Sunday, October 25, 2009

Divisional Races Are Not in the Spotlight

Only two games this week are divisional matchups. Divisional showdowns will become more commonplace the deeper we go into the schedule.

But this week, the emphasis is not on divisional races.
  • New England (4–2) vs Tampa Bay (0–6) in London — The Patriots are favored by 14½ points. I think they will win by more than that.

  • Green Bay(3–2) at Cleveland (1–5) — The Packers are favored by seven, but I think they should cruise to victory in this one.

  • San Francisco (3–2) at Houston (3–3) — Houston is favored by a field goal. I know Matt Schaub has been putting up some big numbers, but I think the 49ers will win the game.

  • Minnesota (6–0) at Pittsburgh (4–2) — This may be the game of the week. Weather should not be a factor. It will be cool in Pittsburgh today, but not cold and certainly not wet. But, after all those years in Green Bay, Brett Favre wouldn't be fazed by a chilly October afternoon in Pittsburgh, anyway. Joe Theismann thinks Favre, who is 6–0 for the first time in his career, will be 7–0, but I'm not convinced. Maybe I will be when the day is done, but right now I think Pittsburgh's defense is up to the challenge.

  • Indianapolis (5–0) at St. Louis (0–6) — If there is a sure thing this week, it has to be the Colts beating the Rams.

  • San Diego (2–3) at Kansas City (1–5) — The Chargers also appear to be sure to win today. I presume they would have been favored by more than 4½ points if they had beaten Denver last Monday night, but I think they will win by more than that.

  • Buffalo (2–4) at Carolina (2–3) — Carolina is favored by a single point. I honestly don't know which team to pick in this game, and, honestly, I'm not sure it matters who wins. I'll go with the home team.

  • New York Jets (3–3) at Oakland (2–4) — I know the Jets have been an up and down team, but I can't understand why they would be 6½–point underdogs to the Raiders. It probably has something to do with Oakland's upset victory over Philadelphia last week, but one game isn't persuasive for me. I think the Jets will win the game, mainly because the Raiders are generally so weak.

  • Atlanta (4–1) at Dallas (3–2) — The Cowboys are favored by four points. If I was making my picks against the spread, I'd say go with Atlanta. But, in reality, I think Dallas will prevail — barely.

  • Chicago (3–2) at Cincinnati (4–2) — This may be one of the more intriguing matches of the week. The Bengals, who are favored by 1½ points, are an enigma. After their opening day loss to Denver, the Bengals beat Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and their first five games were all decided by a touchdown or less. But then, Cincinnati lost to Houston by 11 points at home last week. Which Bengals team will show up today? I think it will be the one that reeled off four straight wins. Give me Cincinnati.

  • New Orleans (5–0) at Miami (2–3) — The way Drew Brees is playing, I find it hard to imagine Miami keeping up with the Saints for long. Give me New Orleans.

  • Arizona (3–2) at New York Giants (5–1) — The defending NFC champs continue to struggle. The Giants are favored by a touchdown. Once again, if my picks were being made against the spread, I would recommend taking the points. But I think the Giants will win. They're too good to lose two in a row — unless some key players get hurt. And, if Eli Manning gets knocked out of today's game, the Cardinals might win the game. But, right now, I expect the Giants to win — just not by seven points.
  • Philadelphia (3–2) at Washington (2–4) — Considering the talent level of the Redskins' first six opponents, I figured they would be at least 4–2 as they prepare for what is clearly their most challenging period. After the game with the Eagles, the Redskins have the week off, then they must face Atlanta, Denver, Dallas and Philadelphia in November. And December looks to offer more of the same. I'll take Philly.
Last week: 6–8.

Season: 63–27.

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