The real NFL season starts right now. What came before doesn't really matter. That sounds like something that someone who is really sucking at making picks this year would say in an attempt to forget the horrors of the season so far and try to start over fresh and new. And that is exactly why I am saying it. Here are the straight up picks for your office pool this week:
Seattle at San Francisco: It wasn't long ago that this game would have been must-see TV - the highlight of the week. Now it is a stinking mess. The Seahawks have been terrible on the road and a disaster in the fourth quarter. I just don't trust the San Francisco offense enough right now - even against a weakened Seattle defense. Take the Seahawks.
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Buffalo at Jacksonville: The Bills are very banged up, and it is having a big impact on their performance. Jacksonville is coming off a pretty solid offensive effort - especially through the air. I want to like the Jaguars a lot more than I do, and Buffalo concerns me, but you still have to take the Bills. Mostly, though, I just feel bad for the people of London that they don't get a better game than this. Take Buffalo.
Tampa Bay at Washington: I really don't like either of these teams much right now. Washington has won two of three at home, though, and have slightly better talent. It's not much, but it's enough here. Take the Redskins.
Atlanta at Tennessee: I'm not sure what happened to the Falcons last week, and I don't like it. I also don't like that they are on the road again this week. I am willing to give them a total mulligan, though, because of how underwhelming the Titans have been - especially at home. Take the Falcons.
New Orleans at Indianapolis: The Colts weren't good enough on Sunday night against the Patriots, but they were better than they have been. New Orleans has been improved lately, but they are on the road where they have struggled, and they aren't as talented. I trust Luck more than Brees right now, too. Take the Colts.
Minnesota at Detroit: The Lions finally got a win, and it should have been their second after the debacle against Seattle. I don't trust their consistency, though, and the Vikings are quietly dangerous - much more dangerous than the Lions. Take the Vikings.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City: I am surprised by Pittsburgh. They are better than I thought they would be - especially on defense. They are quite possibly going to start their third-string QB, though, and they are on the road. How bad are the Chiefs right now that none of that scares me off? Take the Steelers.
Cleveland at St. Louis: Tough game to call. Both teams can show real flashes, but they are their own worst enemies. I like Josh McCown, but the St. Louis defensive line should make him uncomfortable. Take the Rams.
Houston at Miami: Has the sleeping giant really awoken, or was it just a one-game blip? I'm not sure it really matters. Miami has a real advantage in talent, and at home they should be fine against the mess of the Houston offense. Take the Dolphins.
New York Jets at New England: The Jets are better than anyone reasonably could have expected, and this game won't be as easy for the Patriots as it looked like it would be a couple of months ago. New England has given us no reason whatsoever to bet against them right now, though. Take the Patriots.
Oakland at San Diego: This is a tense rivalry - and perhaps the last time we see it before one or both teams move. San Diego underwhelms me, and Oakland has had a bye week to get some things in order. Take the Raiders.
Dallas at New York Giants: There is a chance that Dez Bryant could return for this one. Does it really matter if Romo isn't throwing to him? But then the Giants are coming off a terrible game on Monday night and are tough to love. I hate this game. Take the Giants.
Philadelphia at Carolina: Carolina showed what they are last week - not flashy, and far from perfect, but talented and tough when it matters most. They should be able to eat the Eagles alive. Take the Panthers.
Baltimore at Arizona: The Cardinals have lost twice, and neither have been very comforting. Both have been to teams much better than Baltimore is right now. They bounced back from their last loss with a dominating performance against Detroit. I expect the same again. Take the Cardinals.
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