It's been a while.
Since I'm out of town, my article will be short and sweet, with the Vegas odds from MGM as my reasoning (with a few choice anecdotes thrown in).
The games of the week include the Atlanta Falcons at the Carolina Panthers, the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Raiders, the Philadelphia Eagles at the San Diego Chargers, and the battle for first place in the AFC North between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The two teams with byes this week are the Houston Texans, and the New York Giants.
Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009, 8:20 p.m.
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers
MGM says 49ers by 3. I have to agree. Their loss to Vince Young last week means Singletary is out for retribution. That, and Jay Cutler is proving more, and more conclusively that Josh McDaniels is a genius.
Winner: San Francisco
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, 1:00 p.m.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Vegas says Jets by 7. Jacksonville is so up and down, I would have to pick the Jets as well. At least when the Jets lose, it's only by a little bit.
Winner: New York Jets
Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins
MGM says the Broncos by 3.5. I would think the spread would be more than that. The Redskins are terrible, and Denver only lost those past two games because they were tired.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
This is the big battle for the AFC North, which is consistently the toughest division in the NFL. Vegas says Steelers by 7, but it depends which group shows up...for both teams.
Will Cincinnati bring the "Cardiac Cats", or the "Bungles"? Will Pittsburgh play like they did against Denver last week, or like they did against Chicago in Week Two?
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans
MGM tells me the Titans will win by 7. It's hard to believe a team that was 0-6 is favored to win anything, but the rejuvenated Vince Young keeps leading his team to victory. The streak won't end against the dysfunctional Bills.
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
Just when the Lions looked like they had such promise to win a second game, they lost to the Rams. Maybe that's why this game has the largest spread of the week, with Vegas saying the Vikings by 17. Listen here, Lions...Brett had the week off. Hide.
New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams
The Saints may have been pulling close ones the past couple of weeks, but this is the Rams we're talking about. Vegas says Saints by 14. I'd give them 20.
Winner: New Orleans
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
The Falcons have me worried, they haven't been closing. The Panthers however, still have Jake Delhomme. Vegas says Falcons by 1.5. Close game, important game...fun-to-watch game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are crushing with the Wildcat (the only team to successfully do so). Tampa Bay thinks they can take on the world after beating a highly favored Green Bay for their first win of the season. Guess what...they can't. Dolphins by 10.
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, 4:05 p.m.
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders
Vegas says Raiders by 2.5. I'm not quite sure why, what with all the Tom Cable assault issues, and the having JaMarcus Russell issues, but let's run with it. Maybe it's because Larry Johnson got his comeuppance.
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, 4:15 p.m.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals
Man, am I glad I have Vegas' help this week. Both these teams are so up-and-down I wouldn't know who to go with. MGM says Cards by 8.5, so I guess I'll go with that.
Philadelphia Eagles at San Diego Chargers
The Cowboys put a stop to the Eagles glory-run last Sunday, but they're not down-and-out just yet. The Chargers delivered a last-minute disappointment to the Giants.
This would be another hard pick, but Vegas says Chargers in a close one by 2.5. Sounds like another great game.
Winner: San Diego
Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers
Dallas is riding high after defeating the Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The Packers are looking to regain their dignity after handing Tampa Bay their first win.
This is a perennial rivalry, but Dallas has the goods, and Green Bay has no front line. And, speaking of lines...Cowboys by 3.
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, 8:20 p.m.
New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts
This is always a great game. The two best QBs in the league squaring off. As of Wednesday evening, Vegas says Colts by 3.
Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, 8:30 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
This could very well be the worst possible choice for a Monday Night game since the Steelers 3-0 win over the Dolphins in 2007.
The Ravens are looking to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to the Bengals. The Browns are going to start Brady Quinn...again.
The last time he played the Birds from Baltimore, he lost his job to Derek Anderson. Don't be surprised if it happens again. Vegas says Ravens by 11.
So, let's hope this week is a little easier to predict than others have been. The NFL is a harsh reality, but it sure is awesome to watch.
As always, I leave you with my Super Bowl prediction. In my opinion, these are the two best teams in the NFL...for now.
Super Bowl XLIV Pick: New Orleans Saints OVER Indianapolis Colts