Brad's Picks was 8-6 last week. Here's the good, bad and ugly from that:
Green Bay 28, Lions 26. Packers needed a 48 yard INT return by Charles Woodson (last year's NFL defensive MVP) to hold off a pretty tough Lions team.
Jets 38, Buffalo 14. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 133 on 19, and had two TD's.
St. Louis 20, Seahawks 3. Rams defense is playing pretty good under HC Steve Spagnuolo, the former defensive coordinator of the Giants.
Atlanta 16, Forty Niners 14. Niners got 7 on a blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone, but it was still a close game, even though the Niners did not score after the first quarter. Niners had the half-time lead at 14-10.
New Orleans 16, Panthers 14. Saints signed 46 year old kicker John Carney last week, and he made three field goals for the win. A tough division game.
Cleveland 23, Bengals 20. Terrell Owens had ten catches for 222 yards and is now the second leading receiver (yardage) in NFL history (Owens has 15,323 yards, Rice has 22,895 yards). 78 of those yards came on a TD gallop (his longest ever) and that TD puts him 3rd on the all time list for TD's by a receiver.
Texans 31, Oakland 24. Arian Foster, the undrafted second year RB for the Texans, is turning a few heads. 131 yards on 16 carries, including a 74 yard TD run (he didn't even play in the first quarter because he did something to tick off Coach Kubiak). Toss in a ten yard TD reception, and you see why the Texans like this kid.
San Diego 41, Cardinals 10. Cardinals are begging Kurt Warner to un-retire.
the rest after the jump:
Broncos 26, Tennessee 20. Titans held the Broncos to 19 rush yards. Yes, 19. QB Kyle Orton got 11 of those yards. But Orton also passed for 341 yards and two TD's.
Ravens 17, Pittsburgh 14. Ravens are now 2-9 in Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco threw an 18 yard TD to T.J. Houshmandzadeh with 32 seconds left for the win.
Jacksonville 31, Colts 28. Josh Scobee's 59 yard FG as time ran out prevented overtime. Pretty cool. Wish I'd been there to see it.
Redskins 17, Philadelphia 12. Donovan McNabb won again in the City of Brotherly Love.
New York Giants 17, Bears 3. Giants D was awesome. Nine sacks on Cutler in the first half caused Cutler to leave the game with a concussion.
Patriots 41, Miami 14. Miami out gained the Pats 400 yards to 265, but the Pats got TDs from a kick off return; a blocked kick; and an INT.
AFC 1, NFC 0 last week. On the year it's AFC 11, NFC 6. Home teams won 8 and visiting teams won 6. On the season, it's H 36, V 26. Brad's Picks is 33-29 on the season.
this week: the eleven o'clock MDT games:
Denver (2-2) at Baltimore (3-1) - Baltimore is first in the league in defending the pass. Broncos are first in passing. Both teams are coming off hard wins on the road. Ravens won in Pittsburgh for just the second time in 11 games. Broncos won a gritty game in Tennessee. I underestimated the Broncos on the road last week when I picked the Titans to win. I also picked the Steelers to win. I really like what the Broncos are doing on defense - they're really getting good against the run - they held Chris Johnson to just 53 yards last week. This will be a hard, snobberlobber game. Ravens are tough, but McDaniels has been building a tough team also. I'd like to take the Broncos, at least partly because they discovered a kick returner last week in rookie Demaryius Thomas - 144 yards on 4 returns. Take away his one return of 65 yards, and he still averaged 26 per return. And he's never done KO returns before. Watch out for this kid. But it's asking a lot to expect the Broncos to win in Tennessee and then head east again a week later and win in Baltimore. If this game was in Denver, my call would be different.
St. Louis (2-2) at Detroit (0-4) - Okay. The two worst teams from last year. Rams got the first pick in the draft and took QB Sam Bradford from Oklahoma with the first pick. Lions took DT Ndamukong Suh out of Nebraska with the second pick. So I imagine that Suh has tackled Bradford a time or two in the past.
Anyway, what about on Sunday? Both teams are much improved over the last few years. Despite the Lions winless record, they aren't pushovers anymore. Lions used last year's number one pick on QB Matt Stafford from Georgia, but he almost certainly won't play with a shoulder injury. Shaun Hill is a capable backup. Meanwhile, Bradford is playing nicely, at least for a rookie (92-158-944 with 6 INT's and 6 TD's). Suh is playing very well, aided by the off season acquisition of DE Kyle Vanden Bosch from the Titans. I think this will be a good game to watch, and a fun game to watch. Both are dome teams. Both are playing tough defense (Rams have held their last two opponents to a total of 19 points). Lions' D held the Packers offense to 21 points at Green Bay last week. Tough call, but I'll expect the Lions to get their first win at home.
New York Giants (2-2) at Houston (3-1) - Looks like the Texans will get Andre Johnson back, after missing the game at Oakland. Should be a good game, but I'm taking the Texans at home. Their O line is really starting to impress.
Green Bay (3-1) at Washington (2-2) - Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins big DT who was at odds with Mike Shanahan during the summer, but who had a big game last week, may not play because his younger brother died a few days ago in a motor vehicle accident. Clinton Portis will not play. I think the Packers are the better team anyway, and can win this one on the road.
Chicago (3-1) at Carolina (0-4) - This is too rich, or too poor, to fathom. Julius Peppers returns to Carolina. Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith will not play. Not good news for rookie QB Jimmy Clausen, because the Panthers don't have much else at the wide out position. Jay Cutler has been practicing, after his concussion last week, but won't play. Instead, Todd Collins will get the start. Todd who? Well, he'll celebrate his 39th birthday next month, and has actually played in a few games the last several years, in Washington and Kansas City. The back up is Caleb Hanie, a 3rd year player from Colorado State (undrafted in 08). Hanie got into the game last week against the Giants (after Collins was knocked out, which was after Cutler was knocked out) and was 3-4-0-35. Collins had gone 4-11-1-36.
I'm thinking this would be kind of a fun game to watch, in a way. I mean, if you like defensive battles with almost no scoring. I'm guessing one team recovers a fumble at the other team's 25, and settles for a field goal. The other team comes back with a safety, to make it close. But that should be the scoring. So, who's going to get the field goal? Heck if I know. Let's ask George. George says take the home team. Works for me. Carolina.
Atlanta (3-1) at Cleveland (1-3) - Weather should be sunny and in the seventies, so not much of a problem for the domer Falcons. Browns have been putting up good numbers in the run game, mostly because of Peyton Hillis. But the Falcons are very good against the run (they gave up just 123 yards on 38 carries the last two games, at New Orleans and against the Niners). Eric Mangini says that Jake Delhomme will get the start at QB, despite the fact that Seneca Wallace has been solid the last couple weeks. This is a tough call - Browns beat the Bengals in Cleveland last week, but maybe it took something out of them. I'll go with the Falcons.
Jacksonville (2-2) at Buffalo (0-4) - Weather should be sunny and in the 60's so a non factor. Jags might be looking at a trap game, after beating the rival Colts last week on the late (and very long) FG. But the Bills run D is atrocious and here comes Maurice Jones-Drew. Take the Jaguars.
Tampa Bay (2-1) at Cincinnati (2-2) - Tampa Bay is off a bye, while the Bengals are off a loss in Cleveland. Carson Palmer has been erratic this year, but had a great game against the Browns, going 25-36-0-371 and two TD's. Bengals RB Cedric Benson is averaging only 3.3 per carry. Bucs are 8th against the pass but 22nd against the run. Bucs D has 9 takeaways. I have to bet that the Bengals get it together at home - they are a playoff team from last year while the Bucs are still very young.
Kansas City (3-0) at Undianapolis (2-2) - Chiefs are off a bye, while the Colts are off a last second loss at Jacksonville. Chiefs are undeniably better than last year. Their run game is better with Thomas Jones coming over from the Jets, and Jamaal Charles is the speedy counter part to Jones (although Jones can turn it on when he gets the chance). Dexter McCluster is very fast at the WR/slot position. But I can't see Peyton Manning losing two in a row, not at home. Gotta take the Colts here. For one thing, the Colts D is built as a speed defense. For another, Matt Cassel is nowhere near the QB that Peyton is.
the 2:05 MDT game:
New Orleans (3-1) at Arizona (2-2) - The last time these two teams met was last January 16, in the NFC Divisional playoff game. It was in New Orleans, and the Saints won easily, 45-14. But the Cardinals had played a marathon game against the Packers only 6 days earlier. Anyway, a lot has changed since then, at least for the Cards. Warner retired, the Cards dumped Matt Leinart to go with Derek Anderson. But Anderson got benched last week in favor of undrafted rookie Max Hall, who wasn't so hot either. Take the Saints. Even though starting RB Pierre Thomas won't play.
the 2:15 MDT games:
Tennessee (2-2) at Dallas (1-2) - Dallas is off a bye, while the Titans are off a tough loss at home to the Broncos. I'll keep this simple and take Dallas. I bet it's a good game though.
San Diego (2-2) at Oakland (1-3) - Division game. The only division game this week. Chargers lead the league in offense and defense. Raiders QB Bruce Gradkowski is banged up, as is RB Darren McFadden, who will not play. Raiders lost both games to the Chargers last year, by a total of 12 points. Raiders couldn't beat the Texans at Oakland last week, even though their best receiver, Andre Johnson, didn't play. This will be a good game, as division games tend to be, but you gotta take the Chargers until the Raiders give you a reason to not take them.
the SNF game:
Philadelphia (2-2) at San Francisco (0-4) - Michael Vick is out with sore ribs, so Kevin Kolb is the QB for the Eagles, and he's had the whole week to get ready. Andy Reid pulled Kolb after a couple quarters in the opener, and Vick responded by becoming the top rated QB in the NFC. Kolb will be a good QB in this league, but I'm taking the Forty Niners at home. They almost won in Atlanta last week, and the Falcons are better than the Eagles.
the MNF game:
Minnesota (1-2) at New York Jets (3-1) - Minnesota is the only team coming off a bye that is facing a team that won last week. Brett Favre is back with his old team, sort of. Remember he played for the Jets in 08? But this is a different Jets team, with Rex Ryan as HC and a lot of personnel changes. It'll be interesting to see the crowd reaction to Favre though.
Anyway, both teams have great defenses, and great run games. And, the Vikings have Randy Moss back, after a trade with the Patriots earlier this week. Moss has been working with Favre the past couple days. We'll have to see what happens, but I won't be surprised if they hook up on a deep one.
I figure that any advantage the Vikings got from the bye week will be countered by the facts that the Jets had an easy game in Buffalo a week ago, and they have an extra day to get ready, and the game is in New York.
Except Old Man Favre probably really needed the extra week to work on timing and let the old body heal up a bit. But while the Jets are known for their run game (2nd in the league) look at Mark Sanchez so far: in his second year, he has 711 yards passing on 103 attempts, with 8 TD's and zero INT's. This will be one heckuva MNF game, and all I can figure is take the Jets at home. This will be the Jets second MNF game at home this year (they lost 10-9 to the Ravens in Week One) but it can't hurt to have some familiarity with the MNF thing.