I am beginning to think that maybe, just maybe, predicting NFL wins/losses is not my thing. I predicted only five winners last week, and of those winners, my score predictions were WAY off.
But as I read the other Bleacher Report predictions, I realize that I am not alone. Nobody got all of their predictions correct. Why? Because this is not a regular football season. This is a "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" season. Who among us witnessed the Denver Broncos slaughter the Kansas City Chiefs? Wasn't that the same Denver Broncos who three weeks prior, lost to the Oakland Raiders 59-10? And did anyone really expect the Dallas Cowboys to win against the New York Giants?
Teams have been up and teams have been down. Players have been damaged but their team still eeks out wins. Healthy teams have been getting annihilated. Sometimes the best way to predict a game is just to flip a coin. But since I am an American and I still have the right to freedom of speech/press/opinion, I am going to add my two cents and cross my fingers.
Buffalo @ Cincinnati: Hurray! Buffalo won a game! And they may very well win another one and it just might be the Bengals. Carson Palmer's throwing shoulder is damaged and although he will probably play, his accuracy may be off. Chad Ochocinco is nursing an injured ego—er—I meant shoulder. Buffalo is celebrating their first win of the season, and are hungry for more. Plus, all of the key players for Buffalo are relatively healthy. I might be the only one in the country who says this but—Buffalo 21 - Cincinnati 17
Detroit @ Dallas: Hurray! Dallas is back! And it's about freaking time. It bothered me to no end that a team with that much talent would be so unorganized, so undisciplined and so bloody awful. Firing the head coach was a wake-up call. The Cowboys were thinking, "Oh snap! I might be next! Let me quit playing and start PLAYING!"
The Giants severely underestimated Dallas' talent (and so did I) and simply were NOT ready for the whipping they received. Detroit, bless their little hearts, have been playing far better than their stats suggest, but they simply are not as talented as the Cowboys. Plus, QB Matthew Stafford is out, and the Lions don't possess an equally talented 2nd QB. Detroit 24 - Dallas 35
Washington @ Tennessee: Only watch this game if you are into watching bloodletting. The bleeders (Redskins) showed the entire world how horrible their offense really is and their defense basically needs new blood. Washington was expected to lose, but they were not expected to look totally hapless. Donovan McNabb has an injured hamstring, which means he won't be moving around much. Ergo, thou shall be sacked. Titan QB Vince Young is on the "probably" list also, but the Titan offense is far superior. Washington 20 - Tennessee 33
Arizona @ Kansas City: The Chiefs started the season on fire and now, the fire is almost out. They still have a few embers glowing, but the Cardinals have two extinguishers: Tim Hightower and Steve Breaston. Arizona 24 - Kansas City 13
Oakland @ Pittsburgh: This is going to be a hard game to call. Pittsburgh has been playing rather sloppy lately, and Oakland is playing superb football. Steelers WR Hines Ward is on the "probably" list this week, and if he is not playing up to par, that could make a serious difference in the outcome. Oakland has been kicking butt and taking names. Pittsburgh is playing at home. So, as I flip this coin: heads Pittsburgh, tails Oakland. Heads it is—Oakland 20 - Pittsburgh 21
Baltimore @ Carolina: This game should be called: Bloodletting - Part II. Honestly, who in the ham sandwich really thinks the Panthers are going to beat Ray Lewis and 'dem? Baltimore 38 - Carolina 14
Cleveland @ Jacksonville: Cleveland has been quite a surprise this year. They managed to beat the New Orleans Saints (gasp!) New England Patriots (clutch the pearls!) Plus, they darn near beat the New York Jets. So, what makes the Jaguars think that they can beat the Browns?
Simply this - Maurice Jones-Drew and David Garrard.
The Jaguars O-line has much improved over the season, and Garrard more confident, because he now feels protected. Don't look for any "Hail Mary" passes this week. The Jaguars will win without it, but it will be close. Jacksonville 33 - Cleveland 28
Tampa Bay @ San Francisco: This is a hard one to call. Tampa seems to be on its way down while the Niners seem to be escalating. They will meet somewhere in the middle. The 49ers have the home field advantage while the Buccaneers don't do so hot after traveling. Tampa Bay 24 - San Francisco 30
Seattle @ New Orleans: Seahawks QB Matthew Hassllebeck's wrist is a bit damaged, and he's listed as probable. You cannot face the New Orleans Saints, at home no less, with a damaged starting QB. You need ALL of your strength to deal with Drew Brees and the boys, especially in the Superdome. In stead of hearing "Who Dat?", the Seahawks will be saying "What Da Heck?" when when the Saints go marching all over them. And, stand by for the possible return of Reggie Bush. Seattle 17 - New Orleans 27
Atlanta @ St Louis: The Rams are another team going through the seasaw season jinx. They started off with so much promise, and somewhere along the way, they got lost. Even though they are playing at home, they are playing the Atlanta Hawks, and who also do very well on the road. More important, the Hawks are a much better team. I wouldn't watch this game. I'll be doing my nails or something. It's too predictable. Atlanta 30 - St Louis 17
Indianapolis @ New England: This is the game of the week. This is an long, ugly rivalry match up that is gonna be the best game of the entire season. This particular game has more at stake then just bragging rights. The Colts are tied in their division with Jacksonville, and Indianapolis needs to win to set themselves apart, in case the Jaguars lose. If the Titans lose as well, Indianapolis might very well take the lead in the division.
The Patriots are tied in their division for first place, and they need to win to elevate themselves to division leader status. Chances are, whichever team loses this game will not go on to the Superbowl, and both of them know it.
Peyton Manning is arguably the best QB in the NFL right now. Manning's passing is just awesome, but he is running out of capable hands to pass the ball to. Tom Brady is the other side of the "best quarterback" argument, has an injured shoulder, and is listed as probable. However, New England has many capable hands itching to catch a pass, as long as Brady's throwing is accurate.
This could go either way, but I am gonna have to go with Indianapolis. I've seen the "Magic of Manning" too many times to not believe in it now. Indianapolis 31 - New England 28
New York Giants @ Philadelphia: The Colts/Patriot game may be the biggest rivalry game this week, but I know that the football watching public with tune in to see the Michael Vick Show.
Vick's performance against the Redskins was nothing short of amazing, stated by his most ardent haters. Payton Manning and Tom Brady may be the best QB's in the league, but Michael Vick is the best QB this week.
The Giants' heads are still spinning after that stunning loss to Dallas, but that was their own fault. They simply underestimated the Cowboys' talent, much to their own demise.
The Giants cannot deny the Eagles' talent, but just how in the world does anyone try to stop Micheal Vick? Vick might pass the ball, or he might run it himself, and you just don't know what he's going to do until its too late. (Ask a Redskin. They found out the hard way.)
If the Eagles win, they take the lead in the division. Philadelphia plays well on the road and if they play that well on the road, just imagine the damage they will do at home. New York Giants 21 - Philadelphia 38
Denver @ San Diego: Two teams that are fighting to not be last in their division.The only thing these two guys can do with the rest of the season is be a designated spoiler to a better team. This is one of those "Who Cares Who Wins?" games. But I have to pick a winner so—Denver 24 - San Diego 14
Green Bay @ Minnesota: I am so very sick of Brett Farve. When I say he is going to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he pulls a pick. When I say he's gonna intercept his team to death, he's Mr Red Zone. Brett Farve is bad for my heart. But I gotta give him some credit. He shows up and he plays. He plays his heart out, but his heart is not on the same page as his body. The Packers are much healthier than the Vikings, and they are a more disciplined, organized group. But, Vikings are playing at home ... oh, that won't matter. Green Bay 31 - Minnesota 24
New York Jets @ Houston: If this game took place about a month ago, I would have said "Go Texans!". But, this is not a month ago, and boy, has Houston fallen from grace. On the flip side, March Sanchez is rising to the top, like cream. Sanchez is REALLY comfortable in the QB roll and it shows. This is going to be easy. New York Jets 31 - Houston 13
See ya next week!