Jazz: Since the deal here is that the winner each week gets to write the NFL thread the following week and a push goes to the last winner, I’m beginning to suspect that Ed is up to something sneaky. I had another mediocre week, going 4-3 yet again. This brings me to 28-21 on the season, failing to either pull further ahead of or lose ground to Mr. Morrissey. Still, it’s better than losing I suppose, and I’m staying ahead of the .500 line. The Jets didn’t have nearly as good of a week, getting slammed by the Vikings. Here’s to hoping both I and Gang Green can do a bit better today.
Ed: My secret plan is out! I’d like to say that I’ll have to start beating Jazz now that he’s figured out my strategy, but the truth is that I’m more likely to go the other way. At least I broke .500 with another 4-3 week, and at least the Steelers managed to get into a tie for first while not playing a game. Heckuva week that was!
Jazz: The Jets travel to Chicago to face the Bears (1:00 pm, CBS) in what should theoretically be a closer match than the Vegas line would suggest. The Bears don’t have much better of a record, and both teams have relatively green QBs they’re trying to bring along. The Jets have put more points on the board but they’ve also allowed more than 30 more points by opponents than Chicago. It’s also a home match for Da Bears, which is a big plus. So I’ll cross my fingers and toes and pray for a miracle. I’m taking the Jets anyway, 24-16. The AFC North-leading Steelers welcome the basement dwelling Cleveland Browns (1:00 pm, CBS) in a divisional matchup where nobody is exactly burning up the track. Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers are putting up more points, particularly in the red zone. They’re still smarting from that tie in week 1, but I think they’ll hold Cleveland to mostly field goals. I’ll take Pittsburgh 33-16. The Vikings and the Saints (8:20 pm, NBC) are each leading their respective divisions with similar records. But the Saints put up a lot more points and allow fewer. They’re also coming off a big win against the Ravens and look much sharper than the Vikings. Vegas has this game as a tossup, which is how I see it. I’ll go with the momentum and take New Orleans in a shootout, 31-28.
Ed: The Jets are rebounding this year, but so is Chicago, and Da Bears play at home today. Defense and home-field advantage will make the difference today, and the Jets don’t play good enough D to keep Chicago in check. Da Bears win it 27-17. The Browns managed to eke out a tie at home against the Steelers in Week 1 when they played above their heads and Pittsburgh’s defense was underwhelming. Both teams have reverted to form since then. The Steeler’s D is still giving up too many yards and points, but their fifth-ranked offense makes up for it. Cleveland’s D gives up even more yards and points per game, and their 22nd-ranked offense doesn’t help out. Steelers 31-17 over the Browns. Minnesota’s won three games in a row while New Orleans has won five in a row. It should be an evenly matched game, but I have to go with home-field advantage and pick the Vikes in a shootout, 35-31.
- Seahawks at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – Seattle and Detroit have identical records this season and their offenses are generating almost the same amount of points. But the Seahawks are much more stingy on defense. This could be a very close game, and on paper, it looks like Seattle should have the upper hand, but Detroit has the better pass rush and home field advantage. I’ll go with the Lions in a lower scoring affair, 24-20.
- Redskins at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – Washington is in first place and the Giants are in last, but this game should be closer than that would make you believe. It’s also a divisional rivalry and New York has the home field advantage. This is nothing but instinct, and the Giants have only won one game all year, but I’ll toss Ed a bone and take a flyer on the Giants in a defensive battle, 19-16.
- 49ers at Cardinals (4:25 pm, FOX) – It’s the battle of the basement in the NFC West! These teams are both 1-6 but somebody has to get a jump start on the second half of the season. Just for fun we’ll make this our Halloween horror pick. I’ll go with the Cardinals, 24-19 for no particular reason.
- Patriots at Bills (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – Ugh. Do I really have to pick the Monday Night game? I certainly don’t want to watch the hated Patriots trounce the hapless Bills but that’s what’s going to happen. New England in another rout, probably 35-12 or something in that range.
- Seahawks at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – Which Lions team shows up — the one that beat the Patriots after losing two straight, or the team that lost the two straight? They’ve won a couple in a row now, and Seattle’s only road win thus far has come against the hapless Cardinals. I’ll stick with Detroit at home, 28-24.
- Redskins at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – Otherwise known as a scrimmage. Washington leads the division at 4-2 with a mainly serviceable offense and a strong defense (#5 overall on YPG). The Giants have managed to play worse than their rankings all year. They’ll lead in the fourth quarter and then find a way to hand it to the Redskins, who will win 27-21.
- 49ers at Cardinals (4:25 pm, FOX) – Two 1-6 teams going nowhere, but at least San Francisco has a competent offense. Of course, the Cards’ only win came against the 49ers three weeks ago, too. I’ll pick the 49ers just to make it interesting with Jazz, 20-14.
- Patriots at Bills (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – This could be the Upset of the Week! But it won’t be. Buffalo’s scoring 11.6 points per game, and not even a mediocre New England defense will help boost that much. Buffalo’s D is ranked fourth in YPG, but they drop to 16th in points allowed, just three slots above the Pats. That’s because the Bills’ offense leaves opponents with good field position, and Tom Brady knows exactly what to do with it. I’ll predict a 38-10 rout for the Pats, and maybe a full quarter of playing time for Brian Hoyer.