NFL Week 14 open thread

A number of you scoffed last week at my prediction that the Pittsburgh Steelers would beat the Baltimore Ravens on the road with Charlie Batch under center.  Too late you see my wisdom in picking that upset, and in almost getting the score right too. (Actually, I was questioning my own sanity while making that pick, so …) This week, though, Ben Roethlisberger returns, the Steelers are at home, and they face the San Diego Chargers.  This should be a good re-entry for Big Ben, and the Steelers should easily handle the 4-8 Bolts.  Steelers 28-17 over the Chargers.

By the way, be sure to watch this game on CBS at 1 ET.  If you keep an eye on the stands, you might see … me!  I’ll be at the game, and if I can find someone to paint my head to look like a Steeler helmet, I’m going to have a new Twitter avi.  Meanwhile, I do plan on live-tweeting the game, so be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Last week I went 4-2 on my picks to go 56-25 on the season.  Can I do better today? Let’s see:

  • Bears at Vikings (1 pm, Fox) – Da Bears got beat at home last week, and have lost Brian Urlacher and have other problems on defense.  The Vikes play tough at home, and they need a win here to stay in the playoff hunt.  Vikes 31, Bears 21.
  • Cowboys at Bengals (1 pm, Fox) – Both teams are desperate for wins in order to keep their playoff chances from getting wiped out.  The Bengals aren’t especially good at home (3-3), and the Cowboys aren’t especially bad on the road (3-3).  The line has Cincinnati up by 3, but I’ll pick the Cowboys to win an upset, 27-24, perhaps in OT.
  • Ravens at Redskins (1 pm, CBS) – The Ravens still control the AFC North despite their loss to Pittsburgh last week, but it’s looking shaky.  They aren’t quite the same on the road as at home, and they’re coming up against RGIII and an improving Washington squad that matches up well against them.  I’ll pick the Redskins to put another dent in the Ravens’ momentum, 24-20.
  • Lions at Packers (8:20 pm, NBC) – I’ll be flying home while Bob Costas offers more of his wisdom on social issues, but this game should be a really tough-fought contest.  Detroit has had a disappointing season after a couple of years of improvement, and the Pack seems to be getting back on track, if I may offer a little poetry.  I think this will still be close, perhaps OT, with Green Bay prevailing 31-24.
  • Texans at Patriots (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – This should be a terrific game, and now that I’m out of school, I can watch at least some of it.  The Texans are undefeated on the road, and the Pats are 4-1 at home.  It’s usually a bad idea to pick against New England at home in the winter, but the Pats have already sewn up their division, and Houston hasn’t — and they need to make sure that the road to the Super Bowl doesn’t go through New England.  I’m picking the Texans in a shootout, 35-31.