Jazz: Things improved slightly last week when I went 5-2, bringing my season record to 24-18. I’ll need to have a few more weeks at least that good to get any sort of cushion over the .500 mark. My mood was considerably brightened by the Jets somehow defeating the Colts last week and starting to actually look like possible contenders again. (They’ll need more than that today, though.) So with the first snow on the ground up where I live and a faint glimmer of hope, onward we go.
Ed: And hey, they improved for me too … which is why I tied Jazz again, this time at 5-2 for the week. I’ve finally broken even for the season too, 21-21, but still trailing in the Hot Air sweepstakes. Jazz has been throwing me some bones the last couple of weeks, and this time … I may not be too proud to pick at least one of them up.
Jazz: The Jets meet the Vikings in New Jersey (1:00 pm, FOX) today and this one is going to be tough. The Vegas line only has Minneapolis up by a field goal, which says a lot for how our rookie QB has been coming along, but the secondary has several key injuries this week on defense. With little more going for me than home field advantage, I’m going to pull a Joe Namath and guarantee another shocking New York upset. Jets surprise everyone and win it with a last minute drive 27-24. Pittsburgh has the week off so we should have at least one more team for a guest feature match. I’m too embarrassed to feature the Giants even though they share a field with the Jets, so let’s show some love for Da Bears, hosting the Patriots in Chicago (1:00 pm, CBS). The Bears are coming off a soul-crushing loss to the Dolphins and will be out for revenge. I hope they get it, and the Patriots have been terrible on the road this year, losing very winnable games to the Jaguars and Lions. Crossing my fingers and giving Ed a chance here by picking another upset. Bears win 21-17.
Ed: The Vikings-Jets game looks like a fun matchup. Both teams are on a two-game win streak, and both appear to have fixed some defensive issues. The Vikes are a little better against the pass than the Jets, however, and Kirk Cousins has more experience in the pocket — plus he has Adam Thielen. Minnesota’s slightly better against the run than New York too, which means Cousins can play a ground-control offense to eat up the clock when he needs. I’ll pick the Vikes 24-20 over the J-E-T-S. In Chicago, I’ll probably root for Da Bears but I’m not picking against the Pats, not when it looks as though they’ve solved most of their September woes. Two of Chicago’s three wins have come against poor-quality opponents, and they just got beat in Miami after their bye week. Hungry they may be, but the Pats are riding a three-game win streak after handing Patrick Mahomes his first loss of the year. New England wins 31-20 on the road in Chicago.
Jazz: Here’s five more so we still have an odd number of picks.
- Lions at Dolphins (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Dolphins have somehow run up a 4-2 record,, but they’re playing a slightly higher caliber team in the new and improved Lions. While Detroit isn’t always strong on the road, Miami’s defense should be a custom fit for the offense they’ve put together this season. I’m going to go with the line on this one and take Detroit in a 27-20 road victory.
- Saints at Ravens (4:05 pm, FOX) – The Ravens have been going crazy with their sack attack, given passing teams a lot of trouble this season. But New Orleans has a tough front line and Drew Brees tends to get the ball away quickly. Baltimore is a slight favorite but I’ll go with another mild upset and take the Saints in a 31-28 shootout.
- Cowboys at Redskins (4:25 pm, CBS) – This game is fun to pick because it’s such an ancient NFC rivalry. Probably not a high scoring affair, but I think Dak Prescott has shown the mobility to keep clear of the Redskins pass rush. Plus the Skins haven’t been putting that many points on the board. Give me the Cowboys 21-16.
- Bengals at Chiefs (8:20 pm, NBC) – The Sunday Night game should be a fun one. With these two teams, the winner is going to need to put up at least 30 points. The Chiefs stumbled against the Patriots, but they’ve got enough in the tank for Cincinnati. Kansas City wins 34-27.
- Giants at Falcons (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – It’s the Monday night game so I guess we’ll pick it. Sadly, most of the magic is gone from New York’s game on both sides of the ball. I’m not counting on two Big Apple miracles in one week, so I’ll have to take the Falcons 27-17.
- Lions at Dolphins (1:00 pm, FOX) – Detroit hasn’t won on the road yet this year, and they won’t start today. Miami will be fired up after their come-from-behind win last week and will find a way to outlast the Lions too, 23-19.
- Saints at Ravens (4:05 pm, FOX) – I’m definitely rooting for the Saints here, as Pittsburgh needs to catch up to the Ravens in the AFC North. But holy cow, Baltimore is playing nearly lights-out defense this season. They’re ranked #3 against the rush and #2 against the pass. New Orleans is #1 against the rush, but 30th against the pass. The Saints have the #3 offense overall, but Baltimore is ninth and no slouch on that side of the ball. Hoping I’m wrong, but I’ll predict the Ravens beat the Saints 24-19.
- Cowboys at Redskins (4:25 pm, CBS) – Speaking of D, the ‘Boys come into Washington with the fourth-ranked defense on YPG and second in points per game allowed. The Redskins are fifth and tenth, respectively. Neither team has a sparkling offense, but Dallas blew out a good Jaguars defense last week. I’ll go with Dallas in a low-scoring affair, 20-14.
- Bengals at Chiefs (8:20 pm, NBC) – Both teams are coming off losses last week, but the Chiefs roared back in the second half against the Pats and nearly won it. Cincinnati doesn’t have the offense or the defense to hold off Mahomes and the Chiefs. Kansas City wins this 35-21.
- Giants at Falcons (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – Atlanta’s beatable this year, but not by a team riven with dissension and seemingly throwing in the towel. The Falcons should easily handle the Giants at home even without Devonta Freeman on the field, 34-17.