Another winning week! Though I'm smart enough to know it can't last forever, if I was a national reporter right now I'd be the best, this is a year after going 120-95-3 last year. Want to know what my secret is? Me, too. I'm just on a dart-throwing hot-streak I think and enjoying it while it lasts. Point is read the article, comment, come back next week. Counts the moneys!
Now, on to the picks!
Miami Dolphins (+8) at New England Patriots
The Patriots are clearly the better team, but the Dolphins are coming on strong. The head coaching change has worked wonders. The Dolphins team's talent should have never been in question, they have good solid players all over the field and a couple of guys who are real game changers, but now that they are inspired to play they are a good football team. Brady is playing like a man on a mission and I'd be stunned if they lost this game, but with Ndamukong Suh finally playing like the $100 million player he is, the Dolphins should be able to create enough pressure in Brady's face to make the game interesting, because that is Tom Brady's one flaw -- pressure right up the middle.
Kansas City (-4.5) vs Lions (in London)
I never know what to do with these London games. My guess is that Chiefs pass rush will force the Lions into a few turnovers, but the offensive coordinator change could potentially cause the Chiefs some problems because they could get somethings they weren't expecting.
Pick: I'll take the Lions because so far the London games have played out the opposite way I expect them to, but I feel very strongly that Jim Caldwell is the worst coach in the league, so it makes me nervous.
Minnesota Vikings (-1) at Chicago Bears
The Vikings roster is just better than the Bears throughout. The Bears do have good wide receivers, but the Vikings have a talented secondary and Xavier Rhodes is one of the few guys with the size to create some problems for Jefferey. Bridewater is coming off his best game and the Bears can't stop anyone, anyway.
Tampa Bay (+7) at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have fallen back to earth a bit here over the past few weeks, but they should clearly be the favorites here. They are very good at home, and the Buccaneers make too many mistakes to trust them against an offense like the Falcons. Though for the record, the Falcons are coming back down to where there talents suggest they should be and not the juggernauts they looked like earlier.
New York Giants (+3) at New Orleans Saints
The Giants are gritty, but gritty doesn't hit the passer. The Saints offense should have all day to throw and that could mean big problems for the Giants -- Drew Brees is not Matt Cassel. Also the Giants defense suddenly, can't stop the run and the Saints have a good running attack led by Mark Ingram, but also with the speed and pass catching ability of C.J. Spiller -- the type of player who always gives the Giants problems. The Giants could be in for a long day on defense. I think the Giants are still a little too beat up and the Saints after a poor start are actually playing well. On offense the Giants haven't generated a lot of points on their own all season really as they can't find ways to get Odell Beckham in space, they struggle to run the football consistently, they are poor in the "green-zone" and at times they can't block anyone. Really, it's amazing the Giants continue to be in some of these games. They just don't turn the ball over a whole lot and their special teams are good, but I think Brees is going to pick them apart.
Pick: I hope I'm wrong, but I think this is a bad matchup for the Giants and they lost by more than 3
San Francisco 49ers (+8.5) at St. Louis Rams
Todd Gurley is a S-T-U-D. Gurley or Flowers will be an interesting debate among fans for years to come (much like OBJ or Aaron Donald has been at times), but with that being said the Rams offense giving 8.5 points? This is not New England and Tom Brady. Or Aaron Rodgers. This is Nick Foles. The Rams offense cannot be trusted to win a game by more than 8 points, even though they might because the 49ers, at times are the worst team in the league.
Arizona Cardinals (-5) at Cleveland Browns
Cleveland is a team that is hard to handicap, they play well when they shouldn't and poorly when they shouldn't. I don't know what to expect from them. They, like the Giants, are an undermanned, gritty team (even more undermanned then the Giants though because their QB is not Eli Manning. Comes for the picks, stay for the puns, folks!). The Cardinals this year are better on the road then they have been in the past, to the point where you don't consider the road trip a disadvantage as much, but the Browns field is not great. It's a 1 p.m. game after the Cardinals are traveling east, and I think the Browns back-door cover here.
Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
He's back! Big Ben should come out firing Sunday and that could be big problems for the Bengals, but I still believe the Bengals are one of the best teams in the league and the Steelers are not. I know Andy Dalton has had some very poor games vs. the Steelers and he's hard to trust, I know Big Ben return is a huge emotional boost, but sometimes you have to put those things to the said and just say who is the better team? And the better team is the Bengals.
San Diego Chargers (+3) at Baltimore Ravens
The disappointment Bowl is this Sunday in Baltimore. Both teams have been bad and disappointing. Which team is going to show up and play?
Pick: Ravens because they are home, and the Chargers probably have the worst OL in football right now
Tennessee Titans (+4) at Houston Texans
This is another game (like the Lions game) where a team is put on notice because a key member of the team/staff has been fired. The Texans straight out releasing their starting quarterback has to be a jump start for a team, right? And basically unheard of, start one week, just released the next. I think Brian Hoyer will come out and play pretty well and even though the Texans will be without their star running back Arian Foster this is a game I think they will respond in and win. I'd prefer the spread to be 2.5, though.
New York Jets (-2) at Oakland Raiders
Pick: Da Raiders!! Football is just more fun when this team is relevant.
Seattle Seahawks (-6) at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys team is talented and the Seahawks are not great on the road. I think the Cowboys will bounce back here after struggling lately and give the Seahawks some problems. I don't think the Cowboys have enough to win, but this game could be very close.
Green Bay Packers (-3) at Denver Broncos
Rodgers is not perfect, but he's as close to it as you can be in a professional sport. The Broncos just can't score points and I don't think Rodgers gift wraps them 10-14 like every other team in the league has so far. I even think this game could be ugly.
Pick: Packers win by more than 3 and the questions about Peyton are no longer whispers in the background but deafening.
Indianapolis Colts (+7) at Carolina Panthers
I still believe in Andrew Luck, and I don't yet believe in the Panthers offense. I just can't feel comfortable laying 7 points against a quarterback who has the ability to have a HOF career.
Favorite games of the week:
I like the Packers by more than 3, I like the Vikings to win by more than 1 in Chicago, and I unfortunately feel I the Saints are a good bet here, too.
Games I like the least
I initially picked Tampa before wondering if Winston would give away too many points, And I picked the Raiders, but that's just a heart play. I think the Jets are a really good football team.