Baltimore at Tennessee
Johan: A tell-tell sign that Ray Lewis is on the decline, Rudi Johnson ran straight at him on the goal line and took Lewis and the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. I have never seen that before. However, I think Lewis and Co. will be able to handle the Titans, even though they have been improving as a team since the beginning of the season.
Oscar: The Ravens’ defense continues to step up, week after week. The only problem they have is their offense, which shows up every now and then. Steve McNair has shown signs of leading a good Ravens’ offense, but his inconsistency takes the Ravens out of the Super Bowl hype. They will play an every-week-improving Titans this week, and should not have any trouble. McNair should have a good day and lead the Ravens to a road win.
Buffalo at Indianapolis
J: The Colts are unstoppable right now and the Bills are without their best player on offense, Willis McGahee. It’s not exactly rocket science over here now is it? Colts will keep on winning.
O: The Colts continue their march to perfection after defeating a tough Patriots team last week, and the Bills are standing in their way this week. With Peyton Manning having another great season, don’t expect the Bills to stop him, or even slow him down. Colts win another one to make their fans happy, and the 1972 Dolphins worry a little more.
Cleveland at Atlanta
J: The Lions outplayed the Falcons last week, but do not expect to see that happen again against the Browns. Jon Kitna is a solid quarterback, Charlie Frye, not so much. Michael Vick should be able to get his passing game back on track this week in a Falcons win.
O: The Falcons are coming off a tough loss to the Lions last week, and they need to get back on the road to the postseason. They will be playing the Browns, so they should be able to get their confidence back, and Michael Vick should have a good fantasy day.
Green Bay at Minnesota
J: If you lose to the 49ers, then you are not going to be able to handle the Packers. The Packers are not the strongest team right now, but they will be able to defeat an inconsistent Vikings team.
O: The Vikings cannot seem to find their groove. One week they look great, then the next two they almost look like the Raiders. The Packers are doing what they can with the limited talent they have, and are doing a decent job. This game is a toss up that should normally go to the home team, but I’m leaning toward Brett Favre and Co. this week.
Houston at Jacksonville
J: The Jaguars are just too much for the Texans right now, who should seriously consider starting their backup quarterback if David Carr does not start to throw touchdowns again. He may have the best completion percentage in the league right now, but what good does it do when he has not been able to throw a touchdown for two straight games? The Jaguars will win and even-out their overall record versus the Texans to 5-5.
O: Yes, the Texans did beat the Jaguars earlier in the season, but don’t expect that to happen again. The Jaguars are playing much better under backup quarterback David Garrard. The Jaguars should have no trouble beating the Texans in front of the home crowd.
Kansas City at Miami
J: I don’t know what the Dolphins had for breakfast last week, but they played on a whole other level against the Bears. I don’t see that happening again, though. Larry Johnson is on a roll and will run through the Miami defense on the way to a win.
O: The Dolphins stunned all with an impressive win over the Bears last week, but that will not happen this week. The Chiefs are on a streak, and Larry Johnson is finally putting up the numbers fantasy football owners expected him to have. Johnson leads his team to victory in Miami.
N.Y. Jets at New England
J: Tom Brady threw four interceptions last week against the Colts and proved my point; Peyton is the better quarterback now. People like my colleague Oscar just have problems realizing that because they get blinded by Brady’s Super Bowl rings.
O: The Jets are coming off a much-needed bye week after losing to the Browns in Week 8. But you do not want to come off a bye and visit the Patriots. Tom Brady struggled against the Colts, but expect him to bounce back and help the Patriots improve to 7-2.
San Diego at Cincinnati
J: The Bengals definitely have a chance of winning this game, but I’m still going with the Chargers because LaDainian Tomlinson can’t be stopped right now. He will run through you, around you, catch passes and throw touchdowns. The man is impossible to slow down.
O: The Bengals are in trouble. They lost to the Ravens last week and are now up against the Chargers. The Bengals’ defense has struggled this season, especially against the run. LaDainian Tomlinson should have a fun day and put the Bengals in a deeper hole this week.
San Francisco at Detroit
J: Lions wide receiver Roy Williams said that if Kevin Jones rushes for 100 yards and one of the receivers get more than 100 yards receiving, there is no team in the country that can beat them. I seriously doubt that, but it is a big chance it will happen this week when the Lions beat the 49ers at home.
O: The 49ers have looked pretty bad in the first half of the season, and it is not going to get any better. The Lions have struggled as well, but they can compete with almost any team in the NFL. The Lions’ offense should put up some great numbers this week at home. Lions win big.
Washington at Philadelphia
J: The Redskins got lucky last week against the Cowboys. They will have a tougher time defending the Eagles, who are coming off a bye week and look to get their offense back into gear. The Eagles will win in Philadelphia.
O: What happened to the Eagles? There was a lot of talk about Donovan McNabb winning the MVP and the Eagles going to the Super Bowl. The Eagles are 4-4 and McNabb has not looked so sharp. But that will all change this week against the Redskins. McNabb and Co. get back on track for a playoff run.
Denver at Oakland
J: A no-brainer. Denver has their offense going again and their defense will smother the Raiders.
O: The Broncos’ looked great last week against the Steelers. And thanks to Johan, I have Javon Walker on my fantasy team. Jake Plummer should be able to repeat last week’s good performance against the Raiders, meaning Walker should have another good day. Broncos win easily on the road. Thanks Johan.
Dallas at Arizona
J: Is Arizona going to be the little team that never could, or are they going to get their acts together and start winning games some point this season? Who knows? All I know is that they will not win this game against Dallas.
O: The Cowboys badly need a win, and it helps to be playing the Cardinals. But I have a feeling that the Cowboys’ season may soon be over. The Cardinals will shatter the Cowboys’ postseason hopes and get a home win to excite the crowd.
New Orleans at Pittsburgh
J: I’m going with the Steelers this time. They have been pretty bad the last couple of games, but they will turn it around this week and beat the Saints.
O: The Steelers are in a deep hole, and it looks they will not be able to get out of it. The Saints got back to their winning ways after leaving Tampa Bay with a victory. This game will be a shootout, with the Steelers taking a win.
St. Louis at Seattle
J: Seattle has not been playing too bad lately, considering all of their key injuries. The Rams will be a tough challenge, however, and the way Steven Jackson played last week it will be too much of a challenge. Rams win.
O: Their last game ended with a two-point win for the Seahawks, but now it’s a different story. Shaun Alexander may be back for this game, but Matt Hasselbeck will be missed. The Rams will leave Seattle with a win.
Chicago at N.Y. Giants
J: It is real easy to make fun of Bears’ quarterback Rex Gro
ssman after he has a bad game, but I think I’m going to let it slide this time. The Giants are on a five-game winning streak right now, but they have several starters on defense out with injuries. The Bears will win with their defense this week, like they always do.
O: The best match-up of the week, with both teams having high hopes of going deep into the playoffs. The Bears just lost their first game of the season to the Dolphins, while the Giants are riding a silent five-game winning streak. Having lost key players on defense due to injury, it is difficult to pick the Giants over a great Bears’ defense. Rex Grossman has to step up and show his team that he deserves to be the starting quarterback. Bears win on the road.
Tampa Bay at Carolina
J: Tampa’s offense is downright horrid. The only team worse than them are the Raiders and somehow Oscar still thinks they can win games. Carolina will have a fun time playing this lowly team. Panthers win.
O: It is sad to admit that the Buccaneers’ season is over, and it will officially be over after this week because they play the Panthers. The Panthers should come away with a needed victory at home.