Loving a ton of the home dogs this week. Sure there are many bad teams out there, but double digit victories in the NFL gets a little harder to do on the road this time of year when teams are better at game planning and know their personnel a bit better. Up and down season for me thus far. Thanks for all of you who continue to support and read. Please post your thoughts on the games and why you agree or disagree with any of my picks. With the one's I've selected this week, there is sure to be enough to talk about.
Panthers vs. Dolphins
Jake Delhomme has been able to keep the picks to a minimum and the Panthers running game has really taken off. DeAngelo Williams is averaging a crazy 5.1 yards per carry. This team appears to have turned the corner and has played really good football as of late. Not to be out done Ricky Williams is averaging 5.3 yards himself, but the Miami running game will be missing one of the two headed attack as Ronnie Brown is out for the year. Miami gets Joey Porter back on defense, but it may not be enough this week. I’m taking the Panthers that are on a roll to cover the 3 points at home versus a Miami team that struggled to beat Tampa last week.
Lions vs. Browns
Snore. Two proud franchises, two bad teams. I don’t particular care for this game, forget watching it, I won’t even watch the highlights. Both teams have actually played with some grit, though either team can’t find a win. I really like Stafford. He took a beating last week, but played tough until the clock ran out and I have to admire a QB like that. I’m going with the team that can at least score and pick the Lions to cover the 3.5.
Jaguars vs. Bills
Buffalo has decreased their population by one Dick this season as Dick Jauron finally got the boot and is out as coach of the Bills after an embarrassing 41-17 loss to the Titans last week. The team is a dumpster fire right now as the defensive coordinator who has taken over as head coach can’t even select a quarterback to start. The team has gone to the point of selecting Green Bay practice squad QB Brohm (which tells you how bad it really is there). Jacksonville on the other hand is on an upswing and had a big win over the Jets. In a game that went back and forth they showed some real toughness and came back for a good win versus a good team coming into the game on a bye. Even if Maurice Jones Drew stops a yard short on a couple of sure touchdowns this week the team should put up enough points to cover the 8.5.
Steelers vs. Chiefs
The Steel Curtain got a taste of their own medicine last week as they were beaten at their own game by a very good Cincy team. Troy Polamalu is out again this week with an injured leg. Pitt should have more than enough to still beat the Chiefs who will be without a star of their own in Dwayne Bowe who got caught using diuretics to lose weight. Personally, I didn’t think the guy was fat to begin with, but maybe he was trying to be more aerodynamic. The good news for the Chiefs is that Jamaal Charles has taken over for Larry and has shown a big difference is speed in the backfield. Even though I feel the Steelers will cruise in for the win, I am going on a flier and picking the Chiefs to cover the 10.
Ravens vs. Colts
The Colts had an amazing victory last week against the Pats. Amazing because they were handedly beaten for most of the game and still managed to pull it out. With all of that said I think they are going in limping to this game, emotionally and physically. They seemed poised for a let down and the hard hitting Ravens are not the team to limp into a game with. The Colts of course will be without Bob Sanders who is out for the season and that leaves the secondary with a huge hole that was exposed versus the Pats last week. Now they go into Baltimore who is licking their chops at a chance to ruin and undefeated season. The team didn’t look great versus the Browns but they may have been looking ahead a bit. In a pick’em I will take the Ravens.
Giants vs. Falcons
The Giants went into their bye week with four consecutive losses, each ugly in their own fashion. They were able to gain a game in the standings because they were off the field. They have looked terrible and I’m not convinced one week can repair all that is wrong with this team. The defensive secondary is horrid, which leads me to think that a top flight WR like Roddy White will be able to expose them. That is of course if Matt Ryan, whose play has fallen off a cliff can turn it around and get him the ball. The team has plenty of weapons with the likes of Michael Turner and Gonzalez and should keep it within 6.5, though I see the Jints getting the win.
Packers vs. 49ers
The Pack certainly proved me wrong and actually be someone who was good. With a record that seemed to be smoke and mirrors I didn’t think they stood a chance versus Dallas who was playing really high going into the game. The 49ers pulled out an unlikely win after giving up tons of yards to the Bears but in their credit stopped them with five picks last week. The problem for the 49ers is their anemic offense. Put that offense against a defense that held the Dallas juggernaut to 7 points last week and I see a huge problem for the red and gold. Green Bay at home should have enough to romp the 49ers this week and cover the 6.5.
Vikings vs. Seahawks
The Vikings had 13 penalties last week, played like dogs and still managed to cover. I don’t suspect they will do the same this week. With Favre and his completion rate of a crazy 107.5 with 17 touchdowns finding a partner in Sidney Rice I see them steam rolling the Seahawks who have not won a game on the road this year. Seattle can’t win on the road, playing in Minnesota, and Trufant out with a concussion is too much to overcome. The Vikes crush the Seahawks and cover the 11.
Cowboys vs. Redskins
Just when you start believing in the Cowboys they find a way to disappoint. They looked terrible last week versus the Packers. Worse than looking disinterested, they looked unprepared. In reality the Cowboys should crush the Redskins, the reality is they most likely won’t. They may win, but I don’t see them covering the 11 points. Throw away records and crappy coaches (in this case both teams have crappy coaches so it’s a wash), this is a rivalry and rivalry games are close because there is good ole’ fashion hatred involved. The Redskin defense has been playing better and they may be able to keep this one close. I’m picking them keep it within 11 points.
Buccaneers vs. Saints
Tampa Bay has been playing inspired ball lately. I didn’t think they could keep the game close last week, but they have proven me wrong. On the other side, I thought the Saints would continue to blow the doors off of people, but they have been squeaking by their games of late. So we have a David and Goliath situation here. David is getting 11 points and I’m thinking why not? Go with the hot hand until it proves you wrong. Saints should win, but the Bucs will cover. In a surprise I’m going to take the newly inspired Bucs lead by the impressive Josh Freemand to make it a game as the Saints have looked very sloppy lately and may overlook the Bucs who will put up a fight.
Rams vs. Cardinals
The Rams like the Bucs have been playing really good ball in the past couple of weeks. They surprised the world and gave the Saints all they could handle last week. Arizona has looked even better the past couple of weeks and has the wins to accompany their good play. Their offense has really taken off and the defense has turned it around. The Cards defense while good has given up at an average of 25 points in their last 3 games. That might be enough to give the Rams enough to keep it closer than 9 as they are playing at home. It’s too bad the Rams are so awful, no one is getting a chance to see what might be the best running back in the league in Steven Jackson. The guy simply does it all.
Patriots vs. Jets
All the tears in the world not help the Jets this week as they are taking on the rejuvenated Patriots. The Pats though coming off a loss appear to be capable of returning to their 2007 form which was one of the more dominating offenses in league history. Rex can cry to his team all he wants, the fact is the Pats are coming into this game hungry, angry, and firing on all cylinders. The Jets are a good football team, but Mark Sanchez is a year or two away from becoming the quarterback the Jets have been searching for to knock the Pats off their AFC east throne. Rex is also a year or two away from creating the defense that can take over a game themselves. Since we are not a year or two away, the Pats will take it to the Jets this week and cover the 10.5.
Bengals vs. Raiders
JaMarcus Russell has been mercifully benched. The bad news is he is being replaced by a guy who has 9 picks and 5 fumbles in his limited starts. The good news is he can probably hit an open receiver and the defense has been able to keep the last two games within 8 points despite their handicap at quarterback play. The Bengals have been steam rolling everyone this year and demonstrated why they are a team to be reckoned with this season when they handedly beat the Steelers last week. With Cedric Benson missing and coming off a big win last week, they may be poised for a let down. Even with a bad week they should be capable of beating the Raiders but I will take the Raiders to keep it within 9.5 at home.
Broncos vs. Chargers
A tale of two teams headed in different directions. The Broncos got off to a hot start and looked like a team to be true contender in the AFC, and the Chargers who got off to a miserable start are the hot hand right now and are winners of four in a row. Teams seem to have figured out the Broncos offense and Orton is not the same QB he was earlier in the season. Brandon Marshall who might be the NFL’s best WR has virtually disappeared and the Denver running game has been on a decline. The Chargers on the other hand have showed some serious toughness beating the Giants in the Meadowlands and followed that up with a dominating performance versus the Eagles. Philip Rivers is a stud at QB and has found his weapon of choice in Vincent Jackson. LT showed flashes of his old self last week and when that happens this team is very tough to beat. Denver is a tough place to win, but the Chargers are on a roll and I have to take them and give the 3 points.
Eagles vs. Bears
Chicago has looked putrid. Yes they were able to move the ball versus the 49ers, and Cutler literally threw the game away, but that was against a very bad 49ers team. Cutler seems to be a man on an island and is trying to do everything himself. When a QB does that there are bound to be mistakes. The Eagles are a team loaded with weapons, and are capable of beating anyone, but they have not played like themselves much this season. McNabb does not appear to be the same QB that he’s been in recent years for whatever reason and that has to be concerning to Eagles fans. Either way, I don’t care for the Bear right now and Lovie Smith has got to be on his way out soon as the fans there will be seeking blood if the Bears don’t turn this thing around. I will take a good NFC East team versus a bad NFC North team any day of the week and give the 3 points to the Bears.
Texans vs. Titans
I have been very high on the Texans this year. They are quietly one of the best teams in football and are coming into this game off a bye week. The Titans have looked like a completely different team the past few weeks and that 50 point beating by the Pats and Jeff Fisher wearing a Manning jersey seemed to wake this team up. The team feels perfectly content with playing spoiler and even has the 86 year old Bud Adams giving people the finger. You have to love the new attitude by the team which seems to be sparked by the reemergence of Vince Young. The guy wins ugly, but at the end of the day he wins. The Texans though playing at home, and with good offensive power are going against a team with a swagger right now that could care less and that makes them dangerous. I am going against the majority on this one and think the Titans cover the 4.5. Crazy I know, but Tennessee still has a good defense and poses matchup problems for the Texans, not to mention its Monday night and they don’t want to be embarrassed again