Ed: I’m on vacation this week, but after going 7-0 last week, moving my season record to 46-31, it’s tough for me to stay away. I had a better week than Myles Garrett, Mason Rudolph, and 31 other players from that bizarre end to the Steelers-Brown game last week. Garrett has a vacation for the rest of the season and a couple of others will have this week off too. Garrett’s not happy about it, but his latest excuse for swinging the helmet might make next week’s game in Pittsburgh verrrry interesting.
Jazz: I suppose I can’t complain too loudly. I had a decent outing last week, going 5-2, leaving me at 43-34 on the season, well above the .500 mark. But Ed has been on fire lately, and I’m quickly sinking back toward runner up status. The only other pattern I’ve seen developing is that whenever I pick my Jets to lose, they find a way to win. Perhaps I’ll just keep picking against them for the rest of the year and see if we can’t sneak into wildcard contention. Naw… I’m too much of a sucker to play it that smart.
Ed: Let’s start with this week’s match with the Steelers at Bengals (1 pm ET, CBS), with Cincinnati still looking for its first win of the season. Pittsburgh’s offense is limping into Cincy, but the Bengals’ D is the worst in the league and their O isn’t much better. Expect a low-scoring game with Pittsburgh’s D making the difference. Steelers 16-9 over Bengals. Next up, we have the Raiders at Jets (1 pm, CBS), with both teams coming off wins. Oakland is not much of a road team, and their defenses are roughly equal at points allowed, but the Jets have the worst offense in the league. Raiders 23-14 over the Jets. The Vikings are off this week after their big comeback last Sunday, which they will hopefully use to figure out how they got behind 20-0 at home against the Broncos in the first place.
Jazz: As far as the Steelers go, Mason Rudolph has been looking… not so great. Still, he and the rest of the Pittsburgh team aren’t looking “Lose to the Bungles” bad. Their defense makes up for many sins, so I’ll go with the Steelers over the Bengals, 17-6. And now we come to the dreaded task of predicting the Jets game. The 3-7 Jets are somehow only a three-point underdog against the 6-4 Raiders. New York is on a two game winning streak, but it came against two of the worst teams in the league. Still, the offensive line has actually been providing protection and Gang Green currently has one of the highest rated defenses in the league. I’m going to go out on a limb and pick the Jets over the Raiders 24-20.
Let’s pick five more intriguing games:
- Panthers at Saints (1 pm, CBS) – An interesting game in a couple of ways, but especially if Kyle Allen continues to collapse. The Panthers are rumored to be interested in Colin Kaepernick if Allen can’t get his head together, and the Saints’ sixth-ranked defense is going to make that difficult — plus they want some revenge for Allen’s shock victory against them last year. Maybe Kaep gets the call before Thanksgiving. Saints 35-20 over the Panthers.
- Seahawks at Eagles (1 pm, Fox) – The Eagles are tough to predict this season, but the Seahawks are unbeaten on the road this year and riding a three-game winning streak. I’ll pick them for the mild upset, Seattle 28-24 over Philly.
- Cowboys at Patriots (4:25 pm, Fox) – The Cowboys are also inconsistent this year, with the Pats undefeated at home. The two teams score about the same number of points per game, but the New England defense is tops in the league and only giving up 11 points per game. This should also be a low-scoring affair, with the Pats over the ‘Boys 21-13.
- Packers at 49ers (8:20 pm, NBC) – The Packers are a good road team, but this is a tough team to beat at home. San Francisco is higher ranked on both sides of the ball and playing in friendly confines, too. 49ers over the Pack, 27-21.
- Ravens at Rams (8:15 pm Monday, ESPN) – The two defenses are roughly similar in points allowed, but the Ravens score ten more points per game. As much as I’m rooting against them … Ravens 34-24 over the Rams.
- Panthers at Saints (1 pm, CBS) – Drew Brees hasn’t looked impressive since his return, but their offense has the fewest turnovers in the league and their defense makes up for the rest of their sins. This should be an easy victory for New Orleans. Saints over Panthers 24-12.
- Seahawks at Eagles (1 pm, Fox) – The Eagles are a slight favorite to win at home, but Russel Wilson has been doing an amazing job against some of the toughest defenses in the league lately. I’m going to agree with Ed and take the upset here. Seahawks over Eagles, 31-28.
- Cowboys at Patriots (4:25 pm, Fox) – While New England is plagued by injuries and their ground game has ground to a halt, they’re still going to be too much for the Cowboys at home. I’d love to be wrong on this one, but I’ll take Patriots over Cowboys 20-9.
- Packers at 49ers (8:20 pm, NBC) – If this game had taken place a few weeks ago I’d have taken San Francisco, but their running game has tanked after losing two of their best players to injury. I’m going with another slight upset here and taking the Packers over the 49ers 27-24.
- Ravens at Rams (8:15 pm Monday, ESPN) – Tough game to call because both of these teams have been on a roll. The 49ers allow fewer points on defense, but Baltimore puts up a lot more on offense. I’m going to go with the Ravens over the Rams 28-20.