My picks for this week (with the spreads from ESPN.com’s Pigskin Pick ’em):
(2-3) Cincinnati Bengals** at
(4-2) Atlanta Falcons -3.5
As shaky as Carson Palmer can be, I think the Cincinnati passing game can take advantage of a weak Atlanta secondary (especially without Dunta Robinson).
(3-3) Washington Redskins** at
(4-2) Chicago Bears -2.5
I see this being a low scoring game. I don’t see many yards being given up on either side of the ball either, but Washington will pull it out late.
(4-2) Philadelphia Eagles** at
(4-2) Tennessee Titans -3.5
Kevin Kolb looked very good last week. The Titans are also without Vince Young and Kenny Britt will not start.
(3-3) Jacksonville Jaguars at
(3-2) Kansas City Chiefs** -5.5
Kansas City’s chance to get back on the right track. Jacksonville has not been impressive and Todd Bouman will be starting today.
(4-1) Pittsburgh Steelers** at
(3-2) Miami Dolphins +3.5
Pittsburgh’s defense continues to look impressive and Big Ben will have a full game under his belt. Expect big things from them.
(1-5) Cleveland Browns** at
(4-2) New Orleans Saints -13.5
I fully expect the Saints to win this game, but I think the Browns’ running game with Peyton Hillis is strong enough to keep it close.
(3-3) St. Louis Rams** at
(3-2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5
Sam Bradford should have a good game today. If not, Stephen Jackson is more than capable of carrying the load. This Rams team has impressed me thus far and I still think they can win the NFC West.
(1-5) San Francisco 49ers** at
(0-5) Carolina Panthers +3.5
Much better than their 1-5 record, the 49ers shouldn’t make this close at all against a Carolina team that is very deserving of their 0-5.
(0-5) Buffalo Bills at
(4-2) Baltimore Ravens** -13.5
I don’t feel like I even need to explain this one. The Bills just don’t have much going for them, and the Ravens have an excellent ground game.
(3-2) Arizona Cardinals** at
(3-2) Seattle Seahawks -5.5
This is going to be a very good game. Both teams fighting for first place. I like what I have seen out of Max Hall thus far after having low expectations. I think the Cardinals pull out a close game.
(4-1) New England Patriots** at
(2-4) San Diego Chargers -2.5
The stats are lying to us. The Chargers are in the top of the league in offense and defense, but have not played anyone impressive. The Pats are putting up lots of points every week. San Diego is also without Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and Gates is playing while knowing he should not be. San Diego just doesn’t have enough.
(2-4) Oakland Raiders at
(2-4) Denver Broncos** -6.5
This one actually could be close. I think if a gutsy Kyle Orton keeps the ball away from Asomugha (remember, he tested Revis a lot last week), he should have a big game.
(2-3) Minnesota Vikings** at
(3-3) Green Bay Packers -2.5
I do expect this one to be very tight. The only reason I pick the Vikings in a close game is because the Packers are 1-11 in games decided by 4 points or less. If the Packers come out strong in the first half, then they have a much better chance of winning this game. Randy Moss has also played exceptionally well in Lambeau throughout his career (7 games: 31 receptions for 588 yards and 7 TDs).
(4-2) New York Giants at
(1-4) Dallas Cowboys** -3.5
I truly think the Giants are the best team in the NFC right now, but games between these two teams are always good, especially primetime games. I think the Cowboys realize their desperation and finally come out with a good game.