By Brody Burns
Last Week: 10-5 Season Record: 48-27
San Diego (-7) at Jacksonville – What a win for the Chargers on Monday! The Defense stifled the Colts offense, and the offensive line played well. Things are looking up, and the Jacksonville game should keep the momentum rolling. Under Norv Turner, this would have been a trap game with the Chargers coming out lethargic after traveling across country, under Mike McCoy the same problem won’t happen. My Pick: Chargers 28, Jaguars 12.
Seattle (-6.5) at Arizona – The NFC West has quickly become the most solid division in football from top to bottom. Arizona is .500, and 2-0 at home, but they don’t have enough to take down the Seahawks on Sunday. The Seahawks seem to be sleepwalking through the past few weeks, since their dismantling of Jacksonville, but Sunday will be a wakeup call and the Seahawks will be dominant. My prediction: four interceptions a la Carson Palmer. My Pick: Seahawks 33, Cardinals 16.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-7.5) – Two weeks ago, on Monday night the Falcons faced a must-win against the Jets. They lost that game, and fell 3.5 games behind New Orleans in the division. If that was a must-win then this week has the entire season on the line for the Falcons. Any shot at the playoffs rides on their ability to beat the dysfunctional Buccaneers. Falcons should get this one. My Pick: Falcons 31, Bucs 16.
Cincinnati at Detroit (-3) – We’ve been waiting all year for the Bengals to breakout, and maybe it’s not coming. Last week took overtime to get past Thad Lewis (who? Yeah, exactly.), and right now this team looks like a first round exit from the playoffs. For a franchise that has gone 22 years since their last playoff win (1991), this year was supposed to break that drought. On the other side I’m still not totally convinced that the Lions are a legit team. Stafford may win fantasy matchups, but it’s only a matter of time before he starts throwing to the other team. I think the Bengals win based on Sunday via good old-fashioned defense. My Pick: Bengals 24, Lions 23.
Buffalo at Miami (-7.5) – Miami is coming off of a bye week, well rested and recovered. The team has lost two in row after a surprising 3-0 start. The team has no running game, and an average passing game, as QB Ryan Tannehill has been steady but not spectacular. For the Dolphins this is a must win type of game, division rival, at home, after a bye week, and playing against a former practice squad QB in Thad Lewis. I think they win, but it’ll be closer than the spread. My Pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.
New England (-4) at NY Jets – It was classic Tom Brady last Sunday, when he led the Patriots on a late fourth quarter game-winning drive in a win over the Saints. Brady is fifth all time in game winning drives. He’s also first all-time in the most badass quarterback department. The guy has three Super Bowl wins, a ridiculously good head of hair, and Giselle as his sidepiece. On Sunday he’ll add another win over the Jets to his remarkable resume. My Pick: Patriots 31, Jets 17.
Dallas at Philadelphia (-3) – What to make of the NFC East? The Giants are winless, the Redskins are 1-4, and the Cowboys and Eagles are tied atop the division at 3-3. Dallas is winless on the road while Philadelphia is winless at home, and both teams could be described as marginal at best. Cowboys win on the road in a close one. My Pick: Cowboys 30, Eagles 27.
Chicago at Washington (-1.5) – The Washington offense made some strides on Sunday, but that defense is bad. In another troubling note Griffin threw his fifth interception against the Cowboys on Sunday tying his mark from last year. Can anyone say sophomore slump? The Bears are coming off of a long rest, having won the Thursday night game over the woeful Giants. The game hinges on Jay Cutler, who should tear up this shoddy Washington defense. My Pick: Bears 31, Washington 23.
St. Louis at Carolina (-6) – The Jekyll/Hyde hijinks of the Panthers showed up again, one week after scoring six in a loss to the Cardinals, the Panthers erupted for 35 last week in a win over the Vikings. The Jekyll: a top three defense in the league, positive point differential, positive turnover differential. The Hyde: a losing record, #21 ranked offense in the league, no consistent play from Cam Newton. It’s crazy; each given week can bring about an erratically different Panther’s team. On the other side, the Rams have won two in a row, and beat the Texans down on Sunday. I think Newton channels his inner superman, and the home team wins. My Pick: Panthers 27, Rams 23.
San Francisco (-4) at Tennessee – It’s hard not to feel for the Titans. After opening the season 3-1, including a late game snag from the Chargers, their starting quarterback Jake Locker gets hurt, and then they go on a murder’s row against the Chiefs, Seahawks and Niners in consecutive weeks. That is the absolutely the worst time to lose a starting quarterback. I’m still not sold on the Niners: Kaepernick has only one 300+ yard game, the defense isn’t as stout as usual (ranked 9th in the league), and the team is only +2 in turnover differential. Things are getting better, but the Niners are a far cry from last year’s team. My Pick: Niners 28, Titans 20.
Cleveland at Green Bay (-10) – The Packers are starting to get things rolling as they’ve won two in a row, and three of the last four. Aaron Rodgers leads the number two ranked offense in the league, and the Packers have won 10 straight at Lambeau Field. I think running back Eddie Lacy can challenge Giovanni Bernard in Cincinnati for offensive rookie of the year. Oh, and Cleveland can’t win with Brandon Weeden under center. My Pick: Packers 31, Browns 24.
Houston at Kansas City (-6.5) – The Chiefs are number one in turnover differential, and have intercepted 10 balls this year; meanwhile the Texans are -12 and set the record for five straight games with a pick six this past Sunday. That’s a dream matchup for Kansas City defense owners. The only saving grace for Schaub is he won’t hear any boo birds on Sunday from his own fan base, as the game is in the rocking Arrowhead. Chiefs keep it going this weekend. Looking ahead, I think both the Chiefs and the Broncos are 9-0 when they meet in week 11. My Pick: Chiefs 24, Texans 13.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-2) – The best rivalry in the NFL commences again, with the first meeting of the season between the Steelers and the Ravens. Of the last ten games in this matchup, the Ravens have won five, the Steelers have won five, seven have been decided by a field goal or less, and one featured the ugliest broken nose in sports history, when in 2010 Terrell Suggs rearranged Ben Roethlisberger’s nose into the form of Harry Potter’s scar. These games are always close. The Ravens are trending down; the Steelers are up, and at home, so I’m all over the Black and Yellow. My Pick: Steelers 21, Ravens 20.
Denver (-6) at Indianapolis – This has game of the week potential written all over it. It’s Peyton’s first game against his old team, his first time squaring off against his replacement Andrew Luck, and his first return to the city where he redefined the quarterback position. Cue up the nauseating highlight packages and Luck/Manning comparisons. I think he gets a standing ovation on Sunday, and he shows Colts fans what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a Manning beat down for once. My Pick: Broncos 31, Colts 21.
Minnesota at NY Giants (-3) – Yuck! The powers that be clearly picked this game when both teams were relevant, which was last April. The two teams are a combined: 1-10 on the season, -139 in scoring, -16 in turnovers, and carry no relevancy outside of fantasy stats. Good thing this one’s on primetime. On a side note, the last time the Giants had a losing season was in 2004, which was Coach Tom Coughlin’s first season. To avoid his second losing season with the Giants, they’d have to go 8-2 down the stretch. That’s not happening, Coughlin is assuredly going to endure his second losing season at the helm of the Giants, and won’t be back coaching next year. On Monday the Giants get off the schnide, but the ship is clearly sinking. My Pick: Giants 15, Vikings 13.