The NFL season is into October and because of that the NFL is supporting breast cancer awareness month by adding the color pink to uniforms, referee flags and TV networks are using a pink line instead of a yellow one. It's been like that for a few years. I think it's a great thing that the NFL is doing. My sister is a breast cancer survivor, so any time money is raised and awareness is increased I'm all for it. I think sometimes the NFL overdoes it a bit, but I don't mind it. Anyway, it's worth mentioning because it's going to be noticeable during the games over the next month. I'm not sure the pink could help the Jaguars help, though. Nothing can help that.
Before we get to this week's games, here are some thoughts on the Thursday night game.
Cleveland 37 - Buffalo 24: I was at a bar for a friend's birthday, so didn't see the game that much although every time there was a big play I did pay attention. Obviously the big story of the game was that Browns QB Brian Hoyer got hurt early and then Bills QB EJ Manuel got hurt with both guys having knee injuries. It looks like Hoyer's is the worse of the two. Brandon Weeden played well for the Browns or at least well enough. Their defense and special teams each came up with scores, so that helped too. The Browns move to 3-2 with three straight wins. It turned out to be an entertaining game after all.
Last week straight up: 7-8. Season: 36-27 (.571)
Byes: Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
All game times are in the Eastern time zone.
New England (4-0) at Cincinnati (2-2) 1:00 pm
I'm one of those people that believes the Patriots aren't as good as their record, but I also admit that I could be very wrong about that. I like the Bengals a lot this year and think these are the types of games they know they have to win in order to be taken seriously as a top team in the AFC. What worries me about Cincy is they are hurting at CB and I think Tom Brady's going to take advantage of that. On the other hand, I think the Patriots defense will miss veteran DT Vince Wilfork (out for the year) quite a bit and I think the Bengals balanced offensive attack (give it to Bernard more!) will do enough to win a close game. Bengals 23-20
Detroit (3-1) at Green Bay (1-2) 1:00 pm
I just read that the Lions haven't won in Green Bay since 1991. That's a lot of losing in that stadium for that team. I think the Packers are going to be sharp coming out of their bye week, though. The Lions have impressed me and I underrated them a bit so far this year, but I like that Packers offense too much to go against them at home in a big game. Look for Aaron Rodgers to make it difficult for the Lions defense all day long. I expect Detroit to put up some points to cover the spread. Packers 31-27
Seattle (4-0) at Indianapolis (3-1) 1:00 pm
The Seahawks showed last week against the Texans that they are beatable when they go on the road, but they also showed they are never out of a game. That INT TD by Richard Sherman (the best corner in the game in my opinion) showed they are very hard to keep down even when they're trailing. It's a big test for the Colts, who are a team on the rise. I think the Seahawks style of play will dictate the tempo, which means it's likely to be a low scoring game. I'm going with the Seahawks to establish RB Marshawn Lynch while QB Russell Wilson continues to find a way to get it done even with a mediocre WR group. Seahawks 20-17
Baltimore (2-2) at Miami (3-1) 1:00 pm
There were comments this week from Ravens coach John Harbaugh about how they need to involve star RB Ray Rice more. Of course they do. How do they get away from that? Last week Joe Flacco threw five INTs. That needs to stop. Get Rice the ball whether it's via screen passes or running outside. I like the Ravens defense, but if they turn it over that many teams they won't win. As for the Dolphins, I think they need to run Lamar Miller. I like his game a lot. Maybe they're saving him or they don't trust him yet. Their run game needs his explosiveness. I think it will be a close game. I'm rolling with the Ravens just because I think they learned from mistakes that cost them last week. Veteran teams tend to do that. Ravens 24-20
New Orleans (4-0) at Chicago (3-1) 1:00 pm
I've been off on the Bears all year. I think I've only got their win over Minnesota right this year and even that was on a last second play to win the game. The Saints looked amazing last Monday home to the Dolphins, but they're a different team on the road. I'm not sure if we'll see that same team again. The Bears defense isn't as good as last year and everybody in the NFL knows it. The offense is better, though. I think this one has shootout potential. I'm going with the home team. Just a hunch. Bears 34-31
Philadelphia (1-3) at N.Y. Giants (0-4) 1:00 pm
Two bad teams that suck at defense and in the Giants case have sucked on offense for most of this season too. I expect a lot of points and the Giants to get their first win after they realize that they have to run the ball in order to set up the pass. Giants 37-27
Jacksonville (0-4) at St. Louis (1-3) 1:00 pm
Believe me when I tell you that I don't really trust the Rams at this point. I had so much optimism for them this year, but it's been a rough start. At least with the Jags they aren't facing a quality opponent. I think with some extra rest after last Thursday and the fact that they are playing the worst team will be a great thing for the Rams. It should be a comfortable win thanks to the defense having a big day. Rams 24-7
Kansas City (4-0) at Tennessee (3-1) 1:00 pm
I might have picked the Titans in this game, but with Ryan Fitzpatrick in at QB in place of the injured Jake Locker I have my doubts about them. The Chiefs are the more sound football team to me. They're balanced on offense, they have a great defense at all levels and a motivated head coach in Andy Reid who is doing a great job in his first year there. I expect Fitzpatrick to make some costly mistakes (he's always been interception prone) with the Chiefs capitalizing on them to win the game. It will be close, though. Chiefs 20-17
Carolina (1-2) at Arizona (2-2) 4:05 pm
They're both hard teams to get a read on. I don't think either is a playoff team yet neither is so bad that they are a bottom five team. The Cardinals probably shouldn't have beat the Bucs, but they took advantage of mistakes by a bad team. Neither team can run that well, the defenses are pretty good and both are having issues passing the ball although the Cards still have Larry Fitzgerald at least. I think this will be a low scoring, ugly game to watch. Cardinals 17-16
Denver (4-0) at Dallas (2-2) 4:25 pm
I doubt I'll pick against the Broncos all year as long as they are relatively healthy. That doesn't mean I think they are going 16-0 necessarily, but something like 14 wins is very possible. Their game at KC could give them problems. The Cowboys? I think they can handle that. Lucky for Dallas, they are in a division where they could still be in first place at 2-3 and they could even have a one game lead with it. I like Peyton Manning and his crew of WRs to get the job done again. Broncos 34-23
Houston (2-2) at San Francisco (2-2) 8:30 pm
I expected both teams to have better records heading into this game. The Niners were impressive in dismantling the Rams last week while the Texans blew a lead against the Seahawks thanks to Matt Schaub's poorly timed INT that Richard Sherman converted into a TD. With Schaub looking like he's off his game I don't like Houston's chances against the instinctive defense of the Niners. I'll take the home team to win this one. Niners 24-16
San Diego (2-2) at Oakland (1-3) 11:35 pm
The time of this game got pushed back by seven hours because the Oakland A's have a playoff baseball game in the same stadium as the Raiders. It's a really late start for those of us in the Eastern time zone. The Chargers have been able to score with Phil Rivers playing very well, but I like the Raiders at home with Terrelle Pryor back in the lineup. I like divisional home underdogs. Not all the time. I just think the Raiders will find a way to win because that's just how the NFL is sometimes. Raiders 27-24
N.Y. Jets (2-2) at Atlanta (1-3) 8:40 pm
I think this will be a blowout win for an angry Falcons team that is facing a rookie QB in Geno Smith, who has been making a lot of mistakes of late. It's tough to win in that dome. Atlanta's going to be so focused that even with all their injuries (they really miss a healthy Roddy White) they will dominate this one. It's time for the defense of the Falcons to step up. It's the right opponent for them to do it against. Bet on Atlanta at -9.5 if you can because that number is going up by Sunday. Falcons 33-13
Five Favorite Bets of the Week
Last week: 2-2-1 Season 7-12-1. The lines come from SportsBook.com.
@ Atlanta -9.5 over NY Jets - Like I said that number may go up.
Denver -7.5 over @ Dallas - The Broncos are 4-0 against the spread. Make it five.
Seahawks @ Indianapolis UNDER 44 - Feels like an under game to me.
@ San Francisco -6 over Houston - I think the Niners defense will impose their will to win this game.
Detroit +7 over Green Bay - Packers win, but Lions cover the points.
That's all for me this week. Enjoy the games and good luck to you.