Hello again. We have come to that time of week where we sit down and look at all the upcoming week's matchups.
I am facing a bit of a crunch for time this week, so instead of a slide per game, I will rather present you with a layout that will be more time-efficient for both you and I, and one that you may recognize from Peter King's picks.
Let's take a look at this weekend's games, starting with the Thursday night game.
Chicago (6-3, first in NFC North) @ Miami (5-4, third in AFC East)
Tyler Thigpen is a very underrated QB, and many have counted Miami out of this contest because he is slated to start tomorrow night. Look for him to have an impressive night while Jay Cutler struggles against a very tough Dolphins D. I'd set the over/under for Vontae Davis' pick total Sunday at three.
MIA 28 - CHI 24
Buffalo (1-9, last in AFC East) @ Cincinnati (2-7, last in AFC North)
Buffalo just got its first win Sunday, and the Bengals have failed to meet expectations, but come on, they are not so bad that they will lose to the Bills at home, right? Right? Buffalo will fight like hell, but Cincy will eke out a late win.
CIN 30 - BUF 27 F/OT
Detroit (2-7, last in NFC North) @ Dallas (2-7, last in NFC East)
Detroit has not won a road game in 25 consecutive attempts. They just broke their own record. I would have to be an idiot to pick Detroit on the road with no Matthew Stafford. It will be close due to the Boys' terrible secondary, but Jason Garrett improves to 2-0.
DAL 27 - DET 24
Baltimore (6-3, first in AFC North) @ Carolina (1-8, last in NFC South)
This looks to be the most lopsided contest this Sunday, so naturally it will be very close, if not an upset altogether. Baltimore is coming off a very tough last-second loss against the Falcons. Those are always difficult to rebound from, but Baltimore has had a long week to prepare, so finally one game this season will go exactly like it's supposed to.
BAL 31 - CAR 13
Cleveland (3-6, third in AFC North) @ Jacksonville (5-4, third in AFC South)
Cleveland too is coming off a very disappointing loss, but Jacksonville is coming off a miracle win. Jacksonville may face trouble against that overachieving D that Rob Ryan has put together, and I see Peyton Hillis having an impact receiving passes in the flats.
CLE 34 - JAX 26
Oakland (5-4, first in AFC West) @ Pittsburgh (6-3, second in AFC North)
This is the most intriguing matchup of the week by far. It pits two very physical defenses against each other, as well as two normally stout running games. The Raiders love to get at the QB, but Ben Roethlisberger is really good at extending plays. Naturally, as a Bronco fan, I'm going to be rooting like hell for the Steelers, but I must give credit where credit is due.
OAK 34 - PIT 30
Washington (4-5, third in NFC East) @ Tennessee (5-4, second in AFC South)
Washington is dangerous right now. They just got spanked at home on national television by a divisional rival. They have a lot to prove right now. Meanwhile, Tennessee just lost a game in which they knocked out the first two QBs and still lost. I don't expect the Titans to lose at home, and given the defense's last performance, it is hard to forget Donovan McNabb's injury history.
TEN 28 - WAS 17
Arizona (3-6, third in NFC West) @ Kansas City (5-4, second in AFC West)
Kansas City is looking to rebound from the butt-kicking it suffered at the hands of Denver and try to end a two-game slide. As much as I want the Cards to pull out the upset, the Chiefs dominate just about everywhere on paper. No upset here.
KC 34 - ARI 19
Green Bay (6-3, second in NFC North) @ Minnesota (3-6, third in NFC North)
Brett Favre vs. his old team has somewhat lost its luster. Anyone else feel that the best thing for the Vikings would be to start Tarvaris Jackson and look to build momentum for next year? Yeah, me too. This could possibly be Favre's last game as a pro, so naturally look for his final pass attempt to be intercepted Sunday.
GB 35 - MIN 27
Houston (4-5, last in AFC South) @ New York [J] (7-2, first in AFC East)
New York has played two bad teams in a row and had to go to OT to beat them. Many are asking whether the Jets are good or lucky; I say it's a mixture of both. Houston just lost an absolute heartbreaker. Look for them to come out and steel the Jets' thunder early.
HOU 31 - NYJ 24
Should Brett Favre be benched?
Atlanta (7-2, first in NFC South) @ St. Louis (4-5, second in NFC West)
Atlanta is coming off a clutch victory against one of the better teams in football, but this is a classic trap game. This features two of the league's best young QBs and certainly the superstars of tomorrow. By the way, did you know that in five starts at home, QB Sam Bradford is 4-1?
STL 27 - ATL 24
Tampa Bay (6-3, third in NFC South) @ San Francisco (3-6, last in NFC West)
Tampa Bay heads out west to take on the resurgent Niners. I expect Tampa's running game to be the difference in this one and Troy Smith to struggle against that D.
TB 24 - SF 13
Seattle (5-4, first in NFC West) @ New Orleans (6-3, second in NFC South)
Seattle is coming off a thrashing of Arizona, while the Saints eagerly welcome back Reggie Bush. Saints should dominate, but I've just got a feeling about this one.
SEA 27 - NO 21
Indianapolis (6-3, first in AFC South) @ New England (7-2, second in AFC East)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning: one of the better rivalries we've seen this past decade. Each of these QBs has a lot of respect for the other, and both still feel they have something to prove. Even though Manning's roster is depleted, expect a good old-fashioned shootout between these two teams.
NE 34 - IND 31
New York [G] (6-3, first in NFC East) @ Philadelphia (6-3, second in NFC East)
There is no hotter team in football right now than the Eagles. There is no player in the NFL who is as dominant as Michael Vick. The Giants have been the beneficiaries of a soft schedule. Look for them to be exposed Sunday as Philly jumps into the driver's seat in the NFC East.
PHI 39 - NYG 23
I'm not picking the Broncos game, so tell me who you think wins and why.
Last week: 8-6