Last Week: 8-8
Overall: 29-19

49ers @ Rams

From here on out, the Thursday Night Football game should be forever entitled the Sloppy Night Football game as each and every match-up is a wholeheartedly disappointing symposium on shitty football. Coming off a short week after the Colts decidedly controlled the game against the 49ers, I have to imagine San Francisco will be steaming and looking to punish their division rival Rams. While a lot of people want to slam Sam Bradford and denounce his ability, it’s not an enviable task to be an NFL QB without any semblance of a running game. I don’t think St. Louis will be any good this season sans Stephen Jackson, and they need to find a true replacement at RB in the draft this year as Richardson and Pead have proven to be less than capable on the ground. San Francisco could probably start Colt McCoy and still comfortably win against this type of competition despite not returning to the elite level they established last season.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Ravens @ Bills

Although Baltimore may be better than Houston, I am still not convinced they’re really any good. Luckily, they shouldn’t have to show much against a limited Bills team this week. I think E.J. Manuel will be a competent and capable quarterback, but he won’t show week-to-week consistency in his rookie season. Even at home, Buffalo will struggle to stop the one-dimensional offense of the Ravens. If the Bills have anything going for them, it is that Ray Rice still may not be back and Bernard Pierce isn’t the same type of dynamic back, but he may be good enough to carry Baltimore to the win in this low-scoring affair.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Bengals @ Browns

How about them Browns? Cleveland showed a spine last week and surprised everyone by upsetting the Vikings just days after dealing star RB Trent Richardson. Unfortunately, the Browns face off against their in-state rival Bengals and their carriage is turning back into a pumpkin. I’m thoroughly enjoying the Jordan Cameron Era on my Fantasy Football team, and it seems Cleveland has struck gold after coming up brown year after year with shitty tight ends. With an injured secondary for the Bengals, I expect the Browns to showcase the passing game and highlight Josh Gordon for a potential deal to WR-needy teams like the Lions and 49ers. The most interesting facet of this match-up for me will be watching Giovani Bernard blossom into Ray Rice 2.0 and seeing what he can do against the Browns’ stout line.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Bears @ Lions

Until they show me otherwise, I am riding the Bears this year—driven by the brain power of Marc Trestman. After watching years and years of horrendous Chicago coaches patrol the sidelines, it is fascinating and entertaining to see someone who can command an offense and mold Jay Cutler into a competent passer. Of course, this is probably jinxing them right now and the Lions will trounce them with a healthy Reggie Bush back. Though both teams have a solid defense, I expect each offense to put up somewhere between 25-30 points today. As long as Jay Cutler is not launching passes off his back foot, then I think Chicago can maintain their undefeated record and the defense may even be able to score another touchdown if Stafford gets careless or tries to force the ball downfield in what figures to be a very good game.

Win: Chicago Bears

Giants @ Chiefs

No one saw that Giants goose egg plopping out last week against the Panthers. I have no idea what to expect from this team coming off that horrendous performance. Maybe Eli comes back and slings the ball over the place or David Wilson proves he can carry the offense on his back. Or perhaps their offensive line is unredeemable at this point and the struggles continue. While I root for anyone named Manning, I am having difficulty envisioning a scenario where New York gets back on track at one of the most difficult venues for a road team in the NFL. I’m expecting the good vibes reverberating from Planet Reid to continue with the Giants still reeling from an embarrassing start to the season. Perhaps this is finally the year that beady-eyed, wrinkly teddy bear Tom Coughlin gets fired. Or the Giants could pull off another miraculous comeback to salvage the season. Who the fuck knows?

Win: Kansas City Chiefs

Steelers @ Vikings

The Steelers might finally be worse than the Pirates, which is probably very puzzling for Pittsburgh fans. I have no idea what to think or expect in this match-up of shitty yet slightly mediocre teams. While I would love to continue to ride the Steelers as a loser, the Vikings showed a lot by not showing up to beat the shit out of the Browns last week. Matt Cassel is not the solution for Minnesota. I can see Adrian Peterson running right through the old men on the Steelers defense, but why wouldn’t Pittsburgh bring 8- or even 9-men fronts against Matt Cassel? With Le’Veon Bell making his debut for the Steelers this week, I’ll give Mike Tomlin the benefit of the doubt and enough credit to devise a game plan to put Adrian Peterson in the ground. But if Pittsburgh loses again, is it time to consider trading Rapistberger for any assets possible?

Win: Pittsburgh Steelers

Cardinals @ Buccaneers

Greg Schiano is desperate to keep his job. Unfortunately, that desperation will dig his grave even deeper. I understand how maddening Josh Freeman can be and so can anyone who has ever had him in Fantasy Football—though single-handedly did win the title for me early in his career. Mike Glennon is not the answer. Even though the Cardinals have taken a mighty drop from Ray Horton’s strong defense, I wouldn’t be shocked if they tee off and put Glennon on the sideline with a huge hit. Considering the Buccaneers are only one blow from having Dan Orlovsky behind center, I cannot in good conscience consider Tampa Bay as a winner in this match-up. Josh Freeman may never return to form, but I hope he gets a change of scenery to prove that Schiano is an awful coach that makes the Buccaneers long for Raheem Morris’ leadership.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Colts @ Jaguars

See how long it took for Trent Richardson to make an impact? With Bradshaw out of this game, Richardson will carry the load in this showcase match-up. Jacksonville’s hopes for a historically bad 0-16 season will still be alive. At what point do we consider whether or not Shahid Khan is intentionally trying to make the Jaguars so inept that Jacksonville actually pays them to leave and relocate to London?

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Seahawks @ Texans

Are the Texans any good? Could the AFC South really come down to the Colts and Titans? Houston is fortunate to have stolen their two wins this year, and they weren’t even close to competing with a struggling, conservative Baltimore team last week. Seattle isn’t the same juggernaut on the road as they are when in the comfort of the Pacific Northwest, but I expect the Seahawks to strike first against Houston. As long as Seattle can run the ball and keep J.J. Watt ineffective and indecisive with the zone-read option, then the Seahawks should pull this one out and maintain their pole position at the top of everyone’s Power Rankings. I still think Denver is a better team and could be one of the only teams to go into Seattle to beat them, but the public is heaping praise on Seattle until shown otherwise.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Jets @ Titans

I have been incorrect about the Jets rolling over and dying this season. And I’ve also been incorrect about Jake Locker thus far—who impressively showed the knowledge and wherewithal to have Kenny Britt removed from the game when it mattered most. I still think Geno Smith is always a play or two away from imploding, but he’s shown enough resilience to harken back to early Mark Sanchez. Unfortunately for New York, their defense isn’t still on that same level. In fact, Tennessee’s defense may even be better at this point. With a creative game plan and play-calling, I expect the Titans to come away with the win at home. If they’re a contender in the AFC South, they need this victory.

Win: Tennessee Titans

Eagles @ Broncos

Peyton Manning isn’t good. Peyton Manning isn’t great. Peyton Manning is the greatest. For years now, I have been thankful every week to see Peyton Manning lead and command an offense. Football wasn’t the same without him. Chip Kelly is going to get a taste of a truly efficient offense. People have made a lot out of the time difference for the Eagles on offense this year. But that’s bullshit. If you remember, the Miami Dolphins tried to play the time control game with Chad Pennington late in his career against Peyton Manning and the Colts in Miami a few years ago. Although the Colts only controlled the ball for around 20 minutes or so, Manning commanded the game with quick scoring drives to foil any of those ideas. It just takes an elite level, Hall of Fame caliber QB. Michael Vick is not that. I expect LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick to run all over Denver, but I also expect it not to matter. Philadelphia cannot cover all those holes on defense and Manning will expose every weakness in the Eagle’s Swiss cheese defense.

Peyton

Win: Denver Broncos

Redskins @ Raiders

While Indianapolis at Jacksonville is probably the worst game on this week’s slate, Washington at Oakland must be the match-up of the worst teams. If Terrelle Pryor plays, then the Raiders have a chance to bury the Redskins. But with Matt Flynn likely looping passes all over the field, I’ll favor Washington on the road looking for their first win. At some point, RGII has to return to form, right? I think he’s getting near the path that led Washington to success last season. Now if the Redskins could just put together a competent effort on defense.  If Matt Flynn can any measure of success against Washington, then the Redskins need to fire their defensive coordinator on the spot like USC did with Lane Kiffin.

Win: Washington Redskins

Cowboys @ Chargers

This has all the makings of another shitty Cowboys road effort. I am still not buying San Diego’s success, but if they’re remotely good, then they need to take care of the Cowboys at home. I want to go with Dallas because Philip Rivers is just so damn unlikable, but I think the Cowboys are too banged up and have too bad of a coach to come away with the victory on the road. As long as Rivers doesn’t shit the bed, then I trust head coach Mike McCoy enough to outcoach that living tomato can Jason Garrett.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Patriots @ Falcons

Both New England and Atlanta are franchises desperate to return to their elite level of play. I don’t think that will happen for either team this season. The Falcons embarrassingly blew the lead and game against Miami last week, and I have no reason to think they will get back on track on offense this week. Without a competent running attack, Matt Ryan is going to be exposed and their only hope is for Julio Jones to win deep a handful of times today. Even without Amendola and Gronkowski, Tom Brady will dink and dunk and the Patriots trio of runners (Ridley, Bolden, Blount) will hammer Atlanta’s reeling defense. If Matt Ryan gets picked off a time or two, then this could get ugly quick as I expect the Patriots to control the ball.

Win: New England Patriots

Dolphins @ Saints

Miami continues to shock the world. I was sure that their offseason of irresponsible spending would come back to bite them, but it doesn’t look like it will hurt the Dolphins this season. After pulling off a last second upset against the Falcons last week, I am wondering whether I’m just not giving Miami enough credit or if Atlanta just isn’t that good this season. For now, I’m going with Atlanta just not being the same team on offense and even worse on defense. While this is finally a good match-up for Monday Night Football, I believe that the Saints will go marching up and down on the Dolphins defense.

Win: New Orleans Saints

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