By Doug Halberstadt
If they were a horse, the humane thing to do would be to put them out of their misery. If they were a car, you’d definitely be looking to trade them in. Since they are neither a horse nor a car, I’m not sure what can be done with the Chicago Bears.
The Bears looked pitiful in their humiliating 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Sept. 18. It was a stark contrast to the way they looked in their week one win over Atlanta.
The question is, which team is the real one? I’m afraid the Saints exposed every weakness the Bears have. Poor offensive line, no go-to wide receivers, a one-dimensional offense, no significant pass rush and no blitz are among the most obvious weaknesses.
I’m afraid they have too many problems to be fixed in time for this week’s game against division rival Green Bay. Therefore, I’m saying the Packers will exploit those glaring weaknesses and come away with a win in Chicago.
In the other NFC north match-up, the Lions are at the Vikings. The Lions improved to 2-0 with their huge win (48-3) last week over the Chiefs, and the Vikings fell to 0-2 at the hands of the Buccaneers. Since Detroit beat Tampa Bay in week one and then the Vikings lost to the Bucs in week two, I’m taking the Lions, even though the game is in Minnesota. That should put the Lions and the Packers in a tie for the division lead at 3-0.
Another team looking to improve to 3-0 is the Patriots. This week, they face the much-improved Bills in Buffalo. Tom Brady and the Patriots are still the team to beat in the NFL, and until someone does, I will continue to pick them over any other team, regardless of how improved they are.
The Giants will be in Philadelphia to try to tackle the Eagles. This will be a match-up of two good teams, led by two good quarterbacks, Eli Manning for the Giants and Michael Vick for the Eagles. I think the Eagles not only have Vick, they also have the defense to keep Manning in check. I’m taking the Eagles at home.
In a battle of the big cats, it’s the Jaguars at the Panthers. Both teams are coming off week two losses — the Jags to the Jets and the Panthers to the Pack. I think Cam Newton and the Panthers will win this catfight.
The San Francisco 49ers will be in Cincinnati to meet the Bengals. This is another match-up of two teams that suffered losses in week two. The 49ers lost in overtime to Dallas, and the Bengals couldn’t get by Denver at Mile High. I’m going to take San Fran in a close one.
The Texans and the Saints will square off in New Orleans. Based on what I saw the Saints do to the Bears, I’m taking them to make it two in a row.
The Dolphins will go in search of their first win of the year up in Cleveland. The Browns beat the Peyton Manning-less Colts last week and should be able to handle the Dan Marino-less Dolphins this week. The fish will fall to 0-3.
The Titans return home to face the Broncos. Both teams are 1-1. The Broncos are a better home team than they are a road team, so I’m taking the Titans to prevail in Tennessee.
It’s the Chiefs and the Chargers in San Diego. Like the Dolphins, the Chiefs will be on the road looking for their first win of 2011. That spells trouble for them. Just like the Dolphins, they’ll drop to 0-3.
Despite the Ravens’ poor showing last week against the Titans, I still believe they are a better team than the St. Louis Rams and will beat the Rams on their home turf.
The Jets will be looking to improve to 3-0 when they find themselves in hostile territory in Oakland. The Raiders are 1-1 and will be trying to avenge their close loss to the Bills last week. So far, the Jets haven’t really been tested in their two previous games. I think the Raiders will play them tough, but the Jets will walk away with the win knowing they were finally in a ball game.
Atlanta is on the road to take on Tampa Bay. The Falcons will rebound and take out some of their early-season frustrations on the Buccaneers. I look for the Falcons to win by double digits.
The Cardinals will have to face the Seahawks and their noisy fans in Seattle. Despite Seattle’s 12th man, they still won’t have enough to overcome the 11 guys the Cardinals send out on offense and defense. I like the Cardinals to make it to 2-1, and the Seahawks to remain winless.
I’m not sure the Colts will win another game until Manning gets back. They miss him more than I first realized. That’s good news for the Steelers this week. The Colts will drop to 0-3, and the Steelers will pick up their second win of the season.
In the Monday night game, it’s the Redskins vs. the Cowboys in Dallas. A perennial NFL rivalry, you can throw out the records of these two teams every time they meet. The Cowboys lead the series 68-30, and they have tied twice. The Cowboys escaped with a thrilling 3-point win (33-30) the last time these two teams met back in December last year. The Cowboys would like nothing more than to hand the Redskins their first loss this season. I think they’ll do just that. I’m taking Dallas in another squeaker.
My friends at WNTA 1330 AM are serving my second helping of crow this season. With only the Monday night game to be settled at press time, Doug McDuff and Howard Bailey-Murray had identical 10-5 records. Both of them picked the Giants over the Rams. Ken DeCoster had another decent week at 9-6. He also picked the Giants in the Monday night game. I did slightly better this week than last; I was 8-7, and have the Giants winning as well. Poor Tim Edwards … he was 5-10 this week and made it unanimous with the Giants over the Rams.
In the tie-breaker, McDuff picked a total of 42 points in the Monday night game and Bailey-Murray has 45. Tune in again this Friday morning during the Doug McDuff and Company morning show at 7:35 a.m. to hear all of us make our “Fearless NFL Picks” for week No. 3.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 21-27, 2011, issue