Last week basically made sense in the NFL. There were a few surprises, but for the most part the teams that won were supposed to win, and vice versa. That’s good news when we try to win office pools. The bad news, though, is that in this topsy-turvy season it seems like every time we think things are making perfect sense we have a week in which nothing makes sense. Let’s hope that this coming week isn’t one of those:
Tampa Bay at Minnesota - I really like how the Bucs has turned things around recently, and they deserved to win last week. They have run into a tough spot here, though. They have struggled on the road, and now they face a short week and a team that is unbeaten in four home games. Take the Vikings.
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Jacksonville at Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers is in the groove the last two weeks, and he looks as good as he has since last year. That confidence rubs off on this whole team. The loss of Charles Woodson is a tough blow, but the Packers could lose much more than that and still beat these Jaguars. Take the Packers.
Miami at New York Jets - I should probably give the Jets a bit more credit than I do, but I just don’t like anything about this team. The Dolphins have been very tough, and they have had an extra week to get ready for this one. Take the Dolphins.
San Diego at Cleveland - San Diego is going to win this one. If they don’t they should be ashamed with themselves. Take the Chargers.
Indianapolis at Tennessee - This is a huge test for the Colts. At home they have won three of four, and they have looked pretty solid doing it. That success hasn’t spilled over onto the road, but this is by far the most winnable road test they have faced yet. It could be a mistake, but I will have faith in them here. Take the Colts.
New England vs. St. Louis - The last thing either of these teams need right now is to travel to London to play this game. The Rams have lost two in a row and need to get back on track. The Patriots are wildly inconsistent and frustrating. The crowd should be behind New England, and they should be the better team, so take the Patriots.
Atlanta at Philadelphia - The Eagles have had a much-needed bye week, but their troubles are deeper than what can be fixed in one week. Atlanta is a tough team, and they have yet to make a misstep. I’m not interested in picking against them at this point. Take the Falcons.
Carolina at Chicago - Carolina is in a tailspin. Cam Newton is struggling, and nothing about the Panthers is working as it should. They made the panicked move of firing their GM, but it’s hard to see that paying off — at least in the short term. The Bears are the clear choice here. Take Chicago.
Seattle at Detroit - I like the Seahawks on defense, and they enjoy a longer week to prepare for this one than the Lions. That’s enough to make a small gamble here. Take the Seahawks.
Washington at Pittsburgh - I really struggle to believe in the Steelers right now. They have issues on both sides of the ball, and RGIII should be well positioned to exploit their defense. Still, Washington has plenty of issues, and their top receiver was just lost for the year. Plus, Pittsburgh is a tough place to play. Take the Steelers.
Oakland at Kansas City - The Chiefs decided that Brady Quinn is the answer at QB this week. He’s not. Kansas City is a disaster. Take the Raiders.
New York Giants at Dallas - The Giants made their game last week much harder than it should have been, but they still got it done, and they showed a lot of toughness. Dallas and toughness are not words that go together well. The Giants have a big edge at QB and elsewhere, and they are the pick. Take New York.
New Orleans at Denver - This is a very interesting game. On one hand the Saints are playing much better, and they should enjoy a big boost from getting their interim coach back this week. On the other hand, the Broncos have had a week off to get ready for this one and are at home against a defense that Peyton Manning can readily exploit. This is a big coin toss. It’s close, but take the Broncos.
San Francisco at Arizona - Arizona’s defense deserves respect, but the Cardinals are really going to struggle to score against San Francisco. That’s going to be the difference. Take the 49ers.
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