By Doug Halberstadt
We’ve all heard the saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Well, that time has come for the Chicago Bears. This week, they may have their toughest challenge of the season. They host the Houston Texans (7-1) at Soldier Field. The Bears have an identical record, but have been criticized and questioned whether they are a legitimate 7-1 team because of the “softness” of their schedule to date.
The good news for Chicago fans is the Bears are tough. They have the premier defense in the NFL, and they are capable of dominating a game. I’m not saying Chicago will dominate the Texans; however, I do believe Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Julius Peppers and Charles “Peanut” Tillman will be up for the challenge when the Texans come calling. This is an opportunity for the Bears to quiet some of their critics and prove they are a legitimate 8-1 team after they defeat the Texans in front of a national audience this Sunday (Nov. 11) night.
Tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 8) night’s game features the Indianapolis Colts against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Colts are playing inspired football in response to their Head Coach Chuck Pagano’s battle against leukemia. The Jaguars are playing as if they have expired. I’m taking the Colts.
Looking at the rest of the Sunday games, I like the Ravens at home over the Oakland Raiders. Peyton Manning has found a new home in Denver and is proving he still has some football left in him. This week, the Carolina Panthers will be charged with stopping him and his Broncos teammates. That’s too big of a task for the Panthers. The Broncos will prevail and pick up another win for Manning.
The other Manning who still has plenty of football left is Peyton’s younger brother, Eli Manning. He will try to lead his Giants back from a rough loss last week against the Steelers. This week, the Giants are in Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Look for the Giants to bounce back with a vengeance and destroy the Bengals.
The Tennessee Titans were destroyed last week by the Bears. This week, they travel to Miami. I don’t think they lose as badly as they did last week, but it will still be a loss. I like the Dolphins to win at home.
The Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots are two more teams that should benefit from playing at home this week. The Vikings host the Detroit Lions and should come away with a win. The Buffalo Bills have to play the Patriots on their turf. Look for New England to make the home crowd happy and pick up the win.
A game that should be entertaining to watch has the Atlanta Falcons flying into New Orleans to take on the Saints. The Falcons are one of the elite teams in the league. The Saints used to be in that category, but have fallen on some tough times recently. I think the Falcons will remain undefeated and prove why they are worthy of that elite status.
The San Diego Chargers will have to leave the sunny skies of southern California and travel all the way across the country to the sunny skies of northern Florida to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I look for the Chargers to win the “We Have Better Weather Than You” bowl.
The New York Jets are another team that will have to travel all the way across the country to play their game. They will be on the West Coast to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle definitely benefits from playing in front of the home crowd. For that reason alone, I’m picking them.
I don’t particularly like the Dallas Cowboys or the Philadelphia Eagles, but since I have to pick one of them to win, I’ll take Dallas. Mainly because the Eagles seem to be in total disarray, and I like Tony Romo way more than I do Michael Vick.
One of the easiest picks for me this week is the San Francisco 49ers over the St. Louis Rams. Not only is San Fran at home, they are the far superior team, in my opinion.
The other easy pick for me is the Monday night game. The Pittsburgh Steelers have a home game against one of the weakest teams in the league. Look for the Kansas City Chiefs to get either thoroughly embarrassed and/or annihilated in front of a national television audience.
Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington have the week off.
Last week, I was 9-4 with the Monday night game still to be played at press time. I took New Orleans in that game. My season record has improved to 80-50.
From the Nov. 7-13, 2012, issue