By Doug Halberstadt
One of the reasons professional football is the favorite sport of millions and millions of Americans is its inherent unpredictability. That’s also one of the traits that can make it so frustrating.
I don’t think there are too many fans from this area who would have said the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings would be tied for the division lead with 4-1 records, and Green Bay would only have two wins after the first five weeks of the season. I didn’t predict it, but I definitely love it.
This week, the Bears have a bye. The Vikings will make a trip to our nation’s capital to take on the Redskins (2-3). The Redskins haven’t won a home game this year. The Vikings are 1-1 on the road. I think Christian Ponder and the Vikings are better than Robert Griffin III and his Redskins. The Vikings will remain atop the NFC North and improve to 5-1.
The Packers are up against possibly the best team in the NFL this season, the Houston Texans. The two will meet in the Lone Star State Sunday evening, Oct. 14. Green Bay has proven they aren’t anywhere near the same team they were a season ago. I think the Texans will drop them to 2-4.
The Lions are matched up against the Eagles in Philadelphia this week. That’s not good news for Detroit fans. I look for the Eagles to prevail. The other team from Pennsylvania should also pick up a win this week. The Steelers play tomorrow night (Thursday, Oct. 11) against the Tennessee Titans.
I’m not sure which team is worse, the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We’ll know after they play each other in Florida this week. I’m taking the Chiefs. The only team worse than either the Chiefs or the Buccaneers is the Cleveland Browns. They have yet to win a game this year. This week, they battle their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. I predict the Browns will fall to 0-6 and avoid the win column once again.
A pair of 2-2 teams will square off against one another in New York . The Jets host the Colts. Indianapolis proved they are playing inspired football by defeating the Packers last week. I like what they did on their home turf, I just don’t think they’ll be able to repeat that performance on the road. I’m taking the Jets.
The Falcons will stay undefeated and improve to 6-0 this week when they welcome the Raiders to Atlanta. The Dolphins will welcome the Rams to Miami, but won’t be as inhospitable as the Falcons. I think the Rams will beat the Dolphins in the Sunshine State.
The Dallas Cowboys have to face the Ravens in Baltimore this week. I look for the Ravens to pick up where the Bears left off the last time the Cowboys took the field. That means another double-digit loss for Dallas. The Ravens will improve to 5-1 and Dallas will drop to 2-3.
Another team looking to improve to 5-1 is the Arizona Cardinals. I don’t think they’ll have any problem getting there. This week, they host the Bills. Buffalo will limp out of the desert with a loss and fall to 2-4.
The most intriguing game of the week pits two 3-2 teams against one another. The Patriots are in Seattle. The Seahawks have their famous home-field advantage. I don’t think it’ll be enough to make a difference. Tom Brady and his Patriots have bounced back from an embarrassing loss in week three and won their last two games rather easily. I look for them to make it three in a row.
The best game of the week may be the 49ers (4-1) hosting the New York Giants (3-2). It’s Eli Manning versus Alex Smith. Both guys are capable of putting up big scores and leading their teams back from a deficit. This one should be fun to watch. I like San Francisco.
The Monday night game also has the promise of being a barnburner. Peyton Manning leads his Broncos into San Diego to match arms with Phillip Rivers. When Manning was in his prime, I don’t think it would be much of a contest. The problem is, Manning is no longer in his prime. Now, the two are more evenly matched. I think the difference might come down to the Chargers’ ground game. I’m taking the Chargers at home.
Last week was another decent week for me. I was 10-3 going into the Monday night game. I took the Texans over the Jets in that one. If the Texans come through for me, I’ll end up 11-3 for the week and improve to 48-29 on the season.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 10-16, 2012, issue