on the season.
Bears at Lions – The only other undefeated team in the NFL amazingly enough resides in Detroit. Lion QB Matt Stafford has already set a career record for durability, which is a big reason why his team is tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead. They’ve also managed a couple of huge comeback wins over Minnesota and Dallas, two teams that are discovering it’s difficult to play football with one hand over your throat. If last week was any indication, Chicago has finally figured out that the less they ask of Jay Cutler, the better off they will be. So much for having a ‘franchise quarterback’ (I can’t even type that without laughing). As for this week, Chicago could run the wishbone and get RB Matt Forte 300 yards rushing and I doubt it would make much of a difference. The Bears will get mauled in the Lions’ den.
BigSnakeMan’s Picks: Bills, Packers & Lions
Eagles at Bills (Makeup Game) – The Eagles screech into Ralph Wilson Stadium for a confab between two surprise teams, who are surprising for vastly different reasons. There will be an extra doughnut for those who saw the Bills busting out of the gate to be 3-1 at the quarter pole, and I expect the line for that sweet treat to be very short. Likewise, I suspect there would only be a modest show of hands from those who pegged PHL to be 1-3 at this point. To me, these are both great stories–seeing the small-market, downtroddened team rise up while the big-market, free-spending “dream team” awakes in screaming horror. However, good stories don’t always last for long, and as much as I’d like to see BUF QB Poindexter Fitzpatrick punk Cullen Jenkins (whose name sounds like he was roomies with Fitz at Harvard) and his colleagues on the Iggles D, I suspect the cream will rise to the top and PHL will avoid starting the year 1-4.
Packers at Falcons – ATL should have blood in its eye as the Packers return to the scene of the beatdown they laid on the Dirty Birds nine months ago. The Falcons have been a bit unsteady, posting a 2-2 mark through the first quarter of the season, but they have played three of those four games on the road. Meanwhile, the Packers have been sublime on offense while rekindling memories of the ’83 squad on defense, posting uneven performances unbefitting a Super Bowl champion. This is the week when those sins will revisit GB–in a hostile environment against a decent team hellbent on atoning for the steaming pile it dropped in January, I look for the Pack to learn that fat, dumb and stupid is no way to go through an NFL season.
Bears at Lions – When wild beasts clash typically only Animal Planet wins. This time, I think it’s ESPN that will come up big. I’d like to dismiss DET as a nice, fluky story. But I don’t think that’s the case. As long as Matthew Stafford is upright and locating Calvin Johnson, and they continue getting pressure with just their four DLs, the Lions are going to be at the gate of the NFC North. I expect CHI’s leaky line will be tenderized by Ndamukong and the Suh chefs, who will be looking to flambe Jay Culter. While I believe the Bears will be stout competition, and while I think DET is going to regress at some point, it is hard for me not to like the Lions at home on Monday night.
Chris’s Picks: Eagles, Falcons & Lions
Eagles at Bills (Makeup Game) – One of the most reviled stories against one of the better feel good stories, the Dream Team goes to take on the No-Name Team in Buffalo. Of course, the Dream Team is anything but what they thought they would be while the Bills are perhaps everything they had hopes of being. I don’t see how anyone, after the preseason bravado displayed by the Eagles, could be rooting against the Bills this coming Sunday. That being said, the Eagles do have more talent on their roster than the Bills and sooner or later Philadelphia will right their sinking ship. As much as I want to pick the Bills because I would like to see them dig Philadelphia’s hole a little deeper, I’m just not sure I can. Oh the hell with that, I’m going with the feel good story here – Bills win.
Packers at Falcons – The Falcons want revenge, the Falcons want to prove they’re the class of the NFC, the Falcons…blah, blah, blah, blah. I don’t give two hoots about what is motivating the Falcons this week. What I do care about is if the Green Bay Defense can finally put together a 60 minute game of solid football. In no way am I expecting shut out against Atlanta, that’s never going to happen I would just like to see the Packers defense start making some plays we’re expecting them to make. Even if that happens though, I think we’re looking at a shoot out which at the end of Green Bay will be 5-0.
Bears at Lions – As intriguing as the Packers/Falcons game is, this one is right up there too; maybe even more so. Detroit is hosting its first Monday Night Football game in…I don’t feel like looking it up but it’s a really long time. The Lions are, along with the Packers, the only other undefeated team going into this week’s games. I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with that, good for the Lions & Detroit, but just hard to grasp after so many years of futility. You’ll recall, it was the Bears last year who knocked Matt Stafford out for several games at the beginning of last year’s season & I think Stafford will be looking for a little payback from that. Will the Lions’ magical year continue on Monday? I actually think it will, Lions win and join the Packers at 5-0.
Wally’s Picks: Bills, Packers & Lions
Eagles at Bills (Makeup Game) – I’m starting to feel some pressure to stay at the top. Hopefully that stokes my psychic abilities instead of quelling them. Here goes…
There is very little I have enjoyed as much this season (besides the Packers being 4-0) than the implosion of the “Dream Team”. It is no secret I do not like Michael Vick and I don’t care for Vince Young much either. The Eagles have not been playing well at all, however it is true that “any given Sunday” they could get their act together and play to their talent level. The Bills have suddenly gotten much better, courtesy of many new players including our (used to be) very own Nick Barnett. I think this one may be closer than it would first appear (after all, Buffalo lost to the Bungles), but the Bills will win.
Packers at Falcons – The Falcons are another team that should be very, very good and has not lived up to expectations. That said, if the last two games have been called “trap” games for the Packers, maybe people should have been pointing to this one. Atlanta has a lot of potential and if they put their game together, the Pack will be facing quite the opponent, especially our secondary, which, as has been pointed out ad nauseum is struggling. But, I predict the Dirty Birds we saw in the playoffs will be the ones we see Sunday night. Packers win.
Bears at Lions – I never cheer for the Bears and I really only cheered for the Lions on Thanksgiving (unless they were playing the Packers) because they were so hopelessly, Matt Milleny bad. At this point, the whole stadium could be abducted by aliens and I’d be just fine with that. Packers win the NFC North! Woo! Seriously, I think the Bears will show up this week and truly I hope they do, because I want some space between us and the Lions. I’m probably just picking what I wish would happen here instead of what will, but I say Bears win.
Colleen’s Picks: Bills, Packers & Bears
When picking winners (or losers, in my case), many analysts/experts delve into statistics, road/home records, prior match ups, talent level at pivotal positions, etc…Me? I go with my gut. I feel like a child gravitating toward the shiny colored blocks rather than the dull, wood-colored ones. Whichever team grabs my attention, I tend to throw in with that lot. Eenie, meenie, minie, _____ wins! Right okay, onto this week’s sparkly, new toys.
Eagles at Bills — I love this game. I think most people want to pick the Bills, especially at home, but after that loss to Cincinnati there are some question marks. Philly on the other hand, they couldn’t possibly fall to 1-4, could they? …
“Hey Noah (my 5-year old nephew), who do you think will win their football game this week, the Eagles or Bills? ”
“Pick one: Philadelphia Eagles or Buffalo Bills.”
“Grandma’s from Phila-delph-eee-uhhh. Old Abe is an eagle.”
Fair enough, Eagles win.
Packers at Falcons – Pardon my venture into vulgarity for a moment, but Billy Bob Thornton utters a quote in the film Bad Santa that I believe illustrates this game in a way no other words can. Thornton, playing a drunk and dirty mall-Santa, states “you won’t ____ right for a week.” Green Bay put a beating on Atlanta in the playoffs last season, and as a result, they haven’t played right since. There’s something in the way they walk, I don’t know what it is, but they haven’t recovered from a demolition at the hands of Aaron Rodgers, at home, after a 14-2 season, with a week of rest, healthy, and ready to make a Superbowl run. The Packers crushed that dream before the end of the 1st half. This game should be closer, especially with the Packers volatile defensive backfield, but Green Bay has the mental edge over Atlanta needed to feast on enemy territory and the offense to explode for nearly 50 on any given Sunday, against any given opponent. After this week, they’ll need a pillow cushion.
Bears at Lions – This week, I will be rooting for the Bears. I want Julius Peppers to knock out Matthew Stafford. I want Matt Forte to run wild on the Lions defense. I want, God forgive me, Jay Cutler to have a career day. I’m happy-ish for the Lions hot start, but enough is enough. It’s time for Detroit to wake up. Still, I don’t have the gall to put in print that the Bears will beat the Lions on the road. Calvin Johnson is a stud, N. (you try spelling it) Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch are scary, and there is one thing Detroit has that they haven’t in a long, long time. “They believe” -Jim Rome. Lions do win – ugh – and move to 5-0.
Rich’s Picks: Eagles, Packers & Lions