Jazz: The fact that I’m still kicking off the NFL thread this week doesn’t mean I won, but it also doesn’t mean that I lost. Ed and I took different paths last week, arriving at similar destinations. My 4-3 showing wasn’t bad, but it’s not slipping me much further toward the winner’s circle either. I’m up to 40-29 on the season but I’m looking for a couple of big knockout swings in the bottom half to get some breathing room.
Ed: Sure, my record may literally be 4-3, but I consider it 4-0 and three safe-space freebies. If my three losses went to a Broadway show, I bet the cast wouldn’t even lecture them from the stage. So yes, technically I might have tied with Jazz last week and technically I may have a 37-32 season record, but, er … that’s still better than the Steelers.
Jazz: We only have two feature games this week since the Jets have mercifully slunk home for a break after their latest drubbing. Hopefully they’ll be able to return next week with a new, er… team? The Steelers travel to Cleveland (1:00, CBS) to play the winless, 0-10 Browns. Making Pittsburgh only an 8 point favorite even seems generous, but given how they’ve played recently, who knows? Still even the Jets managed to beat Cleveland so I’ll give this one to the Steelers 24-17. The Vikings host the Cardinals (1:00, FOX) and this one is almost a toss-up. The Vikings have lost four in a row and are averaging less than 5 yards per play and have been plagued with injuries. Arizona is coming off a win, but they’ve been terrible on the road so far this season and they’re coming into the beginning of actual winter in the Midwest. I’ll go with the home field advantage and take the Vikings 28-20.
Ed: Cleveland says they’ll win at least one game this week. They’ll still be looking for that win after today. Steelers 31-17 over the Browns. The Vikings have to somehow find a way to turn their season back around. The good news is that they’re tough at home and the Cards are not a good road team. However, Minnesota has the league’s last-ranked offense, and Arizona’s defense is is almost as good as the Vikes. I’ll go with Arizona for the upset, 24-21.
Jazz: Here’s five more to fill up our slate.
- Titans at Colts (1:00 pm, CBS) – The Titans have had a fairly good season at 5-5 and on paper they *should* be a bit better than Indianapolis, but the colts stacked up 446 yards and 47 points against Green Bay last week and they’re on a roll. They’ve already beaten Tennessee once and they weren’t as healthy then. I’ll take a minor upset on this one and pick the Colts in a shootout 38-31.
- Bears at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – While Jay Cutler has flashes of brilliance, the New York defense is simply too much for the hapless Bears this week. New York runs up their record with a 27-20 win.
- Dolphins at Rams (4:05 pm, FOX) – The Rams are breaking in a new quarterback and the Dolphins are on a four game winning streak and seem to have figured out the defensive problems that plagued them in the early weeks. Miami takes this one 24-13.
- Packers at Redskins (8:30 pm, NBC) – The long maligned Kirk Cousins is currently one of the highest rated passers in the league and the Pack is coming off of a simply abysmal meeting with the Titans. Plus, Green Bay is rated as allowing their opponents to score three out of four times if they make it to the red zone. Never would have imagined myself saying this at the beginning of the season, but I’ll take the Redskins in a close one, 30-27, possibly in OT.
- Texans at Raiders (8:30 pm, ESPN) – This game is, for some reason, in Mexico City, and it’s set up to be a good one. The Raiders are tied for first in the AFC West at 7-2 and the Texans lead the South at 6-3. Both are currently on winning streaks, but the Raiders put up almost five points more per game with defenses that aren’t that far apart. I’ll cross my fingers and take Oakland to win this one south of the border, 24-10. Hopefully they all have working papers to get back into the country.
- Titans at Colts (1:00 pm, CBS) – Two big offenses and two mediocre defenses meet. In this case, home-field advantage will make the difference. Colts 37-34, maybe in OT.
- Bears at Giants (1:00 pm, FOX) – Da Bears and the Giants aren’t all that far apart from each other, statistically. Their won-lost records are, though. Chicago hasn’t won on the road all season, and won’t today either. Giants 24-17 over Da Bears.
- Dolphins at Rams (4:05 pm, FOX) – The Rams need a game changer on offense, and they’re giving it a try this week with Jared Goff at home. I’ll take a flyer on the Rams with a 23-20 win over the Dolphins.
- Packers at Redskins (8:30 pm, NBC) – In any other season, Green Bay would take this game easily. Not this season; the Pack started off inconsistently and have tipped over into mediocrity. Washington’s having a more impressive season, and should be able to handle the Pack today too, 27-21.
- Texans at Raiders (8:30 pm, ESPN) – Houston’s not much of a road team, and Oakland outscores them by almost ten points a game overall. Look for Oakland to win 31-20.