By Doug Halberstadt
As the National Football League enters week No. 6, there is good news for Chicago Bears fans. Tomorrow night (Thursday, Oct. 10), Chicago hosts the New York Giants at Soldier Field. The once-mighty Giants have yet to win a game this season. They are 0-5, and I see no reason they’ll turn things around against the Bears. Chicago will improve to 4-2 and the Giants will fall to 0-6.
Sunday’s (Oct. 13) games include some good competitive matchups, and then some real clunkers. The two most noticeable lopsided matchups are the Oakland Raiders at the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and the winless Jacksonville Jaguars trying to upset the red-hot Peyton Manning and his 5-0 Broncos. Something pretty drastic would have to happen for the Raiders or the Jaguars to win. Look for K.C. and Denver to stay perfect.
On the competitive side of that ledger, I like Drew Brees and the Saints to maintain their 5-0 record as well, but they’ll have a much tougher time in doing so. The Saints travel to New England to face Tom Brady and the Patriots. This should be the game of the week. It will probably be a high-scoring affair, and I think that favors New Orleans.
Next Monday night’s (Oct. 14) game is another one with the potential to be very entertaining. It features two more quarterbacks capable of putting up lots of points — Andrew Luck and his Colts will be visiting Phillip Rivers and his Chargers in San Diego. Offenses tend to rise to the occasion during the nationally-televised Monday night game. This will be a perfect stage for the two QBs to strut their stuff. I like Luck’s supporting cast better than Rivers’. I’m taking the Colts in a shootout.
Green Bay will be in Baltimore Sunday to face the Ravens. The Packers should make it two wins in a row and defeat the Ravens.
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Vikings are coming off their bye week and host the Carolina Panthers. The Vikings will be well rested and shouldn’t have any trouble knocking off the Panthers in Minneapolis. The Detroit Lions have to go to the dog pound in Cleveland to meet the Browns. Last week, the Lions were without their star wide receiver, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, and lost a division game to the Packers. At press time, Johnson’s status for the game against Cleveland is uncertain. I don’t think it really matters; I like the Browns at home, with or without Johnson in the Lions’ lineup.
Last week, the Bengals beat the Patriots. This week, Cincinnati faces the Bills in Buffalo. I think the Bengals are one of the more improved teams in the entire league. I don’t see them losing to the Bills.
The Philadelphia Eagles got back into the win column last week. They will be looking for two in a row when they travel south to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers had a bye last week. Even though they’ll be well rested, and the Eagles might be without Michael Vick under center because of a hamstring injury suffered last week, I’m taking the Eagles on the road in a minor upset.
The Houston Texans were embarrassed in last Sunday night’s game against the 49ers. This week, they are back at home and have the St. Louis Rams as their opponent. This should be exactly what the Texans need to get things back on track. I’m taking Houston at home.
The Steelers will be in New York against the Jets. The Jets are one of the really bad teams in the league. The Steelers aren’t as formidable as they once were, but I’m pretty certain they still have enough to get by the Jets.
The best home-field advantage in the league belongs to the Seattle Seahawks. They welcome the Tennessee Titans to town. Both teams are coming off losses. The famous 12th man should be the difference in this game. I’m taking the Seahawks by a touchdown.
San Francisco is at home for the second week straight. Last week, they demolished the Texans. This week, their victim will be the Arizona Cardinals. I can’t say they’ll win by four touchdowns like they did over the Texans, but I do think it will be by double digits.
Despite a record-breaking performance from Tony Romo, the Cowboys suffered a gut-wrenching last-second loss to the Denver Broncos last week in Dallas. This week, they’re at home again. This week, they’ll be looking to take out some of that frustration on their division rivals, the Washington Redskins. I don’t think there’s any way possible they’ll lose this one. I’m not saying it’s a lock, but it’s pretty close.
Last week, I was 11-3 heading into the Monday night game. I took Atlanta over the Jets (results unavailable at press time). If the Falcons do win, the 12-3 record will be my best since I went 12-4 in week two.
From the Oct. 9-15, 2013, issue