Not bad last week, 9-4, 68-62 overall.
For those who read the Fantasy Football column that comes out tomorrow. Because there is a game tonight – note that my recommended starts for tonight’s game are Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Matt Bryant and Michael Turner. For Balt I would start Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin and Todd Heap.
- Balt @ Atl (-1.5). Fair degree of intensity on the sidelines of this game. Dallas, MN, Carolina, Cincy and a few other teams would probably give just about anything right now to have the quality and intensity of a Jon Harbaugh or a Mike Smith at the helm. Altanta 24, Balt 20.
- Det @ Buff (-2.5). Toronto’s pilfering of a home game each year from Buff continues to be one of the odder situations going on in the NFL. As an NFL fan, I would be irked enough if my team had to give up a home game to play in England, but I would be uber irked if a home game was snatched by a nearby foreign city trying to steal the franchise. (Don’t think Det can recover after last week’s toddler-like meltdown. Wow.) Buff 31, Det 26.
- MN @ Chic (+1.5). Brad Childress recently offered to the media that Chester Taylor’s lack of production was due mostly to Matt Forte being healthy and having the “hot hand”. Matt Forte has had 1 good game this year against Carolina. Removing that game, his yards per carry average this year is 2.8. The Bears’ running game in general has been non-existent. Nice coach. Chic 13, MN 9.
- NYJ @ Cleve (+3.5). Interesting that the Cleve continues to get zero attention after destroying New Orleans in New Orleans and then blowing out NE at home. 2 Super Bowl quality teams simply couldn’t keep up. Also interesting that Jets’ kicker Nick Folk had no idea he won the game in overtime last week over Detroit because he thought Detroit would get a chance to tie the game with one possession (which is the new rule starting this year for the NFL playoffs, but it is not the regular season OT rule). So when everyone was celebrating he was busy wondering why they were THAT excited about a short FG. Cleve 23, NYJ 13.
- Cincy @ Indy (-7.5). If T.O. has been absolutely unreal this year, Marvin Lewis has been absolutely real. Bad coach, bad team. Indy 38, Cincy 17.
- Hou @ Jax (-1.5). Taking Houston doesn’t make sense. I know. Taking the team that is clearly sliding and has no momentum over the team that just looked really good totally dismantling the Cowboys in Dallas. But this is a game between two weirdly inconsistent teams. It’s an important divisional game and both teams will want it badly – it’s just that for no explicable reason, one of the teams will just lay down and get rolled. I’ll guess Jax will be that team. Hou 33, Jax 16.
- Tenn @ Mia (+.5). I wonder what Ray Nitschke would think of Channing Crowder crying about being spit at (and the NFL investigating it so seriously). Soon Roger Goodell will mandate mindfulness exercises for the players along with a soft, acoustic version of Kumbaya before every game. Mia 27, Tenn 23.
- Car @ TB (-6.5). Blount to rush for over 200 yards Sunday. TB 31, Car 10.
- KC @ Den (+.5). KC is quality, but this is one of those coming-off-a-needed-bye-week scenarios for Denver. Denver (along with SF, SD and Cleve) is a team that might just go on a bit of a winning run – only to go on a losing streak to finish the season. Denver 34, KC 20.
- Sea @ Ariz (-3.5). Seattle totally imploded last week at home – shocking really even the the NYG are very good. That home field advantage is usually so strong that they can start planning for the next away game the week before home games. Seattle did steal one away victory over Chicago earlier in the year, but that was one of those weird games where you get the feeling nothing like that will happen again for the rest of the year. I just don’t see them putting something together this weekend to take down AZ. AZ has actually had 2 close, heartbreaking losses in a row. While part of their problem is just not being that good, I think Whisenhunt taps the pain from those losses to inspire a comfortable victory over Seattle. Ariz 30, Sea 20.
- Dal @ NYG (-14.5). Several points. Jerry Jones would have been smarter to wait until next week to fire Phillips, when Garrett’s first game as a head coach would have been at home against the Lions – vs. being away at the NYG this week. Though on the flip side, maybe he reasoned that Garrett would be dealing with zero expectations and zero pressure starting out at the NYG – because Dallas will be humiliated. Osi Umenyiora has 8 sacks and 7 forced fumbles this year. As much as I’m a homer and love Clay Matthews, Umenyiora’s stats are totally outrageous. 7 FORCED FUMBLES!! NYG 40, Dal 21.
- StL @ SF (-5.5). SF will be one of those teams that is going to going go on a bit of a streak. And Troy Smith will create a big-time QB controversy after this week by playing well. SF 24, StL 13.
- NE @ Pitt (-4.5). If Pitt were smart, they wouldn’t start Mendenhall Sunday night. They would go out on the streets of Pittsburgh and find some dude who looks just like Peyton Hillis and let him start at RB. (Note: enjoy watching way-too-close-up camera shots of James Harrison fuming after getting flagged for just for coming within 10 feet of Tom Brady.) NE 27, Pitt 20.
- Phil @ Wash (+3.5). For some reason, if there is one defense that I think could handle Michael Vick somewhat effectively, it would be Jim Haslett’s Wash D. Yet, I’m afraid to go with Wash here in part because Mike Shanahan might mysteriously bench the whole defense at some point, only to explain later that “a few of the guys weren’t tying their shoes right, or, I mean, they were late for practice, or…they…I can…explain…”. This seems like a David Akers-type game to me. Phil 20, Wash 16.