THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11
Baltimore (6-2) at Atlanta (6-2) – 8:20 PM [LINE: Atlanta by 1.5]
This should be an excellent game, which of course I’ll miss because my cable provider does not offer the NFL Network. Atlanta is undefeated at home.
RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 6
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Detroit (2-6) at Buffalo (0-8) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Buffalo by 3]
If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, the first half of the season has brought some good news and some bad news. The good news: The Lions have been competitive in every game they’ve played, they can put a lot of points up on the board, and their defensive front four are solid. The bad news: Their franchise quarterback is apparently made out of balsa wood, and their head coach seems to think sending a 307-pound defensive tackle out to try extra points without warming up is a good idea.
If you’re a Buffalo Bills fan, I’m so very, very sorry.
RJ’s Pick: Detroit by 5
Minnesota (3-5) at Chicago (5-3) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Minnesota by 1]
The Vikings barely beat Arizona at home last week. Their other two victories this season: barely beating the Cowboys at home and beating the Lions at home. The combined record of the three teams they’ve defeated is 6-18. Minnesota is winless on the road this season. I have no idea why they are favored in this one, but do expect a close game.
RJ’s Pick: Chicago by 3
New York Jets (6-2) at Cleveland (3-5) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Jets by 3]
The Browns have won two straight. Rookie QB Colt McCoy looked pretty good against the Patriots last week, but the Jets defense will offer a much greater challenge.
RJ’s Pick: Jets by 8
Tennessee (5-3) at Miami (4-4) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Pick ’em]
I’m still not sold on the Titans. Sure they score a lot of points, but I just don’t view them as a true offensive powerhouse. Vince Young has improved quite a bit, but he’s still only the third best QB in the division (IMHO). They rely heavily on Chris Johnson to carry the offense, but he is not having the kind of season he had in his first two years in the league. And now their best receiver, Kenny Britt, is out for 6-8 weeks.
RJ’s Pick: Miami by 4
Cincinnati (2-6) at Indianapolis (5-3) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Indianapolis by 8]
The Bengals have lost five in a row. Is it time to fire Marvin Lewis yet?
RJ’s Pick: Indianapolis by 13
Houston (4-4) at Jacksonville (4-4) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Jacksonville by 1.5]
The loser of this matchup will be the only team with a losing record in the AFC South, the most competitive division in the NFL. The Texans have dropped two straight. Both teams have a shoddy defense, but at least Houston has a potent offense.
RJ’s Pick: Houston by 7
Carolina (1-7) at Tampa Bay (5-3) – 1:00 PM [LINE: Tampa Bay by 8]
Every year at least one team makes it into the second half of the season with a winning record and legitimate playoff hopes despite not really being good at all. For instance, in 2007 the Detroit Lions started the year 6-2, then proceeded to lose seven of their remaining eight games (and go 0-16 the following year). This year, Tampa Bay is definitely one of those teams. They are the only team in the league with both a winning record and a negative point differential (-33, to be exact).
That said, Carolina is absolutely horrible. So expect the extremely mediocre Buccaneers to go 6-3.
RJ’s Pick: Tampa Bay by 12
Kansas City (5-3) at Denver (2-6) – 4:05 PM [LINE: Kansas City by 1]
Denver is ranked 31st in the league against the run. Kansas City has the best rushing offense in the league. You do the math.
RJ’s Pick: Kansas City by 9
Seattle (4-4) at Arizona (3-5) – 4:15 PM [LINE: Arizona by 3]
The Seahawks have been outscored 74-10 in their last two games. Arizona has lost three in a row, including a loss to Seattle. This is a tough game to predict.
RJ’s Pick: Arizona by 8
Dallas (1-7) at New York Giants (6-2) – 4:15 PM [LINE: Giants by 13.5]
Wade Phillips is gone. Jason Garrett is the new Cowboys head coach. Can Garrett turn things around for Dallas? Probably not this week.
RJ’s Pick: Giants by 7
Saint Louis (4-4) at San Francisco (2-6) – 4:15 PM [LINE: San Francisco by 6]
I am officially picking the Rams to win the NFC West.
RJ’s Pick: Saint Louis by 3
New England (6-2) at Pittsburgh (6-2) – 8:20 PM [LINE: Pittsburgh by 4]
New England puts up the second-most points per game. The Steelers allow the fewest points per game. Pittsburgh will win, unless Tom Brady throws for 300+ yards, which he hasn’t been able to do all season.
RJ’s Pick: Pittsburgh by 1
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Philadelphia (5-3) at Washington (4-4) – 8:30 PM [LINE: Philadelphia by 3]
McNabb vs. Vick? Or will Rex Grossman start under center for the Redskins? I don’t know for sure, since I’m writing this on a Tuesday night because of the stupid Thursday Night game. Oh, well.
RJ’s Pick: Philadelphia by 9
(Bye Week Teams: Green Bay, Oakland, New Orleans, San Diego)