Told you I would get better.
Last Week: 11-2
Year to Date: 64-39
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Minnesota Vikings
You have to give Tampa Bay some credit. They stood toe to toe with the Saints and took every punch they delivered. But the Bucs kept fighting and almost won in the end. Despite it being a ticky tack call, the referee got it right. Mike Williams stepped out of bounds and he could not be the first player to touch the ball. Josh Freeman threw for over 400 yards, 216 of those yards going to Vincent Jackson. Despite Tampa not winning, they are no doubt fighting under Greg Schiano. The Vikings put together a complete team effort in their win over Arizona. Adrian Peterson continues to play extremely well after coming off of a torn ACL at the end of last year. Christian Ponder struggled last week, but Peterson and his defense were there to pick him up. Ponder should see more success this week against Tampa Bay. Tampa has given up over 300 yards passing to all but two passers this year, and one of those non-games was against the lowly Chiefs. The Vikings offense should take care of this game for them.
Minnesota 27 Tampa Bay 20
Carolina Panthers vs Chicago Bears
We continue to wonder what the problem is in Carolina. All of the talent is there, but there is just nothing bringing them together. The GM was fired, which may have been the wrong move. He's not the one coaching the talent. He put together a talented team for Cam Newton and the team just isn't gelling like you would like to see. Cam Newton has shown he can win, yet for some reason he just can't seem to do it on the NFL level so far. Things don't get any easier for Newton this week as he goes to Chicago to face a very good Bears defense. Similar to Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, Brian Urlacher is playing at a high level after a knee injury to end the year. And the Bears offense finally looks competent after gaining a true #1 WR in Brandon Marshall. Chicago rolls here.
Chicago 31 Carolina 13
San Diego Chargers vs Cleveland Browns
The Chargers are coming off of a bye week and hopefully righted whatever went wrong for them a couple Monday's ago against Denver. The Chargers gave up a huge lead at home and saw their chance to take control of the AFC West go right by them. The defense just let Peyton Manning match right down the field. And Philip Rivers made some bad throws in the second half. This game may look like an easy win for the Chargers on paper, but the Browns have been playing a lot better the last couple of weeks. Brandon Weeden is coming around as a starting QB. He's cut down on his mistakes. Cleveland may be a young team but they are playing very well. I might like them as an upset pick this week if Trent Richardson was completely healthy. But Richardson is having problems with his ribs and is not 100%. Cleveland keeps it close again, but San Diego pulls it out in the end.
San Diego 34 Cleveland 30
Seattle Seahawks vs Detroit Lions
Both of team's offenses looked terrible last week. Detroit had problems moving the ball against Chicago. And both times they got close they fumbled. Matthew Stafford had a handful of bad throws. And the Lions season continues to be a disappointment. Detroit never fully fixed their problems on defense, and teams are still able to throw against them. Seattle's offense was non-existent last week after putting up a big game against the Patriots. Yes, they did go against the 49ers, but there is no excuse for the poor play they showed. The good news for Seattle is that, unlike Detroit, they will have their defense to fall back on when their offense struggles. But the offense will have to put up points. Seattle will have to rely on Marshawn Lynch, but when teams stop him, can Russell Wilson lead them to victory? He's done it twice* this year. The Lions offense had problems moving the ball against Chicago, and I see them having the same issues against Detroit. I'm going Seattle here.
Seattle 21 Detroit 20
New England Patriots vs St. Louis Rams
This game is being played across the pond in London. New England is coming off an over time win against the Jets that saw them blow a 4th quarter lead only to survive in OT. Had the Jets done a better job of play calling, they may have walked out of Foxboro with a win. New England's defense is still having problems stopping teams. They're vulnerable to big pass plays. The good news for the defense is that they still have Tom Brady to bail them out. Brady gets to go up against a defense that gave up 342 yards and 3 touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers. Sam Bradford is lacking the weapons to make him a very good QB in the NFL. He is also lacking a running game too. If Bradford had more weapons on offense, he may be farther along in his development. I don't know how much of a home field advantage the Rams will have here. One would have to assume the Patriots have more fans in London. I like New England here.
New England 35 St. Louis 26
Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets
Miami should have won the last time these two played. Dan Carpenter missed a couple of field goals and the Jets escaped with an over time victory. Similar to the Browns, Miami is playing better because their rookie quarterback is coming along nicely. Ryan Tannehill is getting better as each week goes along. And it helps that the Dolphins have Reggie Bush in the backfield, who continues to show his worth as a #1 RB in the league. It also helps that the Dolphins have a good defense. Outside of Week 1, Miami has not given up more than 24 points all year. The Jets offense has been playing well the last couple of weeks. Tim Tebow seems to get phased out of the offense more and more as each week goes along. New York has showed signs of a running game the last couple of weeks with Shonn Greene leading the way. Mark Sanchez just has to limit the mistakes he makes. If Sanchez keeps those low, then the Jets are a better football team. I like them to win a low scoring affair here.
NY Jets 23 Miami 16
Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles
It's the Mike Vick Bowl. Vick gets another chance to go up against his former team. But did the Eagles use their bye week to fix their problems on offense and defense? They fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. Will that change what the team does? They gave up a late lead two weeks ago to Detroit. And now they face an even better offense this week in the Atlanta Falcons. No matter how good or bad the defense plays, the Eagles will live and die on how well Mike Vick plays. He needs to cut down on his turnovers. And Philly also needs to give the ball more to LeSean McCoy. But that has been a problem in Philadelphia for years. As far as Atlanta goes, they just need to keep doing what their doing but also improve at the same time. The Falcons running game still hasn't gotten going like you would like from a contending team. There's only so far the Falcons can go with just their passing game. But I expect the defense to make some plays here and to help the Falcons keep their perfect record.
Atlanta 31 Philadelphia 27
Washington Redskins vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers desperately needed a win last week and they got one against the Bengals. Pittsburgh won that game without two of their starting offensive lineman, two running backs and Troy Polamalu on defense. Pittsburgh could have won that game by a lot more if they didn't drop a handful of open passes. Ben Roethlisberger continues to make plays when faced pressure. He may be the best QB in the league when it comes to making plays after the initial one breaks down. But you have to worry that the Steelers are one more significant injury away from taking a step backwards. At least this week the Steelers won't have to worry about too much of a challenge from the Redskins defense. They will just have to worry about Robert Griffin making plays on offense. Despite the reputation Pittsburgh's defense has, you know RG3 won't shy away from running on them. Griffin should be able to make some plays, but I like the Steelers to pull this one out. Redskins defense is no good.
Pittsburgh 26 Washington 17
Jacksonville Jaguars vs Green Bay Packers
This preview will be short and sweet. The Jaguars will be without Maurice Jones-Drew for an extended period of time and may be without Blaine Gabbert this week. Green Bay has been unstoppable the last two games and Aaron Rodgers has his swagger back. Even without Charles Woodson on defense, the Packers offense should roll in this one. Jacksonville does not have the fire power to keep up.
Green Bay 42 Jacksonville 13
Indianapolis Colts vs Tennessee Titans
The Titans are on a two game winning streak and coming off of their first road win of the year last week at Buffalo. Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson took advantage of a very weak Bills defense. Could that be Chris Johnson's breakout game? Titans fans sure hope so. Johnson underperformed this year early. Tennessee also faces the question of what to do when Jake Locker is fully healthy. The team has won two in a row with Hasselbeck under center. There is no question the team is Locker's in the future. But if the Titans feel they have a shot to win now, and the AFC is wide open, then they may stick with Hasselbeck. Indianapolis won at home against Cleveland last week. Andrew Luck won the game with two rushing touchdowns. He continues to perform well under center, going along with the theme of all the rookie QBs in the league this year. The Titans defense was run all over by the Bills last week. But the Colts don't have as potent a rushing attack as the Bills do. I would say these two teams are evenly matched, but I'm going with the Titans. They have the best playmaker, Chris Johnson, on offense and he should do some damage against the Colts defense.
Tennessee 27 Indianapolis 23
Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs
Congratulations Chiefs fans. You wanted Brady Quinn, and now it appears that they are stuck with him. The Chiefs are a giant mess right now. They have no QB, some players apparently want out of their, and they may be giving the GM that put this team together a contract extension. At this point, the Chiefs may tank just to have a chance at Matt Barkley next year. Teams will focus on stopping Jamaal Charles and make Quinn beat them. Oakland had some trouble taking care of Jacksonville last week. Carson Palmer struggled as did Darren McFadden. McFadden needs to get whatever problems he is supposedly having with his offensive line fixed. He's too dynamic of a back to struggle. I refuse to pick the Chiefs in any situation, so I am going with Oakland here by default.
Oakland 24 Kansas City 12
New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys
Eli Manning was down late against the Redskins last week. What did he do? He came back and in two plays gave the Giants the lead. If you ask me, Eli Manning may be the most clutch quarterback in the NFL right now. The guy just knows how to win football games. He has a handful of weapons at his disposal. And Victor Cruz just always seems to be open whenever he needs him. Eli also has a very good defense behind him. The Giants are a very good football team. They could be the best team in the NFC. Even with an undefeated record, they could still challenge the Falcons. And they will be out to avenge their Week 1 loss against the Cowboys. Dallas won last week against Carolina but they didn't look impressive. The Cowboys had almost no running game to speak of. They will more than likely be without DeMarco Murray this week, and they may be without Felix Jones as well. That means this game may rest on the shoulders of Tony Romo. I don't like having to rely on Romo to win football games. Can the defense stop Eli and Co.? That's also another question. That got lucky with Cam Newton's horrible play last week. Similar to not picking the Chiefs, I'm also not betting against Eli. I'm taking the Giants here.
NY Giants 33 Dallas 27
New Orleans Saints vs Denver Broncos
This may be a battle between the two best quarterbacks of the last ten years. Drew Brees is keeping the Saints a float this season. The guy just knows how to find his open WRs and make plays. He throws the ball 40 times a game and defenses still can't figure out how to stop him. The bad news this year for Brees is that his defense is giving him no help whatsoever. So if Brees wants to win games, he almost has to do it entirely on his own. Peyton Manning may be the best game manager to play the QB position. He knows how to break down a defense at the line of scrimmage and can find out what they are doing before the defense has time to change the play. He's struggled at times this year with the Broncos, but you have to wonder if their come from behind win at San Diego will help right the ship. But Peyton has a better defense behind him than Brees does. This game has shootout written all over it. Both of these quarterbaks will be out to one up the other. But in the end, I see Denver pulling this one out at home.
Denver 45 New Orleans 41
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals
Do you remember when the Cardinals were undefeated and I said I was getting on board with the fact that they may be a good team? Well, I take that back as long as John Skelton is quarterback of the team. The guy just doesn't have the look of an NFL QB. He's immobile and doesn't have the arm strength needed to be a starting caliber quarterback. Arizona just has way too many injuries on offense. Larry Fitzgerald is being keyed on by every defense in the league. And I bet he will have a tough time finding room to operate against a very good 49ers defense. They shut down Seattle last week. But Alex Smith has struggled the past couple weeks and he might again against a good Cardinals defense. At home on Monday night, they will be hyped up and should play a very good game. Look for the 49ers to establish the run game early. I think they can do that and the defense can shut down Fitzgerald, giving San Fran the victory.
San Francisco 17 Arizona 13
My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 1-3
Year to Date: 14-14
Green Bay -15 vs Jacksonville: As close to house money as you can get
Seattle +2 at Detroit: Seahawks defense can shut down the Lions
Oakland +1.5 at Kansas City: Chiefs favored? HAHAHA
Chicago -7.5 vs Carolina: Panthers offense has no legs to it
Until Next Time,
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