Jazz: I’m kicking off the NFL thread this week thanks to a tie for my best in-season performance of 6-1 last week. As a Jets fan, it was probably fitting that the Bills were the ones who stopped me from a perfect 7-0 week. Of course, the Jets got revenge on them for me on Thursday night. That brings me to 32-24, comfortably ahead of the .500 mark for the moment, though still one game behind Ed in the regular season rankings. I feel a hot streak coming on, though, and I don’t have to bet on the Jets this week so herein begins my march to victory! Or… not.
Ed: So I’m at 33-23 after a 2-5 week, a momentary setback, hopefully. I won’t get a chance to ride a Steelers pick to a big win this week. We’re turning the corner on the second half of the season, and at least the contest between Jazz and me will go down to the wire … even if the prime-time games rarely do.
Jazz: We are in the rare situation of not having any of our normal feature games this week since the Jets already dusted Buffalo off of their cleats and both the Steelers and the Vikings have the week off. So let’s examine some other perennial Hot Air favorites. The Giants have a tough game on their hands with the LA Rams this week (1:00, FOX), but when don’t the Giants have a tough time this year? New York has the home field advantage and is only down by a field goal on the Vegas line, but they’ve lost even more starters in the past two weeks to injury. The Rams are surging and I’ll give them the win this week 23-16. The Atlanta Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers (1:00, FOX) in what should be a close battle. The Falcons are a two-point favorite, but their chances depend on getting their running game in gear against a Panthers team that gives up barely 80 yards per game on average. I’m going to go with a slight upset based on home field advantage and take Carolina 23-20 in a close one. The Ravens travel to Tennessee (1:00, CBS) where the Titans are the favorite by a field goal. Tennessee has been damn near undefeatable at home and their run defense matches up well against Baltimore. I’ll go with the favorite here and take the Titans in a low scoring match, 17-12.
Ed: The Giants have been hapless so far in 2017, but they usually do better in the second half — or at least that’s the way it worked under Tom Coughlin. They’re only scoring 16 points a game and giving up almost a TD more, while the Rams are scoring 30 points a game and have been great on the road. Rams 35-16 over the Giants. Atlanta really needs some redemption, and it’s tough to know which Carolina will show up. I’ll pick the Falcons over the Panthers, 27-24. Baltimore looked unbeatable in their last outing, but I’ll also pick the Titans at home in a 21-17 final.
Jazz: Here’s four more to get in seven games this week.
- Cardinals at 49ers (4:05 pm, FOX) – The Cardinals are the favorite here for good reason, mostly because San Francisco hasn’t managed to win a game yet. But I think San Francisco has a lot going for them and they have to win eventually, right? The Cardinals lost Carson Palmer and will be on the road. That might be enough. I’ll take San Fran in a messy, upset game, 21-17.
- Chiefs at Cowboys (4:25 pm, CBS) – Everybody seems to be down on the Chiefs since they got off to a hot start and then sort of collapsed. At home, Dallas has been tough to take, but this week they’re facing a team that still scores around 30 pts a game and their defense isn’t that good. I’ll take another upset here and pick the Chiefs 34-27.
- Raiders at Dolphins (8:30 pm, NBC) – Miami should have won this game considering how badly the Raiders collapsed after a strong start. But Miami traded their best rushing weapon, Jay Ajayi, to Philadelphia and that opens the door for Oakland to focus on the passing defense where they’ve done well. Give me the Raiders 24-15.
- Lions at Packers (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – The 3-4 Lions somehow visit Lambeau Field as a slight favorite in some worsening weather over the 4-3 Packers in the Monday night game. People are criticizing Green Bay’s pass rush, their run defense and generally everything on the defensive side of the ball. But this is still Green Bay in November so I’m going to go with a slight upset and take the Packers 21-17.
- Cardinals at 49ers (4:05 pm, FOX) – The 49ers got Jimmy Garoppolo in a surprise trade with the Pats, but he won’t be up to speed for today’s game. They’re only scoring 16 points a game, and they have the fifth-worst defense in the league. Arizona’s not actually doing all that much better, but Arizona’s much better on run defense, and Adrian Peterson should have a good game. 24-17 Cardinals.
- Chiefs at Cowboys (4:25 pm, CBS) – Ezekiel Elliott will play in today’s game, but even with their two star sophomores, the Cowboys have been unimpressive, even at home (1-2). The #2 KC offense will match up against a defense that gives up 23 points a game. Still should be close, but I’ll pick the Chiefs, 31-28.
- Raiders at Dolphins (8:30 pm, NBC) – Miami’s got the worst offense in the league, and the Ajayi trade didn’t help. Their defense is strong, but not that strong. Raiders 24-14.
- Lions at Packers (Monday 8:30 pm, ESPN) – This game looked great at the beginning of the season, but with Aaron Rodgers out, the pressure will be off of Detroit’s 16th-ranked defense — which is 6th-ranked against the rush. Green Bay’s s ranked 17th and facing an offense that scores 25 points a game. Lions 31-17 over the Pack.