Ed will be back here for the end of the season, but we’ll continue to plod along with the NFL picks until then. This week his Pittsburgh Steelers are matched up with the 9-4 Bengals playing at home. Cincinnati is a two point favorite in this one and the Steel Curtain is out of the playoff race, but their history against the Bengals at Heinz Field will be a lot to overcome. Expect a surprise win from the Steelers, 20-14.
The inevitable, insanity driven Jets cheer leading is going to be a bit tough this week. We’re playing Carolina, who are coming off of a horrible loss to the Saints last week and looking to bounce back and keep their numbers up against an easy opponent. The Panthers have one of the toughest run defenses in the league which will limit Geno Smith’s ability to rely on Chris Ivory to loosen up the secondary with a big ground attack. Leaving Geno to dominate the field on the strength of his arm against the 9-4 Panthers is a pretty much impossible task. So, of course, I’ll take the Jets to win 12 – 6 for no real reason at all.
Last weekend I had an “okay” but not fantastic record of 5 and 2, missing my picks for wins by the Steelers and the Giants. We’d hate to welcome back Ed to the NFL picks on a sour, losing note, so let’s see if we can’t improve on that.
- Bears at Browns (1 pm, Fox) – This one looks like it will be a fun game to watch. Both teams come in with 7-6 records and Cleveland has the home field advantage. But da Bears really need this one to stay alive. Jay Cutler will be back with something to prove, so even though the line has this game as almost even, I’ll take Chicago 34-24.
- Patriots at Dolphins (1 pm, CBS) – New England has a 10-3 record as opposed to the Dolphins lukewarm 7-6, but the Patriots have not played anywhere near as well as that record would indicate. The Dolphins are notorious spoilers in the AFC East, and I’ll take them in an upset 17-14.
- Green Bay at Dallas (4:25 pm, Fox) – Matt Flynn is in for Aaron Rogers again, and he’s proven fairly adept. The Cowboys have been looking pretty awful on the line, but Tony Romo has continued to surprise me. This is one that could go either way. Dallas is a six point favorite on Sunday, and while I don’t think they are that strong, I’ll go with the experts and give them a 30-21 win over the Pack.
- Saints at Rams (4:25 pm, Fox) – This should be a short one. The Saints are a solid one touchdown favorite and a couple of uneven performances have kept their record to 10-3. But one of those losses was to the Jets, proving they can lose when they really try. For my big upset of the week, I’ll take the Rams in a shootout, 34-31.
- Ravens at Lions (Monday 8:40 pm, ESPN) – The Monday night has another two teams with matching 7-6 records who will be spoiling to pick up two more wins. (Spoiling being the key word.) The Lions have been looking strong of late and with the home field advantage, I’ll take them over the Ravens 21-13.