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Week 6

Niners Report:
Things are not looking good in Ninerland, but you'd never know it from listening to the coach. He's still convinced his guys can compete for a playoff spot in the weak NFC West, and he's been emphasizing that point over and over again to the media. After all, even though the team is only 1-4, they're still just 2 games out of first place.

Nolan's a convincing guy, and he makes a really strong case that he believes in his players, but does anyone actually think SF's got a shot at the postseason? Even the coach? It's tough to tell if he actually believes himself or if he's just got a really good poker face. Either way, he knows it's his main job to keep morale high, so as long as the players buy it, the truth doesn't matter.

San Francisco has a bye this weekend, and will use the extra time to prepare for their upcoming trip to Washington DC. In two weeks, the team will face off against the resurgent Redskins, and will need to have cultivated some semblance of an offense by that point if they're going to have a shot. The Skins currently field one of the NFL's most intimidating & blitz-happy defenses, and that's not a good omen for a rookie QB
starting his 2nd game.

Raiders Report:
Oakland, fresh off a bye week, prepares to host division rival San Diego at the Coliseum this weekend. And you know what that means! That's right! Local TV blackout!

Once again, Bay Area Raiders fans will have to either buy a ticket or wait until sportscenter to watch the Randy Moss show. It should be an interesting one too, as former 1st round pick CB Quentin Jammer is almost certain to spend the game just across the line of scrimmage. Jammer has the necessary size, speed, and technique to hang around with Moss, and he's played top wideouts very well in the past, but this has been a relatively quiet year for him. No interceptions so far. Could this be a breakout game for Jammer? Possibly, but Kerry Collins hasn't been picked off yet this season either, and that's not a good sign for the Chargers DB.

Of course, the Moss/Jammer matchup might not have much influence on the game's outcome if the Chargers' running game gets untracked early. LaDanian Tomlinson is the consensus #1 back in the NFL, and he's historically had big games against the Raiders. Last November, he gashed the team for 164 yards rushing and a touchdown in a 34-31 victory. If Oakland's D Line is unable to continue their streak of overachievement, things could get out of hand pretty quickly.

But Oakland's defense HAS been playing over its head lately, and with the local crowd cheering them on, there's no reason to predict they'll stop now. Warren Sapp is looking like his old self, and the linebackers look to be for real. San Diego is coming off a tough Monday night loss to the Steelers, and has a short week to prepare -- as opposed to Oakland who has been game-planning this one for a week and a half already. For that reason, I'll give the edge to the Raiders in a down-to-the-wire contest.

Predicted Score:
Oakland Raiders 27 - San Diego Chargers 23


Other Predicted Scores:
Atlanta Falcons 30 @ New Orleans Saints 20
New York Giants 17 @ Dallas Cowboys 19
Miami Dolphins 16 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
Cleveland Browns 13 @ Baltimore Ravens 16
Carolina Panthers 27 @ Detroit Lions 21
Washington Redskins 24 @ Kansas City Chiefs 23
Minnesota Vikings 16 @ Chicago Bears 20
Jacksonville Jaguars 14 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 21
Cincinnati Bengals 24 @ Tennessee Titans 14
New York Jets 13 @ Buffalo Bills 16
New England Patriots 23 @ Denver Broncos 22
Houston Texans 17 @ Seattle Seahawks 27
St Louis Rams 16 @ Indianapolis Colts 27