IND Over JAX – I have yet to see anything from Jacksonville that would lead me to believe that they’ll repeat their performance against Indy from September 23. Jacksonville has continued a downward slide while Indy has rallied around their coach. Pagano’s extremely unfortunate sickness seems to have crystallized this team in to a unified single-minded group. I think Luck takes his shaved-headed group in to Jacksonville for the win tonight.
BAL over OAK – Despite losing Ray Lewis, the Ravens are still a very good football team. Some would argue that he’s not a huge loss but I think he provided not only football play making ability but on the field leadership. The backfield of Oakland is dinged up so the Ravens will stack the box and force Palmer to beat them. The same Palmer who used to lose a couple times a year to the Ravens when he was a Bengal. He’s going to have a long day at the office.
Denver over Carolina – Denver is taking the new Peyton Manning show on the road to Carolina where they will meet up with the sophomore QB, Cam Newton. Sure Cam and crew won last week against a decent Washington team, but I’m not yet a believer. Denver seems to be hitting their stride and looks well positioned to win their easy division. Carolina on the other hand only has a shot at a wild card spot and that is a long shot. I see them continuing to falter this week and lose to the broncs.
NYG over CIN – The best thing I can say for the Bengals this week is … at least the locals won’t have to watch their team lose a 5th straight game. The Giants will look to avenge last week’s loss to the AFC North and will take it out on the black and orange.
MIA over TEN – Miami is one of my surprise teams of the season – had you asked me to pick this game last year I would have easily said Tennessee however – not this time. I know Miami is only 4 and 4 but they are scrappy and should be able to beat this year’s Titans.
MIN over DET – Ponder has not generated huge passing #s over the last couple games but I think Minnesota can win this one at home. Peterson should have some success against the Lions middle-of-the-pack rush defense. It’s unclear who will handle the rock for the Lions running backs but they should have some success as well. I see this as pretty evenly matched with the slight edge going to the home team.
NE over BUF – I really want to root for the Bills but NE just looks like too much for them to handle. New England is coming off a bye week and should have a solid game plan for the Bills. Not that they need it. I’m just saying it should be a disaster for this poor Buffalo team.
ATL over NO – Very intriguing match-up here. A division game of 2 teams that can really light up the score board. New Orleans defense looked amazing against that Philly product last week but if you read this column each week, you’ll know I expect Philly to lose just about every time out. I was not that surprised. I give the edge to the Falcons since I think they stop Brees more than the Saints can stop Ryan. The Falcons are a different kind of bird than what they faced last week. Atlanta should come away at 9-0.
TB over SD – Another team that’s not as ‘impressive’ as their .500 record, the Chargers. I called for an upset last week and picked them to lose to Kansas City. Didn’t happen. This week I call for the favored Bucs to discharge the Bolts and keep the speculation alive regarding Norv’s job. Freeman will not make the same mistakes we saw out of KC last week and will score against the SD Defense through the air and Martin will make them pay on the ground.
SEA over NYJ – Unless Tebow pulls off a miracle (he won’t), the Jets will have a dismal ride home after losing this one to Seattle. I look for Seattle’s aggressive defense to make Sanchez make some errant throws and other bad decisions. When will Jets fans start calling for Cowher or some other retired coach to come save their team?
DAL over PHI – Since this is no longer a marquee match up, and the pressure will be off Romo for a week – Dallas will pound the Eagles. I like Andy Reid, but something just is not right with this Eagles team…. And that was before they lost Herremans for the season. Everything starts with a solid offensive line and, we did NOT see that against the Saints. I look for a solid game from the Cowboys and many Boooooos from the Philly crowd because their home team will be very disappointing.
SF over STL – The only way this is a contest is if the STL defense can rattle Alex Smith AND score touchdowns. It’s possible but not likely. Gore, Smith, and the solid San Francisco offense may have some difficulty against the Rams Defense but the Rams will have a very tough time against this 49er defense (ranked 2nd against the pass and 7th against the run). I think Jeff F is a great coach and if anyone could come up with a good game plan against these 9ers, he could. However, you also have to have the personnel to execute. Not this time.
HOU over CHI – This game is an awesome Sunday night match up and Chicago has done very well on night games. Both of these are very good teams and I know Chicago is at home but I just think Houston will win this one. The Texans will get to Cutler and he’ll make a couple mistakes like a pick or sack fumble. Chicago’s defense will keep them in the game but the Texans will go home the victors.
PIT over KC – Talk about a ratings dip. The only reason this game will have ratings at all is because of a nation of Steeler fans. Pittsburgh has battled back from various injuries and a slow start to the season to compete for their division. KC is awful. Pittsburgh should blow them away with a balanced running and passing attack.