The Rams vs. Cardinals game last week had to have been one of the most frustrating of the season. I had the Rams -4.5. The Rams took the lead in the third quarter and held it until the Cardinals tied the game in the fourth. Game heads to overtime. No big deal, right? Most overtime games end in a field goad and even if the Cardinals win by a touchdown, I win the bet. But of course it doesn’t work like that. And I just have Patrick Peterson to thank. Anyway, no teams on bye this week so we are back to a full set of games. Let’s get to the picks. I’m 68-62 on the season and like always the lines come from ESPN.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (+6.5) at San Diego Chargers
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-0.5) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have only won two of their previous six tilts against the Saints. The Falcons defense could be in some trouble against the Saints as DE John Abraham was missing from practice early in the week and DE Ray Edwards has been dealing with a knee injury. To make it even worse, CB Brent Grimes has also been limited in practice. The Falcons will need all of those guys healthy to stop Drew Brees and the Saints. It won’t happen.
Buffalo Bills at DALLAS COWBOYS (-5.5)
The Bills just lost DT Kyle Williams for the season. Terrible timing considering they have to try and stop DeMarco Murray this week. In three games, Murray is averaging 8.5 yards per carry. Are we sure that that Chris Johnson didn’t die and come back as DeMarco Murray, while his corpse still holds a spot on the Titan’s roster? Because the Titan’s running game sure looks like the guy from Weekend at Bernie’s.
Pittsburgh Steelers at CINCINNATI BENGALS (+3.5)
You may not realize just how good the Bengals have been. Sure, wins against Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Seattle and Tennessee are not extremely impressive, but the defense has been great and Andy Dalton has been surprisingly good. Dalton has thrown 12 touchdowns in his first eight games. No other rookie quarterback has done that. In fact, only five other rookie quarterbacks have thrown 11 touchdowns in their team’s first eight games. This week is Dalton’s real test.
St. Louis Rams at CLEVELAND BROWNS (-2.5)
I don’t like what is going on in Cleveland. A lot of the issues seem to center around Peyton Hillis and it looks like the Browns may not welcome him back next season, much less give him the lucrative contract he is seeking. But at least the Browns fans are staying optimistic! And that’s why I’m picking the Browns.
Denver Broncos at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-3.5)
According to a poll from The Sporting News of NFL players, Tim Tebow was voted the most overrated player in the league.
Tennessee Titans at CAROLINA PANTHERS (-2.5)
Remember how I mentioned earlier that, not including Andy Dalton, there are five rookie quarterbacks that have thrown 11 touchdowns in their first eight games? Well, those five are Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Sam Bradford, and… Cam Newton.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts
I just hope the announcers in this game have a discussion about Blain Gabbert and Curtis Painter’s hair. If there is anyone out there that is actually going to watch this game, could you listen for this conversation and then report back to me on Monday? Thanks.
Washington Redskins at MIAMI DOLPHINS (-3.5)
As bad as Matt Moore is, John Beck is actually worse. And how about Reggie Bush? Do you think it’s a coincidence that he has started playing better since the news of Kim Kardashian’s divorce? Wait, Kim Kardashian references in consecutive weeks? What am I doing with my life?
ARIZONA CARDINALS (+13.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
It’s a sad day in Arizona when fans are hoping that Kevin Kolb starts. Unfortunately for them, John Skelton will be making another start in his place. Do you realize that Skelton gave up safeties on back-to-back possessions against the Rams last week? That’s actually an impressive feat of terrible quarterbacking. Still, 13.5 is a large margin to cover. Especially for the Eagles.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-3.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay defensive line is a disaster. And it sure doesn’t help that the Bucs have lost DT Gerald McCoy for the season. They are allowing an average of 132.4 rushing yards per game after giving up 195 yards on the ground last week to the Saints. Arian Foster and Ben Tate are salivating.
Baltimore Ravens at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+7.5)
Don’t even think for a second that Baltimore’s win over the Steelers last week fooled me into forgetting their narrow victory over the Cardinals and their loss to the Jaguars. No, the Ravens play down to the level of their opponent and I still think the Seahawks are halfway competent team at home.
DETROIT LIONS (+2.5) at Chicago Bears
This game is huge for the Lions and it will come down to two things: the Lions stopping Matt Forte and the Bears protecting Jay Cutler. It’s early to start thinking about the playoffs, but if the Lions lose, they fall into a tie with the Bears and Falcons for the two wild card spots. Guess which team gets left out.
NEW YORK GIANTS (+3.5) at San Francisco 49ers
I still can’t get over the fact that the Giants allowed Reggie Bush to run for more than 100 yards against them two weeks ago. Reggie Bush. And coming off a big win against the Patriots, I can see them struggling to stop Frank Gore. However, I still feel the need to stick by the team I picked to win the Super Bowl. Maybe I’m crazy, but this game will be close and I’ll take the points.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (+1.5) at New York Jets
I would imagine that there are many reasons why Mark Sanchez is a quarterback and not an offensive lineman. Lack of size is probably high up on the list. Good looks could be another. However, this has to be the top reason. In other news, Danny Woodhead has his own children’s book.
Minnesota Vikings at GREEN BAY PACKERS (-13.5)
It’s Aaron Rodgers and it’s the Green Bay Packers. Do you really need any more reasons to take the Packers?