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Let’s just get right into the picks. As always picks are in bold.
New York Jets @ Buffalo
The Jets are 4-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Offensively they’re nowhere near where they’d like to be. Defensively they are still vulnerable against the run. How exactly have the Jets managed to win four games, I have no idea. But that’s been the blueprint of the Rex Ryan era. Finding, inventing, manufacturing, whatever you want to call it, new ways to win ball games. For a while I had Fred Jackson as my Offensive Player of the first half, and then I realized that was only because his success has seemingly come out of nowhere. Then I checked his stats again and he’s averaging over 150 yards a game. Ultimately he finished third behind Johnson and McCoy. The Bills recorded nine sacks last week, NINE. They also happen to lead the AFC in point differential (+64). The Bills are for real guys.
Seattle @ Dallas
Ware had 4.0 sacks on Monday Night. The Eagles were 7/12 on third down and held the ball for over 42 minutes. He had 10 tackles and a forced fumble, yet the Cowboys allowed 495 yards of offense. I think that says it all about how anemic the rest of the Cowboys were on Monday. Seattle on the other hand gained 411 yards on offense, outgaining the Bengals by 159 yards and somehow lost by 22.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
The Saints inexplicably, I don’t think that’s even a strong enough adverb, lost to the Rams last week. No one saw that coming, I’m sure not even the World Champion Cardinals in attendance expected that. At this point no one is sure which Bucs team will show up any given week. They looked horrible in their three losses but great in wins against the Falcons and these Saints—who knows. I expect Brees to bounce back.
Cleveland @ Houston
The Browns may be 3-4 but they’re not very good. The three teams they’ve beaten have a grand total of two wins. The efficient quick pass West-Coast offense we saw in the preseason hasn’t translated into the regular season. Houston is developing into real contenders in the AFC. Every team in the AFC has glaring weaknesses but the Texans’ weakness, their defense, is getting better. Wade Phillips might not be a great Head Coach but he’s a heck of a Defensive Coordinator.
San Francisco @ Washington
The Redskins got shutout by the Buffalo Bills, the same defense that allowed 27, 24, 23, 31, and 35 in the previous five games. The 49ers on the other hand just keep on winning. What’s been the key to their success? Turnovers, Alex Smith has only thrown two interceptions so far this season. As a team they’ve turned the ball over a total of six times. They are also tied for third in the league in takeaways at 16. The 49ers and Ravens game on Thanksgiving night is going to be a must watch. Now if I could only find some way of getting NFL Network.
Atlanta @ Indianapolis
For all the struggles the Falcons have been through, they could be tied for first place in the NFC South after Sunday, if they take care of business and the Bucs upset the Saints. If I’m a Colts fan I hope Manning doesn’t come back so the Colts will get Andrew Luck. Or they could shop Luck the #1 pick for all sorts of absurd deals. I mean if Palmer is worth a first and second, Luck has be to worth at least two firsts and a second, right?
Denver @ Oakland
Word is Chad Ochocinco is on their radar. But in all seriousness, how nice would it be to lose McFadden and have a more than capable replacement in Michael Bush? Now if only the Raider quarterbacks can complete passes to their own team instead of the other team team.
Cincinnati @ Tennessee
When do they realize that Javon Ringer should be getting the bulk of the carries? Is he better than Chris Johnson? I doubt it but right now anyone is better than Johnson. Something is not right with Johnson and the Titans need to realize this before the AFC South gets out of reach.
New York Giants @ New England
Tom Brady has not been Tom Brady lately. The defense is giving up well over 300 yards a game through the air. Yet the Patriots are still at 5-2 and tied with the Bills in first place. The Giants have been very Giants like—they play terribly for three and half quarters then Victor Cruz makes a play and the Giants comeback to win. Remember Steve Smith? Me neither.
San Diego @ Green Bay
The Packers are boring to me. They just go out on Sundays and win. They seemingly convert every big third down, it’s become expected, and it’s boring. They’re like the old Colts, the season begins in January. Who are the bizarro Packers? It might be the Chargers. Is there a more agonizing and exciting team in the NFL? You never know what they’ll do next. Who saw Rivers’ fumbled snap coming? Heck, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Novak would have shanked the FG anyway.
St. Louis @ Arizona
Who cares, just kidding, maybe? The Rams pulled off the upset of the year last Sunday but in doing so, they’ve officially withdrawn from the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, although they weren’t really contenders. It would be really difficult to go 0-16 when you face the Cardinals and Seahawks two times.
Chicago @ Philadelphia
I think the Eagles figured something out, Jackson and Maclin are fast but you don’t have to run deep routes every play. They’re also giving the ball a lot to #25, the second coming of Brain Westbrook. The Bears are in the midst of a tough stretch (Phi, Det, SD, and Oak) and how they play these next four weeks will likely determine whether they’ll be contending for a wildcard spot.
Miami @ Kansas City
Two guys sort of stood out for me Monday Night against the Chargers, Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali. Brandon Flowers has developed into one of the best corner in the NFL. Hali is really the only player who can generate pressure on the quarterback. I was shocked the Chargers didn’t double or chip him more. That being said, short week, improbable win, anemic offense at times, let down? The Dolphins are so close to victory seemingly every week and the Dolphins have a history of playing better on the road than at home. It just feels like they’re going to get their first win this week.
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
What the Steelers displayed Sunday afternoon was a clinic on how to utilize speed to your advantage. The Patriots safeties were so scared of Wallace, Brown, and Sanders running by them that they gave the entire middle of the field to the Steelers. Roethlisberger went through the middle time after time, finding Miller and receivers on shallow crosses. The Ravens did their best Giants impersonation Sunday against the Cardinals. They have not looked good lately but we do have to keep in mind the 35-7 thrashing they put on the Steelers seemingly forever ago. The Steelers will be out for revenge.
Last Week: 9-4
Upset Special: 3-5