Thursday, October 31, 2013

NFL Week 9 Picks: Tennessee Titans To End Losing Streak

Cincinnati (6-2) at Miami (3-4)

The Bengals have won four in a row while the Dolphins have lost four in a row. Miami is the home team here, but it’s hard to imagine the tides turning in this one.

The Dolphins offensive play calling has been very conservative, despite bringing in the deep threat of Mike Wallace this off-season. The team let Reggie Bush go in the off-season and the running game has suffered, ranking 23rd in the league in rushing yards per game. Receiver Brandon Gibson has been placed on the IR.

Did you see the beat down the Bengals put on the Jets last week? That’s a convincing victory and right now Miami doesn’t look like a more challenging opponent.

Cincinnati wins.

Kansas City (8-0) at Buffalo (3-5)

The Bills are in a bad spot with injuries right now. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson and running back Fred Jackson both missed practice Wednesday; Jackson is listed as questionable. Thad Lewis, the team’s starting quarterback with E.J. Manuel injured, is said to be 50-50. C.J. Spiller is also listed as questionable.

Going up against an undefeated Chiefs team, the Bills just don’t seem to have enough in the tank to take down a top team right now.

Kansas City wins.

Minnesota (1-6) at Dallas (4-4)

The Cowboys are 3-1 at home and are in a good position to capitalize on a weak Vikings team.
Minnesota is 29th in the league in passing yards allowed per game while the Cowboys are eighth in the league in passing yards per game. Tony Romo has the fifth highest quarterback rating in the league and third in the touchdowns.

The Cowboys have the worst defense in passing yards allowed per game, but the Vikings quarterback situation is in a much worse place than Tony Romo in Dallas. The Vikings won’t be able to take advantage of the defense like the Cowboys will.

Dallas wins.

Tennessee (3-4) at St. Louis (3-5)

The Rams defense did well enough to keep the team in the game against the Seahawks last week but the offense was terrible, not scoring a single touchdown. Kellen Clemens had two interceptions and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes.

The Titans are seventh in the league in passing yards allowed per game.  They also are tied for second in the league in passing touchdowns allowed and are tenth in the league in points per game allowed.

Tennessee wins.

New Orleans (6-1) at New York Jets (4-4)

The Jets were flat out embarrassed last weekend and it will be a tall task to make it better against the Saints.

While Geno Smith has shown flashes of potential, he still turns the ball over. He has 13 interceptions in eight games this season, including two pick-sixes last week. The Jets running game was so bad last week that backup quarterback Matt Simms was the team’s leading rusher with 35 yards. Granted you don’t do a lot of running when you’re down by 40 points, they still didn’t get much going.

The Saints will make it another tough outing for Smith. They are ninth in passing yards allowed per game, tied for tenth in interceptions, and eighth in sacks.

Oh yea, on the other side of the ball they have Drew Brees.

New Orleans wins.

San Diego (4-3) at Washington (2-5)

The Redskins defense continues to struggle this season. Granted, the Broncos have arguably the best offense in the league, but time and time again the Redskins have allowed their opponents offense to dominate them. Only once this season have they allowed fewer than 20 points.

The Chargers have put together a very good offense, ranking sixth in passing yards per game and 15th in rushing yards per game. Philip Rivers is sixth in the league in passing yards per game, and tied for sixth in the league in touchdowns. He’s having as good a season as anyone not named Peyton Manning and he should do well against the Redskins defense.

San Diego wins.

Atlanta (2-5) at Carolina (4-3)

The Panthers, surprisingly, have won three games in a row. Meanwhile, the Falcons are winless on the road this season.

The Falcons have been unable to run the ball this season, ranking 32nd in rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Carolina is second in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. Conversely, the Panthers are eighth in the league in rushing yards per game while the Falcons are 22nd in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.

Despite Matt Ryan’s surprising success this season, he threw four interceptions last weekend. Not having wide receiver Julio Jones and Roddy White is not a help.

Carolina wins.

Philadelphia (3-5) at Oakland (3-4)

The Eagles are 3-1 on the road but they just played their second straight stinker of a game. Michael Vick is hurt again, and the Eagles were lucky to get a touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter to end a streak of seven consecutive quarters without a touchdown.

The Raiders are 3-1 at home. They beat the Steelers last week despite Terrelle Pryor throwing for only 88 yards and two interceptions. He did rush for 106 yards and a touchdown, though, and Darren McFadden ran for two touchdowns as well.

Oakland wins.

Tampa Bay (0-7) at Seattle (7-1)

The Buccaneers are winless on the season and 26th in the league in passing yards per game.

The Seahawks are dominant at home, have only one loss this season, and are dominant against the pass, ranking third in the league in yards allowed per game.

Seattle wins.

Baltimore (3-4) at Cleveland (3-5)

Once again, Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was upstaged by the player replacing him. Jason Campbell was 22 of 36 for 293 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The team fell short, but it was a good effort against the undefeated Chiefs.

The Browns are known to play the Ravens very tough and give them all they can handle. Baltimore hasn’t been a very impressive defending Super Bowl champion, either.

That being said, the Ravens haven’t lost to the Browns since November of 2007. The team has had an extra week to rest and prepare and its chances are good.

Baltimore wins.

Pittsburgh (2-5) at New England (6-2)

The Patriots haven’t lost at home this season and the fans are going to be riled up as the Red Sox just won the World Series. Somehow, the Patriots have managed to get through the injuries, the inexperience and Tom Brady not being himself. They have six wins and lead their division.

Tom Brady hasn’t put up the numbers this season that he usually does, but the Steelers haven’t put up the wins they usually do. Pittsburgh is 1-3 on the road this season.

The Patriots are getting a good contribution from their running game, however, and are 12th in the league in rushing yards per game. The Steelers are 27th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.
New England’s improved running game and secondary have helped this team weather a challenging season.

New England wins.

Indianapolis (5-2) at Houston (2-5)

At home and off a bye week you want to say that the Texans will win a game and at least appear to get back on track. That’s especially considering Case Keenum played decently in defeat in his first NFL game, going 15-25 for 271 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions (although he did lose on fumble).

Still, what’s going on with Houston’s running back situation? Both Arian Foster and Ben Tate finally returned to practice Thursday, but Tate was limited. Both are questionable and there hasn’t been any word on either’s status for Sunday’s game.

It’s likely at least one of them plays but how effective will either be? The Colts don’t have a great run defense but their pass defense is solid, so if they can force the Texans to make the rookie QB beat them, they could be in good shape.

The Colts are coming off a bye week as well and Houston’s biggest assets are their biggest question marks right now.

Indianapolis wins.

Chicago (4-3) at Green Bay (5-2)

The Packers have won their last 10 games at home and haven’t lost at home in November or later since 2009. They’ve won four games in a row this year.

The Bears have lost three of their past four games, are without starting quarterback Jay Cutler, and cornerback Charles Tillman is questionable with a knee injury that prevented him from participating in practice Thursday.

This just seems like a lopsided game waiting to happen.

Green Bay wins.

Bye Week: Denver, Detroit, New York Giants, Arizona, San Francisco, Jacksonville

Last Week: 10-3

Overall: 78-42

Photo credit.
Jake Locker: AP Photo/Wade Payne

Thursday, October 24, 2013

NFL Week 8 Picks: Atlanta Falcons Will Continue Their Winning Ways

Carolina (3-3) at Tampa Bay (0-6)

Mike Glennon and Vincent Jackson are connecting well for the Buccaneers, but that’s about all that’s going well for them, especially with Doug Martin out for this game due to injury.

The Panthers are on their first winning streak of the season and have one of the better pass defenses in the league that could take away from what Glennon and Jackson do.

Carolina wins.

San Francisco (5-2) vs. Jacksonville (0-7) – GAME IN LONDON

After putting up a fight against the Broncos two weeks ago, the Jaguars put up a dud against the Chargers last week, failing to score a single touchdown all game.

The 49ers took care of a more competitive Titans team last week and shouldn’t have much trouble here.

San Francisco wins.

Cleveland (3-4) at Kansas City (7-0)

The Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the league. They play efficient, if not pretty, football and are a tough team to go up against when they’re home.

Brandon Weeden has struggled immensely this season and was finally benched for Jason Campbell. He’ll be the third quarterback to start for the Browns this season.

Kansas City wins.

Miami (3-3) at New England (5-2)

Ryan Tannehill might have had his worst game in the NFL last weekend against the Bills. It’s not entirely his fault they lost, but his two interceptions and one fumble lost certainly helped.

For whatever reason, the Dolphins have regressed since opening the season 3-0. The play calling seems more conservative and Mike Wallace still isn’t being used to his full potential.

The Patriots have proven they are beatable, but they are playing better than Miami and also have home field advantage.

New England wins.

Buffalo (3-4) at New Orleans (5-1)

The Saints really are one play away from still being undefeated, losing to the Patriots two weeks ago on a touchdown pass with 30 seconds left.

New Orleans just didn’t do enough to close the game out and wind down the clock.

That being said, they should be able to regroup after the bye, at home, against a sub-.500 Bills team.

New Orleans wins.

Dallas (4-3) at Detroit (4-3)

After maybe the best game of his career against the Broncos three weeks ago, Tony Romo has come out fairly flat the past two weeks. Dallas has won those games despite mediocre performances from their quarterback.

The Lions played a good game against the Bengals before an untimely special teams miscue led to their demise. They were the first team to throw for at least 300 yards against the Bengals defense in nearly 40 games.

At home against a leakier pass defense of Dallas, the Lions should do the same but with a better result.

Detroit wins.

New York Giants (1-6) at Philadelphia (3-4)

The Giants may be 10th in the league in passing yards per game, but a contributing factor to that could be because they find themselves down for most of the game. Really, Eli Manning and his receivers have not been in sync. The Giants are sixth in the league with 18 drops. Again, that could be aided by the fact that the team throws a lot but three of the team’s ahead of the Giants on the list have winning records, something New York does not have.

The team is only 16th in the league in receiving touchdowns and is 24th in the league in receptions inside the opponents red zone. It’s not like once the Giants get in the red zone they pound the ball on the ground either: they are 16th in the league in rushing touchdowns. Eli Manning also leads the league in interceptions, with 15.

With inconsistent play in the passing game and a very banged up running game, it does not look good for the Giants on the road.

Philadelphia wins.

Pittsburgh (2-4) at Oakland (2-4)

It looks like the Steelers defense is finally starting to clamp down. In their recent two-game winning streak they’ve allowed only 11 points per game, compared to 27.5 in their four losses. The key will be getting off to an early start against the Raiders.

Oakland is last in the league in passing yards per game and the Steelers are fourth in the league in passing yards allowed per game. Pittsburgh has scored first in three of their six games this season. If they can jump on Oakland early and force the Raiders to pass the ball, they could force Oakland into some mistakes. All of Terrelle Pryor’s interceptions thrown have come in games they lost. He threw three interceptions in the team’s last game, against the Chiefs.

Pittsburgh wins.

New York Jets (4-3) at Cincinnati (5-2)

The Bengals are 3-0 at home this season and have won three straight games. They haven’t won by big margins, the largest being 10 points in Week 2 against the Steelers, but they grind games out. A.J. Green has been hot lately, going for over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown in each of the past two games.

While the Jets have been better than anticipated this season they have been inconsistent. They have yet to put together a win streak, losing every other game. This would put them on pace to lose this weekend. The team is also only 6-13 on the road going back to 2011.

Cincinnati wins.

Atlanta (2-4) at Arizona (3-4)

Last week, on a day where the Falcons managed to run for only 18 yards, Matt Ryan was 20-26 for 273 yards and three touchdowns to help the Falcons beat Tampa Bay by eight points.

Amidst a rough season so far for the team, with Roddy White hampered by injuries and Julio Jones now out for the season, Ryan has still put up good numbers. It looks like he’s getting Steven Jackson back for some carries this week, which should help their red zone offense.

Atlanta wins.

Washington (2-4) at Denver (6-1)

RGIII had one of his best games all season last week against the Bears and the running game was very good, especially Roy Helu, who ran for three touchdowns.

This week is a very difficult test though.

The Broncos may have lost their first game of the season, but this is still one of the top teams in the league. Von Miller will be back for his second game, and another week can only help him feel more comfortable.
Washington’s defense has just been terrible this season. If Josh McCown can complete 70 percent of his passes for just over 200 yards and touchdown, I wonder what Peyton Manning can do.

Denver wins.

Green Bay (4-2) at Minnesota (1-5)

Josh Freeman was 20-53 passing for 190 yards and an interception. He looked even worse than his stats suggest. His passed were extremely off-target and he was constantly rushed playing behind a porous offensive line. He also reportedly suffered a concussion. If he can’t go it will be Christian Ponder starting, and that’s more of the same.

The Packers jumped on Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden last week, who is similarly ineffective this year. It should be a similar result for the cheese heads this week.

Green Bay wins.

Seattle (6-1) at St. Louis (3-4)

The Seahawks handily beat division foe Arizona on the road last week on Thursday night.

Their aggressive secondary should continue to cause the opposition fits, especially against a Rams team that just lost starting quarterback Sam Bradford for the year.

Seattle wins.

Bye Week: Chicago, Tennessee, Indianapolis, San Diego, Baltimore, Houston

Last Week: 10-5

Overall: 68-39

Photo Credit.
Steven Jackson: AP Photo/John Bazemore, File

Thursday, October 17, 2013

NFL Week 7 Picks: Dallas Cowboys to Beat Streaking Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle (5-1) at Arizona (3-3)

The Seahawks, all year, have been hyped up because of their aggressive secondary and pass defense. They are second in the league in passing yards allowed per game and are tied for fourth in the league in interceptions. Throwing against the likes of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor is not an easy task.

The Cardinals are 18th in the league in passing yards per game and tied for second in interceptions thrown.  It just doesn’t look like a very good match-up for Carson Palmer.

Seattle wins.

Tampa Bay (0-5) at Atlanta (1-4)

The Buccaneers have a whole handful of issues. They are 31st in the NFL in points per game. They are tied for eighth in penalties and are fourth in yards penalized. They are last in the league in first downs and 31st in yards per game. If it involved moving the ball in a positive direction, the Buccaneers just can’t do it.

The Falcons have played poorly, and are really banged up, especially with Julio Jones now out for the year. But they are more competent than Tampa Bay, especially with Matt Ryan still the team’s quarterback.

Atlanta wins.

Cincinnati (4-2) at Detroit (4-2)

The Bengals have not given up a 300-yard passing outing in 20 consecutive games. The Lions, however, have the gunslinger Matthew Stafford at quarterback with a lot of receiving options.
Everyone knows Calvin Johnson is one of, if not the, best wide receiver in the league. But this year the Lions are getting contributions from elsewhere.

This season is still a small sampling size, but in the past two seasons Johnson has accounted for at least 33 percent of the team’s receiving yards (38.2 percent last year) and at least 23 percent of the team’s targets. This year he’s accounted for 19.0 percent of the receiving yards and 20.1 percent of the targets.

Yes, he was injured and didn’t play two weeks ago. But Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Joseph Fauria and Kris Durham have all had big receiving games recently. Bell and Bush have also been dynamic in the running game and are at least keeping teams honest.

The Lions could use more production at the wide receiver position, but overall they’re getting it done.

Detroit wins.

Buffalo (2-4) at Miami (3-2)

The Dolphins entered their bye week 3-2 and that’s a good place for them to be considering the challenging schedule they were dealt.

With a week off to prepare, at home, and against a Bills offense that seems to be very unsettled at quarterback, the Dolphins should take care of business.

Miami wins.

New England (5-1) at New York Jets (3-3)

Say what you will about the Patriots and their receiving corps and their defense, but they’ve managed to start the season 5-1. In most parts, players step up when they need to. Last week, even with Aqib Talib injured and forced to leave the game, different players (like Kyle Arrington) stepped up and Jimmy Graham didn’t have a single reception, despite six targets.

And if you give them enough time and enough opportunities, like New Orleans did last week, they will make you pay on offense.

Geno Smith is all about giving the other team opportunities, as he is third in the NFL in interceptions.

New England wins.

Dallas (3-3) at Philadelphia (3-3)

These teams are pretty evenly matched. They are division rivals and both are playing well offensively. It should be a fun game to watch.

There are some worrisome things here for the Eagles, however. They have lost eight consecutive games at home. The Eagles have lost four of their past five home games against the Cowboys (including one playoff game) and have lost five of their past seven home games against the Cowboys (including one playoff game). This year the Eagles three wins have also come against opponents that have yet to win a game.

Yes, the Eagles beat the Redskins in Week 1, when they obviously had no wins. But the Redskins only have one win since then. Two of the Cowboys three wins were against the Giants and Redskins, like the Eagles as well, but have played better in losses as well, losing to the undefeated Broncos and Chiefs by a combined four points.

Dallas wins.

Chicago (4-2) at Washington (1-4)

The Redskins defense has been terrible. They are 27th in points allowed per game and tied for 27th in yards allowed per game. Against the pass specifically, they are 24th in passing yards allowed per game.

The Bears are 13th in the NFL in passing yards per game. While they are ranked worse than the Redskins in that category, they also have six more passing touchdowns and are third in the league in points per game. I would expect another big day for Brandon Marshall.

Chicago wins.

St. Louis (3-3) at Carolina (2-3)

Panthers games have been ugly affairs. That being said, they rank fourth in the league in rushing yards allowed per game and seventh in the league in passing yards allowed per game. More important in this contest, at home, they rank seventh in the league in rushing yards per game. The Rams, on the other hand, are 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.

The Rams have two wins in a row, including last week against the Texans, but I expect the Panthers – at home – to use Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert to pound the ball, eat up clock, gain positive yardage and not make Newton force throws leading to turnovers.

Carolina wins.

San Diego (3-3) at Jacksonville (0-6)

Credit to the Jaguars, who hung around with the Broncos for a lot longer than anyone expected.

With that out of the way, they still lost by 16 points. The Chargers meanwhile, were able to beat the streaking Colts by 10.

The Jaguars are home but this just still feels like a mismatch.

San Diego wins.

San Francisco (4-2) at Tennessee (3-3)

It’s not entirely Ryan Fitzpatrick’s fault the Titans are losing games, but the Titans have lost two consecutive games and Fitzpatrick has thrown two interceptions each game. He’s also only completing 52.6 percent of his passes this year.

The 49ers have scored 30 or more points in each of their past three games and four out of their six games this season. They are also tied for seventh in the league in interceptions.

San Francisco wins.

Cleveland (3-3) at Green Bay (4-2)

The Packers game wasn’t terribly pretty last week and they did lose several capable pass-catchers but they came out of Baltimore with a victory.

What is different about this Packers team is that they are running the ball better than they have for years. Eddie Lacey ran for 120 yards last week and seems to have been a draft day steal.

Green Bay wins.

Houston (2-4) at Kansas City (6-0)

The Texans are unraveling. They’ve lost four in a row and starting quarterback Matt Schaub is out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. Yes, he’s thrown a lot of interceptions this season, but T.J. Yates was able to do the same thing when he relieved him against the Rams. He threw two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Yates has played 13 games in three seasons and thrown six interceptions compared to three touchdowns. He’ll have problems moving the ball against the Chiefs defense. Kansas City has allowed the fewest points per game (10.8) and has allowed the third fewest passing yards per game (190.3). They are also tied for the league lead in interceptions (10).

At Arrowhead, Houston’s problems will only continue to grow.

Kansas City wins.

Baltimore (3-3) at Pittsburgh (1-4)

Records never seem to matter in an intense rivalry such as this one, but neither does home0field advantage. The last three times the Ravens came to Heinz Field in the regular season, they won.

I think the passing game for the Steelers, however, does make a difference this year. The Ravens are 17th in the league in passing yards allowed per game while the Steelers offense is seventh passing yards per game.

The Steelers haven’t played well this season, but the Ravens are not a convincing defending Super Bowl champion and did lose on the road to the Buffalo Bills, another sub-.500 team.

Pittsburgh wins.

Denver (6-0) at Indianapolis (4-2)

The Colts are the only team that Peyton Manning has not beaten in his career. The Broncos are on the road, but I like their chances in this one.

Right now, it’s just tough to pick against the Broncos. They are on a roll and it isn’t just the passing game. Last week, Knowshon Moreno rushed for three touchdowns. The Broncos are adapting, on offense, to whatever the opposing team is throwing at them.

And he may not admit it, but I’m sure Manning will have a little extra kick to his competitive spirit.

Denver wins.

Minnesota (1-4) at New York Giants (0-6)

Josh Freeman may just need a change of scenery, but he just hasn’t performed well enough the past few years. Going back to last year, eight of the previous nine games he’s started, he’s lost. He’s thrown an interception in six consecutive games and in seven of the past eight games. Including this year, he’s thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in three of his five seasons. He’s also completed only 45.7 percent of his passes thus far this season, down from 54.8 last year and 62.8 the year before. Was 2010 a fluke?

Not that the Giants are playing so well this year, and their quarterback is a turnover machine as well. But this is a team that, even if they don’t make the playoffs, we’ve seen them turn their season around before. They are home. And with a long week (they played Thursday night last week) and playing at home, it’s time for them to get in the win column.

New York Giants win.

Bye Week: Oakland, New Orleans

Last Week: 9-6

Overall: 58-34

Photo Credit.
Tony Romo: AP Photo/LM Otero

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

NFL Week 6 Picks: New Orleans Saints To Win Another Big Game Against New England Patriots

New York Giants (0-5) at Chicago (3-2)

The Bears have dropped two games in a row, but a match-up in Chicago against the winless and hapless Giants may be just what the doctor ordered.

Eli Manning threw another three interceptions last week, giving him 12 on the season already. That’s slightly more than two picks a game.

Chicago wins.

Green Bay (2-2) at Baltimore (3-2)

The Packers are both fifth in the league in rushing yards per game average and fifth in rushing yards allowed per game. Both are good figures, but the Packers are once again banged up. Starting running back James Starks and starting linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones have all been ruled out for the game against the Ravens.

That’s not to say that the Packers haven’t had success with an inconsistent running game or porous defense before, but this week it may be too much to overcome.

The Ravens are 2-0 at home and last week against Miami they finally got Ray Rice going, as he rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns, while Bernard Pierce was also able to get 46 yards on 11 carries.

Baltimore wins.

Cincinnati (3-2) at Buffalo (2-3)

Rookie starting quarterback E.J. Manuel is out and instead of starting back-up Jeff Tuel, the Bills promoted Thad Lewis from the practice squad. Lewis has played in one game in his career (last season with Cleveland) and is 22 of 32 with 204 yards passing, a touchdown and an interception.

It’s not a terrible line. He’ll have his hands full against the Bengals though. Cincinnati is 11th in the league in passing yards allowed per game and does a good job against the run too, ranking 10th in rushing yards allowed per game. They held Tom Brady to 197 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception last weekend, while sacking him four times and holding the Pats to six points.

Cincinnati wins.

Detroit (3-2) at Cleveland (3-2)

The Lions had a dud of a game last week and lost, while the Browns held on for a road victory.

Cleveland’s defense is stingy, but the Browns offense did look better with Brian Hoyer under center rather than Brandon Weeden, though the second-year quarterback did a fine job in relief last Thursday.

What hurts the Lions is not knowing the status of Calvin Johnson, who has a knee injury and didn’t play last week. Still, they are more talented at the skill positions than the Browns.

Detroit wins.

St. Louis (2-3) at Houston (2-3)

It’s no secret: Matt Schaub has been bad this season. He has nine interceptions on the year, he threw three interceptions last week, and he has thrown a pick-six in each of the past four games.

Houston isn’t a bad team, however. It was a bad game against the 48ers but they still have a strong defense and running game. They are just more talented than the Rams, even though St. Louis won last week.

Houston wins.

Carolina (1-3) at Minnesota (1-3)

The Vikings signed recently released Josh Freeman, but don’t plan to play him Sunday. That being said, Matt Cassel did a fine job in his first game of the season, going 16-25 for 248 yards and two touchdowns.

The Panthers are 0-2 on the road. With Adrian Peterson running the ball behind him, if Cassel can have another solid outing like he did two weeks ago the Vikings should be in decent shape at home against another struggling team.

Minnesota wins.

Oakland (2-3) at Kansas City (5-0)

The Raiders got a win over the Chargers last week at home. They did, however, almost let a 24-3 lead slip away before converting on third and long and getting a field goal to get back to a two-score lead.

Things, as they always are, will be tougher in Kansas City, who got a victory in Tennessee last week.

Kansas City wins.

Pittsburgh (0-4) at New York Jets (3-2)

Geno Smith had his finest game as an NFL quarterback, in prime time nonetheless. He completed 80 percent of his passes, threw for three touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception.

The Jets defense has been good thus far this season and getting Mike Goodson active gives the running game a boost – he rushed for 32 yards on three carries last week.

I don’t expect Pittsburgh to be winless all season, but at home the Jets should continue to ride the current momentum they have.

New York jets win.

Philadelphia (2-3) at Tampa Bay (0-4)

The Buccaneers got a much needed week off last week because things were quickly spiraling out of control, especially with former quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman is released, but it’s questionable if this team can turn things around. It’s been a lot of losing over the past three seasons.

They’ve struggled offensively this season, as they are 31st in the league in both yards per game and points per game. They might have problems keeping up with the Eagles, who are second in yards per game and eighth in points per game.

Philadelphia wins.

Jacksonville (0-5) at Denver (5-0)

The Broncos are a historical 28-point favorite over the Jaguars. It may be a tough cover, but there’s a reason the line is that high.

Denver wins.

Tennessee (3-2) at Seattle (4-1)

The Seahawks lost their first game of the season last week, but they haven’t lost a home game since 2011.

The Titans put up a decent effort against the Chiefs, but Ryan Fitzpatrick did throw two interceptions. Seattle is tied for the most takeaways in the league, with 15. They have seven interceptions, five of which have come at home.

Seattle wins.

New Orleans (5-0) at New England (4-1)

This is a huge match-up between two of the top teams in the league.

Right now, it looks like the Saints are rolling and on more of the same page than the Patriots. Much has been made of the Patriots lack of depth at wide receiver. Wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Danny Amendola are questionable for Sunday, as is tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has yet to play this season. Amendola and Dobson were the team’s top receivers in the team’s rough game against Cincinnati.

Last week Tom Brady completed only 47.4 percent of his passes and for only 197 yards. He was also sacked four times.

In his NFL career against Brady, Drew Brees is 3-0. The last time the Saints met the Patriots, the Saints were undefeated and Brees threw for 371 yards and five touchdowns. He has New England’s number.

New Orleans wins.

Arizona (3-2) at San Francisco (3-2)

The 49ers beat down the Texans last week. They have some momentum going up against the Cardinals. Since 2009 they are 7-1 against Arizona.

The Niners also have only lost three home regular season games since the start of the 2011 season.

San Francisco wins.

Washington (1-3) at Dallas (2-3)

Has Tony Romo failed to come through in the clutch before? Definitely. Did he throw an interception last week against Denver at the worst possible time? Yes. Should that take away from the game that he had and the season he’s having? No way.

Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns last week. That’s the most yards in Cowboys history. And while Peyton Manning had seven touchdown passes in Week 1, he hasn’t thrown for that many yards in a game this season. That was also only Romo’s second interception this season.

The defense could’ve used a stop at some point against Denver, so it’s not all on Romo.

That being said, they should put up equally impressive numbers this week. The Redskins have given up the most yards per game this season.

Dallas wins.

Indianapolis (4-1) at San Diego (2-3)

Phillip Rivers’ second consecutive 400-yard game and third this season wasn’t enough to propel the Chargers past the Raiders, who previously had only one win to their name. Three interceptions, a season-high for Rivers in 2013, helped the downfall.

The Colts have won three in a row, including a big one over the Seahawks last weekend. The Colts are tied for the fewest penalties in the league with the fewest yards penalized and is second in the NFL in third-down percentage. They’re playing efficient football and getting the job done.

Indianapolis wins.

Bye Week: Atlanta, Miami

Last Week: 7-7

Overall: 49-28

Photo Credit.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer