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(By Rice World Staff)

by None, Rice, Gerry

     Week 4 was certainly an interesting week for us all. With me on the verge of becoming a consecutive Ass of the Week, the Buffalo Bills came through with a gritty win at Miami, proving themselves as serious contenders of the AFC East title with their tenacious defense. Elsewhere, the St. Louis Rams continue their offensive dominance over other teams, and Kurt Warner proves that there may be a lucrative market in the Arena Football League. Brad Johnson and the Washington Redskins look like the old Buffalo Bills team when Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed were in their prime. The Seahawks are now 3-1, but their wins came very very close to be losses.... and then there were the Vikings, whom once again B.F.'ed me from behind as they took advantage of the Buccaneer's defense being late to the game. Teams we thought may be a fluke are turning out to be for real (Rams). Teams we thought were for real are turning out to be flukes (last year's final 4). How will week 5 influence the highly volitile substance known as the NFL? Once again, we attempt to unravel the mystery this week, much like how we are attempting to figure out EXACTLY how the QB rating system works. =)

Wins Losses Locks Back
None 40 18 3-1 ---
Gerry 38 20 2-2 2
Rice 37 21 1-3 3
kurupt 9 5 1-0 N/A


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Gerry 10-5 - 9-6 - 8-6 + 11-3 +
None 9-6 + 10-5 + 9-5 + 12-2 -
Rice 8-7 + 11-4 - 8-6 - 10-4 -
kurupt N/A N/A N/A 9-5 +


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San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams
Gerry: St. Louis
None: St. Louis

Rice: San Francisco

None: Hey, I just realized something. Kurt Warner is also Nightcrawler's (X-Men Blue Team) true identity. Anyways, I've been complimenting the Rams quarterback from week...2...but he's looked awesome. He's the first qb to throw three tds in each of his first three weeks. The Niners beat the Titans despite Steve Young's absence last week, but (gulp) the Rams offense is a lot better. Take them.

Even though Torry Holt is injured, he still should play. And him being the 3rd receiver just goes to show how strong the Rams' WRs are. SF's secondary is short and should be burned by pure size.

Rice: Jeff Garcia is getting into a groove after a semi-rocky appearence during a 2nd half replacement for Steve Young 2 weeks ago. St. Louis is flying high, but remember, they are still a young team with a young, but promising nucleus. Time to deflate their big heads. Niners in a squeaker.

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Miami Dolphins @ Indianapolis Colts
Gerry: Miami
None: Indianapolis

Rice: Miami

None: After the Buffalo/Miami game, I went back and thought. The Dolphins looked great against the Broncos in week 1, dominating them in all aspects of the game. Of course, the Broncos are 0-4 now. They beat the Patriots in a close one, looking pretty bad, and then their offense looked horrible against the Bills' defense. Well, the Indy offense has looked great lately, so I'll pick them. The Dolphins to go 2-2? Damn, that's a hard one to swallow after they looked to be the obvious Super Bowl contenders.

After the Monday Night debacle, Jimmy Johnson lit into Dan Marino, calling him a slow moron, though not in those exact words. Expect the Dolphins and especially Marino to respond w/ a better effort. Even though I love the Colts, I still think Miami's the team to beat in the AFC.

Rice: I really like Dan Marino. He is the most prolific quarterback in NFL history, and has remained rock steady in terms of reliability. Plus, he is good at avoiding injury, and even at his age, he still looks sensational, even though his passes have lost the zip of his youth. Peyton Manning reminds me of a young Joe Montana, and mark my words, he will go down in history once he retires. However, he has lots to learn, and after this game against Miami, Manning will learn a little something from the greatest QB of all time.

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Tampa Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers
Gerry: Tampa Bay
None: Green Bay

Rice: Green Bay

None: Green Bay hasn't played that great thus far, but Brett Favre has just willed them to victories against the Raiders and the Vikings. The Viking game particularly was important because it screwed everyone on the Rice World staff except me. Heh heh. Anyways, the Tampa Bay defense played a great 3 quarters after allowing 21 against the Vikings in the first, but their offense only scored 14 the entire game. Trent Dilfer vs Brett Favre? No doubt, take Favre.

I like Tampa Bay's chances against GB. Warren Sapp should be back to give Brett Favre nightmares. But it's TBs secondary that will have to hold; Randy Moss burned them early last week. I expect this game to be ugly, but ultimately a Buccaneer victory.

Rice: How many times do I have to say it? Bench Dilfer. He's proven to be a good QB, but only up to a 2nd string. Give Eric Zeire a chance! Well, it looks as if my pleas have fallen upon deaf ears (not like Tony Dungy visits Rice World anyway), so Tampa will continue to be a mediocre team, relying way too much on defense and an inconsistent running game. Green Bay is a slowly aging team, but as long as Brett Favre is at the helm, they will always be a contender.

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Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings
Gerry: Minnesota
None: Minnesota

Rice: Minnesota

None: The Vikings offense finally went to Randy Moss last week against the Bucs, who scored twice in the first quarter. The Bears played a horrid game, but scored twice in the final two minutes to beat Ditka and the Saints. Look for the Vikings to finally go to Moss all day long (especially with Cris Carter doubtful for this game) and rip the Bears apart. You'll think this was 1998, and these were the 15-1 Vikes.

Shit me, Chicago doesn't stand a chance against the Vikings. The Vikings are hungry to prove they retain the excellence of last year. Moss will have another big day for sure.

Rice: I have dreaded coming to Vikings picks, because they have raped me for 3 straight weeks, locks nonetheless! Minnesota intrudes upon my dreams, and causes me to sit up in the middle of the night with sweat soaking through my T-shirt. That is how traumatized I am by Randy Moss and Co.. However, this week, I feel fairly safe choosing the Vikings over the Bears, as this is almost a lopsided competition. But then again... I seem to be a jinx whenever it comes to Minnesota. Damn.....

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Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills
Gerry: Pittsburgh
None: Buffalo

Rice: Buffalo

None: Kordell Stewart: What a pitiful joke. Once thought to be the next quarterback to take the Steelers back to the top, he has just sucked so far this year. The Bills defense looked amazing against the Dolphins- championship caliber, but their offense wasn't- and will put more pressure of Kordell than the Jaguars'  Defense did last week. Another win for Buffalo, who has won 3 after dropping the first to the Colts.

Enough of this Buffalo being good talk. Their offense can be shut down. It's their tenacious D that keeps them in games. But the Steelers' big committee of RBs should wear down the Bills' D. Kordell will do some Slash-like things once he gets chased out of the pocket.

Rice: I feel sorry for Kordell. He has so much athletic talent, and is as versatile as any QB in the league. However, he has received criticism after criticism from fans and experts alike. Stewart is just a frustrated professional right now, and until he finds his niche, Pittsburgh will continue to suffer. The Bills are a QB away from being an offensive firepower. Doug Flutie is dope, and I really like him as our QB, but he ain't gonna cut it. Besides, did you think I was going to go against my beloved Buffalo, who saved me from being the consecutive Ass of the Week?

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Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns
Gerry: Cleveland
None: Cleveland

Rice: Cleveland

None: Oh, geez. A battle between two of the ugliest football teams around. This "Battle of Ohio" seems to be more like a "Pushover between Losers", as both teams are 0-4 and already in the cellar. Tim Couch and his boys finally took the lead last week against the Patriots, and were surprisingly competitive throughout the entire game. Welcome back to the NFL, Cleveland, now here's your first victory.

I love rooting for the underdogs, but hmmm, can Cleveland really be considered an underdog in this game? Cincy plays like an expansion team. However, Akili Smith is starting, and remember, he was picked after Tim Couch, although he really wanted to go to Cleveland. But alas, Akili's Bengals are oh so stinky.

Rice: Cincy doesn't even play like an expansion team. They play like a high school football team. I don't see the big hype over Akili Smith. He didn't really impress me when he was in Oregon. Tim Couch didn't impress me all that much either... he looks to be more of a Ryan Leaf'ish kind of quarterback, but under the right guidance, he will become an effective starter, but never a star. Anyhow, I can see the Bengals going 0-16 this season, and damn, that organization really needs to be shaken up. Can you believe they actually went to the Super Bowl just not too long ago under Boomer Esiason? Too bad Montana and the Niners ripped them to shreds...

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Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
Gerry: Denver
None: Oakland

Rice: Oakland

None: Finally! Bubby Brister has returned to starting quarterback, which was where he belonged the entire way. It's not that Brian Griese is that bad, he's just too inexperienced to guide a two-time defending Championship team. Every other team is gunning for them. Damn, the Raiders didn't impress against the Seahawks last week, and that ruined my perfect record going in. (I eventually lost my lock of the week too on Monday Night Football) But still, with Brister back in the lineup, I think the Broncos will win. Just not this week. They're still too unstable without Terrell Davis.

This will be a true gut check for the Broncos, after they losttheir MVP running back. But don't worry, the Denver vs. Oakland rivalry will be enough to compel both teams to bring their A-game. Bubby Brister should perform adequately instead of being thrust into a comeback situation.

Rice: There is a time when all teams need to take a deep look at themselves, and say, "OK, time to rebuild!". That time is now for the Broncos, and they can do that around Terrell Davis, who should be their new franchise player. Oakland is on a rise, but still not a serious contender in my eyes. However, I like their coach, John Gruden, who exemplifies a firey determination to win. He reminds me of a young Bill Cowhers, and if Al Davis is smart enough to keep him around, in 2 or 3 years Oakland may be a strong team to be feared, just as they were back in the days of Madden.

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New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs
Gerry: Kansas City
None: New England

Rice: Kansas City

None: Last week, Kansas City couldn't score against the impressive Charger defense, and lost to the team whose quarterbacks combined for 2 interceptions and about 100 yards in the air. That's right, 100. (Harbaugh and Kramer) Geezus crise: the Patriot defense isn't as good as the Chargers, but their offense is soo much better. Look for Bledsoe to pick on the secondary all day long.

I like KC because they remind me of some of my favorite disco songs. For real, New England barely scored 19 points against Cleveland last week, and should manage about that much against the Chiefs, who are significantly better than the Browns. If Elvis can finish the game and not leave the building, then look for Derrick Alexander to rip into the Pats' D.

Rice: Damn Gerry, one week you say you hate KC because of their red uniforms, the next you like them because of their disco songs. Wassup with that? Heh heh... anyways, the Chiefs are tough at home at Arrowhead, plus they are growing confidence as a team in whole. They don't have spectacular stars, but they are solid, and I like that kind of teams. The Patriots are good, to be sure, but now that teams recognize the threat of Terry Glenn, watch for double coverage and harassment at the line of scrimmage on him all day long.

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Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Gerry: Dallas
None: Dallas

Rice: Dallas

None: The Eagles stink. I believe the Phillies have scored more points than they have if you compare their last 4 games. The reborn Cowboys ripped apart the Cardinal defense last week, and look for them to do the same this week. Wow, can the Eagles score a touchdown? I'm saying no. How bout them Cowboys?

The Cowboys have a chance to go to the Super Bowl, and it's because of one person-- Rocket Ismail. He's the deep threat savior than Troy Aikman and Co. have lacked since Alvin Harper. Their superb offensive line also deserves a lot of the credit in Dallas' success. And Philly, well.......they're Philly. They suck big time.

Rice: I think the title of best team in the league may go to the Cowboys. Even though I don't particularly like Dallas, they look like the team that Jimmy Johnson led to Super Bowl victories years ago. Troy Aikman is still as accurate as a Russian sniper, and Emmitt is rejuvenated after criticisms of being past his prime. As Gerry said above, their O-line is their forte, and one thing that Smith is good at is running between the tackles.

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets
Gerry: Jacksonville
None: Jacksonville

Rice: NY Jets

None: Hey, the Jets finally won a game. Unfortunately for them, it was against the 0-4 Broncos. The Jaguars have not looked that great, scoring 'only' 17 points against a crap Pittsburgh team. However, the Jets didn't look that great against an Elway-less Denver team headed to the bottom. So, look for the Jaguars to come in, and Brunell to lead them to a squeaker.

The Haguars didn't look too Super Bowl-bound during their sloppy win against the Steelers. But as Jim Rome would say, SCOREBOARD, baby. The Jets were lucky to survive the game against Denver, but don't expect the Jaguars to make as many mistakes.

Rice: Once again, I will pin my hopes on Bill Parcells, the best coach in sports right now. Jacksonville is definitely a good team, but they seem a little flaky right now... Parcells will pressure Brunell and double McCardell, and force James Stewart to run against the Jets' linebackers. All in all, I see a tight Jets victory in front of roaring fans.

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San Diego Chargers @ Detroit Lions
Gerry: Detroit
None: San Diego

Rice: Detroit

None: Damn, I put wayyyy too much faith in this Charger defense. But they have responded each game, despite being hung out to dry by the old Harbaugh-led "3 & outers" - otherwise known as their offense. Anyways, the Lions are a pretty good team, but can Batch do anything against this defense? I'm saying no, and for the third consecutive week, I'm picking the Chargers. (I went 1-1 in their last two, but the defense has not failed me thus far. The Indy game was the fault of the offense, who squandered chance after chance)

Bobby Ross has no love lost for thet Chargers, his former team. Look for him to motivate his team, particularly his defense, to victory. All they have to do is get to Erik Kramer, who looked horrible last week although SD won, and put his face into the the Astro Turf a couple times. His ineptitude will take care of the rest.

Rice: I rank San Diego somewhere around where Oakland is in terms of how good they are as a team. Detroit seems like a new and different team without Barry Sanders, having pressure lifted from their shoulders to give Sanders his carries and suffer many no-gainers with a big breakout once in a while. In the Silverdome, the Chargers sparkling run defense will struggle, and Ron Rivers, a consistent and punishing back, will open up opportunties for Charlie Batch with play-actions.

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New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals
Gerry: Arizona
None: NY Giants

Rice: Arizona

None: Supposedly an up-and-coming team, the Cardinals have looked downright awful. Plummer can't pull off his miracles when he's constantly running for his life. The Giants have looked horrid themselves, beating the Eagles (The Eagles, for god's sakes) by only 1 point. Damn, what's up with the NFL? There's always these ugly games no one wants to see...this is one of them. Take the Giants.

Jake Plummer looks like the shittiest QB in the league right now. And it's sad because his confidence is all shook up. He can't throw w/o any accuracy or precision because he fears interceptions. What better way to regain some confidence than with a date w/ the offensively stagnant Giants? Look for Arizona to get great field position on Sunday.

Rice: <No Further Comment>

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Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
Gerry: Baltimore
None: Tennessee

Rice: Tennessee

None: Despite the Titans' disheartening loss in San Francisco last week against a Steve Young-less 49er team, they haven't looked bad this year. I don't like the Ravens that much, and since this is the last pick I'm gonna have to do, that's all I'm going to say. Uh...yeah. Ha- the Ravens lose this week, and the Browns win? Sweet justice for the fans in Cleveland...if it happens.

The Ravens' D will win this game. If they can get to Neil O'Donell, which I'm certain they will, then eventually they'll win the game w/ turnovers. The Titans were robbed against the Niners last week, but they really didn't look all that great. It was that last bomb to Thigpen for a TD that made the score look close.

Rice: I like the Titans. Eddie George is solid, as is Steve McNair. Too bad Air McNair isn't going to play. However, Neil O'Donnell can get the job done, as we have seen in Pittsburgh. Last week they played against a very impressive Niners team led by Jeff Garcia. This week, Baltimore shouldn't be much more than a nuisance. Jeff Fisher is like John Gruden of Oakland, but more subdued and tactical.

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Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints
Gerry: Atlanta
None: New Orleans

Rice: Atlanta

None: I hate this Falcons' team, and last week didn't help them at all. "Big Play" Ray Buchanan's behavior in their last game (pounding on some fool who burned him) probably won't unite this team. Jamal Andersen's season-ending injury won't exactly help either. If the Saints can play their tempo-controlling offense and good defense like they did for 57 minutes against the Bears, they should be able to handle these fallen Falcons. And they will, in a low scoring affair. (Just like Gerry's Saturday nights- heh heh)

The Saints were robbed last week. And I expect them to be robbed again this week by an Atlanta team that is hungry for their first win. Yeah, I know Chandler's out. And Graziani got a concussion. But they still have Danny Kanell, who actually has starting QB experience. Look for another game to be decided by the slimmest of margins. Oh yeah, and None, my scoring comes on Thursday nights after the frat parties. =)

Rice: If they don't win this week, they may lose their chance and go 0-16.

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{ Bye week }
None: OVERALL ANALYSIS- Alright, this week is a true test for many teams. Just ask the Rams and the 49ers. Are the Rams this good? Which side will the 49ers show- their gutsy win against the Titans last week or the demolishment against the Jags in Week 1? Miami vs. Indy: Can the Colts take their high-powered attack against the strong Miami secondary? I think after this week, the true playoff contenders will show themselves.


Gerry's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Pittsburgh -> Buffalo only won last Monday because Dan Marino moves around in the pocket like a statue. Kordell will slink away and wreak havoc. Plus Bill Cowher has a thing about losing consecutive games. It rarely, if ever, happens.
None's LOCK OF THE WEEK: St. Louis -> I have this much confidence in Warner, Isaac Bruce, and company. The 49ers' offensive line has looked horrid this year, and all the Rams have to do is put some pressure in Young. Their offense should be fine.
Rice's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Green Bay -> The Bucs will never be anything more than a seriously offbalanced team with a stellar defense and suck ass offense as long as Trent Dilfer is starting. I don't hate the fella', but this is for the good of the organization!