LAST WEEK: 7-6 :: OVERALL: 35-25
Last week was probably not the best week to start tracking this here. 7-6 is not a great week of prognostication, to be sure. But I knew that’s how it would be! For some reason, when the picks are “obvious”, it never turns out that way.
That should bode well for this week.
Several interesting match-ups that could go any way this week. Let’s get right to ’em.
Chicago (2-2) at Detroit (0-3)
This game is not difficult to pick. Chicago has been playing really well. Could actually be 4-0, if not for two fourth quarter collapses this season. They hung in against Philadelphia and went to 2-2, instead of 1-3. And, even though the Lions fired Matt Millen, there will be no improvement with them… at all. I don’t plan on picking Detroit at all this season, actually. WINNER: Chicago.
San Diego (2-2) at Miami (1-3)
Miami is playing their first game after Ronnie Brown’s big 5 TD day against New England, which I’d imagine will give them some confidence. They are also the home team. I think that might be all they have going for them. On paper, this is an easy pick, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s close. But, SD wins. WINNER: San Diego
Washington (3-1) at Philadelphia (2-2)
Another NFC East battle. So far they are definitely the toughest division. Washington went into Dallas and beat the apparent #1 team in the division. Now NY thinks they are the #1 team in the NFC East, but one of these teams might think otherwise. Washington is very balanced, and Philly looks a little vulnerable after failing to finish the comeback in Chicago. Philly is the home team, and so they are a smart choice, but I just have a feeling Washington is a bit better overall. WINNER: Washington
Seattle (1-2) at NY Giants (3-0)
The Seahawks and Giants are both coming off their bye, but Seattle is traveling across the country to play in New Jersey. The Giants are still undefeated, and after barely squeaking by Cincinnati, are probably looking to prove that they deserve to be one of the three undefeated teams in the NFL. Seattle played well in their last game, but it was against St. Louis who has not been much of a challenge on the scoreboard for any team they have played so far. Seattle may challenge NY, but the Giants will prevail. WINNER: NY Giants
Indianapolis (1-2) at Houston (0-3)
When you look at this game, 1-2 vs 0-3 doesn’t seem like a very good game at all. Indy has lost a step perhaps. Houston hasn’t managed a victory. But that will not be the case. Indy is still a good team, and they will be a tough opponent for the Texans, even playing in Houston. But Houston has lost to good teams (Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Jacksonville) and last week took the Jags to overtime. Due to being displaced by a hurricane, this will be Houston’s first home game of the season. I just have a feeling this will be Houston’s week. WINNER: Houston
Atlanta (2-2) at Green Bay (2-2)
Even though these teams have the same record, it’s safe to say they are perceived differently. Atlanta is still quite unknown, winning both of their games at home, but losing the road games by equal 24-9 scores. Green Bay’s young QB Aaron Rodgers was injured in last week’s game and may not play this week, and that spells trouble for GB. Look for Michael Turner, Matt Ryan and crew to put together a solid effort and get their first road win of the season. WINNER: Atlanta
Kansas City (1-3) at Carolina (3-1)
These teams have opposite records for a reason. Despite KC’s surprising performance against Denver, and LJ’s near 200-yard day, Carolina’s defense is much stiffer, and their offense may be equal to Denver’s… look for a fairly easy win for the Panthers at home. WINNER: Carolina
Tennessee (4-0) at Baltimore (2-1)
Tennessee and Buffalo are both 4-0 vs competition that is 3-12 and 4-11 respectively so far. That has led some to question Buffalo’s legitimacy as an undefeated team, but for some reason Tennessee’s 4 for 4 performance has received less scrutiny. At home the Titans are definitely tough, and they should be a solid favorite to win against the Ravens, playing on a short week after an OT loss to Pittsburgh on Monday. But the Ravens #1 defense is for real, and the Titans will rely on their top-rated defense to keep them in the game. Even on the road, give the slight edge to Tennessee’s offense over Baltimore’s anemic offense. WINNER: Tennessee
Tampa Bay (3-1) at Denver (3-1)
This game should be really interesting. It’s really hard to win in Denver. Really hard. And Denver is off to a great start on offense. But Tampa Bay is off to a great start of their own. They have some quality wins over two former NFC Central foes, Chicago and Green Bay. Their only loss was by four points, on the road, to New Orleans. They have weapons on offense and a good defense… a win in Denver would be a good sign that they are for real. And I think they get it. WINNER: Tampa Bay
New England (2-1) at San Francisco (2-2)
Can you believe that we are even giving San Fran a chance in this game? At 2-2, they have improved. Frank Gore is still a good running back. They have some players on defense. J.T. O’Sullivan is… a quarterback. And yet, for some reason (maybe a 38-13 drubbing at the hands of last year’s 1-15 team???) there is room for doubt in this game. The Patriots are making the cross-country journey. That’s never easy. But Belichik’s teams almost always win after the bye. Especially when they are mad. WINNER: New England
Cincinnati (0-4) at Dallas (3-1)
Now, this is not going to make a lot of sense. I know, Cincinnati is 0-4. I know, they could only score 12 points against the Browns, at home. But Carson Palmer says he’ll play. Dallas proved they are more than human. They will be mad, but so is Cincinnati. The Bengals don’t like to lose either, and I feel that if Palmer is healthy, he and the Cincinnati receivers will do some damage against Dallas’ defense. Still, the mismatch is too great. WINNER: Dallas (just closer than you might think.)
Buffalo (4-0) at Arizona (2-2)
The Bills look to extend their perfect record in the desert of Arizona. The Cards are coming off an embarrassing performance against the NY Bretts, and as is often said, they are a different team at home. They have multiple weapons on offense, but there is a good chance one (Anquan Boldin) will not play Sunday. There’s also a good chance that Buffalo’s Terrence McGee will not play either. Everything seems to say the Bills will continue their winning ways, but AZ is definitely a better team at home. They will hang with the Bills the whole time, but Buffalo plays their best, most consistent game of the season heading into their by week, and they head home 5-0. WINNER: Buffalo
Pittsburgh (3-1) at Jacksonville (2-2)
Both of these teams have had more than their share of injuries this season so far. Despite that, they have decent records, and my hunch is that (playing at home) the Jags will make sure they finish the day with equally good records. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew will dominate, Garrard will do enough, and the Jags defense will also do enough. WINNER: Jacksonville
Minnesota (1-3) at New Orleans (2-2)
Minnesota has a great run defense and a superior RB. New Orleans has a superior passing offense, and good running backs, and a capable defense – and they play well at home. Minnesota is a bit better than 1-3, but should end up on the short side, mostly due to the mismatch of New Orleans’ offense versus any other team’s defense. WINNER: New Orleans
A few games that could be surprising. Watch the underdogs: Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami. And I picked five underdogs to win outright: Houston, Washington, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Buffalo. Should be an interesting week of NFL football!
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