Heading into Week 10 of the NFL season, most teams have played half of their 2012 schedule. Along the way I've had some big misses, called a few upsets correctly and took a bunch of grief in the comments section. That's fine. NFL football prognostication is fun and your giving me grief is a big part of it.
So please, by all means, allow me to continue to show you why Nagler's Never Right.
Last Week: 10-4
Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Andrew Luck and the Colts are on a magical ride that figures to continue as they look to avenge their Week 3 loss to Jacksonville. The Jags are just not a very good team offensively, and while their defense will probably keep this close for awhile, I just don't see them being able to score enough points to beat a Colts team that has found an identity while rallying around not only their star-in-the-making quarterback, but their inspirational head coach as well.
New York Giants at Cincinnati
The Bengals need to get right, but facing the defending champs after a brutal home loss is not the time to do it. Eli Manning and company know they have been underachieving on offense and it finally came back to bite them against the Steelers. Look for Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to go to a few more power-sets to try and get the ground game going and work Manning into a rhythm off of play action.
Tennessee at Miami
The Dolphins have to be looking forward to getting the bad taste out of their mouths after losing a winnable game in Indy. The Titans, and more specifically the Titans defense, are just what the doctor ordered. Titans owner Bud Adams put the entire organization on notice after the embarrassing loss to the Bears, but it won't matter. They're too inconsistent in every phase of the game and the current coaching staff has no answers.
Detroit at Minnesota
The Vikings have to figure out a way to get Christian Ponder on track. Ok, let me rephrase that: The VIkings have to hide Christian Ponder. It's obviously not all Ponder, but now that Percy Harvin will most likely miss this game, Detroit will be stacking the box more than ever to stop Adrian Peterson and to dare Ponder to beat them. As for the Lions, the worst thing they could do is to try and force things to Megatron. They can run the ball just enough to stay ahead of the sticks and make things easy on Matt Stafford.
Buffalo at New England
The one chance the Bills have here is if they are able to force a bunch of turnovers. They did it in the game they won in 2011 and they forced a few earlier this year. Of course, Tom Brady and company have other ideas. If Aaron Hernandez is able to go, I just don't see the Bills slowing down he and Gronkowski. The two-headed-tight-end-monster has eaten up the Bills the last two years and nothing much will change this week.
Atlanta at New Orleans
The Saints can't tackle. They can run the ball and work off play action. Expect a whole lot of that against a Falcons team that will be able to move up and down the field at will against a bad Saints defense. There's no reason to pick the Saints here, except that it's at home and divisional opponents always play each other tough. For one week at least, that gets it done for the Saints.
San Diego at Tampa Bay
The Chargers aren't exactly consistent and they are coached by Norv—but Philip Rivers and San Diego's pass-catchers will be able to take advantage of a suspect Buccaneers secondary. Yes, Doug Martin will get his yards and Vincent Jackson will find the end zone against his old team. But Rivers and the Chargers have enough firepower to outlast the Bucs offense, unlike the Vikings and Raiders did the last few weeks.
Denver at Carolina
The Panthers have played well on defense the past two weeks and they seem to have simplified things on offense. But I still don't see this Carolina team being able to put together the complete effort that will be required to beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. If the Broncos continue to get the kind of play from their defense they have the past few weeks, I don't think this one is close.
Oakland at Baltimore
The Ravens have a bad habit of letting bad teams hang around, from the Chiefs to the Browns. Is THIS the week Cam Cameron features Ray Rice and tries to physically impose his team's will on the opposition, instead of trying to make Joe Flacco into something he's not? Probably not. But Carson Palmer and the Raiders don't make them pay.
New York Jets at Seattle
St. Louis at San Francisco
The 49ers and Rams are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but only for a little while longer. Jeff Fisher has his team headed in the right direction, but the 49ers are where St. Louis wants to be as a franchise. Alex Smith and Frank Gore will take turns putting this game away.
Dallas at Philadelphia
This Battle-of-the-NFC-East also-rans is going to be tough to watch. Neither offense has any semblance of continuity, rather each lurch from concept to concept hoping to find something that works. It's hard to watch. Equally hard to watch is the Eagles try to tackle people. Dallas wins this game simply because it can actually play defense.
Houston at Chicago
The Texans and Bears have spent most of the year beating up on lesser teams, although Houston did beat the Broncos, and the Bears, well, the Bears haven't beat anybody of consequence. Yes, their defense has been lights-out, but the Texans are specifically built to take advantage of the way the Bears like to keep their safeties deep. Arian Foster will open up things for Matt Schaub and Owen Daniels in a big way.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City
Romeo Crennel fired himself as defensive coordinator after he saw how the Steelers ran through the Giants. My guess as to what went through his head when he saw that film: "Oh, heck no. I'm out." Things will get late real early for the Chiefs in this one.