The Pittsburgh Steelers have the week off, and the NFL takes its Sunday evening off today as well at the half-way mark of the season. If that means I can’t see Big Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward play, it also means that we don’t have to watch Keith Olbermann either … so it all balances out. The big game this week in the upper Midwest is the rematch of the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers, this time at Lambeau Field. Packer fans want payback from the early-season loss and a piece of Brett Favre as well. Their O-line has played better lately than they did in Minnesota earlier, but I still think the Vikes are going to be too tough for the Pack — especially coming off that tough loss in Pittsburgh (and I’ll remind everyone that I predicted the Steelers would win on a late interception!). I’m picking the Vikes in a close one, 28-24.
Last week, I was only 3-2, choosing poorly by picking Da Bears and the Giants (at home!), so I’m 27-8 on the season. This week’s picks should do better:
- St. Louis at Detroit – As bad as both teams play, this may be the most competitive game outside of Green Bay today. I’ll pick the Lions to win their second game in front of the home-town crowd, 24-10. These are two teams moving in opposite directions, albeit so slowly that it’s hard to tell.
- Miami at New York Jets – Their last meeting was a terrific Monday night contest two weeks ago, but Miami on the road? They have a good running game which the Jets couldn’t stop last time out, but I’m going to give the edge to the Jets at home, 34-24.
- New York Giants at Philadelphia – It’s a big rivalry within a tough division. Could Eli Manning lose two in a row? Philly runs hot and cold, while the Giants usually just run hot. I can’t see a team that couldn’t score a TD against the Oakland Raiders beating a team looking for some vindication, even at home. I’ll pick the Giants, 27-14.
- Jacksonville at Tennessee – Like the Rams-Lions game, not compelling except for the fact that both teams have flopped. Tennessee is at home, coming off a bye week. If they’re going to win a game this season, it has to be this game. (Update: Vince Young is starting for the Titans today.) I’ll pick the Titans to win, 21-17, and Jeff Fisher can wear his own jersey at dinner this week.
- Atlanta at New Orleans – It’s the Monday night game, which has been good all year … until now. The Saints will scorch the Falcons, 38-14.