Jazz: Another week, another winning record. I once again went 4-3, but the thrill of “victory” was tempered by a Jets loss to the Cheatriots. (Who, to be honest, just played a better game.) Gang Green looked good, but simply not good enough for Brady and company. At this point the Jets are playing for a wild card slot if anything. But my record climbed to 21-25. A few more weeks like that and I might get to .500 by the end of the season.
Ed: I also went 4-3 last week to take my record to 35-11 on the season. I have an excuse for going .500 in the last two weeks, though: I began watching football games this season. Today I may have to revert back to my early-season form, though, since I have a sick computer and will have to wipe it and restore it from scratch. If so, that will perhaps make me ready for another clean sweep this week.
Jazz: The Jets are on the road visiting the 3-3 Oakland Raiders in a replay of the Heidi Bowl. They come into the game a slight favorite and Oakland doesn’t look like a strong enough team to stop our new coach’s strategy. Derek Carr will be short of targets this week and will lose a close one to the Jets, 24-21. The Steelers host the Bengals and they’ve got Big Ben back, while the Bengals’ run defense is suspect. I’m going to side with Ed and agree with the Vegas line of a narrow edge for Pittsburgh. 31-30. As for the Vikings, they play Chicago and the Bears have barely managed their two wins. But this is a local rivalry and it’s in Chicago. Minnesota is a one point favorite, but I’ll go with the Bears in a slight upset, 23-20.
Ed: Pittsburgh finally gets a healthy Ben Roethlisberger back, and a defense that has become surprising … if not exactly world-beating at 24th. However, it’s seventh-ranked in points per game, while Cincinnati’s is 12th. With Ben back, the Steelers’ O will make the difference, 27-24. The Jets outrank Oakland on both sides of the ball, so I’m sticking with New York, 28-17. The Vikes are not a good road team, but Chicago just isn’t playing well at all. Da Bears are 20th against the run, and Minnesota’s got Adrian Peterson in fine form. I’ll make a rare road pick for the Vikings, 23-14.
Jazz: Here come four more games to round out the week.
- 49ers at Rams (1:00 am, FOX) – It’s hard to say which of these teams is doing worse at this point since the Rams’ 3-3 record isn’t all that much better than San Fran’s 2-5. Still, the 49ers can at least remember their recent greatness. The Rams are the favorite but they still have one of the worst offenses in the NFL a the moment. I love a good upset, so I’ll take a low scoring, error filled 17-14 win for the Niners.
- Giants at Saints (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Saints are the narrow Vegas pick here, but this should be a team that the Giants could beat this year. Still, I’m tired of the Giants stabbing me in the back so I’ll go with New Orleans 35-28.
- Packers at Broncos (8:30 pm, NBC) – Rogers vs. Manning should be an epic battle in anyone’s book and this looks to be a close match. Still, I think Denver has had a weak schedule this year and this is the week that their weaknesses will show through. I’ll take the Packers in a close, higher scoring match, 34-31.
- Colts at Panthers (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – The Monday Night matchup looks like a snoozer, really. It feels like Indianapolis has the talent to take a run at the Panthers undefeated record and I love rooting for an underdog, but I don’t see it happening. Give me the Colts 27-12.
- 49ers at Rams (1:00 am, FOX) – The wheels are coming off of the 49ers bus this year, and the Rams are tough at home. The Rams have the worst offense in the league but they have the 10th-ranked defense, while San Francisco’s defense is second-worst. Rams 20-14 in a good defensive struggle.
- Giants at Saints (1:00 pm, FOX) – A defensive battle this won’t be. Both defenses are in the bottom five, but the Saints have the fifth-best offense in the league. The Giants’ O is ranked 17th. That’s the difference, with a 37-31 win for Drew Brees to make both teams .500 for the season.
- Packers at Broncos (8:30 pm, NBC) – This is the marquee matchup this week — two undefeated teams, two sure Hall of Fame QBs, and one hell of a game. If Peyton Manning was as sharp as last season, I’d give him the edge, but he’s clearly not at his usual level this season. The two defenses are ranked 1-2 for points per game, but Green Bay scores four more points per game than Denver on average. (Speaking of which, who would have guessed that a Peyton Manning-led offense would be ranked thirtieth in the league overall?) That’ll be the split tonight, 24-20 Packers.
- Colts at Panthers (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – This will indeed be a snoozer, but in favor of the Panthers, not the Colts and their worst-ranked defense. Cam Newton will feast on the short fields that turnovers will provide them for a 28-19 win.