It was not a good week last week with these picks, and that's all I'm going to say about that. There seems to be a pattern developing this year - good weeks followed by bad ones, and on and on. At the very least, that pattern means we should be in for a good week here. So, let's get to it. Here are the straight up picks for the 14 games of NFL action this week:
Atlanta at New Orleans: The Saints are a walking train wreck. Their only win came against a damaged Dallas squad. They were crushed last week by a Philadelphia team that hasn't exactly been frightening this year. It's not good and isn't going to get better in a hurry. Atlanta, on the other hand, is undefeated and playing like they plan to stay that way for a while. Take the Falcons.
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Washington at New York Jets: The Jets are not an impressive 3-1 team. That record is flattering. The Redskins, though, are also very flattered by their 2-3 record. I don't like the Jets, but I like them a lot more than their opponent - especially at home. Take the Jets.
Arizona at Pittsburgh: I don't like Arizona quite as much as I did before they lost to the Rams two weeks back, but they are still a very strong team. Pittsburgh has shown a lot of heart since Big Ben went down, but they are in tough here. Take the Cardinals.
Kansas City at Minnesota: The Chiefs have lost four in a row. They just lost to the freaking Bears. That's not good. Now they have to head out on the road to play a pretty decent Minnesota team that has had a bye week to recharge, regroup and prepare. It is not going to go well for Kansas City. Take the Vikings.
Cincinnati at Buffalo: Buffalo started out like they were going to be a real contender. Their last two - a big loss to the Giants and a narrow win over the Titans - haven't been up to that standard, though. And now they are without Tyrod Taylor. Cincinnati will struggle at some point, but not yet. Take the Bengals.
Chicago at Detroit: The Bears are a long, long way from good, but they have still won two in a row. The wins have come against their two worst opponents, but they are still wins. Detroit, meanwhile, is terrible - the only winless team in the league. They have a quarterback with a serious crisis of confidence, they can't make plays, the coaching is awful, and they are in trouble. I hate trusting teams like the Bears, but you have to take them here. Take Chicago.
Denver at Cleveland: When was the last time that a 5-0 team inspired as little confidence as the Broncos do right now? Their star QB has more interceptions than touchdowns on the season - and he's a guy who has thrown almost 300 more TDs than picks over his career. They have played a very weak schedule and are escaping more than dominating. The defense is sound but can only do so much. Cleveland is very confident offensively here and will hand the Broncos their first loss. Take the Browns.
Houston at Jacksonville: Worst game of the week. Maybe of the year. Neither team has a clue. Ugly. I like Blake Bortles - even when he is banged up - a little better than what Houston has, and the game is in Jacksonville. Take the Jaguars.
Miami at Tennessee: This game is only slightly better than the last one. The Titans are reasonably competitive but troubled. Miami has been really ugly, but they made a much-needed coaching change. The new head man is woefully unqualified, but at least he brings a lot of energy to the role. Maybe a change and a rest will be what they need in the short term. Take the Dolphins.
Carolina at Seattle: I like and respect this Carolina team and have no shortage of concerns about Seattle. The Panthers have not played a team even remotely good, though, and Seattle hasn't lost year at home. Take the Seahawks.
San Diego at Green Bay: San Diego has been disappointing and has lost both of their road games so far. Now they are headed into arguably the toughest place to play - at least in the NFC. It won't go well. Take the Packers.
Baltimore at San Francisco: Come to think of it, this is a rough week of games - this is a third one in the running for worst of the week. I hate most things about both teams. There is a bit more to like about Baltimore here - though that is far from a compliment. Take the Ravens.
New England at Indianapolis: This one's easy. The Colts have been wildly inconsistent, and their franchise QB is banged up. New England is playing as well as they have at any time in the Belichick era. Take the Patriots.
New York Giants at Philadelphia: The Eagles still have issues, but they are playing better lately - two wins and a narrow loss in their last three. Now they are at home against a team that I just don't trust - even if they have won three in a row. Take the Eagles.
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