Some picks for this weekend's intirguing slate of games in the National Football League. Check out which games are being shown in your market here.
Denver (6-2) at Washington (2-6)
- Just about everyone has Denver getting back on track this Sunday against the lifeless 'Skins. I'm not one of them. I like Washington to snag a home victory against the Broncos. Pride is on the line for Washington, but more importantly, I'll think they'll benefit from not having Clinton Portis available. The Pro Bowl running back suffered a concussion last weekend, but he really was never in top form this year and Washington's offense has essentially been designed around him being a healthy workhorse. With him out, I think Washington will have a better game offensively than people are expecting. It also helps that Denver will be playing their second game in 6 days and we know what kind of whooping the Steelers put on them physically on Monday Night. I'm taking Washington.
- Here's about all you need to know about this one. Buffalo's dead last against the run. They allow 5.1 yards per carry and 173.6 yards per game. Look for Chris Johnson, the league's leading rusher, to maintain his lead over Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson. And after Buffalo continues to sell out against the run, Vince Young just needs to make a play or two in the passing game for Tennessee to capture their third straight win and continue climbing back to respectability. Tennessee
- Steven Jackson has been one of the few bright spots for the Rams under first year head coach Steve Spagnola. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one be a bit closer than some might expect, but only if Jackson is able to keep Drew Brees and the Saints offense off the field with long sustaining drives via the ground game. Even with a monster game from Jackson, the Rams are too over matched talent-wise to win. All signs point to New Orleans continuing their undefeated start to the season.
- I think Cincinnati has a very good chance to win this ballgame just because of the fact that the Steelers are playing short handed in so many key positions and are coming off a Monday night game this past week. I can't pick the Bengals though at Heinz Field, even if they are 3-0 on the road this season. Here's to hoping the Steelers can limit Cedric Benson's effectiveness and tighten up their pass defense if they once again jump out to a lead like they did in Week 3. Should be a great game. I'll take Pittsburgh.
- Hooray mediocrity! Talk about an uninteresting matchup if you're not a fan of either of these two teams. I like the New York Jets here only because they're coming off their BYE week and I have more faith in the Jets coaching staff than I do in Jack Del Rio. The winner remains on the fringes for a run at a Wild Card berth. The loser is all but assured of sitting out in January.
- I still refuse to believe that Matthew Stafford should be playing this year for Detroit, but whatever, not that it would really matter this week at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson should have a field day in this one and get right back in the rushing title picture. Minnesota.
- Miami's one solid 3-5 team. They've probably lost one too many close games already to salvage their season, but you never know. If they can get to 10 wins, they might have a chance at the last Wild Card spot. They can forget all that though with a loss this weekend at home to Tampa. I don't see that happening though, even though the Bucs have looked somewhat decent lately for a 1-7 team. Miami.
- Atlanta's a fairly well rounded club, but they're not overly big and physical on defense. Carolina would be well served pounding the rock all afternoon long. Carolina has some serious issues in 2010 and 2011, but I'm not ready to give up on them just yet this year. I think they earn a hard fought home victory and retain the slimmest of hopes at getting their act together in the second half of the season. Carolina.
- Does the dismissal of Larry Johnson help Kansas City rally around one another? Sheesh. Who knows? Who cares? I guess I'll take Oakland here in this totally unwatchable football game.
- One of the three marquee games of the day in addition to CIN/PIT and IND/NE. I like San Diego to continue their winning streak and set up a huge matchup with Denver the following week for AFC West supremacy. The lack of a formidable running game hurts Philadelphia here, as we've seen first hand that the Chargers can be beaten in to submission on the ground. I like Philip Rivers to perform well following his late-game heroics last Sunday against the Giants. San Diego.
- A battle of two teams heading in opposite directions. Green Bay has lost two straight and looked piss poor in the process. The Cowboys meanwhile have won four in a row and are now being considered legit contenders in the NFC. Just because this is the NFL and it's next to impossible to figure out, I like Green Bay to get back on track and snap Dallas's winning streak at Lambeau Field. Look for a high-scoring affair here.
- I'd be tempted to pick Seattle here actually if the Cards weren't coached by Mr. Ken Whisenhunt. Arizona has been sufficiently schizophrenic this year to make you question why I'd be so high on his coaching acumen. They have after all dropped multiple home games only to turn right around the next week and win against quality competition away from Phoenix. Even with Anquan Boldin banged up, I think the Cards have more than enough offensively to handle Seattle. Beanie Wells is starting to look like a player, which in turn makes Arizona and their imposing passing game all the more dangerous. Huge game here for both teams. Seattle can somehow get back in the NFC West race with a win. San Francisco I'm sure will be cheering on the Seahawks. I'm taking Arizona.
- Here's the game where we really find out how good New England is. They've been impressive since losing to Denver, but that statement right there makes me question how good they are - they lost to Denver! I like Indianapolis here even though Lucas Oil Stadium is a pretty un-intimidating atmosphere to play in for visiting teams.
- Distractions galore along Lake Erie. The Browns are a mess organizationally. If there weren't so many extracurriculars taking place within team headquarters in Cleveland, I'd actually be somewhat intrigued by a value bet on them. Nobody believes in them while folks still think too highly of Baltimore, in my opinion. Brady Quinn will get the start on Monday which probably is a relief to Browns fans. Derek Anderson has just been atrocious. I suppose I'll take Baltimore but I actually think Quinn will play well and put a little bit of pressure on the Ravens.