John Canton: It's week seven of the NFL season. As always I'm joined by Bret Clev and Mike Maloney to go over every game this week.
I read an interesting stat on the @Covers (a betting site) Twitter account that said this: "After NFL dogs went 12-2 ATS last week, they're 57-32-2 this year. Best mark through first 6 weeks going back at least 15 years."
That was prior to the Thursday game. That means if you bet on the underdogs to cover the spread in every game you'd be 25 games over .500 and you would probably be on a nice vacation by now. It's another sign of just how much parity there is in the NFL this year.
The other stat that jumps out at me is that only two AFC teams have winning records at this point in the year with the Texans and Ravens each sitting at 5-1. Of course they play eachother this week, so it will be interesting to see who sits in the top spot in the AFC after this week.
Standings Straight Up After Week 6:
Mike 56-35 .615 (Last Week 8-6)
John 56-35 .615 (6-8)
Bret 54-37 .593 (8-6)
We all picked the 49ers to win on Thursday. We all got that right. Twelve games left this week.
Byes: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego
All game times are Eastern.
Tennessee (2-4) at Buffalo (3-3) 1:00 PM
Bret: Last week was the Buffalo Bills team I expected to see all year - and you can't expect the kind of ineptitude they had shown the previous 6 quarters to continue, NO team is that bad. Their defensive line is still one of the most talented in the NFL, and they're facing a Tennessee offensive line that's given up a ton of sacks the last few weeks. I think the Bills defense continues to get on track - and perhaps starts playing, dare I say, above average in this one and holds Tennessee in the low teens.
Tennessee's defense has continued to improve as well. Tennessee's weakness has been their pass defense - being unable to sack the QB until recently, and giving up a league high QB rating - but Fitzpatrick has shown that he's not capable this year of hitting the deep threats and taking advantage of that. Buffalo will rely on a steady dose of Jackson and Spiller - who are maybe the best 1a and 1b in the league - to control the clock and take a boring win here. Tennessee will need 2 fumbles out of the Buffalo battery to win this one. Buffalo 24 Tennessee 14
Mike: Ooh, sorry boys, you narrowly lost out to Jacksonville/Oakland as the game I care about the least this week. Maybe if this game didn't involve the FIRST PLACE BUFFALO BILLS. I hear Chris Johnson has run well against Buffalo in his career, so I guess that's something for Tennessee, and hopefully for my fantasy team. Kenny Britt didn't look terribly impressive last week against the Steelers, although he did finally get a touchdown reception, although he tried his best to drop it. I don't think a whole lot of Buffalo either, but Spiller and Jackson are still healthy, and they're at home, so I'm going to stick with them here. Buffalo 27 Tennessee 23
John: I know the Titans won last week, but that was a home game on a Thursday night where weird things tend to happen. They still have an awful defense that's giving up 34 points per game. Of course the Bills are giving up 32 PPG, but in their three wins they've held opponents to under 20 PPG. I think the Bills will run all day on them and should get a comfortable home win thanks to the legs of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson. After a rough beginning maybe the Bills can turn into the playoff team I thought they were at the start of the year. Bills 31-17
Washington (3-3) at NY Giants (4-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: The Giants are clearly the better all around team here, but man, when a guy like Griffin can break off those kinds of runs (reports were his last 40 yards in that 76 yard dash were sub 4.4 speed.), you just can't ever count the Redskins out.
The Giants defense rose to the occasion last week (and are adding Chris Canty this week) and I think they'll maintain their higher level of play.
Last year the Redskins could be overlooked. This year they're a serious threat, and a game I know a lot of people are picking the Redskins in. Exactly the type of game the Giants find a way to pull out.
For a detailed prediction I'll say Washington goes up by 10 early, New York comes back to swing it the other way and is up by 10 themselves going into the 4th. Washington scores a late TD and the game ends Giants by 3. New York 27 Washington 24
Mike: Always tough to get a feel for what you're going to get from the Giants on any given week. This week I'm feeling like more of a high scoring game, and I think they pull out a closer-than-it-should-be game against RGIII. Speaking of Griffin, I'm not sure I understand why people were so concerned about him last week. By all reports he had passed through his concussion tests, but people were worried that he wasn't going to play full speed or be at 100%. But it was a concussion, it's not like he had a sore hamstring or anything like that.
Anyway, the Giants got up for that Niners game. I could see their defense being a little lackluster this weekend. Plus the Redskins are plenty equipped to give New York trouble even if they fall behind. With it being a divisional game and it being the Giants I could even see them coughing up this game, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. New York 32 Washington 28
John: Oh New York Giants. I can never figure you out. You're a better team than the Redskins, yet when you played them late last year you got destroyed for some reason. Now the Redskins are much better. I think the Giants remember last year, though. I also think they are more focused this year and all around a better team than they were last regular season. Yes, RG3 is doing wonders for the Redskins offense. That defense isn't doing great though. I think the Giants win, but the Redskins will cover the 6 point spread. It should be a fun game. Giants 30-26
New Orleans (1-4) at Tampa Bay (2-3) 1:00 PM
Bret: Tricky game for New Orleans here. Everyone has kind of forgotten about them, and they're going on the road to Tampa Bay to face a team that showed some real offensive life last week. I like the direction Tampa is going, and I expect them to win their fair share of games going forward.
However, Drew Brees is still one of the best - and best prepared - QBs in the league, and with an extra week to prepare and get healthy for a sub standard Bucs secondary, I expect them to put up plenty of points in this one. The Bucs will get their yards too - and continue to build offensively, but I don't think they can match the scoring of New Orleans here. New Orleans 34 Tampa Bay 28
Mike: Tampa's offense looked pretty good last week against a crappy Chiefs' defense. Hey, you know who else has a crappy defense? The New Orleans Saints? How convenient. Their defense wasn't too bad either, although again, it was against the Chiefs. I still don't buy the idea of the Saints being favored against a half decent team on the road, not until they show some ability in being able to put together a half-decent defensive effort in a game.
As I said last week, Tampa's not a bad team, and better than their 2-3 record indicates. Mike Williams seems to be getting out of his sophomore slump and looking a little more like the rookie Mike Williams, which combined with Vincent Jackson, you've got a pretty dangerous duo going. I expect the bye week did the Saints some good, let some injuries heal, but at the end of the day their defense is still terrible, and that's all that matters to me at this point. Tampa Bay 35 New Orleans 24
John: I'd pick New Orleans at home, but they don't travel very well. It's not like the Bucs offense is a juggernaut. However, Josh Freeman did have a really good game last week and it's nice to see WR Mike Williams emerge after being disappointing the last few years. This has shootout potential. I'm going with the Bucs. Buccaneers 34-31
Dallas (2-3) at Carolina (1-4) 1:00 PM
Bret: Dallas' offense will be really hampered by the loss of Murray. Felix Jones looked good last week but A) he doesn't have the style for an every down back and B) it's only a matter of time before he goes down himself. I wouldn't be shocked to see Phillip Turner get double digit carries in this one.
Mostly though, I expect Dallas to just chuck it. Carolina's secondary is not good - Football Outsiders has them 15th, I think they're worse than that. Despite the loss of Murray and the probable abandoning of the running game, I expect Dallas to put up plenty of points offensively.
So the question is, coming off the bye week and at home, has Carolina put in enough work to spice up this offense some. Have they figured out a way to put up the 30 they're going to need to beat Dallas? Assuming Claiborne plays - no, I don't think they quite have enough and they come up short in the 4th quarter. Without Claiborne, they may find just enough room in the deep halves of the secondary to score a few big plays and knock off the Cowboys. I think Claiborne is playing, so I'll take Dallas in a tight one. Dallas 28 Carolina 27
Mike: Dallas just lost to Baltimore by 2 last week on the road, and they're only favored by 1 on the road against a 1-4 Carolina team that is quite bad? Weird line. Sure, with Tony Romo all things are possible, but I figured they'd be -3 at least. I suppose there's the fact that DeMarco Murray isn't playing, but it's not like he's been kicking down the door to that rushing title this year. Probably an important game for the Panthers if they want to do anything with their season, as their next three games are @CHI @WAS and vs DEN.
I think the Panthers are in a tough spot, and while I don't expect Dallas to hold Cam Newton to the poor 12-29 performance he put up against Seattle, I do expect him to struggle throwing the ball. Since they have the worst return rate in the league based on how much money they spent on their backfield, I'm not sure where the points come from. Carolina's been close a couple times, but I don't see them beating the Cowboys. Dallas 28 Carolina 16
John: Both offenses are disappointing averaging around 18 PPG. With the weapons that both teams have you would expect more than that. That's probably why they both have losing records right now. I'm going to roll with the Panthers coming off the bye. I think Cam Newton is going to correct the problems he's had now that he's had two weeks to think about them. With a loss here, the hot seat of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett will get even hotter here. Panthers 24-23
Baltimore (5-1) at Houston (5-1) 1:00 PM
Bret: I wish we had a fancy-pantsy TJR-Stats and information department to look up what the highest spread between two 5-1 teams has been. Six points is huge! And I think I'd still take Houston here.
The bigger loss for Baltimore last week was CB Lardarius Webb, and not having him is going to kill them against Houston. They need a nickle back who can tackle Foster and guard Owen Daniels. Webb could do those things. I don't think anyone else on the depth chart at that position can. I expect to see a lot of Daniels in the slot, single back, stretch and play action boots against this defense. Baltimore's poor rush defense (which it was before these injuries) will be exposed in this game - and everyone will talk about how much Lewis matters. Huge, 200+ yard game for Foster. Owen Daniels gets 75 yards and a TD. Houston rolls.
The Baltimore offense has been their strength all year, but I just don't think they play a very key role in this game. Houston is going to control the tempo and the clock and make it very difficult for Baltimore to get any rhythm going. Baltimore will have to be nearly flawless offensively - putting up points on every drive - otherwise they simply won't get the ball enough, not with Houston having multi 6-plus minute drives. Houston 31 Baltimore 24
Mike: I don't think you can be too critical about what happened to the Texans last week. Green Bay came out and played like a 2-3 team that absolutely needed a win. Houston came out and played like a 5-0 team that should have its division wrapped up in about a month. Yes, Brian Cushing being out probably hurt their defense to a certain extent, but I just don't think you know with a game like that.
Fortunately this is a good bounce back game for them. Their offense (in particular their rushing offense) gets to face a depleted Ravens defense that is 26th in the league against the run. The Lardarius Webb injury will really hurt the Ravens, and I just don't like their chances of beating this Texans team that's looking to bounce back from a big loss. I still think Houston is the best team in the AFC, and I'd expect them to come out and show it. Houston 27 Baltimore 17
John: I don't think the Ravens will miss CB Lardarius Webb as much as Bret or Mike thinks because the Texans are a team that plays a very basic offense. They don't go four wide ever. They never go five wide. They usually play with three WRs and a TE on passing downs. Sometimes they don't even go to three WRs and just play two TEs. Their passing game is very simple. I think their young CB Jimmy Smith can do a good job against WR Andre Johnson, who is no longer an elite player. The key will be can the Ravens run defense do enough to slow down the Texans rushing game? I think so.
Where Baltimore will win the game is on offense. I know the Texans have a good defense, but it's not as good as most people think. Their competition before last week's loss to Green Bay wasn't good. The Ravens saw that game and they know they can beat the Texans deep with Joe Flacco hitting Torrey Smith & Jacoby Jones down the field while Anquan Boldin & Dennis Pitta work the short game. Throw in Ray Rice to control the clock running the ball and you have a very sophisticated Ravens offense that will put pressure on the Texans all game.
It's a shame this isn't a primetime game because the matchup between the AFC's top two teams (records wise, at least) should have a bigger audience. I'm going Ravens with the upset win. Ravens 26-24
Cleveland (1-5) at Indianapolis (2-3) 1:00 PM
Bret: Two bad, feisty, teams here. Both offenses are better than the opposing defense, and now that Weeden has found his deep threat in Gordon, I expect the Browns to match the Colts in deep balls.
I think the two teams are mirrors of each other this year, and both are starting to head in the right direction.
This one is going to be bombs away, 3 TDs over 40 yards, 40 points by half time kind of fun. I really think it's a coin flip in that kind of game, I'll take the home team and the slightly better receiving duo. Indianapolis 35 Cleveland 34
Mike: Man, I missed this game when I looked before. This is definitely way worse than the Buffalo/Tennessee game. If Cleveland's not careful they could find themselves with what is known as a "winning streak" after this week. Things like that are no way to grab the #1 draft pick next year. Maybe they'll band together and find a way to lose this one in honor of the Great Walrus, Mike Holmgren, who is retiring after this season. I'm sure Browns fans everywhere are just heartbroken to lose the guy that's put together this Cleveland team.
I'm defaulting to the home team in this one, as both teams are relatively bad. Weeden and Luck have had some moments of non-awfulness this year. The Browns have Trent Richardson, the Colts have Reggie Wayne, and neither has a particularly strong defense. Honestly, I've written too much about this game already. Indianapolis 20 Cleveland 16
John: Two young teams with rookie QBs. The thing about rookie QBs that we've seen all year is that they function a lot better in the confines of their home field. Both Andrew Luck and Brandon Weeden are perfect examples of that. I'll take the Colts to win at home in a game between two teams that might be on the rise, but I don't think we're really sure of that yet. Colts 24-17
Green Bay (3-3) at St. Louis (3-3) 1:00 PM
Bret: If Aaron Rodgers is angry, this game could get ugly. If the Packers offensive line take a half off again, this game could get ugly the other way. I actually think we'll see a little bit of both. I still haven't heard a solid explanation of Green Bay's woes against the pass rush or what they're doing to solve it and that leads me to believe St. Louis will be able to get after Rodgers on this one.
In a dome and on the turf, I think you could put Rodgers on the grown 6 or 7 times and he'd still have enough success to score 4 passing TDs on you. That's just what he'll do in this game.
Offensively, the Rams just don't have much going for them. Jackson continues to be as plodding as Michael Turner, and they just have no weapons at receiver. Even if the Rams defense can hold Green Bay to 28 points, I don't think their offense can match that. Green Bay 28 St. Louis 15
Mike: Look, John will just act like he's just happy to be here, but you know deep down he wants this game for his Rams soooooo bad. Don't buy into his act. This could potentially be a bad game for the Rams. Green Bay was really, really locked in offensively last week, even without much success on the ground. For St. Louis' sake they had better not hope there's any carryover, because Rodgers' throws were right on, and the receivers were back to making their great catches. The offensive line also played really well in spite of JJ Watt's two sacks.
The Rams' one hope here is that they're playing at home. Unfortunately for them at home against the Packers is usually Lambeau South, so it might not be as nice as they're hoping for. But the team does seem to play better at home, so there's a chance that they could make something out of that and come out quickly and rattle Green Bay's offense. But I doubt it. I think the Packers have a little bit of momentum as they enter into an easier stretch of schedule and I think they pick up where they left off last week. Green Bay 27 St. Louis 10
John: The most frustrating thing about my Rams this year is that every time they move the ball inside the opponent's 40 yard line it seems like they can only kick field goals instead of ending drives with touchdowns. That's something that needs to be corrected especially against a high powered offense like the Packers. It doesn't help that the Rams are likely starting third string left tackle Joe Barksdale on the blind side of Sam Bradford. Considering how impressive Clay Matthews has been rushing the passer for the Packers I'm definitely worried about the passing offense. That's why the running game needs to be effective like last week against Miami with 162 yards rushing. The problem was, like usual, they couldn't finish off drives with TDs.
I don't think the Packers will be throwing six TD passes against the Rams like they did against the Texans last week. The Rams have a really strong pass rush plus maybe the best trio of corners in Cortland Finnegan, Janoris Jenkins & Bradley Fletcher. Where the Packers should be able to expose them is isolating on Jenkins on the deep ball because he has been burnt a few times. There's no better deep passer than Aaron Rodgers and we know he's going to take his shots down the field.
I hope I'm wrong about this pick, but I think the Packers are the better team. Even though they can't run the ball, Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL and I think he'll make enough plays to get his team the win. It will be close, just like most Rams games are. Packers 28-23
Arizona (4-2) at Minnesota (4-2) 1:00 PM
Bret: All that's left is the band playing as the Arizona ship sinks. All those hits finally took their toll on Kolb, and he's getting some much needed rest now. I seriously pity the guy. 23 sacks in 3 games is outragous. If I'm John Skelton I've already got happy feet. Watch tape of his offense the past 3 games, Skelton must feel like James Braddock when they made him watch tape of Max Weber killing people. No way would I want to be him.
Minnesota won't have an easy day putting up points either, but their defense probably scores a TD on a QB fumble in this one, and that alone may be enough to win the game. Minnesota 24 Arizona 13
Mike: Ooh, I already got to pick against Seattle on the road, do I get to do the same thing with Arizona now? Or will John Skelton rally the troops and pull off the impressive upset over the Vikings? Nah. Vegas isn't a John Sketon fan either, as the Vikings are giving 6.5 this week. Arizona is who we thought they were, right? Defensive team, nothing offense, not good enough to put up consistent results, no home field advantage. Why would I pick them against the Vikings? I think Minnesota is pretty inconsistent as well, but man, at least I trust Christian Ponder and Adrian Peterson to be able to score some points. Minnesota 20 Arizona 9
John: I don't believe in Arizona much. They were 4-0. I think they'll be last place in the NFC West by the end of the year. They just don't have enough weapons outside of Larry Fitzgerald, who returns to his home state of Minnesota in this game. Of course their defense is good, but if the offense has trouble moving the ball down the field it's hard to win games. The Vikings probably aren't as good as their record and I have my doubts about them making the playoffs, but they should be able to do enough to get the win here. Can Adrian Peterson get some TDs here? As a fantasy football player who has him a couple of money leagues, I would love to see that happen considering he has no TD's in the last five weeks. Vikings 27-14
NY Jets at New England (3-3) 4:25 PM
Bret: I have no idea how New York could score nearly 40 points last week. It simply shouldn't be possible for those guys to score that many points. I'm willing to admit I just might be missing something about this team offensively - and I'm willing to admit they may score some points this week against a pretty bad New England secondary. (You don't need guys who can catch when you can get a PI on every 3rd play!)
Defensively I think the Jets can slow down the Patriots a bit as well. The Pats are running a sophisticated offense, but Mr. Ryan runs some fairly complicated defenses as well. I don't know if Brady will be able to pick them apart quite so quickly in this one. Rex should be going bombs away to try to fluster Brady much like the Seattle defense did.
Those are all points why I think New York has a shot in this game, but New England still has the most awe inspiring offense in the league, and at home I think it's going to be nearly impossible to knock them off their rhythm enough to keep them from scoring enough to win the game.
Close game. Under 30 points for the Pats. They still win it at home. New England 27 New York Jets 21
Mike: Who would have expected this game to be over control for first place in the AFC East? On paper this matchup doesn't look close and the 10.5 point spread reflects that. But on paper New England doesn't blow a game against the Seattle Seahawks after going up 23-10 in the fourth quarter. A lot of the focus for the Patriots this year was about the much improved front seven, but right now their secondary is playing very poorly. And on the offensive side, you have to be a little concerned that Tom Brady is throwing the ball 58 times in a game that you are leading for most of it.
But hey, good news for the Pats, this bounce back game is against the Jets, who looked mighty impressive against the Colts at home, until you remember that it's the Colts, and they're just not a good football team. I would venture to guess that Bill Belichick isn't going to be quite so gullible as to give up a fake punt conversion by Tim Tebow of all people. The gimmicks just shouldn't work as well here, which is really what the Jets have to rely on. It'd be fun if this was a close game, but I don't really see it. New England 38 New York Jets 24
John: The Jets are another one of those "bad on the road, okay at home" type of teams. I think the Patriots will absolutely destroy them in this game. It should be an awesome game for RB Stevan Ridley because the Jets run D clearly isn't what it was in the past. That QB Tom Brady? He's okay too. Patriots 34-14
Jacksonville (1-4) at Oakland (1-4) 4:25 PM
Bret: Pity those of you in the Oakland and Jacksonville markets. What a snooze fest of a game. Smooth move by the NFL and CBS getting another national TV game for New England and New York. I won't be rousing out of bed at 5:30 in the morning for either of these, that's for sure. (Though I'll be up for the 2 AM games and watching the St. Louis Cardinals seal the deal in the NLCS!) (Note from John: He lives in South Korea.)
Oh, I haven't talked about this game yet? Do I have to? Ranked 31st and 26th is DVOA, (and 30th and 31st in my power rankings), there's almost no meat on the bone of this one. Neither of these teams have a particular advantage in either area. Oakland has the best skill players and are at home so I'll pick them. Oakland 17 Jacksonville 14
Mike: Hooray for playoff baseball! Your two late games? Jets/Pats and JAGUARS/RAIDERS!!! Whoo! I know you're all super excited. Maurice Jones-Drew has been pretty pedestrian the past couple games, maybe a game against the Raiders defense will help cure that. That's about as far as I care to analyze this game. Jacksonville is coming off a bye week, so I like them to get the road win. Jacksonville 21 Oakland 20
John: I don't have much interest in this game. Two bad teams. Congrats to the Jags on drafting that punter way too early in round three of the draft. He sure is getting a lot of work in, isn't he? Raiders win thanks to the running of Darren McFadden. He looked great against the Falcons last week. This week he'll be even better as he guides his team to victory. Raiders 24-10
Pittsburgh (2-3) at Cincinnati (3-3) 8:20 PM
Bret: We're all three tempted to pick Cincy here I bet - and we're all three going to be too cowardly to do it. Pittsburgh is struggling, and is very bland offensively, but Cincinnati continues to search for an identity defensively, and can't do anything on offense except for AJ Green right now. Pittsburgh is still too good of an overall unit defensively to get beaten by that alone. Cincy comes close, but I don't think they can pull it off. Pittsburgh 20 Cincinnati 17
Mike: Tough to really figure out which team is more disappointing. I still maintain that Cincinnati's defense should not be this bad, and the fact that they are has really put a lot of pressure on their offense to score a lot of points, and while it's great to have guys like AJ Green and Jermaine Gresham to do that, Andy Dalton is just not a guy that has an elite ability to move the ball. So he's going to have some good moments and some bad ones. But with this defense, I dunno. I thought they were a potential 10-win team, now they're just looking like more of an 8-8 team.
Which might be more than we can expect from Pittsburgh. They continue to look very old, and very injured. Troy Polamalu is going to miss another game, and who knows who will end up playing in the backfield on Sunday. If Troy and his Polamalecules were going to play I'd think about taking the Steelers here. But I just think Cincy's going to be able to outscore Pittsburgh with the defense they're going to be trotting out there. Cincinnati 31 Pittsburgh 27
John: Bret, it looks like you're alone in that Pittsburgh pick because I pick Cincinnati too. I'm officially off their bandwagon after seeing how bad their defense has played. Not only does the secondary really miss Troy Polamalu in the secondary, but their once ferocious pass rush barely exists this days.
Neither of these teams can run the ball very well, so we'll toss that out the window. It will be a game between the passing offenses. Have you seen the Steelers offensive line? They are more injured than ever and QB Ben Roethlisberger is running for his life like usual except now that he's in year nine he doesn't move as well. I think where Cincy is better is that they have AJ Green, who is truly an elite WR.
While Pittsburgh has a very good WR in Mike Wallace, they don't get him the ball enough. Last week he got a deep TD against the Titans and barely passed it to him after that. With Green, the Bengals are always going for him. Because of that, it opens the field up for some of his teammates and that has led to success for QB Andy Dalton. I'll take the home team in this AFC North Sunday night matchup. Bengals 34-28
Detroit (2-3) at Chicago (4-1) 8:30 PM (MON)
Bret: Huge, must win game for Detroit. Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything from the Detroit offense to wow me enough to believe they'll be able to do much against Chicago. When that front four can just come after the QB they're going to cause some serious havoc. I wouldn't be shocked if Stafford didn't finish this game.
There are a few people who are on to the Bears as an elite team already, after this one, there's going to be a lot more. Their defense dominates, Chicago keeps the game out of Cutler (and his line)'s hands enough. Looks a lot like the Dallas game. Chicago 24 Detroit 9
Mike: This game could get ugly. Detroit's offense really struggled against the Vikings before the bye week, and post bye week they looked the same, only putting up 6 points until a late comeback in the fourth quarter got them the overtime win against the Eagles. With Stafford and Megatron you always have the ability to come back from deficits, but so far the Bears' defense has been pretty opportunistic in forcing turnovers, especially when teams are throwing late in the game trying to come back when they're down.
Detroit's only hope is to really shut down the Bears' offense with their strong front four, which is certainly possible given some of the terrible games Chicago's offensive line has put together this year. At the end of the day I think Detroit turns the ball over, gives Chicago some drives with favorable field position, and Chicago's defense ends up being just too much. Chicago 27 Detroit 17
John: The Lions don't run the ball that well, Matt Stafford is interception prone and the Bears defense are scoring more points than some teams offenses. That last one may not be statistically true, but they are damn close. I think the Bears will play an efficient game on offense, run the ball and leave Monday night with another home field victory. Bears 27-16
The Degenerates Dungeon
This is where we give you some picks for our best bets of the week. Note that lines moves from the time we write this (Friday AM) to the time the games kickoff. We keep track of the odds and we'll use that to write down our records too.
Records so far:
Mike 17-13 (2-3)
Bret 14-15-1 (3-2)
John 14-16 (1-4)
I lost Broncos/Chargers over by 0.5 and Jets/Colts under also by 0.5. No fun!
1. New York +10.5
I don't see any reason the Pats should win this by double digits.
2. Washington +5.5
It's the year of the underdog, and 5.5 is a pretty serious number for a divisional game.
3. New England Patriots Under 29
I think this game is a lot closer than that. Baring a catastrophe, I don't see New York giving up much more than the 27 I predicted.
4. Cleveland +1
It's a 50/50 toss up who wins this game, so I'll take the team getting the free point.
5. Seattle +7.5
Thursday night game, so who knows? Take a great 7.5 points and roll the dice. (Note from John: He sent me this on Thursday prior to the game, so it counts. He got that right.)
Dallas Cowboys -1 @ Carolina Panthers - I like the Cowboys, I don't like the Panthers. Seems simple enough.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals Over 45 - I don't care much for either defense, seems like they should be able to get to 50.
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1 - Sorry, still not buying the Saints until they give me a reason to.
Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans Under 48 - I like Houston's offense. I just don't like them to score a lot of points, if that makes sense.
Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears -6.5 - Hoping the Bears at least either cover or lose straight out, I'd hate if they won but didn't cover.
Tennessee @ Buffalo -3.5 - This is against the Titans more than for the Bills.
Baltimore +6.5 @ Houston - If Ravens lose they will manage to keep it close.
Detroit @ Chicago -6.5 - Lots of good things for the Bears at home and coming off a bye. Tough game for the Lions to keep close.
Cleveland @ Indianapolis Under 45.5 - Defenses aren't great, but that seems like a high number to me.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati +1 - Not a big home dog obviously. I just think the Bengals will win this game.
That's all from us for this week. Follow us on Twitter:
You can also email John Canton at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.