Jazz: I’m now looking over my shoulder for the other shoe to drop. Don’t ask me how, but I once again went 7-0 last week, bringing my season record to 33-23 and only one game behind Ed. Will this be the week that brutal reality comes crashing back down on my head? Given how I started the season, I won’t be too surprised.
Ed: Dagnabbit, you go 5-2 and you think you’re having a good week, only to see Jazz tailgating you. I’m at 34-22 and generally feeling pretty good about things, but I feel like I’m winning my way back to second place. If I’m gonna lose, let me lose. (We’ll see if I make that foolish wish come true!)
Jazz: The Jets travel to Miami to play the Dolphins (1:00 pm, CBS) in what Ian Rapparport of the NFL Network has dubbed “the Dud Bowl” ( a play on words harking back to their legendary “Mud Bowl” AFC championship game long ago). Sam Darnold has completed enough passes to be a leading QB except for the number of receivers who were wearing the wrong uniform. But the Dolphins are simply awful too. I’ll cross my fingers and pick my Jets for their second win. New York over Miami 17-9. The Steelers host the Colts (1:00 pm, CBS) who have won three in a row. Pittsburgh’s QB has been something of a disappointment and the Colts’ defense, while not doing all that great on defense, should be able to handle this, though Pittsburgh should keep it close. Colts over Steelers 24-21. The Vikings Visit the Chiefs (1:00 pm, FOX) in Kansas City where the Chiefs are holding on to first place in the AFC West. But the Vikings have the better record and put more points on the board every week. They’re also on a four-game winning streak. They’ll extend that to five today. Vikings over Chiefs 31-20.
Ed: The Dolphins are starting to become a little more competitive of late, but Darnold has the Jets playing well too. They’re scoring the same number of points per game — eleven — but the Jets D is significantly better than Miami’s. I’ll also take the Jets 20-10 over the Dolphins. Pittsburgh played a really good second half last week, and their defense is better than Indy’s, so let’s say Steelers 24-17 over the Colts. In KC, all of the focus will be on whether the Chiefs start Patrick Mahomes or Matt Moore, but the Vikings’ defense might be the biggest variable. They’re 8th against the pass and seventh against the rush, which makes this game a bad choice to put Mahomes and a dodgy knee back on the field — especially when Moore did a credible job last week. (And late last night, ESPN reported that Mahomes would sit this out.) Like Jazz, I think the variables favor the visiting team, with Vikings 28-23 over the Chiefs.
Jazz: Here’s four more games to fill out our dance card for the week.
- Bears at Eagles (1:00 pm, FOX) – The 3-4 Bears and the 4-4 Eagles are both watching their playoff chances slip away unless someone gets on a serious roll. But while the Eagles looking surprisingly strong against the Bills last week, the Bears… did not. In fact, after starting off strong they’ve dropped three in a row. Philadelphia will make it four in a row. Eagles over Bears 28-17.
- Packers at Chargers (4:25 pm, CBS) – The Packers are looking tough to beat all season, but the Chargers were starting to show some signs of life last time out. I don’t know why, but I just have a sense that this one is going to be closer than people think and Los Angeles will pull something out of their magical hat and surprise Green Bay. Chargers over Packers 30-21.
- Patriots at Ravens (8:20 pm, NBC) – I’m picking the Sunday night game because sooner or later somebody has to beat the damn Patriots or I’m going to lose my mind. Baltimore is the toughest team they’ve faced yet, and if anyone has a chance I think it’s them. New England is a three-point favorite, but I’m taking the Ravens over the Patriots 24-17.
- Cowboys at Giants (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – The Cowboys are only holding onto a shakey first place in the NFC East, but the Giants haven’t looked good in over a month. No surprises are in store on Monday night. Cowboys over Giants 33-13.
- Bears at Eagles (1:00 pm, FOX) – I picked against the Eagles last week, but I won’t make that mistake with them playing at home. Da Bears are still playing good defense, but their offense is moribund. Eagles 20-16 over Da Bears.
- Packers at Chargers (4:25 pm, CBS) – The Chargers are playing just well enough to almost win these days. Packers 31-24 over the Chargers.
- Patriots at Ravens (8:20 pm, NBC) – The two teams score almost the same number of points per game, but the Pats have the top-ranked overall defense — and are #2 against the pass. The Ravens’ pass D is seventh from the bottom. Patriots 35-24 over the Ravens.
- Cowboys at Giants (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – Dallas has the top-ranked offense and eighth-ranked defense, but has a tendency to underperform. Unfortunately for the Giants, so do they with less talent. Cowboys 30-20 over the Giants.