By Doug Halberstadt
Four of the six remaining games on the Chicago Bears’ schedule are on the road. This Sunday (Nov. 24) they’re in St. Louis to face the Rams. Chicago is tied with Detroit for the lead in the NFC North Division. Both teams have 6-4 records, but Detroit holds the tie-breakers. It’s imperative for the Bears to win this road game to keep pace with the Lions. Detroit plays the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Motor City and shouldn’t have any problem disposing of the Bucs. I’m predicting both the Lions and Bears will come away from this week’s action with 7-4 records.
The other two teams in the NFC North, Green Bay and Minnesota, will square off against one another at Lambeau Field. Both teams have struggled recently. The Packers have lost three straight since starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with a collar bone injury. The Vikings haven’t won a game on the road this season — they’re 0-5 away from home. That should play into the favor of the Pack. I’m taking Green Bay at home, and they should end their losing streak at three.
Tomorrow night (Thursday, Nov. 21) in Atlanta, the New Orleans Saints will play the Falcons. Atlanta is one of the biggest disappointments in the league this season. They were a pre-season favorite to challenge the Saints in the NFC South. That hasn’t happened. The Saints are 8-2, and the Falcons are 2-8. When this one’s over, the Saints will improve to 9-2, and the Falcons will fall to 2-9.
Another divisional match-up has the Steelers visiting the Browns. Both teams are chasing the Bengals in the AFC North. The Steelers were impressive in their come-from-behind win against the Lions last week. The Browns lost to the Bengals last week. I like the Steelers with a bit of momentum on their side. Look for them to get another win this Sunday.
After losing to Chicago in overtime last week, the Baltimore Ravens are at home this week to host the New York Jets. I’m taking Joe Flacco to lead his Ravens back into the win column.
The resurgent Carolina Panthers travel south to face the Miami Dolphins. Cam Newton has guided the Panthers to five straight wins (at press time). That could rise to seven in a row (if they beat New England Nov. 18) and after they beat Miami this week.
Between them, they only have three wins all season. This week, they battle one another. The Houston Texans (2-8) will have home-field advantage when they welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) to town. I’ll take the Texans in this battle of the bad.
Another game that features two teams with losing records is the Titans (4-6) versus the Raiders (4-6) in Oakland. I’ve had some trouble picking the Raiders this year. I can’t seem to get them right. My gut says go with them at home this week. I’m going with my gut.
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts head out to Arizona to meet the Cardinals. Arizona has won their last three. I think that streak will come to an end. I’m giving the edge to the Colts.
Things looked pretty dismal for the New York Giants after they started the season with six straight losses. Things have done a 180 for them. They’ve put together a four-game winning streak. This week, they’re at home against division rival the Dallas Cowboys. To me, this game is a toss-up. They faced one another in Dallas in the season-opener. The Cowboys prevailed 36-31 in that one. I think it will be another close one with the same outcome. I’ll take the Cowboys.
The Chiefs return to Kansas City this week to host the Chargers. San Diego has dropped three in a row and has fallen to 4-6 on the season. The Chiefs have proven they are one of the elite teams in the league this year. The cream will continue to rise to the top. I like K.C.
Speaking of elite teams, the Broncos and the Patriots will do battle in Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. With Peyton Manning and Tom Brady calling the signals, this should be an offensive clinic. The Broncos are averaging close to 40 points per game. That should be plenty to knock off the home team. I’m going with the Broncos.
The Monday night (Nov. 25) game is in our nation’s capital. The San Francisco 49ers will try to hand the Redskins their eighth loss of the year. The 49ers have dropped two in a row, and need to get things back on track if they have any hopes of making the playoffs. They should be able to get by Washington. I’m taking the visitors.
Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Seattle all have a bye this week.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Nov. 20-26, 2013, issue