Game of the Week
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-5½) over New England Patriots
This isn't exactly the big matchup that we would have predicted preseason, I was almost tempted to go with the divisional rivalry and place Giants/Cowboys as the game of this week. Except, Peyton Manning may be hobbled, but he'll come out trying to show the world that he can still sling it against New England's depleted secondary. Bill Belichick may sans-Tom Brady, but he'll still want to show the world that he can win this chess match against Peyton.
It's unlikely that either of these teams will win their divisions, obviously far more so for the Colts, but each of these teams is still far from dead in the playoff chase, those wildcards are sitting there for the taking. If the Colts can defeat the Patriots this Sunday night, they will be one step closer to claiming that wildcard, and from there anything can happen.
Monday Night Cheerleader
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2½) over WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Steelers are one of the few backwards NFL franchises that for some reason just don't have a cheerleading squad. So yea, their owners can have ties to gambling and casinos, which are against NFL rules, but they can't provide us fans with some hot babes to lead our cheers? Meh.
So instead the Monday Night Cheerleader will be Anabel, of the Washington Redskins. This is Anabel's forth season as a first lady of football, that's what the Washington Redskin cheerleading squad likes to be called on their calendar. Speaking of the calendar, Anabel graced its cover during the 2006-2007 issue. She's also appeared in Maxium, Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, FHM as well as the "Beauties on the Beach Challenge" during Super Bowl XLI. Prior to cheerleading Anabel attained a BS in economics, with a Minor in business and IT and she plans on attending a reputable lawschool to earn a joint JD/MBA. Anabel certainly is a hot chick with a brain and enough ambition to spare. And one day, she just might be your corporate lawyer.
Lock of the Week
CHICAGO BEARS (-12½) over Detroit Lions
Every week I look at the winless and lossless teams and figure that eventually they are going to win a game or lose a game respectively, and wonder if this will be that week. This is a practice that I need to change. We had an undefeated (regular season) team last year, we can have a winless team this year.
So far both the Lions and Bengals share the ignominious distinction of complete failure. When I look at each teams' future schedule the upcoming games are fairly tough for both teams. However, the Bengals finish off the season with at Cleveland and hosting Kansas City, both games are at least winnable. Detroit on the other hand does not face a single team with a record worst than 3-4 at this point for the remainder of the season. If Detroit is to win a game it will be a major upset. I just don't see any sort of upset for the Lions this week.
Upset of the Week
Green Bay Packers (+6½) over TENNESSEE TITANS
As I just said previously, I like to look at the undefeated teams figure that they are bound to lose sometime, and then decide whether this will be the week. The Titans upcoming schedule includes three challenging games: this week hosting the Packers, then at Chicago and at Jacksonville, then a series of easier games hosting the Jets, at Detroit, hosting the Browns, at Houston and then ending with some tough matchups hosting the Steelers and at Indianapolis. Those final two teams will likely be fighting for their playoff lives, or in Pittsburgh's case at least a good seed.
The Titans are a good team, however they are not a historically great team. The Titans will lose a game this year, probably a couple. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give them trouble this week. Kerry Collins and the Titans just don't have the weapons at receiver to exploit the now healthy, but still walking stiff that is Al Harris. Cortland Finnegan has the speed to cover Greg Jennings deap, but if Aaron Rodgers can use formations and motion to matchup Jennings on the ancient Nick Harper instead, Jennings should be able to blow right by Harper for some long gains and possible touchdowns.
New York Jets (+5½) over BUFFALO BILLS
I have less faith in the ability of the Jets to win this game than I do that the Bills are not a six and two team. Trent Edwards is a limited quarterback very much in the mold of a Chad Pennington, but without the Wildcat. Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson is a solid running back combination, but they are far from spectacular and will not win games by themselves. Buffalo's defense is also solid, but not spectacular. The Bills are an all-around good team, but they do nothing great. The right game plan can exploit this team. If not, they'll grind you out.
Jacksonville Jaguars over CINCINNATI BENGALS (+7½)
Unlike Detroit, the Bengals can play a team close before they ultimately lose.
Baltimore Ravens (+1½) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Browns have the ultimate boom or bust offense. Derek Anderson seems to only throw bombs, incompletions or interceptions. Braylon Edwards must have the worst hands of any NFL receiver. I'm still not certain how he managed to wrangle in over a dozen touchdowns last year. If the rest of the offense is actually working, then Jamal Lewis can usually find holes as the defense brings men out of the box to cover Anderson's bombs. However, if the offense is not working, Lewis doesn't have the ability anymore to create his own holes. The Ravens defense should capitalize on Derek Anderson, and stuff Jamal Lewis. The Ravens just need to hope that Joe Flacco doesn't throw two many picks himself.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8½) over KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Don't expect Tyler Thigpen to repeat is performance last week. The Buccaneers are not the Jets.
ST. LOUIS RAMS (+2½) over Arizona Cardinals
Thanks to rookie Donnie Avery, the Rams may actually feature an offense almost as explosive as the Cardinals. Steven Jackson is the main advantage. Edgerin James just can't compare at this point of his career.
Houston Texans (+4½) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Losing to the Colts in week five may have been a blessing in disguise. The loss, particularly Sage Rosenfel's role, ensured that the Texans did not have to worry about a quarterback controversy, but instead they handed the ball right back to Matt Schaub and they've been on a role ever since. I still like them as a sleep wild card and sixth seed, though their road ahead is awfully tough.
DENVER BRONCOS (-3½) over Miami Dolphins
I visited Denver a while back for a business trip and ever since I've just handed the Broncos the biggest home field advantage. Miami is a scrappy team, and this should be a shootout, but I think the Broncos pull off the victory.
Atlanta Falcons (-2½) over OAKLAND RAIDERS
West Coast teams are winless when traveling to the East Coast this year. I wonder if it works in reverse?
NEW YORK GIANTS over Dallas Cowboys (+7½)
The key to the Giants defense is pressure. When they can consistently attack the opposing quarterback as they did last week against Ben and the Steelers the defense is dominant. When the opposing offensive line can hold their ground and protect their quarterback like Cleveland was able to, then the New York secondary is exposed and can be picked apart. The Cowboys have a strong offensive line, but it has been dealing with injuries, but most importantly Brad Johnson has played like he should be collecting Social Security, not quarterbacking an NFL team with playoff aspirations.
Philadelphia Eagles (-6½) over SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
A Blast from the Past
- Straight Up: 9-5 Last Week, 70-46 for the season
- Vs. Spread: 6-8 last week, 63-53 for the season
- Game of the Week: 3-5 straight, 5-3 spread
- Monday Night Cheerleader: 3-5 straight, 3-5 spread
- Lock of the Week: 6-2 straight, 6-2 spread
- Upset of the Week 3-5 straight, 4-4 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.