The Pittsburgh Steelers play their fourth and last game without their starting QB, Ben Roethlisberger, and to add to the drama, they take on their arch-rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Not only have they gone 3-0, all three opponents that the Steelers have beat have winning records coming into this week — and the Steelers have done it with a passing game rated dead last in the NFL. They have the third-best rushing defense, though, as well as the third-best rushing game. The Ravens are at 2-1 having beat the Jets and the Browns, the latter by only a touchdown. The Ravens have to come to Heinz Field, and that’s a tough place to beat the Pittsburgh defense, especially with an ordinary offense like Baltimore’s. Steelers will win this one 14-9.
Last week, I went 5-1 on my picks, only losing the Packer pick on Monday night, and I’m now 13-6 and for the season. This week, I’m going to stick with blue states that look like they’re going red in the midterms for my picks:
- Washington at Philadelphia – Who’s Kevin Kolb? The Redskins got beat by the Rams last week, while Michael Vick has suddenly emerged as a premier QB again. The Eagles defense is still undersized, and Donovan McNabb is going to be fired up for his return to Philly, but the Eagles should beat the ‘Skins in an entertaining game, 31-27.
- Detroit at Green Bay – The Lions are getting competitive, but they’re not going to hand the Pack its second loss in a row, especially not in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers will pick the defense apart. 28-13, Pack.
- Cincinnati at Cleveland – As much as I dislike the Bengals, this shouldn’t be close. However, the Browns played the Ravens tough last week, and could surprise people. Naaaaaah. Bengals over Browns, 24-10.
- New England at Miami – This will be a great game to watch, and not just because of the division rivalry. Miami will prevail at home, after having learned a couple of lessons from their close loss to the Jets in the same stadium last week. 23-17, Dolphins.
- Chicago at NY Giants – Here’s my upset special. The Giants have not looked impressive, but they have to win this one or they can fold up the tents and start buying big-screen home-theater TVs for the playoffs, and they’re at home. The Bears are undefeated and beat the Packers last week at home, but they were one Devon Hester rip from losing that game. Look for the Giants to suck it up and get a win here, 24-20. (Illinois is the blue state for this pick, by the way.)
Byes this week: Minnesota, Dallas, Kansas City, Tampa Bay.