(Home team is in caps.)
Vikings (-11) over RAMS
OK, so did anyone think that Brett Favre would start the season playing this well? I didn’t. Through four games, Favre is third in the NFL in quarterback rating (104.7) and has an 8-1 TD/INT ratio. He isn’t being asked to throw a ton, but with Adrian Peterson in the backfield, he doesn’t have to. If his arm/shoulder/back/whatever can hold up for the entire season, and with the way Peterson and the Minnesota defense is playing, the Vikings (4-0) look like they’ll be a legitimate contender when playoff time rolls around.
Oh, and they play an 0-4 Rams team that has already been outscored by 84 points and will probably have Kyle Boller under center.
CHIEFS (+8.5) over Cowboys
Through four games, here are some quarterbacks with better QB ratings than Tony Romo: Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton, Joe Flacco, Shaun Hill, Jay Cutler, David Garrard, Kevin Kolb, Jason Campbell, Seneca Wallace, and Matt Cassel. Again, it’s early, but Romo is 21st in the league in QB rating and has thrown four touchdowns and four interceptions -- not exactly a strong start to the season. Not to be left out, Roy Williams (11 catches, 214 yards, one touchdown) has had a decent start to the season, but he hasn’t yet rewarded the Cowboys for trading three 2009 draft picks to the Lions for him.
Dallas, by the way, will be playing this game without Williams, Felix Jones, and starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh. I think Dallas win, but it may be close.
Redskins (+4.5) over PANTHERS
Both teams have struggled; I’ll take the points, I guess. One thing worries me though: At some point, Steve Smith (15 catches, 190 yards) has to get tired of hearing about being “the second-best Steve Smith in the NFL” this year and dominate a game or two, right? Hopefully that doesn’t happen today.
EAGLES (-15.5) over Buccaneers
GIANTS (-16) over Raiders
These two games are similar -- and that’s a lot of points. But who feels comfortable going with the Bucs or Raiders right now, even to cover? The early bye week gave the Eagles an opportunity to get healthy, and Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook both return this week. Eli Manning is also set to play despite a foot injury, and the Giants’ defense should have no problem frustrating JaMarcus Russell and company.
BILLS (-6) over Browns
Seriously, who knows? Derek Anderson played well last week, but I can’t trust him on the road, even against the Bills.
RAVENS (-8.5) over Bengals
The Bengals almost lost to the Browns last week. Meanwhile, the Ravens went on the road to New England and were a few tough penalty calls and a dropped fourth-down pass away from having an excellent chance to upset the Patriots. I think the Ravens will play with a little extra fire today and have a huge game.
Steelers (-10.5) over LIONS
With consecutive games against the Lions and Browns, the Steelers have a great chance to get to 4-2 heading into a Week 7 showdown with the Vikings. Mike Tomlin can’t be happy with the how the Steelers have finished games lately; look for that to change this week.
Falcons (+3) over 49ERS
Just a hunch.
Patriots (-3) over BRONCOS
Texans (+5.5) over CARDINALS
There’s no reason to think that this won’t be a high-scoring game. I’m a little afraid of Larry Fitzgerald (17 catches, 181 yards, two touchdowns) dominating and having a breakout game, especially since he hasn’t had a 100-yard receiving game yet.
SEAHAWKS (-2) over Jaguars
Random note: Did you know the Jaguars were 2-2? Not that it matters, but I thought they were 1-3 for some reason. Good for them.
Seattle gets Matt Hasselbeck back this week, so I’ll go with the Seahawks at home.
Colts (-4.5) over TITANS
Not that it warrants concern, but I don’t think I’ve seen one person pick the Titans this week.
What the heck happened to Tennessee’s defense? Last year after ranking second and giving up just 14.6 points per game, the Titans are tied for 26th (with the Rams) in points allowed per game (27). Losing Albert Haynesworth certainly had to hurt, but it’s something more than that. They still have nine sacks, a decent amount, and are seventh-best in stopping the run, but they’ve been horrible against the pass -- tied for the worst in the NFL with the Jaguars. Anyway, don’t look for that to change much this week going against Peyton Manning.
Jets (-2) over DOLPHINS
The Jets’ defense has done a pretty good job of limiting the effectiveness of some pretty good quarterbacks: Matt Schaub in Week 1, Tom Brady in Week 2, and Drew Brees in Week 4. This week they get Chad Henne on Monday Night Football. They should force some turnovers and make things easier for Mark Sanchez.
Last week: 5-9