By Doug Halberstadt
The bye week for the Chicago Bears could not have come at a better time. With Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman all suffering game-ending injuries in last week’s contest, the added time off to heal up before their Monday night (Nov. 4) game against the Packers in Green Bay is precisely what the doctor ordered.
Green Bay should end up leading the NFC North following this Sunday’s (Oct. 27) visit to Minnesota and the Cowboys’ trip to Detroit. The Packers will defeat the Vikings, and I look for Dallas to prove to the Lions that they really are the “Big D.”
The Thursday (Oct.24) game has the Carolina Panthers in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers haven’t won a game this year (0-6), and the Panthers are starting to heat up. Cam Newton has led them to victories in their last two games to even their record at 3-3. The Panthers should move to a game above .500, and the Bucs will fall to 0-7.
The pursuit of perfection is still the goal of the Kansas City Chiefs. They’ll be going for eight straight wins to start the season this week. They host the Cleveland Browns, and should be successful in their pursuit.
I’m taking the Patriots and the Saints to win this week. They both have home games against lesser teams. The Patriots will hand the Dolphins their fourth-straight loss, and the Saints will drop the Buffalo Bills to 3-5.
In the NFC East, the New York Giants travel to Philadelphia. The Eagles lost another quarterback in last week’s loss to their other division rival, the Cowboys. Despite the Giants’ troubles this year, I think they’ll ground the Eagles.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the worst record in the NFL. They are 0-7 and have to face the San Francisco 49ers this week. The 49ers have won four straight and should have no problem making it five in a row in handing the Jags their eighth-straight defeat.
Oakland is at home against the Steelers. Both teams are 2-4 and are mere shadows of the forces they once were. Despite having home-field advantage, I think Oakland will fall to 2-5 and Pittsburgh will improve to 3-4.
They’ve won three in a row, they lead the AFC North with a 5-2 record, and this week they play the Jets in Cincinnati. I like the Bengals in this one.
Robert Griffin III and his Washington Redskins scored 45 points against Chicago last week. They’ll probably need at least that many, if not more, to beat the Broncos in Denver this week. I don’t think RGIII can duplicate that kind of performance in back-to-back weeks. I’m taking Denver to stay perfect at Mile High this year.
It’s a battle of the birds in the desert this week when the Falcons invade the nest of the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona is 3-4 and Atlanta is 2-4. When this one’s over, they both should have three wins — the only difference will be the Cardinals will have another loss on their record.
In an NFC West match-up, the division-leading Seahawks travel to St. Louis for the Monday night (Oct. 28) game. Seattle is 6-1, and one of the elite teams in the league this season. The Rams are 3-4 and no real match for the superior Seahawks. Look for the Rams to drop even further back in the standings, as Seattle improves to 7-1.
Joining Chicago on a bye week are the Titans, Colts, Chargers, Ravens and Texans.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 23-29, 2013, issue