Welcome to favorites week at BirdsFan.com! If you want to make your life easy by skipping this article, I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’m not taking a single underdog. I know, I know. It’s very boring of me. But, what can I say? I’m not going to pick someone I don’t think will win. This week, I think the fine folks in Vegas did a perfect job of setting the lines and figuring out the favorites.
As always, my picks will be in italics.
Patriots @ Bills – If ever there was a time for the Bills to make some noise in not only the AFC East but the NFL, it’s now. The Bills offense has looked great so far this season but now they face a team that is significantly better than both the Chiefs and Raiders combined. The Patriots have shown some deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball and that makes me believe this will not be a blowout. At the end of the day, the Patriots are still the Patriots. That makes them among the best that the NFL has to offer at this point in the season. Give me the Patriots on the road.
Jaguars @ Panthers – The Jaguars are hoping to get a little Newton action of their own. Oh trust me when I say that they will. However, it won’t be how they want it. What they want is for rookie Blaine Gabbert to play to the level that Cam Newton has been playing. Not going to happen. Newton could conceivably throw for another 400+ yards this weekend against that weak Jacksonville defense. Give me the Panthers on the road as Newton brings home his first victory to Carolina.
49ers @ Bengals – I won’t pick the Bungles. I won’t. The 49ers were able to make the Cowboys look mediocre for an entire half of football. The Cowboys were able to come back in OT but the Bengals don’t have that ability. I like Andy Dalton a lot but I just don’t see it. Of course there’s also the pending suspension of Cedric Benson which will undoubtedly be on the rusher’s mind. Give me the 49ers on the road.
Dolphins @ Browns – The Dolphins are preparing to enter their name into the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. I heard someone on ESPN Radio the other day claim that Chad Henne was the best player on the Dolphins. I suppose they’ve forgotten about Brandon Marshall, Jake Long, and Cameron Wake. The Dolphins could be a good team but they have trash for QB. The Browns were able to establish that running game last week against the Colts and there’s no reason to believe they can’t and won’t do the same this weekend against the Dolphins. Give me the Browns at home.
Lions @ Vikings – The Vikings are a one trick pony (or Norse warrior if you prefer). The Lions are have a fantastic season so far. The Lions are another one of those teams who benefit greatly every time they play in dome. The Vikings are….well, not that good. They managed to give away a win to the Buccaneers last week while their offense continued to flounder with the exception of Adrian Peterson. There’s no way I’m picking against these Lions while they’re healthy. Give me the Lions on the road.
Texans @ Saints – This is such a tough game to pick. The Texans have looked good against very inferior opponents. The Saints have looked good against equal opponents. The Saints are showing some issues on the defensive side of the ball. The Texans are still an unknown. I can’t bring myself to pick against the Saints at home. I think this will be a fantastic game, however, the Saints boast one of the most powerful offenses in the league. If the Texans can win this game, I am 100% behind that bandwagon. For now, give me the Saints at home.
Giants @ Eagles – You can hear a full preview here.
Broncos @ Titans - The Titans really surprised a lot of people last week, myself included. They looked solid in every phase of the game. If Chris Johnson can get his act together, that team could potentially make some noise in the AFC South. The Broncos were able to beat the Bengals last week because they (Bengals) refused to run the ball. The Titans will not be that way. Give me the Titans at home.
Jets @ Raiders – The Raiders offense looked great last weekend. Against Buffalo. Now enter the New York Football Jets. They’re a tad bit better on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders defense has a nice pass rush but not past that. Mark Sanchez should look like an able bodied NFL QB this weekend and that alone is noteworthy. I kid, I kid. Sort of. Give me the Jets and that mauling defense on the road.
Chiefs @ Chargers – The Chiefs are currently in the lead for the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes. They’re also in the lead for being the first to have its head coach fired before the halfway point of the season. Give me the Chargers on the road. Lock of the week. I don’t feel the need to explain anything else about the game.
Ravens @ Rams – Those poor Rams can’t catch a break. They have one of the most brutal schedules to begin a season that I’ve ever seen. It looks doubtful that Steven Jackson will play this game and that takes away what little rush attack they may have had against the Ravens. I am of the belief that last weekend was merely a slip up for the Ravens. Now they’ve got a bad taste in their mouth and their ready to face a bleeding opponent. And they can smell the blood. Give me the Ravens on the road.
Packers @ Bears – The Bears once again have some serious issues with the offensive line. Rookie first rounder Gabe Carimi is out for at least this week with an injury and that removes their best lineman. Add in a fierce Green Bay pass rush and a QB who crumbles under literal pressure and you can probably guess who I’m picking. Yes, I’m going with the Packers on the road. Were it later in the season, I’d probably go with the Bears and their defense but right now both are on an even playing field and based on that you can give me the Packers on the road.
Cardinals @ Seahawks – The Seahawks are another one of our contestents in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Of course anyone who fields a team with Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst at QB is automatically entered in the contest. The Cardinals are getting their act together slowly but surely. I don’t believe it will be long now until they prove to be the class of the that division. The Seahawks will continue to look pitiful against a competent team. Give me the Cardinals on the road.
Falcons @ Buccaneers – Initially I was picking the Falcons. But honestly, I don’t think they’re that good. The benefited greatly from Vick going down and Reid getting conservative last week. The Buccaneers, I believe, found their groove last weekend in Minnesota. The Falcons are beat up, especially Matt Ryan. I think the Buccaneers take this game at home.
Steelers @ Colts – If you thought Chris Collinsworth was terrible during a good game, wait until you hear him during a blowout. That will be Sunday night. This could’ve been a game of epic proportions. Instead, Kerry Collins may actually get killed. Give me the Steelers on the road. Easily.
Redskins @ Cowboys – This is a very tough one and it all comes down to one thing: Does Tony Romo play? My hunch says yes and that’s based on several reports. I have no awesome insider info for you. Apologies. The Redskins have played beyond their level in my mind and I think they and their fans get a rude awakening in Dallas on Monday Night Football. Give me the Cowboys at home.
Last week: 12-4