Last week, I did something different with my picks, trusting my gut feelings for each game and betting the lines accordingly. And guess what... I went 9-for-14. I'm back!
Unfortunately, I won't be doing the same thing this week. Gonna implement a different strategy. A good friend of mine and Brandon's, Colin, is visiting and I ran this week's games by him last night. We agreed on most and the few we didn't see eye to eye on, went his way. So with that said, here we go...
Oakland vs SAN DIEGO (-6.5)
If one of Jason Campbell or Darren McFadden were playing in this game, I'd have the Raiders covering. If both were playing, they'd win outright (like they did in both games against the Chargers last season). But with McFadden out and Carson Palmer (who's making Tim Tebow look like a Hall of Famer) in, this game shouldn't, and won't, be close.
Also, because it's my blog and I feel like it, I'm going to predict exact scores. That way, if I ever hit one on the nose, I can gloat about it. And ignore those who tell me about the ones I don't just miss, but butcher.
Chargers 33, Raiders 17.
New Orleans vs ATLANTA (+0.5)
I've said it before, I'll say it again and I said it on the Leader Sports Report (shameless plug): the Saints are mediocre. The offense is really good, but can be stopped (by the Rams) and isn't close to the same level of the Green Bay offense. The defense is awful. And this game probably means more to the Falcons because it's in their backyard and they need it more to stay in the NFC South race than the Saints do.
Falcons 31, Saints 24.
Buffalo (+5.5) vs DALLAS
No, Bills!!!! You're my AFC horse! You can't lose home games like that to the J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS! But you did and it was close for a while only because you were playing Mark Sanchez.
This is a great chance to move to 6-3, however. The Cowboys are struggling, looking inept against the lowly Seattle Seahawks. That was a game in which everyone expected them to bounce back after their embarrassing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas makes a habit of playing close games against teams who aren't renting the cellar of the NFC West, so either way, it won't be a blowout. Come on, Buffalo!
Bills 30, Cowboys 28.
Pittsburgh vs CINCINNATI (+3.5)
I have several friends who are diehard Steelers fans. If you're one of those reading this, do yourself a favor and skip to the next game because I have nothing nice to say about the black and yellow.
I hate the Steelers now. I rode an 8-game win streak on ESPN's Streak for the Cash into last Sunday night's Ravens-Steelers tilt. I know the Ravens destroyed Pittsburgh in Week 1, but it was Week 1, so discount it a bit, especially since these teams always play close games.
Pittsburgh had every chance to win that game, despite not being able to do anything on 3rd down defense. Even after Ben Roethlisberger tried throwing a touchdown pass to Terrell Suggs, the Steelers still had the lead and the ball late.
But that "vaunted defense" rolled over like a cute puppy and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory (love that saying, it's so insulting). Thrown out the window was my streak, my faith in the Steelers and, later that night, Roethlisberger's date. Unforgivable.
Oh, the Bengals might actually be good too, but this is their first of four tests against the AFC North juggernauts. It's at home, which should help their chances, but I don't know yet if they can win outright. I hope they do.
Steelers 16, Bengals 9.
St. Louis vs CLEVELAND (-2.5)
Trying to figure out whether there will be more points scored in this game or more people watching the game. Really, it's a coinflip. For the record, I liked the Rams here, Colin didn't. But home field advantage can sway me.
Browns 17, Rams 13.
Denver vs KANSAS CITY (-3.5)
Two things you can be sure of: The Broncos (and
Chiefs 37, Broncos 19.
Sidenote: Chargers up 3-0 five minutes in. Only 3.5 more points to go!
Tennessee (+2.5) vs CAROLINA
Another game Colin and I disagreed on, though he was quite adamant Tennessee wins this game. Their best chance will be to put the ball in Chris Johnson's hands (yes, I said it!). I don't know necessarily about their run defense, but I do know that they allow the most fantasy football points to opposing running backs, so that can't be good. The Titans can't really stop the run either and are middle of the pack against the pass, so expect a big game from Cam Newton.
This might be the most surprising score I predict, but I think we're looking at a shootout here. I might as well prepare for the onslaught of fun that will be made at my expense in a few days.
Titans 38, Panthers 34
Jacksonville (-2.5) vs INDIANAPOLIS
Whenever you see the Colts in a game for the rest of the season, take the other team, regardless of the line, unless Indy's playing their practice squad.
Jaguars 27, Colts 13
Washington (+3.5) vs MIAMI
Colin and I didn't agree here either. Maybe I should take it easy with Miami a bit, but I think they're flat out better than the Redskins. I know the Fins are shaky at home, but the Skins are shaky everywhere.
Dolphins 21, Redskins 20
Arizona (+13.5) vs PHILADELPHIA
I think it's safe to say the Eagles are not good. They can play offense, but that offense can be stopped by a good defense (which Arizona doesn't have). The defense is so bad, however, that Kevin Kolb might throw for 200 yards on Sunday. The game won't be very close for the first three quarters, but the Cards can score a bit late to cover. By a half a point.
Eagles 36, Cardinals 23.
Sidenote: Just had dinner, so we're later into this Thursday Night game. Michael Bush rumbled in for the Raiders, 7-3 silver and black.
Houston (-3.5) vs TAMPA BAY
I know Tampa Bay isn't exactly Green Bay, but I think this is the tough task Houston needs to prove they're legit. A road test against an NFC South contender will be a good indicator of where Houston stands. Good teams win these games. OK teams lose them by a possession. Bad teams get rocked by 20. We'll know after this game which of the first two categories the Texans fall under.
Texans 23, Bucs 16.
Baltimore (-7.5) vs SEATTLE
Speaking of bad teams, how's it going, Seahawks?! Hey, you hung in there with the Cowboys, I'll give you that much. And for some reason, you play well at home (maybe it's all that fake stadium noise they pump in there to draw false start flags).
But I wouldn't get any ideas of doing what Arizona almost did a couple weeks ago. Or what Jacksonville did earlier this season. You're going down, hard.
Ravens 27, Seahawks 6.
Detroit (+2.5) vs CHICAGO
You think Vegas is making a big deal of the Bears beating the Eagles on the road this Monday? Uh, absolutely they are. And that's weird, because the Bears' opponent's combined record in Chicago's five wins is 16-24. In their three losses, their opponent's records are a combined 20-5. So you're telling me they can beat bad teams, but can't beat good teams? But I don't understand...
Also, Detroit's had two weeks to get ready for this game and I love bye week teams.
Lions 31, Bears 20.
Sidenote: Field goal Oakland, 10-3. This is going exactly how I planned it. I just need San Diego to outscore the Raiders 30-7 from this point on. Sigh...
NY Giants vs SAN FRANCISCO (-3.5)
I know people seem to think this will be a hangover game for the G-Men after their big win against the Patriots, but I'd be shocked if they weren't amped for a 7-1 team. That being said, the 49ers are just better than the Giants. Their coaching is better, the defense is better. Hell, even the offenses are pretty much a wash, considering the Niners have a better rushing attack and don't turn the ball over, while New York can put up big plays more often. It's another big test for the 49ers, let's see what they're made of.
49ers 23, Giants 17.
New England vs NY JETS (-1.5)
The Patriots aren't great at anything anymore. Like with any quarterback, if you can pressure Tom Brady, you can force him into bad throws. The defense can't really make plays and the Law Offices of BenJarvus Green-Ellis (sorry, Bill Simmons, it's too good) might be closed this Sunday.
Meanwhile, you know what you're getting from the Jets more often than not. They can't really move the ball a whole lot, but they'll make sure you don't either.
I have a feeling the Jets are going to come out hungrier. Especially Rex Ryan, because he...well...you know...
Jets 24, Patriots 20
Minnesota (+13.5) vs GREEN BAY
The method of thinking is that home field is "worth three points." Well in Minnesota, the Packers won by six. Take away the Vikings' three points from their first meeting and give them to Green Bay and the Pack should win by 12. Thanks for the one-point safety net!
Packers 36, Vikings 24
Sidenote: Touchdown Raiders, 17-3. Might have to go back to the way I did things last week. I had San Diego -5.5, thus would have taken the Raiders. Dang it.
One more thing: I know not many people read this, but if you ever want to contribute or have your picks posted or whatever, let me know. That way, four people can read two sets of picks.