Last Week: 11-5
Record Picking Redskins Games: 7-6
Against the Spread: 27-26-2
Lock of the Week: 8-5-1
Last Week's Pats: On a roll with my lock of the week....Eagles covered easily to give me my fourth straight victory in that department. I was also very close on the final scores of the Falcons-Saints and Patriots-Seahawks games.
Last Week's Apologies: Nothing outlandish, but I did miss on the big NFC South Monday Nighter. I said the Bucs were going to win because they were the better team, period. While I still think the Bucs may wind up winning the division, the Panthers certainly proved that they are a physical force by pushing the tough Tampa defense all over the field in the second half of that game.
This Week's Picks:
New Orleans at Chicago: Pretty torn on this one, not quite sure what to think of either of these 7-6 teams at this point. The Saints haven't fared too well in the Windy City over the past two seasons, including their loss in the 2006 NFC Championship Game. I'll play a small hunch here and say that the Saints eek one out.
Saints 27, Bears 26
Tampa Bay at Atlanta: Looks to me like the Falcons will be catching the Bucs at a bad time. The Tampa defense was pretty much embarrassed on Monday Night in Carolina, and I see them bouncing back and frustrating Matt Ryan.
Bucs 23, Falcons 17
Washington at Cincinnati: The Redskins were going to enter this game looking like a train wreck before Clinton Portis mocked Jim Zorn on the radio. After his comments, I'm not sure what to expect from this struggling team. In addition to their offensive woes, they are now dealing with serious injuries along the offensive line. I'll give the Redskins defense the nod to pull out a win, but this could be a very, very ugly game.
Redskins 16, Bengals 13
Tennessee at Houston: The Texans just couldn't survive that 0-4 start. Since that awful opening stretch, they've gone 6-3, and Matt Schaub lit up the Packers defense in frigid Green Bay last week. Despite that victory, the Texans have been eliminated from playoff contention-- but they still have a shot at their first winning record in franchise history. Look for the upset in Houston this week.
Texans 17, Titans 15
Detroit at Indianapolis: I am in my fantasy football playoffs this weekend. I have Joesph Addai, Dallas Clark, and the Colts defense on my roster. You'd think I'd be jumping for joy having those three matching up with the lowly Lions, but I'm deathly afraid the game will be over midway through the first quarter and everyone will stop trying or get pulled. Should be a romp.
Colts 34, Lions 10
Green Bay at Jacksonville: A once attractive-looking match-up is now a total dud. One of the few games this week that has ZERO playoff implications.
Packers 24, Jaguars 20
San Diego at Kansas City: The Chiefs aren't a good team, but they sure try hard. I expect anything close loss for Kansas City as the Chargers may still cling to some faint playoff hopes.
Chargers 27, Chiefs 20
San Francisco at Miami: The 49ers are playing really well right now, but this game is of paramount importance to the Dolphins and I don't see them letting it get away. Expect a good effort from San Francisco and a close win for the surging Dolphins.
Dolphins 20, 49ers 17
Buffalo at New York Jets: The Bills are the AFC version of the Redskins, and they may be just what the doctor ordered for the stumbling Jets.
Jets 23, Bills 13
Seattle at St. Louis: A cure for insomnia.
Seahawks 28, Rams 16
Minnesota at Arizona: Hard to make a totally accurate prediction given the uncertain status of the Vikings quarterback situation, but I like the Cardinals to win a shootout regardless of who starts for Minnesota.
Cardinals 31, Vikings 27
Pittsburgh at Baltimore: Possibly the game of the week and it could play a major role in determing the playoff picture in the AFC. Both defenses are absolutely rock solid, and while I'd give the overall edge in that department to the Steelers, it's too close to give either squad a clear upper hand. Instead, I'll look at the offenses. The Steelers pass protection problems are a major concern facing the swarming Ravens, but when it comes down to it, I'll take Big Ben's game experience over Joe Flacco at this point. Close call, but I'm going with the experienced Steelers.
Steelers 19, Ravens 16
Denver at Carolina: The Broncos look a bit schizo thesedays-- not exactly sure what to expect from them week to week. I also wonder how motivated they could be for this game considering they are already virtually locked in to their playoff spot. Carolina was extremely impressive on Monday Night, and I'd expect them to control the line of scrimmage in this game as well.
Panthers 26, Broncos 21
New England at Oakland: This game is simply too important to the Patriots-- I don't see them blowing it.
Patriots 24, Raiders 9
New York Giants at Dallas: Even with their loss last week, the Giants still have a little bit of wiggle room in their quest for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Considering they play the Panthers next week, this game isn't overly crucial to the Giants hopes. Having said that, I don't think they want to stumble down the stretch and give any life to a potentially dangerous Dallas team. The Giants are the better team here, but the Cowboys have a slight edge in both motivation and homefield. I think Dallas pulls it out.
Cowboys 24, Giants 21
Cleveland at Philadelphia: All of a sudden, the Eagles are primed to make a run at the wild card. I wouldn't expect much of a roadblock from Ken Dorsey and the Browns, who are already making vacation plans.
Eagles 30, Browns 17
4 To Score
Lock of the Week
Patriots (-7.5) at Raiders. Too important of a game for the Pats to mess around.
2. Bengals (+6.5) vs. Redskins. Hard to imagine the Redskins beating the Cincinnati Bearcats by more the a field goal, much less the Bengals. Although, maybe the Bearcats are better?
3. Bucs (+2.5) at Falcons. Look for Tampa to bounce back.
4. Texans (+3) vs. Titans. Looking for the Texans to finish strong.