Jazz: I’m going to switch things up this week and make all but one of my choices using my new set of I-Ching sticks and this nifty book my wife bought for me. It can’t work out much worse than the 2-5 showing I put in last week, bringing me to 23-30 on the season. This is now officially far too much of a trend to be random. I’m terrible at this. But once more into the void, my friends.
Ed: Last week I got back above the .500 mark with a 4-3 record, but my hot season continues with a 39-14 record. I don’t think Jazz is as terrible as his record, and I know I’m not as good as mine. I’d like to continue faking myself out for a few more weeks, though, so here goes …
Jazz: The Steelers welcome the Raiders this week (1:00 pm, CBS) and Oakland has posted a suprisingly strong 4-3 record so far, even when playing the Jets. (*cough*) Still, the Steelers are looking a lot better than their sad start to the season indicated and they come into this one a five point favorite. I’ll ride Ed’s coattails and take Pittsburgh 23-17. The aforementioned Jets have sagged to 4-3 following back to back losses and our newish QB is playing with an injured thumb today. But they’re hosting the Jaguars (1:00 pm, CBS) who have only managed two wins all season. I’m not all that hopeful at the moment, but I’ll go with Gang Green as usual to turn things around with a 26-17 win. Finally, the 5-2 Vikings host the 4-3 Rams (1:00 pm, Fox). Nick Foles has been looking pretty good and the Rams D seems to be only able to stop the run or the pass any given week… not both. I’ll take Minnesota 28-17.
Ed: As much as I hate to admit it, the Raiders seem to be coming back into competitive form. When was the last time they were 4-3, and 2-1 on the road? The Steelers won’t have LaVeon Bell, but they will have Big Ben back, and their defense has been better than expected, although still not great (ranked 25th). Steelers in a close one, 30-27. With Fitzgerald under center, the Jets should be able to beat a poor road team in the Jags, 23-14. The Vikings have been a better road team than usual this year, but they’re unbeaten at home and should stay that way against the Rams, 33-23.
Jazz: Four more to get us to seven games. (I should probably pick all of them if I want to catch up, but…)
- Packers at Panthers (1:00 pm, FOX) – Aaron Rodgers looked really bad against Denver last week, at least by Aaron Rodgers standards. But The Panthers are more middle of the pack this season and their defense looks suspect. I’ll take Green Bay for a road win 21-17.
- Giants at Buccaneers 4:05 pm, FOX) – The Giants are sitting at first place in the NFC East, but only with a 4-4 record in a weak field. The Bucs have a slightly worse record but in a much tougher division. The Giants are the slight favorite today but I think Jameis Winston has it in him to light up the home crowd. I’ll take Tampa Bay in a close one 27-24.
- Eagles at Cowboys (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Eagles are a three point favorite, but I’m not buying it. The Cowboys sneak by with a home win, even without Romo, 20-14.
- Bears at Chargers (Monday, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Da Bears are awful, but the Chargers have been just as bad. Both teams have a grand total of two wins so far. This should be a classic battle of the bad on Monday night, but San Diego will slink away with the win, 20-12.
- Packers at Panthers (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Panthers looked surprisingly vulnerable at home against a struggling Indianapolis team. That won’t cut it against the Pack, especially not with Aaron Rodgers coming off a stinging defeat from Peyton Manning. 31-24, Pack.
- Giants at Buccaneers 4:05 pm, FOX) – The Bucs look better on paper than in reality. They’re 12th on defense and 18th on offense, and yet are under .500 and 1-2 at home. The Giants are 31st in overall defense, but give up fewer points per game than Tampa Bay (26 vs 28.4). I’ll go with the Giants in a close game, a shootout at 35-31.
- Eagles at Cowboys (8:30 pm, NBC) – Is Tony Romo back? The Eagles defense only gives up 19.6 points per game, and their offense scores 22.9 points a game. Even with Romo’s early contributions in the mix, the Cowboys only core 19 points a game. Philly wins this one on the road, 24-17.
- Bears at Chargers (Monday, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Chicago gives up a lot of points, 28.9 per game, for an 8th-ranked defense, and the Chargers give up almost the same amount (28.4) for the 25th-ranked defense. The difference tonight will be the offenses, and San Diego’s scores almost four points more a game than Da Bears. That’ll be the difference in a 31-27 game, Chargers.