- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2006

I’ll be picking games each week and my goal is to: 1. Finish well above .500; and 2. Have them posted on the blog by Friday.

First, a selected five games. Myself and Jim Ducibella, Redskins beat guy for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk will engage in a spirited Pick The Pros battle each week. We’ll choose five games, the Redskins game, three others and a Toilet Bowl Game of the Week.

The Fab Five

1. Redskins-Vikings

I say: Redskins 23, Minnesota 14. Joe Gibbs doesn’t lose home openers and I’m giving Al Saunders the benefit of the doubt that the offense will be ready to do despite doing zip in the preseason. The Redskins win even if Clinton Portis doesn’t play.

Duce says: Washington 23, Minnesota 16

2. Cowboys-Jaguars

I say: Dallas 17, Jacksonville 10. The Jaguars went 12-4 last year against an easy schedule; things start a little tougher this year. The Cowboys get ready for the Redskins with a big game from Bledsoe.

Duce says: Jacksonville 20, Dallas 17

3. Colts-Giants

I say: Colts 31, Giants 20. The Manning Bowl takes center stage on Sunday night but Peyton is much more experienced than Eli to handle this kind of environment. The Giants could start 0-3.

Duce says: NY Giants 24, Indianapolis 23

4. Falcons-Panthers

I say: Panthers 40, Falcons 3. The Falcons won NFC South two years ago, but they’ve fallen way behind Carolina and Tampa Bay in that division. Carolina’s defense will harass Mike Vick.

Duce says: Carolina 16, Atlanta 14

5. Jets-Titans

Titans 6, Jets 3. In the Toilet Bowl Game, two terrible teams meet in Nashville. First downs will be hard to come by.

Duce says: NY Jets 13, Tennessee 10

The rest of the my picks

Eagles 31, Texans 3. Philadelphia could start the season 6-0, but the tough part of their schedule comes later when it plays three straight division road games.

Seahawks 27, Lions 13. Seattle returns to Ford Field, sight of its Super Bowl defeat. Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are the best QB-RB tandem in the league.

Cardinals 30, 49ers 21. Arizona hand-picked San Francisco as its home-opener opponent - gives me the idea that this could be a slam dunk.

Broncos 29, Rams 17. Remember with St. Louis couldn’t be stopped on offense? Now, the Rams struggle on offense and defense.

Bengals 33, Chiefs 30. This could be one of the most entertaining games of the weekend. Carson Palmer looked great in two preseason outings.

Browns 10, Saints 7. Cleveland went through like 42 centers in training camp but the home-field advantage lifts them to a Week 1 win.

Bears 19, Packers 13. The Bears used to never win at Lambeau Field but they did last year and will this year. Despite having Rex Grossman as their starting quarterback.

Chargers 39, Raiders 19. The late game on Monday should feature more offense than the Vikings-Redskins game.

Bucs 13, Ravens 6. Baltimore got Steve McNair, but its offensive line is leaky and RB Jamal Lewis is already banged up.

Patriots 31, Bills 10. New England looked great when I saw the Patriots dismantle the Redskins a few weeks ago. Tom Brady is this era’s Joe Montana.

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