It started so strong last week and then just fell apart. The picks were coming off as predicted one after the other in the early games. The only two was a shocking upset of the Saints at the hands of the Browns that no one outside of Northeast Ohio saw coming and a last second loss by the Rams to the Bucs, but the late games saw the Broncos get took the woodshed by the Raiders. (The Raiders???) Add a tossup loss in the Vikes-Pack game and the Cowboys flopping again in Primetime and what could have been an 11-12 win week came out at 9-5, but im not complaining in the least. Though I did sweat out a supposed lock win by the Ravens, I curiously forgot to note my upset and I cant even remember who I was thinking of as an upset. The Lock and Upset of the week is noted below. This week the NFL has a bevy of byes this week in the slightest of deferences to the ongoing Rangers-Giants World Series with 6 teams in Atlanta(5-2); Baltimore (5-2); Chicago (4-3); Cleveland (2-5); NY Giants (5-2) and Philadelphia (4-3) off the schedule. The Odds are provided by bodog.net via USA Today and are provided for entertainment and comparison purposes only. I put that caveat in every week so I don’t get calls from readers who are in pond with bookies; you bet the lines that’s your choice.
Sunday, October 31
Bills (0-6) @ Chiefs (4-2)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Chiefs by 7½
Fast Fact The Bills have won the past three meetings including the last two in Kansas City
The Bills gave it their all and took a solid Ravens squad to OT, but came up short. The Chiefs got their swagger back as they played their first really complete game in a couple weeks in housing the Jags. I want to make this game a lock, but I’m not that confident in the Chiefs. Especially with the fast maturing Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB for the Bills (where was this a couple years ago?) it wont be long before they steal a game or two. Will it be this week? I don’t think it will be.
Panthers (1-5) @ Rams (3-4)
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Rams by 3
Fast Fact Steven Jackson surpassed Eric Dickerson as the franchise’s all time rushing leader.
The Panthers finally got in the win column with a tense showdown with the equally woeful Niners. The Rams led the Bucs all the way to the final seconds before squandering what should have been an impressive road win. I think the Rams are more on the right path than the Panthers who are really searching for an identity. The Rams continue to stay in the weak NFC West playoff hunt.
Denver(2-5) @ 49ers (1-6)
Wembley Stadium; London, England 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite 49ers by 1
Fast Fact This is the 7thregular season NFL game played outside the US and the 4thplayed in London (2 in Toronto, 1 in Mexico City)
The people in Great Britain must wonder why they keep getting these mediocre matchups in the NFL’s foray into soccer-mad territory. Denver took an absolute frightening beatdown in front of a shocked and sullen home crowd and no one is really sure if the Broncos offense has now gone dormant. On the other hand, the Niners looked just as lost in losing to the formerly winless Panthers The Niners have given Troy Smith (Is he still in this league???) the starting nod. In a game that is pretty much a tossup since both teams have issues on both sides of the ball, I’ll go with the Broncos more experienced quarterback.
Packers (4-3) @ NY Jets (5-1)
Meadowlands Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Jets by 6
Fast Fact The Packers have never beaten the Jets in New York
The Pack won a tense thriller at home against their despised former QB and heated rivals and now face the surging Jets who haven’t lost since the season’s opening Monday. Aaron Rodgers has long since proved he is a big time QB something that Jets QB Mark Sanchez wants to be. The problem is that Rodgers doesn’t have a solid running game, and unless Sanchez throws a bevy of dumb passes like Brett Favre did last Sunday Night he can direct a precision offense which can beat the Pack who have trouble winning away from home. Im no Jets backer, but they have been proving that they may be the real deal.
Pick-New York Jets
Jaguars (3-4) @ Cowboys (1-5)
Cowboys Stadium; Arlington, TX 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Cowboys by 6½
Fast Fact These teams have split four meetings but this will be the fourth time that the Jags have played in Dallas.
The Pokes are in real trouble, losing Tony Romo to a broken collarbone has pretty much condemned them to also-ran status. Lets be real, do you really think that Jon Kitna will be anything more than a so-so quarterback filling in? Ask the 2005 Bengals about his fill-in role in the playoff game. Kitna will make a good pass here and there but he engenders little fear in defense. That said he couldn’t have picked a better opponent to get his first start as Cowboy QB. The Jags are an inconsistent lot and have trouble with dynamic receiving corps and the Pokes are loaded with solid wide outs. The Pokes will get a badly needed win, but their long term prognosis isn’t that bright.
Dolphins (3-3) @ Bengals (2-4)
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Bengals by 1½
Fast Fact The Bengals have won the last two meetings after the Dolphins had won the previous nine.
The Bengals are another frustrating lot, playing like chumps for long stretches then turning around and breaking off furious bursts of offensive tenacity. It hasn’t paid many dividends of wins and their season is slipping away fast. The Dolphins are a similar team, though they did get seriously hosed by the refs against the Steelers. (Do they get all the call all the time?) Boasting a solid running game and a so-so passing game the Dolphins can put points up on occasionally. I want to pick the Bengals at home since they are very capable of lighting up an on paper weaker Dolphins team. But will they do it? I cant see it happening.
Redskins (4-3) @ Lions (1-5)
Ford Field, Detroit 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Lions by 3
Fast Fact Redskins QB Donovan McNabb has a 137.9 passer rating against the Lions.
The Lions get their franchise QB back as Matthew Stafford finally return from injury The Redskins are an inconsistent lot but they have their moments. The last time the Redskins went into a winnable game they let Sam Bradford and the Rams carve them up like he was practicing for Thanksgiving. The Lions are surprisingly favored in this matchup, they have potential and can put a good scare into teams but Im thinking it will take some time for Stafford to shake the injury rust. And Im still not sold on their ability to close games out. The screaming you might hear come 4 EDT will be from me should the Skins get housed.
Titans (5-2) @ Chargers (2-5)
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego 4:05 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 3½
Fast Fact The Chargers have the NFL’s #1 ranked total offense and # 1 total defense
The Titans have shook off their inconsistencies and have been playing impressively as of late, beating around the Pokes, Jags and Eagles in the last three weeks. It has matter little as of late who has been at the helm of the offense, the points have been coming out at a rapid clip. Vince Young will likely be the one running the offense this week. The Chargers are a maddening crew, you know they had no business rallying against the Pats but they managed to do just enough to crumble late. I have no faith in a Norv Turner coached team who manages to find ways to play light year below their potential and waste the brilliant play of Philip Rivers. This game will be tight but the just as the Titans are finding ways to win, the Chargers will find ways to hand the game to them.
Vikings (2-4) @ Patriots (5-1)
Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, MA 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Patriots by 5½
Fast Fact The Patriots have won 15 straight at home vs. NFC opponents
Will the streak end? Brett Favre is once again the lead story, but this time there is a real chance that his NFL record 291 consecutive start streak may come to a halt. The Pats are looking like their usual impeccable selves and despite trying to give away a 17 point lead to the Chargers are atop the AFC East with a 5-1 record. So why does this feel like an upset waiting to happen. I just cant see the Vikings shelving Favre unless an appendage is broken off, though the so-called experts are screaming that Tavaris Jackson should be starting, I still think the team believes more in Favre and if he start I think he and Randy Moss put on a show and pull the head scratching upset.
Pick-Minnesota (Upset of the Week)
Seahawks (4-2) @ Raiders (3-4)
AlamedaCounty Coliseum, Oakland 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Raiders by 3
Fast Fact The Raiders 59 points against the Broncos last week set a team record for single game scoring, breaking the previous standard of 52 scored against Tennessee in 2002.
The Seahawks have been quietly playing decent ball, which isn’t saying much coming from the uber weak NFC West. The Raiders turned quite a few heads with their destruction of the Broncos in Denver. But you can never be sure of which Raiders team will show up, remember this was the same squad who only eked out 9 points the week before. I really cant trust either team to bring a consistent performance, and while the number say the Raiders should hold serve at home. The Seahawks have been playing more consistent, again not saying much but this is really a coin toss game.
Buccaneers (4-2) @ Cardinals (3-3)
Universityof Phoenix Stadium; Glendale, AZ 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Cardinals by 3
Fast Fact Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald’s 36 touchdowns is the most at his position since 2008
The Bucs rallied smartly to beat the Rams while the Cards continue to underwhelm. The Bucs are growing up fast and are playing better every week. Josh Freeman really impressed me with his ability to keep the Bucs in the game, meanwhile the Cards are still wishing that Kurt Warner would dance back into the picture. The memories of the Cards being a fearsome team are fading fast and the Bucs look to make another impressive road statement.
Steelers (5-1) @ Saints (4-3)
LouisianaSuperdome, New Orleans 8:20 (NBC)
Fast Fact Much ado has been made about this matchup pitting the past two Super Bowl Champs, yet this is the 25thtime such a has occurred since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
When the schedule was made, you know NBC was drooling over the hard hitting defense of the Steelers matching up against the high powered Saints offense. While the Steelers have come loaded for bear, the Saints have looked pretty average. Can you honestly see Drew Brees making any headway against a Steelers defense that is bordering on the scary? Now make no bones about it, the Steelers can and will have attention lapses but they have utilized their offense a whole lot better than the Saints have.
Monday, November 1
Texans (4-2) @ Colts (4-2)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 8:30 (ESPN)
Favorite Colts by 5½
Fast Fact The Texans have never won in Indianapolis
The Texans got a badly needed win albeit in a shootout against the Chiefs in week 6. The Colts also won a shootout against the Redskins in a week 6 Sunday primetime tilt. The Texans keep wanting to make everyone believe that they are ready to take that next step, but they fail at every shot they have to make that impression getting housed by the sorry Pokes and getting took to the woodshed against the G-Men, so what makes anyone think that they will do anything but get clocked by the Colts? The Colts have lost two valuable components to their offense, with Austin Collie and Dallas Clark being knocked out with injuries. But they get Pierre Garcon back to complement Reggie Wayne. The Texans are getting better and are pushing the Colts hard as was shown by their impressive season opener win at home, but they aren’t ready to win in Indiana even over a weakened Colts team. Peyton is the difference here.
Pick-Indianapolis (Lock of the Week)
Last Week: 9-5 (Lock Correct, Upset Not Selected)
My apololgies for the lack of the usual formatting, but I will clean it up ASAP
Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!!!!