Ed: The midpoint of the season is a good time for a comeback — and I had a small one last week. Only a surprising Vikings loss to Da Bears separated me from a perfecto last week, but I’ll take the 6-1 outcome. It’s my best week of the season, and it moves me to a 30-25 record. I’m still trailing Jazz, but I’m picking up some ground …
Jazz: After eight weeks of beginning to feel like I actually might know what I was doing, week 8 dragged me back to reality. I somehow went from having only two weeks where I dipped below the .500 mark to a 2-6 clunker. I’m still sitting at 32-23 on the season, but if this keeps up I’ll start getting a sinking feeling.
Ed: I’m feeling lucky again, and I’ll bet that the Steelers are feeling rested and ready to go up against their rival Ravens in Baltimore (1 pm ET, CBS). No one’s quite sure whether Big Ben’s playing today yet, but Landry Jones did a good job in relief against the Pats, and they’re coming off a bye. Pittsburgh 21-17 in a defensive battle. The Jets go to Miami having barely handled the Browns (1 pm, CBS). Miami does better at home and on both sides of the ball. Dolphins 27-17 over the Jets. Detroit comes to Minnesota (1 pm, FOX), where Norv Turner just walked away from his job as offensive coordinator. The line favors Minnesota by six, and the Vikings defense should contain the Lions. Minnesota 20-13 over Detroit.
Jazz: The Steelers are on a two game losing streak which sounds bad until you realize the Ravens have dropped four in a row. Only one game separates the two teams and it’s a big rivalry. But Big Ben will either not be on the field or be very questionable for mobility if he is. I’m going with the slight upset and taking the Ravens 27-24. The Jets are on a roll after winning two in a row, albeit against questionable opponents. (*cough*) But they’ve always given Miami trouble. It all depends on which Fitzpatrick shows up. I’m guessing the scare that was put in him when he was briefly benched has sharpened his focus and New York will beat Miami 24-20. I pretty much agree with Ed on the Vikings game. Even sans Norv Turner the Lions’ secondary is very suspect on defense. I’ll take Minnesota 20-17.
Ed: Let’s get a few more games racked up for this week:
- Eagles at Giants (1 pm, FOX) – Philly started out like a house on fire, but Carson Wentz and their offense has come back to Earth a bit since then. Still, they score more points and give up fewer than the Giants, so I’ll pick the Eagles in a 27-24 win.
- Colts at Packers (4:25 pm, CBS) – Green Bay is favored by more than a touchdown here, and they need a win to keep pace with the Vikings in the NFC North. Both offenses do well, but the Packer defense will make the difference in this game. Green Bay 31-21 over Indianapolis.
- Broncos at Raiders (8:30 pm, NBC) – This should be the game of the day, a rarity for prime-time NFL football. Both teams are playing well on offense, but Denver’s defense gives up seven points fewer per game. Oakland’s favored, but I’ll roll the dice on the Broncos for a 28-23 win over the Raiders.
- Bills at Seahawks (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Both teams are coming off two disappointing games in a row, but Seattle’s defense has been fearsome most of the season even while Russell Wilson plays dinged up on offense. Buffalo’s defense is ranked 13th in points scored, eleven ranks down from Seattle and six points to the bad, but their offense is 8th-ranked against the Seahawks’ 29th-ranked offense and eight points to the good. In this case, though, good defense and home-field advantage will make the difference. Seattle 21-17 over Buffalo.
- Eagles at Giants (1 pm, FOX) – These are two teams with matching records on very different courses. New York is riding a two game winning streak while Philadelphia was left with a lot of questions to answer after last week. The birds haven’t been able to manage 300 yards on offense in a month and Odell Beckham Jr. has been on fire. New York should take this one 30-21.
- Colts at Packers (4:25 pm, CBS) – This one shouldn’t even be close. Aaron Rogers is back in prime form and his receivers are making up for their injured running back situation. The Colts are, well… the Colts. Give me Green Bay 34-21.
- Broncos at Raiders (8:30 pm, NBC) – Who possibly saw the Raiders actually being favored over Denver at the beginning of the season? This is a big challenge for them, but these two teams are fighting it out for first place in the AFC west with each having a two game winning streak under their belts. I’m feeling some magic from Oakland this year and I’ll take the Raiders to continue their roll with a win in a defensive battle 17-14.
- Bills at Seahawks (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – This isn’t even a game where I need to root against the Bills because I don’t like them. They’re just not in the same range on defense as the Seahawks. Neither offense is likely to sparkle, but Seattle will be tougher to move the ball on. I’ll go with the Seahawks 17-7.