The weekly open thread returns after a one-week hiatus caused by my travels last weekend; I just didn’t have time to get the post done while traveling back from WCPAC.  Missing this week would have been unthinkable, not with Brett Favre and the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings coming to Pittsburgh to play the 4-2 Steelers.  This is, of course, a loyalty test for me; I root for the Vikes because I live in Minneapolis and because their signing of Favre showed a commitment to victory this season.  But the Steelers are my team, baby.  They’re playing better the last three weeks, and the Vikes have only just missed losing their last couple of games.  I’m going with Pittsburgh, especially since Troy Polamalu returns today and shores up a defense that has finally found its footing.  I’ll call it 27-21, with the defense stopping a final drive by Favre with an interception.

Oh, and one last thing — I won’t be watching the game.  I’m taking the Little Admiral to the pumpkin farm for an afternoon of (chilly) fun.  I love my Steelers, but I wouldn’t miss these moments for anything.

I didn’t make any picks last week, but so far I’m 24-6 on the season, so I’m doing all right.  I’ll put that record on the line with these picks:

  • NY Jets at Oakland – This isn’t as ludicrous a game as it would have sounded three weeks ago.  Oakland finally played a good game against Philly, shutting them down and getting just enough offense to get by, while the Jets’ Mark Sanchez finally started looking like a rookie.  Still, I’m not sold on Oakland, and I think the Jets are good enough to recover.  24-14, Jets.
  • Arizona at NY Giants – The Giants come off of their first loss, while the Cardinals have beaten bad teams to look better.  The Giants get back on track at home, 31-17.
  • Philadelphia at Washington – The Monday night game is a big rivalry; both teams will be up for it.  After getting humbled by Oakland last week, the Eagles should outplay the Redskins, but it will be close, 28-24.
  • Chicago at Cincinnati – Both of these teams have looked better than expected this season; both of them had a bad week last Sunday.  Chicago has to play tough to keep within shooting distance of the Vikes in their division, and the Bengals have to win to keep Pittsburgh from climbing into first place if the Steelers beat the Vikes.  I think Chicago is hungrier and better prepared, and pick them to win it in a low-scoring game, 14-10.

Update: A few commenters think I should be boycotting the NFL on behalf of Rush.  I double-checked his fine site (and you should all be members, if you’re not already)  and I don’t see any call for a boycott from Rush himself.  I think what happened to Rush was horrid, and the lies told about him a great reminder that McCarthyism is alive and well, but my problem is much more with the media who participated in that than the NFL, which nonetheless owes Rush a huge apology.