There are some interesting games this weekend, like the Pats and Colts, Dallas and Green Bay, the Bengals and the Steelers…it’ll be a tough one! A second straight 10-3 week last time around takes me to 73-24 overall. Here are my picks for this week:
Chicago (4-4) @ San Francisco (3-5)
My pick: Chicago
-After getting off to a pretty hot start that saw them win three of four, the Niners have lost four in a row. Meanwhile, since their bye week, the Bears are just 1-3, but despite a beat-up defense Chicago is still putting up pretty decent numbers. Jay Cutler had three TD passes in that loss to Arizona last week, and should be able to excel against San Francisco’s 24th ranked pass defense. After giving up five TDs at home last week, the Bears will be looking to bounce back in a big way.
Atlanta (5-3) @ Carolina (3-5)
My pick: Atlanta
-One player that really impressed me last season was running back Michael Turner – he’s a tank, and when he gets rolling, there isn’t much that’ll stop him. He got off to a rough start to the season but has over 300 rushing yards and three majors in the last two weeks, and this week he’s up against Carolina’s 23rd ranked run defense. Overall, the Falcons defense is more potent but they’ll have to stop the run game of the Panthers in order to be successful.
Tampa Bay (1-7) @ Miami (3-5)
My pick: Miami
-Things haven’t gone well for the Dolphins in the past few weeks, but then again – they lost to New England and New Orleans, two elite teams, on either side of a win over the NY Jets. The Dolphins have a scary one-two punch in the running department, with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combining for 13 TDs this season. Miami is a better team, but there’s always the outside chance that the Bucs could steal one.
Detroit (1-7) @ Minnesota (7-1)
My pick: Minnesota
-At the start of the season, most people expected Brett Favre to just hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson all season long – well he’s done that, but he’s also thrown 16 touchdown passes, good enough for second in the league. Put that stat next to AP’s nine rushing majors, and it’s clear why the Vikings are 7-1 to start the season. They’ll be well rested coming up against a Lions team that had turnover problems last week in a loss to the Seahawks.
Jacksonville (4-4) @ NY Jets (4-4)
My pick: New York
-In order to win this game, the Jets will have to shut down running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has found the end zone 11 times this season. I think the Jets will finally get back on track this week, after looking pretty bad in their last few outings. I feel like I’m going out on a limb here, but they’ve shown us before that they can dominate, and nothing has really changed with the team that started 3-0 and are now 4-4. Mark Sanchez needs a big game this weekend.
Cincinnati (6-2) @ Pittsburgh (6-2)
My pick: Pittsburgh
-The Steelers had a really tough start to the season, and even when they started winning, they were falling apart in the fourth quarter and just hanging on, but that seems to be over. Since a three-point loss to the Bengals in week three, the Steelers have won five in a row including wins over San Diego and Minnesota. The Bengals defense will have to not only worry about Ben Roethlisberger’s arm, but Rashard Mendenhall has four majors since taking over the main running back duties in week four and has been a big part of Pittsburgh’s success. I think the Steelers avenge that earlier loss and improve to 7-2.
New Orleans (8-0) @ St. Louis (1-7)
My pick: New Orleans
-The Saints fell behind early against the Panthers last week, but put up a big rally to take a 30-20 win – and that’s partly why I’ll continue to pick them. I thought they’d be tasting defeat for the first time, but they dug deep and came out on top. Drew Brees continues to roll at the head of an offense that’s averaging almost 430 yards and almost 40 points per game this season. The Saints have beaten far better teams than the Rams this season, so they should be going 9-0.
Buffalo (3-5) @ Tennessee (2-6)
My pick: Tennessee
-I don’t think I’ve picked the Titans all season so far, so I’m finally going to take them this week. Since Vince Young got his chance under centre, the team that was 0-6 has now won two straight. If the Titans are going to win this one, it’ll be on the ground – running back Chris Johnson has been on a tear as of late with four touchdowns in his last two games and over 360 yards rushing. He’ll be up against the worst run defense in the league this week, which only bodes well for the Titans.
Denver (6-2) @ Washington (2-6)
My pick: Denver
-The Denver Broncos need this win to get back on track after back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but they’ll be up against the Redskins top ranked pass defense. While Washington’s rush defense isn’t as strong, Denver doesn’t really have many huge threats on the ground, so they may not be able to exploit that. The Redskins have lost four straight though, and you know the Broncos pride is at stake here. The Redskins have lost to some bad teams this season, and barely beat others, so for that reason I think their losing skid continues.
Kansas City (1-7) @ Oakland (2-6)
My pick: Kansas City
-I hate picking these ones – two brutal teams going at it! I think the Chiefs will take this one though – they’ve been putting more points on the board this season than the Raiders have, and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. KC has given up 30 sacks this season, but if they can play a bit stronger defensively, they could make things easier on themselves.
Seattle (3-5) @ Arizona (5-3)
My pick: Arizona
-The Cardinals are an odd beast this season so far – 1-3 at home and undefeated on the road through eight games. Kurt Warner threw five interceptions one week and five touchdowns the week after – he’s a tough guy to read! Both teams are coming off wins, but it’s only a matter of time before the Cardinals shake their streaky play at home.
Dallas (6-2) @ Green Bay (4-4)
My pick: Dallas
-Tony Romo is the key to this one for the Dallas Cowboys – he’s got seven touchdown passes in the last three games and nine during Dallas’ four-game win streak. Miles Austin has come out of nowhere to rack up seven TD catches for the Cowboys and he’ll have to continue his hot streak for Dallas to be successful. On the other end of things, the Packers have lost two straight, including a 10-point loss to Tampa last weekend.
Philadelphia (5-3) @ San Diego (5-3)
My pick: San Diego
-The Chargers have won three in a row heading into this game, and I think they’ll make it four against the Eagles. Philly seems to win every time I pick against them, but I’ve got a feeling that Philip Rivers will continue to roll into this one. San Diego is coming off a big win over the Giants; meanwhile the Eagles were trumped in Dallas.
New England (6-2) @ Indianapolis (8-0)
My pick: New England
-This is one of the best rivalries in football right now – Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning – and both quarterbacks are having a strong season so far with pretty equal stats. This one will probably be a real nail-biter, but I’m picking the Patriots to come out on top. After a slower start to the season, they’ve cranked it up in the past few weeks. The Colts are obviously a great team, but I’m feeling the Pats.
Baltimore (4-4) @ Cleveland (1-7)
My pick: Baltimore
-The Ravens will be looking to bounce back from a brutal loss to the Bengals last week – and what better time to do it than this week against the hopeless Browns. Cleveland is averaging less than 10 points per game and Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have combined for just three touchdown passes in eight games so far. On the other side of the ball, Joe Flacco has been solid for the most part and the Ravens have two players with five rushing majors. Should be an easy win for Baltimore to get them back on track.