People ask me, “Just how big of a Pittsburgh Steelers fan are you?” The front-page pic should give a pretty clear indication, but let’s settle this once and for all. The Steelers are 2-5, and lost on the road to a subpar Oakland squad. This week they take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on the road — and I still think they win, 24-20. (It’s probably a good thing that my vacation’s coming up this week …)
Last week, I went 6-1 to bring my record to 30-24. Can I keep the momentum going into my bye weeks? Let’s see (all times ET):
- Vikings at Cowboys (1 pm, Fox) – Not even Tony Romo can give this one away. Dallas will trounce the hapless Vikes, 34-17, in front of the home crowd.
- Saints at Jets (1 pm, Fox) – New Orleans is unstoppable at home, but not quite so formidable on the road. The Jets are inconsistent this year, but usually better at home. If they had a better rushing game, they might be able to edge the Saints, but … coming off the debacle in Cincinnati, I don’t think they bounce back well enough to win. I’ll pick the Saints in a 27-24 nailbiter.
- Chargers at Barrycaders (1 pm, CBS) – Washington played a good first half against Denver before Peyton Manning settled down and creamed them. RGIII got dinged up, but is listed as probable. While the Redskins offense is doing well, their defense is mired near the bottom of the league. Expect Philip Rivers to carve them up, while the Chargers D does just enough to keep Rivers in the game. San Diego 27-20 over Washington.
- Ravens at Browns (4:25 pm, CBS) – The AFC North is a topsy-turvy division this year, with both Pittsburgh and Baltimore below .500 halfway through the season. The Browns are doing better than usual this year, and they’re playing at home. They’be lost three in a row, but to three good teams, and only lost to unbeaten Kansas City by six. The line has Baltimore up by one, but I’ll take the Browns and their defense at home, 19-13.
- Colts at Texans (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Texans look tough on paper, with the 10th-ranked rushing offense, 14th-ranked passing offense, and top-rated passing defense in the league. They’ve also lost five games in a row before their bye week. Indy’s ratings don’t look as good, but they do have the 9th-ranked rushing offense going up against the 28th-ranked rushing defense, and they’re also coming off the bye after winning four of their last five. The line has Houston by three, but I’ll go with the Colts in a 31-23 win on the road.
- Chicago at Green Bay (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Jay Cutler is out for the next few weeks, and so probably are Da Bears chances of catching up to the Pack this year. Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have too many of his receivers healthy, but he probably won’t need them as much with Eddie Lacy in the backfield. Pack will roll to a 33-21 win.
Jazz Shaw will write the picks the next two weeks, so be sure to watch out for irrational Jets picks … as opposed to my measured and practical Steelers predictions.