As Pete Seeger wrote 45 years ago:
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
Things are always turning in the NFL. The once-invulnerable Texans got “turned” into a humble squad Sunday night, giving up as many TD passes to AR-12 as I typed the word “turn” in the lyrics above.
This is the first real mixed-results week I’ve had. So far, I had double-digit correct picks every week, except the satanic week three that threw me for a loop. As usual, I picked a couple of tough games correctly – ones that few have the guts to actually pick, but I do stick my neck out – and had about as many right as I did wrong this week, heading in at 48-29. On all but the Thursday game, I left in my pre-game comments. It’s funny to see how I was right in a lot of them, even if I had the wrong team winning. More underdogs than favorites won, so that always makes for a crazy week:
Pittsburgh at Tennessee:
Played on Thursday. I predicted Steelers by 20. Very injured Steelers team there. Ouch. 0-1 to start this week as the Steel Curtain is really in need of some Rustoleum now.
Final: Titans by 3
Oakland at Atlanta:
Possibly a trap game here. Oakland’s RB Darren McFadden has a good chance to make a spash for once this season – the Falcons give up 5.4 yds/carry. I see chinks in this Falcons armor and the game should be closer than people expect, but I just don’t see the silver and black winning in the Georgia Dome straight-up, especially seeing how they played in Miami. The Raiders rarely play well on the east coast.
Falcons by 11
Result: Falcons by 3
Cincinnati at Cleveland: Cincy finally lost to a team with a losing record last week when the Dolphins beat ‘em. The Browns don’t have the defense the ‘phins do, not quite, and Mohammed Massaquoi is out. The Browns’ defense hasn’t held up their end and until I see signs of life I can’t pick ‘em, but if they have a shot to beat anyone it might be this weekend against the Bengals. Until then…
Bengals by 6
See? I had an “inkling” here, but just couldn’t pull the trigger on a winless team.
Result: Browns by 10
St. Louis at Miami: The Rams are a surprise team of sorts this season with a defensive line that can pressure the QB and a pretty opportunistic secondary with 2 really good corners in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins. Their linebackers, James Laurinitis aside, really have little talent. The Dolphins are a top-ten running team with Reggie Bush & Co. that should exploit that Rams D. The Rams’ offense is the struggling unit and I don’t see Bradford lighting up Miami’s defense…the pass rush will be enough to keep him a little jittery.
Dolphins by 13
The Rams’ D is getting even tougher now, and Miami won on Tannehill’s play. Good for him!
Result: Dolphins by 3
Indianapolis at New York Jets: After the second-half comeback against the Packers last week, Andrew Luck showed he’s all those things people said he was in college. Mark Sanchez continues to prove he’s none of those things people said he was coming OUT of college. Much more of this, and Tim Tebow will get another chance at leading a team. The Jets defense hasn’t been effective either. Gang Green is a sinking ship.
Colts by 10
The Colts may just have the worst defense in the NFL, and that big roster turnover makes them a very up and down team and will be hard to predict all season now, I think. Who shows up? Won’t know until each game is played.
Result: Jets by 26
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles: This one could be a case of who wants to lose the most. With the Lions unable to stop anyone defensively and Michael Vick’s turnovers in the red zone, it should be an interesting game to watch, at least. Detroit’s had the bye week to plan well for the Eagles. Too bad it won’t help them win.
Eagles by 14
Interesting indeed! Nice to have a veteran kicker in Jason Hanson. Been there, done that. Can’t rattle the guy.
Result: Lions by 3 in OT
Kansas City at Tampa Bay: Now here’s a train wreck of a game for you. KC managed to play well against the Ravens at Arrowhead and Tampa Bay is really struggling after an opening-day win. KC may have it together enough to pull this one off.
Chiefs by 4
Train wreck for the Chiefs…they’ve gotta be the most awful team in the NFL now. They got nothing together but their trade demands…
Result: Bucs by 28
Dallas at Baltimore: This game should be a close game despite the Cowboys’ offensive woes. I think they matchup well against the Ravens right now, but they’re just not playing disciplined football – especially on offense. The Ravens are coached by a Harbaugh and those teams rarely come out unready to play.
Ravens by 13
Dez Bryant dropped 3 passes last week and 3 this week – including a 2-pt conversion that would have tied things up. He needs focus, and the team still needs discipline.
Result: Ravens by 2
New England at Seattle: This is going to be a difficult game for Brady’s Pats on the road. I’m convinced Seattle has the best home-field advantage of any team in the NFL and currently they sport the league’s top-ranked defense. I watched them frustrate the Panthers all day last week, and their defense is no fluke. They tackle well and make plays. If Russell Wilson can protect the ball….look out.
Seahawks by 2
Russell Wilson did protect the ball, had 3 TD passes including a bomb to Sidney Rice with under 2 minutes remaining, and Seattle won it. Heed what I have been saying all season about the ‘hawks’ home-field advantage!
Result: Seahawks by 1
Buffalo at Arizona: If any game can help the overpriced, underachieving Buffalo Bills defense, it’s this one. Arizona has so many problems on their offensive line, Kevin Kolb almost helps the team as much with his acting ability drawing flags for late hits as he does with his passing. He’s improved a lot over what he showed in preseason, however, and they’re coming off a long week after a Thursday night loss against the Rams. Since they’re at home, they should take this one against the hapless Bills.
Cardinals by 17
John Skelton did the same thing in overtime that Kolb did in regulation – stared down his receiver – with the same result – an interception. This time, it cost them the game as they turned it over in their own red zone. Ouch again, but you can’t win every overtime game you play forever….
Result: Bills by 3 in OT
New York Giants at San Francisco: One of the more interesting games is last year’s NFC Championship game rematch. I think the Giants’ defense is too soft up the middle to stop the Niners’ running game and the Niners’ offensive game plan is always run first, then go to play-action and protect the ball. The Giants have struggled rushing the passer this year, despite all that talent on their defensive line.
Niners by 14
I had everything exactly backwards in this one – but credit crafty Tom Coughlin’s game planning for this one.
Result: Giants by 23
Minnesota at Washington: The Vikings are the surprise team and RG3 is coming off a concussion. I’ll cut to it. If RG3 plays, the ‘skins should win at home. I just think the Vikings are due for a reality check after their quick start and Washington is a team who matches up nicely right now I think.
Redskins by 4
Nice to get SOMETHING right!
Result: Redskins by 12
Green Bay at Houston: The Packers continue to struggle despite improving their defense. Mike McCarthy is still trying to fix this offense, but they’ll be without Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley has a shoulder injury that will slow him even if he does play. The Texans are a run-first team that should slow down the pass rush. The Texans’ defense lost a key cog in Brian Cushing to an ACL, but are still a very tough unit facing that struggling offense. I see Houston continuing their winning ways again this week at home.
Texans by 17
Wrong again – except for the doubling-up part. I was thinking Houston, 34-17. The Packers did the doubling-up here, 42-24.
Result: Packers by 24
Denver at San Diego: Very difficult game to predict. The Chargers seem to be the better team when they’re “on,” and Denver’s losses have all been to elite teams. The Chargers lost to the previously-winless Saints last week. The rub here is the Chargers are playing at home and is probably one of those Vegas “pick ‘ems” since both teams are coming off a rough road loss last week.
Broncos by 5
If you watched the game, you saw one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. The Chargers bolted out to a 24-0 lead, then Peyton Manning led the team to 35 unanswered points for the 35-24 win. Rivers had 4 INTs to help, with 3 in the Broncos’ 35-pt second half to help. It was the greatest deficit overcome to win a game in MNF history.
Result: Broncos by 11
So I had an average to poor week. It happens. 6-8 for the week with a lot of oddball games. I’m at 54-36 for the season now.
Gotta admit though, it took guts to call that Seahawks win….but I think it proved what I’ve been saying all season:
Seattle has the best home-field advantage in the NFL. Believe it!