By Doug Halberstadt
I hate picking against the Bears, but I have to this week. Following last week’s dismal performance against the Detroit Lions from both the offense and the defense, I think the Bears are facing the real possibility of back-to-back losses. This week, they have to face the New Orleans Saints. Even though the game is in Soldier Field, I think Saints quarterback Drew Brees will find a way to exploit the holes in Chicago’s defense and lead New Orleans to another win.
Green Bay will be back in action after their bye week. They host the Detroit Lions. Not too many people around the league would believe the Packers are the team heading into this game with only one win, and the Lions are 3-1. I think the off week was exactly what the Packers needed and will come back with a vengeance against the Lions and pick up the win in front of the Green Bay faithful.
Tomorrow night’s (Thursday, Oct. 3) game has the Buffalo Bills paying a visit to the Cleveland Browns. Both teams are 2-2. I like the Browns’ chances of defending their home turf and improving to 3-2.
Ohio’s other professional team, the Cincinnati Bengals, also have a home game. They host the New England Patriots. The Bengals are 2-0 at home so far this year. Neither of those wins was against a team the same caliber as the Patriots. I’m taking Tom Brady and his fellow Pats to hand the Bengals their first home loss of the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are off to a 0-4 start this year. Make it 0-5 after they drop another one this week. The St. Louis Rams are the home team and will be the recipient of the Jaguars’ total ineptitude.
Another team off to an unimpressive winless start is the New York Giants. They’ve been outscored 69-7 in their last two games. They’ll continue to struggle this week when the Philadelphia Eagles come calling. I know it doesn’t seem right, but I think the once mighty G-Men will fall to 0-5.
Miami is another team that should be able to take advantage of playing at home. They face the Baltimore Ravens this week. It’s pretty clear the Ravens are a shell of the team they were last year when they won the Super Bowl. It’s also pretty clear the Dolphins are a much better team than they were a year ago. I’m going with the Dolphins over the Ravens.
One of the surprise teams in the league this year is the 4-0 Kansas City Chiefs. The combination of quarterback Alex Smith and Head Coach Andy Reid has proven to be a winning one. This week, they’re on the road against the Tennessee Titans. I think the Chiefs will come out on top again and keep their perfect record intact.
The two other teams looking to go to 5-0 are the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. If they are to stay perfect, they’ll have to win on the road also. The Broncos are in Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The Seahawks travel to Indianapolis to challenge the Colts. I think both games should be competitive, but I do believe the Broncos and the Seahawks will keep pace with the Chiefs and stay undefeated.
The Arizona Cardinals have a home game against the Carolina Panthers. Arizona has one win at home, and the Panthers haven’t won a road game yet this season. That should add up to a win for the Cardinals.
The Chargers will be playing in California this week, but it won’t be in San Diego. They’re up in Oakland to take on the Raiders. Last week, I said the Raiders weren’t as bad as their record indicated. I was wrong, they are. This should be an easy win for the Chargers.
Across the bay, the San Francisco 49ers will be hosting the Houston Texans in the Sunday night game. This is one of the games I think could easily go either way. I think it depends on which quarterback makes the fewest mistakes. I think Colin Kaepernick will win that battle and lead his 49ers to victory.
The Atlanta Falcons will be playing their second consecutive home game in prime time. This week, they’ve got the Jets coming to town. Unlike last week, this game won’t be close. The Falcons will be the ones flying high, and the Jets will be the ones grounded when this one is done. I like the Falcons by double digits.
The Vikings, Steelers, Buccaneers and the Redskins all have a bye this week.
Last week, I was 8-6 following Sunday’s games. I took the Saints over the Dolphins in the Monday night game (results of the Monday night game were unavailable at press time).
From the Oct. 2-8, 2013, issue