So far, this season has been less than successful for either my Pittsburgh Steelers or my own picks. The Steelers are 0-3, having lost to the Bears last week in a particularly ugly manner. Today they’re in Jolly Old London to play the equally hapless Minnesota Vikings, which produced one prediction on Twitter of a 2-2 tie. (At least Londoners accustomed to soccer might be used to that kind of scoring.) Minnesota’s Christian Ponder will sit this game due to injury, so Matt Cassel will get his first start in a long time. He’ll hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson a lot, one presumes, testing the 22nd-ranked rushing defense that actually improved against the Bears last week. Pittsburgh will put its 9th-ranked passing offense against the 28th-ranked passing defense. This should be a low-scoring game, but I’ll take Pittsburgh over the Vikings, 19-13. Hey, someone’s gotta win the game. I think.
Like I said, I’ve gotten off to a rough start this season on picks. I went 2-4 last week to drop to 8-11 for the season, so I need some good mojo … or something:
- Bears at Lions (1 pm ET, Fox) – The line has Detroit up, but the Bears are undefeated and want to take command of their division. I’m going to go with Chicago on the road, 24-21, maybe in OT.
- Seahawks at Texans (1 pm, Fox) – This should be another exciting matchup. Seattle is playing lights-out football over the last two weeks, while Houston struggled to win two close games before getting blown out by Baltimore on the road last week. I’m going with momentum and taking the Seahawks 31-23 over the Texans.
- Eagles at Broncos (4:25 pm, Fox) – Philly got off to a good start with a win over division rival Washington, but haven’t impressed since. On the other hand, Peyton Manning is on pace to have his best season ever at the age of 37. He’s got a passer rating of 134.7, 12 TDs, and the top-ranked passing offense in the league. The Eagles have the best rushing offense in the league, but Denver also has the best rushing defense, and Manning will shred the 29th-ranked passing defense. Broncos 42-20 over the Eagles.
- Patriots at Falcons (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Patriots are undefeated, but not exactly impressive. They’re only 22nd in the league in passing so far, and just 13th in rushing, and haven’t scored more than 23 points in a game yet. Their rushing defense comes in 24th, so it’s their passing defense that holds them together — sixth-ranked. Atlanta is 1-2 but has scored 24 or more points in two of those three games, and they have the 7th-ranked passing game and 5th-ranked rushing defense in the league. I’ll go with Atlanta, 27-20.
- Dolphins at Saints (MNF, 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Both of these teams are undefeated, and Miami has won two road games already. Miami is coming off of a squeaker, while New Orleans just blew out the Cardinals at home. New Orleans has the edge, especially in the passing game in both directions. The Saints should come marching home with a victory, 31-23.
- BONUS PICK: Jets at Titans (4:05 pm, CBS) – Jazz insists that I make a pick in this game, and it does have some big implications in the AFC playoff hunt down the road. (That’s more than I can say about a Steeler game at the moment … ) The Jets are a lot less mediocre than last year, with everything but its passing offense in the league’s top ten. Tennessee’s rankings aren’t quite as good, but they’re playing at home. Still, I’ll pick the upset and the Jets, 21-17.