(Home team is in caps.)
49ers (+3) over TEXANS
The 49ers were embarrassed two weeks ago at home against the Falcons. And not only did head coach Mike Singletary apologize to the fans for the loss, but he also guaranteed that the 49ers would get better an play together as a team going forward.
After seeing that, there's no way that the 49ers come out flat against the Texans.
Chargers (-5) over CHIEFS
LaDainian Tomlinson isn’t the same player anymore. Early injuries have limited him to 38 carries right now, but with those attempts, he’s tied for 34th in the NFL with a 3.7-yards per carry average. Make no mistake about it: The Chargers are Philip Rivers’s team now. Right now Rivers is ranked just 14th in quarterback rating (91.8), but he’s had to deal with an average offensive line (he’s been sacked 15 times (seventh most)) and has still averaged the third-most passing yards per game (304).
After an abysmal performance by the Redskins offense last week, the Chiefs are ranked 24th in points allowed per game (24.0). Rivers and the Chargers should easily surpass that number in this game, even with a less explosive Tomlinson.
Colts (-14) over RAMS
Patriots (-15.5) over Buccaneers
Packers (-9) over BROWNS
Three games, similar results.
Vikings (+5.5) over STEELERS
Here’s the Steelers’ list of opponents up to this point: Titans (0-6), Bears (3-2), Bengals (4-2), Chargers (2-3), Lions (1-5), and Browns (1-5). Those teams are a combined 11-23. There’s nothing wrong with beating up on inferior opponents. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh defense is ranked 11th in points allowed per game (18.7). That’s pretty good, especially while playing without Troy Polamalu for a few games. Pittsburgh is still a good team, but I don’t know that I’m particularly sold on them just yet.
The Vikings’ opponents, interestingly enough, also have a combined 11-23 record, but Minnesota has outscored their opponents by 68 points, and the Steelers have outscored their opponents by 40 fewer points (28). For the record, Minnesota’s defense is ranked 18th in points allowed per game (20.2) while their offense is ranked second in points per game (31.5).
Is any of that necessarily compelling evidence? Not really. But a lot of people seem to be picking the Steelers to win big in this game. Not me. I think it’ll be close.
Bills (+7) over PANTHERS
The Bills couldn’t stop the run last week, so the Panthers should be able to run the ball effectively. But they also have Jake Delhomme at quarterback. I’ll take the points.
Jets (-7) over RAIDERS
Oakland played well last week in a stunning upset over the Eagles. But when was the last time the Raiders put together two strong performances in a row against favored teams?
BENGALS (pick) over Bears
Just a hunch here. Nothing more.
Falcons (+4) over COWBOYS
Interesting game. The Falcons are probably the better team, but the Cowboys are coming off of a bye week. I’ll go with the less error-prone quarterback: Matt Ryan.
DOLPHINS (+7) over Saints
The Dolphins’ performance two weeks ago at home against the Jets on Monday Night Football was impressive. They really know how to use the Wildcat offense efficiently. I think the Saints will win, but they’ll struggle a bit to stop the Dolphins’ diversified attack.
GIANTS (-7) over Cardinals
The Giants were embarrassed last week in a blowout loss against the Saints. They won’t perform that way again against an inferior team at home.
Eagles (-7) over REDSKINS
Would I be shocked if the Redskins kept the game close? No. Would I be shocked if they scored more than 10 points? Yes.
Last week: 6-8