I thought that in lieu of a Monday Morning QB feature, I would just put up a pre-game thread this week.
Here are my predictions for today's games:
Indianapolis at Cleveland: Indy.
I think the Colts will need to win this to stay in the driver's seat for a wild-card. They will need to establish themselves early offensively, and force Derek Anderson to score some points to keep Cleveland in the game. They need a running game to keep the defense off of the field once, they get the lead. Indy cannot look past this Browns team.
Baltimore at Cincinnati: Baltimore.
The Ravens cannot look past this team, being in the wild card hunt. Teams that play for pride late in the season, have nothing to lose and would love nothing more than to ruin someone else's chances, especially a division rival. But the Bengals just aren't good enough to score on the Ravens' defense, as a rule. So, I have to go with what looks good on paper here.
Miami at St. Louis: Miami.
St. Louis just plain stinks. Miami should roll on this one. It;s a dome game, so no weather factor. Plus - mediocre usually beats lousy, any day.
SF at Buffalo: Buffalo.
SF stinks too. The Niners are playing in the east at 1:00 PM, the weather is cold. Advantage is with the Bills.
Carolina at GB: Carolina.
This is a tough one that is very difficult to pick, because both teams need this one. Carolina is locked with TB for the NFC South lead and Atlanta is on their heels. The Pack is one game back, of Chicago and Minnesota. The only thing that could work in GB's favor is the weather. I still do not think Aaron Rodgers is that good of a QB and think he is capable of blowing this one.
NO at Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay
The Saints have been playing decent, but the Bucs are at home. They have been too good on defense and just good enough, on offense.; so, I do not think they can overcome the home crowd and the intangibles that TB is good at dominating. The Bucs do not get a lot of press because they aren;t a flashy, brash team. But people underestimate the coaching of Gruden and he has them playing well right now.
NYG at Washington: NYG
Sorry Rocket, only the best tasting tuna gets to be Starkist. This Giants team is a racking machine, and a well-oiled one at that. I think Manning has really gained some confidence, so the offense is not a problem. But the over-looked story here, is their defense. They make big plays when they need to and have a way of getting the opposing teams off of the field.
Atlanta at SD: Atlanta.
These Falcons have really turned some heads this year. Without Michael Vick, they are over-achieving and are on a roll. I think they can beat the Chargers on their home field, because Rivers is not that good and Turner finds ways to ruin seasons as a head coach.
Pittsburgh at NE: NE
I am picking NE on one condition - they must have a good defensive day. The Steeler defense is a good one and will cause some problems for Cassel in a big game like this. But that doesn't mean he can't/won't be able to find a way to win. The Pats defense must keep the ball in his hands and allow the offense a chance to score. They cannot let Roethlisberger get going. They must pressure him, they must get to him. It's hard to stop Hines Ward, but they must contain him as well. With Brady out, this is going to be the game of the day. Two good teams, but only one can win. And both need the win.
Denver at NYJ: NYJ
Home field. West team playing in the East. Denver is only mediocre. Jets are on a roll and getting used to Favre's style of play. People do not realize just how good of a playmaker the old man is. I put Favre in the same league as Marino and Elway.
KC at Oakland: Who Cares?
I used to be a Raider fan, but Al Davis is an embarrassment to himself, the team, the NFL, and the game of football. KC is just an embarrassment.
Chicago at Minnesota: Minnesota.
This will be a tough one to pick, either way you look at it. It's a big game for both teams. It's a division contest, with both tied for the lead. Minnesota is at home, so I would say the Vikings should have the advantage at this point in the season. This could go either way, though.