Last week, I went 8-6 in my picks. You can't tell me that too many people had Miami over St. Louis and Arizona upending Seattle. This week, I guarantee at least nine correct picks.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 33-31
Funny thing happens when Priest touches the ball early and often, Chiefs win! Offensively, Kansas City will run a lot of sweeps and throw plenty of screens to take advantage of their size advantage on the outside. Both teams have problems on special teams, so I expect good starting field position for the Colts and Chiefs, helping both teams work with a shorter field. Game Notes: Colts have played 30 consecutive weeks without consecutive defeats, longest such streak in NFL; Tony Gonzalez needs six catches to reach 500 for his career. Gunther Cunningham coached Colts LB/DL for the Colts '82-'84. Tony Dungy coached Chiefs DB's '89-'91.
CHIEFS TIME MACHINE: (1/7/96) 1995 AFC Divisional Playoff Game: Rich Gannon subs for Steve Bono on the final drive and leads the Chiefs downfield late in the fourth quarter. Lin Elliott shanks a 42-yard field goal wide left as time winds down. Colts 10 – Chiefs 7 OUCH!
PREDICTION: Eagles 20-13
The Ravens defense will keep their team in this ballgame, maybe even scoring points again. T.O. will have 100y and a T.D., especially if running back Bryant Westbrook is out because of a rib injury. Let's also not forget about the feud between Owens and Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome. That may very well work in T.O.'s favor, even though All-World CB Chris McAllister will be on him like glue. Remember, Jamal Lewis sits this game because of suspension and Chester Taylor gets the start at RB for Baltimore.
GAME NOTES: In past six road games, Ravens defense allowing just 11.3 ppg.
PREDICTION: Giants 24-21
This is my upset special. The Giants have beaten Minnesota three of the last four meetings, including last year's 29-17 win, giving the Vikings their first loss after a 6-0 start. The Vikes never made the playoffs. Despite a strained hammy, Randy Moss will play a more active role this week. Minnesota rookie running back Mewelde Moore is getting all the headlines right now, but I expect Tiki Barber will have a good day as the G-Men control the clock and score the road upset.
GAME NOTES: Giants DE Michael Strahan has 117.0 career sacks, most among active players. Strahan has sacks vs. 56 QB's, including three vs. Daunte Culpepper
PREDICTION: Houston 27-23
Houston QB David Carr will hook up with WR Andre Johnson many times in this one. Put A.J. down for 100 yards and at least 1 TD. Fred Taylor will run roughshod on Houston's run defense. Taylor gains 100+ yards for the 2nd consecutive week.
GAME NOTES: Three of the four meetings between these two teams since 2002 have been decided by four points or less. Texans Head Coach Dom Capers was Jax defensive coordinator in '99-'00 and Capers coached Jax Head Coach Jack Del Rio in New Orleans in 1986.
PREDICTION: Cardinals 20-17
Drew Bledsoe is absolutely H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E! (6 TD's, 7INT's and a 73.2 QB rating in '04). Last week for the Bills, Bledsoe was sacked four times, threw two interceptions (one returned for TD) and fumbled once as well. Willis McGahee starts @ RB for Buffalo. WR Anquan Boldin will be back for the Cards, who have three road losses by a combined 13 pts. Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald are going to help QB Cade McCown immensely. I'm starting Arizona's defense in my fantasy league this week. You should too if you get the chance.
GAME NOTES: RB Emmitt Smith is NFL's all-time leading rusher with 17,877 yards and needs 123 to become first player with 18,000. At one point this season, Cards "D" hadn't given up a TD in 13 quarters.
PREDICTION: Titans 21-20
Steve McNair (questionable) missed practice Oct. 27 because of a death in the family, and pain from his bruised chest will determine whether he plays this week. If McNair plays, expect the Titans to beat the Bengals for the 9th time in 10 games. Titans RB Chris Brown will have a field day against the NFL's 32nd-ranked rushing Defense. Bengals WR Chad Johnson has another 100 yard day.
GAME NOTES: Titans CB Samari Rolle and Bengals WR Chad Johnson played football together at Miami (FL) Beach High School. Titans are last in the NFL in punt return and kick return yardage.
PREDICTION: Packers 31-6
After a shaky start, the Packers offense has found its stride and are ranked 2nd in total offense. I predict Favre will throw at least one TD, and Javon Walker will stay red-hot with 110y and a TD. Washington has the number one defense in the NFL, though they'll be without Safety Sean Taylor after his DUI arrest. The play of the week for the 'Skins is RB Clinton Portis against a porous Packers run defense. Portis may carry the ball 30-35 times for well over 100 yards.
GAME NOTES: Packers make their first trip to D.C. in 25 years. Favre has thrown a TD in 32 straight games, 2nd longest streak behind Johnny Unitas (47). Redskins QB Mark Brunell is one of 11 former Brett Favre backups to start for another team.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 20-17
I'm starting to think that Detroit WR Roy Williams and Texans WR Andre Johnson are the two best young receivers in the game today. Williams had a huge game last week with a bum ankle. He'll have another good week against the Cowboys, but I don't like anyone else. Harrington is up and down and Detroit has the worst running game in the league. Dallas should stay in the game with defense. Offensively, I like QB Vinny Testaverde, but WR's Quincy Morgan and Terry Glenn are hurt. Glenn is out and Morgan's hammy has him listed as questionable. I like Dallas is because Parcells is cracking the whip this week and his teams usually respond positively.
GAME NOTES: The Lions are 3-0 on the road this season after they set an NFL record with 24 straight road losses. Lions QB Joey Harrington leads NFL QB's with a 129.7 rating in the 4th quarter.
PREDICTION: 22 Straight wins!
Count me in as a big fan of Ben Roethlesberger, but not against the New England defense. I think the Pats will stop the run first and force the rookie to beat them. Tom Brady will throw a ton, and will have great numbers. Stay away from RB Corey Dillon because Pittsburgh can stuff the run. For the Steelers, I like Hines Ward.
GAME NOTES: By the start of Sunday's game, the Patriots will have not lost in 398 days! The Pats average margin of victory during the streak is 9ppg.
PREDICTION: Falcons 17-16
Everything that you thought about these teams going into last week's games was a lie. The Broncos and the Falcons had great run defenses but neither team could stop the run. Back to reality in Week Eight for Atlanta! Warrick Dunn will get into the end zone for Atlanta. Denver RB Rueben Droughns will continue to gain yards but not get in the end zone, while Michael Vick finally gets the passing game going between the 20's.
GAME NOTES: Atlanta's passing offense is 31st in the NFL. Enough said.
PREDICTION: Sehawks 41-31
Last week, I got burned taking the Seahawks as they were upended by Arizona. Yet, I have faith in the Seahawks at home. Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck threw 4 INT's vs. the Cards last week, but that was on the road. Check this out: In two home games, Hasselbeck has thrown 4 TD's and 0 INT's. In four road games, he's got 3 TD's and 8 INT's. Count Seattle RB Shaun Alexander down for 2 TD. For Carolina, the defense has been decimated by injuries and on offense, running back DeShaun Foster is out for the year and Stephen Davis hasn't been healthy since the pre-season
GAME NOTES: More on Hasselbeck: The Seattle QB is 10-1 in his past 11 home starts, throwing 17 TD's and just five INT's.
PREDICTION: Chargers 26-14
Two of LaDainian Tomlinson's five best games as a pro came against the Raiders in 2003. He had a career-high243 rushing yards and added 2 touchdowns in a home victory in the season finale, and gained 187 yards in an overtime loss at Oakland in September. Despite a groin injury, I like Tomlinson to rack up 125 yards and 3TD's. Oakland QB Kerry Collins is coming off a good game, but I don't think he'll do it two weeks in a row.
GAME NOTES: Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer is 21-7 vs. the Raiders. If you can read Chinese, go to Raiders.com and tell me what the "Latest Update in Chinese" says. Raiders must be big frauds!
PREDICTION: I fall asleep from boredom in the 1st quarter (Chicago wins. The Bears have failed to score at least 10 points in each of the past three games. San Francisco gives up over 26 ppg. Something has got to give. Forty-Niners TE Eric Johnson will have a good game and Bears RB Thomas Jones finds the end zone two times.
GAME NOTES: I don't know what's scarier, being impaled or having to watch these two teams play each other.
PREDICTION: Jets 16-13
In this rivalry, anything can happen. It doesn't matter if one team is 15-0 and the other 0-15, it's always anyone's game. In the first meeting of the season, the Jets won 17-9 with the help of a defensive TD. For fantasy purposes, start the Jets defense. NY will look to control the clock with Curtis Martin and put the game out of reach in the 4th quarter.
GAME NOTES: The last time these two teams met on MNF the Jets scored 30 points in the 4th quarter, en route to a 40-37 overtime victory. That was in October of 2000. One more thing to show you how screwed up the Miami organization is, I went to grab their media notes on their media site and they posted their packet from September 27th, which is just before the first meeting between the Jets and Fish. No wonder they're 1-6.