Ed: Welcome to Week 10, in which the two titans of prognostication have their teams go head to head for the Hot Air Super Bowl! Last week worked out pretty well for me, as my picks went 6-1 to raise my season record to 41-19. Jazz did … a little more poorly, which is why I get to kick off this week’s open thread. At the same time, I won my fifth fantasy football game in a row, keeping me in a tie for first place in my Politinerds division.
Jazz: Hello. You’ve reached the office of Jazz Shaw. Holding a current Hot Air record of 27 and 33, while falling to 2nd place at Politinerds, Jazz has taken a brief medical leave. Please leave a message after the beep.
Ed: The game this week is the Steelers at the Jets, and Pittsburgh could hardly come into town any hotter than they are right now. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 12 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last two games, an NFL record, and two weeks ago became the only NFL quarterback to throw two 500-yard games in a career. The addition of Martavis Bryant to the receiving corps has made their passing game almost impossible to stop, and the one-two punch of La’Veon Bell and LeGarrett Blount in the backfield forces defenses to respect the run. Expect that to continue in a 35-17 drubbing of the Jets today. The Vikes have a bye today, so I predict that, er, they won’t lose.
By the way — I’m starting all of my Steelers in my fantasy league this week. That’s how confident I am in today’s outcome. Usually that means I’m wrong, but … hopefully not today.
Jazz: At the beginning of the season, Ed and I were both looking forward to this meeting of the titans of football. At the time I was still convinced that the Jets were on course for a great season with their new acquisitions and Geno Smith having had a full off season to get in shape. At this point, well… Ed is still optimistic at least. But hey! We’re playing at home. The Jets have always enjoyed the role of playing the spoiler if nothing else. Break out the popcorn. The Sons of Anarchy will plant Big Ben on his butt repeatedly and whichever cheerleader we suit up at quarterback will somehow move the ball down the field. Jets win in a massive upset, 17 – 7. And I predict the Vikings won’t win.
Ed: Let’s take a look at some of the other games in the league, and make some picks (all times Eastern):
- Chiefs at Bills (1 pm, CBS) – Last year, no one would have expected this to be a good game, and especially not a significant one. Both teams are 5-3 this year and real contenders for playoff spots. KC has a three-game win streak, and Buffalo a two-game win streak. I’d be tempted to pick the home team, but the Chiefs’ rushing game and their top-ranked pass defense looks like an edge. KC 20-14 over the Bills in a slow game.
- 49ers at Saints (1 pm, Fox) – San Francisco has a great defense; New Orleans has a great offense, especially at home. New Orleans looks like it’s finally getting its act together, but the 49ers seem to be struggling. The Saints win this one at home, 31-20.
- Rams at Cardinals (4:25 pm, Fox) – St. Louis shocked San Francisco last week, but they’re playing the NFL’s top team at the moment on their home turf. They may make it interesting, but they won’t beat Arizona, who’s undefeated at home and won’t lose that status to the Rams. Cardinals 27-17.
- Bears at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC) – Both teams are coming off bye weeks preceded by big losses. Green Bay seems to have its act more together than Chicago, whose bye period was marked by controversy. The Pack is undefeated at home this season, the weather will be cold, and they have more to lose than the Bears with a bad game. Pack wins in a freezer, 23-19.
- Panthers at Eagles (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Jazz will love this game, where Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez will quarterback Philly against Cam Newton and Carolina. The Eagles have not lost yet at home, while Carolina has not had a win in four weeks (0-3-1, a tie against Cincinatti). The Eagles have the eighth-ranked rushing offense even if Sanchez takes the luster off the fifth-ranked rushing offense, but Carolina is mediocre in almost every phase of its game. Assuming Sanchez can keep from running into his own linemen, Eagles should win this home game, 27-20.
- Chiefs at Bills (1 pm, CBS) – Kyle Orton has surprised a lot of people at QB for the Bills and in a very weak AFC East, they are beginning to smell the scent of a playoff spot. KC has been hot, but I’ll take the home field advantage and go with the Bills 24-21 in a squeaker.
- 49ers at Saints (1 pm, Fox) – I have to go with Ed on this one. The Saints have burned me a number of times this year and are not looking like a Superbowl contender. With that said, the niners have a lot of explaining to do for their failure to live up to the hype and the Superdome gives a nice advantage. I’ll take New Orleans, but in a lower scoring outing, 14-9.
- Rams at Cardinals (4:25 pm, Fox) – The Cardinals are a huge favorite over the Rams and I see no reason to argue. Arizona has only allowed six sacks of Carson Palmer in five games. I’ll also take the Cardinals 34-13.
- Bears at Packers (8:30 pm, NBC) – The Pack has a very strong history against Jay Cutler, but the Bears are in desperation mode. If they get swept by the Pack they have essentially no shot at a playoff berth. They’ll find a way to come on strong in the arctic blast and win this thing 34-27 over Green Bay.
- Panthers at Eagles (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – Ah, the return of Mark Sanchez as a starter in the NFL. And a winning one at that. Is there any salt left in the Jets’ shaker to pour into the wounds? But I have to agree with Ed, Philly should handle this one, even with a butt fumble or two tossed in. I’ll take Philadelphia 33-27.