Jazz: I’ll handle the honors for the NFL thread again this week, partly because Ed is slacking off out of town (though he did mail in his picks for us) and also because we tied last week. We both went 4-3, edging my record up to 36-27. Not bad in terms of doing better than flipping a coin, but still one game behind Ed. I’m still in shock over the Jets game so I’ll try not to say too much more than that to jinx us.
On a side note, I’ll just say that I’m going to be keeping an eye on the ratings on Tuesday morning. Aside from the political protests, there’s another round of bad news coming out on the head injury front and the media is playing it up non-stop. Combine that with the talk about firing the commissioner and the past week has been a PR disaster for the league. If they drive the football ratings any further into the toilet the liberals may get their wish and break the back of the NFL. That would be a dark day for America… or at least for me.
The Jets travel to Tampa Bay (1:00, CBS) to play the struggling 2-6 Buccaneers. But the Bucs are considered by many to be better than their record and there’s a twist to this game: Former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting for Tampa Bay. Still, the Jets give up too many passing yards, but the Buccaneers give up too many rushing yards and New York has been on fire with their ground game. I’m going to take a chance on Gang Green and pick the Jets, 27-23. The Steelers pay a visit to the Colts (1:00, CBS) and an Indianapolis team which seems to be quickly falling out of relevance at 3-6. The Colt’s offensive line has been terrible and they’re giving away passing yards like it’s a fire sale. All of that matches up well for Pittsburgh. I’ll take the Steelers 33-17. The Vikings go to D.C. to meet the Redskins (1:00, FOX) for what should be an even matchup. But Minnesota is healed up and rested after their bye week and their defense looks like it sets up well against Cousins. Based on little more than that I’ll take the Vikings in a close one, 20-17.
Ed: Jets at Buccaneers — The Jets have some surprising momentum, and the Bucs have surprising problems at QB. I’ll take the Jets on the road, 27-21. Steelers at Colts — As long as the Steelers aren’t looking past this game or didn’t lose too much focus during the bye, they should easily handle Indianapolis. Steelers 35-10. Vikings at Redskins — Even with all their troubles at QB this year, the Vikings find ways to win. The Redskins did that last week, but … Minnesota’s defense will be too tough. Vikings 20-14.
Jazz: Here are four more games to keep things interesting.
- Saints at Bills (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Bills have a great ground game on both sides of the ball, but the Saints haven’t dropped one since week 2 and they match up well against Buffalo with Drew Brees under center. Give me the Saints, 24-16.
- Cowboys at Falcons (4:25 pm, FOX) – The Falcons are getting into do or die territory after winning the Super Bowl last year. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are just going to watch the Eagles run away with the NFC East if they don’t start notching some more wins. Dallas’ running game has been delivering while Atlanta’s ground defense has been on the weak side. I’ll take the Cowboys 31-24.
- Giants at 49ers (4:25 pm, FOX) – The Giants have a better record than San Francisco by a margin of one game.
That’s not saying much since the 49ers have won precisely zero games. But one of these teams has to come away with some good news. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a New York City sweep this week. Giants win it 17-12.
- Dolphins at Panthers (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – If this weren’t the Monday Night Football game I probably wouldnt’ have picked it. The Dolphins have put on an admirable show thus far, but Carolina has alrelady beaten far better QBs than Jay Cutler this season and barely paused for breath. Carolina extends their winning streak today with a 24-9 blowout over the Dolphins.
- Saints at Bills (1:00 pm, FOX) – Bills over the Saints, 23-19.
- Cowboys at Falcons (4:25 pm, FOX) – Falcons over the Cowboys, 31-17.
- Giants at 49ers (4:25 pm, FOX) – What is this, the NFL’s idea of an unsolvable conundrum? 49ers 17-14.
- Dolphins at Panthers (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – Panthers 30-24.