NFL: Season Predictions and Week 1 Picks

It’s that time of the year again, where I make my picks for another NFL season!
We’re coming off another Patriots Superbowl win after the Falcons blew a historic 25-point lead! So what is going to happen in the 2017-18 season? Glad you asked!

 

NFC Playoff Teams

  • Cardinals… Packers… Seahawks… Giants… Saints… Falcons

AFC Playoff Teams

  • Patriots… Raiders… Chiefs… Bengals… Steelers… Texans

Championship games

  • Cardinals over Seahawks
  • Raiders over Patriots

Superbowl 52

  • Cardinals over Raiders

Now that that’s out of the way, here are my week 1 picks.

Thursday Night Football
  • Chiefs @ Patriots: Two AFC powerhouses open things up on Thursday  Night.  The reigning Superbowl Champions look to start their march for 3 straight with a home win over Kansas City. Tom Brady showed no signs of slowing down last year, and despite losing Julian Edelman for the season, they return enough of their championship team to stand a chance. Kansas City’s ability to win the close games in recent years has kept them in the playoff race and it should keep them there again this year. Their offense needs to reestablish the run game as a weapon, and rookie Kareem Hunt should help there, as the Jaamal Charles era has come to an end. So two teams with pretty good defenses get things going in week 1, but give me the ever diverse and tough Patriots offense to start the season off with a victory at home. NEW ENGLAND WINS
Sunday 1PM Games
  • Jets @ Bills: The bottom two AFC East teams from last season look to start their seasons off on a good note in Buffalo. This all New York battle will pit a Jets team that most think could be one of, if not the worst team inte league this season, versus a Bills squad that has the defense, and offensive weapons to be successful, but has played down to expectations the past couple seasons.  New York got rid of some of their best players in the off-season, and with a less than appealing quarterback battle in the pre-season, Josh McCown leads a lack-luster offense into the season. Not to mention trading away one of their best defensive players just a couple weeks before the season started in Sheldon Richardson. Give me LeSean McCoy and his 1,200-plus rushing yards from last season to control the clock and get off to a 1-0 start. BUFFALO WINS
  • Jaguars @ Texans: Jacksonville finished last season as the worst team in both the AFC South and the league. That had little to do with their defense however, and so if they want to move up this year, they’ll need Blake Bortles to take a big leap under center. An improved running game with rookie Leonard Fournette and the addition of Chris Ivory along with T.J. Yeldon should help ease the burden on Bortles. Houston enters as the division champs as well as carrying the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Tom Savage is the Texans starting QB… for now. Deshaun Watson is coming off a National Championship and can do a lot, so he’s probably not far off from taking the spot.  But with Texans defense that can turn mistakes into points with the best of the them, they could have a field day against the Jags in week 1. HOUSTON WINS
  • Steelers @ Browns: This AFC North match-up tends to be one of experience versus youth, and that’s no different this season.  The Steelers lost in the AFC Championship game last season, and unlike last season, have Le’Veon Bell from week 1.  Cleveland had the number 1 pick in the draft again this season, and they used to sure up their defense. But Myles Garrett is already hurt, and the Browns are going with yet another new starting Quarterback. And no, it’s not Brock Osweiler despite the large contract he got. It’s rookie DeShone Kizer, who had a very impressive preseason showing. Division games are always tough, and while I think Cleveland can get more than 1 win this season, I’m going with the consistency of Pittsburgh to start the season. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Cardinals @ Lions: Two teams with the ability to score do battle in Detroit in week 1.  Arizona boasts one of the best young backs in the league in David Johnson Jr, while the Lions have the newly paid Matt Stafford slinging for another year. The biggest difference in this match up is the ability of the two teams defenses.  The Lions used to have one of the best defense in the league, but have seen a drop-off recently, while the Cardinals have slowly moved up the ranks in that department. Both teams have been pretty good for a while now, but neither have broken through the way you want. I think Arizona is primed for a Superbowl run, and it starts with a road win here in week 1. ARIZONA WINS
  • Falcons @ Bears: Atlanta enters week 1 with the sting of a Superbowl collapse and a win-less preseason. The Falcons are going to be hungry and return a lot of their NFC Championship squad, particularity one of the most potent offenses in football. Chicago enters with a new quarterback after parting ways with Jay Cutler. Mike Glennon looks to take hold of the team and get them back out of the NFC North cellar. The Bears upgraded their defense, but didn’t do much to fix their offense, losing good receivers in Alshon Jeffrey and Eddie Royal. While Chicago can’t get much worse than they were last season, I think the Falcons are going to be just fine this season, and will start out with a road victory. ATLANTA WINS
  • Raiders @ Titans: Oakland experienced a resurgence last season, but enter the regular season as the other team to go win-less in the preseason. But like Atlanta, I don’t think that will affect them this week or going forward. Derek Carr was huge for them at quarterback last season, and after an injury dashed their playoff hopes, he’s healthy and has a very good defense to help climb through the AFC again this season.  Tennessee’s offense can score with anyone.  Marcus Mariota doesn’t make mistakes in the red zone, something that even veteran QBs struggle with. A very good running game and a number of  offensive weapons can only help the Titans this season. This could be a shootout, but as I’ve done a lot already, I’m taking the road team here. OAKLAND WINS
  • Ravens @ Bengals: This is one of the more intriguing match-ups to me. Both these teams are in the playoff hunt every season, and both rely heavily on their defenses.  Neither team got what they needed from their run game last season. The Bengals haven’t been able to break through in the playoffs however, and it’s never for the same reason.  I don’t see either of these teams struggling too much this season, and I do believe this will be a close game, but I am going with the Bengals at home in their first of two meetings. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Eagles @ Redskins: After winning the NFC East, Washington took a step back, finishing 3rd in the division, while the Eagles finished 7-9 for the second straight season. Both teams have young quarterbacks and pretty good options on offense. In an always competitive East, the defense for both teams are key. This game will be close, but I like Carson Wentz over Kurt Cousins to lead his team to victory in week 1. PHILADELPHIA WINS
Sunday 4PM Games
  • Colts @ Rams: The Colts are without their starting quarterback at least for their first game, as Andrew Luck continues to have injury problems.  St. Louis will look to take advantage and figure out how to win games outside their division, something they’ve had issues with the past few seasons. If Luck gets healthy after week 1, I can see Indianapolis having a better season than the Rams in a more up for grabs division, but look for a bounce back third season from Todd Gurley to help balance out St. Louis’ offense, and get them to 1-0. ST. LOUIS WINS
  • Panthers @ 49ers: San Francisco had an awful 2016, and didn’t do much to help their cause in the off-season. They struggled in every phase of the game last year, and after parting ways with Collin Kaepernick, they haven’t Carolina also struggled big time, finishing 6-10 after going 15-1 in 2015 and losing in the Superbowl. The Panthers had been one of the best defensive teams in the league, but ended up bottom 5 in total yards allowed last year. Their offense was top 5, but it wasn’t enough to save them from the cellar of the NFC South division. It was a slow start that hurt the Panthers most, so if they can avoid that this year, they could make it back to the playoffs. I don’t see the 49ers putting up much of a fight in week 1. CAROLINA WINS
  • Seahawks @ Packers: Two of the league’s best square off in Lambeau. The Seahawks defense got even better in the off-season, so the Pckers will have their work cut out for them. But I don’t like to bet against Aaron Rodgers at home, who has his favorite target in Jordy Nelson healthy along with another good option in Randal Cobb. I don’t know how I feel about Seattle’s offense, so if it’s close late, I trust Green Bay’s offense to get into scoring position more than I do the Seahawks. GREEN BAY WINS
Sunday Night Football
  • Giants @ Cowboys: The top two teams in the NFC East play each other in Dallas to open the season for the 3rd straight season. They’re 1-1, so this is the “rubber match.” Ezekiel Elliot will be on the field despite facing a 6-game suspension. He played well against the Giants in his rookie year, but New York’s defense looks like it’ll be just as/if not better than last year, so they aren’t worried about who is on the field for Dallas. The Cowboys entire offense can explode at any time, so they will have their work cut out for them. If the Giants can get any kind of consistent run game this season, they could take the division crown form Dallas, and I think they start that with a win on Sunday night. NEW YORK WINS
Monday Night Football
  • Saints @ Vikings: Minnesota’s defense made their 2016, while the Saints inability to consistently win close games and lack of defense hurt them. The Vikings still don’t have their number 1 option at quarterback, as Teddy Bridgewater starts on the PUP list, so they’ll look to Sam Bradford to manage the offense. Drew Brees continues to be one of the prolific quarterbacks in the league, and that shouldn’t change this season with a number of good options to work with on offense.  They’ll need their defense to show up, and if what they did in the preseason continues, it’ll help get them back in the postseason. Adrian Peterson gets to make his debut in a new uniform against his former team, looking to show he is still a more than viable option at running back in this league. NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • Chargers @ Broncos: The Los Angeles Chargers era starts in Denver, looking to shake off a 2016 that ended with 5 straight losses, and an inability to win close games. The Broncos missed out on the playoffs in their second season without Peyton Manning, but there is hope for Trevor Siemian moving forward. I don’t know if they have enough to get back into the playoffs this year, but I like Denver in week 1. DENVER WINS

NFL: Week 12 Picks

Thanksgiving Day Games

  • Vikings @ Lions: After 5 weeks of the season, I never thought this game would be a fight for sole possession of the first place in the NFC North. But thanks to the Lions winning five of their last six while the Vikings lost 4 straight, we have this scenario.  Minnesota has been carried by their defense all season, while Detroit has done a good job of winning close games of late. Neither team’s running game has been impressive.  Detroit is used to playing on a short week during Thanksgiving, and with the edge at quarterback, I’m taking the home team in a close game this week. DETROIT WINS
  • Redskins @ Cowboys: Dallas enters as the league’s best team, but don’t look past Washington. The NFC East is the only divisions in the football with all 4 teams over .500, so this will be a battle.  The Redskins put up 42 on the Packers on Sunday Night, and haven’t lost a game in three weeks. The Cowboys have won 9 straight, but have had close calls the past two weeks.  So this could be the game that ends the Cowboys streak no question, I just don’t think it will be. Look for another big game from Ezekiel Elliot. DALLAS WINS
  • Steelers @ Colts: Both AFC teams enter off wins and at 5-5 on the season.  The Steelers are tied for the AFC North lead, while the Colts are a game back in the AFC South. Le’Veon Bell had a huge game last week in Pittsburgh’s easy win over the Browns. Indianapolis played their best defensive game of the year, holding a red-hot Titans team under 20 points, which was the lowest point total the Colts have allowed this year. So while the Colts are playing better of late, the Steelers defense is better and not to mention their ability to control the clock on the ground will get them above .500 this week. PITTSBURGH WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Titans @ Bears: Tennessee saw their hot streak stopped by Indianapolis last week. That being said, they still played well, coming back from 21-0 to make the Colts sweat late.  Chicago lost their 8th of the season despite scoring more points in the first half against the Giants than they average for a full game.  But they lost another lineman, and Jay Cutler got hurt adding to the loss of their best offensive weapon in Alshon Jeffery. It’s not definite that Cutler is out for the season yet, but even if he was healthy, Marcus Mariota has been so good lately that they have the edge there. TENNESSEE WINS
  • Jaguars @ Bills: The Bills are currently out of a playoff spot, but still very much in the conversation at 5-5.  Jacksonville on the other hand, is facing another top 5 draft pick. Their offense hasn’t been what I thought it could be coming into the season, with disappointing decisions from Blake Bortles in the air, and not enough from T.J. Yeldon on the ground.  Buffalo hasn’t put enough complete games together for a team with a very good defense and an offense featuring an explosive running back, hence the .500 record.  But they’re the better team, and can shut down a mistake prone Bortles. BUFFALO WINS
  • Bengals @ Ravens: As if Cincinnati’s season hasn’t been disappointing enough, they face the rest of the season without their starting running back, and at least this week without their best weapon in AJ Green. If you’re the Bengals, you have to hope the absence of Green means Andy Dalton spreads the ball more, and it means opposing defenses can’t game plan for just one guy.  Baltimore wasn’t going to be scared this week either way, as they come into action as the second ranked total defense in the league.  They are coming off a loss to Dallas, but at 5-5 are very much in the AFC North race, while the Bengals find themselves in third place at 3-6-1.  Give me the home team to get above .500 fairly easily. BALTIMORE WINS
  • Cardinals @ Falcons: Arizona has been disappointing this season after a strong 2015-16 season.  They’ve been up-and-down on defense, and injuries on offense have slowed them down.  Their best chance this weekend is for David Johnson to have a big game, and control the clock.  Even if the Cardinals can do that, Atlanta knows how to score quickly.  The Falcons are coming off their worst offensive game of the season, only scoring 15 points after scoring at least 23 in their previous 9 games. So which bird flies higher this weekend? Give me the home team to rebound offensively in what could be a very high scoring affair. ATLANTA WINS
  • Giants @ Browns: New York comes in winners of five straight, sitting in a Wild Card spot in the NFC. Their opponents are still win-less at 0-11 and after some fight early in the season, have been blown out in their last three games, scoring just a total of 26 points over that span.  This spells trouble for Cleveland, as the Giants defense has been very good during their winning streak.  If the Browns want to get their first win of the year, they’ll have to force New York’s offense into turnovers, and avoid turning over the ball themselves. Even if they play clean, I don’t see them coming away with a victory this week. NEW YORK WINS
  • Rams @ Saints: Both teams enter with identical 4-6 records, and both find themselves in third place in their respective divisions.  But that’s where the similarities end.  New Orleans continues to be carried by their offense, Los Angeles by their defense.  The Rams have made a change at quarterback to help their offense that hasn’t scored more than 10 points in four straight games. The Saints defense isn’t anything to write home about, but they have gotten better as the season has gone by, so while the Rams should score more than 10 this week, they won’t be able to keep Drew Brees down enough to win. NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • 49ers @ Dolphins: Tied with the Giants for the second longest win streak in the NFL heading into week 12, the Dolphins have taken down 4 AFC opponents, and have figured out how to win the close games they were losing early. San Francisco is on a nine-game losing streak, and despite some better offensive performances of late, they’re just lacking talent on both sides of the ball. I still think Miami has been disappointing this season, despite the winning streak, but they are by far the better team and will make it six wins in a row. MIAMI WINS
  • Chargers @ Texans: Despite being one of the more confusing teams in the league this season, Houston is two games above .500 and have a one game lead over the Colts for the AFC South title. The Texans running game has been a strength this season, but the Chargers are one of the best at stopping the run.  So if Houston wants to get their seventh win of the season, they’ll need Brock Osweiler to play smart in the passing game.  Philip Rivers will have a similar challenge in the passing game, as the Texans defense is one of the best there.  So who wins on Sunday? I’m taking the upset, San Diego gets the win on the road. SAN DIEGO WINS

Sunday 4/425 Games

  • Seahawks @ Buccaneers: The Seahawks are rounding into form after a tie with the Cardinals and a road loss to the Saints, they’ve won three games in a row are scoring at will.  Tampa is trending up as well, winners of two straight and just a game back in the NFC South.  The Buccaneers offense has been pretty good all season, but their defense is stepping up of late.  So while Seattle has been playing well on both sides of the ball, this game won’t be an easy game to win, especially on the road. But I still think they get the job done and move to 8-2-1. SEATTLE WINS
  • Patriots @ Jets: Before the season started, I thought this game would be the game that ultimately determined the AFC East winner. But now it’s just a chance for the Patriots to maintain their AFC best record and further bury the Jets.  New York’s offense is in shambles, and their defense isn’t much better. Tom Brady missed a couple of days of practice this week, but we know even if he missed a game New England would be in good hands at quarterback. Note to mention how good their run game has been this season. This should be a pretty easy Patriots win on the road. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Panthers @ Raiders: Carolina is still very much alive in the NFC South, but they have a lot of work to do at 4-6 on the season.  Unfortunately for them, they’re playing one of the best and hottest teams in the league this week.  Derek Carr is an MVP candidate, and the Raiders defense is very good. For the Panthers to win this game, their defense needs to play their best game. This game has the potential to be a 10-7 game, and a 35-33 game. Either way, I like Oakland to get to 9-2 this weekend. OAKLAND WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Chiefs @ Broncos: It’s a HUGE AFC West match-up on Sunday night. Both teams enter with 7-3 records, tied for second behind the Raiders in the AFC West.  Both are also wild card teams right now, so a loss means falling to third in the division and moving closer to missing the playoffs altogether. Kansas City’s offense hasn’t been great of late, while the Broncos have found a way to survive without CJ Anderson. This could be a defensive struggle, but I feel better about the Broncos at home, where they don’t lose often. DENVER WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Packers @ Eagles: Green Bay continues to disappoint, coming off an embarrassing performance on Sunday night against Washington. Now they face another NFC East opponent in the last place, despite their 5-5 record, Philadelphia Eagles.  The Packers have the edge at quarterback but that’s about it. And even Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been himself this season. The Eagles defense has been pretty good all season and that’s why they’ll win this week.  PHILADELPHIA WINS

NFL: Week 11 Picks

Bye Weeks: Jets, Falcons, Broncos and Chargers.

Thursday Night Football

  • Saints @ Panthers: An NFC South match-up featuring two teams coming off last second losses takes center-stage to open up week 11. New Orleans was primed to move above .500 when they had a PAT blocked and returned for a safety with just over a minute left.  Carolina was in full control all game, up 17-0 at one point, would eventually lose to Kansas City on a field goal as time expired. So now two teams i had making the playoffs can ill afford to lose many more games if they want to make a second half run.  There’s something off about the Panthers this season, and I think Drew Brees and company exploit that and pick up a road win Thursday. NEW ORLEANS WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Steelers @ Browns: Pittsburgh was 30 seconds from snapping Dallas’ win streak when Ezekiel Elliot ripped a long, game winning touchdown run. As for Cleveland, week 10 brought more of the same, another loss, without much to be hopeful about. The Steelers offense looked as good as it has all season last week, and against a good Cowboys defense.  So while anything can happen on the gridiron, I can’t see the Browns getting their first win of the season this weekend. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Ravens @ Cowboys: Baltimore is atop the AFC North, but I still don’t know how to feel about them. The Ravens have been the definition of streak this season, as they started out 3-0, then lost four straight, and are now on a two game upswing.  Dallas is comfortably atop the NFC East, and are the best and biggest surprise in the league.  They’re being carried by two rookies at key positions who aren’t making mistakes.  The Cowboys have already won twice as many games as a season ago, and their consistency will help them make it nine straight wins. DALLAS WINS
  • Jaguars @ Lions: Jacksonville showed their age last week, with bad turnovers in a close game that sealed the loss.  Detroit is coming off their bye week and moved into a tie for first place in the NFC North thanks to everyone else losing in week 10.  This game can absolutely go either way, and can also be a shoot out. But it should go the Lions way at home. DETROIT WINS
  • Titans @ Colts: Don’t look now, but the Tennessee Titans are figuring things out. Marcus Mariota is on fire, and with DeMarco Murray doing huge things on the ground, the defense hasn’t needed to be on point of late.  That’s big with a rested Colts team ahead.  Indianapolis can put up points with the best of them, but their defense isn’t good.  So while I had the Colts winning the AFC South, I’m going with the Titans on the road to get above .500 and put more pressure on the Texans to keep a hold of the division. TENNESSEE WINS 
  • Bills @ Bengals: Buffalo was feeling good about themselves early in the season, with a strong defense that shutout the Pats (sans Tom Brady) at home, and LeSean McCoy producing big numbers on the ground. But injuries have sent them crashing back down the AFC East standings in the form of a three-game losing streak.  Cincinnati continues to disappoint, losing a one-point game on Monday night after a tie in week 9. So who gets back on track and tries to stay relevant in the AFC playoff picture? Give me the road team and that defense to stop a possibly hobbled AJ Green and company. BUFFALO WINS
  • Buccaneers @ Chiefs: Tampa Bay exercised some demons after a couple bad losses and picked up an easy win over the Bears in week 10. Kansas City rebounded from a poor first half to take down the Panthers and stay with the Raiders and Broncos in the ultra-competitive AFC West. Both teams have had their moments offensively, but in a league where defense wins championships, give me the home team to win this game. KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Bears @ Giants: Chicago’s season wasn’t bad enough already, now they’ll be without their best offensive weapon as Alshon Jeffery has been suspended for violating the leagues substance policy. Jay Cutler has looked okay in his return from injury, but good enough to outplay their poor defend. As for New York, they continued their trend of winning close games on Monday, something they couldn’t do last season. On a four game winning streak, the Giants are being carried by their defense. The offense had its moments, and if the running game can do it’s part as it did in week 19, that’ll only open up the passing game. There are no easy games for the Giants this season, but this week should be another one they can close out. NEW YORK WINS
  • Cardinals @ Vikings: Arizona picked up a much-needed win this past week against San Francisco, but it wasn’t impressive. Carson Palmer struggled and while the defense held the Niners to 13 points, they left them too many opportunities. Minnesota on the other hand saw their losing streak grow to four after they started the season 5-0. The offense, particularly the running game, has been non-existent, while the defense hasn’t been what it was earlier in the year. The Vikings now have company atop the NFC North after comfortably sitting alone early.      The Cardinals run game this season has been very good, and that, coupled with a bounce back game from Palmer, will keep the birds on pace with the division leading Seahawks. ARIZONA WINS

Sunday 4/425 PM Games

  • Dolphins @ Rams: LA has been very up and down this year; which is to be expected with a young team. But they’ve shown they can shut anyone down, winning two different games without scoring a touchdown themselves! Miami  picked up a big win to move into second place in the AFC East last week, on the strength of their offense. So while the Rams offense hasn’t gotten what it hoped for out of Todd Gurley, and now that the change from Case Keenum to Jared Goff had come, I still like LA to hold down the Dolphins enough to get another win this Sunday. LOS ANGELES WINS
  • Patriots @ 49ers: New England saw their winning streak end this past Sunday night, while San Francisco saw their losing streak continue. The Patriots have lost two games this year, both at home; an oddity in the Brady-Belichick era. But with the way LeGarrette Blount is running, and the way the Niners have played all season, they won’t lose back-to-back games. NEW ENGLAND WINS 
  • Eagles @ Seahawks: The Eagles got back on track Sunday, while the Seahawks handed the Pats their second loss off the season. Philadelphia’s defense showed up again, slowing down the Falcons high-powered offense. They also got a much-needed boost on the ground from Ryan Matthews. Seattle has to worry about that after allowing LeGarrette Blount to find pay dirt three times in their win over New England. That being said, their offense saw Doug Baldwin put up three scores of his own.  The Eagles offense still wasn’t as crisp as you’d like going up against the Hawks. SEATTLE WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Packers @ Redskins: Green Bay is struggling with no end in sight.  The defense allowed the Titans to score 47 points in every way possible.  The Packers are now below .500 for the first time since Aaron Rodgers first year in 2008.  The Redskins picked up their 5th win of the season against the Vikings. The defense let Minnesota get their yards but were able put good pressure on Sam Bradford, and Kirk Cousins was solid. I want to pick the Packers, but there are so many issues with this team right now that I don’t see them winning on the road this week. WASHINGTON WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Texans @ Raiders: Houston is lucky they play in the AFC South, who they’re now 3-0 against this season. They’ve been very up and down this year, but in fairness to the Texans, their sixth win was their most complete of the season. They played well in all three phases. Oakland is coming off their bye week on a three game win streak, and tied for the best record in the AFC. The Raiders are getting huge performances from Derek Carr and there no reason it shouldn’t continue. The Texans defense can be very good, but Oakland is simply the better team. OAKLAND WINS

 

NFL: Week 10 Picks

Thursday Night Football

  • Browns @ Ravens: Cleveland remains win-less and barely put up a fight in week 9 against Dallas. Baltimore on the other hand snapped a four-game slide with a win versus Pittsburgh. That win came in Ben Roethlisberger’s return, who wasn’t sharp, however, the defense showed its early season form, which is promising. They won’t need to be on the absolute top of their game this week to keep the Browns win-less. I’m going with the Ravens at home. BALTIMORE WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Texans @ Jaguars: Houston has been one of the league’s strangest teams this season.  At 5-3, they have a one game lead in the AFC South, but they can’t string together two good games in a row, and when they lose, they really lose.  Jacksonville however, would take these problems.  At 2-6, they’re looking up at everyone in the AFC South, and have lost three straight. They’re not playing well on either side of the football right now. I like the Texans a lot more in general, and they are coming off their bye week.  But the Jaguars have the big play ability to make this a winnable game.  So in an upset, give me the Jags at home this week.  JACKSONVILLE WINS
  • Broncos @ Saints: The Broncos are in unfamiliar territory, looking up at two teams in the AFC West despite a very good 6-3 record.  This is after a Monday night loss to Oakland in which they allowed 30 points for the first time this season. New Orleans is capable of making that two weeks in a row, as they enter action as the 2nd ranked scoring team in the league.  So while I might like the Saints offense better, I trust the Broncos defense to make the stop down the stretch more than New Orleans. DENVER WINS
  • Rams @ Jets: Both teams lost by less than a touchdown in week 9, and both are looking for their 4th win of the season.  All but two of LA’s games have been close, and those that weren’t were losses.  They can hold good teams down defensively, but have not been able to put anyone away with their offense. Case Keenum hasn’t been good, but there isn’t a look to make a change to Jared Goff under center.  New York has had more questions at QB and on defense than expected.  So who moves closer to a .500 record? I’m going with the Rams to break their skid this week. LOS ANGELES WINS
  • Falcons @ Eagles: Atlanta is flying high at the top of the NFC South, while Philadelphia is alone at the bottom of the NFC East. The Falcons come in as the 2nd ranked offense, including the 2nd ranked passing offense.  The Eagles best chance in this game is if their 7th ranked pass defense can slow down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.  While they definitely can slow them down, I’m not sure they’ll be able to enough to win the game. ATLANTA WINS
  • Chiefs @ Panthers: Carolina has a ways to go to make up for their 1-5 start, but winners of two straight, their defense is starting to look like the one that got them to the Superbowl last season. With the exception of one blowout loss, Kansas City’s defense has been great all year, while the offense has been good enough to get them to a 62 record.  Alex Smith has taken care of the football, which is huge for this team.  That being said, Cam Newton has looked a lot better of late, and I like their chances to make it three straight wins. CAROLINA WINS
  • Bears @ Buccaneers: Both teams find themselves under .500 entering action.  Tampa has lost two straight, mostly because their defense can’t stop anyone.  Chicago won their second game of the season in week 8 before their bye week in Jay Cutler’s return.  This game has the real potential to be an absolute shootout with two bad defenses taking the field.  I like Jameis Winston and company at home to win the air game against Cutler. TAMPA BAY WINS
  • Vikings @ Redskins: Minnesota started the season 5-0, and were the league’s last undefeated squad. Now they’re on a three game losing streak, and the offense looks inept. Washington is coming off a tie with the Bengals in London, and in third place in the NFC East.  The Skins play even, while the defense carries the Vikings.  Washington needs Kirk Cousins to have a big day in the air to win, and while it helps that he doesn’t make many mistakes, the Vikings pass defense is one of the best in the league.  MINNESOTA WINS
  • Packers @ Titans: At 4-4, Green Bay has been very disappointing this season.  Some days the defense looks great, some days they look average.  Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been as sharp as he has been in the past, and without much a run game, they’ve become very one-dimensional.  Tennessee has been up and down, but they showed something in week 9, nearly taking down the Chargers in a shoot out.  Despite a bad record in his year-plus career, Marcus Mariota has played very well in the red zone, a key to their near win last week.  DeMarco Murray has been huge for the TItans as well, so this will be a tough test for the Packers.  But with that being said, I still think the Packers are the better team, and will get their record back above .500 this weekend. GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday 4/425PM Games

  • Dolphins @ Chargers: It’s a matchup of two teams coming off wins in week 9.  Both teams had higher expectations for this season than their combined 8 wins so far.  Miami finds themselves in 2nd place in the AFC East despite being very up and down.  The Chargers aren’t so lucky playing in one of the most competitive divisons in football.  Philip Rivers has been pretty good this season despite the record, and is why I think San Diego pulls out the win this week.  Ryan Tannehill makes too many mistakes that Rivers doesn’t under center.  That’ll be the difference. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • 49ers @ Cardinals: I still don’t know how this team dominated tehir opening week game, as they’ve looked so bad ever since.  In the midst of a seven-game losing streak, Colin Kaepernick’s play on the field hasn’t helped silence the off-the-field distractions.  Sure he’s been better than Blaine Gabbert, but not by much.  Carlos Hyde has either been very dominant, or non-exisesnt on the ground.  Arizona has been a disappointment in the NFC West as well.  Up-and-down play on both sides of the ball has them under .500 and in second place in the division.  Injuries to Carson Palmer and Larry FItzgerald haven’t helped either.  So while both teams are under .500, this is still a trap game for the Cardinals, who are still a lot better than the 49ers.  And I think they’ll rise to the challenge and pick up their fourth win of the season. ARIZONA WINS
  • Cowboys @ Steelers: To think that Dallas is the hottest team in the league without Tony Romo is crazy.  And the fact that their two best players are rookies is simply amazing.  The Cowboys are winners of seven straight, and are 7-1, tied with the Pats for the best mark in the league.  The offensive line is playing at an all-world level, and the defense is playing just as well.  Dak Prescott is making the return of Tony Romo a real question.  Pittsburgh on the other hand has some work to do at 4-4.  Losing Ben Roethlisberger right when they were figruring things out slowed them down a bit.  He’s back now, but they still aren’t as sharp as they’d like to be.  I have a feeling this will be one of the tougher tests Dallas has had since their one-point loss to New York in week 1, but I also think they make it eight straight wins. DALLAS WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Seahawks @ Patriots: It’s a Superbowl 49 rematch on Sunday night. The Pats are coming off their bye week as the owner of the AFC’s best record. The Seahawks are atop the NFC West, the Patriots are atop the AFC East.  New England is coming off their bye week, which will probably only help keep Tom Brady healthier and on top longer.  Seattle’s defense will be the biggest test for Brady this season.  The thing that will help the Patriots is their running game has been very consistent.  I love what the Seahawks defense has done of late, but there’s just something about a rested Brady at home that seems to overcome most weaknesses.  NEW ENGLAND WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Bengals @ Giants: New York is on a three-game win streak and in a playoff position in the NFC.  Cincinnati had a disappointing first half of the season, capped with a tie in London two weeks ago. The Giants have shown an ability to win close games, and with a defense that is getting healtier, theyve allowed the offense to work out some kinks.  New York has to run the ball better to move to the next level, but the same can be said abotu the Bengals.  Cincy’s offense isn’t what it has been the past few years, but neither has the defense.  If New York can contain AJ Green, I’ve got a good feeling about them picking up their sixth win and matching last years win total. NEW YORK WINS

NFL: Week 9 Picks

Thursday Night Football

  • Falcons @ Buccaneers: Atlanta escaped week 8 with a shootout win over the Packers, while Tampa Bay fell in overtime to Oakland. This is a big game for the NFC South rivals.  A Falcons win puts them three games ahead of the Bucs, making their division lead a comfortable one.  Tampa Bay had a really tough time stopping the pass game of Derek Carr and the Raiders in their loss last week, and it won’t be any easier this week against the league’s top passer in Matt Ryan.  This has the potential to be a shootout, and one of the more entertaining Thursday Night games this season.  I like the birds on the road and another big day for Ryan to Julio Jones a la Carr to Amari Cooper on Sunday. ATLANTA WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Lions @ Vikings: After starting 5-0, the Vikings have come off their bye week looking nothing like the league’s last undefeated squad after 6 weeks.  Their offense hasn’t been as affected, and now their Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has stepped down following a Monday Night loss to the bottom-dwelling Chicago Bears. Detroit had been on a three-game winning streak of their own entering week 8, when they took on a desperate Texans squad and scored just 13 points.  So who gets back in the win column this weekend? As much as I like Matthew Stafford more than Sam Bradford, I still trust Minnesota’s defense a whole heck of a lot more than Detroit’s, so I’m taking the home team on Sunday.  MINNESOTA WINS
  • Steelers @ Ravens: There’s a small chance Ben Roethlisberger is back on the field Sunday, as he is listed as questionable. And Pittsburgh could use him following tw straight losses.  The offense hasn’t been as efficient without him.  As for the Ravens, Baltimore has been in a free fall since starting the season 3-0.  They’re not playing too badly on either side of the ball, they just can’t win close games.  If Roethlisberger does play, this could end differently, but I’ll take the Ravens to snap their four game slide. BALTIMORE WINS
  • Jets @ Dolphins: New York is on the upswing after a five game losing streak.  They still haven’t played great, but they’re figuring it on offensively.  Miami is also on a two game win streak entering this matchup of AFC foes, also figuring out things offensively after a slow start.  Both teams defenses haven’t played up to expectations but the Jets have had better performances and I expect them to get the win this week. NEW YORK WINS
  • Cowboys @ Browns: Cleveland remains win-less at the midway point of the season, while Dallas holds the best record in the NFC. The Browns have been close a couple of times, including last week when they held a lead for most of the day against the Jets. The Cowboys have been playing great on both ends all season, and I expect them to have an easy time against the Browns.  They’re healthy and doing a great job offensively in particular. DALLAS WINS
  • Jaguars @ Chiefs: Jacksonville has relied too heavily on their big pass play ability, and it’s backfired.  They’re not scoring points like they thought they would before the season.  Kansas City is trending up in a tight AFC West division, defeating three teams in a row that all have the potential to put up big offensive numbers.  The Chiefs have lived without Jamaal Charles’ big play making ability and Alex Smith has been a great game manager.  I still like the Jaguars offensive weapons, but KC’s defense has been too good of late for an upset here. KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Eagles @ Giants: It’s the first meeting of the season between these two NFC East foes, and the winner stays in second place behind the Cowboys in the division. New York has won its last two games, Philadelphia has lost three of their last four. Neither team has gotten what they’ve wanted out of their run game, but both have the ability to get things going in the pass game. This is going to be a close game, as most between teams in the NFC East tend to be, but with a rested and health trending up, I like New York to get their fifth win of the season. NEW YORK WINS

Sunday 4/425 PM Games

  • Panthers @ Rams: Carolina got back in the win column last week, with their best combo of offensive and defense since their first win of the season. Cam Newton still wasn’t at his best, but the defense shut down the Cardinals running game, allowing them to overcome a bid day from Carson Palmer.  LA is coming off their bye and a three-game losing streak. Their run game isn’t great, and Case Keenum made some of the worst throws anyone ever has in their week 7 loss to New York.  If he does anything like that this week, the Panthers defense will have a field day.  CAROLINA WINS
  • Saints @ 49ers: New Orleans has won three of their last four, and is coming off a big win over the Seahawks. San Francisco changed quarterbacks, but it didn’t do anything to help avoid a six game losing streak.  If the Saints could stop Seattle last week, they shouldn’t have a problem this week with the 49ers bottom 10 scoring offense. NEW ORLEANS WINS
  • Titans @ Chargers: Tennessee started week 8 on Thursday night with an easy win over the Jaguars, thanks to a big night from their offense.  DeMarco Murray finished with over 100 yards and two touchdowns on the ground again. San Diego lost another close game, despite a good day on offense after a two game winning streak.  The Titans are in the hunt for the AFC South title at 4-4, while the Chargers are the lone sub-500 team in the AFC West.  That being said, I have a feeling that San Diego will pull this one out. SAN DIEGO WINS
  • Colts @ Packers: Two quarterbacks with the ability to air the ball out take the field in Green Bay this weekend. Both teams are coming off a loss, and both find themselves looking up at teams in their divisions.  Indianapolis’ biggest problems are on the ground and defensively (not exactly small problems).  Green Bay has a similar problem on the ground, but for the most part, they’re fine defensively.  Aaron Rodgers doesn’t lose at home, and he won’t buck the trend this week. GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Broncos @ Raiders: This is the game of the week, as both teams enter tied atop the AFC West, and with Kanass City just a game back, the loser could be pushed into third place in the division.  Oakland needed overtime to avoid a loss to the Bucs in week 8.  And they’ve done very well on the road of late, winners of five straight away from home.  Denver’s defense looks like it’s finding its form again, and the offense, despite the loss of their lead back CJ Anderson, is coming together as well. This could be a low scoring game, but I expect it to come down to the fourth quarter.  As much as I like Derek Carr more than Trevor Siemian, I like the Broncos defense better than the Raiders.  The ability to make a late stop will be the difference.  DENVER WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Bills @ Seahawks: Both of these teams have put up incredible defensive performances this season.  They are alos both coming off losses in week 8 to teams that are under .500.  So which one can cap off week 9 with a win? LeSean McCoy has been the biggest reason the Bills offense has been so good this year, but his injury is a concern.  Seattle’s offense has been less than stellar the last two weeks, especially lacking on the ground.  That being said, I think the Seahawks get back on track at home this week. SEATTLE WINS

NFL: Week 8 Picks

Bye Week: Ravens, Giants, 49ers, Rams, Steelers and Dolphins.

Thursday Night Football

  • Jaguars @ Titans: The AFC South is in the spotlight to start week 8. Despite both teams entering under .500, each can still lay claim to the division, as no one is running away with it. The Titans continued their trend of being in a game at the end, but snapped their two game win streak just the same. Jacksonville came off their bye week and lost by three scores tot he Raiders. Tennessee’s offense is a lot more consistent than the Jaguars, who rest on their big play ability to keep them in a position to win. Give me the Titans to get to the .500 mark this week. TENNESSEE WINS

Sunday Morning Football

  • Redskins @ Bengals: Two playoff teams from a season ago take the field for one final Sunday in London. The Bengals picked a good week to get back in the win column as the Steelers and Ravens both lost again in week 7. Washington’s four-game win streak ended last week as they waited too long to get the offense going against Detroit. Kirk Cousins has been big for the skins, but I like another big from Andy Dalton to AJ Green this week. Cincy hasn’t won two games in a row this season, but that’ll change this week.  CINCINNATI WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Chiefs @ Colts: Both teams are coming off week 7 wins, and both enter action third in their respective division.  Kansas City has won their last two games, and have gotten better performances from their defense. Indianapolis won thanks to their offense, something that’s become all too familiar for Andrew Luck. While Luck had by far his best start of the season, give me the Chiefs to beat the one-dimensional Colts on the road. KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Cardinals @ Panthers: Arizona is coming off a tie with Seattle, a game where defense and bad kicking reigned supreme.  They head to Carolina to face a hungry and rested Panthers team, who come off their bye week on a four-game losing streak.  I liked both of these teams before the season started, and with the Cardinals in a much better position than the Panthers right now, I’m going with Carolina to stop the bleeding at home. CAROLINA WINS
  • Raiders @ Buccaneers: Two teams who can really score the ball take the field in Tampa this weekend.  Both are led by young quarterbacks who aren’t afraid to air it out.  The Raiders are well on their way to their first winning season since 2002, while the Bucs look for their first winning season since 2010.  I like the potential of both these teams, but right now Oakland has the better defense, so I’m taking them on the road to move to 6-2 and stay at least tied atop their division. OAKLAND WINS
  • Seahawks @ Saints: Seattle’s defense vs New Orleans’ offense. That will be the biggest matchup this Sunday.  The Legion of Boom is alive and well, while Drew Brees continues to deliver week after week.  The question for the Saints is will his playmakers do just that, make plays?  And can their offense out play their sketchy defense? This could be a shootout just because Brees is so good, but give me the Seahawks to pick up the victory. SEATTLE WINS
  • Lions @ Texans: Houston is such a weird team. Despite being without their best player in JJ Watt, they still boast a top 10 defense, and are second best at stopping the pass.  That is what could save them this week against a red-hot Matthew Stafford.  The problem with the Texans is their offense.  Brock Osweiler hasn’t been great in the first year of his massive contract  DETROIT WINS
  • Patriots @ Bills: New England has been firing on all cylinders all season, with the lone exception being the first matchup with Buffalo.  Both teams have had big performances from their running backs all season, as well as their defenses.  This isn’t going to the as easy for the Bills as it was in week 4 when Buffalo pitched a shutout. The Patriots defense has been on point all season, but I still have a feeling the home team is going to pull this one out and take the season series. BUFFALO WINS
  • Jets @ Browns: New York snapped their five-game losing streak in week 7, but lost Geno Smith for the season. Matt Forte got back on track on the ground, and Ryan Fitzpatrick came in and didn’t make the mistakes he’d been making previously.  Cleveland remains the only win-less team in the league, with no signs of ending said title. NEW YORK WINS

Sunday 4/425PM Games

  • Chargers @ Broncos: San Diego has finally started to figure things out, winners of two straight, including a three-point road win over the red-hot Falcons.  Denver got off the snide, thanks to the defense and a big day on the ground.  The bad news for the Broncos is after a 107-yard rushing yard performance, starting back CJ Anderson has been lost indefinitely. The good news, Devontae Booker had a good day of his own, and can step in for Anderson.  Despite the Chargers figuring things out of late, I’m going with the home team in week 8.  DENVER WINS
  • Packers @ Falcons: Atlanta has fallen back to the pack in the NFC South after two straight losses by a combined five-points.  The Falcons offense got them out to a 13 point lead in the first half last week, but allowed the Chargers to score 13 unanswered from the fourth through overtime to drop them to 4-3.  The Packers made easy work of the Browns to get back in the win column.  Aaron Rodgers had by far his best game of the season, setting a Packers record for completions in a game with 39. This game has the potential to be a shootout, but I trust the Green Bay defense to make the stop late more than I trust the Atlanta defense. GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Eagles @ Cowboys: The NFC East is the only division in football with four above .500 teams, and the top two take center stage on Sunday Night.  The Eagles rebounded from two straight losses in a big way, dropping the league’s lone undefeated team last weekend. The offense still struggled, but the defense came up huge in the 11-point win over the Vikings. The Cowboys are on a five-game win streak and coming off their bye week.  Tony Romo has returned to practice, but for now, Dak Prescott looks to continue the amazing start to his career. While Dallas hasn’t had an issue on offense like Philly has of late, but their defense hasn’t done what the Eagles haven been able to do. That’s why I like the Eagles on the road to snap the Boys back to reality. PHILADELPHIA WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Vikings @ Bears: Minnesota is coming off their first loss of the season, while Chicago gets this starting QB back. Sam Bradford and company fell on the road to Philly last week, in a game that saw them turn the ball over a number of times, and not do anything when their defense forced turnovers of their own.  The Bears have lost three-straight despite Brian Hoyer filling in under center pretty well for Cutler. Even though we saw the bad Bradford win week 7, the whole squad will bounce back against a lesser Bears team. MINNESOTA WINS

NFL Picks: Week 7

Bye Weeks: Panthers and Cowboys.

Thursday Night Football

  • Bears @ Packers: Brian Hoyer had another good performance, and the Bears led all the way in week 6, until they didn’t.  Leading 13-0 heading into the fourth, the Jags turned it on and won on a big play with under 30 seconds to go.  Chicago is one of three NFC teams with just 1 win heading into this week. Green Bay enters with a winning record, but they haven’t been very impressive.  Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been as sharp as he usually is, the defense has been spotty and Eddie Lacy is hurt.  But they’re still the Packers.  Give me the home team in this NFC North match-up. GREEN BAY WINS

Sunday Morning Football

  • Giants @ Rams: Another game across the pond between two NFC teams.  New York is coming off a home win that saw Odell Beckham Jr. catch 8 passes for 222 yards and two scores, including the game winner on 4th-and-1 late in the fourth quarter. As for the Rams, they lost a shootout with the Lions on the road. LA has lost two in a row after starting the season 3-1. So both teams head to London with 3-3 records.  Who gets the win? It’s tough because I like Eli Manning better than Case Keenum, but I like what Todd Gurley could possibly do on the ground more than the Giants running backs at this point.  Give me the Giants and another big day from Beckham in a close game. NEW YORK WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Saints @ Chiefs: Each coming off wins, these two opponents are looking to keep the good feelings going.  New Orleans defense continues to be an issue, but their offense laid into the Panthers last week.  Kansas City had a good offensive day against a defense that was supposed to be good as well, grabbing an easy victory against Oakland in week 6.  The Chiefs offense has been inconsistent, where it’s been a strength for the Saints.  But we’ve seen them be stopped at home, and I expect them to be held down long enough on the road this week. KANSAS CITY WINS
  • Colts @ Titans: Indianapolis was well on their way to their third win, until they weren’t.  allowing two touchdowns in the last five minutes of regulation is bad, and not all together surprising for the Colts defense.  Tennessee on the other hand is on an upswing after winning their last two games. Marcus Mariota and company almost blew a lead to Cleveland, but held on and had a big offensive day to do so. They’re a more balanced team than the Colts, and that’s why I like the home team in week 7. TENNESSEE WINS
  • Vikings @ Eagles: Minnesota comes off their bye week as the leagues only undefeated team, and they start off facing Philly coming off two straight losses.  The Eagles offense hasn’t been as crisp as it had been when they were undefeated early.  They’re capable on both sides of the ball to keep up with the Vikings, but I can’t see the vikings picking up their first loss after their bye week.  This could be a tough one, but should still be a road victory. MINNESOTA WINS
  • Browns @ Bengals: In the year of Cleveland sports, the Browns didn’t get the memo.  The league’s only undefeated team, the Browns showed some fight in week 6 after being down early to the Titans, but couldn’t pull it out.  Cincinnati lost in New England, as many before them have in the Brady era.  The  Bengals offense wasn’t terrible in week 6, but their defense didn’t give them much of a chance.  It won’t be easy for Cincy at home this week, as the Browns offense isn’t as bad as you would think for a win-less team, but they’ll get their third win of the season nonetheless.  CINCINNATI WINS
  • Redskins @ Lions: After an 0-2 start, Washington is looking more like the team that won the NFC East last season. Kirk Cousin has been great running the offense, and the defense is doing enough to let him. The Lions have been in every game this season, but have figured out how to win late, instead of lose late.  Washington is probably the better team, but not by much. I’ll take a leap and go with the home team to snap the Skins four-game win streak. DETROIT WINS
  • Raiders @ Jaguars: Both of thse teams have things to be happy about.  Oakland lost to their division foes, but are still tied atop the divison with the Chiefs.  Jacksonville may be under .500, but they’re defense is keeping them in games, which is a good place to start. Both teams have young quarterbacks with big play abilities.  This game could be close, but I’ll go with the road team in this AFC battle. OAKLAND WINS
  • Bills @ Dolphins: Both of these AFC East teams enters coming off wins that were dominated by their running backs. Bad news for the Bills, who saw LeSean McCoy leave practice with a hamstring injury.  The good news is they play a two win Dolphins team.  Miami has to use their win over the Steelers as a jumping off point. They haven’t been destroyed in their five losses, but they don’t make the play enough of the time to compete with Buffalo’s defense. BUFFALO WINS
  • Ravens @ Jets: Ryan Fitzpatrick is out, Geno Smith is back under center for the Jets as they look for something to help end their four-game losing streak.  They’re the worst scoring team in the league through six weeks, and despite entering the season with a defense that was meant to be a strength, have allowed the 8th most points-per-game. Baltimore enters on a three-game losing streak after opening up the season 3-0.  Where they were winning close games early, their losing them now.  The biggest point gap they’ve finished in this season… their six-point win in week 1 and a six-point loss in week 5. They’ll have an easier time of it this week. BALTIMORE WINS

Sunday 4/425PM Games

  • Buccaneers @ 49ers: The Bucs are coming off their bye week, and have been very up-and-down.  If the Tampa Bay defense allows more than 30 points, they lose. Of course that tends to be true of most teams, but the Buccaneers have the ability to limit opponents more regularly than they do.  The Niners lost in the return of Colin Kaepernick, but there were signs of life on offense Blaine Gabbert hadn’t provide.  San Francisco drove, but couldn’t finish drives, and couldn’t stop LeSean McCoy.  Based on the offensive spark, I’m going to take the 49ers to get their first win since week 1. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
  • Chargers @ Falcons: San Diego snapped their 10 straight losses to division foes last week, as well as their three-game season losing streak. It was a much needed win for a Chargers team that had lost three straight games in the final two minutes. Atlanta lost their first game since week 1, falling to the Seahawks. Matt Ryan had another big day in the air, but two turnovers cost the red birds in their two-point loss. So while the Chargers figured out how to close otu a game, I like what this Falcons team has done this season; they’ll avoid a losing streak. ATLANTA WINS
  • Patriots @ Steelers: New England has had its issues to work past this season, and have come through with flying colors.  TOm Brady has come back and made the offense even better than it had been without him.  The defense is doing its job too. Pittsburgh has had its own issues, and added another after a strong string of games.  They lost to a then one-win Miami team last week, losing more than just the game.  Ben Rothelisberger will be out at least a month with a torn minus, and despite having Le’Veon Bell, the offense struggled without him.  And it’ll struggle again this weekend. NEW ENGLAND WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Seahawks @ Cardinals: Seattle is heating up, and that spells trouble for the NFC.  Their division rivals have been up and down this season in a way I didn’t think they would.  But while in the past Seattle held the edge on the ground, that’s not true this season.  David Johnson is doing things on the ground most people don’t do in their first handful of starts.  This is going to be a hard faught win, but I’ll go with the Cardinals at home.  ARIZONA WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Texans @ Broncos: Houston took a while to get going in week 6, but found a way to beat the Colts in overtime thanks to a huge day from Lamar Miller.  Brock Osweiler wasn’t great earlier, but two touchdowns in the final five minutes helped give the Texans a shot and the eventual victory. Denver on the other hand couldn’t get anything going on offense until late in the fourth.  Their defense was up to task, holding the Chargers to four field goals after a first quarter score. Trevor Siemian had a pretty good  game, but had to attempt 50 passes because they got zero help on the ground. The Broncos have now lost two in a row after starting the season 4-0.  Houston is too up and down, so give me the home team to get back in the win column to cap off week  6. DENVER WINS

NFL: Week 6 Picks

And then there was one… undefeated team left and one win-less team left.  The Minnesota Vikings stand alone atop the league at 5-0, while the Cleveland Browns are alone at the bottom at 0-5.

Picks wise, I went 8-8 in week 5, bringing my season total to 42-38.

Bye Weeks: Vikings and Buccaneers.

Thursday Night Football

  • Broncos @ Chargers: San Diego lost another head scratcher, while the Broncos lost their first since December 20th.  Denver’s defense wasn’t prepared Matt Ryan’s short game, and Paxton Lynch wasn’t great most of the day in his first start.  The Chargers scored a lot of points again, but they continue to lack the big play late, whether on offense or defense that winning teams do.  Philip Rivers had a big day in the air, but there were too many turnovers to recover from.  The Broncos will be hungry after their first loss, so give me the road team in this Thursday night affair. DENVER WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Eagles @ Redskins: Philly is coming off their first loss of the season, a game that saw down big early, and almost pull out the comeback against Detroit.  Carson Wentz finally threw his first interception, halting that comeback attempt late.  But they’re still very good, and we’ll see how the rookie recovers from the tough loss on the road.  Their NFC East foes won their week 5 match-up, holding off the Ravens for win number three in a row. Washington’s 29th ranked defense entering action didn’t allow much after an early touchdown, which covered up a not so great offensive day.  Will the Skins win their fourth straight, or will the Eagles win their fifth of the season? I trust Philadelphia’s defense way more than I trust Washington’s. PHILADELPHIA WINS
  • Steelers @ Dolphins: After a very bad loss to the Eagles in week 3, Pittsburgh is back and looking about as good as they have in the Roethlisberger era.  They’ve made two very good defenses look silly the past two weeks, and Le’Veon Bell looks like he hasn’t skipped a beat following his suspension.  Miami on the other hand, is one of the worst teams in the league. Their one win came in overtime to the win-less Browns. That should tell you everything.  The Steelers need to avoid falling into this trap game on the road.  They won’t. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Jaguars @ Bears: Jacksonville is coming off their bye week after picking up their first win of the season in London against the Colts in week 4. In that win, Blake Bortles got his receiving weapons involved, and didn’t turn the ball over as he had earlier in the season.  The defense bended big time in the second half, but they held on. Chicago followed up their first win of the season with a back-and-fourth loss to those same Colts in week 5. The Bears should be happy with the play they’ve gotten from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.  While I like what Hoyer has been able to do in the place of injured Jay Cutler, I like the offensive weapons the Jags boast better. JACKSONVILLE WINS
  • Browns @ Titans: Cleveland has always been known for their QB carousel, and this year has been no different. But it hasn’t been because of ineffectiveness, it’s been due to injuries.  The Browns offense hasn’t been terrible, especially of late, but changing quarterbacks as much as they have had to doesn’t help. Tennessee’s offense hasn’t been much to write home about either, but they’ve been quite balanced, and have been in every game, win or lose.  Their week 5 win was their best game, with a big day from DeMarco Murray helping out.  So with all the uncertainty for Cleveland, I’ll take the Titans to even up their record. TENNESSEE WINS
  • Bengals @ Patriots: Tom Brady looked pretty good in his week 5 debut.  And by pretty good, I mean he had his 8th career 400+ yard game and helped his team easily improve to 4-1.  Martellus Bennett was the biggest beneficiary of the return of Brady, scoring three touchdowns in the win.  Cincinnati has been unable to put back-to-back good games together this season, allowing the Cowboys to run all over them. The Patriots will continue to have success in all phases at home this week, even if the better version of the Bengals show up. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • 49ers @ Bills: San Francisco struggled once again in week 5, committing too many turnovers, which turned into too many Arizona points.  The run game was okay, but the Niners will be making a change under center.  Colin Kaepernick will be back as the team’s starting quarterback, putting even more focus on the controversial figure.  Now they head to Buffalo to take on one of the hottest teams in the league.  The Bills are top 5 in points fewest points allowed, while also boasting a top 5 rush game.  They’re making stops, forcing turnovers and eating clock.  This is going to be a tough return for Kaepernick on the road. BUFFALO WINS
  • Ravens @ Giants: Both teams are coming off close losses, with the Giants scuffling on the road, and the Ravens doing the same at home.  New York’s offense wasn’t supposed to be the problem this season, but it has been.  Drops, injuries at running back and too many turnovers.  Not to mention a lack of protection from the offensive line.  Baltimore is facing similar offensive issues. The defenses for both teams have been pretty good, but these two recent Superbowl teams are simply middling right now.  So who gets back on track? I’ll take the Giants at home in another close one. NEW YORK WINS
  • Rams @ Lions: Detroit is one of many teams that has been in every game they play, including their one point win in week 5, in which they handed the Eagles their first loss. As for the Rams, they’re coming off a loss to the Bills in which they allowed 30 points, turned the ball over too many times and couldn’t stop the run.  But LA is doing something they haven’t in years, and that’s win more than they lose, make the plays more than they don’t. Give me the road team to stop the Lions and improve to 4-2. LOS ANGELES WINS
  • Panthers @ Saints: The Panthers are in a free fall, becoming just the fifth team to start 1-4 following a Superbowl appearance. I picked them to win the whole thing this year. Oops.  Cam Newton was out last week with a concussion, but their problems predated the loss of their quarterback.  The defense isn’t what it has been the past couple years.  Their secondary is getting lit up, while their offensive line hasn’t been allowing the run game to succeed like it can.  New Orleans offense is always explosive, and they’re coming off a bye.  That being said, they aren’t good on defense, and so this is a good game of the Panthers to start a comeback with 11 games left. CAROLINA WINS

Sunday 4/425PM Games

  • Chiefs @ Raiders: Kansas City enters action off their bye-week, trying to regroup from a blowout loss to Pittsburgh in week 4.  The Raiders enter as one of the league’s 4-1 teams, thanks to their ability to win close games.  Oakland’s four wins were by a combined 12 points, and have scored at least 17 points in every game. Kansas City has had one good game offensively this season, and that was their week 1 win.  Their other win was all defense.  And their last game in week 4 was the he worst game yet, allowing the Steelers to walk over them.  I liked both of these teams to make the playoffs this year, and while I thought the Chiefs wold be better, they’re still working Jamaal Charles back in.  Give me the home team in this one. OAKLAND WINS
  • Cowboys @ Packers: Dallas are a one-point loss away from being one of two 5-0 teams.  They’re being lifted by offensive rookies and a solid defense. Green Bay hasn’t looked as good as they have in the past, yet they’re 3-1.  Aaron Rodgers has always been nearly unbeatable at home, and despite how good the Cowboys have been, I think that trend continues in week 5. GREEN BAY WINS
  • Falcons @ Seahawks: Atlanta is on a four game win streak that has them scoring at will against some pretty good defenses.  Matt Ryan is spreading the wealth in the air, and getting good results.  Seattle is coming off their bye week, and a 3-1 record.  They got off to a slow start offensively, but have picked it up. I’ve always liked the offensive talent of the Falcons, but the Seahawks defense is still one of the most formidable in the league, allowing no more than 18 points in any of their four games. SEATTLE WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Colts @ Texans: Indianapolis put together their best game of the season in week 5, opening up the passing game to allow Andrew Luck to air it out.  T.Y. Hilton benefited from this, catching 10 passes for 171-yards.  The defense still has work to do, but they forced a turnover late, stopping the Bears comeback.  Houston won its first two games on the strength of their defense, but have lost two of their last three.  Their offense is just not up to par, and that’s why they’ll be 3-3 after six weeks. INDIANAPOLIS WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Jets @ Cardinals: Arizona got off to a slow start Thursday against the Niners, but once they got going, there was no stopping them. Well, there was no stopping Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, who picked up all four touchdowns combined. New York continued to struggle in week 5, dropping their third straight.  New York has also lost one of their big play threats, as wide-out Eric Decker has been placed on IR with a shoulder injury. The Jets are definitely capable of shutting down the Cardinals, bt I don’t think they’ll be able to get enough going themselves on offense.  ARIZONA WINS

NFL: Week 5 Picks

We’re through a fourth of the NFL season, and 3 undefeated teams remain: the Eagles, Vikings and Broncos.  These are three teams who’s defenses have been smothering, and who are starting different quarterbacks then they ended their season’s with last year.

Through four weeks, I have a 34- 30 record picking games.  Here are my thoughts on week 5.

Bye Week: New Orleans, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Kansas City

Thursday Night Football

  • Cardinals @ 49ers: Arizona has gotten off to an p-and-down start to the season, and it continued Sunday against LA. The Cardinals out-gained the Rams 420-288 yards, but committed five turnovers, including fourth quarter interceptions by backup Drew Stanton after Carson Palmer left with a possible concussion. They find themselves with a 1-3 record, and tied with their week 5 opponents at the bottom of the NFC West. San Francisco got off a great start in week 4, putting up 14 points quickly on the Dallas Cowboys, but struggled the rest of the game.  So who can get back on track this week and pull themselves out of the cellar? I’m taking the birds, even with them having to start Stanton under center Thursday. ARIZONA WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Texans @ Vikings: Houston is the only team in the AFC South with a winning record, and other than a 27-0 drubbing in week 3, have looked pretty good.  They got their first win without JJ Watt, thanks to breakout performance from Will Fuller, the first player in franchise history to have a TD reception and a punt return for a score in the same game Minnesota’s defense is really, really good and the biggest reason they remain undefeated. Sam Bradford has been pretty good in purple and they’re succeeding without Adrian Peterson. They’ll lose soon, but it won’t be in week 5. MINNESOTA WINS
  • Bears @ Colts: Chicago picked up their first win of the season this weekend, snapping a six-game losing streak. Brian Hoyer was great in his second start for injured starter Jay Cutler, finishing 28-36 for 302 yards and two touchdowns.  The run game got going as well, while the defense picked off Matt Stafford twice in a three-point win.  Indianapolis has to rebound from a loss, in London, to the Jaguars.  Andrew Luck continues to be a no-show in the first half of games, as he threw all three of his touchdowns in the 4th quarter.  The Colts offense was plagued with dropped balls and a costly Luck interception that led to Jacksonville’s first touchdown. And their defense didn’t help, drawing costly penalties to extend a number of Jacksonville’s drives. I want to pick the Colts, who can still rebound from this slow start, but if the Bears can get another game on the ground like they did last week, they’ll get a second straight win. CHICAGO WINS
  • Jets @ Steelers: Two bad weeks in a row for the Jets have them at 1-3 heading into a game with a Steelers team coming off a drubbing of the Chiefs. The same Chiefs who had a field day on defense two weeks ago against New York.  Pittsburgh got Le’Veon Bell back, and it looked like he hadn’t missed any time.  It was another bad week for Ryan Fitpatrick and the New York offense.  The Jets defense let a supposedly hobbled Russell Wilson off the hook, and while they are capable of stopping good teams, I like the home team in this one. PITTSBURGH WINS
  • Titans @ Dolphins: Miami continues to struggle, and you have to ask when changes will be made.  They spent all this money last off-season on the defense, yet they’re bottom five there, with an 0-4 record.  Sure they played Cincinnati a week ago, but they’ve been pretty bad on both sides of the ball all year. AJ Green nearly had more receiving yards (173) than Ryan Tannehill did passing (189). Meanwhile, the Titans haven’t been much better in year two of Marcus Mariota.  They’re middle of the pack on both sides of the ball.  This is a good game for both to get things going and get some confidence, so who gets the win? Tennessee has been in every game this season, so I’ll take them to get the road victory this week. TENNESSEE WINS
  • Eagles @ Lions: Philadelphia is alone atop the NFC East, thanks to a great start from rookie Carson Wentz, and a very good defense.  Detroit has lost its last three games after barely holding on to a week 1 win in Indianapolis. Matt Stafford hasn’t been crisp, and they’re not getting much out of the running game. The Lions have been in every game, win or lose, while the Eagles have had an easy time of it early.  They’ll be well rested coming off their bye week and it will show in another victory.  PHILADELPHIA WINS
  • Patriots @ Browns: New England gets  Tom Brady back from suspension after suffering a rare loss at home, a very rare shutout loss, and their first of the season.  That being said, the Pats are in a good place at 3-1 as they welcome back their starter.  Cleveland remains the lone win-less team in the league, despite being right there at the end the of each game the past two weeks. Brady missing 4-games at his age could mean great things for New England, meaning he’ll be fresh, or it’ll mean he’s a bit rusty this week.  Or both.  Cleveland has looked better on offense the past two weeks, particularly on the ground.  But they couldn’t stop the Skins in the red-zone, where Brady thrives.  It’ll be close, but I’ll take the road team here. NEW ENGLAND WINS
  • Redskins @ Ravens: Washington comes in winners of two straight; Baltimore; off their first loss of the season.  The Skins were great in the red-zone of the second week in a row, and Kirk Cousins continues to be very accurate.  The Ravens lost a one point game to Oakland at home where they both out-gained and held the ball longer.  A successful two-point conversion on a fourth quarter touchdown for Baltimore was immediately followed by a foolish taunting penalty, and then a game winning drive from Derek Carr. Can Washington make it three-straight wins, or will the Ravens pick up their fourth win of the season? It’ll come down to red-zone defense and the run game.  We know both of these quarterbacks in Cousins and Joe Flacco can air it out.  I like the Ravens run game, and trust their defense at home more. BALTIMORE WINS

Sunday 4PM/425PM Games

  • Falcons @ Broncos: This is a match-up of two of the hottest teams in the NFL.  Atlanta is on a three-game winning streak, scoring at least 45 in the last two.  They’re the only team above .500 in the NFC South and coming off a game where Matt Ryan threw for over 500 yards against the Panthers.  Denver meanwhile, hasn’t lost since a week 15 road loss last year to the Steelers; and their last home loss came in week 10 last year to the Chiefs.  The Broncos defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season, so this will be a test of an extremely hot defense, versus an extremely hot offense. Which wins out? I’m going with the old adage that defense wins championships; the reigning champs will remain undefeated. DENVER WINS
  • Bengals @ Cowboys: Dallas hasn’t lost since week 1, and even that should have probably been a win.  They’re getting huge production from their rookies with no sign of slowing down.  The Bengals got back on track and evened their record up in week 4 against the Dolphins.  Both teams have defenses capable of making the stops down the stretch when necessary, but with no Dez Bryant, the Bengals have the biggest play threat on the field in A.J. Green, and that’s why I like them to snap the Cowboys win streak. CINCINNATI WINS
  • Chargers @ Raiders: San Diego’s problem this season hasn’t been scoring, it has been their inability to finish games this season, losing by less than a score each time. Oakland is starting to figure things out on offense, winners of two straight including handing the Ravens their first loss of the season. The Raiders defense is actually allowing the most yards per game, and the 11th most points per game, so there’s work to do there.  They’re going to beat the Chargers this weekend, on the strength of their offense. OAKLAND WINS
  • Bills @ Rams: In week 4, the Bills did something most teams in the Belichick era, shut out the Pats in New England. The deefnse, as well as LeSean McCoy had big gmaes for Buffalo.  The LA Rams are playing up to their competition this season, and finishing the job.  They took advantage of the Cardinals losing Carson Palmer last week, and find themselves 3-1.  Considering they havent had a winnning season 2003, this is a huge thing in itself.  Their offense is inconsistent, which is where Buffalo  will take advantage. BUFFALO WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Giants @ Packers: After starting the season 2-0, the Giants have sputtered in all areas of the game the past two weeks.  They’ve allowed big play after big play on defense, while not getting any of their own on offense.  Turnovers on special teams and offense aren’t being nullified with forcing opponents to do the same.  Green Bay hasn’t been as sharp as they’ve been in the past, but will be rested after their bye week.  The Giants have won the last three match-ups in this series, but I’m taking Aaron Rogers in this one. GREEN BAY WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Buccaneers @ Panthers: Carolina should be worried. They looked lost against Atlanta this past week, never having an answer on how to cover Julio Jones, a guy you should always game plan for as a top priority.  Tampa Bay is in the bottom third scoring wise in the league, despite putting 30-plus points on the board in two of their first four games.  Their defense has allowed at least 24 in each game as well.  So this is a good game for the Panthers to figure some stuff out on both sides of the ball before they fall any further in the standings. CAROLINA WINS

NFL: Week 4 Picks

5 undefeated teams remain as we head into week 4 of the NFL season.  I went 9-7 a week ago, bringing my season total to 26-22.

Bye Week: Philadelphia and Green Bay

Thursday Night Football

  • Dolphins @ Bengals: Miami barely squeaked by the Browns last week, while the Bengals were beat down by the defending champs at home.  The Dolphins got a big day from Jarvis Landry, but inconsistency continues to plague Ryan Tannehill, who threw a pick six in the win. Cincinnati got their running game going, but still lost to 1-2 for the first time in five years.  After two very good weeks, Andy Dalton couldn’t do much against the Broncos defense. I like the Bengals at home with another good rushing game to get their second win of the season. CINCINNATI WINS

Sunday Morning Football 

  • Colts @ Jaguars: London here they come! Indianapolis got their first win of the season last week, while Jacksonville is still looking for theirs.  Andrew Luck has the uncanny ability to turn a bad day into a big day passing the ball, but the Jaguars defense isn’t the problem so far, so he’ll need help.  Blake Bortles on the other hand, has been pretty awful for Jacksonville in his third year under center. So what happens this weekend across the pond? Give me a cleaner day from Luck to lift the Colts. INDIANAPOLIS WINS

Sunday 1PM Games

  • Bills @ Patriots: Three different quarterbacks have started for New England, but that hasn’t stopped the winning.  And as for the Bills, they got their first win over a team many think, myself included, are a playoff team destined for a deep run.  Both teams got big two-touchdown games out of their number 1 running backs, so look for another day of running the clock. The Patriots have to get through one more week without Tom Brady, and while they’ve done a great job doing so, and are very, very good at home, I’m taking the road team in this one. BUFFALO WINS
  • Titans @ Texans: It was a very bad week for Houston, who not only lost their Thursday game versus New England 27-0, they learned that JJ Watt re-injured his back and will be out the rest of the year.  Tennessee’s week wasn’t much better, as they scored just 10 points in their loss to Oakland. Both teams enter action having scored the same amount of points through 3 games, but of course that’s skewed with the Texans O-fer last weekend. Marcus Mariota and Brock Osweiler have both thrown 4 interceptions so far this season, so whoever can limit mistakes has the edge. A Titans win puts them in a tie for the division early.  But I don’t think they get it, because I like the Texans skill position players better. HOUSTON WINS
  • Lions @ Bears: The Lions are 1-2, but haven’t struggled in the passing game, as Matthew Stafford has found a new weapon in Marvin Jones after Calvin Johnson called it a career in the off-season.   The silver lining there for the 0-3 Bears is that their defense has actually done okay against the pass so far this season.  Chicago got a pretty good game out of Brandon Hoyer, who finished 30-49 for 317 yards, though most of that came with the game out of hand already. Both teams have the ability to get the points in the air, and with two middling defenses, that shouldn’t be a problem.  So this game will be won in the trenches, and the edge there lies with the Lions. DETROIT WINS
  • Panthers @ Falcons: Carolina is another team I thought would have a great season, but has disappointed so far.  Thanks to the struggles of the Panthers and the rest of the NFC South, Atlanta finds themself atop the division early on in the season.  This dispite allowing 31, 28 and 32 points in their first three games.  The Falcons may not be getting sustained success in their ground game early, they are getting it when it counts.  Tevin Coleman has just 110 yards on the ground, but has 4 rushing touchdowns, including 3 on Sunday in New Orleans. Carolina entered action red-hot at home dating back to 2014, but we shut down by a red-hot Vikings defense a week ago.  I still believe in the Panthers defense, and as hot as Atlanta has been, I think Carolina gets the win on the road. CAROLINA WINS
  • Seahawks @ Jets: The good news for Jets fans? Ryan Fitzpatrick can only be better than he was a week ago. The bad news? He has to be a lot better against the top defense in the league. After scoring just 3 points against L.A. in week 2, the Seahawks exercised some demons putting up 37 against the Niners.  Russell Wilson was hobbled in the game, but still managed to leave with a nice lead.  Big games from Christine Michael and Doug Baldwin helped get the offense back on track.  New York can solace in the fact that they have had a pretty good run game all season, and while some of it came in garbage time, Seattle did allow the Niners to get over 130 yards on the ground, finding pay dirt twice.  This shouldnt be as ugly for the Jets as it was last week, but it will still be a loss. SEATTLE WINS
  • Raiders @ Ravens: Baltimore finds itself among the undefeated teams heading into week 4, in large part thanks to their defense and a good day from kicker Justin Tucker.  The Ravens are second in total defense through 3 weeks of play.  Their opponents won their 2nd game by  forcing three turnovers, with a sack after entering week 3 having allowed the Saints and Falcons to walk all over them.  So based on defenses, Baltimore should have an easy win.  But I actually like Oakland’s offense a lot more, and as someone who thinks this is a playoff team, I’ll take the Raiders in the upset. OAKLAND WINS
  • Browns @ Redskins: Cleveland should’ve gotten their first win of the season in Miami a week ago, but an inability to stop the air attack, and three missed field goals left them at 0-3. They gave themselves a shot, but couldn’t take it.  Cody Kessler’s first career start wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good for Cleveland, though at this point, coming out healthy is huge for the Browns. Washington did get their first win, taking down the Giants on the road. After a couple lackluster offensive weeks, Kirk Cousins let it loose and got a number of big plays in the passing game to help get that first win and move back in the right direction to defend their NFC East title.  So can the Browns get their first win this week? Yes. Will they? I don’t think so. They stayed in last week thanks to mistakes by Tannehill, but Cousins won’t make those same mistakes. WASHINGTON WINS

Sunday 4/425PM Games

  • Broncos @ Buccaneers: The Superbowl Champs are showing no signs of slowing down as they look to start the season 4-0.  Denver got off to a slow start last week against the Bengals, but came on strong late thanks to a big day from rookie quarterback Trevor Siemian.  Siemian threw four touchdown passes, including two in the fourth quarter for the win.  Not to be outdone, the Broncos are a top flight defense that held down Andy Dalton and their rushing attack.  They’ve got another tough test when they take on Jameis Winston this weekend.  The Bucs 2nd year quarterback is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes so far with 8, though he has thrown six picks to.  It won’t be a blowout, none of Denver’s games really have been, but it will be another win for the Broncos. DENVER WINS
  • Rams @ Cardinals: I’m shocked at the start the Cardinals are having at just 1-2. Carson Palmer has had a bad TD-turnover ratio through 3 weeks.   Arizona isn’t getting quite out of David Johnson on the ground, while their defense is allowing the 5th most rushing yards per game.  This is as good a week as any to get back to what they want to do in all phases as they take on their division rival Rams, who find themselves tied atop the division at 2-1.  Los Angeles has rebounded nicely from a shutout on opening day, winning their last two games.  The Rams tend to play up or down to their opponents, evident by a 9-3 home win over Seattle and a 37-32 shootout on the road in Tampa Bay.  Going off those results,  I’ll take the Cardinals at home in what should be a close game throughout between these two West foes. ARIZONA WINS
  • Cowboys @ Niners: Dallas couldn’t have asked for more from rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot through three weeks.  The Tony Romo-less Cowboys were a game-winning field-goal away from being 3-0 right now. Dez Bryant has a hairline fracture in his knee but is still expected to play this weekend.  San Francisco was manhandled in week 3, and still isn’t making a change back to Colin Kaepernick.  The biggest thing the Niners have going for them is Carlos Hyde has looked pretty good.  I like what the Caowboys have done this season, but I have a feeling about San Fran this week. It might be a bad feeling, but I’m rolling with it. SAN FRANCISCO WINS
  • Saints @ Chargers: It’s still early, but the Saints need to start picking up some wins quickly if they want to make the playoffs as I predicted they would as a wildcard team in the NFC.  The offense hasn’t been the problem.  Drew Brees is already over a 1,000 yards passing, with an 8-1 touchdown to interception ratio, though that one interception last week was a fourth quarter pick six for Brees.  New Orleans defense hasn’t been been able to stop anyone, as they’ve allowed the 2nd most total yards.  Worst at stopping the run, that’s where the Chargers will need to take advantage this week.  But without Danny Woodhead, San Diego needs Melvin Gordon to get going, so this is the perfect opportunity for that.  I like Philip Rivers, but I like Drew Brees more.  Give me the road team to get win number 1 this week. NEW ORLEANS WINS

Sunday Night Football

  • Chiefs @ Steelers: What a defensive performance put on by the Chiefs this past week! Two defensive touchdowns and six interceptions helped Kansas City get the easy win over the Jets.  The offense wasn’t great, but they didn’t need to be with that showing on defense.  Alex Smith continued to show his game management skills, and why Travis Kelce is one of the better tight ends in the league right now. They’ve got a desperate Steelers team thsi week, who didn’t score a touchdown in a week 3 beatdown by the Eagles.  After two very good weeks, DeAngelo Williams was stymied on the ground, so the rushing attack will gladly welcome back Le’Veon Bell from suspension this week. The biggest test for the Kansas City defense will be stopping Antonio Brown, but I don’t think it will matter much even if he does have a big day. KANSAS CITY WINS

Monday Night Football

  • Giants @ Vikings: This should be a battle of two unbeatens, but a late game collapse left the Giants at 2-1 heading into today.  Too many penalties, a couple late turnovers and allowing Washington to open up the field multiple times led to the home loss for New York.  They lost Shane Vereen to a triceps injury as well.  Eli Manning and company need to do more in the passing game, and they have the capability with three wide receivers.  The bad news for New York is that the Vikings are running on all cylinders right now.  Their defense has been relentless through three weeks, and despite losing starting QB Teddy Bridgewater before the season started, the offense has been very good.  Sam Bradford has come in and fit in better in two weeks then he’s done in the first few seasons of his career.  It’s going to be tough for the Giants on the road, but I like New York will figure things out and get back in the win column.  NEW YORK WINS