So many underdog wins last week. I was 6-8. Now that may sound horrible but it was tied for third best for the week against the ESPN experts. My YTD record is now 56-35 (62%) which gives me sole possession of third place against the ESPN experts. Also, my 56-35 record beats Phil Sims’ picks (55-35) and Chris Collinsworths’ picks (54-37) on the BeatTheInsiders.com website. The final analysis: we at GmenHQ are showing the “so-called experts” who’s boss.
Who would have thought the NFC West would have three 4-2 teams and the AFC East would have three teams tied for first place with 3-3 records? Last week has very hard to pick and this week looks to be tough as well. The NFC South and AFC South are the only two divisions with any real separation between teams. This means there are opportunities all across the league for underdogs to re-establish themselves as contenders. It looks to be another exciting week.
Seahawks @ 49ers Both teams are 4-2 and an Arizona loss this week would put one of these teams in first place in the NFC West. These defenses have very good and evenly matched defenses. The Niners offense is much stronger scoring 25.3 points/game versus Seattle’s 18.3 points per game. San Francisco is mostly a good team and I expect them to have a strong rebound after getting crushed by the Giants last week. The Giants exposed the formula for beating the Niners but Seattle QB Russell Wilson is no Eli Manning so I don’t believe Wilson can duplicate the Manning’s performance. The formula for beating the Niners also includes near-perfect execution and Seattle is not capable of that, yet, they will be soon. I’m taking the 49ers despite the fact none of the teams they’ve beaten currently own a winning record.
Titans @ Bills I’m taking the Titans. The Bills had a nice game last week beating the 4-1 Cardinals but the Cardinals were without a quality running back and were unable to take advantage of the Bills’ weakness, rushing defense. The Bills are giving up a monster 173.5 rushing yards per game. Titans had a real nice win against the Steelers last week in which they gave RB Chris Johnson 19 carries for 91 yards. This not a good rushing match-up for the Bills and this will be the reason they lose to the Titans.
Browns @ Colts The Colts got beat up pretty bad in a 35-9 loss to the Jets last week and the Browns got their first win in a 34-24 game against the Bengals. The Colts gave up 252 yards rushing to the Jets and I believe the Browns can duplicate this. Browns starting RB Trent Richardson has a rib cartilage injury and will play wearing a flak jacket. I believe he will play the full game and even if he does not I believe that his back-up Montario Hardesty has the stuff to put up some real big numbers, create some space for the passing game, and be part of a 1-2 punch that knocks down the Colts.
Packers @ Rams The Packers are back. The Rams lose.
Cardinals @ Vikings I like the Vikes. Cardinals starting QB Kevin Kolb is out for several weeks and John Skelton will take now take the helm. The Cardinals are also missing a strong starting running back. The Vikings defense is very good despite a beating from the Redskins last week. They will rebound strong and control the Cardinals offense with ease.
Redskins @ Giants I like the Giants. The Giants defense finally came alive last week and it is exactly the kind of defense that will keep the dynamic Redskins QB Robert Griffin III under control. The Giants Pro Bowl Defensive Ends Jason Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul are a different breed of Defensive End and Griffin has not faced guys like these three. They will be able to keep Griffin in the pocket and force him to make bad throws to a secondary that won the Superbowl last year. In their last game, they faced Alex Smith who began the game with a total QBR over 80. Smith’s QBR against the Giants last Sunday was 24.8. Redskins RB Alfred Morris has become an excellent running and is fourth in the league with 538 yards rushing. Normally that would be a serious problem for opposing defenses but last week the Giants kept the Niners excellent running game to just 80 yards.
Saints @ Buccaneers The Buccaneers have a real good defense against the run. Unfortunately, the Saints are a passing team and the Buccaneers are 25th in yards per game against the pass (387.2). Saints are coming off a bye week in which I suspect they’ve worked hard at improving their defense. Take the Saints.
Cowboys @ Panthers The Cowboys are overrated as always but the Panthers can’t score. Panthers are 1-2 at home so there’s no edge for them. I’m taking the Cowboys.
Ravens @ Texans I like the Texans. The Texans are very strong and will rebound from their first loss of the season last week. The Ravens have been good on both sides of the ball but they’ve won by an average of 3.2 points per game during their four-game winning streak. That is not enough points to compensate for the loss of Pro Bowl LB Ray Lewis (IR) and Starting CB Lardarius Webb (IR).
Jaguars @ Raiders Both teams have a lot to work on but we saw an improved Raiders nearly beat the Falcons last week. I like Da Raidas at home.
Jets @ Patriots Patriots win at home. Pats are 67-14 (.827) in regular season games at home since 2002. I realize that the Pats lost to the Cards in Foxboro earlier this year but they still have an outstanding record at home. Home game records are great but here is where the Pats have the edge: Pats are rushing for 152.3 yards per game (4th in the league) and the Jets are giving up 150.5 yards per game rushing (28th in the league). Look for the Pats to run all over the Jets.
Steelers @ Bengals Bengals will win. The Steelers’ #1 and #2 running backs are listed as questionable and Pro Bowl Safety Troy Polamalu is out. This too many key injuries for an average ranked team to overcome.
Lions @ Bears The Lions really needed a week off and they put it to good use. They returned last week to beat the Eagles 26-23 in OT. The downside is 14 of the 26 points came from 4 field goals and 2 extra points. The Bears are scoring 29.8 points per game and you’re not going to beat that with half of your points coming from kicking. I like the Bears to win at home, on a Monday, after a week of rest and planning on how to beat the soccer-like Detroit Lions.
Watch me live online with Joe Tufaro on the Giants pregame at noon on Sundays. Watch for the official announcement on GmenHQ.com in the next few days.
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