Picking the winners and losers of week 14 in the NFL.
Last Week: 8-8. Season: 65-49-1 (57.01%).
Welcome to REAL football. December football in the NFL – where teams pull out all the stops as the race for playoff spots heats up. What to look forward to? Intense competition and (my favorite) SNOW GAMES!
It is one-liner week. Buckle up, here we go:
Houston Texans (-4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars are hot, Texans are not. Jaguars 28, Texans 24
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5)
Bengals defense > Colts offense + Game is in Cincy = Bengals 27, Colts 21
Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)
The Bills will come into Tampa and take home a win. Bills 21, Buccaneers 20
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins (-4.5)
Redskins are lost. Chiefs are looking to make a statement. Chiefs 36, Redskins 20
Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (-3.5)
Ravens always play well at home. Minnesota is inconsistent. Ravens 28, Vikings 20
Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-8.5)
Patriots are looking like a Super Bowl team, Cleveland is looking like Cleveland. Patriots 34, Browns 28
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
The Saints at home? That is all I need to know about this one. Saints 41, Panthers 31
Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (-6)
Raiders: a team on the rise. Jets: a team stuck in the mud. Raiders 27, Jets 13
Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (-1)
Eagles are on the right path. The Lions lack focus. Eagles 30, Lions 28
Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Steelers are back in form AND at home. Steelers 27, Dolphins 24
Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-10)
Broncos are a Championship-caliber team. The Titans are mediocre. Broncos 42, Titans 17
New York Giants at San Diego Chargers (PK)
The Chargers are just a few plays away from being a dominant team. They keep scratching the surface – look for a breakthrough on the road this week. Chargers 34, Giants 27
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)
I figured these teams to split the series, which means: 49ers 24, Seahawks 21
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (PK)
Cardinals are the better team and are tough in the desert. Cardinals 20, Rams 17
Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (-3)
With or without Rodgers, the Pack beats the Falcons in GreenBay in December. Packers 23, Falcons 16
Monday Night Game:
Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears (-3)
The Cowboys don’t have the mettle to go into Chicago in December and get a win. Bears 33, Cowboys 21
Picking the winners and losers of week 13 in the NFL.
Last Week: 6-7-1. Season: 57-41-1 (57.57%).
Grab your Turducken, it is Thanksgiving week in the National Football League! Time to enjoy great food, family and fun – and then escape to watch football when you’ve had your fill of the rest.
There are many things to be thankful for as an NFL fan this year. Especially as a Kansas City Chiefs fan. In addition to being grateful for parity in the league where your team CAN go from worst to first – and that the ‘Any Given Sunday’ rule holds true (see graphic, courtesy, Deadspin.com). Side note: Sunday Night we saw all we need to see in the Brady versus Manning debate. Brady is better. That game illustrates the difference between a Champion and a guy who puts up great numbers. There’s no comparison.
I’m grateful for Calvin Johnson’s superhuman performances, Tom Brady’s competitive fire, the passion of NFL fans, and for fantasy football that brings together old friends for fun each year from locations around the globe.
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Let’s look at this week’s buffet of games.
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Detroit Lions
A divisional road game without Aaron Rodgers? NO way Green Bay. I’ll be watching this one to see Calvin ‘The Human Highlight Reel’ Johnson pull down rainbows from Matt Stafford. I bet Megatron is on Stafford’s ‘Things to be grateful for’ list. Ya think? Lions 38, Packers 17
Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Toughness won’t be enough for this tough Raiders team on the Holiday Road. Dallas has too much talent and Romo has a paycheck to earn. Cowboys 31, Raiders 13
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
A great AFC North matchup. Although Pittsburgh has turned the corner, look for Baltimore to defend their home turf in a close battle. Anybody seen the weather for Thurs in Baltimore? Ravens 24, Steelers 21 (OT)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8)
How scary are the Buccaneers now?? Very. A young team playing with grit and growing confidence will give Carolina fits. Will the real Panthers team please stand up? I’ll take the home team. Panthers 27, Buccaneers 24
Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7)
The Jaguars have made some progress, but not enough to come into Cleveland against a stout defense in front of the Dawg Pound in a December game. Start prepping for the draft – and sign Tebow to fill seats and sell merch. Browns 28, Jaguars 14
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
Underachiever team plays on the road against erratic team with a better quarterback. Not only that, but the Colts have to win this game to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. Colts 23, Titans 13
Denver Broncos (-5.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
It isn’t like the Chiefs pass rush will suffer without either Hali, Houston or both. They didn’t get to Manning two weeks ago. In fact, I suspect an increase mix of zone defense will play big dividends for Sutton’s recently stagnant unit. Then you look at a Kansas City offense that finally learned how to put points on the board prepping to play against a suddenly depleted Broncos secondary. Add in a hairline fracture of Peyton’s heel, no Julius Thomas and 137 decibels every time Manning tries to audible? I’ll take the underdog Chiefs at home. Good gravy I’m a homer. Chiefs 41, Broncos 31
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Pick ‘Em)
Bounce-back week for the Bears. The Vikings played a depleted Packers team to a tie last week, which is pathetic. Look for the Bears to come out and steal a win on the road. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jefferies and Martellus Bennett should have a feast this Sunday as well. Bears 20, Vikings 17
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-2)
Picking a winner here is like considering political candidates. You don’t like or trust either candidate. Miami is a conundrum. The Jets are an eyesore. I’ll take the tough defense of the Jets at home in a one-score game. Ugh. Jets 16, Dolphins 14
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
An overlooked Cardinals team seems to be gelling at the right time. Even though the Eagles have impressed lately, I don’t trust them. It always seems like QB play is an issue with the danger that Chip Kelly’s offense places them in. Look for a statement game from a Cardinals team eyeballing a playoff berth. What was it Roseanne Rosanna-Danna used to say? “Ya know, it just goes to show you that no matter what – it’s always something!”. Cardinals 34, Eagles 27
Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5) [Toronto, Ontario]
Technically a home game for the Bills, but they would fare better in Ralph Wilson Stadium. That said, Matt Ryan and the old birds will continue to slide. Perhaps Jadevon Clowney is in their future? Bills 30, Falcons 21
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-8)
Hear that clicking sound? That is the 49ers offense gearing up for the playoffs. Combine that with a beast of a defense at home and the odds of the Rams stealing one in San Fran are very slim. Expect a biceps-kissing make-out session between Colin Kaepernick and his right arm. 49ers 38, Rams 28
New England Patriots (-9) at Houston Texans
Did you see Tom Brady’s mastery in the historic comeback against the Broncos on Sunday Night? How about Brady Screaming Celebration with Gronk? Have you noticed the myriad of issues facing this Texans team? The Pats are now looking fierce and I don’t see a chance of Houston winning at home. Patriots 34, Texans 20
Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1)
One of the best games of the week. A solid Cincinnati squad visits a confident Chargers squad led by a fiery and resurrected Philip Rivers. Look for the Chargers to hold serve. Perhaps they’ll show the Jim Rome versus Jim Everett clip at halftime? Chargers 23, Bengals 20
New York Giants (-1.5) at Washington Redskins
Tom Coughlin’s team now believes. After dropping a close one to the Cowboys, expect the Giants to steal one in D.C. against a tired and bewildered Redskins team facing a short week. Giants 41, Redskins 38
Monday Night Game:
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5)
Monday Night Football gets its best match-up of the year. If not for Rob Ryan’s much-improved defense I would have to go with the Seabirds at home. But Sean Payton and Drew ‘Pinball Wizard’ Brees should shine under the bright lights. Saints 35. Seahawks 24
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Picking the winners and losers of week 12 in the NFL.
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
Picking the winners and losers of week 11 in the NFL.
Last Week: 9-5. Season: 44-26 (62.85%).
HUGE week in the NFL! The Chiefs finally square off against the Denver Mannings. The Eagles get a chance to show what they know, and many other noteworthy games.
On to the notes.
Indianapolis Colts (-1) at Tennessee Titans
Straight off you have a Titans team that got beat by the lowly Jaguars in week 10. Think it might have been a tough and emotional week for these guys? On the flipside, the Colts aren’t the same with Reggie Wayne. T-Rich isn’t explosive for the offense. A suddenly hot Rams team exposed the Colts as inconsistent at best last week in a 38-8 drubbing, In Indy! Look for the home team to exercise some demons this week. Titans 30, Colts 20
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The coin flip of the week. A case can be made for the Jets to win this one, but I don’t trust them. Too many recent snafus, headaches, heartaches, erratic decisions and butt fumbles for me to pick the Jets this week. The Bills team is on the rise, Manuel’s back and they are playing in Buffalo. Bills 16, Jets 10
Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears (PK)
Ravens are too erratic on the road. I’ll take Trestman’s Bears at Soldier Field in a November game. Bears 28, Ravens 21
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)
Bounce-back week for Cincy in the battle of Ohio. Cleveland is nasty on D and pulls its wins out this year like a magic trick, but Cincy is nasty on D, explosive on O and playing at home. Bengals 34, Browns 23
Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs finally put a scratch in the ‘W’ column last week against the Miami Black Eyes. It was only a matter of time (see their game in Seattle two weeks ago). Glennon, Revis, Schiano and the rest of the Buccaneers will get it together this week at home against a Falcons team that has gone adrift. Buccaneers 34, Falcons 30
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (PK)
Well, at least this isn’t on Monday Night Football this week. Cardinals 14, Panthers 13
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7.5)
Welcome Back, Kubiak. Case Keenum, J.J. Watt and the boys have missed you. I sense a very close one over a tough-minded Raiders team. RIP Todd Christensen. Texans 34, Raiders 31 (OT)
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins (-3)
I know that west coast teams often have trouble flying back east for a game, but this Dolphins team is in turmoil and minus the left side of their offensive line. I expect a huge game from Philip Rivers. Gimme the Charge on the road. Chargers 38, Dolphins 21
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (PK)
Has Chip Kelly re-adjusted to the adjustments made by the NFL? This game we figure out what Chip Kelly has figured out. Gimme the home team in a moment of truth. Philadelphia 42, Redskins 21
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
The Lions are roaring. Matt Stafford grew up against Dallas, and showed that in the victory last week at Chicago. Pittsburgh is tough at home, but are a shadow of their contender teams. I wonder what amazing thing Megatron will do this week? Lions 35, Steelers 24
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
I agonized over this one for two weeks. It finally comes down to what I believe. I know this Chiefs team has been through the hottest of fires last year. The strongest steel of a team has been forged in Kansas City. It is passion, belief, mojo. It is winning nine weeks in a row. It is belief. I believe the Chiefs have some of the most amazing win-ugly luck ever simply because of the fact that they make their own luck through belief, preparation and effort. There is no fear. They already saw the worst that could happen last year. Manning is beat up, less mobile and is already hearing footsteps. Keep telling the Kansas City Chiefs that they can’t. They know better. Chiefs 31, Broncos 28
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
My upset of the week. The Seahawks are beatable at home (see the game versus the Bucs two weeks ago). The Vikings are looking to come to town and punch somebody in the mouth. Somewhere between a Jared Allen stamp and an Adrian Peterson cleat mark a Vikings victory will appear. Vikings 27, Seattle 20
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (PK)
I like the 49ers team a lot. After a tough week 10 loss, they are playing for their playoff lives. I really have a hard time picking against the Saints in their ‘dome – but if the Jets can do it, the 49ers can do it better. Break out the paper bags. 49ers 38, Saints 34
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (PK)
I don’t see a floundering and thin Packers team coming into NY and beating Eli Manning’s Giants. No way. Giants 42, Packers 10
Monday Night Game:
New England Patriots (-3) at Carolina Panthers
The bright lights on Monday Night Football finally have something to highlight. This Panthers team is H-O-T. Solid defense, solid personnel, freak-of-nature QB and confidence. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have their hands full. I’ll take the Championship Quarterback on the Big Stage of MNF. Patriots 27, Panthers 21
Picking the winners and losers of week 10 in the NFL.
Last Week: 6-7. Season: 35-21 (62.5%).
What a week in the NFL! Key injuries for the Packers, a WORLD of drama and outrage in Miami, a suddenly intriguing match-up with a reborn, Foles-led Eagles team visiting a wounded Packers team at Lambeau Field. More close battles will take place this week than you can shake a stick at.
Let’s take a look.
Washington Redskins at Minnesota Vikings (-1.5)
The Washigton Redskins turned in an impressive performance last week in downing the Chargers. As well, the Vikings played very strong against Dallas, but can they shut down the Redskins? Give me the home team in a close one. Vikings 23, Redskins 20
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons (PK)
Atlanta appears rudderless. A swath of injuries have hobbled a once powerful team. I’ll take the Seahawks because they are the better team (top-to-bottom), the better defense, and they have a better coach. Seahawks 24, Falcons 14
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-3)
Another vicious matchup with the Division lead at stake! Although the Lions have grown (I love Stafford’s heads-up QB sneak against Dallas), Chicago is rolling under Trestman, feeling good after winning in GB for the first time since 2007. Bear down Chicago Bears. Bears 30, Lions 28
Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers (-7, -105)
Red Alert: Aaron Rodgers is out. Seneca Wallace wasn’t getting the job done versus Chicago last week. In comes the suddenly-hot hand of Nick Foles and the much-maligned Chip Kelly Experience. It pains me to say it, but . . . Eagles 34, Packers 27
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
The Titans are too tough-minded to lose at home. I don’t see them letting the Jaguars off the mat. Mr. Clowney, welcome to Jacksonville! Titans 21, Jaguars 7
St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5)
The Colts absolutely stole one in Houston last week. If Kubiak didn’t have a mini-stroke then the Colts comeback never happens. That said, the Colts should hold serve well versus the Rams. Colts 35, Rams 28
Oakland Raiders at New York Giants (-9)
Giants QB Eli Manning is due to flex his mid-season form. The Raiders and Pryor aren’t strong enough yet to travel back East and take one away from the G-Men. Giants 42, Raiders 24
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7)
There is no way that a Bills rookie QB is going to come in and have success against the Pittsburgh defense. Dick LeBeau is considered to be one of the greatest defensive coordinators of all time and he eats rookie QBs for breakfast. Steelers 28, Bills 13
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
“Nevermore”. This is the week that the ‘Bad Good Team’ (Ravens) puts down the ‘Good Bad Team’ (Bengals). A defending Super Bowl Champion has certain duties . . . one of them is winning at home against the Bengals. Ravens 31, Bengals 24
Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
Biggest match-up here: Cam versus the 49ers D. I know Newton is improving and the Panthers are on a roll, but the S.F. Harbaughs will be well-schemed for the Panthers phenom. It doesn’t hurt that the 49ers are returning some of their receiving assets (Davis, Manningham) and Kaep has his mojo workin’ again. 49ers 34, Panthers 26
Denver Broncos (-3) at San Diego Chargers
P. Manning has spent more time in the hot tub this last two weeks than P. Diddy. With fresh ankles and rest, look for the Broncos to show the World that they will be just fine with Jack Del Rio holding the reins until John Fox returns. Broncos 48, Chargers 38
Houston Texans (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Keenum is the real deal. If Kubiak is back and calling the plays then I expect Houston will take this one on the road. Heck, I expect it if Case Keenum is calling his own plays. Texans 30, Cardinals 20
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-4)
Rob Ryan readies for Romo. The Saints look to bounce back from an embarassing loss to the Jets. I’m sure Dallas will throw the kitchen sink at the Saints, but the Saints at home in the dome will win the shootout. Saints 49, Cowboys 47
Monday Night Game
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
I don’t remember a poorest slate of MNF games for an entire season. Pitiful. How can Miami be expected to win this week without the left side of their offensive line? Perhaps they should have been running a tighter ship and not have allowed a buffoon to jeopardize the success of the team. Sure, I understand initiations into groups (remember the Friar Tebow haircut?), and that is part of things in a traditional sort of way . . . but if you’re going to stock your team with individuals that make bad decisions – then you had better be policing them something fierce. Buccaneers 42, Dolphins 0
Picking the winners and losers of week 9 in the NFL.
Last Week: 10-3. Season: 29-14 (67%).
Week 9 in the NFL! The start of the stretch run toward the postseason. A lot of close battles will take place this week in some great match-ups.
Will the Kansas City Chiefs remain undefeated for another week? Can the Texans turn it around? Let’s take a look.
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (-1)
Cincinnati is red hot. Their defense has been strong all season, and now with the added deep threat that Jones brings, it is ‘pick your poison’ for opposing defensive coordinators. Miami is struggling and will continue to. Give me the Bengals in a close one. Bengals 28, Dolphins 21
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
Halloween? Call the Ghostbusters! Kansas City has been dispelling a lot of ghosts this season, and their 26 year losing streak in Buffalo is next up. Buffalo is tough and scrappy and this will be a very physical game. Buffalo’s DL is going to cause problems for KC. Good thing Andy Reid can scheme for that. Chiefs 24, Bills 17
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins (-3.5)
AFC West vs NFC East? Hmmm. Yes, I think I know how this one goes. The Chargers are playing excellent football, and the Redskins (as usual), have problems. I think the Redskins will start winning again when they finally change their name to the Washington Bravehearts. Chargers 34, Redskins 21
Atlanta Falcons (-1) at Carolina Panthers
The Falcons are in free fall. Injuries have stacked up and morale is down. Carolina is playing well and will be tough to beat at home. Give me the Panthers at home. Panthers 23, Falcons 20
Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
The Vikings QB situation is reminiscent of last year’s Chiefs. It is a debilitating distraction with no good options. Dallas is looking to make a statement. This is where they speak up. Cowboys 30, Vikings 10
Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams (-4.5)
The Rams are strong up front and they need their skill positions to hold up their end of the bargain. Expect a close one with the home team managing to eke out a ‘W’. Rams 20, Titans 16
New Orleans Saints (-1.5) at New York Jets
The Saints have no business even making this game a close one. The J-E-T-S are a disaster. Saints 42, Jets 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks (-7)
Seattle is a monster. They are an even bigger monster at home. The Bucs have leadership issues with the lame-duck Schiano. Also, morale can’t be very high for this team. Seahawks 28, Buccaneers 21
Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5) at Oakland Raiders
Another AFC West team, another NFC East team. Chip Kelly’s Eagles are going to get swallowed in the Black Hole. Raiders 34, Eagles 17
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-4)
Belichik has been talking up the Steelers, which is an old Lou Holtz trick. He’s pulling out all the stops because his start QB has a fat hand, the receiving core is maligned and the defense has experienced significant losses. The Pats win if the can keep Le’Veon Bell from putting cleat marks all over them. Hopefully the new DT they picked up can plug the hole left by Wilfork’s absence. I’ll take the home team. There’s still some magic left in Foxborough. Patriots 30, Steelers 28
Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Cleveland Browns
Which Ravens team is going to show up on the road? My gut tells me the defending Super Bowl Champs will come in and pound Cleveland. Just because they are supposed to. Ravens 24, Browns 17
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-4.5)
Hello trap game, it’s been a long time. Houston is sick (x3) of losing, and Case Keenum gets his first home start. I sense a lot of emotion will be coming from the Texans. Keenum either wins this one or Houston fans can start looking forward to the Johnny Manziel era (which may actually be coming to Dallas if Romo can’t earn his paycheck in the playoffs this year). Texans 31, Colts 17
Monday Night Game:
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-4)
Finally, a MNF game worth watching! Da Bears. Da Packers. Green Bay is shallow in the receiving department and will miss Clay Matthews on Monday night. I’ll take the flying Ditkas on the road. Bears 31, Packers 28
Picking the winners and losers of week 8 in the NFL.
Last Week: 11-4. Season: 19-11 (63%).
Ah, week 8 in the NFL. Teams are finding their identity and establishing their playoff credentials. Let’s take a look:
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5)
I’ll take the Panthers on the road. Cam Newton is playing well. Also: The Bucs are hapless. Panthers 28, Buccaneers 13
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions (-1)
“Getcha Popcorn” for Megatron and Dez Bryant: The Showdown. This game has the makings of a potential classic. Dallas is on a roll and the Lions are desperate and dangerous. Nobody puts baby in a corner. Give me the Lions in a nail-biter. Lions31, Cowboys 30
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Arrowhead Stadium for today’s game . . . First, In this Corner . . . The Snake-bit Challenger . . . Weighing in at over 12,000 lbs . . . Featuring a Nasty Defense and a Bumbling Offense run by yet another back-up Quarterback . . . in the Brown Trunks . . The Cleveland Browns!” (Spattering of Boos, Heckling). AND In this corner, weighing in at over 13,250 lbs . . . Sporting a Defense with over 35 sacks in only 7 games . . . In Front of the Loudest and Proudest Stadium of Fans in the World . . . Having been through Hell and Back in the Last Few Years . . . Coached by a rejuvenated Andy Reid . . . In the Red Trunks . . . The Kansas City Chiefs!!!” (THUNDER). Chiefs 24, Browns 7
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-7)
Miami is a year or three away. Even though the Patriots are a shadow of their former selves, I don’t see the Tom Brady losing this one on Foxborough. Patriots 31, Dolphins 17
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)
I like how Buffalo has been playing lately, but it is too much to ask of them to go into New Orleans and get a ‘W’. Too much Brees, too much Payton . . . and possibly too much fun on Bourbon Street the night before the game for the visiting Bills players. Saints 30, Bills 21
San Francisco 49ers (-10.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars [London, England]
One of these weeks the Jaguars are going to rise up and win a game. I don’t think that this is the week. 49s 28, Jaguars 9
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (PK)
“Dear Magic 8 Ball: Is this the game where the fraying around Chip Kelly’s security blanket takes a severe uptick? Could Eli Manning and the Giants be really, really tired of losing?” Giants 34, Eagles 13
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) at Oakland Raiders
Yes, the Steelers beat the Ravens last week and look much better. But that was last week. Welcome to Oakland, CA. Welcome to the Black Hole. Worse? The whipping boy of the AFC West is going to take you to the woodshed. Dig ya’ll lock your doors? Raiders 24, Steelers 17
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5)
Cincinnati’s defense is way too good to let them lose this game in front of the home crowd, right? I mean, Andy Dalton can just throw the ball to AJ Green for an 80 yard touchdown every time, right? This Jets team isn’t that scrappy, is it??!!?? Jets 27, Bengals 21
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos (-6)
Every time my neck hurts, I think of how Peyton Manning’s neck must hurt – especially after 4 surgeries and a few vicious hits by Robert Mathis last week. Ankle my foot. Every time my knee hurts, I think about how much better RGIII’s knee must feel than mine does. Also, I remember being 37 recently. More vivid are my days as an invincible 23-year-old. Redskins 34, Broncos 31
Atlanta Falcons (-4) at Arizona Cardinals
I look for the Falcons to further implode – while, simultaneous – the Cardinals do a wicked impression of a playoff team. Midnight in the desert. For the Falcons. Cardinals 31, Falcons 20
Green Bay Packers (-1) at Minnesota Vikings
Any Given Sunday. I see pride coming into play here for Jared Allen, Adrian Peterson and the company. Look for a very tough, grind-it-out, punch-em-in-the-mouth game from the Vikings in front of a raucous home crowd. Vikings 24, Packers 23
Monday Night Game:
Seattle Seahawks (-4) at St. Louis Rams
With a huge disparity in QB play and a margin of talent difference both being in favor of the Seahawks, I’m bailing on the Rams at home. It really is too bad Favre is too old. They actually should have called Tim Tebow. Say what you want, but the guy gets wins. Seahawks 20, Rams 6
Picking the winners and losers of week 7 in the NFL. Last Week:8-7. Season 8-7.
Once more into the fray:
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
I’ll take the Seahawks on the road. Pete Carroll has them playing very strong.. Seahawks 28, Cardinals 17
St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers
Rams really showed up last week versus Houston. Are they that good? I’ll take the Panthers at home. Panthers24, Rams 17
San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
Phillip Rivers is focused and Antonio Gates is back. The wideouts are talented and the running game eats clock. I’m even more impressed with their defense. The Jags will win a game this year. I don’t see it being this one. Chargers 34, Jaguars 21
Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions
A second straight road game after the surprising overtime game in Buffalo? I’ll take the home team. Lions 24, Bengals 20
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
I picking an upset here. Buffalo will win in Miami. Bills 34, Dolphins 28
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Tom Brady and no receivers VERSUS Geno Smith and no receivers? I don’t care if this is being played on the Moon. Gimme the Pats. Patriots 38, Jets 24
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas is playing strong. Jerry Jones will smack Chip Kelly with his wallet. Cowboys 35, Eagles 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
If the Falcons can’t eke this one out at home, then they might as well trade Tony Gonzalez back to the Chiefs. Falcons 24, Buccaneers 16
Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins
Chicago is still figuring out their offensive timing – while winning. The Redskins are snakebit. Da Bears. Bears 31, Redskins 21
San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans
Tennessee is tough. Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers win tough games. Even on the road. It doesn’t hurt that Vernon Davis is back and rocking. 49ers 20, Titans 10
Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs
Houston is having horrible QB issues. Their team is lost. That isn’t going to improve at Arrowhead in front of the loudest (137.5 decibels) crowd and facing the extremely awesome defense of the Kansas City Chiefs. I predict a flyover, lots of great BBQ, and another 10-sack game. I think the ghost of Derrick Thomas will be there as well. Go Chiefs! Chiefs 23, Texans 10
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore is inconsistent. Pittsburgh is starting to get its groove back. I’ll take the home team in a smash-mouth affair. Steelers 28, Ravens 21
Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers
Cleveland still doesn’t believe they are in a lost season after trading T-Rich. Green Bay will help remind them. I hope it snows for this one. Packers 36, Browns 17
Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning wants this one. I know Luck does too, but Manning has a better supporting cast. Gimme the old pro in his best season returning home. Broncos 49, Colts 34
Monday Night Game:
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants
Someone is going to win this one. I’ll take the Giants at home. Poor ESPN. Giants 28, Vikings 13
The world as I see it, from Austin, TX to Kansas City