Oakland Raiders vs Baltimore Ravens – Although he is not near ready and in basically playing by default, I still believe Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco is light years ahead of Raiders JaMarcus Russell at this stage of his development. The Raiders offense was extremely sloppy in last week's overtime victory over the Jets and can not afford to play the same against this still formidable defensive unit. It's not going to be pretty and may in fact set offensive football back a decade, but the home team Ravens' defense is still an effective group.
Baltimore 17 – Raiders 9
Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers – Both clubs have played far better than expected through the half way point of the 2008 season, but both have also shown some vulnerability on the road. Both quarterbacks are experienced and capable, but in spite of injuries to the Panthers offensive front, I like the home team Panthers to win this highly contested conference battle. Look for the Panthers little big man Steve Smith to have his best game of the season working against the Cardinals suspect secondary.
Panthers 27 – Cardinals 20
San Diego Chargers vs New Orleans Saints – The Saints just can't win away from the friendly confines of the New Orleans Superdome. The Chargers easily the NFL's frequent flyer winner for 2008, lost a hard fought contest in Buffalo. This week finds the two road challenged club's doing battle across the pond in London. Neither of these three up and four down clubs can ill afford another loss if they are to have any real chance of securing a playoff birth. The Saints chances for victory took a major hit this week when running back Reggie Bush was injured and both Deuce McAlister and Will Smith reportedly testing positive for using a league banned weight-loss diuretic. In the end, both of these two clubs have been disappointing, but I just think the Chargers might have a little too much offensive firepower for this hot and oh so cold Saints club.
Chargers 31 – Saints 24
Kansas City Chiefs vs New York Jets – I don't see how it can get any worse for the hapless Chiefs. On Wednesday they placed their two top quarterbacks Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle on injured reserve. Ouch! The Jets on the other hand, played poorly in their overtime loss to the Raiders and are certainly glad to be back home and playing quite arguably the worst team in professional football. A Jets loss at home to the Chiefs would almost certainly be the type of event that would punch Mangini's ticket out of the Big Apple, but unfortuneitly for the visiting Chiefs; I just don't see any wins left on their schedule. Hey Chiefs fans, does anyone out there have a telephone number for Cotton Davidson, Lenny Dawson, Mike Livingston or Steve DeBerg?
Jets 30 – Chiefs 0
Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins – I'm going to give you the three secrets for Bills quarterback Trent Edwards 2008 success; accuracy, accuracy and did I mention accuracy? The Dolphins are have lost two straight and are were never in last week's loss to the Ravens, while the Edwards led Bills to a victory over the Chargers. This one is going to be a lot closer them most people expect, but the Bills have just too much team balance, a far better defensive unit and a superior person spinning the football.
Bills 23 – Dolphins 21
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys – We are going to see what this Dallas Cowboys club is all about in the next couple of week. Injuries to key personnel, an overrated offensive line, putting their trust in an undesirable player at the cornerback position and a defensive scheme which is not best suited for the Cowboys personnel, have all contributed to their midseason swan dive. The Buccaneers have played extremely well all season, but this is one game the Cowboys just can't afford to loss. If Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips isn't feeling the heat right about now, somebody just might want to check him for a pulse.
Cowboys 28 – Buccaneers 24
Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles – I keep picking against the Falcons each week and they just keep winning football games. The Falcons are vastly improved offensively and have done a particularly good job of running and controlling the football. The three and three Eagles have been ever so inconsistent particularly on offense, but unless they can put together a two or three game winning streak they will soon find themselves permanently at the bottom of the heap in the very competitive. If the Eagles defense can somehow come close to their early season effort versus the Steelers than this one is going to be easy. Sorry Falcons fans, but I kind of like their chances.
Eagles 30 – Falcons 14
St. Louis Rams vs New England Patriots – Break up the Rams, the winners of two straight over the Redskins and Cowboys, supposedly two of the best clubs in the NFC. The Haslett plan is to first run the ball, make good throwing decisions and play defense like hell. It worked extremely well in two games I certainly felt they would lose, but in this one always remember that Patriots Bill Belicheck, takes nothing for granted and will be very prepared when the Rams pay a visit to Foxboro this weekend. The Patriots last week completely dominated the western division leading Broncos, as quarterback Matt Cassel completed Brady like numbers (18 for 24 with 3 touchdowns). Look for the Patriots, in spite of some very serious problems at the running back position, to end the Rams surprising win streak.
Patriots 33 – Rams 16
Washington Redskins vs Detroit Lions – The five and two Redskins travel to the Motor City after winning a very close decision over the improving Cleveland Browns. The Lions are a very poor football club and have also been decimated by injuries. Don't look for any late game heroics from an unexpected offensive player or a dominant defensive performance as this one shouldn't even be close. The Redskins trio of Campbell, Portis and Moss has been lethal to this point of the season and figure put up some impressive numbers versus Lions.
Redskins 34 – Lions 10