Overall: 25-23
Last Week: 10-6

Giants @ Redskins

Taking into account the shitty slate of Thursday games, this could be the best matchup we’ve seen for Thursday Night Football. While I typically hammer the home team on the short week, I expect the Giants to have the advantage because Eli Manning is simply the better QB. Since Eli found his footing as the starter, I’ve argued for his inclusion amongst the Top 10 QBs. Eli is no longer playing up to that billing, but the Giants will go as far as Eli takes them.

Win: New York Giants

Packers @ Bears

Look for Green Bay to get healthy in this matchup against a Bears defense that is just trying to patch their secondary together with guys who have a pulse. Chicago’s only chance to win this game is to control the clock and pound the run. But if this game gets out of control early, the running game will be abandoned by necessity in favor of Jay Cutler trying to single-handedly win the game. That approach never works well.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Titans @ Colts

I remember when this game used to mean something. Peyton Manning used to battle Steve McNair back and forth while Tennessee and Indianapolis vied for control of the division. The Colts are still doing their part now with Andrew Luck as Peyton Manning’s successor, but the Titans are still trying to discover a winning formula with a revolving door of mediocre players starting at QB for Tennessee. It’ll be interesting if Ken Whisenhunt has the same issues as he had in Arizona trying to find Kurt Warner’s replacement. With Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst, the Titans might be better off sucking through the end of the year to put themselves in a better position to draft a franchise-changing leader at QB.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Dolphins @ Raiders

Why is the NFL so adamant about giving Great Britain the worst football America has to offer? It’s difficult to envision a more boring matchup than Miami against Oakland. How uncomfortable is that plane ride going to be for the loser of this game? The Raiders sucks so bad that the NFL should seriously consider adopting the English Premier League’s relegation policy for shitty soccer teams. Miami isn’t great by any stretch of the imagination, but they should be good enough to dominate an abysmal Oakland franchise circling the drain under the ill-fated Reggie McKenzie era.

Win: Miami Dolphins

Lions @ Jets

DET - Too High

Is it a credit to the Jets and Rex Ryan that they’re able to remain competitive despite such a bland offensive cast? Or is the front office to blame for putting the team at such a disadvantage with the talent disparity? In any regard, the New York Jets shouldn’t have much of a chance to defeat Detroit at home. The Lions are what the Jets should strive to be: dominant on defense and just enough playmakers on offense to be a consistent winner. If you remove Calvin Johnson from the Lions, then Detroit is considerably closer to New York than most would like to realize. Thankfully for the Lions, Matt Stafford knows Megatron will jump out of the stadium to catch his air-mailed passes.

Win: Detroit Lions

Buccaneers @ Steelers

Does anyone care about this game? Coming off last week’s Thursday night debacle, Tampa Bay should be too embarrassed to show up at the stadium in Pittsburgh. My hatred for the bandwagon yokels yanking on their Terrible Towels is well-documented, but the Steelers should shine in this matchup. Tampa Bay’s roster is in need of major repair, and the Buccaneers can’t rebuild in a manner of a week. Look for Big Ben to dominate this game with the Doobie Brothers (Bell and Blount) running all over the Buccaneers.

Win: Pittsburgh Steelers

Panthers @ Ravens

Even if this game is somehow close, I expect Steve Smith to will the Ravens to victory on spite alone. Perpetually pissed off with a chip on his shoulder, it’s been a treat to watch this midget continually burn defenses throughout his career. Although Carolina has a great defensive line and linebacker core, the Panthers don’t have the talent in their secondary to keep Baltimore contained. As long as Joe Flacco doesn’t implode, the Ravens should handily win this grudge match fueled by Steve Smith’s hatred.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Bills @ Texans

So many shitty games. The only analysis necessary for this game is to point out one team has J.J. Watt and other does not. Both Buffalo and Houston have sub-par QBs attempting to manage the game, but the big difference for these teams comes on defense. The Bills have a solid defense, but not enough playmakers. On the other hand, Houston has the playmakers, but not a solid enough defense. If J.J. Watt swats a few E.J. Manuel passes, then that should be instrumental in a Houston victory. Whoever wins the turnover battle wins the game in this matchup.

Win: Houston Texans

Jaguars @ Chargers

Is it finally time for Bortles service? Jacksonville needs a spark, some sign of life. Maybe Blake Bortles will give that to the Jaguars, but San Diego’s swarming defense is not a good matchup for a rookie to make his career debut. After all, the Chargers already knocked off the Seahawks when they traveled to San Diego early this season. Unless San Diego plants their face firmly in the turf, the Chargers should be able to sleepwalk their way to a win this week. Even without Ryan Matheus and Danny Woodhead, Dammit Donald! Brown is capable of volume carries and moving the chains for San Diego.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Falcons @ Vikings

Atlanta isn’t the same team on the road. But should that matter when they head on the road this week to face the Vikings since Minnesota plays in a dome as well? I’m betting that Matt Ryan will remain comfortable in the controlled conditions even if he doesn’t have his security blanket in Rowdy Roddy White. After all, the Vikings have shown next to nothing this season, and Matt Asiata isn’t Adrian Peterson—despite his strongest efforts. Atlanta is always in jeopardy of being exposed on defense, but Minnesota doesn’t have the playmakers to knock this one out of the park.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Eagles @ 49ers

As I’ve said before, the best bet is always on parity in the NFL. Everyone is hyping the emergence of Philadelphia and the demise of San Francisco. In reality, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. San Francisco might not have the staying power this year to overcome their early season disadvantages (largely due to injuries), but the 49ers are a battle-tested team with the experience to always stay in games. If Philadelphia hits their marks on offense, then San Francisco will have trouble keeping pace. But I expect this to be a relatively low scoring affair that allows the 49ers to keep it close until they make their move at the end.

Win: San Francisco 49ers

Saints @ Cowboys

Like the Eagles-49ers tilt, I similarly expect New Orleans to start to even their record by getting healthy on offense against the Cowboys. Dallas is still unremarkable on defense, which should put them at a distinct disadvantage trying to stay near the top of the NFC East. Without an answer for the Jimmy Graham conundrum, the Cowboys will likely be in a position where they need to catch back up to New Orleans. In comeback mode, Dallas doesn’t stick to running the ball, which only plays more into the hands of the blitz-centric Saints defense. A handful of tight ends have already posted 3-TD games, and Jimmy Graham could be the next in line against Dallas.

Win: New Orleans Saints

Patriots @ Chiefs

NE - Bündchen

Despite injuries, Kansas City has been unexpectedly solid defensively. With Andy Reid capable of coaxing a great season out of any QB (see: Vick, Michael; Kolb, Kevin), the Kansas City Chiefs could linger around the playoff picture until the end of the season. However, I expect the Chiefs to ultimately fall short since Denver and San Diego should make the playoffs out of their division. This will be a closer game than most anticipate, but New England has always had a penchant for pulling out tough road wins. Much talk has been made about Brady’s uneven play this season, but the Patriots have enough talent in their backfield to run through Kansas City this week. Whether their offensive line can create the necessary holes to allow those big plays on the ground is a different story. But New England’s use of the short passing game with Edelman is essentially an extension of the run anyways.

Win: New England Patriots


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