New Orleans (-13) at St. Louis
Statistically speaking, the St. Louis offense is about half as productive as the Indianapolis offense. But that’s mainly the St. Louis offense as quarterbacked by Sam Bradford, which isn’t the St. Louis offense that will be on the field for this game (or so it would appear). And even if Bradford were playing, we’re talking about half the usual production of an Indy offense that managed seven points against New Orleans on Sunday night. That ain’t pretty. The good news for the Rams is that their defense has performed better this season than the Colts’ D. Except, you know, for the fact that they give up 184 yards a game on the ground (no, that’s not a typo). So, Drew Brees probably won’t have another 325-yard, five TD outing (I know, I’m going way out on a limb here, right?), mostly because he won’t have to. And 62 points is probably out of the question. Still, I expect this game to take all of about two and a half hours to play and for the Saints to outpace the Rams by a solid four touchdowns.
Jacksonville (+9.5) at Houston
Wow. The 2-5 Jaguars almost looked like an actual pro football team on Monday night, didn’t they? You know that’s not gonna last, right? Of course you do, because you’re not a Jacksonville fan. (Nobody’s a Jacksonville fan.) Houston by 13.
Miami (+10) at NY Giants
I predict that Miami will be behind 24-3 with two and a half minutes to play and will end up losing 41-3. It won’t be about the Giants running up the score. It’s just that professional football players typically don’t tackle themselves.
Indianapolis (+9) at Tennessee
I think it’s safe to say the Tennessee Titans aren’t putting up 62 points on anyone. I think it’s also safe to say that the Indianapolis Colts have officially packed it in for 2012. Titans by 10.
Minnesota (+3.5) at Carolina
If this game were in Minnesota, I’d take the Vikings. Minnesota played well against Green Bay last week. And I continue to be concerned about Cam Newton‘s tendency to throw to defensive backs. But the game isn’t in Minnesota. And I don’t think the Vikings DBs have the ballhawking skills to take advantage of Newton on his home turf. Panthers by a field goal.
Detroit (-2.5) at Denver
So, wait, the Broncos actually sort of played football for three minutes but mostly fell ass backward into overcoming maybe the worst team in the NFL. And now I’m supposed to believe they can keep it competitive with the Lions? Because, what? The Lions might have to go with their backup quarterback? Really? Because, um, no. Sorry, but I’m not buying it. It isn’t really a matter of whether the Lions offense can succeed against the Broncos (though, you know, Detroit will put up points regardless of who’s behind center). It’s a matter of whether the Broncos offense can succeed against a team that isn’t likely to self-destruct. And, sorry, Tim, but I just don’t see it. Detroit picks off Tebow three times and wins by two touchdowns (one of them a defensive score).
Washington (+6) vs. Buffalo at Rogers Centre, Toronto
Wait a minute. Did you say the Bills put Shawne Merriman on IR? That would seem to indicate that Merriman has actually been on the Bills’ roster. Interesting. I hadn’t noticed. The team with the injury news that doesn’t matter tops the team with the injury news that matters a lot by a touchdown.
Cincinnati (-3) at Seattle
The Seahawks eked out 137 yards of offense last weekend in Cleveland. Total. They controlled the ball for 17 minutes. Total. They’re a joke. A total, total joke. Of course, the Bengals are only marginally better than the Browns. They’re also traveling cross country for this one. So I’m not giving more than a point. And there you have it: Bengals by one.
New England (-3) at Pittsburgh
The Steelers, when they’re good, don’t match up well with the Patriots. So what happens when the Steelers are bad? I think the Pittsburgh O line is gonna make the New England pass rush look a whole lot better than it is (which isn’t to say that the Patriots defensive front isn’t coming around — it might be — just that you won’t be able to conclude that it is based on what happens here) and Ben Douchelisbagger is gonna make the New England DBs look like the greatest ballhawks in football. All while Tom Brady once again carves up the Pittsburgh D. Patriots by two touchdowns.
Cleveland (+9.5) at San Francisco
If you barely squeak by one of the NFC West’s three awful teams at home one week, what happens when you travel to face the division’s one good team the next? 49ers by a touchdown.
Dallas (+3.5) at Philadelphia
All I’m gonna say is that it’s really, really hard to run the ball against the Cowboys. Dallas by a point.
San Diego (-3.5) at Kansas City
The Chargers, fresh off a ridiculous collapse in New Jersey last weekend, undertake a second consecutive road game. This time, San Diego a division rival that appears to be on the verge of turning its season around. I haven’t been impressed with Philip Rivers all season long and I certainly don’t expect him to improve against a Kansas City defense that has picked off 11 balls over its first six games. Kansas City comes out on top by a field goal and pulls into official contention for the AFC West title.