By Doug Halberstadt
The phrase “Winning Ugly” belonged to the Chicago White Sox back in the 1990s. After last Sunday’s (Oct. 28) 1-point victory over the Carolina Panthers, I think the Sox can transfer ownership of those two words to the Chicago Bears.
The Bears trailed the Panthers by 12 points late in the fourth quarter. Almost miraculously, in an 8-second span, Chicago scored two touchdowns — one by the offense and one on a Tim Jennings interception return. Following an unsuccessful 2-point conversion attempt, the Bears were now ahead 20-19.
With less than three minutes to play, Carolina regained the lead when Justin Medlock kicked his fifth field goal of the day. The 45-yarder hit the upright and bounced through to give his team a 22-20 lead. It looked as though the Bears were going to drop a game they were expected to win.
After struggling most of the game, Jay Cutler managed to complete six of seven passes on the final drive of the game. He advanced the Bears to the Carolina 23-yard line. With time expiring, Robbie Gould hit a 41-yard field goal to give the Bears their sixth win of the year. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win.
This week, Chicago is in Tennessee to take on the Titans. I’m taking Chicago, and I guess I don’t really care if it’s a pretty win or an ugly win, as long as it’s a win.
The Packers will attempt to keep pace with Chicago when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Green Bay has won their last three games. Arizona played on Monday night, and if they lost to the 49ers, that would make it four straight losses for the Cardinals. I like the Packers’ chances to pick up another win and hand the Cardinals another loss.
In the battle of the big cats, the Detroit Lions face the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Rather than playing like the predators their monikers suggest, both teams are playing more like the kitten version of those nicknames. I’m taking the Jaguars over the Lions.
I like the visiting Ravens over the Cleveland Browns. I also like the other team visiting the state of Ohio this week. I’m taking the Broncos over the Bengals.
The Houston Texans have a home game against the Buffalo Bills. I look for the Texans to dominate in this one and improve their record to an AFC-best 7-1.
Two teams coming off big wins are the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have made it three straight wins, and the Colts picked up their second straight. This week, I think the Dolphins will make it four in a row and send the Colts back to the loss column.
There’s good news for the Washington Redskins this week. They get to play the Carolina Panthers. That almost automatically equates to a win. The Redskins are at home and will find a way to beat the Panthers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a few extra days to rest following their win over the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday night, Oct. 25. This week, they play in Oakland on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 3. I’m taking the Buccaneers over the Raiders.
The Vikings also picked up a couple of extra days rest. This week, they are on the road to meet up with the Seahawks and their famous 12th man at CenturyLink Field. I like the extra man advantage for the home team in this one.
The two teams that have to play tomorrow night (Thursday, Nov. 1) are the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers. The game is in San Diego. Both teams suffered losses last week. The Chargers should bounce back and pick up the win.
The best game of the week has the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New York Giants. Both teams dispatched their opponents last week. The Giants are 3-1 at home, and the Steelers are 1-3 on the road. I’m taking Eli Manning and the home team.
The Sunday night game features the undefeated Atlanta Falcons hosting the Dallas Cowboys. I’m looking for the Falcons to stay perfect and show the Cowboys why they haven’t lost a game this year.
The Monday night game is in New Orleans. The Saints will try to defend their home turf when the Philadelphia Eagles come to the Big Easy. It should come down to a battle of quarterbacks. Drew Brees will lead the Saints, and Michael Vick will pilot the Eagles. I always like Brees when he’s under the national spotlights. Even though he’s not having the year he’d like, I think he’ll answer the call on Monday night and prove why he’s still one of the very best the game has to offer.
Last week, I was 8-5 following the Thursday and Sunday games. I picked the 49ers over the Cardinals in the Monday night game. If San Francisco prevails, my season record will improve to 71-47.
You can tune in to 100.5 NTA FM this Friday morning, Nov. 2, at 7:35 a.m. to hear how my record stacks up against my radio colleagues during the Doug McDuff and company show. We will be making our “Fearless NFL Picks” and talking about the weekly matchups. McDuff and I are joined by Ken DeCoster, Timothy Edwards and Howard Bailey-Murray.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2012, issue