Last week was not SB Nation's NFL bloggers best when it came to picking games, going 9-6. To make it up, they promise this week's picks will ALL pan out (although don't bet any money on that).
Among this week's big games, our bloggers like the Colts to continue their undefeated ways against the desperate Ravens, the Giants to win a showdown of 5-4 wildcard hopefuls, and the Texans to take one small step towards the playoffs by sweeping the season series with the suddenly frisky Titans.
And in the most important matchup of the week, SB Nation's bloggers like the Chargers to win the battle for AFC West supremacy, as the Broncos continue their downward spiral. What a difference a month can make.
As always, home teams are listed second.
|Carolina Panthers||With Ronnie Brown out, the Panthers will indubitably boast the best 1-2 rushing attack in this matchup (and yes, both DeAngeo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are expected to play). Our bloggers expect the Panthers to tame the Wildcat and win the rushing game en route to the victory.|
|Indianapolis Colts||SBN's Baltimore Beatdown lays out the gameplan for beating the Colts: run the ball to control the clock and keep Peyton Manning off the field, and win the turnover battle. Can the desperate Ravens pull it off? Our bloggers are not so sanguine about their prospects.|
|Dallas Cowboys||SBN's Hogs Havens says that this edition of the rivalry will come down to who can run the ball effectively. With both teams struggling to pass the ball at times (or in the Skins case, nearly all of the time), this is probably correct. While the folks at Hogs Haven hope Albert Haynesworth can shut down the 'Boys ground game, our bloggers expect the Cowboys to pull out the win in their modern-day coliseum.|
|Detroit Lions||Shock of the century: this game will be blacked out. After all, this matchup might be even more putrid than last week's supposed "worst game ever". But despite how awful both teams have been this year, Lions fans are taking heart: the Browns have been worse, arguably much worse. Our bloggers agree, and like the Lions to win another one for the home fans.|
|Green Bay Packers||If the Packers can keep playing defense like they did last week -- they have the top defensive unit in the league for the season, according to Football Outsider's DVOA ratings -- they should win this game handily. Blocking for Aaron Rodgers would also help.|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Maurice Jones-Drew will be the latest beneficiary of the Buffalo Bills' generous rush defense. Buffalo interim head coach Perry Fewell will have to wait to get his first win, according to our bloggers.|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||The folks over at SBN's Arrowhead Pride point out the bizarre result from an NFL.com poll, where 79% of respondents (out of 35,000) picked the Chiefs to win. Talk about a skewed sample. Because as Arrowhead Pride notes, the Chiefs are so punchless on offense -- particularly on third down -- that the Steelers look like a good bet as ten point favorites. Our bloggers agree.|
|Minnesota Vikings||Get ready for the T.J. Housmadzadeh Bowl! For those who don't remember, Housh flirted with the Vikings before bolting for the great Northwest. Now that the Seahawks are coming to town, Vikings fans are reacting with...elation. As SBN's Daily Norseman points out, not landing Housh led the Vikings to select likely ROY Percy Harvin in the first round, and has allowed Sidney Rice to take over as the team's top wideout. Look for those two to make a handful of big plays as the Vikings continue to steamroll|
|New York Giants||In what very well could amount to an elimination game between two suddenly reeling 5-4 NFC teams, our bloggers think Eli Manning will make a few more plays than Matt Ryan, as the Giants edge the Falcons.|
|New Orleans Saints||Considering how much trouble the Rams gave the Saints last week, it wouldn't be surprising if the Bucs hang around on New Orleans. Of course, it also wouldn't be surprising if Drew Brees hangs 50 points up on the Bucs' vulnerable defense. Either way, our bloggers like the Saints to keep on rolling.|
|Arizona Cardinals||SBN's Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds, posed this hypothetical: which Rams players would the Cardinals want for their team? Their answer? Steven Jackson, Jason Smith, and Oshiomogho Atogwe (and possibly James Laurinaitis). When an opposing team can only think of three or four players from yours they'd possibly want, you know the cupboard is bare. And this is why our bloggers like the Cardinals this week.|
|San Diego Chargers||One team has won four straight and the other has lost three straight (in addition to possibly being without its starting quarterback). Our blogers don't think these trends will change. Look for the Chargers to take control of the AFC West.|
|New England Patriots||Remember the bravado and euphoria after the Jets blitzed the Patriots into submission in Week 2? That seems like quite a bit ago, doesn't it? Expect Belichick to take out his anger over the backlash to last week's failed 4th down gamble on the Jets.|
|Cincinnati Bengals||This Sunday the Bengals will get their second shot at Bruce Gradkowski, who, as SBN's Cincy Jungle recollects, tormented the team back in 2006 (fueled in large part by a dubious roughing the passer call). Our bloggers don't expect things to go nearly as well for Gradkowski this weekend when the formidable Bengals defense comes to town.|
|Philadelphia Eagles||The offensive playcalling in Chicago has gotten so bad that SBN's Windy City Gridiron has begun pining for the team to hire Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator (which actually might be a great idea). The Eagles have had their own playcalling issues, oftentimes forgetting that you are allowed to hand the ball off, but in a matchup between McNabb and Cutler, the choice is clear. Expect the Eagles to pull this one out.|
|Houston Texans||Can the Titans secondary keep up with Andre Johnson and Co.? SBN's Music City Miracles tackles that question, pointing out that while the Titans have looked better against the pass recently -- in part due to the return of cornerback Cortland Finnegan -- those recent games have come against teams with anemic passing attacks. The Texans, however, have the third most passing yards in the league. Yes, the loss of Owen Daniels hurts, but the Texans have more than enough weapons to keep moving the ball. Our bloggers like Houston to spoil VY's homecoming.|