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(By Rice World Staff)

by None, Rice, Gerry

     Damn the NFL for scheduling a Thursday night game. Don't they know we're mean procrastinators that don't want to publish our picks before Saturday? Har har, just kidding. I heard they moved it away from Sunday night to avoid competition w/ the World Series. Please... who watches the World Series anyway? I defy anyone to sit down for a whole 9 innings in front of a T.V. without falling asleep or changing the channel. Despite the tyranny of NFL schedulers, our team here at Rice World has responded magnificently and accelerated our normal schedule to bring you our weekly analysis... uhm, except Gerry's, which he attempts to explain at the end. I must also extend congrats. to None. After 6 tight weeks of nearly even records, he pulled away in Week 6 to open up an astounding 6 game lead! Alright, it's okay, the season's still young... *breathe*. Without further ado, let us unveil our new Ass of the Week! =)

Wins Losses Locks Back
None 55 31 5-1 ---
Gerry 49 37 3-3 6
Rice 49 37 3-3 6
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 +
Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Gerry 7-7 - 4-10 + TBA TBA
None 6-8 + 9-5 + TBA TBA
Rice 7-7 + 5-9 + TBA TBA
kurupt N/A N/A TBA TBA


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Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens
Gerry: Baltimore
None: Kansas City

Rice: Kansas City

None: Well, this game's a hard one to pick. The Chiefs' defense is among the best in the league, but they aren't playing at Three Rivers, and the crowd won't play a factor. However, the Ravens are really inconsistent, and have had trouble scoring take the Chiefs

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Kansas City lacks homecourt advantage in this game, and therefore loses a significant advantage. Why? Because they have yet to win on the road!! However, the Ravens look like an ugly team, home or road. Plus, there's always a first, so look for this game to be the Chiefs first road victory.

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Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gerry: Tampa Bay
None: Tampa Bay

Rice: Tampa Bay

None: Damn it, I should have gone with my instinct last week. I should have taken the Eagles over the Bears, because any rookie quarterback (Cade McNown) starting is prone to mistakes. He didn't play that bad, but I think Sapp and his boys will go after Cade all day. Look for the Bucs, fresh off a bye week, to win a surprisingly close one in Tampa.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Please... for the sake of winning... bench Dilfer! Oh well, I say this week in and week out, because Trent is probably the worst starting QB in this league. Cade McNown was awesome at UCLA (who lost to Cal this past Sat... bummer), and soon he will be a star in the NFL. However, the deciding factor will be defense, in which the Bucs have a significant advantage.

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Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts
Gerry: Indianapolis
None: Indianapolis

Rice: Indianapolis

None: Manning struggled last week against a very good Jets' defense, but this Bengal d won't be able to do anything about it. Besides, it's not like Akili Smith leads a high powered attack. The Bengals are not a very good team, period. Watch for the Manning-to-Harrison combo to get back on their feet, get the Colts offense back on track, and win going away..

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Manning & Harrison is certainly a formidable combination, but in order to be steady, they also need Edgarrin James to step up and be more involved in the offense. The Bengals, after switching to Akili Smith, have been steadily improving.

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Cleveland Browns @ St. Louis Rams
Gerry: St. Louis
None: St. Louis

Rice: St. Louis

None: Let's do some basic math here. The Rams have probably the most prolific offense in the NFL right now. Faulk ran for 181 yards last week, taking the 'load' off of an exhausted Kurt Warner and his brand of wide receiving corps. The Browns can play some good d, but I doubt any offense in the league can score one-for-one with the Rams. After several weeks of good competitive games, look for the Browns to get their butts handled like the expansion team that they are.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: I admit. I was one of the doubters of the Rams. I still am, in a sense, but I am a lot more convinced of their offense. Faulk, Bruce, and Warner. Wow... Defensively they're competitive, but if they can step it up to top notch, they will be Super Bowl champions.

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Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Gerry: New England
None: New England

Rice: Denver

None: Damn, this is a hard game to pick. The Broncos actually crushed the Packers last week, and Patriots lost to a backup quarterback and Miami. However, keeping in mind that the Packers have not been that great this year save Favre - every game has been close, which could suggest they play to the level of their opponent - I'll take Bledsoe. Sure, the Broncos looked impressive, but they're still an injury plagued team leaving the friendly confines of Mile High. Look for Bledsoe to quash the hopes that some Bronco fans had.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Yes! This is the coach that I knew Mike Shanahan was. I'm sure it was a little of the early season adjustments due to injuries and such, but now the Broncos are back on track. New England is fighting for the AFC lead. Denver is playing spoiler now, so the pressure is off of them. This will be close, and fun to watch.

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Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers
Gerry: Carolina
None: Carolina

Rice: Detroit

None: Huh. I had a hunch that the Panthers would beat San Fran in San Fran, as their offense was getting back on track. I had no idea that the Lions would actually beat the Vikings. Anyways, back in Carolina, I believe that the Panthers' offense is too much for the Lions' to handle. Besides, Beuerlein had a great game last week, with four touchdowns, and have been involved in several shootouts this year. I doubt that the Lions could keep up.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Lions have taken a nosedive after their early season success. Ha ha, remember when they claimed, "Barry who?". I'm sure they are begging Sanders to come back right now. Especially against the Panthers average run defense. Regardless, the Lions will need this game to remain competitive, and I smell upset in the air.

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New Orleans Saints @ New York Giants
Gerry: New Orleans
None: NY Giants

Rice: New Orleans

None: While New Orleans can't seem to keep a lead, the Giants can't seem to score points. The Giants are 3-3, playing very inconsistently and not being able to score more than 20 points. The Saints have given up fourth quarter leads in the past three weeks, after leading the entire game up to that point against the Eagles, the Titans, and the Bears. The Giants team will handle this Saints team, who suck and can't score themselves. It's as simple as that.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: On the news, Mike Ditka flipped off the New Orleans fans and grabed his crotch at the crowd as the Saints lost an ugly game again. Haha, that was so funny! Anyways, Iron Mike has always been an emotional figure, and New Orleans always seem to be on the verge of winning. The Giants won, surprisingly, against Dallas, and is probably patting each other's back. Wake up call!

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Miami Dolphis
Gerry: Miami
None: Miami

Rice: Miami

None: While Dan Marino is probably doubtful to go for this game, I still like the Dolphins. I doubt Philly can win three in a row; after all, the Dolphins' defense is as good as any in the league. They play everyone tough, and despite falling behind 14-0 really early last week in New England (early enough to the point that I thought I lost that game for sure), backup quarterback Huard still led them to a nice victory, with Orlando Mare kicking 6/7 field goals. Hell, that 18 points should be enough to beat the Eagles. Time for them to come back down to Earth.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: This parity crap has gotten to my head. I almost picked the Eagles, but at the last second, I though, oh wait, it's the Eagles. The Dolphins will win easily, and Cecil Collins will have a big game w/ the air offense out of sync.

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San Francisco 49ers @ Minn. Vikings
Gerry: Minnesota
None: Minnesota

Rice: San Francisco

None: Oh, what an intriguing game this will be. The 49ers, despite the absence of Steve Young, have scored a lot with Jeff Garcia at the helm putting up semi-impressive numbers. The Vikings, because of the benching of Randall Cunningham, finally got their offense on track with Jeff George in a loss to the Lions. Now they face the worst secondary perhaps in the league (did you see the replays of that 6'3" Carolina tight end who hauled the eventual-winning touchdown just grabbing it from the dwarf of a 49er cornerback?) Who's starting this game? I don't think it matters if it's Cunningham or George, and I seem to say this every week, but the Vikings should finally start to turn this ship around. However, expect a surprisingly close game with Garcia playing another solid game.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Sigh... the Vikings will probably win this game due singly to my pick against them. I realize I haven't gotten a single Viking pick correct yet. Damn! I am their ultimate jinx. Still, they have been struggling really badly, and if they lose this one, kiss playoff hopes goodbye. I like the Niners, even though they're away. Robert Smith is gone, plus the Niners haven't lost 3 in a row since the beginning of time.

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Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys
Gerry: Dallas
None: Washington

Rice: Dallas

None: Week 1: Dallas at Washington. The first sign of the second best offense in the league - you know what the first one is, right? - shows. The first sign of perhaps the worst defense in the league also shows, as the Skins blow a 21 point lead and lose in overtime. What's going to be different this time? The Boys have not looked good in their past weeks, and the Skins have continued racking up the score. Look for the Skins again, in another high-scoring affair. This is a huge revenge game.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Man, after flying high, the Cowboys have descended to the scum sucking parasitical level of the NFL ladder. However, they almost never lose at home. They're like drug sniffing cockroaches, you wanna squish them, but something about that stadium says no way. Washington is an offensive powerhouse, much like the Rams, but if Dallas can get Emmitt and Troy going, they can still outscore anyone in the league.

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Green Bay Packers @ San Diego Chargers
Gerry: Green Bay
None: San Diego

Rice: Green Bay

None: Haha! Take that! Damn, this Charger defense impresses me more each week. The Packers looked really good, until Favre had one of his worst days ever and they lost to the Broncos 31-10. Hmm....this is a very interesting matchup, but I think I'll take a risk here. Watch for the Chargers defense to clamp down on the GB offense. Junior Seau is one of the most inspired players in this league, and he - and the rest of that #1 defense - knows that the Chargers can make a huge statement with another win at home. I think they will.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Ah well. Everyone has bad days. Even Superman Brett Favre. The Chargers have a buff run defense, and it can hold it's own in the air. I still like the Packers, even with a banged up and wasted Favre, he's still heads and shoulders above.... uhm..... Trent Dilfer.

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Buffalo Bills @ Seattle Seahawks
Gerry: Seattle
None: Buffalo

Rice: Buffalo

None: Damn: I think picking from my heart. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, the Bills offense has not lived up to its potential the past couple of weeks. Their defense has won games for them. When they finally struggled (against the Raiders last week), they lost. However, the Seahawks just ran into the best defense in San Diego, and I don't think they'll get back up to win this one. Moulds might be out four weeks, but Flutie magic does exist.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: I admit. Oakland was tough on the Bills. They played like they were on steroids, especially their last offensive drive which clamped down their win. Flutie is good, but he's subpar in my eyes. I love that little fella', but what he brings is leadership rather than talent. Buffalo will straddle the fence between mediocre & competitiveness until they reap a phat QB to complement Moulds and up-and-coming WR Peerless Price.

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New York Jets @ Oakland Raiders
Gerry: Oakland
None: Oakland

Rice: NY Jets

None: Wow, Oakland really surprised me against the Bills last week in Buffalo. They got 195 yards on the ground against the number 1 run defense in the league, which averaged giving up only 62.5 a game. Well, the pass offense still doesn't look that good, but they should be able to beat this down-for-the-count Jets team. Take the Raiders in Oakland.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Why do I always do this? Why do I have an unstoppable compulsion to pick the Jets each week? I always come up with some sort of B.S.... heh heh. Your daily dose this week is the return of Curtis Martin into his groove, and the Jet's tenacious D against the running game of Oaktown. Upset special!

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Atlanta Falcons @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Gerry: Atlanta
None: Pittsburgh

Rice: Pittsburgh

None: Bleh. What kind of ugly-ass Monday Night game is this? The Falcons are the one 'Final Four' team that I don't think has any chance to do anything. The Broncos & the Vikings still have a chance to rebound.... but the Falcons don't look like a team. Look for Kordell to get his groove on against the Birds' secondary, and the Bus to take them to victory.

Gerry: <No Comment Provided>

Rice: Kordell's back! Just as I claimed last week. Nice and consistent w/out any crucial interceptions. Bettis will eat up the Falcon's shoddy defense, and the Steelers defense has always been good ever since as far as I can remember. It's a lost season for Atlanta, so Chandler might not risk his injury.

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{ Bye week }
None: OVERALL ANALYSIS- I seem to say this every week, but this is another week filled with tough tests for teams. Some quick questions and thoughts:

- The Rams have the 3rd easiest schedule in the league. Are they that good?
- Can the Skins be outscored? Can they lose because of their horrid defense?
- How good's the Charger defense, and can it lead them into the playoffs?
- Is the Silver-and-Black running attack as good as they looked against Buffalo?
- Can the Buffalo offense get back on track? Can the Seattle offense do the same?
- Is Denver as good as they looked against the Pack? Are the Packers that bad?
- Can the Viking offense finally get off against the worst secondary in the league? More importantly, will they screw me again?

Alright, so these were all questions. We're almost halfway into this year, and nothing certain can be stated about the playoffs. This year's wide, wide open.

Gerry: OVERALL ANALYSIS- St. Louis may be mauling their opponents, but I want to see them play against a team like Oakland, whose secondary and pass-rush are top notch. Warner has shown he can get flustered if pressure's applied on him, as Atl. did. I apologize for my terse analyses, but I feel that because I'm the Ass of the Week, I don't have the right to speak unless spoken to.


Gerry's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Green Bay Packers -> By the simple law of averages, GB will bounce back this week, especially through the air. Watch for Favre to regain his 250+ yard average and Antonio Freeman to get his 125 yards, in order to compensate for his 9 yard performance last week. Dorsey will compensate for his 12 yard rushing performance through the air, since Jr. Say-Oww and his crew shuts down the run like big boys.
None's LOCK OF THE WEEK: San Diego Chargers ->It's time for the Chargers to expose this fraud of a Packers team which has only looked good because of Brett Favre. Both these teams seem to be involved in close games, but unlike the Raiders, the Vikings, or the Bucs, I think this Charger defense can step up and do the job against the Pack.
Rice's LOCK OF THE WEEK: Buffalo Bills -> Yes, by the simple law of averages, the Buffalo defense will put the death grip on the Seahawks, making up for their scrappy performance against Oakland. Now let's see the offense eat up some yardage against Seattle.