One thing that anyone following the NFL can tell you is that the NFC East is the best division in the NFL right now, from top to bottom. I think everyone would have said that the NFC East was the best, even BEFORE this past week when lightly regarded Washington knocked off the previously undefeated Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys also would have been a unanimous choice by the AP as the best team in the land before last week's game.
There is one thing which I am not sure if everyone realizes right now... which is that the stars are aligned for an 11-5 team to miss the playoffs!
How do I reach such a bold prediction? Simply put, there are 2 logical reasons:
1) The NFC East just happens to be playing the NFC West (Seattle, Arizona, San Fran, and St. Louis), and
2) The NFC East just happens to be playing the AFC North (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati).
Right now... every time the NFC East plays in one of these matchups, the NFC East will be favored. In fact, so far, 1) Philly beat St. Louis 38-3, 2) the Giants beat St. Louis 41-13, 3) the Giants beat Cincy in OT, 4) Dallas beat Cleveland 28-10, 5) Washington beat Arizona, and 6) Philly beat Pittsburgh. This means that the NFC East is already 6-0 versus these other divisions. It is entirely possible that each of the NFC East can pick up all 32 wins. Even if each of the teams in the NFC East slipped once and each went 7-1 and one of the NFC East teams finishes poorly in the division (2-4?)... that would still be 9 wins... with another 2 games to play! Thus, it is entirely possible that every team in the division will finish with 11 wins, assuming they each get 7 or 8 wins from playing two of the worst divisions in football! This will be an interesting phenomenon to watch as the season progresses! Especially because such a scenario would create a likely scenario for one of the divisions to have an 8-win champion.
Manwich Matchup of the Week
Washington @ Philly - The Eagles are dinged up. Westbrook is still not certain about this weekend... more news should be delivered by the end of the week. In the meantime, I think Philly will defy expectations and suddenly beat Washington just to confuse all the prognosticators out there.
Upset of the Week
New England @ San Fran - There's a distinct possibility that the Patriots could have a two-game losing streak to... Miami and San Fran! I've debated this back and forth but in the end, this game should be a shootout and I'm not sure if the New England offense would be able to keep pace with Mike Martz devising the offensive strategy for the 49ers. I'm also sure Mike Martz has been itching to get another crack at Belichick since that Super Bowl loss in the 2001 season.
Pick: San Fran
Indy @ Houston - Even though the Texans are winless, they at least came close last weekend at Jacksonville. Houston's first home game of the season should be inspiring... but is it enough for an upset?
Tenn @ Baltimore - It's the Steve McNair revenge game! Oh wait, he already retired.
San Diego @ Miami - Miami cannot possibly pull off two straight upsets. can they?!?
Pick: San Diego
KC @ CAR - So the Chiefs were able to score on the Broncos. That's like saying the stock market will fluctuate greatly during times of uncertainty.
Chicago @ Detroit - Matt Millen is no longer in charge but his stank is still in the air.
ATL @ Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers is not sure if he will play. My guess is that he won't play just to have a rookie (Matt Flynn) take on another rookie (Matt Ryan). May the best Matt win.
Pick: Green Bay
Seattle @ Giants - You have to go with the NFC East and their dream of going 32-0 versus the NFC West and the AFC North.
Tampa @ Denver - Interesting game... you have former Buc RB Michael Pittman suddenly looking quite spry for the Broncos... you also have a Denver team that let KC break out of their 12-game losing streak. You also have a Tampa team that shocked Chicago and Green Bay in consecutive weeks. What does this all mean? Bring in the monkey and the coin.
Buffalo @ Arizona - Well... the game still has playoff implications only because the NFC West is so bad that it is hard to fall out of the NFC West division race (unless you are winless and hopeless like the Rams of course). So... I can bill this game as a "battle between division leaders!"
Cincy @ Dallas - Cincy's easiest games remaining are against: Jets in week 6, Houston in week 8, Baltimore in week 13, Cleveland in week 16, and KC in week 17. They should be able to get their act together for at least 1 of those games.
Pittsburgh @ Jacksonville - Jacksonville can't really play good defense anymore... but their offense has picked up the last two weeks. The Steelers just keep getting banged up as they lost an offensive lineman and two more RBs get injured this past week. Eeesh. This means they will be playing 4th RB Mewelde Moore along with whomever is unemployed from Wall Street. Basically, both teams are injured and can't play as well as they usually do, meaning that a monkey should flip a coin yet again.
Minnesota @ New Orleans - Very intriguing game as you've got one team that can play only defense (Minnesota) and another team that can only play offense (New Orleans).
Pick: New Orleans
Last Week: 6-7 (ouch!)
Manwich: 2-2 (I'm done with Minnesota)
Upset of the Week: 1-3 (Doubling down on Manwich and Upsets is very risky. I need to diversify my portfolio)