Overall: 45-31
Last Week: 11-4

Colts @ Texans

The rule of thumb for Thursday Night Football is that the home team typically has the advantage given the short week, but the better QB tips the scales. Indianapolis might be on the road in Houston this week, but Andrew Luck is far and away superior to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Colts have very little support surrounding Luck, which has been the company standard since Peyton Manning was leading a cast of misfits (especially on defense) to the playoffs every year. Once again, Indianapolis will go as far as their quarterback can single-handedly take them.

Win: Indianapolis Colts

Patriots @ Bills

I’m lamenting my lack of belief in Brady and the Patriots. Last week, New England bounced back in great fashion against the Bengals to shut up everyone who predicted the Patriots were kaput. Well, that lasted for about a week. Now all the prognosticators are foreshadowing a Bills win at home against the sisterhood of the traveling Patriots. Not so fast. Sure, Kyle Orton is a considerably better option than E.J. Manuel, but The Neckbeard is going to struggle for consistency all season. While an upgrade, Buffalo will still have to settle for field goals more often than not since Orton is mostly effective from 20-yard line to 20-yard line. If one of his teammates fails to make the defense miss, Orton just isn’t good enough to drive the ball home for a touchdown. By the slimmest of margins, expect the difference to be Brady’s effectiveness in the red zone—especially given Gronk’s healthier presence.

Win: New England Patriots

Panthers @ Bengals

Cincinnati always seems to plant their faces firmly in the ground when given an opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the NFL in a spotlight game. Without A.J. Green, the Bengals will struggle mightily moving the chains when the ball is in the air because Andy Dalton is heavily reliant on the playmaking ability of his teammates. Marvin Jones showed flashes last year, but the Red Rocket is too prone to overthrowing his receivers downfield. Carolina’s stout front defensive seven will pressure Dalton, and the Panthers could win if they cause turnovers. I don’t know how the Panthers have been able to win without a healthy RB and a woeful receiving corps. This will be a close game that either team can win, but Cincinnati should snatch victory from the jaws of defeat since they just have better talent.

Win: Cincinnati Bengals

Steelers @ Browns

CLE - Prayer

How about those Browns? Cleveland isn’t quite good enough to transform the meaning of taking the Browns to the Super Bowl, but this is a plucky team with heart that can win any game. With consistency from Brian Hoyer, the Browns could truly threaten to compete for a playoff spot. Pittsburgh always beats the shit out of the Browns, but the tide may be turning. My hatred for Rapistberger is well-documented and just strong enough to make me want to side with Cleveland—even though Ohio is a shithole of epic proportions. After last week’s improbable comeback win against the Titans, anything is possible for the Browns. A perfect storm to shift the waves of this “rivalry” may be brewing in Cleveland.

Win: Cleveland Browns

Jaguars @ Titans

Could Blake Bortles earn his first NFL victory this week? If it happens on the road in Tennessee against the Titans and no one is around to watch it, does it really happen? Anything is possible, I suppose. Jacksonville sucks ass and it’s not like they’re even really good in one facet of the game after they’ve taken a step back on defense. Conversely, I have no idea what to make of Tennessee. For the most part, the Titans suck as well but they’re at least capable of scoring 20-30 points on a consistent basis. With emerging weapons on offense, Tennessee could threaten to be an average team for the rest of the season instead of a bottom-feeder like this week’s opposing Jaguars.

Win: Tennessee Titans

Packers @ Dolphins

One would think that the Dolphins have a home-field advantage playing in the heat and humidity of Miami. One would be wrong. Whether that’s because the stadium was literally built on an Indian burial ground remains to be seen. Green Bay will hardly be haunted in Miami this week against the Dolphins. Aaron Rodgers transcends the supernatural. Expect another surreal performance from Rodgers as the Packers roll over Miami’s defense. Unless the Dolphins can dole out consistent damage on the ground to make play-action more effective for deep bombs to Mike Wallace, the Packers should score enough and early to put Miami in a hurried up comeback mode.

Win: Green Bay Packers

Lions @ Vikings

Detroit never seems to live up to expectations. Just like their black mannequin head coach, the Lions don’t blink. Even when the team is blowing a game in boneheaded fashion, they never blink. I don’t know why Detroit thought Jim Caldwell’s pussy, laissez faire approach would change Matthew Stafford, but it’s time to acknowledge that Stafford and Smokin’ Jay Cutler are one in the same. If Calvin Johnson can’t play, then serious thought should be given to Minnesota knocking off their division foe. Unfortunately, I can’t pull the trigger on a Vikings victory. I’ll feel stupid if Cordarrelle Patterson explodes for 2-TD game, but Bridgewater is too young to earn my trust just yet.

Win: Detroit Lions

Broncos @ Jets

New York is fading and fading fast in the 2014 NFL Season. Geno Smith continues to be ineffective and Michael Vick has lost his balls as a backup QB. Don’t expect Geno to have a long leash for the rest of the season, but Rex Ryan may have no choice to go back to Geno if Vick falters again. Denver is the wrong team to face if you’re trying to find your identity. The Jets have a laughable offense, but their defense is real-despite their secondary being real shitty. Although this will be closer considering the Broncos inefficiency running the ball, Peyton Manning will torch the Jets through the air and 27+ points is too wide of a gap for Geno and Jets to make up this week.

Win: Denver Broncos

Ravens @ Buccaneers

Tampa Bay has been surprisingly spry with Mike Glennon as their QB. Like with his namesake, everything seems to be just right for Goldilocks Glennon. However, Tampa Bay’s two biggest weapons (literally) in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans will either be out of action or playing hurt. Without a healthy complimentary cast on offense, the Buccaneers will have to win this game on defense. Warren Sapp is not walking through that door. Neither is Ray Lewis for the Ravens, but Baltimore has more to hang their hat on offensively with Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, and more. Baltimore’s offensive gameplan is as boring as Joe Flacco’s personality, but the tortoise wins the race in the end.

Win: Baltimore Ravens

Chargers @ Raiders

If San Diego loses this week against the reeling Raiders, then this is easily the worst possible loss for any team this week. The Raiders have turned to Tony Sparano, which means Oakland will run the ball even if it’s ineffective and they may even trot out a few shitty pre-designed runs from the ill-fated Wildcat package. That’s not exactly a great offensive strategy. I’m not entirely convinced that Sparano would keep being given head coaching opportunities if his name didn’t so closely resemble Tony Soprano. Unless the thugs from Oakland’s black hole put cement shoes on Philip Rivers, then the Chargers should win this one going away. If not, then at least San Diego is an infinitely nicer place than Oakland.

Win: San Diego Chargers

Bears @ Falcons

CHI - Ash

Neither of these teams make any logical sense. Chicago should have won at least two more games this season if not for Smokin’ Jay Cutler. Atlanta has fallen flat in a few games they were capable of winning. So what happens when they face each other? Someone has to win. Well, technically, I suppose they both could fuck up in the latter stages for a widely despised tie. But the advantage in this shootout should go to Atlanta at home in the dome. With equally matched QBs and WRs, Matt Forte could be make the difference to tip the scales in favor of Chicago. However, Atlanta also has the threat of former Bears return specialist Devin Hester. If Chicago can score a TD on defense, the Bears will win. If Atlanta can score a TD on special teams, the Falcons will win. If Jay Cutler lofts passes off his back foot, then none of that will matter and the Bears will continue to literally throw away games.

Win: Atlanta Falcons

Redskins @ Cardinals

Who is the starting QB for the Arizona Cardinals? It could Carson Palmer making his way back from nerve issue or Drew Stanton shaking off the cobwebs after last week’s concussion or it could even be rookie Logan Thomas thrust into action once again. Does it matter? The Cardinals may be good enough defensively at home for the starting QB not to matter much. Given Calais Campbell’s injury, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arizona fail to consistently pressure Kirk Cousins without blitzing. But I just don’t have enough faith in Washington’s supporting cast to make plays and put it in the end zone. For the Redskins to win, Washington will need Alfred Morris to dominate the Cardinals’ run defense, which is easier said than done despite the multitude of injuries for Arizona. Andre Ellington will be the focal point of Arizona’s offense and expect Ellington to be the difference.

Win: Arizona Cardinals

Cowboys @ Seahawks

SEA - Divorce

DeMarco Murray continues to dominate the NFL. However, the Cowboys running back is also on pace to blow out his career-high for carries in a season. If he somehow manages to stay healthy, then Murray will at least double his previous benchmark. While Dallas is aiming to diversify carries, this matchup on the road against Seattle isn’t exactly the perfect time to spell Murray. If Dallas has a chance to upset the Seahawks in Seattle, the Cowboys will need DeMarco Murray to run the ball effectively 30 times right into the teeth of the Seattle defense. Even then, the looming threat of a Tony Romo interception could cripple the Cowboys. If everything needs to break right for Dallas to win, expect the Cowboys to fuck up in one or more facet of the game.

Win: Seattle Seahawks

Giants @ Eagles

So much for the demise of Eli and everyone’s favorite beady-eyed teddy bear Tom Coughlin. New York has come back with vengeance after this season’s first two weeks. With a healthier supporting cast and Odell Beckham capable of creating space, Eli Manning is looking a lot more like his older brother. Meanwhile, Philadelphia is winning by smoke and mirrors. The Eagles have a makeshift offensive line that will be tested and pushed to the brink by the Giants. If New York only does one thing well on defense, it is the Giants’ ability to rush the passer that makes the biggest difference. Nick Foles has looked a lot more like the slightly above average QB he truly is this season, and the Eagles will need Maclin, McCoy, and Sproles to bust coverage and make plays. While it may not be the popular opinion, I believe more in the Giants than the Eagles at this stage of the NFL schedule.

Win: New York Giants

49ers @ Rams

All the talk in San Francisco this season has been off the field issues—namely bungling their domestic violence issue and the schism between the front office and Jim Harbaugh. Despite the distractions, the 49ers have remained steady by pulling wins out of their asses against tough competition. The threat of overlooking the St. Louis Rams is real, but San Francisco should know what they’re up against in the division rival Rams. I still don’t know how St. Louis can be competitive considering their milk toast roster, but that’s a credit to Jeff Fisher. The Rams will certainly keep this Monday tilt close and they could threaten the 49ers until the very end. But can you put your faith in a QB named Austin Davis?

Win: San Francisco 49ers


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