Game of the Week
Indianapolis Colts (-1½) over GREEN BAY PACKERS
There's been some talk again about Brett Favre in conjunction with the Green Bay Packers thanks to some recent losses. However, Aaron Rodgers or the lack of Favre is far from the reason for the decline of the Packers. Aaron Rodgers has been more than solid in replace of Favre. In fact, his numbers look fantastic, though much of that is thanks to a plethora of talent surrounding him on offense, save for running back of course. Though even Ryan Grant falling back to earth is not an excuse for the Packers' recent struggles. Green Bay survived for almost the first half of the season last year before discovering Grant and riding him to the playoffs.
Instead, the decline of the Packers rests squarely on the feet of a defense decimated by injuries and declining players. Injuries have especially hurt the defensive line, which has transformed the run defense from stout to Swiss cheese-like. In the secondary, injuries have also taken a toll, especially at safety, but the greatest weakness has been the decline of Al Harris from Pro Bowl level to barely average. Like running backs, the moment a corner loses a step or some agility, they are finished. At least corners can transition to safety, which Green Bay and Al Harris may want to consider soon. The problem is that Green Bay has little depth at corner, lacking anything close to a decent nickle back. It will be near impossible to replace Harris at corner this season.
Now Indianapolis may have defensive issues of their own, but their offense is near full healt and efficiency. Peyton Manning is just more capable of taking advantage of defensive weaknesses than Aaron Rodgers. Likewise, Addai (if healthy) and Rhodes should fair better against the Green Bay defense than Ryan Grant will against Indianapolis' defense. Add it all up and the Colts should eak out a win in what is likely to be a shootout, and I would not be surprised if this victory was just another on the way to a dozen or so for Indianapolis this year.
Monday Night Cheerleader
Denver Broncos (+3½) over NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Perry Jackman is an adventurous, vivacious and humorous member of the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders. This is Perry's first season with the squad, and when not cheering she's an event coordinator and dance instructor. As a former resident of Kansas City, she is especially happy when the Broncos defeat the Kansas City Chiefs, an event that is not so uncommon at this point in time. Perry and the rest of the Denver Cheerleaders will do their best to help lead the Broncos to victory over the Patriots.
Lock of the Week
NEW YORK GIANTS (-10½) over San Francisco 49ers
Flukes happen, the Giants were not going to end the season undefeated. But the test of a good team is to come out of a fluke and demolish lesser competition the next week. San Francisco is just unlucky enough to have to travel all the way from the West Coast to play the role of demolishee.
Upset of the Week
Baltimore Ravens (+2½) over MIAMI DOLPHINS
This isn't exactly the biggest upset in the world. That said, I don't see the Wildcat fooling the Ravens' defense this week. That unit is just too athletic and too disciplined. I'm actualy seeing the Ravens sitting on passing lanes this week just daring Pennington to beat them, and when he tries, easy interceptions. On the hand, Joe Flacco may still be a mistake prone rookie, but I don't think the Miami defense has ability to fully capitalize on those mistakes.
BUFFALO BILLS (+½) over San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are flying in from the West Coast to play an early game in Eastern time. The Bills on the other hand are coming in rested and healed off of their bye. On a neutral field with similar health and rest I like the Chargers, but the NFL is not always a fair place, and the Bills have the advantage in this game.
CHICAGO BEARS (+3½) over Minnesota Vikings
I don't like that the Vikings needed to rely on Dan Orlovsky rushing out of his own end zone for a safety to win last week. The Bears are simply a far better team than the Lions. The Bears may have had trouble with Atlanta last week, and the Vikings are actually a similar team to the Falcons. However, this week the Bears are home, and Gus Frerote is no Matt Ryan.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9½) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
One of these weeks the Bengals might have to win a game, it won't be against the Steelers. I just don't see that the Bengals have a defensive line capable of taking advantage of the Steelers greatest weakness, their offensive line. If Pittsburgh can provide Ben with even minimal protection, he should carve the Bengals secondary to pieces.
Tennessee Titans over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+7½)
These are actually similar teams in certain ways. Defensive oriented ball control teams. The difference is that the Titans play defense better than anyone, while the Kansas City defense is a work in progress. It also helps that Kerry Collins is a live body, while the Chiefs are forced to run out the cast from The Night of the Living Dead at quarterback. Plus, Larry Johnson has been suspended this game, eight months after his infraction. I don't get the timing, maybe the team was worried that Goodell would step in with a greater suspension if the team didn't act first, see Adam Jones and the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys (-6½) over ST. LOUIS RAMS
I don't care who is playing quarterback for the Cowboys this week, they should be able to handle the Rams. This of course assumes that TO's scheduled blowup is at least a week away.
New Orleans Saints (+3½) over CAROLINA PANTHERS
I'm going to admit it, I just don't care for the NFC South. Too many mediocre teams pretending to be good for a few weeks until they fall out of their delusions.
HOUSTON TEXANS (-8½) over Detroit Lions
The Lions are job security for opposing quarterbacks.
New York Jets (-3½) over OAKLAND RAIDERS
This game scares me a bit as a Jets fan. Back in the later Parcels-Al Groh-early Herman Edwards era for the Jets, when they made the playoffs more often than not, there was always the John Gruden era Raiders standing in their way. Well, the Raiders have certainly fallen from those times, but still the Silver and Black just doesn't sit will with me.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS over Cleveland Browns (+7½)
Remember what I said about the Giants and fluke losses? That goes for Washington as well. I don't think the Browns have another fluke win in them, at least not yet.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS over Seattle Seahawks (+10½)
I predict some bad football this game.
A Blast from the Past
- Straight Up: 7-7 Last Week, 52-36 for the season
- Vs. Spread: 6-8 last week, 50-38 for the season
- Game of the Week: 2-4 straight, 4-2 spread
- Monday Night Cheerleader: 2-4 straight, 3-3 spread
- Lock of the Week: 4-2 straight, 5-1 spread
- Upset of the Week 2-4 straight, 2-4 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.