Did you know the Chiefs are the last undefeated team in the NFL? Unless you’ve sworn off ESPN, you have been made well aware of this fact. Odds makers set this line based on reputation over actual play in 2010. Indianapolis’ struggles against the run have been well-documented over the years. Once again, the Colts can’t seem to find an answer to establishing a respected run defense. The team hoped that Bob Sanders could make it through a season unscathed only to discover his body is made of papier-mâché. To make matters worse, the team placed Sanders’ replacement, Melvin Bullitt, on injured reserve after losing to the Jaguars in week 4. Last week the Colts’ porous defense surrendered 174 yards rushing and 31 points to the Jags. Manning put up great numbers (as usual) and the time of possession was almost equal but the Colts presented little resistance for an offense that consists of Maurice Jones-Drew and little else.
The Chiefs have surprised most football fans with their fast start. However, their wins have come against 3 teams that have a combined 3 wins between them. Matt Cassel’s numbers look rather pedestrian (4 TDs 3 INTS 494 YDS) and the Chiefs have allowed their opponents to out gain them by 300 yards in the air thus far. That doesn’t matter. This team will not win games throwing the ball. The Chiefs have 2 top tier running backs in Jammal Charles and Thomas Jones and a versatile special teamer/receiver in Dexter McCluster. Their offensive strength plays well to Indianapolis’ defensive weakness.
Romeo Crennel knows manning well from his days in New England. The Patriots were the hump Manning could not get over and Romeo Crennel played a large part in that. Crennel now holds the same position with Kansas City. Manning will get his, but Crennel should have enough up his sleeve to delay the Colts’ offensive onslaught. The Colts will win this game, but the Chiefs should keep things interesting for most of this game. I’ll take the Chiefs to cover (-7.5) and the Colts to win.
ERIC'S PICK: CHIEFS +7.5
New Orleans Saints (-7) @ Arizona Cardinals
The Saints have not looked like the defending Super Bowl Champs thus far in 2010. They have beaten San Fran, Carolina and Minnesota by a combined total of 10 points. The Saints rank 30th in rushing, lost Reggie Bush to injury and have a hobbled Pierre Thomas. We just have not seen the same offensive fire for an entire game out of this team. Luckily, the Arizona Cardinals are on the menu.
The Cardinals benched perpetual disappointment, Derek Anderson, last week in favor of a rookie, Max Hall. I don’t think this was the situation Coach Ken Wisenhunt had in mind entering preseason with an open quarterback competition. The Cardinals have a few offensive pieces in Tim Hightower and Larry Fitzgerald. Hightower is a solid situational back and Fitzgerald needs a QB that can get him the ball so their talent goes mostly wasted on this squad. Former first round pick Beanie Wells only has 19 carries this season, but he is averaging a shade under 5 yards per carry. So there is a bright spot in the ground game.
The Cardinals are coming off of a 41-10 beat down at the hands of San Diego last week. I see another obliteration coming down the pike on Sunday. The Cardinals hit rock bottom and the Saints’ offense finds its mojo again. The Saints are due for a breakout performance and I don’t think a rookie QB on a struggling team will answer the challenge. The Saints cover (-7) and roll the Cards.
PICK: NEW ORLEANS -7