Indianapolis Colts (-3) over Houston Texans
The Colts haven’t won a game yet at Lucas Oil Stadium (0-2). I know they aren’t playing there this week, but I want to talk about their new home; specifically, what should the nickname be? Apparently, “The Luke” is out of the question because of a previous lawsuit between Lucas Oil Products and Lukoil, so we aren’t left with too many options. My suggestion would be “The Tank.” Oil is kept in a tank or a tanker. Football is compared to war and they use tanks in war. It’s two-fold. Any suggestions from our readers? Anyway, I have to take the Colts to cover three points against the Texans whether the game is at The Tank or Reliant Stadium. An extra week off for Peyton Manning to heal and game plan is nothing I want to bet against. The Texans are coming off a hard-fought game in Jacksonville where Matt Schaub had a great game. What are the chances of him playing well two straight weeks? Slim to none? Keep an eye on rookie running back Steve Slaton against the Colts’ Bob Sandersless defense. It’s tough to say ‘Sandersless.’
Baltimore Ravens (+3) over Tennessee Titans
Wow, this is a tough game. I’m actually writing my analysis before I make my pick in hopes that I talk myself into taking one of them. I really love the over (35) in this game by the way. Any time you have two play-making defenses that can take it to the house, take the over if it’s under 37. But we aren’t picking over/unders here. The Titans are bound to have a bad game sooner or later. It will either be this week at Baltimore or next week at KC. They do have a Monday Night game looming in a couple weeks against the Colts at The Tank, so I’m waiting for the let-down game. Baltimore is coming off an OT loss on Monday Night at Pittsburgh. Teams are 3-1 this year in the following week after a Monday Night loss on the road. Do I go with that trend? Do I take the Titans defense against rookie quarterback Joe Flacco or the Ravens defense against happy-hour fanatic Kerry Collins? I’m actually sold on Baltimore this year. I think they have a very solid team. This is a very hard pick to make, but I’m taking Baltimore and the points. However, I wouldn’t put real money on this game.
San Diego Chargers (-7) over Miami Dolphins
The Chargers had a bad game last Sunday minus the fourth quarter. They can’t be happy with the way they played in Oakland. They won, but it wasn’t pretty. The Dolphins are coming off a bye week after they destroyed the New England Patriots 38-13. I’m going to guess they are still pretty high from that game even though they had an extra week to settle down and prepare. Maybe that’s why Ricky Williams decided to not smoke pot this week? He was still on his natural high from the Patriots game. Let me say how proud I am of Ricky for fighting those urges. Unless Ronnie Brown can score four touchdowns and throw for another, I see San Diego coming out of the gates early and covering the seven points by halftime. Is there a spread for the first half?
Carolina Panthers (-9.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
Wow, Carolina giving 9.5 and I’m still taking them? I don’t want to, but I think I have to. Kansas City still stinks despite them beating the Broncos last week. Larry Johnson won’t run for 198 yards against the Panthers defense and KC won’t force four turnovers against the Panther’s offense. That’s not happening this week when they are on the road. They also have to be looking forward to their bye next week. The one thing about this game I don’t like is Carolina plays Tampa Bay next week in Tampa and they just beat Atlanta, another division rival, last week. This is a sandwich game that tends to be a let-down for NFL teams. If Kansas City didn’t have a big win last week, I would take KC, because the line would be a little higher. However, because KC won last week, I’m taking Carolina to cover.
Washington Redskins (+5.5) over Philadelphia Eagles
It will be tough for the Redskins to win back-to-back division games on the road, but it will also be tough for the Eagles to win without Brian Westbrook and Shawn Andrews. I’m not hearing comforting news about Westbrook at practice. It seems he is very limited and can’t make the cuts which make him so effective. I would be surprised if he plays this weekend; therefore, I’m taking the Redskins and the points assuming Westbrook and Andrews won’t be playing. Philadelphia’s defense played out of their minds last week in Chicago and gave the offense plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. However, six points off of four turnovers did not/will not get the job done. I see more of the same this week, a solid defense and a frustrating offense.
Detroit Lions (+3.5) over Chicago Bears
Chicago is on the road after a big win against the Eagles on national television. Detroit is an underdog at home coming off a bye in which their GM was fired seven years too late. Everyone in Detroit is breathing a little easier right now and that’s why I’m taking the Lions and the points. Here are some interesting stats for you. The Lion’s defense has three sacks, one forced fumble, and zero interceptions for the season. There are fourteen NFL players that have equal to or better numbers than that. So when someone tells you the Lions have a sucky defense, you should agree with them. With all that said, I’m still taking the Lions, but Matt Forte could have 200+ yards.
Seattle Seahawks (+7) over New York Giants
Both teams are coming off a bye. Both teams are coming off wins the week before the bye. Both teams blew out the Rams and held them to 13 points. Both teams are without their number one wideout. But the Giants without Plaxico will hurt them more than the Seahawks without Branch/Engram/Burleson/Largent. I expect this game to be a low-scoring, grind’em-out game. Giants still win, but they won’t cover the seven points. Actually, there’s a part of me right now that hates this pick and wants to say the Giants are going to blow them out of the water. But, I’m sticking with my guns like Travis Henry in a coke deal. I’ll take the Seahawks and the points.
Last week 3-3 (season 13-8)