Once again, SB Nation's NFL bloggers went 9-4 picking last week's slate of games. Can they improve this week?
Among the big games this week, our bloggers like Josh McDaniels and the Broncos to get back on track against the anemic Washington offense, the Steelers to take sole possession of first place in the AFC North, and the Chargers to continue their hot streak against another NFC East opponent.
Oh -- and in case anyone cares about a certain RIVALRY OF THE CENTURY, SB Nation's NFL bloggers think Peyton Manning and Co. will make just a few more plays than Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker en route to a Colts win.
As always, home teams are listed second.
|San Francisco 49ers||Vernon Davis thinks the Niners will "destroy" the Bears. And, um, actually he may have a point. In their last two meaningful games (i.e., excluding their game against the Browns, who don't field an NFL offense) the Bears have given up 10 passing touchdowns. Our bloggers think Alex Smith and Co. will be the latest beneficiaries of the Bears' generosity (and to be fair, the Bears defense is riddled with injuries). [Ed. note: while the Niners didn't exactly "destroy" the Bears, our bloggers did nail this pick thanks to Jay Cutler forgetting which team he's supposed to throw the ball to]|
|Minnesota Vikings||In a week of some less-than-inspiring matchups, this may be the worst. Advanced NFL Stats gives the Lions an 8% chance of victory. That sounds about right.|
|Atlanta Falcons||With both Michael Turner and DeAngelo Williams hitting their strides, this matchup should come down to which quarterback can hit some big plays in the passing game. While Matt Ryan has been in a bit of a sophomore slump, he doesn't inspire this type of vitriol. Advantage: Falcons.|
|Denver Broncos||After getting exposed the past two weeks, the Broncos' defense will get the perfect antidote this Sunday: a game against the Redskins' abomination of an offense. Our bloggers don't see the Skins putting up enough points to pull off the upset, likely losing another unwatchable, low-scoring slugfest.|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||With the Steelers rounding into their 2008 form now that Troy Polamalu is back and Rashard Mendenhall has emerged, our bloggers think Chad Ochocinco will have to be a bit more successful "bribing" the refs if the Bengals are going to pull off the upset on the road.|
|Miami Dolphins||Is this the week the Wildcat roars back with a vengeance? Despite their feel-good win last week, the Bucs defense is still a sieve; they rank 30th against the run. Expect a heavy dose of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams as the Phins win this battle for Florida.|
|New York Jets||The Jaguars' pass defense has been awful all year long, in large part because last year's top two picks -- pass rushers Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves -- have been non-factors. Our bloggers expect Sanchez to look poised en route to a J-E-T-S win.|
|New Orleans Saints||Can the line for this game be high enough? The Saints are giving 14 points, which still seems far too low. Parity may not be dead in the NFL, but it's getting close.|
|Tennessee Titans||The Bills give up an NFL worst 173.6 yards rushing yards per game. Chris Johnson leads the NFL with 959 rushing yards. Sometimes this is easy.|
|Oakland Raiders||Does somebody have to win this game? Oh, that's right, there are ties in the NFL (thanks for the assist Donovan McNabb). Hmmm...in what might be the worst game in NFL history, our bloggers think the Raiders will edge the Chiefs.|
|Dallas Cowboys||How many more sacks can Aaron Rodgers take? After getting taken down six times by the lowly Bucs defense last week, Rodgers is not too far off the pace set by the immortal David Carr in the Texans' inaugural season. Look for Demarcus Ware and Jay Raitliff to go off, as the Cowboys leave Lambeau with the win.|
|Arizona Cardinals||At home, with Anquan Boldin looking healthier than he has in weeks, our bloggers see the Cardinals cementing their lead in the NFC West. The Jekyll-and-Hyde routine ends, at least for this week.|
|San Diego Chargers||With Eagles cornerbacks Ellis Hobbs and Joselio Hanson out, our bloggers like Vincent Jackson and the rest of the Chargers' crew of gargantuan wideouts to out-muscle the Eagles for the win.|
|Indianapolis Colts||Here's a matchup that should make Al Michaels sit up in his seat (and stop hawking loogies). In what should be a good barometer for the balance of power in the loaded AFC, expect the undeniably clutch Peyton Manning to outduel Tom Brady.|
|Baltimore Ravens||Jamal Lewis claims the Browns keep losing because they wear themselves out during the week by practicing too hard. Maybe. Or maybe starting a quarterback with a 2:9 TD-to-INT ratio, a 42% completion percentage and 4.4 YPC has something to do with it. Thankfully, the Browns have pulled Derek Anderson, so there's a glimmer of hope in Cleveland. But not much of one. Our bloggers still like the Ravens to romp.|