Mid-season is the friend of the pundits, as teams seem to find their level and meet expectations more reliably. It is also trade time, as teams going nowhere shed payroll and contenders scoop up supplemental talent to improve their post-season chances. Broncos/Chiefs was an outlier for me, as Denver seemed to have stiffened on defense and found some ground game, and the KC defense wasn’t supposed to have Joe Flacco eating dirt nine times. Patrick Mahomes scared his coach, Chiefs fans, and Football Nation, when he dislocated a kneecap. Nobody wants to see this delightful phenom get hurt, least of all Roger Goodell, who cares deeply for young Patrick not because he’s great for the game, but because his face is on Roger’s meal ticket. I was 9-4 in Week 6, and went 11-3 last week, for a season record of 62-43, or 60%. Here’s the picks.
Redskins at Vikings – The Deadskins are going to take a Purple Pounding, as this improving band of Vikings continues to despoil and pillage lesser teams. Dragon ships drub DC.
Jets at Jaguars – Poor Darnold isn’t getting much relief this week, after seeing ghosts against New England’s fearsome Boogeymen defense. The Jags are pretty stout in their own right, and I expect to see more of Sam’s falling-backwards passing go awry this week as well. Jets drop a roadie to Jax.
Chargers at Bears – This is a ‘who cares’ game, as two desperate teams play an interleague tilt. The Bears should be the better team, but have an offense that is…well, offensive to watch. The Bolts have been powerless when they most needed a jump-start. Bears get the narrowest of edges here. Not enough volts from the Bolts to jolt Chicago.
Cardinals at Saints – Not sure if Brees returns this week, but it won’t matter if you wear a red jersey – you’re going down. Payton has enough talent to make the Cardinals a proverbial ‘bird in the hand’. Saints keep marching, Cards get a starching.
Seahawks at Falcons – Atlanta is starting to shed talent in acknowledgement they are ‘rebuilding’ again. Seattle should feast on overripe peaches in this snoozer. RaptorBowl goes to Pete Carroll.
Eagles at Bills – This will be a vigorous tussle, as Philly is slipping behind Dallas, and Buffalo is drunk on their first winning record since…well..I can’t recall. I love McDermott’s burly defense….but I think Doug Pederson will be able to stymie Josh Allen enough to grab a narrow win. Phils over Bills, barely.
Giants at Lions – Detroit is better than their record. Patricia’s Militia should keep NY off the scoreboard most of the night. Barkley may gash them for some yards, but not enough to drag Jones to victory. Lions roar, Giants snore.
Bucs at Titans – The Bucs may be the best run-stoppers in the NFL, but now that Tennessee has a QB who can chuck it around, Derrick Henry won’t have to be the first option on offense. Tannehill can play, and Tampa will struggle to contain the Titans. Vrabel’s defense should handle Captain Crablegs well enough. Titanic win for Tennessee.
Broncos at Colts – Denver is now a fire sale of talent (Sanders gone), and will soon be stripped cleaner of valuable parts than an Escalade in Compton. The resurgent Colts are going to pull away from the rest of this division, and this is a nice match to notch another win.
Bengals at Rams – The Cincinnati Dumpster Fire Road Show will continue to horrify, in the same way people gawk at car wrecks. Rams pour gas on this fire and send it home smoking.
Panthers at Niners – Rivera’s team should give San Fran a solid test, and Shanahan’s team should pass that test, remaining unbeaten. Niners are finer than Caroliner.
Raiders at Texans – Houston’s embarrassment in Indy last week served notice that in this tight division, the Texans are no longer the favorite to win. This puts even more pressure on Houston to prove they are capable of contending now. Focused teams generally play well. Texans play Astro-nomical against Oakland this week.
Browns at Patriots – Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly. Chubb gets snubbed, OBJ is OOB, Mayfield gets Baked in his backfield, and those touchdown muskets fire so often the smoke never really clears the stadium before the next volley. Patriots carve these Ohio pumpkins for Halloween. Orange is the new Black & Blue.
Packers at Chiefs – Two playoff teams, pushing hard to maintain winning momentum, means good football. However, the absence of HIMSELF in KC means that the Packers probably win on the road. Moore IS less, and Matt ain’t Pat. Green Bay packs another win.
Dolphins at Steelers – Poor MNF gets another horrendous draw of teams in this Nightmare Before Halloween. Hapless meets Feckless in the battle of the Walking Dead. It’s a great night to organize your sock drawer! Pittsburgh Steels a home win over Cryami.
Enjoy the games!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nate Clark)