The only thing I am going to do with last week’s NFL office pool picks is pretend that they never happened. That’s the case for most of this year, really. Things will be better this week now that we don’t have to deal with bye weeks. That’s the theory, anyway:
Chicago at Miami - I like the Dolphins quite a bit, and I really don’t like the Bears much at all. The problem, though, is that I have no idea who will be at quarterback for the Dolphins, and am really concerned about what would happen if they had another QB injury. Take the Bears.
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Buffalo at Cincinnati - The Bills finally got a win last week. They probably should have a couple more if it weren’t for bad luck, too. The difference between these teams is that while the Bills aren’t nearly as talented, they leave it all on the field while the the Bengals seem to be allergic to hard work. Take the Bills.
Detroit at Dallas - I’m not confident that the Jason Garrett effect will be as pronounced as it was last week. It doesn’t need to be, though, because Detroit is a long way from a good team on the road, and they seem to be getting worse as the season progresses. Take the Cowboys.
Arizona at Kansas City - The Chiefs started off well, but they have been a real mess the last couple of weeks. This is a good way for them to get back on track, though, because Arizona doesn’t have anything resembling an offense right now. Take the Chiefs.
Houston at N.Y. Jets - The Texans may have the worst pass defense I have ever seen. Seriously. The Jets are playing tough, and they are gaining confidence from a couple of clutch wins in the last couple of weeks. With New York at home this one should be a mismatch. Take the Jets.
Cleveland at Jacksonville - Cleveland was wildly impressive against the Saints and Patriots, and almost beat the Jets as well. It has been three very good weeks for them. The Jags have played themselves back into contention, too. The problem, though, is that their wins have only come against Dallas and Houston, so they aren’t particularly impressive. Take the Browns.
Oakland at Pittsburgh - I’m impressed by what the Raiders have done the last couple of weeks. They are in serious playoff contention. They are out of their league in this one, though. The Steelers are at home, and they are going to be angry after their loss last week. Take the Steelers.
Baltimore at Carolina - Baltimore is a very good team. The Panthers really, really aren’t. This one doesn’t deserve more analysis than that. Take the Ravens.
Green Bay at Minnesota - The Packers are rounding into good form. The Vikings are an absolute circus. Minnesota has not shown that they are capable of beating good teams, and the Packers are a good team. Take the Packers.
Washington at Tennessee - The Redskins were absolutely humiliated on Monday night just hours after they locked in Donovan McNabb to a huge contract. That didn’t look like a great move at the time, and it will look even worse after another loss here. Tennessee is going to be able to move the ball against the totally clueless Washington defense. Take the Titans.
Atlanta at St. Louis - Sam Bradford and the Rams have been very impressive this year. They have to host perhaps the best team in the conference here, though. Atlanta showed how tough they are in their late comeback win against the Ravens last week, and they are certainly good enough to win here. Take the Falcons.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco - Both of these teams are very surprising - the Bucs because they have been so good, and the Niners because they have been so lousy. San Francisco has finally found some swagger, though, thanks to former Heisman winner Troy Smith. He gets another start, and that should be enough here. Take the Niners.
Seattle at New Orleans - Both of these teams are frustratingly inconsistent. New Orleans is finding their way recently, though, and they are up against a team that isn’t nearly as good on the road as they are at home. Take the Saints.
Indianapolis at New England - I just don’t like the Colts much this year. Peyton Manning is still himself, but injuries and departures have left him without the supporting staff he needs to be truly elite. New England is very inconsistent, but they manhandled the Steelers last weekend, and a similar effort would give them a solid win here as well. Take the Patriots.
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia - This game has huge implications in the NFC East race. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I am a big believer in what Michael Vick is doing. That’s certainly the first time I have said that. The Giants have been tough, but they are vulnerable, and Philly couldn’t possibly have more confidence right now. Take the Eagles.
Denver at San Diego - As incredible as it seems, the Chargers can play themselves right back into the heart of the AFC West race with a win here - especially if the Chiefs and/or Raiders lose. San Diego will get the win they need here. Take the Chargers.
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