Ed: I’ve had better weeks, but I’ve also had worse. Last week I went 4-3, managing to stay in the black, even though Indianapolis gave away the game at the end. Perhaps I’m finding my rhythm the way Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers found his on Thursday night in beating Da Bears in a sleep-inducing grinder. Right now my season record is 22-20, which means I’m still behind but catching up to Jazz. Slowly.
Jazz: After four straight weeks of 5-2 records I hit a bump in the road last week and came in at 3-4. The sad part is that I said the Jets would lose, but still picked them to win out of loyalty. I could have have at least stayed in the positive balance range without that pick, but I haven’t reached the point yet where I can pick against the home team. I’d best come up with some better choices this week.
Ed: The game of the week is New England at Pittsburgh (4:25 pm ET, CBS) — or at least it was, until Big Ben had to get a torn meniscus fixed. Landry Jones comes in at QB against a stingy Pats defense, while New England’s fifth-ranked offense goes up against an inconsistent Steel Curtain. Nonetheless, the Steelers will prevail, 24-20, er … because. The Jest host the Ravens (1 pm, CBS), and despite only being 1-5, they’re favored by two points. Baltimore allows eight fewer points a game and scores four more than New York. As much as it pains me, I’ll take the Ravens 27-20 over the Jets, but will be rooting in the other direction. Minnesota goes on the road after a bye to Philadelphia (1 pm, FOX) and are favored by three. After looking like Superman in his first three games, Carson Wentz has looked a little more like Clark Kent in his last two. Philadelphia has scored a lot of points because its defense puts the offense in good position, but the Vikes’ D has been even better, and Sam Bradford has done an outstanding job in relief of Teddy Bridgewater at QB. Vikings over the Eagles in a defensive battle, 17-13.
Jazz: I’d love nothing more than to see Ed’s Steelers take down Pittsburgh, but Big Ben has been sent back to the clock shop and the Pats are at full strength. The numbers just aren’t there for an upset pick so while I’ll be rooting for Pittsburgh, I’m picking New England 24-13. Next we can ask ourselves how in the heck the Jets wound up being picked as a two point favorite over the Ravens. Particularly when we’re benching our QB and putting in Geno Smith. With only one week of taking snaps on a regular basis, I think we’re doomed. So I’ll take the Jets to win 17-12. Meanwhile, the Vikings are facing the Eagles. I pretty much hate picking any game the Eagles are in because it generally goes south on me. This pairing isn’t going to feature much in the passing game if recent history is anything to judge by, so I’m going with a low scoring win for the Vikings also. 16-10.
Ed: Let’s pick a few more:
- Redskins at Lions (1 pm, FOX) – The Redskins have a two-point advantage on both sides of the ball, and a four-game winning streak. Detroit has a two-game win streak and are playing at home in the dome. I still think the Redskins probably will win this, but it should be a great game — 31-28 Washington, maybe in OT.
- Raiders at Jaguars (1 pm, CBS) – The Jags are a narrow favorite in this game, but the Raiders score almost five points more a game and only give up less than two points a game more. I’ll take Oakland by a field goal, 27-24.
- Seahawks at Cardinals (8:30 pm, NBC) – Arizona’s offense is more productive on the scoreboard, and the two defenses are only 1.7 points apart. Take the home team to beat the one-point spread. 20-17 Cardinals.
- Texans at Broncos (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – So far, the Texans are winless on the road. The Broncos outscore them by more than five points a game, and Houston’s defense gives up three more points a game. Let’s call that the difference in a 24-16 Denver win.
- Redskins at Lions (1 pm, FOX) – By the numbers, Washington should have a slight edge here, but Cousins has been posting a pretty weak passing percentage. The lions also turn over the ball less often and have the home field advantage. Give me Detroit by 27-24.
- Raiders at Jaguars (1 pm, CBS) – The Raiders have been promising to be sure, but their rushing offense has barely been averaging 70 yds per game lately. Their passing game is suspect and the Jags have the upper hand in that area on D. I’m going to go with the spread and take the Jaguars 33-28.
- Seahawks at Cardinals (8:30 pm, NBC) –
- Texans at Broncos (8:30 pm Monday, ESPN) – We wouldn’t be picking this one if it weren’t the Monday night game. There’s little to say here except that it would take a miracle for the Texans to pull it off and the Jets will use up all of those. Broncos win it 30-13.
This game is almost a wash, but Seattle has had a pretty good history in Arizona of later and Russel Wilson is having one of his best seasons of his career. It should still be a tight match, though, but a bit higher scoring than Ed seems to think. I’ll take the Seahawks, 32-24.