Ed is still traveling the world and should have the European Union pretty much dismantled by the time you read this, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to turn over the controls and let him start doing the football picks again just yet. This week, the anticipated den of irrational picks for Jets victories may have to rear its ugly head. Gang Green is facing their AFC East rivals the Buffalo Bills in their ongoing bid for a wildcard ticket to the post season. (Did I really just type that? Allahpundit assured me they would finish pretty much dead last.) Well, even Dan Hanzus at NFL.com seems to think the Jets are going to the dance, so who am I to argue? Rex’s boys have several of their starters, including Tone Holmes back in the lineup this week, plus they just signed future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed to the roster to strengthen their pass defense. The Jets have yet to win two games in a row this season, but they’ll have to figure out how if they want a shot at the post season, so I’ll take New York over the still weakened Bills in a bit of a romp, 31-17.
Last week, I went 5-2, showing up the boss and coming close to an A rating if it weren’t for Ed’s Steelers breaking my pick and beating the Bills. Can I show some consistency and keep on my winning ways? (all times ET):
- Lions at Steelers (1 pm, Fox) – It wouldn’t be Hot Air without a Steelers pick, so I’ll have to try. The Vegas line has the Lions as a two and a half point favorite, but the Steelers are at home and very likely playing for their lives every single week from here on out. I’m going to cut Ed a break and say that Pittsburgh takes it to keep hope alive in a pass heavy game, 27-20.
- Chargers at Dolphins (1 pm, Fox) – Everyone, including the oddsmakers, are expecting a narrow win for San Diego, particularly given all of the (ahem) drama going on this week with Miami’s locker room. But for some reason I think the Fins will leave all of that media feeding frenzy back in the locker room and get the job done. Miami in an upset over San Diego 31-21.
- 49ers at Saints (4:25 pm, Fox) – This may well be the game of the week to watch given what’s been going on with both teams. San Francisco is fresh off a really heartbreaking loss to the Panthers and probably very fired up. But the Saints have been one of the toughest teams to beat at home (unless you’re the Jets, of course) and the questions about their run defense seem a bit overblown. I’ll take New Orleans in a low scoring match, 21-17.
- Ravens at Bears (1 pm, CBS) –Baltimore stole a clutch victory last week over the Bengals which they desperately needed, and to keep the ball rolling they’ll have to do it again – this time on the road – against Chicago. Can they manage it? Not bloody likely in my opinion. I’ll take the Bears 27-21.
- Eagles at Barrycaders (1 pm, Fox) – This is always a fun game to watch, if only for the rivalry. Unfortunately, both teams have had a lot of problems. Fortunately for the Eagles, Nick Foles has performed so far above his initial stock value that it’s not funny and opened up new opportunities with receivers who didn’t get as much attention in the past. RGIII is not looking as bad as before, bit it won’t be enough to win this one. Philadelphia in a road win over Washington 34-24.
- Patriots at Panthers (MNF, 8:40 pm, ESPN) – This game may only be of real interest to AFC East addicts or the remaining Carolina faithful, but it’s on Monday night and there won’t be anything else to watch anyway. We Jets fans really need New England to lose a couple of games, but it seems like they keep squeaking out victories. This week, though… and maybe it’s just the whisky talking here.. I see the Panthers performing to the oddsmakers’ expectations and pulling off a victory at home. Carolina over New England 17-14.
Next week, Ed should be back and continue his string of Pittsburgh win predictions and failed attempts to foresee doom for the Jets. But it’s been fun doing this while he was gone. (And don’t forget to rub my 5-2 record in his nose when he returns.).