In "Paper Lion," George Plimpton described the physical anguish of football: every part of the game, from the too-tight helmets to the grinding practices to the blows and bruises of the actual competition (and their equally painful fixes), is physically and mentally punishing.
In the last ten weeks, our players have endured more hits, more bottom-of-the-pile body-squishes, than most of us non football-players will experience in a lifetime. The teams that succeed this week will be those that can return to the field as robust and fearless as they were in Week 1. These are the biggest teams of the NFL.
More specifically, they are the heaviest teams. When a Mack truck hits a Yugo, the Mack truck wins; when a bowling ball hits a fly, the ball bowls on, but the fly has flown its last. We postulate that the same argument holds for football. So, this week our statisticians have calculated the cumulative weight of each team in our spotlight match-ups to find the Weebles of the NFL: the teams who get hit and pop right back up for more.
|Philadelphia (17,792 lbs.) at NY Giants (16,000 lbs.)
Let us pause for a moment to think about those who are in need this week: the sick, the hungry, and the Philadelphia Eagles. After suspending Terrell Owens for various crimes against good citizenship, the Eagles announced that quarterback Donovan McNabb will miss this week's game with a groin injury. But the Giants have been struggling with an underperforming quarterback as well as an underweight team. At a meager 8 tons, the Giants won't be able to hold off the Eagles.
SU Pick: Philadelphia
|Detroit (16,280 lbs.) at Dallas (17,139 lbs.)
Detroit's game of Musical Quarterbacks continues this week as Joey Harrington tries to recapture the starting spot from the injured Jeff Garcia. Harrington stepped up with a three-touchdown performance against Arizona last week, but the Cowboys' strong defense and explosive offense will outweigh Detroit on Sunday.
SU Pick: Dallas
|Indianapolis (17,657 lbs.) at Cincinnati (16,852 lbs.)
The Indianapolis Colts look to make it 10-0 this week as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Fresh off a bye week, the Bengals are hoping to give their fans an upset victory at home, but they will have to beef up their run defense and give quarterback Carson Palmer extra protection from the Colts' rush. In this match-up, the scales tip toward Indianapolis.
SU Pick: Indianapolis
|Carolina (15,945 lbs.) at Chicago (16,699 lbs.)
Two of the league's best defenses meet in the Windy City this week as the Carolina Panthers take on the Chicago Bears. After starting the season with a dismal 1-3 record, the Bears have scored five wins in a row to climb to the top of the NFC North. But the Panthers will be bringing their own Cinderella story to Sunday's game; looking to extend a six game winning streak, they've turned a 1-2 start into a 7-2 record and have claimed the top spot in the NFC South. If Chicago's offense can weigh in with a strong rushing game, they'll take the victory at home.
SU Pick: Chicago