Jazz: It was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was a mediocre week where I managed to go 4-3, barely keeping my head above water and bringing my season record to an unimpressive 15-13. The Jets looked mediocre in their loss to the Jaguars. I would ask how much worse it could possibly be, but in reality, it could be twice as bad I suppose.
Ed: And it was so good while it lasted. After finally getting off the schneid and having an above-.500 week in our previous installment, I slid back to 3-4 this week. That puts me at 12-16 for the season, one of my slower starts in memory. It’s beginning to look a lot more like Pittsburgh’s start than New Englands, especially after the Pats’ impressive home win over the Colts on Thursday.
Jazz: I had a dream all week that the Steelers beat Baltimore. Turns out I was wrong. Now they host the Atlanta Falcons (1:00 pm, FOX). Pittsburgh is somehow a three-point favorite over the 1-3 Falcons, despite having a defense that’s allowing everyone to score on them more often than an escort during Fleet Week. Fortunately for the Steelers, the Falcons’ defense is possibly even worse. I’ll go with the home field advantage in a high scoring game. Steelers 34-31. The Jets haven’t won a game since week one, but now they’re hosting the Broncos (1:00 pm, CBS) in a game where even the Vegas line favors them by a point. To be clear, the Jets totally have the ability to lose to the 2-2 Broncos, particularly if our rookie QB keeps acting like a… rookie QB. But here’s to hoping this is the week where he turns it around. I’ll stick with the Jets to win at home 21-17. The Vikings travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (4:25 pm, FOX) in a replay of last year’s NFC Championship contest, but neither team looks like they did last year. The Kirk Cousins v Carson Wentz matchup should make for an entertaining spectacle, particularly since neither team’s secondary has looked very good on defense. It looks like a tossup to me, but I’ll go with the Vegas line and take the Eagles, 30-24.
Ed: Steelers at home usually means they play tough defense, but right now they’re ranked 28th on that side of the ball and 29th against the pass. Atlanta’s not that much better, though, and they give up a few more points per game than Pittsburgh. I’ll go with the same score as Jazz, 34-31 Steelers. The Jets actually score a couple of more points per game than Denver and they give up a couple fewer on defense, too. Add that to home-field advantage, and I’ll take Darnold over Keenum, 27-24. The Vikings travel to Philadelphia, but it’s not going to be Cousins vs Wentz. It’ll be a tale of two defenses, one of which can’t stop the run — and that’s not the Eagles. Wentz gets to grind down Minnesota’s already suspect D and win big, 31-14.
- Jaguars at Chiefs (1:00 pm, CBS) – The Jaguars have been on fire this season, but they’ve cooled off a bit with Leonard Fournette being injured. He’s still out this week. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are undefeated for a reason and they’ve put up more points than any other team in the NFL. I think the Jags will give them a run for their money, but come up short. Chiefs remain undefeated, 27-24.
- Packers at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – Who would have guessed at the beginning of the season that the Packers would only be a one-point favorite over the Lions? Aaron Rodgers was drawing the boo birds last week, but he’s got to bounce back. The Lions have a strong pass defense, but if anyone can pick them apart it’s Green Bay. I’ll go with the Packers 21-13.
- Cowboys at Texans (8:20 pm, NBC) – This game is mostly fun for the Lone Star State rivalry element. The Texans are off to a slow start but the Cowboys aren’t doing much better. Assuming Dak Prescott continues to show some signs of life as he did last week, he’ll mostly be facing single coverage this week. Also, the Texans’ ground game isn’t good enough to conquer the Dallas D. I’ll go with the Cowboys 27-17.
- Redskins at Saints (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – The MNF game may not be as exciting as I would have imagined at the beginning of the season. Still, these are two teams with questionable defenses but the ability to put serious points on the board. I think Drew Brees makes the difference here and the Saints come out on top 31-27.
- Jaguars at Chiefs (1:00 pm, CBS) – Jacksonville has the #2 defense in the league, and the top-ranked defense against the pass. The Chief’s defense is 30th, and 31st against the pass. If there was a matchup that could clip Patrick Mahomes’ wings, it’s this one, even at home. I’ll go for the big upset and pick the Jags, 24-17.
- Packers at Lions (1:00 pm, FOX) – This should be an excellent matchup, especially since both teams are trying to catch up to Da Bears. Green Bay has the edge on defense, but mainly because Detroit’s dead last against the rush. The Packers don’t really have a traditional rushing game, though. I’ll give the Lions the home-field edge in a shootout, 35-27.
- Cowboys at Texans (8:20 pm, NBC) – Houston’s scoring a lot more points than Dallas, but they give back some of that advantage on defense. At home, though, I think they have enough to beat Dallas, 28-24.
- Redskins at Saints (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – Washington’s top-ranked defense — more importantly, #3 against the pass — will have to stop New Orleans’ sixth-ranked offense while in the Superdome. The Redskins don’t have a very strong offense, but the Saints are giving up 30 points a game, too. Defense wins games, so I’ll take the Redskins on the road this time, 20-14.