I was 9-5 last week and it was a strange week for sure. I’m 96-50 for the season. Let’s get right into our first five picks of the week.
Dolphins @ Bills I like the Dolphins. The Dolphins D is fourth best against the run (94 yards/game) and the Bills have the sixth best running game (143 yards/game). The Dolphins are giving up just 21 points/game to the Bills’ 32 points per game. Miami -6 turnovers and Buffalo is -10. Individually these stats don’t mean much but together I believe the add up to a win for Miami.
Cardinals @ Falcons Falcons will win. Atlanta is 8-1 overall and 4-0 at home. Cardinals are 4-5 overall and 1-3 on the road.
Browns @ Cowboys The Cowboys will win. Neither team is very exciting. Dallas has a better offense, a better defense, better special teams, and they are playing at home.
Packers @ Lions From what I can see the Packers lead the Lions in every statistic available. Packers will win and stay on track to make the playoffs.
Bengals @ Chiefs The Bengals will win. The Bengals are a very mediocre team but they show up ready to play every week. The Chiefs are 1-8 and 0-4 at home. Here is the biggest advantage for the Bengals: the Chiefs have -20 turnovers, worst in the league, and Cincinnati is -2 turnovers, NFC average league ranking.
Jets @ Rams Take the Rams. Both teams have a lot to work on. The Jets lost their last three games in a row and the Rams last game was a tie preceded by three losses. In their last three losses, the Rams looked much better than the Jets in their respective last three losses. The Rams last game was at tie against the Niners which tells me they are improving. I believe the Niners are overrated yet they are still a good team. The Jets have lost 10 of their last 13 road games.
Eagles @ Redskins I like the Redskins. Neither defense is very good. The real difference is the Redskins offense was better than the Eagles offense when Eagles starting QB Michael Vick was healthy. Vick suffered a concussion last week and second string QB Nick Foles will start in his place.
Buccaneers @ Panthers The Buccaneers will win. The Buccaneers have won three in a row and Carolina is 1-4 at home.
Jaguars @ Texans Take the Texans. Jaguars are 1-8 overall and 0-5 at home. Texans are 8-1 and 4-0 on the road.
Saints @ Raiders The Saints will win. The Saints are slowly improving their defense and their high-powered offense is running on all cylinders. They beat the #1 ranked Falcons last week and have now won four of their last five games. Oakland gave up a total of 97 points in their last two games.
Chargers @ Broncos I like the Broncos. They beat the Chargers in San Diego 35-24 in week 6 and are currently first in the AFC West with a 6-3 record. The Chargers have lost four of their last five games and are 4-5. Denver is 3-1 at home and San Diego is 2-3 on the road. Manning’s Broncos are playoff bound.
Colts @ Patriots I like the Patriots. Both defenses are giving up 22 points per game. The big difference is the Pats offense is scoring 33 points/game (first in NFL) and the Colts are scoring just 21 points/game.
Ravens @ Pittsburgh Take the Ravens. I don’t see the Steelers winning this game without Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. He is out with a shoulder injury and a dislocated rib. He is being replaced by veteran QB Byron Leftwich. Due to key injuries, the Ravens defense is not as strong as it has been in past years. However, their offense is scoring 28 points/game and ranked fourth in the NFL.
Bears @ Niners I like the Niners, if and only if Alex Smith starts. The Bears will be without starting QB Jay Cutler and will be replaced by veteran backup Jason Campbell. Niners starting QB Alex Smith is listed as questionable due to a concussion so he may not play. However, Smith did have a limited practice on Thursday so I suspect he will play. Also, Bears QB Jason Campbell has enough experience to move the ball against the Niners and if Niners’ backup QB, Colin Kaepernick, is asked to start then I believe the Bears defense will be too much for him to handle.