Jazz: The fact that I’m kicking off the NFL thread this week means I had another fairly good round of predictions, but that doesn’t mean that life on the Jets ranch got any better. That embarrassing display in Pittsburgh gives Ed bragging rights for the year in the Hot Air Bowl, so I’ll have to comfort myself with going 5-2 for the fourth straight week, bringing my season total to 22-13. This is the furthest ahead of the .500 mark I’ve ever been here so we take the small victories where we find them.
Ed: So far, the Hot Air Bowl bragging rights are the only ones I have. My picks went 3-4 last week, bringing me to 18-17 for the season. Jazz is within sight, but he’s starting to put some distance on me. Maybe I should go on the road more — I was doing better last season while I was writing my book. At least my Steelers are doing better than I am.
Jazz: The Vikings have the week off, so we’ll start with the Steelers visiting the Dolphins (1:00 pm, CBS) in what shouldn’t be a terribly rough week for Ed’s team. Miami is the underdog by a touchdown and that’s probably being generous. The Dolphins’ defense is ranked dead last against the run and teams have been breaking big passing plays against them to boot. But they’ll get just lucky enough to tick off the Steelers fans a few times and keep it closer than expected. Pittsburgh wins 27-24. The Jets are the Monday night game, visiting the 2-3 Arizona Cardinals (8:30 pm, ESPN). The Cardinals are fighting to avoid being as much of a corpse in the 2016 season as the Jets already appear to be so there’s a lot on the line. The Jets will be well rested, but the offense simply hasn’t been able to piece things together. There’s pretty much no way the Jets win this one, so I’ll just pick New York to win by three points, 20-17.
Ed: Pittsburgh outscores Miami by almost two TDs a game, and gives up five fewer points to boot. I doubt this one will be close. Call it 31-20 Steelers. Arizona is underpeforming, but they outrank the Jets on both sides of the ball, and they’re playing at home to boot. Cards by a TD, 28-21, but it should be a good game.
Jazz:Since we only had two on top, here’s five more.
- Rams at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – Detroit is a three point favorite in this game, but I think that sells them a bit short. Their passing offense has the third most passing yards after the catch in the league. Los Angeles has managed to get off to an impressive 3-2 start, but they still found a way to lose to San Francisco. I’ll take Detroit outside the spread 24-14.
- Panthers at Saints (1:00 pm, FOX) – Cam Newton is rumored to be back starting for Carolina and the Saints are off to a bad start. They’re both hoping to keep their playoff chances alive, but I think New Orleans is due. I’ll go with the Saints in a minor upset 34-31, possibly in OT.
- Chiefs at Raiders (4:05 pm, CBS) – The Raiders can’t seem to catch a break in the sports press. They’re off to a 4-1 start (against some not that great competition, yes) and they’re averaging 28.4 points per game, but they’re still the underdog in this game. Personally I think they’re for real so I’ll take another upset here and pick Oakland 27-23.
- Cowboys at Packers (4:25 pm, FOX) – Neither of these teams are doing enough on offensive to be too scary, but the Packers’ running game should be enough to overcome the Cowboys. Also, I hear that I’m in line to QB for Dallas this week and my right shoulder is kind of sore. Give me Green Bay in a low scoring defensive battle, 20-13.
- Colts at Texans (8:30 pm, NBC) – How the Texans have run up a 3-2 record while barely scoring 80 total points is a mystery for the ages. The Colts don’t have that much to brag about either with their 2-3 record, though they looked pretty good last week. I’m calling that a fluke and I’ll go with the Texans 30-21.
- Rams at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – Both the Rams and Lions are playing inconsistently, but Detroit’s stunner over the Eagles last week has to have boosted their confidence. Lions over the Rams 30-23.
- Panthers at Saints (1:00 pm, FOX) – This will be really good game, but it’s going to be a tough call because of it. Since Jazz took the Saints, I’ll throw in with the Panthers, 35-31 in regulation.
- Chiefs at Raiders (4:05 pm, CBS) – Kansas City has a pretty good defense, but they haven’t won on the road so far this season. They got killed by the Steelers before their bye, but I think they’ll come out with a new toughness on their D. KC 24-23 over Oakland.
- Cowboys at Packers (4:25 pm, FOX) – Expect another good game. Dak Prescott has something to prove before Tony Romo comes off the injured list, and he’s been red-hot. On the other hand … Lambeau. Hmmmm. I’ll take a flier on Prescott and give the Cowboys the edge, 27-24.
- Colts at Texans (8:30 pm, NBC) – Indy and Houston are another pairing of inconsistent teams, but also division rivals. The Colts really need a win in Houston to get ahead of the Texans in what might a 17th-week decision on the division champ. Lose, and they’re two games and a tiebreaker down. Indy outscores Houston by 11 points a game — in fact, Houston scores the fewest points a game in the league. Indy gives up nine points a game more than Houston on defense, but with J.J. Watt out for the season, that may not be as much of an advantage. I’ll go with the upset and pick the Colts 27-20 over the Texans.