In week eight, I went 10-3 taking me to 63-21 overall – that’s a trend I’m hoping continues right into week 16 of the season! Here are my picks for this week:
Washington (2-5) @ Atlanta (4-3)
My pick: Atlanta
-The Falcons are coming off a loss to the undefeated New Orleans Saints, in NO, but played what I thought was a strong game against the best team in the league last Monday. I think they’re better than their 4-3 record might have you believe. Second year QB Matt Ryan has struggled in the team’s back-to-back losses but his 12 TD passes ranks fifth in the league and I feel he’ll be up to the challenge.
Arizona (4-3) @ Chicago (4-3)
My pick: Arizona
-Looking at the stats I think Chicago is going to win this one, but my gut say the Cardinals will bounce back from a dismal performance last weekend and improve to 4-0 on the road this season. Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is a grizzled veteran and the six turnovers he committed last week (five interceptions and a fumble) are probably weighing heavily on him – I think he’ll get the Cards back on track.
Houston (5-3) @ Indianapolis (7-0)
My pick: Indianapolis
-The Colts have given me no reason to bet against them just yet – they were challenged against the 49ers but remained perfect with a second half rally. Peyton Manning was held without a touchdown pass last week, don’t expect that to last much longer. The Texans have been good, winning three straight, but their pass defense ranks 14th in the league and Manning is averaging a league-high 318 passing yards per game. Colts stay perfect.
Baltimore (4-3) @ Cincinnati (5-2)
My pick: Baltimore
-The Bengals beat the Ravens by three points in week five with a late drive in Baltimore – might we see some revenge this week? There isn’t much between these two clubs, so I expect this one will be another tight game. However, I think the Ravens renewed confidence following last week’s 30-7 rout of the previously undefeated Broncos will put them over the top in this one.
Kansas City (1-5) @ Jacksonville (3-4)
My pick: Jacksonville
-The Jags have a solid offense, averaging over 350 yard per game, but their defense has been their undoing so far this season – allowing just over 370 yards. Jacksonville became the first team to lose to Tennessee last week, which means they’ll probably be looking to let everyone know they’re not actually that bad! Getting running back Maurice Jones-Drew more involved in the offense could be the key to getting a “W” for the home team, given KC’s 26th ranked rushing defense.
Green Bay (4-3) @ Tampa Bay (0-7)
My pick: Green Bay
-The Green Bay Packers need to forget about last week’s loss to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings – so they’re likely licking their chops at the prospect of facing the winless Bucs. Looking at the stats, this should be an easy win for the Packers, but it’s very important that they don’t take Tampa Bay lightly – even though they’re giving up an average of 29 points per game, while scoring less than 14.
Miami (3-4) @ New England (5-2)
My pick: New England
-This is a big AFC East match up – a win would put the Dolphins into a tie for second with the Jets, and the Pats would fall to 5-3. When the pressure’s on, I look to the vets, and I think that’s where New England gets the edge. Chad Henne has looked pretty good filling in for Chad Pennington at pivot for the Dolphins, but Tom Brady seems to have found the swagger he had back in 2007 once again.
Carolina (3-4) @ New Orleans (7-0)
My pick: New Orleans
-The best chance for the Panthers to beat the Saints could be on the ground this week as a key part of the New Orleans defense, Sedrick Ellis, will be on the sidelines. Carolina’s league-best passing defense will be up against the best offense in the league though, and they are averaging almost 430 yards per game and just short of 40 points. Jake Delhomme may be due for a big game, but he’s 11 touchdowns back of the red-hot Drew Brees on the season, and I don’t see any reason that Brees will suddenly slow down this week.
Detroit (1-6) @ Seattle (2-5)
My pick: Seattle
-The Seahawks are a pretty inconsistent club, but they’re better at home than on the road this season and they’re up against a team that’s pretty bad at home and losers of 16 straight on the road. Lions QB Matt Stafford struggled in his first game back from a knee injury last week in a loss to the (brutal) St. Louis Rams, while Seattle stayed with the Cowboys for most of the game but came out on the losing end. This one goes to Seattle.
San Diego (4-3) @ NY Giants (5-3)
My pick: San Diego
-For the last two weeks I’ve been waiting for the NY Giants to “bounce back” after a humbling loss to the New Orleans Saints, but it hasn’t happened. Things won’t get easier for them this weekend, hosting the surging Chargers. The ability of quarterback Philip Rivers to go deep could be key for his club against a NY defense that’s been lit up in each of the last three weeks. They’re giving up an average of 266 yards passing and 403 total yards offense during that span, which simply isn’t good enough.
Tennessee (1-6) @ San Francisco (3-4)
My pick: San Francisco
-This is an interesting match up, because despite their 1-6 record, the Titans offense averages over 60 more rushing yards per game than the 49ers and over 50 more overall offensive yards. It’s their defense though, that seems to let them down. Vince Young looked good in Tennessee’s first win of the season last week, but I don’t think they’ll get past San Fran and their fairly strong defense.
Dallas (5-2) @ Philadelphia (5-2)
My pick: Dallas
-It seems like whenever I pick against the Eagles, they come up with a big win, but I’m going with my gut and picking the Cowboys. I expect this one to be a very tight game, but the way the Dallas offense is rolling right now, I see them coming out on top. After back to back games without a touchdown pass, Tony Romo has eight in his last three games, along with no interceptions. It’ll be interesting to see if he gives Roy Williams some better passes after all that complaining during the week.
Pittsburgh (5-2) @ Denver (6-1)
My pick: Pittsburgh
-The Steelers are cruising right now, having won four straight heading into their bye week last week – with wins over both San Diego and Minnesota during that span. Denver has the best overall defense in the league and the tale of the tape shows a pretty even match up between these two clubs. The Broncos are coming off a loss for the first time this season, while the defending champion Steelers are a club that started slow but has found its stride. I say it’s close, but the Steelers come out on top.