Last Week: 10-4
Record Picking Redskins Games: 4-3
Against the Spread: 16-10-1
Lock of the Week: 4-2-1
Last Week's Pats: Another 10 win week, and another winning week against the spread. If only the Seahawks hadn't scored that meaningless TD late in the game in Tampa........I missed the Giants-49ers final score by one point, and I correctly predicted the final spread in the Redskins-Browns game.
Last Week's Apologies: I had a hard time choosing the winner in the Colts-Packers game, and I obviously settled on the wrong choice. Very surprised that Green Bay was able to manhandle the Colts like that, especially given the injury woes in the Packer secondary.
This Week's Picks:
Oakland at Baltimore: The Ravens seem like the type of team that may fly under the radar all season and then find themselves in contention for a wild card at the end of the year. I don't think they are a particularly dangerous team, but they will beat most of the teams they should beat. This week falls into that category.
Ravens 20, Raiders 13
Arizona at Carolina: The win against Dallas was a corner-turning victory for the Cardinals. That was a game the Cardinals always lost in the past. With the division crumbling around them, Arizona also has a pretty wide margin for error right now. On paper, this is a really nice match-up, but until the Cardinals prove they can win a game in a different time zone, I'll have to exercise caution when picking them.
Panthers 27, Cardinals 22
Tampa Bay at Dallas: Panic time in Dallas. If they lose this week, they will find themselves sitting at .500 with road trips to New York to play the Giants and Washington looming in their next two games. This is as close to a must-win in mid-season as it gets. I'm going to roll the dice and say they find a way to get their heads above water this week, but it's a shaky pick at best.
Cowboys 19, Bucs 16
Washington at Detroit: Here's the deal: The Lions aren't going to go 0-16 this year. But looking at their schedule, there isn't one game remaining that screams "win." Not even close. So, we know they are going to upset someone along the way, and it could happen in any given week. So, am I picking it this week? No, rather than trying to guess when it will happen, I'll just continue to pick against them and eventually get one wrong.
Redskins 26, Lions 17
Buffalo at Miami: This is one of those games that is just begging to confound people. After upsetting the Chargers, the Dolphins have returned to form, losing their last two games. The Bills, on the other hand, made a statement last week and are looking strong at 5-1. So, I'm going to go ahead and pick the Dolphins. Just doing my best to identify the "upset trends" around the league.
Dolphins 23, Bills 20
St. Louis at New England: Not having as easy a time picking this one as I thought. I think there is some legitimacy in the Rams back to back wins. Steven Jackson is an excellent back and their passing game seems to have more life now that rookie Donnie Avery has emerged. I also think they are playing with a purpose they did not have during their 0-4 start. I'm picking the Patriots this week, but I'll be watching this one closely.
Patriots 27, Rams 23
San Diego vs. New Orleans (London): Congratulations London....you get arguably the two most disappointing teams from each conference this week! One of these squads is staring 3-5 and a long trip home in the face. The other may be able to exhale heading into the bye. It's hard to predict how teams will react to the extended travel and strange environment. My gut tells me Drew Brees has a big day.
Saints 30, Chargers 27
Kansas City at New York Jets: After losing an ugly game in overtime on the other side of the country, getting a home game against the Chiefs is simply a blessing.
Jets 24, Chiefs 10
Atlanta at Philadelphia: Despite their hot start and despite the fact that Philly is currently 3-3, the oddsmakers are still placing the Falcons as an almost 10 point underdog in this game. I actually think they are on to something here.
Eagles 28, Falcons 16
Cleveland at Jacksonville: If Brady Quinn isn't loosening up his arm already, he should be. The Jags make me nervous this week because they seem to love shooting themselves in the foot after they get some momentum, but this is a game that a playoff team wins, period.
Jaguars 24, Browns 17
Cincinnati at Houston: Much like the Lions, the Benglas are bound to win one, right? Maybe next week.
Texans 31, Bengals 21
New York Giants at Pittsburgh: By far the best game of the week on an otherwise pedestrain week 8 docket. On a neutral field, I'd pick the Giants to win simply because I see them as the better team. But this game isn't being played a neutral field, and the best team doesn't always win. This game starts a brutal gauntlet of games for the Giants and I think they get off to a rocky start.
Steelers 24, Giants 20
Seattle at San Francisco: Ugly, ugly, ugly. Mike Singletary starts off 1-0 in his coaching career.
49ers 27, Seahawks 20
Indianapolis at Tennessee: Amazingly,the Titans can virtually wrap up the AFC South if they take care of the Colts this week. By winning, Tennessee would have a four game lead on the Colts and at least a three game lead on the Jaguars, having beaten both of those teams head to head. Blowing that kind of lead would be tough, especially given their relatively tame remaining schedule. Tennessee is for real, I have no doubts about that, but I see Peyton Manning willing his team to the upset this week and keeping things interesting in the South.
Colts 23, Titans 19
4 To Score
1. Colts (+4) at Titans. At worst, I see the Colts keeping it close.
2. 49ers (-5.5) vs. Seahawks. Seattle is lost and the 49ers may get an emotional boost this week.
3. Steelers (-2.5) vs. Giants. Not a whole bunch of games on the board that I like this week, so I tend to favor low spreads.
4. Rams (+7) at Patriots. I think the Rams keep it close.