Congratulations to the Texas Rangers who won the American League pennant for the second year in a row. They will be moving on to the World Series. Now, back to football.
Carolina Panthers versus Atlanta Falcons – I really think this is a toss-up. Atlanta just isn’t playing as well as they did a year ago. The Atlanta Falcons simply aren’t running the ball that well. They’re ranked 23rd in the league in rushing. 23rd. On the other side of the ball, the Carolina Panthers have had to live with the inconsistency of Cam Newton. While he has proven that he is truly a talent, he has literally been the best and the worst quarterback week after week. Go back and look at the statistics. In weeks one and three he had the best quarterback rating in the league. In weeks two and five he’s had the worst quarterback rating. Both teams have issues. I’m leaning towards the Atlanta Falcons.
Indianapolis Colts versus Cincinnati Bengals – Cincinnati continues to play a little bit better every week. Indianapolis Colts need to play better but I don’t think they will. I’m leaning towards the Bengals.
San Francisco 49ers versus Detroit Lions – Detroit is getting more and more confident every week. The San Francisco 49ers are also playing well. Alex Smith is not spraying the ball. He’s playing efficient football. I know that the experts are picking the 49ers, but I think that the Detroit Lions, playing at home, especially with their front four on defense, will pull out a victory.
St. Louis Rams versus Green Bay Packers – This is a trap game. This will show us if the Green Bay Packers are truly going to be a dynasty or not. Can they focus? If so, they should destroy the Rams. I’m going with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Buffalo Bills versus New York Giants – Eli Manning has been under pressure recently. He simply hasn’t played that well. I saw some statistic that when he is blitzed his quarterback rating is somewhere like 20 or 30 points lower than when he is not blitzed. I look for the Buffalo Bills to dial up the pressure. They have to stop the running attack of the Giants and Brandon Jacobs is hurt. I look for the Bills to continue their winning ways. Bills in the playoffs?? It is starting to look like it.
Jacksonville Jaguars versus Pittsburgh Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger is coming off of his best game this year. He threw five touchdown passes last week. There’s nothing that Jacksonville will do to interrupt his flow. I look for the Pittsburgh Steelers to win this game.
Philadelphia Eagles versus Washington Redskins – I know that a lot of people have jumped on the Redskins bandwagon. I agree that the Redskins have played some pretty good football, but can somebody explain what happened in Dallas? I thought that Rex Grossman was going to light up a questionable Dallas secondary. He did not. The Philadelphia Eagles troubles have been well-documented. I don’t think it is entirely the defense and I don’t think it’s entirely the offense. There are problems everywhere. If the offensive line of the Eagles can protect Michael Vick (this is a big if), the Eagles can put up some points. I just don’t see it happening. I think that this will be a close game. I think the Washington Redskins will force a couple of turnovers. I look for the Redskins to win this game.
Houston Texans versus Baltimore Ravens – Houston is hurt. Baltimore simply has too much defense. If Joe Flacco can avoid turning the ball over I think the Ravens win this game easily.
Cleveland Browns versus Oakland Raiders – Oakland is playing at home. I still think that they have an emotional high from the loss of their owner, Al Davis. The Cleveland Browns are playing okay but not great football. I think you’re going to need to be great in order to beat the Raiders this week. I’m leaning towards the Oakland Raiders.
Dallas Cowboys versus New England Patriots – I have thought about this game for the last several days. I think that if Dallas comes out and tries to control the football they have an opportunity to win. They need to control the clock. They need to come out in two and three tight end sets. They need to run and throw out of these formations (by the way, since the Cowboys got rid of Marion Barber, who’s going to do the tough inside running?) I think that Tom Brady is going to dissect the Dallas Cowboys secondary. The Cowboys made Matthew Stafford look like an Pro Bowler so Tom Brady should have an easy time putting points on the board. I do believe that the Cowboys front seven will be able to put a little pressure on Tom Brady, but I don’t think that’ll be enough. I have no idea how the Cowboys are going to stop Wes Welker and the two tight ends of the Patriots. Once again, although my heart is with the Dallas Cowboys, I have to choose the New England Patriots. (Yuck, that leaves a sour taste in my mouth.)
New Orleans Saints versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay flew to San Francisco and got a serious beat down last week. I don’t think that’s the kind of beating that you get over in a week or two. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers thought that there were one of the best teams in the NFC only to have the 49ers deliver a resounding – not so fast. Drew Brees continues to play good football. He’s found a new weapon in his tight end Jimmy Graham. I think that the New Orleans Saints have too much firepower. I look for the Saints to pull out a victory.
Minnesota Vikings versus Chicago Bears – Both of these teams have issues. Can Donovan McNabb continue to play better? Can the Chicago Bears offensive line protect Jay Cutler? I’m leaning towards the Minnesota Vikings because they have Adrian Peterson.
Miami Dolphins versus New York Jets – the Miami Dolphins may be the perfect prescription for the ailing New York Jets. They should be able to run the ball more effectively. They should be able to put a little pressure on the passer. I look for the Jets to figure out a way to win this game. BTW, why is this a Monday Night Football game? Move the Detroit game or the Cowboy game to Monday Night. This is going to be a sleeper.