Last week, I struggled to 7-7, now 35-27 overall. Some unusual match-ups this week.
• GB @ Wash (+2.5). Wow, the Packers have now apparently lost Ryan Grant, Nick Barnett and Morgan Burnett for the season. 3 valuable starters. And this Sunday, they could be without starters Mark Tauscher and Nick Collins. Not pretty. Tempted to take Wash here but I’m so unimpressed by the Wash offense. Not sure what to do….but need to make a pick…panicking…tie. GB 23, Wash 23.
• Chic @ Car (+2.5). Anyone else still trying to figure out how Chicago’s O-Line completely shut out the NFL’s best pass rusher in Clay Matthews a couple weeks ago (with mostly 1-on-1 coverage) only to give up 10 sacks to the lowly NYG the next week? Homefield officiating – that’s how. Car is really bad this year so I’ve got to go ahead and pick…wait a minute, just read that Todd Collins will start at QB this week for the Bears. Collins wasn’t awful with the Skins a in his last stint, but he will be absolutely awful this Sunday. Considering Jimmy Clausen’s crappiness, this may be the first NFL game ever without a pass. Meanwhile the Bears’ Doctors continue to mistakenly believe Jay Cutler has a concussion when really he’s just been on a bender the last 2 weeks. Car 24, Chic 16.
• Den @ Balt (-6.5). Kyle Orton is on pace to break Dan Marino’s single season passing yards record. Yes, Kyle Orton. But the surprise in Denver so far is a competent defense. Many thought the loss of Elvis Dumervil for the year and the loss of D Coordinator Mike Nolan would be too much to overcome. This is a good team…and I’ve just talked myself into a highly improbable upset. Den 27, Bal 20.
• Jax @ Buff (+1.5). Funny that the spread is only +1.5 for a 2-2 team playing an 0-4 team that just lost one of its prominent RBs. Speaks to the lack of faith people have in the consistently inconsistent Jaguars. Buff 24, Jax 21.
• TB @ Cincy (-6.5). Check out this “argument” by Cincy head coach Marvin Lewis. He’s whining that TB snatched a good WR off Cincy’s practice squad by…gosh forbid (being Christian PC)…paying him more. Kate-Moss-like thinness to it. This reasoning is further evidence to me that Mike Zimmer (D Coordinator) is the only reason Cincy is a decent team anymore. Cincy 30, TB 19.
• Atl @ Cleve (+3.5). Atlanta has had 3 games decided on the game’s last play (and one blowout win). Cleve has lost 3 games by a total of 12 points and won their only game by 3. Close game. Cleve 24, Atl 23.
• St.L @ Det (-3.5). Insulting to be dogs to a redefeated team (my term for a winless team), when your team is 2-2. But the fact is, Detroit is a good team this year and their talent will be on full display Sunday. Detroit 34, StL 20.
• NYG @ Hou (-3.5). Sign of a fractured team? Wildly inconsistent play (see Jax). The NYG’s defensive explosion last week won’t be repeated. The better team will undress the NYG and the resulting nudity will lead to more chatter about the disharmony created by Tom Coughlin. Hou 41, NYG 17.
• KC @ Indy (+7.5). Is KC for real? Is Indy in decline? Can Indy manage through the loss of 2 valuable safeties (Bullitt, Sanders)? Indy is fine. KC is good too. I expect KC will try to control the clock (with Thomas Jones/Charles) and keep Manning off the field. But it won’t work when they fall behind. Then they’ll start turning it over. KC’s only chance here is a special teams gem from Dexter McCluster. Indy 33, KC 24.
• NO @ AZ (+6.5). AZ in a blowout. Why? Because sometimes in Week 5, strange, inexplicable things happen. Beanie Wells and new starting QB Max Hall will feature and inspire a mentally flat Cardinal team. AZ 31, NO 16.
• SD @ Oak (+6.5). Read here from Jim Trotter at CNNSI.com. He takes on a question that lots of folks have been wondering about for a long time: how does Antonio Gates not just get open, but get so wide open so often? Funny quotes from Phillip River who himself seems surprised by how open their obvious #1 playmaker often is. If Oak was smart, they’d put Asomugha on him but I’m pretty sure Oak isn’t smart. SD 27, Oak, 21.
• Tenn @ Dal (-6.5). Tenn D Coordinator Chuck Cecil (a former, brutally intense Packer safety) was fined $40,000 for giving an official the finger last week. Anyone else confused by the toughest and most bruising of sports levying huge fines for someone hurting someone else’s feelings with a hand gesture? Back when Cecil played, he probably could have punched (and probably did punch) an official with a fraction of the consequence. Dal 34, Tenn 21.
• Phil @ SF (-3.5). This is the last week I’m picking San Fran. They have had a difficult schedule thus far and haven’t played great, but for some reason, I refuse to think they’re THAT bad. A Vickless Eagle team could struggle in this one – if they win, it will be because of coaching. SF 20, Phil 16.
• MN @ NYJ (-4.5). It will be interesting to see how Minnesota Moss (dumb name I know, but it will grow on you) does against Revis Peninsula (injury has left Revis less remote – by the way, notice how all holdouts end up with hamstring injuries…there are no exceptions, all of them). As a Packer fan, I’m as excited about the Vikings getting Randy Moss as I am “taking a few moments to close our eyes and quietly practice mindfulness” before a work meeting. It’s a smart move by Vikes’ management though – recognizing the team needed a massive jolt with their brutal upcoming schedule. But because of this schedule, the jolt could well have come too late. NYJ 17, MN 13.
Andy Hayes is a workplace consultant and a weekly sports columnist for TheDC. He lives in Brookfield, WI and has been a Green Bay Packer fan since age one second. Andy is the editor of Packergeeks.com, a Packer blog. He is married and the father of an active 3 year old boy (whom Andy is grooming to be an NFL place-kicker, or punter).