Jazz: Last week was once again rather dismal at Jets stadium, but my prospects here were much better. I went 5-2 for the third week in a row bringing my season total to 17-11. That wasn’t enough for a win versus Ed, but the push goes to the previous week’s winner so I’ll take it. This will be a high voltage week at the Hot Air NFL prognostication desk (as we’ll get to in a moment) so I’ll be planning something special. Whether that includes some sort of multimedia extravaganza for our readers or just me drowning my sorrows in a large New York Jets martini glass may not be known until the fourth quarter.
Ed: Last week I managed to break a two-week negative streak by going 5-2, pushing my season record to 15-13. I’m still trailing Jazz, but at least I’m not underwater. Better yet, I got out of starting the thread again this week. (There’s a method to my madness!) But this is indeed the Hot Air Bowl, and I suspect Jazz will be pouring martinis. Local markets should stock up on olives.
Jazz: So here we go, sports fans. The Jets face off against Ed’s Steelers (1:00 pm, CBS) and the game is in Pittsburgh. The biased Mainstream Sport Media (MSSM) has conspired against us, claiming that the Steelers are favored by more than a touchdown, but I’m not falling for their machinations. Sure, our QB has been collapsing to the point where a rumor was going around that we’re literally thinking of signing Tony Romo (broken back and all) and Revis Island is looking more like Revis Public Parking, but this is the week when we’ll turn it around. The Jets bring back a surprising road win 24-21. The Vikings host the Texans (1:00 pm, CBS) in what’s shaping up to be a snoozer. Minnesota’s opponents are only scoring on one out of five possessions they’re forcing a turnover in the same ratio. Houston’s QB currently has thrown more interceptions than TDs. With all that in mind I think I’ll go with the favorite and take the Vikings to continue their hot streak 21-7.
Ed: Pittsburgh has had its problems, but its defense finally woke up against the Chiefs last week. The Jets give up six more points a game, and score seven fewer points. That’s a bad combo on the road, so expect to see the Steelers cruise to a 31-17 win. Nothing seems to be stopping the Vikings these days, not even the loss of their starting QB and RB. It’s their defense, ranked eighth overall but #2 in points allowed, that’s winning while Sam Bradford makes sure to put them in position to do so. Houston also scores fewer points per game than Minnesota, so I’ll pick the Vikings to keep the unbeaten streak going with a 20-9 win over Houston.
Jazz: We should probably pick five more games to keep things exciting.
- Redskins at Ravens (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Redskins defense has been lackluster at best and the Ravens have had a hot hand, going 3-1 so far. It’s even tougher on the road, so the easy pick would be to go with the 4 pt spread Vegas is giving Baltimore, but I’m going to throw Ed a bone here and pick the Redskins in a small upset, 27-24. Hey… miracles do happen.
- Eagles at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – The experts at Sports Illustrated are calling this one for the Eagles with a spread of three points. This is another game where their defense will probably set Philadelphia up with lots of red zone opportunities early on and keep Detroit’s QB on the bench more than off of it. I’ll take the Eagles in a relatively easy 31-24 romp.
- Bills at Rams (4:25 pm, CBS) – The Rams are supposed to have a home field advantage but I remain unconvinced that LA is a football town. This is an evenly matched game, but as much as I hate to pull for a division rival of the Jets, Buffalo is looking at least good enough to handle these guys on the road. Bills squeak out a win 21-20.
- Giants at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC) – I would love to pick New York in this game, but who are we kidding? All the numbers are on Green Bay’s side and they’re playing at Lambeau. I’ll go with the Vegas spread on this one and take the Packers 27-17.
- Buccaneers at Panthers (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – The script here is that the Panthers are supposed to win this game while overcoming all manner of adversity. But in the end it comes down to back-up QB Derek Anderson filling in for the concussed Cam Newton against Jameis Winston. I realize it’s an upset pick, but I’ll put my money on Winston in that match-up. Give me the Bucs 21-13.
- Redskins at Ravens (1:00 pm, FOX) – Again, I’d really like to pick against the Ravens — and I should have last week. Can Washington follow up on Oakland’s success? Well, their offense isn’t quite as good at scoring, only besting Baltimore by less than four points a game, while their defense gives up ten more points a game. Ravens 24-21 over the Redskins.
- Eagles at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – To paraphrase The Monkees, I saw Carson Wentz … now I’m a believer. Philly doesn’t gain a lot of yardage but they score a lot of points anyway. That’s because their defense only gives up nine points a game and gives the offense lots and lots of short fields. Detroit’s D gives up 25.5 points a game, and has a -3 in takeaways to Philly’s +6. Fuhgeddaboudit. Eagles 31-14 over the Lions.
- Bills at Rams (4:25 pm, CBS) – The Bills knocked off the mighty Pats last week, but the LA Rams have played three good games in a row. The two defenses are fairly evenly matched, but the Bills have the edge on offense. Lately, though, Los Angeles has been able to do some scoring, and I’ll go with the home team for a mild upset. Rams 24-20 over the Bills.
- Giants at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC) – Green Bay’s coming off a bye, and the Giants are coming off a two-TD loss to the same Vikings that hung the Pack’s only loss on them. Defensively they stack up evenly, but on O the Pack scores a touchdown more a game. Call that the difference in this debate loss-leader as the Pack wins 31-24.
- Buccaneers at Panthers (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Without Cam Newton under center, the struggling Panthers look to struggle even more. The Buc’s offense isn’t anything to write home about, but Carolina’s D is coughing up 29.5 points per game. Only four teams are worse … and Tampa Bay’s one of them. Should be a case of who wants to lose more. Derek Anderson’s won his two previous starts for Carolina and could get healthier against Tampa Bay’s terrible secondary. I’ll pick the Panthers to win at home, 35-31.