Atlanta at Baltimore
J: The way the Falcons have been playing lately, the natural pick would be the Ravens. The Ravens, however, have not exactly been the steadiest team in the league either, almost losing to the Titans last week. Having said that, with both starting defensive ends injured for the Falcons and the inability of their receivers to catch the football, Baltimore will probably be able to win this game.
O: This game should be a good one, and it is a very important game for the Falcons. It is tough to choose who will take this one because we never know which Falcons team decides to show up. Michael Vick looked impressive weeks ago, and now he looks horrible. The Falcons barely managed 13 points against the Browns. The Falcons are struggling badly, and will continue to do so against a good Ravens’ defense. Ravens win at home.
Buffalo at Houston
J: Another one of those not-made-for-TV games. Both teams are 3-6 on the season and play anything but good football. The Texans get my vote because they are at home.
O: Two teams that have practically no chance of making it to the playoffs, but should be able to put up a good game. The Bills were close to upsetting the undefeated Colts last week, while the Texans beat the Jaguars for the second time this season. It’s a tough one, but I’ll go with the home team. Texans go on a winning streak.
Chicago at N.Y. Jets
J: Chicago is starting to look more defeatable as the season goes on. The Giants had a chance going into the fourth quarter down by only four points, but they managed to allow two touchdowns instead of scoring. The Jets beat the Patriots last week, but I do not see them having much of a chance against the Bears.
O: The Jets sure stunned me by defeating Tom Brady and the Patriots last week, but do not expect another stunner against the Bears. The Bears’ defense should be enough to stop the little offense the Jets have. Bears get another win on the road.
Cincinnati at New Orleans
J: Last week’s performance by Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer was amazing. They pretty much owned the Chargers’ secondary, but their defense could not handle LaDainian Tomlinson in the second half. The Saints do not have a player like L.T., at least not yet, and this week the Bengals will get a long-awaited win.
O: This should be a great game. The Saints are playing solid football, but were unable to win a shootout last week against the Steelers. The Bengals are not playing so well, and are coming off a tough loss to the Chargers. Expect a lot of points to be scored here, but the Saints get the win.
Minnesota at Miami
J: Miami’s defense has been rock solid for the past two weeks and the Vikings should not even be in the same sentence as the word solid. Look for the Dolphins to shut down Minnesota’s attack and get enough out of their offense to win the game.
O: The Vikings started off the season having a decent team, and I cannot explain what happened to them. The Dolphins started the season with high hopes, but a low record. All of a sudden, the Dolphins have a winning streak going. Expect them to extend it to three games in a row this weekend against a struggling Vikings team.
New England at Green Bay
J: The Patriots surprisingly lost to a 4-4 Jets team last week and need to redeem themselves on Sunday. The Packers are playing at home, but they are only 1-3 at home this season and the Patriots are 4-0 on the road. The nod goes to the Pats.
O: Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre. Two quarterbacks that will, without a doubt, be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It will be an interesting match-up. The Patriots are on a two-game skid, while the Packers are coming off a victory over the Vikings. The Packers play better as the season goes on, but Brady will get out of his slump. Patriots win at Lambeau field.
Oakland at Kansas City
J: The Chiefs got worked by the Dolphins’ defense for the most part of last week’s game, but fought back and only lost by three points. Oakland will be an easier match, even though they have been playing pretty good defense lately and almost upset the Broncos. The Chiefs will get their running game going again and pull out a win.
O: Have you seen Randy Moss? He is dropping a lot of passes, as is T.O. The Raiders are having trouble getting things done offensively. The Chiefs were unable to defeat the Dolphins, but expect them to get past the Raiders with Larry Johnson. Chiefs win at home.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
J: Pittsburgh is starting to get their swagger back and Cleveland will not be good enough to stop them, especially not at home where they are 1-3.
O: Are the Steelers finally back? Maybe. The offense is great, with Willie Parker carrying the load and relieving Big Ben of any pressure. The defense is still giving up too many points, but they should have no trouble with the Browns. Steelers win big on the road.
St. Louis at Carolina
J: Carolina has a lot of playmakers on both sides of the ball, as do the Rams. So this will be an entertaining game, to say the least. The way Peppers is shredding double-teams and still getting sacks (he had three and a fumble recovery last week) and Steve Smith running wild in opposing secondaries, the Panthers will be too much for the Rams.
O: The Rams continue to be inconsistent after losing to the Seahawks last week at home. The Panthers still have hopes of making it far into the postseason, and the Rams will not be able to stop Steve Smith. Panthers win at home.
Tennessee at Philadelphia
J: At the beginning of the season this pick would have been easy, but not anymore. The Titans are prone to upset a good team soon and do not be surprised if it happens this week. I am going to play it safe for another week or two, though, and go with the Eagles this time, but I will not be surprised if I am wrong.
O: The Eagles looked better last week dominating the Redskins. Donovan McNabb is leading the team back into the right direction, and will continue to do so against the Titans. Eagles win big at home.
Washington at Tampa Bay
J: This week Tampa will win. They have to. The Redskins lost Clinton Portis for the remainder of the season and will start Jason Campbell at quarterback instead of Mark Brunell. It is just set up for a defensive smack down by the Bucs, especially the way Ronde Barber is playing this year. Tampa wins easily at home.
O: Another game that does not matter very much, considering both teams are under .500 and not playing well. The Redskins lost Clinton Portis for the year, which practically eliminates their whole offense. The Buccaneers should add another win to their disappointing season.
Detroit at Arizona
J: Until the Cardinals can get their running game going, it will be hard for them to be successful. They have the talent to beat the Lions, but I do not see it happening. Detroit will attack from all angles and win the game, thanks to Roy Williams and Kevin Jones.
O: Man, another battle of teams below .500. Two teams that have no defense whatsoever, but have good offenses. Usually in close games, I go with the home team. But I am going to go with the Lions, just because I have Roy Williams on my fantasy team.
Seattle at San Francisco
J: Seattle just keeps finding ways to win despite injuries to key players. This week they might have Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck back, but even if they do not, they will have enough firepower to beat the 49ers.
O: The Seahawks have been able to stay in games thanks to their defense, and having Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander cleared to practice is the best news they have had in a long time. Expect them to go to San Francisco and beat the 49ers.
Indianapolis at Dallas
J: The Colts are unstoppable right now. They always find ways to pull out victories even when they are off their game. Dallas will be able to hang with them for a while, but Peyton Manning will steal the show in the end.
O: The Cowboys still aspire to make it to the playoffs, and with a record of 5-4, every game is important. Can they beat the Colts on their march to the playoffs? Maybe, if the defense can stop Peyton Manning. But I don’t see that happening. Colts get a win on the road.
San Diego at Denver
J: Just when you think Tomlinson has been shut down, he runs for four touchdowns in two quarters. Go figure. The Broncos’ defense has not been able to dominate as much as in the beginning of the season and they will not be able to contain Tomlinson for four quarters. Chargers win.
O: The most intriguing match-up of the week. The Chargers at times look unstoppable with LaDainian Tomlinson, and the Broncos have shown flashes of a really good offense. The Broncos must stop L.T. in order to win the game, but I can’t see that happening. I’m going with the Chargers getting a win at Denver.
N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville
J: Maybe now Plaxico Burress will think twice before talking smack about his opponents. Burress was held to 48 yards receiving against corners he called average, which does not say much for him. The Jaguars will not be much easier for the Giants to handle, ranking fifth in the NFL in pass defense. Jaguars win.
O: I don’t understand how the Jaguars could not beat the Texans at all this season. They could win the easier games on their schedule, which will hurt them later on in the season. The Giants are playing well, despite injuries, and will continue their success. Giants go into Jacksonville and get a road win.