Ed: Last week wasn’t a great entry in our prediction threads. Jazz and I have a deal where the prognosticator with the best record from the previous week gets to start the post and choose the four games other than the Steelers, Jets, and Vikings contests. I went a wan 3-3 last week to take my season record to 10-3, and …. I’m starting this week’s post. What happened, Jazz? (If it’s any consolation, my fantasy team stunk it up again last week.)
Jazz: Remind me to look up the word “consolation” when I get done here because it’s not ringing any bells. When Ed opened the door by going 3-3, I managed to head for the basement and pull off a 2-4 week, bringing me to a 6-7 record for the year. At this point I’m going to be scrambling just to get over .500. On the fantasy front, however, I’ve kept my record pristine and now lead the East division. Ed’s St. Paul Sad Sacks are, er… somewhat lower in the standings.
Ed: Let’s see if we can’t both do better this week. The Steelers play the Panthers in Carolina (8:30 pm ET, NBC) , and this will be a tough test for both teams. At the moment Carolina is only a 4-point favorite, which may be surprising given how poorly the Steelers played in Baltimore. I’ll pick the upset with a 24-20 win for the Steelers. The Vikings travel to New Orleans to take on the somehow-winless Saints in their home opener (1 pm, Fox). Without Adrian Peterson and a good defense, expect the Saints to have a breakout day, 33-13. The Jets take on the Bears at home for Monday Night Football (8:30 pm, ESPN), and both teams have seen ups and downs already. Despite blowing a big lead in Green Bay last week, though, the Jets have played more consistently well, and are coming home looking for revenge after the embarrassing loss. I’ll take the Jets in a 28-24 win.
Jazz: I originally thought I should just start picking whatever Ed picks, but that won’t catch me up in the race. Maybe I should just start flipping a coin? Ed is taking the Steelers, but today I’m going to throw my lot in with the Vegas line and take the Panthers, 21-10. For the second pick, I have no idea how the Saints manage to keep losing – and they may just find a way to do it again today – but picking against a 10 point spread is too much for me. I’ll also take the Saints over Vikings 31-7. And in the big Monday night match-up, I think that my Jets have demonstrated that they are contenders. They may have lost last week, but it was against a team which most of the experts picked to go to the Superbowl. They were leading them big at half time and only failed to go into OT by having a touchdown called back due to an embarrassing time out call. Tomorrow the Jets will stomp the Bears in New Jersey, 35-24.
Ed: Here’s my slate of games to watch today:
- Broncos at Seahawks (4:25, CBS) – This will be Denver’s first road game, but they’ve already been a little inconsistent in their two home wins. They are going into one of the toughest road venues in the league, although the Seahawks have looked a little sketchy so far, too. It should be a good game, and even though it’s probably crazy to pick against Seattle at home, I’ll call the upset in this one — Denver 33-30.
- 49ers at Cardinals (4:05, Fox) – The Cardinals are playing at home, and this is probably enough of an edge — well, that and the 3rd-ranked run defense in the league. Arizona 27-23 over San Francisco.
- Redskins at Eagles (1:00, Fox) – This great rivalry may be more focused on the game than the players with RGIII out for a few weeks. Kirk Cousins performed admirably in relief last week, and on paper this is a tougher team than the Eagles. They have a top-five defense against both the pass and the run, and their rushing offense is 3rd in the league. Some of that offense (and defense) came at the expense of Jacksonville, but still. My first instinct was to go with the Eagles, but perhaps Washington might surprise a few people. I’ll pick the Team That Shall Not Be Named 30-24 over Philly.
- Packers at Lions (1:00, Fox) – The NFL Central division is up for grabs, with everyone at 1-1 today. The Packers are coming off an emotional win at home, while the Lions a tough loss on the road. Green Bay is looking less formidable than in years gone by, though, and on the road don’t seem to be the same team. The Lions should win a high-scoring game, 35-31.
- Broncos at Seahawks (4:25, CBS) – I’m starting Manning in one of my other fantasy leagues and I hate to jinx him, but even given a few shaky looks, the 12th man in Seattle is probably their best player. Their defense is coming back to form from all accounts and they should be able to hold Peyton to a modest day of air attacks. I’ll break with Ed and take Seattle 24-21.
- 49ers at Cardinals (4:05, Fox) – Arizona’s run defense is hot to be sure, and Colin Kaepernick had a horrible week against the Bears, but that stinging lesson will probably give him some focus. San Francisco still has a world class air attack and a lot of talent. I’ll break with Ed yet again and give the 49ers the edge over Arizona 34-24.
- Redskins at Eagles (1:00, Fox) – Kirk Cousins definitely looked promising last week when RGIII headed for the medical bay and I have a soft spot in my heart for the hapless Redskins. (Yes, I will say their name.) But the Eagles have looked like monsters this year and I see them continuing their undefeated run with yet another victory over Washington, 24-10.
- Packers at Lions (1:00, Fox) – Both of these teams have been, frankly, unpredictable so far. It’s tough to say which Packers and which Lions will come out of the locker room. With nothing else solid to go on, I came up with the exact same call as Ed on this one. Lions, 35-31.