A quick word on our bye week teams, and then we'll get started.
Dallas: After a disappointing stretch to start the season marked by the necessity of overtime to beat the miserable Kansas City Chiefs, the Cowboys will relish in this week off to collect their thoughts. Hopefully the 'Boys will be able to explode out of their bye week, as they'll come back with a tough stretch against Atlanta, Seattle, and Philly.
Indianapolis: The Colts are running away with the AFC South, and the bye week should only help this dominant team recharge. After the week off, the Colts will start out a cupcake stretch marked by games against St. Louis, San Francisco, and Houston.
Miami: Sitting third in the AFC East, losing Chad Pennington for the season did not come at a worse time for the Dolphins, who had just recently begun picking up some steam. The Dolphins will need to rest up this week because they have a very hard three games after the bye week, hosting New Orleans before making road trips to New York and New England.
San Francisco: Take away an amazing comeback by Brett Favre and the Vikings, and this 'Niners team is 4-1. With that and also coming off a complete rout at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, the 'Niners will be happy to have a break this week. After the down time this Sunday, San Fran will hit the road to play the Texans and Colts before coming home to host the Titans.
Sunday Oct. 18, 2009
Houston @ Cincinnati
GC : The Texans are dangerous only because you don’t know which team will show up. They had a tough loss last week and things won’t get any easier going up against a tough Bengals team. It’s nice to see that after all those tumultuous years the Bengals have finally turned the corner; they have me believing in them this year and this will be an easy home win.
EA: The Texans have been very inconsistent this year, but it doesn't change the fact that any slip up in the Bengals' defense could lead to explosive plays from Steve Slaton or Andre Johnson. The Bengals have the talent to win this one, but Texas does have the talent to grind this one out all the way to the end.
CB: But for a fluke play in Week One versus Denver Cincinnati may be undefeated right now. Houston, meanwhile, has been inconsistent. The Bengals' defense is finally looking pretty good, and I will take them at home. Cincinnati.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay
GC: The Panthers did something; they fixed something during their bye week. This is a game they should win because the Buccaneers are vying for last place this year.
EA: While they are bad, I'm not convinced that the Panthers are as bad as they've been. As long as Jake Delhomme doesn't turn over too many times, there's no reason why the Panthers can't win this. The key is forcing Josh Johnson to 50 pass attempts like the Eagles did last week. Even at home, it should be tough for the Bucs to overcome the Panthers. Carolina.
CB: Two more lousy teams, but Tampa Bay is lousier. Carolina.
EA: This won't even be a game. I'll be surprised if the Browns even have less than three total turnovers.
CB: Cleveland is another bottom feeder with a team that is in disarray and Pittsburgh remains one of the best teams in the league. Pittsburgh.
NY Giants @ New Orleans
GC: The Giants have gained a lot of momentum against some really bad teams
for the past three weeks. Finally they go up against another really good team. The Saints had a bye week last week and they are playing at home. The Saints will go to 5–0 with a win in this game.
EA: This one is quite the interesting matchup. The Saints have an outstanding offense and a vastly improved defense, while the Giants have one of the best defensive units out there and an offense that has been destroying the weak teams. This will be a test for both teams, and the winner will gain supremacy in the NFC. At home, I'm going with the Saints in a shootout.
CB: Wow, wow, wow. What a matchup of unbeatens. This is a really tough pick but I think New Orleans, especially at home, is the better team. New Orleans.
Baltimore @ Minnesota
GC: The Ravens began the season with a hot start and have stumbled as of late
against a couple of good teams. Going up against the Vikings at home isn’t going to be easy. The Ravens will have to give this game everything they have because the Vikings are for real. My upset of the week is the Ravens take this one into their bye week.
EA: While the Vikings are definitely for real, I'm not too sold on the performance of their passing game, as their biggest defensive challenge thus far has been San Francisco (a game in which the Vikings needed a last-second touchdown to win). This will be a big challenge for the Vikings, but I think they can win this one in the Metrodome.
CB: Wow, after losing to Patriots and then division rival Cincinnati on a last minute drive, Baltimore is on shaky ground. I think they are a great team, but I just don’t see them beating Minnesota, who's playing on their home turf. This is a game I look forward to seeing. Minnesota.
St. Louis @ Jacksonville
GC: The Jaguars have no excuse for losing this game at home and I can’t think of one reason why the Rams should win this one.
EA: Two weak teams going at it. In my opinion, only the Browns are a worse team than the Rams at this point, and there's no reason why the Jaguars can't beat up on this pipsqueak at home. Jaguars by a mile.
CB: St. Louis may be the worst team in the National Football League. I am not that impressed by the Jacksonville squad either. I don’t see the Rams winning in Jacksonville. Jacksonville.
EA: While the Lions scored over 20 points in both meetings with the Packers last year, they still won't have a chance at this game at Lambeau. Just don't be surprised if the Lions put up some points as well.
CB: Pretty easy pick here. I’d be shocked if the Lions beat Green Bay in Green Bay. Green Bay.
Kansas City @ Washington
GC: Here’s a coin toss game. I thought both teams would be better than they are, and now, they nearly don’t count at all. I’ll give the win to the home team.
EA: One of the worst teams against one of the more disappointing teams of the league. Both teams have been really weak, so I'm going to give this one to the home team. Washington.
CB: I can’t stand Dan Snyder, so I love watching the Redskins flounder—really just because of their sorry excuse for an owner. But Kansas City is so bad, so lousy, that even the Redskins can probably beat them. Washington.
Arizona @ Seattle
GC: I don’t know where that Seahawk team came from last week; they are not the same team I watched earlier this season. They will keep it going for another week at home against the Cardinals and get the win.
EA: Arizona is notoriously weak on the road, and Kurt Warner hasn't always exactly brought his sharpest game against the Seahawks. While Arizona has a much better offensive unit, I think Seattle will be able to pull this one out against their division rival at home.
CB: Seattle is one of those teams that is hard to figure out. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they mediocre? You can say the same thing about the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals play better at home than away. I am torn on this one but I am going with what is probably an upset. Seattle.
Philadelphia @ Oakland
GC: Damn, McNabb looked good last week. I’d really like to give the Eagles this win, but the Oakland Raiders are really trying to win games this year; I think they’ll find a way to win this home game.
EA: What's there to say? One of the best teams and one of the worst teams. Sorry, Oakland fans, but this just isn't your week.
CB: I don’t have much to say about this one. An excellent team versus a lousy team. Philadelphia.
Buffalo @ NY Jets
GC: There are a bunch of New England and Miami fans that would love for the Bills to show up big in this game. But the Bills haven’t been showing up big on anybody's radar. The Jets will have a easier game this week and a win.
EA: I'm still holding out hope for the Buffalo Bills to win and help out the Patriots in the standings, but there are going to be icicles in hell if the Bills pull this one out at the Meadowlands. Jets.
CB: I sure would love to see the Bills knock off the Jets. Really that would be so sweet. But Buffalo isn’t going to. New York Jets.
Tennessee @ New England
GC: It’s the Titans in “The Razor” and the Patriots know how to win home games.
EA: While the Titans are a much better team than the record indicates, the Patriots are one of those select few teams I will not bet against at home.
CB: I have to admit this game really, really scares me. Tennessee is not as bad talent-wise as their record, but I think they quit last week against the Colts. They are desperate team, and desperate teams are dangerous. But I see the Patriots winning this one. New England.
Chicago @ Atlanta
GC: This is another must-see game with a couple of well matched teams. I predicted the Falcons would bounce back after their bye week and the Bears will have their hands full. This a Falcons' win this week.
EA: Chicago has been up and down. They've had flashes of brilliance and flashes of garbage. This should make for an interesting game, but I give the advantage to Atlanta.
CB: Chicago is another one of those teams that I can’t quite figure out. They seem to be really good at times, and really mediocre at other times. Since Atlanta is playing at home and had a great week last week, I’ll go with them. Atlanta.
Monday Oct. 19, 2009
Denver @ San Diego
GC: The Broncos just proved that they are ready for prime time. A Monday night game in a venue where the oxygen is nearly twice as plentiful as at home, the Chargers will not be able to hold down a win against this amped-up team; it’s not an upset because the Broncos are just that good.
EA: The Denver Broncos may have two fluke wins this year, but I still think they are legit. San Diego has been just bad this year, and I think Denver is going to light up the scoreboard at Qualcomm en route to running away with the putrid AFC West.
CB: Denver’s 5-0 record is impressive and San Diego’s defense couldn’t stop me running up the middle. I tend to want to pick San Diego to win because of the Denver’s troubles there in the past. And they tend to play wildly entertaining games. But with what I have seen of San Diego’s defense lately, I have a hard time seeing them winning this one. Denver.