The NFL gods have presented us with some really interesting matchups this week so let's get right into it! Here are my picks, with the current odds, as they come courtesy of Odds Shark. It's your choice if you want to ridicule them or put your car pink-slip down on them. In case you're wondering, I went 12-4 straight up last week and I'm looking to improve on that.
Eagles @ Seahawks (+2.5): This week's Thursday night game pits two severely injury riddled 4-7 teams against each other. The Eagles will be without Mike Vick and Jeremy Maclin, and possibly Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and LeSean McCoy. The Seahawks are now without Sidney Rice, their starting right side of the offensive line, and have a banged up quarterback. Picking this one is a bit of a crapshoot - on one hand the Eagles probably have a lot more talent but on the other, the Seahawks have the homefield advantage. Oddshark shares the little nugget though that in the last six times these teams have met, the home team has never won. I don't really see that changing, unfortunately. Pick: Philly
Chiefs @ Bears (-8): I was proud of myself when I picked the Raiders to beat the Bears last week and am tempted to pick the Chiefs this week because of Jay Cutler's absence. Then I remembered that the Chiefs are relying on their backup QB too so this has the makings of a defensive battle, one that I'd put my money on Chicago to win. Pick: Da Bears.
Titans @ Bills (+1): What is the Bills' deal? They've lost four in a row and their high-powered offense has sputtered. The Titans are coming off a nice win against Tampa Bay but may struggle in the cold northern temperatures of Buffalo. I'm expecting this to be close but with Chris Johnson heating up I am going to go with the Titans. Pick: Tennessee.
Broncos @ Vikings (-1): Tebow, Tebow, Tebow. What will you do next? The Broncos have won four in a row, against some very good teams, and are starting to believe. The Vikings are slumping, losers of three straight, and are led by rookie QB Christian Ponder. I'm going to have to go with the Broncos in this one. Pick: Denver.
Jets @ Redskins (+3): The Redskins just snapped a six-game losing streak at Seattle but didn't look particularly convincing. The Jets haven't looked particularly convincing the last few weeks either but are the more talented team. If Washington can run on the Jets solid defense, it could get interesting, but I don't expect Rex Grossman to light things up. I'm going with the Jets in a close one. Pick: New York.
Panthers @ Buccaneers (-3): The Buccaneers are losers of six out of their last seven and have shown little consistency in any aspect of the game. The Panthers have shown signs of life the last two weeks though, putting up 35 points in Detroit in a losing effort and dropping 27 last week at Indianapolis. They'll have their third straight road test but I'm betting on Cam Newton and company as road 'dogs. Pick: Carolina.
Bengals @ Steelers (-7.5): The poor Bengals have had an absolutely brutal schedule the last few weeks, losers against Pittsburgh and at Baltimore, then winners against Cleveland. They get the Steelers again this week on the road and life doesn't get any easier. Though Pittsburgh struggled last week to get past Kansas City, they're very tough at home and that's why they're my pick. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Raiders @ Dolphins (-3): I'm loving these Raiders. You know what else I'm loving? These Dolphins. I picked the Dolphins to win last week at Dallas and they JUST about pulled it off. I'm very tempted to go with them again this week and I'm actually pretty surprised to see that they're favored against a good Oakland team that's coming off a big win against Chicago. I'm going with the road 'dogs again in this one, Carson Palmer, Michael Bush and company will prove they're no fluke. Pick: Oakland.
Falcons @ Texans (+1.5): Wellllll. Jake Delhomme. The Texans have won five straight but will be severely hamstrung on offense after losing Matt Schaub and his backup Matt Leinart in successive weeks. The Falcons will win this one: Pick: Atlanta.
Ravens @ Browns (+7.5): The Browns offense is anything but intimidating and will have a tough time against Baltimore's elite defense. If Joe Flacco and Ray Rice can find some balance on offense - the Browns have a very good secondary - they should be fine. Pick: Ravens.
Rams @ 49ers (-14.5): The Rams limp into Candlestick Park and will look to put up a fight against the Niners in their place. Two problems - the Rams are awful on the road and the 49ers are very good at home. San Fran will be looking to bounce back after losing to Baltimore last week and I don't see the Rams putting up much of a fight, they're just suffering from too many injuries on both sides of the ball. Pick: San Fran.
Cowboys @ Cardinals (+4.5): This game intrigues me. Kevin Kolb will be back and starting for the Cardinals, who ran all over the Rams last week. Granted, the Rams have a terrible run defense, but if Arizona can keep things going in that arena this could be a close one. As much as I'd like to see the Cards pull this one off though, I wouldn't put my money on it. Pick: Cowboys.
Lions @ Saints (-10.5): I can see why this was the Sunday Night game. I'll be really looking forward to this one and I think it will be closer than the 10.5 point spread indicates. The one problem that Detroit faces though is getting after Drew Brees without Ndamukong Suh, who has indicated he'll serve the first of this two-game suspension this week. Because of this big loss, I'm playing it safe with the home team. Pick: Saints.
Chargers @ Jaguars (+1.5): How do the Jags keep getting on Monday Night Football? I know I shouldn't really talk, being a Seahawks fan and considering that we get the Rams/Seahawks next week, but seriously, who scheduled the Jaguars for TWO MNF games?? Anyway, on paper, before the season, I'd be excited about seeing the Chargers in this one but we're going to be watching a Jags team that has lost eight out of it's last ten games face off against a Chargers team that has lost six in a row and is coming apart at the seams.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some in the NFL and though this matchup looks bad on paper it might turn out to be really awesome. Now, who to pick? I'm pretty tired of having the damn Chargers screw up my picks week in and week out, but I have to go with them this week. Philip Rivers > Blaine Gabbert and that will be apparent this week. Pick: Chargers.