Game of the Week
Carolina Panthers (+2½) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
This is a good strong match up between two tough teams from the NFC South. I like the Tampa defense better, other than the stiff formerly known as Ronde Barber. However, I think Gruden is not doing himself any favors with this quarterback carousel he has going between Griese and Garcia. He needs to also realize that Earnest Graham is a far better running back than Warric Dunn at this stage of their careers, and Graham needs to become the outright starter relegating Dunn to a third down role at best.
Carolina on the other hand has a very workable and strong running back by committee going between Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. The return of Steve Smith and the reemergence of Mushin Mohammad gives the Panthers a legitimate passing game. The Panthers should be able to handle Tampa and gain a step up in the division.
Monday Night Cheerleader
New York Giants (-7½) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
Neither the Giants nor Browns field a cheerleading squad. Clearly not another word should be wasted on two franchises that clearly do not recognize the value of hot chicks.
Lock of the Week
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (-13½) over St. Louis Rams
Eventually the Rams need to man up and at least lose a game by less than double digits, if not actually win a game. Installing Marc Bulger back as a starter is not exactly a start, but it's at least correcting a past mistake. Lost in a season where Marvin Harrison has been reduced to a slot receiver is the degeneration of former famous person Torry Holt. Holt is not a good receiver stuck on a bad team, he's just not all that good anymore.
Upset of the Week
New England Patriots (+6½) over SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
How quickly the world forgets that the Patriots are still the Patriots and Bill Belichick is still Bill Belichick. Tom Brady may be injured, but Belichick still has his bag of
cheats . So Matt Cassel isn't exactly setting the world on fire, and the defense has no secondary and the slowest linebacking corp in the league, but as a Jets fan I have learned to never underestimate the Patriots.
Chicago Bears (-2½) over ATLANTA FALCONS
I'm confident that the Bears defense can contain Michael Turner leaving Matt Ryan to try to win this game on his own. He won't.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-4½) over Baltimore Ravens
I'm still a believer in these Colts. Every week their offense gets a little more healthy. I think the final piece of the puzzle is officially replacing Marvin Harrison in the starting offense with Anthony Gonzalez. So they have no defense, they've been winning for years without a defense. They may not go far in the playoffs, but I still believe that this Indianapolis team can eak out eleven to twelve wins and the wild card.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS over Detroit Lions (+13½)
This Detroit defense is bad. How bad are they? They are so bad that Gus Frerotte is worth starting on your fantasy team this week.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-7½) over Oakland Raiders
I don't see the Tom Cable era going all that much better than the Lane Kiffen era, or the Art Shell era, or the Norv Turner era.
NEW YORK JETS (-5½) over Cincinnati Bengals
Favre may not throw for six touchdowns again, but it's important for the Jets season that the offense shows continued progress and growing chemistry.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-3½) over Miami Dolphins
Miami did not beat the Chargers so much with the Wildcat offense as it did with a stout defense and Ronnie Brown returning to health and full effectiveness. That said, this Texans team is much better than their record indicates, despite Sage Rosenfields best Kurt Warner impression last week.
DENVER BRONCOS (-3½) over Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite the low score of last week, there is nothing wrong with the Denver offense. Instead, they were smart and took what the Tampa Bay defense gave them, which was just enough to pull out the win. If Jay Cutler wants to play it smart this week, he'll look to the opposite side that Rashean Mathis is covering.
Dallas Cowboys (-5½) over ARIZONA CARDINALS
The stars are not aligning right for the Cowboys this week. The Cardinals are an old rival back before the realignment and tend to play the Cowboys tough. Starting corner Terrence Newman is out, and Adam Jones is back to his trouble making ways. The team has decided not to punish him for his recent altercations and he should start, but he still poses a distraction that this team does not need. That said, the Cowboys are still the Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles (-5½) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
After some tough loses to the Bears and Redskins, the Eagles need a game like this against a team as bad as the 49ers to gain back some mojo.
Green Bay Packers (+2½) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Aaron Rogers has not been the cause of the Green Bay decline, that blame lies squarely at the feet of the defense. Against a Seattle offense still lacking full health that defense needs to step up and make a statement.
A Blast from the Past
- Straight Up: 7-7 Last Week, 45-29 for the season
- Vs. Spread: 8-6 last week, 44-30 for the season
- Game of the Week: 2-3 straight, 4-1 spread
- Monday Night Cheerleader: 2-3 straight, 3-2 spread
- Lock of the Week: 4-1 straight, 5-0 spread
- Upset of the Week 2-3 straight, 2-3 spread
The Ground Rules
Home team in CAPS, spread in ( paren ). If the spread is listed after the victor, then they will cover. If the spread is listed after the loser, then it will not be covered.
Spreads are taken from ESPN.com. I don't do lines.