With NFL Sunday just two days away, the experts on ESPN have made their picks, giving many lopsided opinions on the outcomes of games.
There are some good matchups this weekend, as the Eagles face the Redskins, the Cowboys travel to New England, a banged-up Texans team faces a dominating Baltimore defense and an exciting NFC South showdown featuring rookie phenom Cam Newton going into the Georgia Dome to face Matty Ice and the Falcons.
There are some lopsided games as well, such as Green Bay going to St. Louis, Pittsburgh facing Jacksonville and the Saints up against the Bucs.
Here are four teams that we like this week, even if the experts don't.
After an 0-4 start, the Vikings got a little momentum after beating the Cardinals with ease, thanks to three first-half touchdowns from their star running back, Adrian Peterson.
The Vikings face a stiffer test on Sunday night as they travel to Soldier Field to face the Bears.
Over the past season or two, the Bears have had a world of trouble protecting Jay Cutler. That won't be any easier in the chilly Chicago night as the Vikings bring a defensive line that is second in the NFL in sacks (16), led by Jared Allen.
The Bears have a star running back of their own in Matt Forte, a player who has been very effective on the ground when given the carries. However, he is going up against a Minnesota rush defense that allows just over 76 yards per game, good for fourth in the NFL.
Offensively, Minnesota just has to get the rock to Adrian Peterson, since Chicago's run defense is the polar opposite of Minnesota's, allowing opponent backs to rush for almost six yards per carry and ranks 28th in the NFL.
If Minnesota can control the clock by giving the ball to Peterson and containing Matt Forte, they will come out victorious.
With every big game he plays in, we wonder if Tony Romo has what it takes to will his team to victory. When he does, he's praised. When he doesn't, he becomes the most criticized quarterback in the league.
I think this is one of those games where Romo leads the Cowboys to an upset over Tom Brady and the Patriots.
The good news for Dallas? Miles Austin, Felix Jones and Dez Bryant all fully participated in practice this week. The better news? They are going up against the 32nd-ranked pass defense in the league. For those of you that don't know how many teams are in the NFL, that is good enough for dead last.
Defensively, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware must be quick to get to Tom Brady, as he rarely takes sacks. In containing Wes Welker, expect some zone looks to keep Wes Welker out of the flats where he has been most dangerous this season.
If the Cowboys can be disciplined on defense, get to Tom Brady and expose the New England pass defense, this could be a big win for Dallas.
I have a feeling that Carolina will be a popular upset pick in every game where they are an underdog, due to the media attention and first-year success of Cam Newton.
The Panthers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons—a team that is 22-3 at home with Matt Ryan under center. The spotlight will be on the two elite young quarterbacks in the NFL.
We have seen a resurrection of Steve Smith in Carolina since Cam Newton was drafted. I expect those two to hook up for at least two touchdowns against a pass defense that is 28th in the NFL.
Couple that with Jonathan Stewart's pass-catching ability out of the backfield and we should see Carolina throw up some points.
Michael Turner has been effective this season and the Carolina rush defense is very below average. Although they would like to stack the box, it is not safe to leave Roddy White and Julio Jones in man-to-man coverage more often than not.
The Packers forced Matt Ryan to beat them with his arm, but he didn't. The Panthers should do the same to Matty Ice, who has not been particularly consistent this season.
If the Panthers force the Falcons to throw and they take advantage of the Falcons pass defense, this game could go to Carolina in a much-needed win.
Not too often do you see Detroit as the favorite, but with a wealth of young talent, including Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Lions have become a contender. They are off to an undefeated start and are favored at home against Alex Smith and the 49ers.
Jahvid Best was able to carve his way for 163 yards against the Bears last weekend. This will not happen against a San Francisco defensive line that ranks fifth in the NFL against the run and held LeSean McCoy and Cedric Benson in check. They should have no problem keeping Best pinned down.
Harbaugh's concern for his defense has to be containing "Megatron," a.k.a. Calvin Johnson. To do that, the 49ers defensive line cannot afford to give Stafford time in the pocket and Johnson time to get downfield. I expect the 49ers to improve upon their 12 sacks this season and keep the explosive Lions offense from turning in big plays.
Although talented, the Lions' rush defense has been vulnerable this season. I expect Harbaugh to take to the ground and keep Stafford and Co. off the field.
If Alex Smith limits his turnovers like he's been doing all season and Gore can have a big day on the ground, I see no reason why the 49ers can't leave Detroit with a win.