Jazz: I am now convinced that Ed Morrissey actually has all of the results of the games this season, probably through the use of a time machine portal or something, and he’s just biding his time to zoom ahead of me in the final hour. For yet another week we have tied, so I’m writing the NFL thread again. We both went 4-3, bringing me to 32-24 on the season. Better than a losing week, but also nothing to brag about. I would give you a Jets update from last week but I threw a martini glass through my TV screen in the third quarter and missed the ending. Also, I’m looking for suggestions on cheap martini glass distributors.
Ed: Actually, I thought for sure I’d lose ground to Jazz this week after a bad start on Sunday. Instead, I’m 29-27 on the season, remaining above water mainly by dog-paddling frantically. The season has brightened noticeably for me after the bad start by the Steelers, but we’re heading into the teeth of our biggest rivalry this week. Better batten down the hatches and hope Pittsburgh has bulked up on both tricks and treats this week.
Jazz: The Jets visit the Dolphins this week, a team that has not looked good but still has a marginally better record than New York (1:00 pm, CBS). That’s kind of amazing since the Jets put up, on average, more points than the Phins and allow fewer by opponents. New York is a 2.5 point underdog, but we just got two of our wide receivers back from injury so I’ll stay true to form and pick the Jets 27-21. The Steelers travel to play the Ravens (1:00 pm, CBS) in a divisional rivalry with playoff implications. On paper, the Steelers should be the better team, but the Ravens come up as a three-point favorite. I’m going with the brainiacs in Vegas and picking Baltimore 19-16 in a close one. In the Lions at Vikings game (1:00 pm, FOX), this one shouldn’t even be as close as the oddsmakers have it. Despite looking good in the early going, the Lions aren’t in the same class with Minnesota, so I’ll take the Vikings in a bit of a blowout, 31-16.
Ed: Both Miami and the Jets are having struggles this season, but both of them have shown flashes of near-brilliance at times, too. Still, they’re ranking near the bottom of the league on both sides of the ball. I’ll stick with home-field advantage and pick the Dolphins to win, 27-23. Pittsburgh goes to Baltimore to take on the Ravens, hoping to split the season with them. Here’s a fun fact in this rivalry — both teams have losing records at home against the other. Put that together with the Ravens having to start two new OTs, and I’ll predict a really long day for Joe Flacco. Steelers 28-20 over the Ravens. The Vikings are usually tough at home but are only 2-2 so far this year. The Lions are a bit of a mess, and just dealt away Golden Tate. I’ll stick with the Vikes, 34-17.
- Falcons at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – The Redskins have a proven ability to put a lot of points on the board. Sadly, they are even more adept at letting their opponents do the same. The Falcons are roughly in the same category. If this game was in Atlanta I’d take them in an upset, but on the Skins’ home turf I think Atlanta comes up short in a shootout. I’ll take Washington 34-27.
- Texans at Broncos (4:05 pm, CBS) – This should be a fun, close match, at least based on the stats. The Texans definitely have the ability to perform on the road and Denver has been struggling. But I think they’re due and home-field advantage should make the difference. I’ll go with the Broncos to break their losing streak today with a solid 24-13 win.
- Packers at Patriots (8:20 pm, NBC) – I really need the stinking Patriots to start losing at some point, if only to make me sleep better. New England is the favorite and they’re playing at home, but Aaron Rogers is one of the few QBs that can overcome that Tom Brady magic. I’m going to go with an upset on the road and take the Packers in an exciting 4th quarter finish 34-27.
- Titans at Cowboys (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – The Titans have been surprisingly impressive this year, despite their mediocre 3-4 start. The Cowboys haven’t been much better in a division that’s been largely disappointing. Dallas hasn’t been profiting that much from home field advantage so I’ll take another upset and pick Tennessee to steal a road win 19-14.
- Falcons at Redskins (1:00 pm, FOX) – Atlanta’s got a big offense, but their defense ranks 30th. On the road, that won’t work out well, especially since Washington has a 4th-ranked defense that will limit Atlanta’s opportunities. Redskins will eke out a grinder, 23-19.
- Texans at Broncos (4:05 pm, CBS) – The offenses for Denver and Houston are only a point per game apart. Houston’s defense gives up 3.5 fewer points per game and is ranked 13 spots above Denver’s. That still portends a tight game, and normally I’d throw in with the home team, but Houston is on a five-game win streak while Denver … isn’t. Texans over Broncos, 26-20.
- Packers at Patriots (8:20 pm, NBC) – The GOAT Bowl comes to Sunday night! On paper, these two teams look evenly matched, but that’s only on paper. The Pats’ D gives up a point fewer per game, while its offense scores almost five points more per game. At home, the Pats should prevail 35-27, sending the Pack home as goats. (I’ll be rooting the other way, though.)
- Titans at Cowboys (Monday, 8:15 pm, ESPN) – Are you ready for some … punting? Tennessee’s 30th-ranked offense meets up with Dallas’ 28th-ranked offense, while the defenses for both teams give up fewer than 19 points per game. The difference here is location — Dallas is undefeated at home, while Tennessee’s 1-3 on the road and have lost three in a row. Cowboys win in a slow 17-10 game.