The season is humming along. Sadly, though, the injuries are really beginning to pile up. Last week, the Jets playmaker Leon Washington was lost to a fractured fibula. I’ve enjoyed his game since he was at Florida State. I wish him a speedy recovery. That goes for all the guys who went down including Washington’s Chris Cooley (the guy who I think should be the centerpiece of their offense), Jermichael Finley, Will Allen (whose injury may have been the real reason the Saints climbed back in that game), and William Gay.
What? Gay wasn’t injured? He was just posterized. Having taken the week to consider it, I still can’t think of any other Steeler DB who has been run over quite like that. I wonder how long William will have to wait to get his uniform back. In all seriousness, Gay is a hard working player who gives 100% whenever I’ve seen him play. That could have happened to anyone. There really isn’t any shame in getting flattened like a tackle dummy by Adrian Peterson. It will be William’s job to be prepared next time.
Is it wrong of me, a huge Steeler fan, to post that video? I’m just trying to be fair and balanced.
Let’s get it on.
Game 1. Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens. This game will make me a believer. I don’t love the Ravens, but if Denver can beat them in their own building (with both teams coming off byes), I will buy what the Broncos are selling. After Denver beat San Diego, I said I’d wait until they played Pittsburgh. I’m going to go a week early and put the weight on Baltimore. If Baltimore loses this game, they’ll drop to 3-4 overall with 3 conference losses. Given that they have yet to play the Steelers and still have to travel to Cincinnati, a loss here means the Ravens would be fighting an uphill battle to get to 11-5…and that’s what its going to take to get into the playoffs if you’re 3rd in the AFC North. The Ravens should be desperate. Baltimore 21, Denver 17.
Game 2. Houston Texans at Buffalo Bills. Believe it or not, the winner of this game will be on a 3-game winning streak in the AFC. The Bills are sporting wins over pathetic, listless Carolina and the Jets. The Texans just beat a hungry 49er team in the midst of some confusion at the quarterback position. Vernon Davis hit the Texans for 3 touchdowns. The Bills don’t have tight ends who can stay healthy, let alone score 3 touchdowns. If the weather is nasty, don’t be surprised if Buffalo pulls this out. Houston 16, Buffalo 10.
Game 3. Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears. The Bears are missing a ton of injured talent on defense. The Browns are missing a ton of unsigned talent on offense. I like the Have-Nots over the Never-Hads. Chicago 29, Cleveland 12.
Game 4. Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys. I picked the Cowboys to beat Atlanta last week. How could they possibly lose to the miserable Seahawks? Isn’t the newly minted DeMarcus Ware going to write checks all over Matt Hasselbeck’s ribs? I think so. Miles Austin 28, Seattle 14.
Game 5. Miami Dolphins at New York Jets. This have been ideal for the Jets if Miami had beaten New Orleans. The Jets are still embarrassed about getting their manhood stir fried by the Dolphins a few weeks ago. The Dolphins are salty about losing a game they led by 21 points. Without Will Allen, they were defenseless against the Saints. With Will Allen, the Jets were still able to move the ball and draw the Dolphins into one of the better played games of the season a few weeks ago. I don’t think this game will be as exciting, but I like the Jets. New York Jets 17, Miami Dolphins 3.
Game 6. San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts. This could simply get very ugly, very fast. Last week, Frank Gore had only a handful of carries. This week, he’ll need a boatload just to keep things from getting out of hand. Atlanta and Houston have dispelled the notion that the 49ers are rootin’ tootin’ gunslingers masquerading as an NFL defense. On Sunday, all water guns run dry. Indianapolis 48, San Francisco 17.
Game 7. New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles. Here are two teams stuck in the midst of being wholly unimpressive. The Giants are so unimpressive, I picked them to lose at home to the Cardinals — knowing full well how the Cardinals play when they make cross-country trips. The Eagles lost to the Raiders two weeks ago and allowed a season-high 17 points to the Redskins. There are no winners here — and this game may be as poorly played as it has been in years. Philadelphia 19, New York 17.
Game 8. St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions. Speaking of games that are liable to be poorly played. Steven Jackson and Kevin Smith could provide sparks. Who will provide the pillows? Detroit 24, St. Louis 22.
Game 9. Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers. Remember when this game meant something? I don’t. It will only be meaningful if the Raiders can do what they should have done Week 1 — beat the Chargers. The Chargers are probably worse than they were in Week 1. The Raiders have to be better — don’t they? San Diego 27, Oakland 7.
Game 10. Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans. Another stinker. Can the Titans take another bye week. It’s time for Vince. But, before that, it’s time for Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags have the better team — as long as they’re not flying to Seattle. Jacksonville 37, Tennessee 17.
Game 11. Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers. The moment you’ll all be waiting for. The way Favre has been playing, he should continue to do well and make this a thrilling affair. This game is sure to be infinitely more emotional than the game in Minnesota. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers will have the suppor of the fans. Brett will get the jeers. I like the Packers. Green Bay 31, Minnesota 21.
Game 12. Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals. Another clunker. Arizona should win this game easily. Arizona 38, Carolina 20.
Game 13. Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints. More on this feast closer to Monday night. Enjoy!!
ADDENDUM: I wrote back in Week 3 that it was time for the Titans to begin to look to Vince Young. The writing was on the wall then. I’m sure Bud Adams saw it. Jeff Fisher still can’t see it. I would not have picked the Jaguars to win that game had the start of VY been announced earlier in the week. The Jaguars are maddeningly mediocre and I do what I can to routinely pick against them.