I went 8-4 last week, the average. I still couldn't break 9 but this is the week. In case your wondering why the picks are coming on a Wednesday and not a Friday or Saturday, it's because the week starts tomorrow with the first Thursday game of the season; Bears @ 49ers on NFL Network.
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers - Our Thursday Night game on the NFL network is more like a showdown of teams that will be drafting in the middle of the NFL draft than teams that will be playing in January. The Bears are locked into Jay Cutler right now and there's no way out of it; the 49ers need to find out if Alex Smith is for real. The loser of this game is absolutely finished for 2009, while the winner lives to die another week. The 49ers usually play to their competitions level, and the Bears looked awful last week; this one will come down to who can rebound better in the short week.
I'm taking the Bears on the Road.
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers - If only the Panthers had hung on last week this game would be so massive; the Panthers could've turned their 0-3 start into positioning for the 6 seed in the playoffs, maybe even the division; More importantly they would've made me look like a total stooge for burying them after a 1-4 stars. Instead they're reduced to the role of spoiler, and spoil is what they're going to do this week at home.
I'm taking the Panthers at Home.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Miami Dolphins - The battle of Florida teams that actually have a fan base will take place in Miami this Sunday with the entire state wondering "does anyone else remember when both of these teams were good last year?" Well, the Dolphins are still good, just not great in a deep AFC; and the Buccaneers are really bad, but hey, at least they're not winless anymore. Hopefully both of these franchises have their Quarterbacks locked in for the next five years, and it'll be special for these fan bases to watch Beck and Freeman go head to head (in handing the ball off).
I'm taking the Dolphins at Home.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets - Both of these teams are 4-4 right now, but I don't think there's anyone who things either team is a real contender right now. Truth be told though, the winner of this game is in a terrific position to make a run at the playoffs; and once you get there anything can happen. The Jets are young at quarterback, coach, and (relatively) on defense; the Jaguars on the other hand have their entire regime on the hot seat (and a QB in northern Florida named Tim targeted as the future of the franchise). I think the more desperate team wins this one.
I'm taking the Jaguars on the Road.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings are fresh, the Lions just blew a big lead to the Seahawks. The Vikings have the most prolific passer in the history of the game starting for them at Quarterback, the Lions have a rookie starting at Quarterback. I can keep going with this, but I'll save you the repetition.
I'm taking the Vikings at Home.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers - The early game to end all early games. Since their week three loss to the Bengals, the Steelers have yet to lose again, taking it to "darling" teams such as San Diego, Minnesota, and Denver. The Bengals absolutely need this game more, but it'll be hard to do. I don't think the Bengals re ready to join the Steelers in the elite of the AFC North, but then again the Bengals have done nothing but shut people like me up all season. The good news for Cinci? Their next three games are (@ Oak, vs Cle, vs Det).
I'm taking the Steelers at Home.
New Orleans Saints @ St. Louis Rams - With a road schedule like this it's hard to think that the Saints won't go 16-0 in the regular season. I don't know what else I can say about this game so I'll just copy and paste my previous sentence a few times. With a road schedule like this it's hard to think that the Saints won't go 16-0 in the regular season. With a road schedule like this it's hard to think that the Saints won't go 16-0 in the regular season. With a road schedule like this it's hard to think that the Saints won't go 16-0 in the regular season.
I'm taking the Saints on the Road.
Buffalo Bills @ Tennessee Titans - Vince Young and the Titans head home and are once again feared. The Bills are a mess so this one shouldn't be that difficult for the Titans to overcome. If the Titans do get to 3-6, how big does next Monday nights game @ Houston become?
I'm taking the Titans at Home.
Denver Broncos @ Washington Redskins - Just what the doctor ordered to get the Broncos back on schedule; a road trip to Washington. Does anyone remember Super Bowl XXIII? When the Redskins demolished Elway and the Redskins? Yeah, that won't happen this week.
I'm taking the Broncos on the Road.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders - The real losers will be the people who pay money to watch this game. I don't care how big of a fan of either team you are, with the holiday season rapidly approaching there are a lot better things you could do with that money. To take it even further, it should be noted that watching this game on your television should be forbidden as well. What an awful game.
I'm taking the Chiefs on the Road.
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals don't seem to like winning at home; luckily for them the Seahawks don't seem to like winning at all. I definitely think that Warner will come back down to earth, and that Julius Jones will have a more difficult time against the Cardinals than he had against the Lions, but somehow, call me crazy, I think the Seahawks are going to take this one. They won't win the division, and I'll probably be wrong anyway, but I've got a feeling they're going to take this one.
I'm taking the Seahawks on the Road.
Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers - In 2007 this was the second most hyped game of the regular season (besides undefeated vs undefeated in week 9). It was Favre vs Romo; the two undisputed best teams in the NFC: big Favre vs little Favre. Things have changed big time since then. Romo has found that the way to win is to emulate Ben Roethlisberger more than Brett Favre, and the Packers have found that the way to lose is play without Brett Favre. I hate to show Aaron Rodgers no love as much as I do, but the guy has yet to win in a big game, and he won't this week at home.
I'm taking the Cowboys on the Road.
Philadelphia Eagles @ San Diego Chargers - If you're not watching this late game then you're missing out on what will probably be one of the most exciting regular season games of the year. The Eagles and the Chargers are the two teams likely to be playing wild card weekend that have the best chance of making it to the Super Bowl (this years Cardinals, Giants, Colts, Steelers if you will), and the winner of this game pretty much solidifies itself a playoff berth. The Eagles are coming off a brutal loss at home to the Cowboys, while the Chargers are coming off of a seemingly season vitalizing win over the Giants. The good feelings will continue this week in San Diego.
I'm taking the Chargers at Home.
New England Patriots @ Indianapolis Colts - The Colts have won 4 of the last 5 in this series, including 3 of the last 4 at home. As usual, this game is incredibly important for both teams; with the winner of this series (always) putting themselves in key playoff positioning over the other. There's a lot of talk about the Colts pass defense vs Randy Moss, but the real story will be the Patriots pass defense vs Peyton Manning.
I'm taking the Colts at Home.
Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns - I think the people at ESPN feel robbed. In a week that gives us Patriots @ Colts, Eagles @ Chargers, Cowboys @ Packers, and Bengals @ Steelers, Monday Night Football lands this game? They couldn't at least get Jaguars @ Jets or Seahawks @ Cardinals? At least those two games have (some?) playoff implication. All this game is going to do is shine a spotlight on just how bad things really are in Cleveland, and force the "fire Mangini" groans to build. I still they you have to give him a second season.
I'm taking the Ravens on the Road.