Here we are at the edge of the second half of the NFL season. The playoff scenerios are beginning to heat up as the contenders are starting to separate from the pretenders. At one point, I was adamant that the Ravens were part of the latter, but now they are obviously to be included in the former. Of course a win Sunday at Houston would go a long way to confirming the aforementioned opinion (like that word?).
Last week snapped my three week winning streak, but I plan to get back on track Sunday. So, here goes with my picks. Post your agreement or not below.
Atlanta over New Orleans: Wow, starting off with a close one, as the Saints have had a lot of rest since their win in England over San Diego. Drew Brees is having another stellar season, but Atlanta has defended its turf every time this season and Michael Turner runs wild at home.
Chicago over Tennessee: Here it is, my Upset Special of the Week. The Bears end the Titans run of perfection with a solid defensive effort that shuts down the Titans running game, which is their Forte (get it!?). Meanwhile the Bears put up points on a great Tennessee defense under Rex Grossman, who's put up with a ton and handled it great. Besides, gotta love his first name!
Detroit over Jacksonville: Here's another one for you. The Jaguars have not looked well at all this year and the thought of losing to both the Bengals and Lions, giving them both their first wins of the season is enough to make any Jacksonville fan spew. However, I'm throwing down the gauntlet that Dante Culpepper leads the Lions to victory and has a home for the rest of the season. Gee, isn't he lucky?
Miami over Seattle: While I like the Dolphins to continue their rebound after the Ravens loss three weeks ago, I can't see them covering the spread, which has been around 8 points. However, the Seashawks have been abysmal and they haven't showed anything to make me think it's going to change anytime soon.
Green Bay over Minnesota: The Packers almost won at Tennessee last week and the Titans are tougher than the Vikings on both sides of the ball. That said, the Vikes are a better team with Frerotte than they were with Jackson at QB and of course there's also some guy named Peterson for Green Bay to worry about.
New England over Buffalo: The Bills have fallen flat after opening the season with some impressive victories. However, the Pats have been here before and will do what they need to do to control and win the game at home.
NY Jets over St. Louis: I sort of expect to see a similar game between these two teams as we did when the Cardinals came to NJ earlier this season and Brett Favre went wild on them. The Rams should be without RB Steven Jackson and therefore have to go to the pass early and often, while the Jets will put up a bunch of points on them.
Carolina over Oakland: I picked Oakland to win last week at home against the Falcons and they got blanked. I'm not that stupid to think they now have nay chance against the Panthers, even if they're still at home and have unloaded DeAngelo Hall, who picked a perfect partner in the Redskins and owner Daniel Snyder.
Pittsburgh over Indianapolis: Of course, I'm rooting for Indy here, but just can't see how they'll be able to win at Heinz Field. The Steelers should manhandle and contain the Colts offense and wear them down on defense. It might be a close one and I'm hoping my prayers are answered,, but see the Steelers taking this one to remain a step ahead of my Ravens.
San Diego over Kansas City: The Chargers are home after falling to the Saints in Great Britain and have the perfect remedy for what ails them. The Chiefs are hurting on both sides of the ball and will be without LJ once again (he's a bad boy). Thigpen to Gonzalez may help, but won't change the end result as San Diego finally wins another game.
NY Giants over Philadelphia: This should be the best game of the weekend as it pits two teams who are among the best in the league and actually hate each other. They're also the Ravens next two opponents so all Ravens fans should watch this game with special interest. The Giants have the best interior lines on both sides of the ball and will be tough for anyone to beat, as long as Eli Manning stays out of trouble. Conversely, the Eagles offense is clicking behind Donovan McNabb and All World RB Brian Westbrook, the most dangerous player in the league. I like the Giants, who have been an excellent road team to disappoint the rabid Philly fans on prime time.
Arizona over San Francisco (Monday Night Football): Why in the world did the NFL brass choose this game for Monday Night Football!? Why not the Steelers-Indy or Philly-Giants games? I guess they need to placate the West Coast teams and their fans. Hopefully, Kurt Warner will put on a show with Boldin and Fitzgerald catching TD passes all night over the 49ers defense. Former Terp QB Shaun Hill makes a start for SF, who should have former Terp TE Vernon Davis back after his mid-game banishment from new coach (and former Ravens asst. coach) Mike Singletary's doghouse.
(NOTE: I'll pick & pan the Ravens-Texans game in tomorrow's post.)
Last Week: 6-8
Season Record: 83-50