Crystal Ball

WEEK SIX CRYSTAL BALL: GURU Asks, Tenderly, “What’s up with Giants?”

My friends, THE GURU survived the empty misery that was the Skins’ bye week and is ready for old friend Kyle Shanahan to roll into town with his 0-5 Niners. But first a few words about the unexpected – yet delectable – implosion of the 2017 New York Football Giants.

A year ago, Ben McAdoo was being hailed as a coach of the year candidate after leading his team to a surprising 11-5 record, including nine wins in the final 12 games, and a playoff berth. As an encore in 2017, the team was widely expected to conquer a tougher schedule by winning 10 games and fight for the NFC East crown.

Fast forward to real life, where DAVE OF F-L-A can barely get out of bed, wideouts Odell Beckham, Jr., and Brandon Marshall are done for the year, the Jints are 28th in points scored and starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been suspended. McAdoo threw Eli under the bus in Week Two. The offensive line is a sieve. And, just 10 months removed from an impressive 2016 campaign, at least one prominent scribe has written that the second-year coach may be fired at season’s end.

What in the name of BROTHER BLUENIK’s bleeding ulcer is going on here?

The answer: except for a small handful of very good, and very bad teams, the difference between a win and a loss is often two or three plays per game like a bad read by the QB or a fat guy failing to secure his nachos with two hands before moving down the aisle towards his stadium seat.

And that’s what’s going on with these Giants. A few plays in the other direction and they are 3-2 and in the thick of it. Instead, sad as it is for BEAR MOUNTAIN DAN, VIGGY and many others, they are talking about a pastime i.e. baseball instead of a sport.

The Week Five record was 9-5 and the season mark is now 47-30 (.610). Let’s move on to the games with the Bengals (2-3), Bills (2-3), Cowboys (2-3) and Seahawks (3-2) on the bye.

 

THURSDAY

8:25 PM, NFL Network/CBS

Philadelphia (4-1) at Carolina (4-1). This is an excellent litmus test for both teams, one that should answer several questions: Can Carson Wentz deliver a high-quality road win? Is Carolina back to its 2015 form? Can TOMMY BIRD possibly cram another cheesesteak into that ballooning physique? My answers, respectively: maybe, not quite and stand back while he tries. PANTHERS, 19-18.

SUNDAY

1 PM, CBS

Miami (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1).Jay Cutler got the win last week but, in doing so, he only passed for 92 yards than a cadaver. The chore will be tougher vs. Atlanta. FALCONS, 33-16…

…Cleveland (0-5) at Houston (2-3). With the Indians vanquished and the Cavs still in preseason, the Browns have the city’s full attention. And that ain’t good for anyone with eyes.

There’s been lots of coverage this week about how Cleveland passed on current Texans Deshaun Watson in the draft, but let’s not bury the big news: the Indians just choked away a potential World Series title and fans like TIMMY THE BROWN are tightly tucked in the fetal position. TEXANS, 33-24

…New England (3-2) at New York Jets (3-2). The Jets are tied with the Pats for first place? What in the name of Weeb Ewbank is going on here? Assuming Brady plays – and right now he is questionable but hasn’t practiced much this week – I’ll give it to New England in a squeaker. PATS, 24-23

 

1 PM, FOX


Chicago (1-4) at Baltimore (3-2).
The Bears are rolling with Mitch Trubisky at QB while Flacco absolutely ripped it up last weekend in Oakland, bringing back memories of their most recent Super Bowl run. If he gets it cooking like that, the sky is the limit. Not so for the Bears, a club that has 6-10 written all over it. RAVENS, 26-22…

…Green Bay (4-1) at Minnesota (3-2). Aaron Rodgers did it again last week, upending Dallas in the final minute. This week he’s matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. I repeat: this week he is matched up against Case Keenum. PACKERS, 27-20…

…Dee-troit (3-2) at New Orleans (2-2).Don’t look now but the Saints are threatening to turn into a defensive powerhouse. Maybe. They’ve only allowed 13 points during the past two weeks but their opponents were Jay Cutler and the Panthers. Matthew Stafford is a much taller order. SAINTS, 39-37…

…San Francisco (0-5) at Skins (2-2). A question off the top: have you met a single Niners fan since Steve Young retired? Have you ever met a purple unicorn? SKINS, 33-24.

 

4:05 PM, FOX

Tampa Bay (2-2) at Arizona (2-3). Adrian Peterson makes his debut for a Cards outfit that is averaging less than 60 yards rushing per game. Sixty yards! I could walk that far, if I felt like it. CARDS, 22-21

…Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Jacksonville (3-2).No one thought Rams-Jaguars would be one of the top games of Week Six. Not a man, woman, child or OBNOXIOUS MIKE, who now self identifies as a honey badger. But here we are.

The Rams are driven by the youth and unique schemes of Sean McVay while the Jags are powered by the wisdom and discipline of Tom Coughlin. JAGS, by a nose hair, 27-26…

4:25 PM, CBS

Pittsburgh (3-2) at Kansas City (5-0). A rematch of last year’s playoff game, a contest the Chiefs believe was stolen from them when left tackle Eric Fisher was called for holding on a two-point play that would have tied the game. Theft it wasn’t, as much as this former offensive lineman hates to admit it. He had him around the neck, like FATBACK HOBBS at a rodeo.

This year’s Chiefs squad is looking like a juggernaut in some ways but they’ve had many tight games thus far – the Skins had the best chance to beat them – and really aren’t quite as dominant as the record suggests.

Their biggest advantage: Mr. Andy Reid, leader of men and lover of meats, both smoked and traditional. CHIEFS, 22-20…

…Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) at Oakland (2-3).Philip Rivers got his first win of the season last week while the Raiders, sans Derek Carr, stumbled to their third straight defeat. What? Is Jack Del Rio not Vince Lombardi? Shocking stuff. CHARGERS, 23-20.

8:30 PM, NBC 

New York Giants (0-5) at Denver (3-1). Wow, this Giants team has the potential to be historically bad at 0-5 with the Broncos on deck and games still to be played against the Seahawks, Rams, Redskins (twice), Eagles, Cowboys, Chiefs and Raiders. Let’s see how 0-6 tastes. BRONCOS, 33-22.

MONDAY


8:30 PM, ESPN

Indianapolis (2-3) at Tennessee (2-3).Struggling at 2-3, the Titans get back-to-back tilts vs. the Colts and Browns. An elixir that would make Salk proud. TITANS, 43-26.

 

That’s it for this week, all. Enjoy the games and God bless!

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