Picking NFL games is a maddening exercise. There are countless factors to consider, injuries to track, a matchup history to dissect, home-field advantage to take into account, player battles to break down and so much more.
And then you do all that, you love your pick, a quarterback throws a few interceptions or a running back fumbles at the wrong time and it all goes to hell.
But you don't have to pick alone, folks—there are countless experts out there trying to predict the future as well. Here, we'll take a look at the expert picks from around the web so you don't have to decipher the NFL tea leaves for yourself.
For the purposes of this this examination, we're going to use Pick Watch, which curates a list of expert selections from around the web.
|Game||Consensus Pick||Expert Confidence %|
|New York Giants at Chicago Bears||Chicago Bears||95%|
|Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings||Minnesota Vikings||72%|
|Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Philadelphia Eagles||77%|
|Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs||Kansas City Chiefs||98%|
|Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets||New York Jets||65%|
|St. Louis Rams at Houston Texans||Houston Texans||100%|
|Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens||Green Bay Packers||70%|
|Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills||Cincinnati Bengals||100%|
|Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns||Detroit Lions||92%|
|Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks||Seattle Seahawks||100%|
|Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos||Denver Broncos||100%|
|New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots||New Orleans Saints||77%|
|Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers||San Francisco 49ers||98%|
|Washington at Dallas Cowboys||Dallas Cowboys||95%|
|Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers||Indianapolis Colts||84%|
Information via Pick Watch
To nobody's surprise, there isn't a single writer out there willing to bet against the Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks or Cincinnati Bengals. Remember, the Seahawks and Bengals are both facing backup quarterbacks in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Thad Lewis, respectively.
It's a bit more surprising that the Houston Texans are a consensus pick across the board given their recent struggles, though the St. Louis Rams have been pretty terrible this season.
Just two writers, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report and Jason La Canfora of CBS, think the New York Giants can turn things around against the Chicago Bears—in Chicago—on Thursday night. Some people like to live dangerously.
Likewise, only John Breech of CBS likes the Oakland Raiders at the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. In Terrelle Pryor he trusts!
Just one writer, Ty Schalter of Bleacher Report, thinks the Arizona Cardinals can topple the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco this week. AFC West teams tend to play one another tough, so you never know, but the Niners seem to have righted the ship this season.
Which team wins?
Only Black Tie and Rich Eisen at NFL.com like Washington this week against the Dallas Cowboys. This one is a bit more surprising given how even NFC East games traditionally are and Robert Griffin III and company coming off a bye.
The game is in Dallas, however, and the Cowboys are fresh off a "moral victory," so the smart money remains on Tony Romo. Just typing that made me nervous...
The Indianapolis Colts are a very popular pick this week, with just Will Brinson of CBS, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge and Seth Wickersham of ESPN, Sterling Sharpe and Black Tie of NFL.com (this Black Tie lives on the edge!) and Frank Schwab of Yahoo! rolling with the San Diego Chargers.
The game is in San Diego, and Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have been rejuvenated so a Chargers upset is certainly feasible. Either way, with both offenses looking very good this year, that one should be a very fun, very exciting shootout.
The toughest game to call this weekend, the New England Patriots hosting the New Orleans Saints, has surprisingly gone to the Saints by a pretty large margin, 77 percent. Even with the Pats at home. Even with Danny Amendola back for a second week and Rob Gronkowski returning.
That one surprises me.
The Green Bay Packers gaining 70 percent of the picks on the road against the Baltimore Ravens is a bit surprising as well—I thought it would be closer to 50 percent—though I happen to agree with the selection.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Timothy Rapp's expert picks this week are the Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Texans, Packers, Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, Niners, Cowboys and Colts.
Roll with those and you'll be rolling in the dough—or rolling in the respect. Or you'll be painfully wrong, because predictions are hard.
Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer your fantasy lineup questions and offer various musings on the NFL in general. You bring the eye black.