Indy @ Jax (+6.5). I like Jax here. They will be laying it all on the line and Indy doesn’t have to. Jax to win outright.
Dal @ NO (-7.5). I want to pick Dallas here and believe that they are better than they are. Not sure why, I’ve never liked Dallas. But I just can’t shake the image of the fat-faced Wade Phillips looking dumbfounded the moment his team falls behind, no doubt saying to himself: “how can Jerry Jones believe in me? how do I possibly make this kind of money just standing here? what should I eat late night tonight? I’m thinking Arby’s…”. All this instead of thinking about what could be done to help his team stop losing. I don’t think this will be a blowout. No, wait, it may in fact be a blowout. Yeah, blowout. Another party in NO.
Chic @ Balt (-10.5). Ray Rice is a tool. I don’t like the fact that every time an athlete says something stupid, something that they clearly meant at the time, they have to apologize publicly afterward in a very forced, insincere way. Ray Rice meant what he said about Green Bay. I’d take the city of Green Bay over the city of Baltimore any day.
NE @ Buff (+7.5). If you look at the coaching match-up alone, you might laugh. But I don’t think there’s much laughter going on in NE right about now. Moss is reverting, Brady is busy fathering and living with hot wife, Adalius Thomas can’t make it to meetings on time, Welker is busy having the quickness of a fly. I just can’t get a handle on this game – either Pats by 40 or a super tight game that scares the crap out of Pats fans. I’ll guess the latter because it’s in Buff.
AZ @ Det (-10.5). Just to give you an idea of how programmed I am to think upset first, I gave strong consideration to picking Detroit to win outright here and for SF to go in to Phil and win too. All just so that there could be headlines about how SF could catch AZ and lots of hype only to have it crash down with one AZ win. I have been able to overcome my upset-picking weakness though, and I’ve reached the point where I not only think Detroit won’t win, but I think they’ll get pounded.
Cleve @ KC (-2.5). Can you imagine having to watch this game?
Atl @ NYJ (-4.5). In Peter King’s picks for this week, he mentions Mike Smith’s temper tantrums on the sidelines lately and wonders if Mike is thinking at all about the effect it may have on kids watching. Despite disclaiming his comments as not prudish, that’s prudish. I’ll take a Mike Smith tantrum over a Wade Phillips bewilderment any day.
Phil @ SF (-8.5). Phil’s offense looks good lately. I’m getting closer to officially declaring DeSean Jackson undefendable, as it were. The guy is so fast and so quick, and when he’s decisive, he is just so good he’s fun to watch. Never thought I’d say that about an Eagle, but he’s just plain fun to watch.
Mia @ Tenn (-3.5). While I admire Ricky Williams’ hard running style and unquestioned effort on the field, we might start seeing him intentionally chunk a few runs in an effort to take Miami right out of the playoff race so he can start smoking pot sooner.
Oak @ Den (-13.5). Oak has been tough to pick, but with Charlie Frye starting, I don’t think this will be tough to pick. Elvis Dumervil could have 9 sacks in this game, which would suck for Packer fans because he’s considered Charles Woodson’s main competition for Defensive POY. Denver by 40.
Cincy @ SD (-6.5). I had already picked Cincy to win outright as one of my big upsets this week. But after the sad news of Chris Henry this morning, I actually think there is a chance this upset pick may not just be a stupid-Andy-whim-upset pick. Feeling bad for Cincy this week and the Henry family.
GB @ Pitt (.-5). Not liking this game. Very uneasy about it. Of course, like most Packer fans, I’m uneasy about every Packer game. And really, we maybe shouldn’t feel so uneasy because Pitt has been horrible lately, they are without Polamalu and Keo8237njapp98touwerhg (o-lineman), and on the right day, Roeth can be sacked all game long. But they did win a few Super Bowls recently and they tend to show up for big games. Sooner or later, we may all just need to start trusting in the talent and the schemes that have made us 9-4. Pack wins, Rodgers has a very good game and so does Woodson.
TB @ Sea (-7.5). Some speculation out there that Matt Hasselbeck may not have the job security everyone thinks he has – especially Matt himself. I had big plans for him this year and he simply didn’t deliver. Sure, the offensive line lost 5-6 starters this year (including 3 left tackles I believe), but Hasselbeck and co just aren’t getting the job done. A lot of it is the travel for this team – weak road team. The next few years in Seattle could be interesting, my guess is that there will be lots of changes.
MN @ Car (+7.5). A reader has already called me out on the fact that I always pick against MN. I not only don’t dispute that, but I can freely admit I have as much credibility picking MN games as I do GB games – zero. Still, in this one, I’ll take it a step further. MN will lose. Car is bad. But I think it’s becoming clear to the team now that there is almost no way John Fox keeps his job. So, I can actually see his players playing for him – especially in the prime time Sunday night game. Car 21, Vikes 17.
NYG @ Wash (+3.5). London Fletcher continues to be profoundly underrated as he leads the surprisingly good Wash defense. I just can’t see the Giants leaving Fed Ex Field with a victory. I can see them, however, getting stuck in the snarls of traffic still there 3+ hours after the game like the rest of the fans.
cleveland/kc — reminds me of a game a while back – cleveland/buffalo. you wrote something like “3-3 tie possible here?” and the game ended up being 6-3. it’s sad when bad teams are so predictably bad, especially in this league.
i know i only have a decade or so of real nfl awareness under my belt, but i don’t know if i’ve ever seen a bigger dumpster fire than the browns this year. they play football for a living (and make pretty good money from what i hear) and they just look like they dread going to work more than i do. mangina is just a caricature. i heard holmgren is coming on as director of football operations or some such position. man he must really love football, and he must really love ordering incompetent people around… and then probably firing most of them. the closest thing i’ve seen in recent years to a sports team in as rough shape as the browns was the knicks a few years ago under isiah thomas.
–Dal @ NO: The Cowboys have only lost by more than 7 once this season (v Packers), and the Saints seem to have lost some steam lately. Unless Philips has completely lost his team, they will be bringing everything they have for this game. Saints win another squeaker.
–AZ @ Det: Don’t make too much of last weeks’ game. Cardinals will bounce back and take care of business.
–Phil @ SF: I’ve been back and forth on the 49ers this season. But one fact remains unassailable: the 49ers have only won once on the road (@ AZ), and only two wins outside the division. On the other hand, the 49ers have not lost by more than 7, so Eagles win a close one
–GB @ Pitt: A tough game with the Packers playing another opponent facing elimination. But have the Steelers even won a single game when Polamalu’s been out this year?
The Steelers scored six points against the Browns in their last game. Six points against the 31st ranked defense. Six points against a team that gives up 150 yards a week on the ground.
The game before that the Steelers gave up 27 points at home to the Raiders. The Raiders average like 12 points a game on offense. They are on the bottom of about every offensive category.
This is a team one year removed from a superbowl and they are coming off a long break. Maybe those extra days help them get it back on track but this team has some real issues right now. This seems to me like a team that likes to look at that big shiny ring on their finger and doesn’t seem real interested in fighting out a lost season.
On the other hand this is an important game for this Packer’s team. Are they peaking and a contender or do they still belong in that 2nd tier of NFC teams? I expect them to come out sharp and finally put together four good quarters. I’ll take the .5 points and bet on Green Bay.