Of course now that the helmets are normal, no one late to join is going to get what Im talking about!
St. Louis @ Chicago -- Despite Jay Cutler's apparent affinity for throwing the ball to the wrong team, I think that Da Bears win this one pretty easily. St. Louis is absolutely horrible and couldn't beat their way out of a wet paper bag. As Craig T said in his fantasy football preview, look for a healthy dose of Matt Forte this week.
Denver @ Kansas City -- Denver surprisingly trounced the Giants last week on turkey day. I, like most of America, missed most of the game as I was sleeping off my turkey and a bottle of Sangria. Is Denver back? I actually like what Todd Haley has been doing in KC and think they are a franchise on the up and up, but I gotta give this one to Denver as they have had ten days to prepare for this game. To cover my butt on this one, I have to note that last time Denver had extra time to prepare for an opponent they had a complete meltdown and went on a four game skid. Just Sayin'
DALLAS over NY Giants. Despite Dallas' December swoon, this is a story of two teams going in different directions: Dallas is rising and the Giants are falling. Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to miss the game, leaving Brandon Jacobs and inexperienced backups toting the ball. Dallas' defense will do what it has been doing the past several weeks: keep opposing offenses out of the end zone. The 'Boys will harass Jacobs and Eli Manning and escape Giants Stadium with a huge division win. Dallas 20, NYG 13.
SanDiego over Cleveland. The Bennie Hill yakity sax theme should be playing when Cleveland's offense is on the field, while Darth Vader's theme should be booming through the speakers when the Chargers' powerful offense takes the field. Not even a legion of the emperor's best troops could save the Browns. SD 31, Cle 9.
Houston at JAX - I originally wanted to go with Houston here, but after their heartbreak (for the second time) against Indy, I just don't know if they have it. The Jags are still in the playoff hunt and coming off a beating at the hands of San Fran. Look for MJD to get on track early and push the Jags to a win.
Detroit at CINCY - The Bengals have a history of letting bad teams hang around, and that may be the case here. But they have enough firepower and a good enough defense to escape an upset at the hands of the Lions.
Tennessee at Indianapolis- The Titans have surged under Vince Young. Pundits abound asserted that Vince Young's career was over in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher was adamant that Kerry Collins was not the reason they were losing games. And yet, after the owner ordered him to play Young, everyone insists Fisher is a great coach. The streak ends on the road against a Colts team that will not want to see the Titans in the postseason.
Philadelphia at Atlanta- The Eagles tend to peak at the end of the season. Atlanta will not prevail twice with Chris Redman. They are not good enough defensively to win with a backup quarterback. The Eagles offense will take advantage of a suspect secondary.
Oakland at STEELERS The Steelers are bordering on inconsistency, mostly due to injuries, but surprised their fans by showing they have two starting caliber quarterbacks. The exact opposite in Oakland, where they wish they were as good as inconsistent, and discovered they have two quarterbacks as good as a backup. Raider Fans asked Al for a GM. Al asked for their fans to leave their Vader gear at home. Touche'
BUCS at Carolina- Hold onto your hats Bucs fans, for three of the last 4 games, the Bucs have kept us in our seats by either winning (game 8) or losing the game with under one minute left ( @ Miami gm 9, @ Atlanta gm 11) in regulation. The last time they met, the Bucs kept it close but gave up a game winning TD with seconds left then too! Will the defense stop giving up 250+ yards to Carolina ever??? Will the WHOLE TEAM be up for returning to the site that began the collapse that cost Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen their jobs?
New England at Miami- The last time these two teams played, Patriots held of Miami 27-17, and this is Miami’s last chance to get into the division race as they are behind by two games. It will be 4 games effectively if they lose. They wont.
New Orleans at Washington- Stand by for worthless information; Redskins have a 15-7 series edge, and have won 4 of the last 6 meetings. Jason Campbell threw for 321 yards last year against New Orleans. Last time I checked, the Saints have a defense, they picked up Drew Brees, and Joe Theisman / John Riggins are not taking on Bobby Hebert. Saints with ease.
SanFrancisco at Seattle - Ultimately, San Fransisco is the better team. Until last week, Seattles only wins came at home. When these two teams met earlier in the season, Frank Gore lit the 'Hawks D up. Gore's carries have been severely limited and I expect him to be a non-factor this time around. On turf, at home Seattle gains a slight advantage. This will be a very good game between two evenly matched teams. I changed my pick about 3 times.
Minnesota at Arizona - I really want to pick Arizona. Really. They just can't stay consistent. I have to stop picking upsets and against Minnesota so I can get back in this Picks comeptition. Minnesota is a safe pick. In theory they should have put up big numbers against Tenn. Warner should go, but who knows how good he will be.
Mon Baltimore at Green Bay - There is a misconception that the Packers defense is still developing into that 3-4. If that is the case that is TERRIBLE news for the rest of the NFL. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, but the Pack have the best defense in the league. DVOA speaking, the Ravens are almost 9 points behind Green Bay. That is signifigant. The high in Green Bay will be barely above freezing, and if the storm comes through a day early, there is a potential of snow. This is my lock of the week (and a way longer explanation than Niko wanted, I'm sure :)
No Way! Love the War & Peace editions!
New England at Miami: After being embarrassed in New Orleans on Monday night, the Pats respond against the Dolphins. While the Fish are playing well and Ricky Williams has filled in admirably for the injured Ronnie Brown, Pats still win a close one on South Beach. Prediction: Patriots 31, Dolphins 28.
New Orleans at Washington: Washington is awful, the Saints are virtually unstoppable. No analysis needed. Saints roll.Prediction: Saints 38, Redskins 10.