Seattle 6, San Francisco 13
I had: San Francisco -7.5
Thursday Night games are officially weird.
This Week: 0-1 (1-0 outright)
Season: 43-48-1 (57-36 outright)
At Buffalo -3.5 over Tennessee
At Minnesota -6.5 over Arizona
At Indianapolis -2.5 over Cleveland
In a year when the underdog is just absolutely killing Vegas, you have to wonder what in the world I’m thinking. Well, they’re all short answers: Tennessee is the kind of team that has the word “bizarre” in every headline about one of their wins, Minnesota looks like a legitimate playoff team while Arizona is a pretender, and I am absolutely not taking Brandon Weeden on the road even if his opponent is playing under an interim head coach.
Baltimore +7 over At Houston
Last week, we completely upended the NFL’s power rankings when every single top team but the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears (who were on their bye week) either lost (San Francisco, Houston) or turned in thoroughly uninspiring performances and barely won games that had no business being competitive (Atlanta, Baltimore.) Meanwhile, I had a quiet victory as one of the few people who has actually believed in New York all year.
Last week, one of the biggest examples of the NFL being shaken like a snowglobe as a marquee matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. This week, we have the chance to clear up the AFC playoff picture a bit with the consensus top two teams in the AFC facing each other. It’s worth noting that both teams have suffered potentially crippling injuries on defense, but only time will tell how crippling either injury situation turns out to be. But here’s what’s at stake here: if Houston wins, we will see stability as most have considered them the favorite consistently throughout the year. If Baltimore wins, the picture becomes increasingly muddy. Given how things have been going so far this season, and how things go most seasons… I’m going for muddy. I have Baltimore winning this game outright.
Green Bay -5.5 over At St. Louis
This is the sort of game I could make a presidential campaign-esque speech about. Actually, let’s do that.
Your pick on this game is really a pick on whether or not you believe in Green Bay’s rebound. I don’t know about you, but I believe in Aaron Rodgers. I believe in four years of sustained excellence as a starter, playoff appearances in every year but his first year as a starter, a Pro Bowl season and a record-breaking playoff performance in his second year as a starter, a Super Bowl victory in his third year as a starter, an MVP in his fourth year as a starter… as I said before the season, the Packers easily could’ve won the Super Bowl in three of the last four years if it weren’t for two very close playoff losses that really could’ve gone either way. What seems more likely to be an aberration, everything I just said or three bad games (one of which was the infamous Fail Mary)?
Rodgers just threw six touchdowns against the Houston Texans to bring his team back to the .500 mark. It’s a whole new season. Maybe they don’t catch the Bears, but do you honestly think there’s any way this team isn’t going to the playoffs? Are you kidding me? Rodgers is the kind of quarterback–like Brady, Manning, or Brees–where if he doesn’t make the playoffs every year of his career, the time he doesn’t is a huge story. Now you’re giving me Rodgers indoors against a team ill-equipped to keep up with anyone offensively? A team that relies entirely on stopping your offense to beat you? The Packers are vulnerable against teams that can keep up with them offensively, but your defense is not going to beat them.
For me, this is the biggest no-brainer of the week.
Dallas -2.5 over At Carolina
What happened to the days when Vegas vastly overvalued the Dallas Cowboys? I can’t decide if the Cowboys are being undervalued here, or of the Panthers are still being overvalued. It seems like it’s probably the latter, which I guess is pretty fitting considering how long they were undervalued last year.
At NY Giants -6 over Washington
I see Washington as a genuine contender, but I see New York emerging as the clear favorite in the NFC this season. I’ve been right so far, but no one else quite seems to want to “go there” for whatever reason.
New Orleans -2.5 over At Tampa Bay
I don’t know if New Orleans is going to dig out of their hole and make it back into the playoff race (I think the playoffs themselves are out of the question with the NFC stacked with solid Wild Card contenders like Minnesota, Seattle, Green Bay, and Washington), but I see them winning another game here against a super weak division rival.
At New England -10.5 over NY Jets
I’m not sure how to feel about New England yet. They’re having what we call an “intriguing season” (translation: “What the hell?”) Fortunately, I am pretty sure how to feel about New York.
At Oakland -6 over Jacksonville
I don’t feel great about taking Oakland -6 over anyone, but we’re talking about Jacksonville!
Pittsburgh -1 over At Cincinnati
Watch watch Pittsburgh continue to remain in playoff contention due to the strength of their competition. Just watch.
At Chicago -6.5 over Detroit
Chicago under Lovie Smith at home on Monday Night Football against the tanking Lions? Where do I sign up?