14 more games this week, but only two division games.
Brad's Picks was 9-5 last week, on the mark when Denver beat the Bucs 16-13; when the Bears stuffed Detroit 34-7; when Miami stuffed the Chargers 17-10 (that's 7 consecutive wins over the Chargers); when the Falcons won at Lambeau 27-24; when the New York Giants totally embarrassed the Seahawks 44-6; when the Titans edged Baltimore 13-10; when Carolina whupped the Chiefs 34-0; when Dallas had a hard time with the Bengals but won 31-22; and when Arizona beat the Bills 41-17.
Brad's Picks was off the mark when Houston turned it over three times in the last four minutes and coughed up 21 points to the Colts to lose 31-27; when the Redskins won at Philly 23-17; when the Patriots beat San Francisco 30-21; when the Steelers came from behind to win at Jacksonville 26-21on SNF; and when The Vikings beat New Orleans 30-27on MNF, despite two punt returns for TD's by Reggie Bush.
Brad's Picks is 50-24 on the season.
Home teams were 6-7 overall last week, and are 42-32 on the season.
Home teams playing a team from the opposite coast were 3-1 last week, and are 9-2 on the season. There are two coast to coast games this week: Eagles at San Francisco and Patriots at San Diego (give another asterisk to this one, since the Patriots stayed on the west coast after last week's game at San Francisco).
George was 8-6 last week, and is 35-38 on the season.
NFC 3, AFC 2 last week. On the season, it's NFC 10, AFC 8.
Brad's Picks is going to start tracking how well teams do the week after they had a bye - I've been curious about this for some time. After the first (Hurricane Ike imposed) bye week (Week Two), it was 1-1 in Week Three, as Houston lost and Baltimore won after the hurricane. Teams with a bye in Week Four were Lions, Colts, Dolphins, Patriots, Seahawks and the Giants, and they went 4-2 the next week. So, on the season, teams coming off a bye are 5-3.
Brad's Picks will also begin monitoring how well the MNF teams did the next Sunday. So far the record is 7-3. (The first MNF had two games - Vikings at Green Bay and Broncos at Oakland. Broncos and Packers won the next week, Vikings and Raiders lost. Week Two's MNF teams were Eagles at Dallas, and both won the next week. Week Three's teams were Jets at San Diego, and both won the next week. Week Four had Ravens at Pittsburgh, and they were 1-1 in Week Five).
Off last week with a bye are Cleveland (1-3), New York Jets (2-2), St. Louis (0-4), and Oakland (1-3).
Off this week with a bye are: Buffalo (4-1); Kansas City (1-4); Pittsburgh (4-1); and Tennessee (5-0).
This week: the 11:00 MDT games:
Chicago ((3-2) at Atlanta (3-2) - Tough call here. Falcons did a good job at Lambeau last week, while the Bears romped in Detroit. Rookie RB Matt Forte has been stolid for the Bears, grinding out 383 yards at a 3.6 per carry rate. But RB Michael Turner has been fantastic for the Falcons, gaining 543 yards at a 5.3 rate. But Chicago's D has been very good. Both teams are 3-2, but Atlanta has played two weak teams in Detroit and Kansas City, Chicago has only played Detroit. Interestingly, the Bears and Falcons have played three common opponents this year: Detroit, Tampa, and Carolina. Falcons got whipped 24-9 at Carolina, Bears lost 20-17 there. Tampa Bay beat the Falcons 24-9, while Chicago lost to the Bucs 27-24 in OT. Both teams beat the Lions (but you knew that). Anyway, I'll take the Bears here. George likes Atlanta.
Miami (2-2) at Houston (0-4) - Dolphins are a real surprise this year, after a 1-15 record in 2007. So far they have beaten both AFC Championship teams from 07, the Patriots and the Chargers. Their red zone defense was the worst in the league last year, but this year it's one of the best. Miami beat the Chargers 17-10 last week, but it really wasn't that close. Houston had the Colts on the ropes last week, up 27-10 with just four minutes to go, but three turnovers (two by backup QB Sage Rosenfels) led to 21 late points by the Colts. I'm hoping the Texans play a full four quarters this week, and win a home game for the Houston folks. George likes the Dolphins.
Baltimore (2-2) at Ineepoplis (2-2) - Colts only managed 79 yards on the ground last week at Houston, while the Texans ran for 156. Colts still haven't won a game at their new, and quaintly named Lucas Oil Stadium, charmingly referred to as the Lube by the local rubes. Colts still have some injury problems, with DE Dwight Freeney experiencing a strained leg; WR Anthony Gonzales suffered a concussion last week, although apparently not a sever one, and looks like he'll play; and CB Kelvin Hayden hurting his knee last week - looks like he's out. I'm taking the Ravens here - Colts D is awful, Ravens D is leading the AFC. George likes the Colts.
Detroit (0-4) at Minnesota (2-3) - Division game. Vikings starting LB E.J. Henderson was placed on IR after surgery on his toes. Vikings pulled out a 30-27 win in New Orleans last Monday night, despite the Saints pretty much shutting down the Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (32 yards on 21 carries) but Gus Frerotte had a good game for the Vikes (19-36-0-222 and 33 yard TD to Bernard Berrian). Saints got a lot of help from their special teams, with kick returns of 56, 32 and 41 yards, plus two punt returns for TD's, but the Vikes still won. That was a tough game for the Vikings on the road, and now they get one of the worst teams in the league at home. George likes the Vikings also.
Oakland (1-3) at New Orleans (2-3) - Raiders are off a bye, which is good, since they introduce their new head coach, Tom Cable, their 4th head coach in the last 6 years, as Mad Al Davis continues his mad ways. New Orleans has lost starting CB Tracey Porter for the season with a wrist injury, but the Saints did a good job of shutting down the Vikings run game last week, and now they face another running team. Saints would have beaten the Vikings last week if not for a 59 yard return by the Vikings on a blocked field goal. George likes the Raiders.
Cincinnati (0-5) at New York Jets (2-2) - Jets are off a bye. Two weeks ago, Brett Favre passed for 6 touchdowns, leading the Jets to a 56-35 win over the Cardinals. The six TD passes were both a personal record for Favre, and a team record for the Jets. Jets haven't gotten their run game going, but what better time than against the Bengals? They're giving up over 170 ground yards per game. Favre has had another two weeks to learn the Jets offense. George likes the Bengals.
Carolina (4-1) at Tampa Bay (3-2) - Division game. Bucs had a tough game last week at Mile High, while Carolina toyed with the Chiefs. These two teams were 1-1 last year. Bucs were 9-7 and the Panthers were 7-9. Panthers have improved more since 2007. George likes the Panthers too.
St. Louis (0-4) at Washington (4-1) - Rams are off a bye, but they've have been terrible all year. New head coach Jim Haslett will put a little fire into them, but it won't help. Redskins have been eating lots of red meat. Clinton Portis was a monster in last week's game at Philly - 29 carries, 145 yards -- against a Philly D that had allowed just 54 yards rushing per game in the first month of the season, and QB Jason Campbell is playing a good game - 6 TD's, 0 INT's on the year. George likes the Rams.
the 2:05 MDT game:
Jacksonville (2-3) at Denver (4-1) - Broncos won a close game at Mile High last week, beating the Bucs 16-13. Jags lost at home to the Steelers 26-21 , a game almost everyone thought the Jags would win. But Ben Roesthlisberger played great, and brought the Steelers from behind to win late. Broncos had some injuries last week - WR Eddie Royal has a bruised bone in his ankle, but should play. TE Tony Scheffler and RB Selvin Young will not play - both have strained groin muscles. Jags haven't recovered from the loss of their center and both starting guards and have been giving up some yards through the air, and here comes Jay Cutler and his receivers. Take Denver at Mile High. George likes Denver also.
the 2:15 MDT games:
Dallas (4-1) at Arizona (3-2) - You just gotta wonder about Terrell Owens. After complaining about only 19 touches in week four, he had a 57 yard catch for a TD last week vs. the Bengals. He was seen to be crying on the sidelines after the catch. After the game, he said that God had used him for his glory. What a guy. Cowboys CB Terence Newman will miss Sunday's game against the Cardinals with an abdominal irritation, and his backup, Adam Pacman Jones, got into a fight the other night and may be suspended, but probably not for this game anyway. Both of these teams are high scoring, and their D's are about equal. With the Cowboys missing Newman, I like the Cardinals at home. Boys barely beat the Bengals in Dallas last week, while Arizona trounced the Bills. George likes the Cardinals also.
Philadelphia (2-3) at San Francisco (2-3) - Brian Westbrook has two broken ribs For the second week in a row, the Forty Niners get to host a team from the east coast (and you know that visiting teams from the opposite coast are just 2-9). It didn't help the Niners last week, as they lost to the Patriots 30-21, and I don't think it will help this week. I'm taking the Eagles, even though Brian Westbrook has two broken ribs. George also likes the Eagles.
Green Bay (2-3) at Seattle (1-3) - Packers have lost CB Harris and DE Jenkins for the season. Despite a sprained shoulder, Packers QB Aaron Rogers threw for 313 yards last week in a losing effort at Lambeau to the Falcons. Seattle Coach Mike Holmgren once again goes against his old team. Packers D is hurting, while the Hawks D just hasn't been playing well. Seahawks got trounced last week by the New York Giants but they are a lot better at home than on the east coast. Hasselbeck has had another week to work with his receivers, and I'm picking Seattle. Packers have had too many injuries. George likes Seattle.
the 6:15 MDT SNF game:
New England (3-1) at San Diego (2-3) - Chargers lost OLB Shawn Merriman for the year after one game, and now his replacement, Jyles Tucker, is out for 1-2 weeks. Patriots played last week at San Francisco, so they stayed on the west coast, practicing at San Jose State in Santa Clara. Patriots won at San Francisco by 9 last week, while the Chargers lost by 7 at Miami. Chargers have had some injuries (LaDainian Tomlinson is limping, and Antonio Gates has some issues), and we've already mentioned Jyles Tucker, but those pale in comparison to the Patriots losing Tom Brady. A couple weeks ago, the Cardinals stayed on the east coast for a week between games at Washington and the New York Jets, and the result was pretty bad as the Cards lost by 21. Chargers lost by 21-12 last year at New England in the AFC Championship game, and want a little payback. If LT can't go, Darren Sproles is proving to be a good replacement. Taking the Chargers. George likes the Patriots.
the MNF game at 6:30 MDT:
New York Giants (4-0) at Cleveland (1-3) - Browns are off a bye and the four teams the Giants have beaten have a combined record of just 5-13, while the four teams the Browns have played have a combined record of 10-9. And the Browns are all rested up after a bye, and are at home. So take the Browns? Naah, didn't think so. Take the Giants on the road. George likes the Browns.