Reality check last week, as it took the ridiculous collapse by Arizona, or the amazing comeback by Chicago, depending on your take, to salvage a 7-6 week. This week sees some truly nasty matchups (Arizona-Oakland, for instance), as well as a few potential upsets. On to the selections:
KANSAS CITY over San Diego
At first glance, this looks ot be a complete mismatch. The Chiefs are coming home after being throroughly dismantled in Pittsburgh last week, while the Bolts put up 48 points at San Fran. KC will rebound, at home, and slip past Schottenheimer’s gang. I have no reason to say so, just a hunch.
Kansas City 26 San Diego 24
Jacksonville over HOUSTON
Jags defense will set the tone, and the ball control offense will keep the game in check. Texans will not be able to keep pace, and Jacksonville should take this one rather easily.
Jacksonville 27 Houston 7
Carolina over CINCINNATI
Mild upset here, and the Panthers have proven time and time again they can win on the road against good teams. Bengals are a little vulnerable, and with some problems protecting Carson Palmer, could be in for a tough afternoon.
Carolina 20 Cincinnati 14
NY JETS over Detroit
Jets have a disturbing habit of letting teams back into games after grabbing nice leads, but it has yet to cost them. Lions defense is just not getting it done so far, and I can’t see them slowing down the Jet rushing game, which will lead to good playu action opportunities for Chad Pennington.
NY Jets 31 Detroit 19
MIAMI over Green Bay
An extra week of preparation for Joey Harrington, plus a decent defensive effort, should be enough for the disappointing Fins to get past the woeful Pack. Aaron Rodgers countdown underway yet?
Miami 23 Green Bay 10
New England over BUFFALO
Pats too tough to look past Bills, who had NE beat in Week One, only to falter late. Pats should put together one of their trademark grind-it-out games, and prevail, albeit unimpressively.
New England 19 Buffalo 6
TAMPA BAY over Philadelphia
Upset special. Bucs have shown some spark in recent weeks, with Bruce Gradkowski leading the way. Eagles travel to another tough venue after being in New Orleans last week, and I mentioned in this space last week how the defense seems to surrender a good amount of points.
Tampa Bay 27 Philadelphia 20
ATLANTA over Pittsburgh
Picking Atlanta is a total crapshoot. Which team will show up – the one that averaged over 200 yards rushing over the first few weeks, or the inepot bunch which couldn’t do squat against the Saints? The guess here says this week, Jim Mora’s bunch puts together a solid effort at home, and has enough to get by the Steelers. Despite impressive win last week over KC, there is still something a little off about Pittsburgh, and I can see them falling here.
Atlanta 23 Pittsburgh 17
CLEVELAND over Denver
Okay, this is the real Upset Special. Denver defense has been phenomenal, but the offense has been borderline inept. Dawg Pound will be in full force, and Romeo Crennel is savvy enough to have his defense fired up to shut down Jake Plummer. The pick here says that the Brownies find a way to score just enough to escape with a W.
Cleveland 12 Denver 10
Arizona over OAKLAND
Cardinals can go one of two ways after the Monday Night Meltdown: 1.) Get so angry and focused, they destroy the hapless Raiders, or 2.) Wallow in self pity and self doubt, and get knocked silly by a crappy team. I’m going with number 1 – the Arizona defense should have more than enough to shutdown the Raiders, and the Oakland fans can get a good up-close look at the player they should have taken in the first round, Matt Leinart.
Arizona 23 Oakland 3
SEATTLE over Minnesota
Gutsy win last week by Seattle, and now they’re back home. Despite lack of running game, the Hawks should be able to skate by the Vikings, who have struggled all year to be consistent on offense. This is not the week they’ll hit their stride.
Seattle 30 Minnesota 17
INDIANAPOLIS over Washington
The only way the Skins can keep this close is by taking the air out of the ball, and trying to exploit Indy’s weak rushing defense, also keeping Peyton and Co. on the sidelines. I can still see the Colts pulling it out, since Manning can exploit the injured Washington secondary. This one could be one of the best games of the week.
Indianapolis 20 Washington 17
DALLAS over NY Giants
Cowboys are a much better team at home, and the G-Men are coming off two sold defensive efforts. Dallas should have enough in the tank to sneak past Big Blue in the Monday Nighter. I’m not sure how the Tiki Barber news will affect this team, as the timing of it seems very peculiar. Why now, Tiki? The team is finally playing well, and seems to have rebounded nicely from the debacle in Seattle, and you throw this out there? Is it a contract ploy? Weird.
Dallas 20 NY Giants 17
Last week: 7-6
Overall: 60-27 (68.9%)