Last week was full of blowouts (Ravens over Raiders), blowups (Steelers' season after the Big Ben injury), blowhards (Jets), and the group of people who need to read the rule books a little more often (49ers and Rams players). The highlight of the week was a surprisingly contested AFC showdown between the Bills and Pats as well as a defensive slug fest between the Bears and Texans that would make Papa Bear himself cry tears of joy. This week, we got two big time rivalry games between teams that loathe/hate one another, another defensive battle between the leagues top defenses, and the old warrior vs. the highly touted rookie. That being said, let's begin
Last Week Record: 8-5-1
Season Record: 75-57-1
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
This is a classic NFL rivalry that stems back to the earlier days with some bad blood between the two. We keep seeing the Green Bay Packers lose key players to injury throughout the season. This time around, they are going to be without starting OT Bryan Bulaga, who got put on IR with a hip injury, but also LB Clay Matthews and his team-leading 9.0 sacks will miss this game. Detroit needs this game to stay in contention in the NFC North after getting swept by the Vikings this season (20-13 and 34-24). However the Packers still find ways to win behind #12, winning 4 straight after going 2-3. Expect them to win #5 in this one.
Sunday 4:25 p.m.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
If there is a feel good story right now, it's these Colts. After getting manhandled by the New York Jets in Week 6 35-9, they have won 4 in a row. Unlike last year's 2-14 team, they have been playing with heart behind the play of rookie QB Andrew Luck and his 15 TDs (10 passing, 5 running) and the team rallying to HC Chuck Pagano and his battle with leukemia. On the Patriots' side, regardless of what people say of their defense, they have made key plays to win games. A sack and force fumble in OT to beat the Jets and intercepting the Bills' Ryan Fitzpatrick to prevent a game winning touchdown. They will be sporting a new addition with the recently acquired CB Aquib Talib. But after seeing how he performed earlier in the year, including getting blown up by a 'one-legged' Hakeen Nicks, he may actually do more damage to the already 32nd ranked passing defense.
Monday 8:30 p.m.
Chicago Bears @ San Francisco 49ers
This has classic defensive showdown written all over it. Football purists will tune in and offensive-minded folks will turn away. Both teams rank in the top 10 in terms of total defense and scoring. But at the same time, their offenses will be without their starting quarterbacks due to the concussions they suffered from last week. But the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick as proven he could run the offense, going 11 of 17 for 117 yards and 8 carries for 66 yards and a TD in relief against the Rams last week. On the opposite side, the Bears' Jason Campbell has 23-37 starting record in his days with Washington and Oakland and had performed admirably in last weeks contest against the AFC's best defensive team, the Texans, 11 for 19 for 94 yards. But what it will come down to is the play of their defense. Though the 49ers have one of the top defenses, the Bears continue to terrorize opponents by forcing 15 fumbles and snagging a league high 19 INTs. Colin Kaepernick
will be swamped and stomped by Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs while trying not to throw it to Chris Tillman, all of which seem impossible to do.
Pick: Da Bears
Best of the Rest
Thursday Night 8:20 p.m.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
It's the battle of AFC East teams that are trying to remain relevant in the division. However the Bills lost RB Fred Jackson to injury and will find it hard to run against the 5th best rushing defense in Miami. On the opposite side, RB Reggie Bush is licking his chops as he'll be facing the 32nd rushing defense in the NFL.
Sunday 1:00 p.m.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs only kept it close in their Monday night game against the Steelers was because Byron Leftwich sucks. Don't expect the same against Dalton-Green duo.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans
New York Jets @ St. Louis Rams
The team keeps finding ways to self-implode with Sanchez as the QB like they did with his 2 red zone turnovers against the Seahawks last week. Though Tebow isn't the best quarterback around, at least he guides his team to victory. Expect the Jets to make the move here.
Bonus: Tebow finds out who the 'anonymous' Jets people that are ragging on him and does what Jesus would do: send them to hell, aka Cleveland.
Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys
Can't believe I'm doing this, I feel so dirty. It's like picking Notre Dame to win.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers
Remember when Cam Newton lost his cool against the Buccaneers? Get ready for the sequel.
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons
You're not going to win games if you allow your QB to be sacked 41 times, doesn't matter who you throw in there.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Hooray for the Eagles for starting Nick Foles at QB finally. Now you can watch them crash and burn even harder
Sunday 4:05 & 4:25
New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders
After ruining their divisional rival's perfect record, the Saints began to celebrate by padding their stats against a piss poor team known as the Raiders.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
The reason why the Chargers have been horrible, including blowing a 24-point lead against the same Broncos weeks ago, is because they can't find the gleam. Until they find that gleam, they will never amount to anything
Sunday 8:20 p.m.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
In years past, many would have looked forward for this rivalry. Both teams just absolutely despise one another to a point where they spent most of their games trying to take out each other's players. But now, after seeing how the Steelers performed without Big Ben, this will be worse than watching the Saints play the Raiders.
Teams on Bye: New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks
-Ryan L. Fox
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