Okay folks, last week was one of “those” weeks…then again, more underdogs won than favorites; some of which I picked correctly (Seattle over New England, Miami over St. Louis, Washington over Minnesota) and others I blew completely – like Houston crushing Green Bay…the result was exactly backwards haha…but hey, it happens, and I tend to stick my neck out a lot.
Seattle at San Francisco: – I start the week 1-0 as this one went just like many had thought it would. Woot!
Tennessee at Buffalo:
The Titans had an offensive explosion last week when they had 26 at home, beating the Steelers by 3. The Steelers have lost their edge and the Titans really don’t have their own yet. Buffalo is able to run the ball, but keep their best back, CJ Spiller, under wraps with Fred Jackson healthy. The Titans are 28th and the Bills are 31st in defense. Surprisingly, the Titans – WITH CJ2K – are dead last in rushing. Buffalo would be wise to run it 50 times – 25 to Fred, 25 to CJ.
Bills by 13
Dallas at Carolina:
The Cowboys have an 8-game winning streak against the Panthers, but both offenses have been in a funk for most of the season. The Cowboys’ defense is actually vulnerable to the type of attack Chudzinski can run…if only he can put it together along with the rest of the team. Newton will find the passing difficult, as the ‘boys still have the best and deepest group of corners in the game. Until I see the Panthers put together a full-game effort like they did against Atlanta (despite the loss), I can’t go with the home team here.
Cowboys by 14
Baltimore at Houston:
Here we have the best game of the week – the only two AFC teams with winning records. Yep, the AFC has only these two teams above .500. The NFC has 3 in the NFC West alone and 7 total. I think this one will be a high-scoring affair…injuries on D have really softened that middle for Arian Foster and/or Ben Tate to run in, and Houston wasn’t able to pressure AR-12 last week. Flacco should get his looks and Rice could have a monster game. I like the Ravens in a see-saw game which should come down to the wire. Also, all the “experts” seem to be picking the Texans at home, so I’m going with…
Ravens by 4
Cleveland at Indianapolis:
With Indy’s coach battling cancer and a very young team, the Colts are nearly impossible to predict. The world-beaters could show up and dominate or the bottom-feeders could show up and “suck for Luck.” Truth is, the Colts cannot stop the run and have missed MLB Pat Angerer all year. The Browns should have the ability to run…if Trent Richardson can go. The Browns’ injury list looks more like a complete roster these days, and LB Scott Fujita may never play again. That said, Joe Hayden is back, but the Colts play better at home. This game is the one I struggle with the most this week because of Richardson’s uncertain (questionable) status. If he plays effectively, the Browns should win as Weeden is showing a lot of improvement over his first few games in which he struggled. Either way, stay the heck away from this game in the “Eliminator” this week!
Colts by 3 – simply by virtue of playing at home.
Arizona at Minnesota:
The Cards are on the downswing after their rocket-launch start. They have a lot of issues on their offensive line and Kevin Kolb is listed as out for the game.
Red John Skelton starts? If that holds up, Minnesota should dominate…especially if Adrian Peterson plays. First team to 11 wins this one, and I’ll be shocked if the Cards have 11 at the end of the game…including a defensive TD!
Vikings by 21
Washington at New York Giants:
Well, the Giants’ defensive linemen showed up last week against the Niners – not an easy team to have a ‘coming out party’ against. The Giants’ own o-line hasn’t given up a sack in the last 3 games, and they appear to be peaking as a team. The ‘skins have RG3, who should make enough plays to keep things competitive, but he can’t do it alone. The Redskins’ defense stinks. The only saving grace is that the Giants seem more vulnerable at home.
Giants by 8
Green Bay at St. Louis:
The Rams are more of an upstart team than people realize. Yeah, they’re .500 now but have shown signs of putting together a very good defensive unit. Too bad their offense is still rather anemic. The Packers are beginning to awaken and historically the Rams haven’t played them well recently. Don’t forget the Rams’ best offensive weapon, rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein.
Packers by 24
New Orleans at Tampa Bay:
A 1-win team at a 2-win team. What a yawner. The Saints’ offense is lethal to opponents and their defense is lethal to themselves. Look for the Bucs to grind rookie Doug Martin up the middle at least 25 times and maybe even give it to Legarette Blount some. Then they’ll pass off of play-action. It goes a bit against my raisin’ to do this, but…
Buccaneers by 4
New York Jets at New England:
The Patriots are now tied for first place in the division…with all the other teams in the AFC East. Yes, that includes the schizophrenic New York Jets. This should be a game worth watching as Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan pretty much hate each other. Then again, show me someone BB LIKES…other than himself. Gronk and Hernandez should both play, and the home field should give them the edge.
Patriots by 11
Jacksonville at Oakland:
This game should decide the battle for the worst team in the AFC…and that’s sayin’ something. Oakland played Atlanta surprisingly tough in the Georgia Dome and beat Pittsburgh at home the previous week. They look like they’re improving. The Jags? Not so much.
Raiders by 17
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati:
Both of these teams appear to be on the downswing and the Steelers’ defense always suffers when Polamalu is out. He’s out for this one, and I think the Bengals are hungry to beat ‘em as part of their battle to climb the ladder within the division. This one might be a bit of a surprise, but I like…
Bengals by 7
Monday Night Football:
Detroit at Chicago:
The “new” Monsters of the Midway are there…DAAA BEARSSSSS now have the #3 defense in the NFL and a defensive line that should keep the Lions’ offensive line’s hands full. No, not holding necessarily, but Stafford won’t find the going quite so easy and he’s been prone to throwing picks this year. Detroit’s defense is surprisingly #9 in yards allowed, and Alshon Jeffery is out for the game. The Bears will lean on Matt Forte more than ever, and hope that Brandon Marshall can get open…and stop dropping wide-open TD passes. The elements for an upset are nearly all there except for the fact that Forte is looking his best. Detroit doesn’t have an answer for him due to their own backfield situation and should be one-dimensional in the passing game. The Bears’ defense has scored 5 TDs this season and may pull out a 6th score on a pick-6…and that would probably be the difference in the outcome.
Bears by 7
Okay folks, my track record here isn’t the best, so you’ve been warned:
Oakland over Jacksonville – Jax is pretty much last in offense and defense, and on the road playing an improving Raiders’ squad.
Minnesota over Arizona – no Kevin “Korn on the” Kolb so Skeleton-man starts.
Dallas over Carolina – Both teams have issues but the Cowboys’ defense is MUCH better, even if Kuechly plays MLB for the Panthers.
Buffalo over Tennessee – if you’re feelin’ lucky, punk…