This season has had no shortage of surprising and interesting results, which have made it tough for the purposes of prognostication, and last week was no exception. You could argue for a long time about whether Green Bay or Cincinnati loss was the bigger shock of the week, and you wouldn't be wrong regardless of which side you were on. This week doesn't look too tough to call for the most part, but then neither did last week. Here's how the straight up picks look for this week:
Tennessee at Jacksonville: Jacksonville got an ugly win last week, but it still counts the same as a pretty one in the standings. They are facing uncertainties at running back, though, and that's a concern. They are the better team here, though, and we have to go with that - especially when they are at home. Take the Jaguars.
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Oakland at Detroit: The Raiders have had two costly losses in a row and are in dire need of a win. They should get it here. Detroit had a shocking win against the Packers last week, but at this point we just can't trust them to replicate it. Take the Raiders.
Indianapolis at Atlanta: What an ugly game. The Falcons have been the same old disaster the last few weeks that they had been the last couple of years. Disappointing, but not too surprising. The problem, though, is that the Colts are a mess, too - and playing without Andrew Luck. Take the Falcons.
New York Jets at Houston: The Texans got a bit of a shocking win on Monday. Can they do it again? I'm willing to bet they can at home. They should be better than they have looked, and the Jets have lost three of four and look far from great. Take the Texans.
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia: Philly had their game in hand at the half last week and they blew it. Against the Dolphins of all teams. Ugly. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, showed a lot of heart in winning a snoozer against the Cowboys. It's a gamble, but take the Buccaneers.
Denver at Chicago: It's Brock Osweiler's world and we just live in it. The Broncos have looked ugly lately, and I am not at all convinced that Osweiler can turn things around. The Bears are a much-improved team lately and are, shockingly, the clear pick here. Take Chicago.
St. Louis at Baltimore: No more Nick Foles. Unlike the Broncos, though, that should be addition by subtraction. I like Case Keenum, and the offense certainly can't get worse. Baltimore is not in a good place and can certainly be picked against. Take the Rams.
Dallas at Miami: Tony Romo may be back for this one, but I will believe it when I see it. Even if he does it's tough to trust he'll be at his best. Besides, his team is a mess, and one guy alone can't correct that. Miami isn't great, but at home they are the answer. Take the Dolphins.
Washington at Carolina: The huge performance by the Redskins last week proved just one thing - that they were playing the Saints. This is a much, much better opponent, and it won't go nearly as well for Washington. Take the Panthers.
Kansas City at San Diego: The Chiefs just had their game last week handed to them - literally - by Peyton Manning. They did what they needed to do, though. Can they do it again? I wouldn't be shocked, but I have to pick against. The Chargers can score, and they have had a week off to get ready for this one. Take the Chargers.
Green Bay at Minnesota: A few weeks ago this would have been a much tougher game than it is right now. The Packers have some issues, and they aren't going away in any hurry. Minnesota, meanwhile, is playing great football. They are tough and relentless, and it's working. Take the Vikings.
San Francisco at Seattle: Two bad teams - yes, the Seahawks are bad right now - playing a totally forgettable game. What a change from what this game would have been a couple of years ago. Seattle is somewhat better and is at home, so we can't look past them - even if that doesn't inspire confidence. Take the Seahawks.
Cincinnati at Arizona: I have been very skeptical about the Bengals for weeks - years, really - and that skepticism was finally rewarded on Monday night. Now I expect the losing streak to stretch to two weeks. Arizona is a very legitimate and dangerous team - especially at home. Take the Cardinals.
Buffalo at New England: The Patriots are really banged up right now, but they would have to be in much worse shape to go against them. I'll keep picking them until they prove they aren't worth it. Take the Patriots.
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