We are over a quarter of the way through the NFL season and things are finally beginning to take shape:The Green Bay Packers are still really good.
The Indianapolis Colts are winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
The New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles’ seasons are on the brink of disaster.
And Calvin Johnson can do whatever he wants on a football field.
This information comes in handy when it’s time to pick each week’s winners against the spread. But a (slightly) more in-depth breakdown of each and every game for this week’s upcoming games should be even more helpful.
People slept on the Steelers early on this season. We picked them to lose last week. And then Ben Roethlisberger threw for five touchdowns and his team steamrolled Tennessee 38-17. Blaine Gabbert is still a rookie. And the Pittsburgh defence still features the likes of Troy Polamalu and LaMarr Woodley. We'll stick with the trend of picking major favourites at home.
If we told you a month ago this game would feature the NFC East's best and worst teams, you'd think that made perfect sense. Except not the way it has turned out. Here we are in week six and Washington leads the division while Philadelphia is in dead last. Can Mike Vick finally turn things around, or will Sunday mean the end of the Eagles. We say the implosion continues. Or, down two points, they win on a last-second field goal.
Can you believe these teams are a combined 9-1? Jim Harbaugh has immediately turned around the 49ers' fortunes. While the Stafford-to-Johnson connection continues to wreak havoc on every secondary in its path. The 49ers burned us last week, but we'll take our chances again. Detroit's home field advantage provides enough of an edge, as the Lions win by a touchdown.
At what point do Falcons' fans hit the panic button? Many picked them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Now they're a game under .500. Cam Newton still has just one win to his name, but he continues to impress and improve his team's play. They almost beat the Saints last week. And we think they'll almost beat Atlanta this week. Take the points.
Could this be the week? Will the Colts finally notch a victory? No. Not against a surprisingly good Bengals defence. But we don't expect many points to be scored in this game. So the end result should be close.
We took a chance picking against the Giants last week, and it paid off. While this is a game they should be better prepared for, the Bills are simply a better team. The Bill offensive line has been outstanding, allowing just four sacks this season, and should provide Fitzpatrick plenty of time to pick apart a depleted Giants secondary. The Bills win this game outright.
When Baltimore first began preparing for this game, Houston still had Andre Johnson and Mario Williams in its starting lineup. Now, the team's best players on each side of the ball are sidelined. The Ravens' defence is holding opponents to a league-low 14.3 points per game. This one won't be close.
The Oakland Raiders pay tribute Sunday to their late owner, Al Davis. You saw how much emotion poured out from the team in last weekend's last-minute victory. The emotional edge should continue this week. They also boast the AFC's top rusher, Darren McFadden, against Cleveland's 25th ranked rushing defence. Oakland's impressive season continues, while the Browns begin to rethink the Colt McCoy era.
The Patriots are coming off an important division win. The Cowboys have had two weeks to stew over the biggest collapse in team history. They'll also be at full strength for the first time all season. Romo will pick apart the league's worst-ranked passing defence. Call us crazy, but we're taking the Cowboys with our upset pick of the week.
After building up the legend of Josh Freeman, the quarterback and his team got stomped by the 49ers in a 45-point loss. Then they lost LaGarrette Blount to injury. The Saints are averaging two touchdowns per game more than the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay's home field advantage is not enough to offset that statistic. We like the Saints.
Minnesota finally held on to a lead last week. Adrian Peterson actually got the ball. And Jared Allen is having one of the best starts to the season that no one is talking about. Jay Cutler has no time in the pocket. And now it's in his head. It'll stay that way Sunday night. The Vikings at least cover.
If the Jets don't win Monday night, their playoff chances may be dead. Brandon Marshall's comments should only serve to further fire up Rex Ryan's squad. Or, at least, his early departure will make things easier for the New York defence. Matt Moore is in for a long night on national television. We'll take the Jets.
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