Baltimore at Cincinnati
J: Last time these two teams met the Ravens won 26-20 after the Bengals committed too many mistakes on offense. This time, Carson Palmer has shaken off his rust and is ready for a tough challenge. Cincinnati is ready to make a run for the playoffs with a win this week.
O: The Ravens are flying high right now with their leaders on both sides of the ball, Ray Lewis on the defense and Steve McNair on the offense. The Bengals are starting to play better and on a two-game winning streak thanks to Carson Palmer and “Ocho Cinco,” Chad Johnson. With Lewis back in the lineup, don’t expect Johnson to have a big day this week. Ravens go on the road and beat the Bengals.
Arizona at St. Louis
J: Matt Leinart threw for a lot of yards last week, but like most of the time, the Cardinals lost, again. With Steven Jackson coming off a good game against the 49ers, the Rams should have few problems winning this one.
O: If only Matt Leinart had an offensive line, then he would be having a much better year, and so would Edgerrin James. Leinart should have another good day and throw for yardage, but he will not find the end zone too often. I’ll pick the Rams since they are at home and they are finally going back to running the football.
Atlanta at Washington
J: Never have I been so disgusted watching a pro football team play as last week. I do not understand how commentators can blame Vick for the horrible passing game the Falcons have. The receivers drop passes my little brother can catch. If the Falcons get back to running the ball, especially in goal line territory, they might get their swagger back, but that is a big if. Atlanta “upsets” Washington on the road.
O: The Redskins stunned the Panthers last week with a 17-13 win on the road. They are back at home to play the Falcons, who continue to struggle on both sides of the football. It seems like Michael Vick is flipping more “dirty birds” than throwing touchdowns, so Redskins get a win at home.
Detroit at New England
J: The Lions need to catch a break like Junior Seau’s arm to win this one. Kevin Jones could possibly be returning from an ankle sprain, but it is not easy to run on the Patriots even if you are 100 percent, so do not look for miracles. New England wins comfortably.
O: The Patriots are playing great football, and as long as they have Tom Brady as their quarterback, then they are always contenders. The Lions are coming to town with their, at times, explosive offense. The Lions have had big plays from receivers, but that won’t happen in New England. Brady leads his team to an easy victory.
Indianapolis at Tennessee
J: The reason the Colts barely won when these two teams played each other earlier this year was because they insisted on running the ball for most of the game. With Joseph Addai coming off a career day last week with four rushing touchdowns, we might see the same this week, but not until the Colts are up by at least two scores. Look for Peyton Manning to air it out in the first half to build a comfortable lead and then start handing it off to his running backs to secure the win.
O: The Titans almost beat the Colts back in week five, and they also looked very impressive in their 24-21 comeback win over the Giants. Could the Titans actually pull off a win over the Colts? No. Peyton Manning won’t let this game be close again. Colts win on the road.
Kansas City at Cleveland
J: Cleveland has nothing going for them while the Chiefs are running the ball very well and are 5-1 in their last six games. Larry Johnson is going to keep his spot as the top rusher in the league after this game is over and the Chiefs leave Cleveland with another win.
O: The Browns are looking very bad, and the players’ frustration is growing, with teammates arguing on the sidelines. When a team has problems on and off the field, it just never works out. Look at the Raiders. Larry Johnson will have a big day and lead the Chiefs to another win.
Minnesota at Chicago
J: The Bears lost to a good team last week, which will have them motivated to try and dominate the inconsistent Vikings. Brad Johnson is going to need time in the pocket to beat Chicago’s Tampa two defense, but it is not likely that will happen. The Bears win at home.
O: The Vikings were close to beating the Bears earlier in the season, losing 19-16. But that was a different Vikings team. Brad Johnson is struggling to find his accuracy and the end zone. A struggling quarterback against the Bears’ defense? That does not look good at all for the Vikings. Bears win at home.
N.Y. Jets at Green Bay
J: The Jets are very consistent at being inconsistent. They lose one game and win the next, then lose two in a row and then win two in a row. The Packers have still only won one game at home this season, which is not acceptable by the home fans. Look for Green Bay to get their second win at home because the Jets won last week, so they are scheduled to lose on Sunday.
O: The Packers had a good chance of beating the Seahawks last week, but Brett Favre forced passes late in the game and turned the ball over. He will redeem himself this week when the Jets come to Lambeau field. The Packers will please the home crowd with a win.
San Diego at Buffalo
J: Tomlinson is a force to be reckoned with. He finds the end zone better than any other player and he should be able to do it again against the Bills. Chargers win.
O: The Bills are coming off an impressive 27-24 win over the Jaguars. Willis McGahee’s return was the difference maker on offense, but that won’t matter this Sunday because the Chargers are coming to town. LaDainian Tomlinson is unstoppable, and the Bills’ defense can’t slow him down. Tomlinson and Philip Rivers lead the Chargers to another win.
San Francisco at New Orleans
J: Frank Gore has been the sole bright spot for the 49ers this year as he is the second best runner in the NFL so far. Michael Vick showed that there is plenty of running room against the Saints, so Gore should get his yardage this week as well. It will not be enough for a win, though. Drew Brees will torch the 49ers’ secondary and collect a win.
O: This is actually one of the more intriguing matchups of the week. The 49ers are not playing so bad on offense with Frank Gore paving the way to the end zone, and the Saints are showing balanced football with Drew Brees at quarterback, and Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush at running back. This one will be a shootout, but the nod goes to the Saints because they have a better quarterback.
Houston at Oakland
J: Allow me to do my best Borat impression: Wowa wii wa, vat exciting game dis weell be . . . NOT. The Raiders have the best pass defense in the league, go figure. The question is if it will be enough to secure a win against the Texans. David Carr has had a good year throwing the ball, but once the Raiders take that away, then what? I am picking the Raiders to win one at home this time.
O: A battle of two not-so-good teams. Who will win? The Raiders’ defense will keep the game close, but I’ll take the Texans this game. Texans leave Oakland with a win.
Jacksonville at Miami
J: Jacksonville has not been kind to my picks this season. If they cannot beat the Texans in two tries, they cannot beat the Dolphins. Miami’s defense is playing hard-nosed football and gives their offense more opportunities to get on the board, and when they struggle, they score for them. Miami will be the best team in Florida this week and rack up a win.
O: The Jaguars are supposed to be a legit team, but they seem to have a problem of playing at the level of their opponents. They hang in there with the best of teams, but end up losing to the bottom half of the league. They lost a tough one to the Bills last week, and they will lose another this week to the Dolphins. Joey Harrington should have a decent day and get another win.
Dallas at N.Y. Giant
J: Watch out, there is a new sheriff in town, his name is Romo Cop. The Cowboys’ quarterback has been solid since he took over the starting job from Drew Bledsoe. Eli Manning has been anything but solid lately. Dallas comes away with a win.
O: I must admit ? Tony Romo is a good quarterback. He still has a lot to prove, but considering what he has done in the few games he has played, he is quite a talent. He should continue to lead the Cowboys to another win over a struggling Giants team.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh
J: Since Big Ben has been prone to throwing picks this year (19), Tampa has a legit shot at winning this one. I am going to go with Tampa, because if they win I can rub it in Oscar’s face for weeks, since that is his favorite team and he is betting against them.
O: Before the season started, this would have been a great match up. Now, it is not so great since both teams are not having the best seasons. This one should be a shootout and Willie Parker should have a big day. Steelers get the win.
Seattle at Denver
J: Shaun Alexander carried the ball 40 times last week and still could not find the end zone. He is not going to have an easy time getting in there against Denver either, which means Seattle will have to try going to the air where Champ Bailey awaits. Broncos win.
O: The Seahawks had a decent game last Monday. But this talk of Shaun Alexander is back has to die down. He was up against a mediocre Packers defense, and I don’t see that happening against the Broncos’ defense. Broncos win at home.
Carolina at Philadelphia
J: Carolina should not have too much trouble against the Eagles, who are caving in. Steve Smith will carry the load if given the opportunity and secure a win.
O: The Eagles’ season is over. The Panthers lost last week to the Redskins, and they are not very happy about that. They will take it out on the Eagles’ defense. Steve Smith will have a good day, and help his team get a win.