Let's skip the easy ones and focus on the tough matches.
- Bucs @ Saints is the first of the tough matches. The Bucs already shocked the Saints once this season in Tampa. However, the Saints have them in the Super Dome this time around. Unfortunately, Drew Brees' protection is breaking down around him. Walking into the Ram game, the Saints had already allowed 13 sacks. My Rams scored 6 sacks against Brees and harassed him all game long. The Bucs have a good and young defensive line who can get after it, which means more problems for Brees. Still, I think the Saints awesome homefield advantage will help carry them to a get-healthy victory. This is not an easy choice, and I think it can go the other way,
- Broncos @ Raiders. Some think this is a laugh-in victory for the Raiders. I can't understand why. Surely, nothing about the Bronco football team is working with a high degree of efficiency. The Raiders are better both defensively and in the special teams. However, when it comes to offense... well... let's just say that the Raiders have their problems with the QB position as well. I would like to see a show of hands: How many of you believe Carson Palmer will truly be ready this weekend? I don't.This is a hard game to figure out. If Tebow goes ballistic, the Raiders will have a difficult time out-scoring them. However, I think I too will have to pick the Raiders.
- Giants @ Patriots is very interesting match up of two lesser playoff contenders. Most authorities are expecting a solid victory by the Patriots at home. I am pleased to announce my upset special of the week. Understand that the Patriots have the #32 defense in the league against the pass, and Eli is passing very, very well right now. Understand that Tom Brady, just like Drew Brees, is having issues with his protection right now. Understand that the Giant defense features a very mean pass rush right now. I think this spells out a recipe for upset. I am taking the Giants. The Patriots are the great pretenders of 2011.
- The Ravens @ The Steelers is the NFL game of the week. Now we have come to the most difficult game of the week to pick. The Steelers' offense is playing extremely well right now, but the Ravens' defense is elite &devastating. The Steeler defense is playing very well right now, but they have a plethora of injury problems to cope with. The Raven offense was dying for a little while, but they seemed to find themselves and right the ship in the 2nd half against the Cardinals. This is a very, very, very complex picture. Most authorities do not believe the Ravens can sweep the Steelers. I do. I'm rolling with the Ravens.
- Bears @ Eagles is pisser of a game, matching two very inconsistent teams. Forgive me, but I am not feeling as dreamy as a lot of analysts out there. I have no where near the level of confidence in the Eagles that many seem to have developed. I do think the Bears can beat them. However, if the Eagles don't turn the ball over, they should score at least one more point than the Bears do. Logically, I have to chose the Eagles, but this is the most uncomfortable pick of the week. What happens if the Eagle turnover machine cranks up the horsepower in this game?