Last week: 9-4
Tampa Bay at Minnesota
Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings offense are doing everything they can to try and limit how much they ask of quarterback Christian Ponder. That will be enough for another week against a Buccaneers team that took advantage of an absurdly bad Saints defense. The Vikings are not an absurdly bad defense.
Carolina at Chicago
The Panthers are in disarray. They've let go of their GM and head coach Ron Rivera could very well be next. The defense showed some improvement after the bye week but the offense is a complete mess. The Bears are playing sound football in every phase. This will probably be a bit closer than most think it will be, but the Bears should win by at least 10.
San Diego at Cleveland
Philip Rivers' mechanics have gone all to hell. Nearly every pass he attempted against the Broncos was thrown while falling backward, rather than setting his feet and driving the ball down field. No matter. While the Browns have a decent defense, and a promising but inconsistent offense, they won't hang with the Chargers.
Seattle at Detroit
Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan had a good run, but his stuff in Detroit has been figured out. Everything is vertical, the shotgun running game is completely ineffective, and the screen game has disappeared. Matt Stafford's struggles with downfield accuracy aren't helping either.
Jacksonville at Green Bay
What does a moral victory look like for Jacksonville? Because that's what the Jaguars need to shoot for here. With MJD already declared out, and with a possible start from Chad Henne at quarterback, this could be over by halftime. Of course, Mike McCarthy's Packers team has a history of playing down to their opponent's level. But not this far down.
Indianapolis at Tennessee
Matt Hasselbeck gets yet another start for the Titans. He's been effective, to say the least. Andrew Luck has been up and down, but the ups sure give you the sense that we're watching the beginning of a great career. Unfortunately, for Colts fans, there isn't a win to enjoy this week.
New England at St. Louis
Hullo, Governor! The Patriots invade Jolly Old England looking to take out their offensive frustrations on the Rams. Chris Long and company may have other ideas. While the Rams defense may be on the rise, the offense is light years away. Patriots pull away in the third quarter and don't look back.
Miami at New York Jets
The Jets hung in and hung in against the Patriots, but ultimately their offensive shortcomings got the best of them. The Dolphins are rested and ready and their quarterback seems to get better every week. How is it that the Jets quarterback has pretty much stayed the same player throughout his entire time in the NFL? Dolphins are on the way up.
Atlanta at Philadelphia
Andy Reid is desperate, coming off a bye week, with a new defensive coordinator and sense of purpose. And here come the undefeated Falcons. Maybe I'm crazy (don't answer that) but I think the Eagles match up well with the Falcons on both sides of the ball. They say sacks come in bunches and the Eagles get a bunch in this game.
Washington at Pittsburgh
The Steelers got well against the Bengals, but RGIII is a whole different dynamic for that Pittsburgh defense to deal with. The speed and athleticism the rookie quarterback has exhibited week in and week out should give the Steelers fits outside the pocket. The Steelers will move the ball, but the Redskins offense will be too much for Pittsburgh.
Is there any way this game can be blacked out? Everywhere? I'm taking Oakland because I have to take someone. Brady Quinn and Carson Palmer in 2012 are what quarterbacks are shown in their "How Not To Do It" instructional videos.
New York Giants at Dallas
The Cowboys have finally fielded a high-caliber defense—just in time for their offense to disappear. Jason Garrett and Tony Romo are running out of time to prove they are the answers at their respective positions. Sweeping the Giants would go a long way with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The Giants, meanwhile, are one of the best teams in the NFL and have one of the league's best quarterbacks in Eli Manning. Tom Coughlin and company get the win.
New Orleans at Denver
Maybe getting Joe Vitt back will somehow help the Saints defense. But I doubt it. Peyton Manning put on a performance for the ages against the Chargers last Monday night and you can bet he'll look in top form against a downright terrible Saints defense. I mean, if Josh Freeman throws for over 400 yards against the Saints, what should we expect from Peyton, 500? 700? Broncos win a shoot out.
San Francisco at Arizona
Jim Harbaugh got caught trying to go down field in the first half against the Seahawks last Thursday. When he remembered he had (a seemingly regressing before our eyes) Alex Smith at quarterback and got back to throwing underneath to the running backs and tight ends, the 49ers moved the ball well. The Cardinals will take away the downfield stuff just like the Seahawks did. Expect more of the same from the Niners, including another victory over a divisional opponent.
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