Ah, early post this week due to the Turkey Day games. I'm particularly cheesed about the prime time matchup between Denver and Kansas City, which will only be seen by the approximately 27 people who have NFL Network. A good example of strong arm tactics here by the NFL, which figures it can force cable systems to put its channel on a basic level tier (a la ESPN) by stimulating fan outrage. Word is the league would eventually love to have all of the games on their channel, thus saving the literally billions of dollars currently spent on the contract with CBS, NBC and ESPN. Because, as you know, the league is barley scraping by and desperately needs an influx of extra capital.
On to the picks....
Miami over DETROIT
What, picking against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day? Yep. Despite what you may have heard, Detroit is only two games over .500 in these games all time. That, plus the fact that Miami is playing very well, and the Lions are banged up, equals a Dolphin win.
Miami 24 Detroit 10
DALLAS over Tampa Bay
Bucs can't score, and Dallas has too much riding on this game to suffer a letdown after big win over Indy last week. Romo is the real deal, especially since he is allegedly dating Jessica Simpson.
Dallas 23 Tampa Bay 7
KANSAS CITY over Denver
Cheifs looking to atone for early season loss at Mile High (that's right, I refuse to call it by it's corporate name). Broncos defense was exposed last week by mighty Chargers, and while KC won't put up 35, but will score enough to grab the win and tighten things up in the AFC West.
Kansas City 23 Denver 16
San Francisco over ST. LOUIS
Reeling Rams run into red hot Niners, led by the punishing ground attack of Frank Gore. St. Loo might just about be finished for '06, while San Fran can inject itself right into the thick of the playoff picture with win here.
San Francisco 24 St. Louis 17
MINNESOTA over Arizona
Reverse logic pick here. Vikes have invented new ways to lose each week, while Cards were finally able to get off the schnied last week and win. Minny defense, at home, should be able to shut down Zona, one would think.
Minnesota 27 Arizona 10
Carolina over WASHINGTON
Here come the Panthers. While Washington QB Jason Campbell looked decent in his debut last week, he will be tormented by Carolina's pass rush, and swarming defense. Delhomme to Smith continues to click, pacing the way to another win.
Carolina 23 Washington 7
Cincinnati over CLEVELAND
Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson have rediscovered each other quite nicely over the past few weeks, and depite Cincy's defensive lapses they will have enough to overpower Browines in the Dawg Pound.
Cincinnati 30 Cleveland 17
N.Y. JETS over Houston
Both teams very accustomed to playing close games, and that should play to form here. Texans have been a tough out all year, but the J-E-T-S should have enough to survive and move on.
N.Y. Jets 20 Houston 14
BUFFALO over Jacksonville
Upset special. Jags are not the same team on the road, and Bills have been in every game lately, win or lose. The loss of Donovan Darius will hurt Jacksonville, especially with the Losman to Evans connection heating up for the Bills.
Buffalo 22 Jacksonville 17
New Orleans over ATLANTA
Falcs continue to frustrate just about everyone, with the exception of those who bet against them each week. Drew Brees can light it up again this week, even without Marques Colston. Is the Jim Mora Jr. job watch underway yet?
New Orleans 27 Atlanta 16
BALTIMORE over Pittsburgh
Ravens are most definitely for real, folks. Steelers have been able to win two in a row despite some critical mistakes by Ben Roethlisberger, and some shaky defensive play. The difference here? Ravens make teams pay dearly for those mistakes, like good teams always do.
Baltimore 24 Pittsburgh 14
SAN DIEGO over Oakland
Unlike the recent trend, I don't see the Chargers falling way behind and needing a big second half comeback to emerge with a victory. Spotty defense might allow the Raiders to put up more points than usual, but LT and Co. look almost unstoppable right now.
San Diego 34 Oakland 16
N.Y. Giants over TENNESSEE
G-Men looking all kinds of awful of late, but something tells me they're due for a nice bounce back game this week. Titans have played like a young team on the way up, looking great one week, awful the next. This week, it's awful's turn.
N.Y. Giants 20 Tennessee 10
NEW ENGLAND over Chicago
Best game of the week, on paper anyway. Pats have beat up weaker temas this year, while losing to better ones. Bears playing third straight on the road, and that has to catch up with them at some point. The hunch here is that Brady and Bellichek come up with just enough to squeeze past Da Bears.
New England 20 Chicago 17
INDIANAPOLIS over Philadelphia
Sorry, NBC. Thought you had a primo matchup with the potentially unbeaten Colts verses McNabb and the Eagles, eh? Indy, coming back to the dome after a loss, facing the McNabb-less Eagles, sounds like a blowout to me.
Indianapolis 34 Philadelphia 17
SEATTLE over Green Bay
Man, ESPN is getting some clunkers this year. Similar to Colts, Hawks coming back home after ugly road loss, against inferior opponent, means this one will be over early, and those of us on the East coast can go to bed at a decent hour. Thanks guys!
Seattle 40 Green Bay 13
Last week: 10-6
Overall: 98-62 (61.3%)