John Madden is back on the wagon. Brett Favre and the Jets return to action this week, as Buffalo, Tennessee, Kansas City and Pittsburgh have this weekend off.
On to the picks.
Indianapolis (2-2) over Baltimore (2-2) - I've picked my Ravens in consecutive weeks, and in consecutive weeks, we've blown games we should have won. Baltimore has a history of struggling against the Colts and with this game in Indy, I feel another heartbreaking loss coming on.
Minnesota (2-3) over Detroit (0-4) - Watching the game with Mike was equal parts hilarious and sad. I felt bad every time the Vikings did something stupid but Mike's reactions to the good were fun times. There should be a lot of good times for Mike this week.
New Orleans (2-3) over Oakland (1-3) - New Orleans had no business losing to Minnesota Monday night. They're at home again this week, hosting a sub-par team that is run by a sea monster. Al Davis couldn't have been more frightening than he was at the Lane Kiffin news conference. I'm glad I wasn't watching in HD.
New York Jets (2-2) over Cincinnati (0-5) - In the John Madden Game of the Week, Brett Favre returns to the field to take on ... Ryan Fitzpatrick? Yikes. The Bengals were bad during Fitzpatrick's first start of the season. Though he "has a lot of confidence" after working with the first team this week, I doubt much will change.
Chicago (3-2) over Atlanta (3-2) - This game will boil down to the play of Matt Ryan. If he can make plays, Atlanta wins this game. Chicago's run defense ranks seventh in the league, so the onus will be squarely on Ryan. Unfortunately for Falcons fans, I don't see Ryan coming through again this week.
Tampa Bay (3-2) over Carolina (4-1) - For reasons I may not understand this season, I have a good feeling about the Buccaneers. Carolina has been playing well, but their loaded victory last week came against a terrible Kansas City team. In what could be considered a mild upset, the Bucs sneak out with a narrow home victory.
Washington (4-1) over St. Louis (0-4) - Eliminator Special! I'm really going out on a limb this week, picking a 13.5-point favorite to win at home. I remember reading somewhere that Washington would be a team to watch this season. Who wrote that? Oh yeah ... I did.
(Because of that previous statement, I am now convinced St. Louis will beat Washington to screw up my Eliminator pick. Stupid ego.)
Houston (0-4) over Miami (2-2) - I keep picking Houston to win and Miami to lose and I'm always wrong. You would think this week, logically, would be easy. Nope. I'm making it complicated. Houston is a good team despite the way their play has shown thus far. The Texans, at home, won't blow a game against the Dolphins like they did last week against the Colts.
Jacksonville (2-3) over Denver (4-1) - My Super Bowl champs are starting to take a wide turn toward Negative Town. Denver still hasn't won a home game by more than a field goal and, sooner or later, that is going to catch up to them. The Jags will do it this week and hand the Broncos their first home loss of the season.
Philadelphia (2-3) over San Francisco (2-3) - I don't care if Brian Westbrook is out for this game. Philly has lost their two road games by a combined eight points, in Dallas and Chicago. Both the Cowboys and Bears have left the gates strong and may both head to the playoffs. San Francisco's defense has been playing better than expected but I fully expect Donovan McNabb to carry the Eagles to victory.
Green Bay (2-3) over Seattle (1-3) - Aaron Rodgers may be banged up, but Matt Hasselbeck will probably miss Sunday afternoon's game at Qwest Field. Bad news for the Seahawks. If Hasselbeck was healthy, I would pick the Seahawks in the upset special, but nothing will be special about Seattle's play Sunday.
Arizona (3-2) over Dallas (4-1) - The Cardinals are a confident team, playing at home, coming off a big win. Dallas is 17th in the NFL against the pass and Kurt Warner could be playing with bunches of confidence. As long as the 37-year-old QB doesn't turn the ball over, Arizona pulls off my upset special.
San Diego (2-3) over New England (3-2) - San Diego is way too good to be 2-4. They play at home in front of their home crowd, looking to make a statement after last week's embarrassing loss. New England should provide a challenge, but expect the Chargers to win this game by 10. A motivated Phillip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson are nothing to mess with.
New York Giants (4-0) over Cleveland (1-3) - Simple math on this one. Hot defending champs + struggling team that doesn't play defense = easy win. Though I did not expect the Giants to begin the season this strong, I did expect the Browns to struggle mightily. Romeo Crennel better start sending out resumes for the 2009 season.
Last week: 5-9
Overall record: 43-31