I just finished watching Jacksonville beat the Ravens on “Monday Night Football”. That’s all the proof you need that anything can happen in the NFL. Some weeks are better just forgotten, and last week was one of those. It’s a new week now, though, so without further ado here are my NFL office pool picks for the coming week of NFL action:
New Orleans at St. Louis - The Saints just crushed a winless team, 62-7. Now they play another one. The New Orleans Saints schedule is looking much easier than it looked like it would be a couple of months ago. The Rams will win a game at some point, but this won’t be that time. New Orleans obviously has an offense that is working, and their defense is more than capable of handling what the Rams can throw at them — which isn’t much right now, of course. Take the Saints.
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Miami at New York Giants - After blowing a 15-point lead in the last three minutes to the least accurate quarterback imaginable, the Dolphins are obviously not in a good place. Tony Sparano’s career is on death watch, and this game should be the end — if he’s not already gone by kickoff. Take the Giants.
Arizona at Baltimore - How are we supposed to deal with the Ravens after that Monday night debacle? They are supposed to be an elite team, but elite teams don’t look that bad on offense or against the run. I guess I’ll give them a mulligan — but just one. The Cardinals are far from impressive, and the Ravens should benefit from home cooking and a very tough week of practice. Take the Ravens.
Minnesota at Carolina - I was impressed by Carolina on both sides of the ball against the Redskins. They aren’t great, but they never quit and they have some nice pieces. Christian Ponder was decent in his debut, but he’s by far the second best QB here. Take the Panthers.
Indianapolis at Tennessee - The Titans have some serious issues that were laid bare against Houston. I’d be concerned about them in a lot of spots, but against a Colts’ team that looks as clueless as any team I have ever seen in the NFL isn’t one of those spots. Take the Titans.
Jacksonville at Houston - If the Jaguars can unleash another defensive showing like the tour de force against Baltimore, then the Texans could be in trouble. That’s a tall order on a short week, though, and Matt Schaub just won’t be nearly as bad as Joe Flacco was. Take the Texans.
Detroit at Denver - That may have been a miraculous three minutes for Tim Tebow, but it was a really lousy 57. He is painfully inaccurate and those mechanics make me cringe. I’m not a believer. Detroit has to be hungry for a big game to right the ship, and they have the defense to make Tebow miserable. Take the Lions.
Washington vs. Buffalo - The NFL returns to Toronto for this one. Buffalo has had a week to regroup, and I expect them to come out of the break strong. They’ll have the crowd edge, and they have a big speed edge as well. Take the Bills.
Cincinnati at Seattle – Sure, the Seahawks are at home, but they just lost 6-3 to the Browns. I cannot take any team that loses 6-3 to the Browns seriously. Take the Bengals.
Cleveland at San Francisco - I’m fully on the San Francisco bandwagon. More correctly, I have been on the San Francisco bandwagon for years, but finally it’s not a lonely place to be. This team is for real, and this is another chance to show it. Take the Niners.
New England at Pittsburgh - New England has some problems, but they had their bye week to work on some of those. The Steelers are banged up and not nearly the team we have seen them be in recent years despite the 5-2 record. Take the Patriots.
Dallas at Philadelphia – This one features two disappointing teams from the most disappointing division in football. I have very little faith in the heart, the fundamentals, or the quarterback for either team. I guess I’ll take the Eagles because they are at home, but I don’t feel good about it.
San Diego at Kansas City - Three weeks ago this would have been an easy pick with the Chargers looking like they would win in a cakewalk. Since then, though, the Chargers have underwhelmed like only a Norv Turner team can, and the Chiefs have remembered that they are a football team. It’s a gamble taking the Chiefs, but one I am comfortable with.
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