New England (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1): This is part of a very rough stretch for the Pats, who faced Pittsburgh and San Diego the last two weeks and are playing at Denver next week. Of course, everyone knows about the Pats' injury problems. Michael Vick isn't at 100 percent, but Atlanta can run the ball and plays very good defense. Atlanta, 24-17.
Miami (2-1) at Buffalo (1-3): Frankly, we'd feel better about this game if JP Losman remained at quarterback for the Bills. Kelly Holcomb has been inconsistent throughout his career, but he's a much more accomplished passer than Losman. Still, we're getting the feeling the Dolphins can take advantage of his lack of mobility in the pocket and will blitz him quite a bit. On the other side of the ball, the Buffalo defense isn't nearly as good as it used to be, and that was before Takeo Spikes was lost to an Achilles injury. Miami, 23-16.
Chicago (1-2) at Cleveland (1-2): It's always going to be the same story with the Bears. Their defense will keep them in the game and it's a matter of their offense producing enough points and not self-destructing. With that said, it's difficult to envision Kyle Orton being anywhere near as awful as he was in his last game. Chicago, 16-10.
Baltimore (1-2) at Detroit (1-2): Wow, another exciting matchup. The Lions easily could have won at Tampa Bay last week, which gives us confidence they should be able to handle a Ravens team that still has no offense. Detroit, 19-14.
New Orleans (2-2) at Green Bay (0-4): The Pack has to win sometime, don't they? Brett Favre put up big numbers last Monday night and we see him having a big game here against a suspect Saints secondary. Green Bay, 27-23.
Tennessee (1-3) at Houston (0-3): Yet another bad matchup. Jeff Fisher is a tremendous coach, but he's got little ammunition this year. Houston, meanwhile, had a good game on defense against Cincinnati last week but the offense continued to struggle. Perhaps this is the week the Texans actually show some life on offense. Houston, 24-14.
Tampa Bay (4-0) at New York Jets (1-3): The Bucs were lucky to escape with a win last week and the uncertain status of Cadillac Williams makes this game not quite the slam dunk many might think. Besides, Vinny Testaverde isn't a great quarterback, but he's bound to do better than Brooks Bollinger did last week. N.Y. Jets, 20-16.
Seattle (2-2) at St. Louis (2-2): The Rams beat Seattle three times last year, so you have to wonder if there's some kind of psychological edge there. Seattle has the better team this year, but we're thinking it's not going to show until later in the year. Rams in a shootout. St. Louis, 34-31.
Indianapolis (4-0) at San Francisco (1-3): Can you say "mismatch"? This could get ugly. Indianapolis, 43-10.
Carolina (2-2) at Arizona (1-3): Arizona finally got things going last week, but that was against the 49ers. Besides, the Panthers might be ready to make a run after the Monday night victory over Green Bay. Carolina, 27-17.
Philadelphia (3-1) at Dallas (2-2): The Cowboys lost a heartbreaker at Oakland last week, while Philly rallied for a big win at Kansas City. It's been a while since the Eagles have lost to an NFC East opponent, and we just don't see the Cowboys having the defense to slow down Donovan McNabb and Co. Philadelphia, 34-20.
Washington (3-0) at Denver (3-1): The Redskins got bailed out last Sunday when Seattle played for a field goal after getting a late turnover and then missed to give them the chance to win in overtime. But the truth is this is a weak 3-0 team, while Denver has been smoking since getting spanked by the Dolphins. Denver, 26, 13.
Cincinnati (4-0) at Jacksonville (2-2): This is the first big test for the Bengals, whose strong play on defense hasn't gotten enough credit so far. The Jaguars also are good on defense, but their offense has been suspect. We're thinking Cincy will make the playoffs this year, but the joyride takes a momentary detour. Jacksonville, 20-17.
Monday, October 10
Pittsburgh (2-1) at San Diego (2-2): The best game of the weekend. The Chargers have been awesome on offense the last two weeks, but the Pittsburgh defense is very, very good. On the flip side, Ben Roethlisberger goes against a mediocre secondary. Still, it's hard to go against LT and the Chargers after they racked up 86 points against the Giants and Patriots. San Diego, 24-23.
Last week's record: 9-5
Season record: 36-24