Miami over Buffalo – Both teams were at the wrong end of a beat down last week and the question is, “Who will bounce back?” – My thought is that Miami will be the team who rebounds and will get the victory over Buffalo tonight. I look for some big plays from Reggie Bush against the 31st ranked rush defense.
Atlanta over Arizona – After losing both the game and the hope for an undefeated season, the Falcons are going to be angry birds heading in to Arizona. They are not a perfect team but they are very good and should blow up the Cardinals who peaked early and have come crashing down.
Tampa Bay over Carolina – Week one, the Bucs beat Carolina at home. This week they head in to the Carolina to try to repeat the feat. I think they will. The Bucs seem to be a fairly solid team and the have some wins over some quality teams. Carolina, well, if you’ve read my column for the past few weeks, you’ll find I’m just waiting for this group to implode. They have a good quality pass rush and some bright spots, but the QB at the helm needs to develop more as a leader, or so I read.
Dallas over Cleveland – The award for the best 2 and 7 team goes to … the Browns. I actually think the Browns are a halfway decent team despite their 2 and 7 record. They lost a nail biter to Philly, a game against the division rival Bengals, versus Buffalo when they were still on a roll, to Baltimore who was healthier at the time, to the world champ Giants, to a surging and surprising Indy team and again to Baltimore. They beat Cincy (who is pretty good) and held San Diego to 6 points. I don’t hold SD in high regard but to shut down another NFL team like that takes a solid defensive effort. All that being said, they will likely lose this one to Dallas. Dallas just looks more solid overall and should beat up on Cleveland in Dallas.
Green Bay over Detroit – Green Bay is coming of bye week. I almost always give a slight boost to teams coming off the bye and the trend will continue here. Missing Clay Matthews will hurt my fantasy team more than it will hurt Green Bay’s chance to take down the Lions. Green Bay does have a ton of other injuries but it feels like we say that every year and they just keep on winning.
Houston over Jacksonville – This game just isn’t fair. It’s like the big kids picking on the little kids. Houston, even though coming off a big show down against Chicago should win this one handily against the Kittens. Perhaps Jacksonville should just waive the white flag and let Houston have the win – that way no one will get hurt.
Cincinnati over Kansas City – even though KC took the Steelers to overtime last week, they are still not all that great. Some teams do enough to win every week (ATL for the most part), KC seems to do enough to lose. Cincinnati has looked decent through most of the season and should win this one, in regulation, against the Chiefs.
St. Louis over New York Jets – The St. Louis pass rush is going to wreak havoc on Sanchez and Tebow, if he gets any playing time. The Jets just are not that good this year and St. Louis seems to be on the upswing. They played one of the best teams to a league to a tie last week and should beat the Jets. Plus, the Rams are at home, not on the road like the previous week.
Washington over Philly – Again, I’m sticking with a theme… not a believer in Philly yet. Vick is out and that may be an upgrade but poor Foles will be running for his life too. He’s very talented but so is the opposition in Washington. The Redskins will be hyped up to beat a division rival and make sure they don’t make the playoffs. Heck, this one could even cost Andy his job.
New Orleans over Oakland – I never doubted the talent of the New Orleans team and assumed they would bounce back. Granted, I did pick them to lose last week but only because I thought Atlanta was a little stronger. This week, I’m going the other way. Their defense has picked up to match the intensity and playmaking of the offense. I look for them to hammer the Raiders and start people talking about how strong is the NFC south (if ATL, TB and NO all win). Palmer may still get a couple TDs but it won’t be enough to keep pace with the Saints.
Denver over San Diego – I don’t see this going the same way as the first match up in terms of how Denver beats San Diego, but Denver will win again. Now they are on their home field and will put more distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC West pack. While the NFC South is looking strong, the AFC West is looking weak.
Indy over New England – No “Luck” puns this week. New England is the more consistent, experienced team. Both teams are 6 and 3. One team has a rookie QB who is playing against a MVP and Superbowl winner. BUT this is my big upset pick this week. I’m looking over the entire season and seeing wins and losses for both teams. With the same record, my feeling is that Indy has beaten the better teams out there and could very well beat New England. However, they also lost to Jacksonville. Jax had MJD at the time so I can discount that loss a little bit. Either way, I’m picking the Colts in this one.
Pittsburgh over Baltimore – Despite losing Big Ben, the Steelers are a good football team. The offensive line seems to have worked out its problems and the running game has gotten on track. The hit on Ben looked like a normal hit that many would shake off and get ready for the next play. Not this time. My point is that even though he took that hit, the pressure was not as bad as I’ve seen it. Baltimore will get after Byron more but I think with the run game peaking, he’ll be able to run some play action and keep the defense guessing. Plus the Steelers are at home and you know the crowd will be fired up to beat the Ravens. On the flip side, the Ravens a good, tough football team fully capable of winning this game. I just have to give this one to the home team. The Ravens will get another crack in a couple weeks.
San Francisco over Chicago – Not clear on whether or not Alex Smith will play this week but regardless, I’m sure coach Harbaugh will have a game plan in place that will fit either starter. Jason Campbell is probably a draw with Kaepernick at this point and I’d therefore give the edge to the 9ers at home. If Alex Smith plays, I give the 9ers even more of an advantage. Both defenses are very good and it should be a fun Monday night game to watch.