Last week was a weird week in the NFL. What was up went down, and what was down was up. As for the Patriots, though the losses to Cincinnati and, especially, the Jets, were disappointing, the Boys in Blue have somehow made it to the oasis of their bye week, with a 7-2 record. With all the injuries that this club has endured, that's quite a feat. But, the biggest tests for this team lie ahead, with games at Carolina, against the Horseface at home, and against the vengeance seeking Houston Texans, in Houston. That said, let's move on to the teams that are playing, with the "Game of the Week" being:
1.) (5-3) Carolina Panthers (+6.5) @ (6-2) San Francisco 49ers: Carolina has one four straight games, and has averaged over 30 points per game in so doing. But, the quality of their competition, Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa, and Atlanta, has been lacking. This will be a measuring stick game for them in the NFC...as they suddenly find themselves just a game behind the dinged up New Orleans Saints for the division lead in the NFC South. Not to be out done, the 49ers have won five straight games against inferior competition (St. Louis, Arizona, Tennessee, Houston, and Jacksonville), and have also averaged over 30 points per game, in so doing. In what should be an exciting, very physical game: PICK: Panthers;
2.) (3-5) Washington Redskins @ (1-7) Minnesota Vikings: The Redskins were lucky to escape the San Diego Chargers with an OT win last week, while the Vikings lost in Dallas, despite outplaying the Cowboys for 58 out of 60 minutes. Who knows what to expect from these two teams: PICK: Redskins;
3.) (0-8) Jacksonville Jaguars (+13) @ (4-4) Tennessee Titans: Are the Jaguars so bad that you should spot them 13 points against a mediocre team like the Tennessee Titans? Yes: PICK: Titans;
4.) (4-5) Philadelphia Eagles (+9) @ (5-3) Green Bay Packers: Without Aaron Rodgers at the helm (shoulder injury), the Packers look ripe for the picking. Would you like your chances with Seneca Wallace as your QB? PICK: Eagles;
5.) (3-6) Buffalo Bills (+3) @ (2-6) Pittsburgh Steelers: There surely are some frustrated fans in Buffalo, after seeing the Bills give away an upset win over the Chiefs last week. But, in Pittsburgh, their fans are not frustrated, their angry...after the Steelers' 4th quarter collapse last Sunday in New England. But fans' feelings don't decide games...players do. I have to believe that we'll see a better defensive effort from the Steelers this week: PICK: Steelers;
6.) (3-5) Oakland Raiders (+7.5) @ (2-6) NY Giants: The Raiders Jacksonvillesque performance last week, in which they allowed seven (7) TD passes by the immortal Nick Foles, had to be troubling. The Giants have been troubled all year. In yet another "who knows what to expect" type game: PICK: Giants;
7.) (3-6) St. Louis Rams (+10) @ (6-2) Indianapolis Colts: It's obvious that QB Kullen Clemens should not be playing in this league. Though the Colts have some injury issues, they still have Andrew Luck. But, a ten point spread?: PICK: Rams;
8.) (8-1) Seattle Seahawks (+6.5) @ (2-6) Atlanta Falcons: The Seahawks had a major let-down last week at home, against the lowly Tampa ay Buccaneers...and it almost cost them that game. But, the Falcons have a let-down every Sunday: PICK: Seahawks;
9.) (6-3) Cincinnati Bengals @ (3-5) Baltimore Ravens (+1.5): These are two teams currently headed in opposite directions. If the Ravens are to have any chance whatsoever in saving their seasion, they must win this game. But, I said something similar to that last weekend, when the Buzzards were scheduled to play the Browns in Cleveland, and failed to get the job done. The Bengals have to be upset with themselves for giving away the Miami game last Thursday night, and need to get back on track: PICK: Bengals;
10.) (5-3) Detroit Lions @ (5-3) Chicago Bears (+2.5): This game drew strong consideration for "Game of the Week" honors. Bears' back-up QB Josh McCown has done a surprisingly good job in relief of Jay Cutler. But, the Lions are coming off their bye week, and beat the Bears easily, earlier in the season. Still, this is the type of game that the Lions have traditionally failed to show up for. In a battle for first place in the NFC North: PICK: Lions;
11.) (2-6) Houston Texans (+3) @ (4-4) Arizona Cardinals: Incredibly bad things continue to haunt the Texans...Halloween or no Halloween. Though the Cards aren't that good, they should be good enough to get this one: PICK: Cardinals;
12.) (7-1) Denver Broncos @ (4-4) San Diego Chargers (+7): The Chargers have played pretty well this season, and could pull the upset. Still, you have to like the Horsefaces, coming off their bye week: PICK: Broncos;
13.) (5-4) Dallas Cowboys (+7) @ (6-2) New Orleans Saints: Though the Cowboys seem to play better when they face the better teams, they looked awful last week in barely beating the Vikings. The Saints have to be angry after losing to the Clown Car Jets...but may be without Darren Sproles: PICK: Cowboys;
14.) (4-4) Miami Dolphins @ (0-8) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5): The Miami team has huge OL issues, and, apparently, team unity issues. The Bucs gave the Seahawks all they could handle last week. But, the spread is only 2.5 points: PICK: Dolphins.
BEST BETS: Seahawks, Eagles.
Have a great day, my friends!