We’re basically at the halfway point of the season and with the clocks going an hour back and November officially here having been brought in by an amazing college football game won by Texas Tech with a second to spare over No.1 Texas, what kind of big games will we get in the crucial final two months of the regular season?
There’s only one unbeaten in defensive minded Tennessee and the defending champion Giants are 6-1 just half a game in front of the surprising Redskins with every NFC East team including the banged up Cowboys who enter with five wins looking to pull a huge upset at East Rutherford. The Eagles must also not be forgotten at 4-3 with a very winnable road game in Seattle.
The question is is there a better division in football? Sure doesn’t seem like it despite Jerry Jones lurking around promising changes if his injured team doesn’t get going.
Meanwhile, the struggling Jets are at a crossroads somehow just a game behind the first place Bills as they enter a big divisional match-up at Ralph Wilson Stadium where the 5-2 Bills have yet to lose in three home games. They’re usually very tough to beat there as well getting great special teams, solid D and efficient QBing from second-year starter Trent Edwards.
So, can Brett Favre and a lost Gang Green team who squeaked by the lowly Chiefs last week thanks to the usual Herm Edwards “Play To Win Lose” philosophy get the ship righted and come away with a ‘W’ in Buffalo? All that and more shall get answered today.
NFL Week 9
Jets (4-3) at Bills (5-2)- It’s hard not to like Buffalo here. Especially after a bitter defeat in Miami last week in which they gave up the last 18 points. Sure. They’ve dropped two of three but every time this team is doubted, they step up with a good performance. The same can’t be said for the dysfunctional Jets who still don’t know what they are despite having a gunslinger. Does Favre respond? Something tells me this will be tight late.
Prediction: Jets 20Â Bills 26
Jaguars (3-4) at Bengals (0-8)- Our Super Bowl pick is in huge trouble following a six point home loss to the Browns. They along with the Colts trail the Titans by a ridiculous four games. Right now, it’s just about Jack Del Rio’s inconsistent club staying afloat. He’s labeled Matt Jones their best receiver. Well, duh. They can’t afford to foul this up. So figure Jones to have a nice day and for the Jags to reestablish the ground game.
Prediction: Jags 27Â Bengals 16
Ravens (4-3) at Browns (3-4)- Can anyone explain the up and down Browns who can destroy the Giants while losing a tight one to the Skins before rebounding in Jacksonville? They obviously are playing better. They’ll need to not turn it over against an opportunistic Raven D. Something tells me they get it done.
Prediction: Ravens 13Â Browns 19
Texans (3-4) at Vikings (3-4)- Two teams with identical records but one hot having reeled off three straight while the other has been an enigma all season despite being a trendy pick. So, can Houston continue its resurgence in Minnesota? That’s usually a tough place to win. This might be close.
Prediction: Texans 17Â Vikings 20
Lions (0-7) at Bears (4-3)- Did anyone have the Kyle Orton led Bears putting up 48 on the Vikes two weeks ago? Suddenly, they’re very much in play for the division with the Packers. So, this should be a no-brainer against a winless team Orton lit up once already. At least Daunte Culpepper has a day job again.
Prediction: Lions 13Â Bears 27
Bucs (5-3) at Chiefs (1-6)- Jon Gruden’s team is coming off a disappointing 13-9 road loss to the Cowboys. So, figure them to be better this week against the lowly Chiefs who can’t possibly duplicate their performance from last week. The Bucs don’t score much but they’re much better coached than the Jets and need the game.
Prediction: Bucs 20Â Chiefs 12
Cards (4-3) at Rams (2-5)- Two-time league MVP Kurt Warner returns to where it all started with the Rams when he led them to a Super Bowl win going from bagging groceries to one of the best stories. He’s having a very good season leading the high powered Cards into first. His former team is playing better under Jim Haslett. So, this won’t be easy. But I wouldn’t bet against Warner in this spot.
Prediction: Cards 31 Rams 24
Packers (4-3) at Titans (7-0)- Can anyone stop the Titans? Green Bay should be in this game but they better find a way to slow down Tennessee’s ground game or it could be a long day. Kerry Collins doesn’t have to be lights out due to the combo of Chris Johnson and LenDale White. He can pick his spots. Something tells me the Titans will blanket Ryan Grant getting to Aaron Rodgers.
Prediction: Packers 13Â Titans 24
Dolphins (3-4) at Broncos (4-3)- Miami’s coming off a quality home win over Buffalo keeping them in the AFC East race a couple back of the Bills and Pats. Chad Pennington threw for over 300 yards and has been rejuvenated. Denver has dropped two straight but is coming off a bye and should be healthier. Figure Jay Cutler and their air attack to get back on track.
Prediction: Dolphins 20Â Broncos 31
Cowboys (5-3) at Giants (6-1)- Let’s see. No Tony Romo. Check. No Felix Jones. Check. Probably no Jason Witten. Check. No Terrence Newman. Check. A 40 year-old immobile QB in Brad JohnsonMarion Barber forcing Johnson to beat them. The Giants meanwhile are much healthier and just need to do a better job in the red zone. starting against a super fast pass rushing D. Check. Despite all that, expect the Cowboys to stay in it because there’s too much at stake. They should play hard. But figure the Giants to concentrate on stopping
Prediction: Cowboys 17Â Giants 26
Eagles (4-3) at Seahawks (2-5)- Donovan McNabb is motivated and Brian Westbrook is healthy. So, this shouldn’t be any cause for concern against a bad Seahawk team. Right? Figure the Eagle D to make life miserable for Matt Hasselbeck.
Prediction: Eagles 28Â Seahawks 13
Falcons (4-3) at Raiders (2-5)- The Falcons suffered a 13-point loss to the Eagles last week and now visit The Black Hole looking for a bounce back performance. Expect rookie Matt Ryan to step up with a nice run game led by Michael Turner. A win keeps one of the league’s pleasant surprises right there for the NFC South.
Prediction: Falcons 24Â Raiders 16
Patriots (5-2) at Colts (3-4)- The Pats somehow have five wins without Tom Brady because they blew the doors off Denver in a must win two weeks ago and held off a tougher Rams team. Now, they enter one of those old establishment match-ups in primetime against Peyton Manning and the struggling Colts. I just can’t see Manning letting his team lose this one. It’s too important.
Prediction: Pats 16Â Colts 27
Steelers (5-2) at Redskins (6-2)- This is easily the best game of the week. Boy. Did ESPN luck out and you can’t always say that. So, how will they ruin it? Who had Washington with six wins already? Mean time, Big Ben tries to rebound from a pitiful performance against an attacking Giant D which sacked him five times forcing him into five turnovers. The Skins continue to play well getting inspired running from league leader Clinton Portis and efficient passing from Jason Campbell, who enters without an Int. A potential barn burner in the making between two good football teams.
Prediction: Steelers 17Â Redskins 14