By Doug Halberstadt
FINALLY! It took me four weeks, but I finally had a respectable showing. Last week, I was 12-2 with only the Monday night game still undecided at press time. If the Bears beat the Cowboys, I’ll go 13-2. If the Cowboys win, I’m still 12-3. I’d settle for that every week.
Now, I need to build on that momentum. This week, there are only 14 games. Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay all have byes.
In tomorrow night’s game (Thursday, Oct. 4), the undefeated Arizona Cardinals (4-0) are in St. Louis to face the improved Rams (2-2). The Rams haven’t lost in St. Louis in their previous two home games. I think their home winning streak is about to come to a halt. The Cardinals won’t have a perfect season this year, but I don’t think they’ll drop their first game of the year to the Rams. They’ll improve to 5-0 and the Rams will fall to 2-3.
Sunday’s games begin with the Cincinnati Bengals at home against the Miami Dolphins. I’m going with the Bengals. Not only do they have the home-field advantage, they are the better team.
Green Bay is in Indianapolis to face the Colts. Even though the Colts are better than they were a year ago, they still haven’t come far enough to knock off a high-caliber team like the Packers. Green Bay will win. I also like the other two teams from the NFC North to win. The Bears are at Jacksonville, and Minnesota has a home game against the Titans.
The Ravens should pick up another win this week. They will be in Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The Ravens should come out of KC with a 4-1 record, and the Chiefs will fall to 1-4.
Two high-powered offenses square off against one another in our nation’s capital when the Redskins host the Falcons. Both teams are capable of scoring each time they touch the ball. Atlanta hasn’t tasted defeat this season. The Redskins are good, but still not in the same stratosphere as the Falcons. The Redskins may play them close, but won’t be able to hand Atlanta their first loss. I like the Falcons.
The New York Giants are back home in the Big Apple to meet up with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns haven’t found the win column all year. No matter how hard they look, they won’t find it in New York. They’ll be 0-5 when the Giants are done with them.
A Pennsylvania state championship will be on the line when the Steelers host the Eagles. This should be a great game. Both teams have quality players in their skill positions. Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick will be trying to prove they are the best quarterback in the state. This is another game where there’s the potential for a huge score. This one might come down to the final play of the game and could be determined by who has the ball when the clock shows all zeros. I am giving this one to the Steelers. I think the home-field advantage will help as well.
The good news is the Carolina Panthers don’t have to play the Seahawks in Seattle. The bad news is I think they’ll still come up short. I like the Seahawks on the road.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots put up 52 points last week in their win over the Buffalo Bills. This week, they are hosting the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. I doubt they’ll rack up another 50-point game, but I do think they will outscore the Broncos. I’m taking the Patriots.
The San Francisco 49ers got back in the win column last week. They’ll stay there this week. They will knock off the Bills in the city by the bay.
I’m shocked the New Orleans Saints haven’t won a game this year. I don’t think anyone could have predicted they would have started the season 0-4. I really don’t believe they are that bad of a team. Drew Brees is one of the premier quarterbacks in the league, and he will be attempting to make history by breaking Johnny Unitas’ most consecutive games with a touchdown pass record.
This week, the San Diego Chargers are in the Super Dome in New Orleans. I don’t think there’s any way the Saints will fall to 0-5. I’m taking them to beat the Chargers, pick up their first win of the year, Brees to set the record and finally get things back on track.
The Houston Texans are almost as shocking as the Saints, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. Surprisingly, the Texans haven’t lost a game. This week, they play in front of a national television audience on Monday night. They will be out to show the country they are the real deal. This week, the New York Jets will be their fifth-straight victim.
Each Friday at 7:35 a.m., I attempt to match wits with my colleagues in the electronic media. Tune in to NTA 100.5 FM to hear how my picks compare to those made by Doug McDuff, Ken DeCoster, Howard Bailey-Murray and Tim Edwards. After the first 63 games of the season, we are all within a game or two of each other. Listen on Friday to see if my record from this week will be enough to move me into first place.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 3-9, 2012, issue