Last Week: 7-8. Season: 51-34 (60.00%).
Another Barn-Burner of a week in the NFL! Such parity! Such intruiging match-ups! Peyton Manning’s Prime-Time North American Tour of 2013 makes a stop in Foxborough, Mass where they get to play a wounded and dangerous Patriots team. Does Luck get lucky in the desert? Can KC rebound?
Let’s look at this week’s games.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-2.5, -115)
In what is a lost season for Atlanta, the best they can hope for is to play spoiler versus the Saints. With a depleted roster, I don’t see that happening. I’ll go with the Saints.
Saints 30, Falcons 23
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh woke up. Maybe it was the bumblebee unis, but whatever – it worked. I’ll roll with a rejuvenated Steelers squad on the road against a Cleveland team with too many issues.
Steelers 21, Browns 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions (-3.5)
Detroit is hard to trust in non-marquee matchups. That said, they also play tough when their backs are against the wall. The Lions can’t afford to drop a game to this Bucs team. Gimme the home team.
Lions 34, Bucaneers 21
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
The Aaron Rodgers-less Packers are lacking punch. That said, I don’t think their QB situation is nearly as sad and desperate as that of the Vikings. The circus of incompetence can’t do much for morale in MN. Give me the Pack at Lambeau.
Packers 20, Vikings 17 (OT)
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
Welcome back to Earth, Kansas City. The pressure is off. Just be yourself and go back to playing defense aggressively. The ghost of #58 seems to visit Arrowhead to lend a hand this year. Nothing against the Chargers – I just don’t think the Chiefs will lose a game at home this year to ANYONE.
Chiefs 19, Chargers 14
Chicago Bears (-1) at St. Louis Rams
The Rams at home will be a tough win for Chicago. Which team will show up? The one that did everything NOT to win against Seattle? or the team that spanked Indy by a bundle? Chicago under Trestman is a consistent quality product that pulls through tough games. I’ll take the visiting Bears.
Bears 28, Rams 20
Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (-1.5)
This Carolina team is on a roll. The question is, can they maintain their focus against a Dolphins team in turmoil? Miami has proved to be dangerous with their backs against the wall – but Cam Newton is too much for the ‘fins.
Panthers 38, Dolphins 27
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens (-6)
I so want to pick the Jets to pull and upset here. They’re a win ugly team that pulls out the most unlikely victories. The Ravens have been playing very tough the last few weeks, but I think the Mr. Hyde Jets are going to steal one in Poe’s hometown.
Jets 24, Ravens 20
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10)
If Kubiak can’t let Case Keenum finish the game, then he may lose his job. Inserting Schaub is NOT the answer. I’m not saying Schaub isn’t good, I’m saying that Andre Johnson can’t HEAR HIM at the line of scrimmage because of the LOUD BOOING OF THE CROWD caused by Kubiak replacing Keenum with Schaub. C’mon Gary, let it go. Let the kid play.
Texans 30, Jaguars 20
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
I don’t see the Luck getting lucky in the desert. There are many things great about Andrew Luck, but I must say he has been most fortuitous in many situations this year. Not this week. Not in the desert. The Cards are hitting stride with a focus on the postseason.
Cardinals 24, Colts 21
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders (-1)
Oakland is a team rising. The Titans are tough but lost. Although both teams are in turmoil at QB, Raider Nation thrives on this stuff. There is no ‘Titan Nation’. Gimme the dwellers of the Black Hole.
Raiders 32, Titans 23
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5, -115)
Good God. Romo versus Eli in NYC. Do the overly-talented Dallas Cowboys roll into town and post a victory? Do the Giants stay on a roll? Hmmm.
Cowboys 28, Giants 27
Denver Broncos at New England Patriots (-1.5)
Good Gravy. Manning-Brady in November. In Foxborough. An angry Pats team ready to smack down Manning. This game comes down to health and home field advantage. I’ll take New England in a huge upset. I don’t care if NE is favored – ANYONE beating the All-Madden Broncos of 2013 is an upset. Still . . .
Patriots 45, Broncos 42 (OT)
Monday Night Game:
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
This tough, motivated 49ers team is playing for its postseason lives. On a Plane, on a Train, in the East, against the Least. I’ll take the beast.
49ers 27, Redskins 16