Can I ride my hot streak into another week? Damn right I can!
Last Week: 12-2
Year to Date: 85-46
Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars
The Colts continue to play like a team motivated by losing their coach. Indianapolis pulled out a big win against Miami last week at home and put themselves in a great position to grab a Playoff spot in the AFC. There is still a lot of season left, and the Colts do have a difficult schedule, but all they need to do is keep playing as well as they have been. Andrew Luck is not playing like a rookie and the way he is leading this team on the field is incredible. But the Colts play on the road needs to improve. Their offensive performances struggles. The good news is that they have a chance to improve on that at Jacksonville. The Jaguars are a giant mess of a team right now. They are without their top offensive weapon, Maurice Jones Drew. And the offense is struggling to do anything with Blaine Gabbert under center. Jacksonville will be in position to draft a QB next year, one Mike Mularkey can hand pick himself and make his QB. It is clear Gabbert is not the answer. Similar to the Chiefs, I don't pick the Jaguars to win. They may keep it close, but the Colts win here.
Indianapolis 24 Jacksonville 13
New York Giants vs Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has all the makings of a team that is ready for a collapse, if you don't consider the funk they are in right now an actual collapse. Cincinnati has lost four in a row and things don't look like they will be getting any easier, especially with the Giants coming to town. Last year Cincinnati was a team that prided themselves on their defense, but that side of the ball is struggling this year. The defense couldn't stop Peyton Manning from taking the lead back last week. On offense, they have no running game to speak of. Teams can focus on shutting down A.J. Green. Cincinnati seems to have lost its identity. The Giants are coming off a painful loss to Pittsburgh that saw them blow a 10 point second half lead. The defense couldn't come up with a big stop when they needed to. For once in his career, Eli Manning couldn't come up in the clutch. The Giants had problems moving the ball against Pittsburgh. They shouldn't have those problems against Cincinnati. Look for the Giants to throw, throw and throw against the Bengals. Eli should bounce back and the Giants should come out of this one with a W.
NY Giants 27 Cincinnati 20
Tennessee Titans vs Miami Dolphins
That might have been the most embarrassing loss in Titans franchise history last week. The Bears got out to a 31-2 lead and did not look back. Chicago's defense made Matt Hasselbeck look like an old, immobile quarterback who doesn't belong on the field anymore. Is that really the case? Probably not. But Hasselbeck doesn't have a lot left in the tank. I would expect the team to go back to Jake Locker when he is fully healthy. He's their future and needs the playing time. Owner Bud Adams threatened change if things don't get better. They should get a little better this week against Miami. The Dolphins lost last week at Indianapolis and that set them back a little bit. They are still out performing expectations and Ryan Tannehill continues to play well, but the team just doesn't have enough offensive weapons to perform at a high level. Tannehill has a good chance of bouncing back this week against a poor Titans pass defense. I think last week's loss rattled the Titans. Miami wins here.
Miami 23 Tennessee 19
Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
The wheels are falling off the feel good story of the Minnesota Vikings. The Christian Ponder that looked to be coming into his own at the beginning of the year is now regressing. Ponder has looked shaky the last couple games. When he is forced out of the pocket or faced with pressure, Ponder panics and either takes a sack or makes a bad throw. It is something that can be fixed, but needs to be fixed quickly. The good news for Ponder is that he is Adrian Peterson to rely on, who continues to show that he is the best running back in the NFL. But Peterson can only do so much. He can't stop teams from throwing all over the Vikings defense. Minnesota will also likely be without Percy Harvin this week, which is a huge blow to their offense. While the Vikings are fading, the Lions are rising. They easily took care of the Jaguars last week. The offense looks to finally be coming around. If Mikel Leshoure plays like he did last week, then they may finally have a complete offense. The question becomes whether this is a trap game for the Lions. I'm tempted to pick Minnesota, but I don't like them minus Harvin. Detroit keeps rolling.
Detroit 28 Minnesota 17
Buffalo Bills vs New England Patriots
In Week 4 the Bills had a 21-7 lead over the Patriots in the 3rd quarter and things looked to be heading in the right direction. New England then stormed back with six straight touchdown drives and ended up winning 52-28. The Bills went from being a team that looked to be on the verge of a Playoff push to a team that now is questioning where exactly they are as a franchise. Last week, the Bills only ran three times in the second half against Houston. I don't care what kind of defensive scheme the Texans were running, you find ways to get your two best players, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, the ball as often as possible. The defense held the Texans to 21 points, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense couldn't help out. Last time we saw New England, they rolled over St. Louis in London. They didn't miss a beat on offense and now are in prime position to take control of the AFC East with a win here. Rob Gronkowski always has a big game against the Bills, as does the entire Patritos offense. New England rolls here.
New England 45 Buffalo 27
Atlanta Falcons vs New Orleans Saints
What was that I saw last week? The Saints actually playing defense? They did that Monday night. Sure it was against the Eagles, but they held a team with a handful of weapons to only 13 points (and screwed over my fantasy team in the process). I guess it did help getting Johnathan Vilma back for the Saints defense. New Orleans offense played well too. Their running game still kept rolling even without Darren Sproles. Drew Brees just makes anyone on that team a threat to be a dynamic player. They still have a lot to do before they can turn their season around, and a win here would help that process. New Orleans has the undefeated Atlanta Falcons coming to town. The Falcons, despite being undefeated, have looked shaky in a handful of games this season. The offense struggled to get into the end zone against Dallas and had to attempt six field goals. The defense is also vulnerable to giving up the big play. The Saints offense may be the best offense the Falcons have come across this year. I think there are holes in the Falcons defense, and I see the Saints pulling off an upset in good ole fashion shootout.
New Orleans 41 Atlanta 34
San Diego Chargers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Everybody is raving about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, but Doug Martin needs to get some serious consideration for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Martin ran for 251 yards and three touchdowns last week against Oakland, and the week before he was over 100 yards of total offense and had another two touchdowns. Martin has been taking a lot of pressure off of QB Josh Freeman. Freeman has played well the last couple games because Martin has been playing very well. At 4-4, Tampa Bay has a huge opportunity to make a statement with a win here. San Diego struggled with the Chiefs early on before they pulled away in the second half. But that was in large part thanks to their defense. The offense struggled to get going for the second week in a row. The Chargers have a good match-up here against the Bucs defense. Can Philip Rivers take advantage of it? I like how the Bucs are playing under Greg Schiano. I think Vincent Jackson has a big game against his old team and the Bucs win here.
Tampa Bay 30 San Diego 21
Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers
After struggling a bit early in the season, the Broncos seem to be finally putting everything together. Denver has won three in a row and are in command in the AFC West. Peyton Manning looks a lot like the old Peyton Manning from a couple of years ago. And not only is the offense playing well, but the defense is playing better after some early season struggles. And if you don't think John Fox is out to get some revenge against his old team, you can probably think again. Carolina finally pulled out a win last week at Washington. Does that solve all of the problems they have been having? No. But I'm sure the team felt good about it afterwards. The team still has a lot of growing up to do. At least it looked like they were finally going back to the running attack that gave them so much success last year. But the Panthers defense is no match for Peyton Manning and Co. I like the Broncos in this one.
Denver 28 Carolina 21
Oakland Raiders vs Baltimore Ravens
I was not blinded by the Raiders performance like some people were. Oakland won two games in a row, but they were against the Chiefs and Jaguars. The fact is that the Raiders defense struggles and has problems stopping teams. They let Doug Martin run all over them last week. Oakland has been spreading the ball out on offense, but that won't matter if they are without their top playmaker this week. There's a good chance Darren McFadden won't play this week due to a high ankle sprain. That doesn't bode well for the Raiders offense. Baltimore also struggled last week against the Cleveland Browns. The offense had problems moving the ball against a stingy Browns defense. With the Ravens defense having injury woes, the offense is going to need to pick up its play if they want to compete and win the AFC North. Expect a steady dose of Ray Rice this week against a poor Raiders run defense. That will leave the big play available for Joe Flacco. Ravens should roll rather easily here.
Baltimore 35 Oakland 20
New York Jets vs Seattle Seahawks
So, what did the Jets do during their bye week to right the ship? I honestly don't know what they can do. Unless they gave Mark Sanchez a better play making ability and smarter decision making skills, then I don't know what they can do. Fans can clamor for Tim Tebow, but I don't know if it will make any lick of difference for a bad Jets offense. They lack any true playmakers on offense, and the defense is under-performing without star cornerback Darelle Revis. The Jets are a hot mess right now, and they get to play a good Seattle defense this week. While they gave up a good amount of yards to Adrian Peterson, they also shut down Christian Ponder. That's bad news for Mark Sanchez. Look for Seattle to run with Marshawn Lynch. Most teams find success running the ball against New York. That will take the pressure off of Russell Wilson. I can't figure out Seattle. One week they look strong then the next their offense struggles to score. But I like Seattle more than I do the Jets. Seattle wins a close, low scoring affair.
Seattle 20 NY Jets 16
Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles
I like to call this one the "One Last Shot To Save My Job" Bowl. In this match-up we have two coaches that are clearly on the hot seat. I don't think either guy makes it into next year. But I would not be surprised if the loser of this match-up is fired after the game. Philadelphia has looked like a lost team almost all year. They have no identity on offense. The defense is constantly getting taken to the woodshed. Last week it looked like the players quit on Reid. For Andy Reid, it isn't a matter of if but when. Mike Vick looks like he may be on his last legs as the Eagles QB as well. Could it be re-building time in Philadelphia? I would not be surprised. Dallas has at least been competitive in the majority of its games this year. They took Atlanta to the wire last week and fought back from 23 down against the Giants to make a game of it to the end. But the problem with the Cowboys is that they can't put together a complete game. They show up for half the game and that's it. Jerry Jones does not tolerate failure, and another season of missed Playoffs probably means Jason Garrett gets shown the door. I just don't like how Philadelphia is playing now. Only scoring 13 points against the Saints is bad. I'm picking Dallas to win this one. And then Andy Reid gets fired and Mike Vick benched for the year.
Dallas 31 Philadelphia 23
St. Louis Rams vs San Francisco 49ers
Both of these teams are coming off their bye weeks. But they are coming off of two completely different results. The 49ers took down a bad Arizona Cardinals team. They kept the Cardinals out of the end zone and put a lot of pressure on John Skelton. San Francisco has had their ups and downs all year, but the 49ers may finally be putting everything together. Unlike last year, the 49ers won't be able to walk away with the division title. They have the Seahawks right on their tales. The last time we saw St. Louis, they were getting dismantled by the New England Patriots in London. The Rams defense that was suppose to be improved didn't look it. And the Rams failed to put up points against a suspect Patriots defense. Many people expected a bounce back from the Rams this year after a terrible 2011, but they haven't been able to find success. Sam Bradford doesn't have a lot of weapons on offense, and Steven Jackson looks like he is on his last legs. That doesn't bode well for the Rams this week. San Francisco wins.
San Francisco 23 St. Louis 9
Houston Texans vs Chicago Bears
This is hands down the match-up of the week. And it really could be a potential Super Bowl preview. Both teams are 7-1. They have great defenses. The Bears defense almost scores as many points as their offense does some weeks. If you make a mistake, they will capitalize on it. Having a defense like that takes so much pressure off of the offense. You know the Texans defense will focus on stopping Brandon Marshall. Cutler loves finding Marshall, but the Texans will look to double team him and make Cutler find his other WRs. But are the Bears other WRs good enough to beat a very good Texans secondary? While the Texans are still on top of the AFC, I don't know if they are as dominant as I thought they were. They struggled to put away Buffalo last week. And had the Bills not been inept in the red zone, they could have easily won. Houston's offense struggled a bit. Matt Schaub couldn't hit his open secondary WRs after Andre Johnson. Even in going for over 100 yards, Arian Foster had a so-so day. He had a couple of big runs but was also held in check. The stats may say other wise, but I was slightly disappointed with the Texans offense last week. I don't think they will have a lot of success against the Bears. Chicago wins this heavyweight battle.
Chicago 23 Houston 17
Kansas City Chiefs vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Who gave the Chiefs two prime time games in a row? What else is their to say about them. They have been playing terrible. Sure they gave the Chargers a game for a half last week, but the offense was not able to sustain anything or put together a scoring drive in the second half. They will be in a dog fight with Jacksonville for the #1 overall pick. Pittsburgh came from behind to beat the Giants in New York last week. It was a great team effort. The defense forced the Giants into a couple of turnovers and the offense came up with some big scores and kept the ball away from the Giants late. With two games left against the Ravens, Pittsburgh is in a great position to take the AFC North. Pittsburgh should have no problems with the Chiefs.
Pittsburgh 31 Kansas City 10
My Vegas $$$ Picks
Last Week: 4-0
Year to Date: 19-17
New Orleans +2.5 vs Atlanta: I smell an upset brewing here.
Pittsburgh -12.5 vs Kansas City: I'm a sucker for these big spreads.
Tennessee +6 at Miami: Titans not as bad as last week's core indicates.
Denver -4 at Carolina: Panthers offense can't hang with the Broncos.
Until Next Time,
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