By Doug Halberstadt
Another week of the 2012 NFL season goes into the record books, and it’s now official: there will be not be an undefeated team this year. The New Orleans Saints knocked off the Atlanta Falcons 31-27 and ruined the Falcons’ chance at a perfect 16-0 record. The Falcons will try to regroup and start another winning streak this week when they take on the Arizona Cardinals. I like the Falcons in this battle of the birds.
The Saints should be able to pick up another win this week and make it three straight wins. This time, they go on the road to face the Oakland Raiders.
The Thursday night (Nov. 15) game features the Miami Dolphins at the Buffalo Bills. Both teams are coming off losses last week. Even though the Bills have the home-field advantage in this game, I’m picking the Dolphins.
The other team from Florida, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also have to go on the road. They will be in Carolina to take on the Panthers. Like the Dolphins, I think they’ll overcome the disadvantage of being the visitors and hand the Panthers another loss.
The Dallas Cowboys are still trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. They beat the Eagles last week and should be able to pick up another win this week when they host the Cleveland Browns.
Packers fans will get a chance to watch Aaron Rodgers go on the road and try to pick apart the defense of division foe Detroit. The Lions are in the same division as Green Bay, but not in the same league. Look for the Pack to prevail.
Another week equals another loss for the Kansas City Chiefs. They have the second-worst record in the league (1-7) at press time. They played in the Monday night game against the Steelers, and if they lose that game, they will be tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the league’s worst record. This week, they host the Cincinnati Bengals. Put a check mark in the win column for the Bengals.
Both teams have 6-3 records. This week they square off against each other. The Indianapolis Colts will be in New England to tackle the Patriots. I like the way the Colts are playing these days, but in a match-up of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck versus veteran and Hall of Fame-bound Tom Brady, I have to go with Brady and the Patriots.
Last week, the St. Louis Rams played to a tie with the San Francisco Giants. This week, their game won’t end in a tie. They host the New York Jets. I look for the Rams to take advantage of the chaos that’s surrounding the Jets. The Rams will win.
The Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles are two teams with more questions than answers. Will Michael Vick recover from his concussion and be ready to start this week? Is Robert Griffin III the real deal? This week, they will have the opportunity to quiz one another in the capital. I think the home field will make the difference for the Redskins.
There’s no question in Denver, Peyton Manning is the real deal. This week, the Broncos are hosting the San Diego Chargers. I look for Manning to continue his honeymoon in Denver and add another win to the Broncos’ record.
The rivalry that has developed between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers has become one of the best in the NFL. These two teams always play tough against one another, and I get the feeling they genuinely don’t like each other. The game is in Pittsburgh. I’m going to go with the visitors.
The Texans will return to Houston this week. They welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to town. The Jaguars own the league’s worst record (1-8), and they won’t stand a chance against the Texans. Look for Houston to improve to 9-1 and the Jaguars to have the exact opposite record.
The Chicago Bears will have to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Monday night game. Both starting quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Alex Smith, suffered concussions in their games last week. It’s not known whether either one will be back on the field for the Monday night game. Both teams may end up relying on their defenses to pick up the slack. With that in mind, I’m giving the edge to Chicago. Look for the Bears to win in another low-scoring game.
Last week, I was 6-5-1. The Monday night game was still undecided at press time. I took the Steelers over the Chiefs in that game.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Nov. 14-20, 2012, issue