By Doug Halberstadt
Making my weekly picks is far more enjoyable following a good week. Last week, I was 12-2 with only the Monday night game to be played at press time. I took Seattle over Washington in that game. This was my best week of the season so far.
Trying to stay on a roll, I’m taking Houston at home over the Indianapolis Colts in tomorrow night’s game (Thursday, Oct. 9). Both teams are 3-2.
The Bears are on a roll as well. They’ve lost two in a row, and are now 2-3. They face the Falcons (2-3) in Atlanta on Sunday (Oct. 12). The Falcons have lost their last two as well. If they were only playing the first half, I’d take Chicago. The problem for the Bears is, they’ve self-destructed during the second half of their last two games. My confidence in this team has been shaken. I’m going with the Falcons at home.
The Cleveland Browns (2-2) are coming off a miraculous comeback victory over the Tennessee Titans. This week, they host the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2). The Steelers knocked off the Jaguars last week. Pittsburgh has yet to win back-to-back games this year. I look for that to change this week. The Steelers will advance to 4-2 and Cleveland will fall to 2-3.
Green Bay (3-2) travels to Miami (2-2) this week. The Dolphins are coming off a bye week. The Packers haven’t played since their win over the Vikings on Thursday night, Oct. 2. Both teams are healthy and well rested. The Packers have looked good in their last two games against divisional opponents. I look for them to defeat the Dolphins and win their third straight.
The Vikings (2-3) and the Lions (3-2) meet one another in an important divisional game. Both teams are coming off losses. The Lions have the better offensive weapons and will outscore the Vikings and come away with the win.
Speaking of offensive weapons, Peyton Manning may be the best of them all. His Broncos are 3-1 and are in New York to face the Jets (1-4). The Jets have lost four straight and won’t break that streak against Denver. The Broncos will improve to 4-1, and the Jets will drop their fifth in a row.
Another team looking to avoid picking up their fifth loss is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4). They host the Baltimore Ravens (3-2). Tampa is coming off a back-breaking overtime loss against the Saints. I think that game took a lot of steam out of them. It will be tough for them to bounce back. I like Baltimore.
Between them, they’ve played 10 games so far this season. Their combined record is 1-9. The Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) go on the road to visit the Tennessee Titans (1-4). The Titans should have won last week. They gave up a huge lead to the Browns and ended up losing by a point, 29-28. This week, they should get back in the win column. I don’t see the Jaguars picking up their first win of the year on the road. They’ll fall to 0-6.
The other winless team in the NFL is the Oakland Raiders (0-4), and they host one of the better teams in the league, the San Diego Chargers (4-1). That’s not good for the silver and black. They’ll keep the Jaguars company in the cellar and fall to 0-5.
The game of the week features the resurgent Dallas Cowboys (4-1) against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. Dallas has won four in a row. Seattle is nearly impossible to beat at home with their famous “12th Man.” I look for Seattle to put a stop to the Cowboys’ winning streak.
New England (3-2) looks to be back on the right track following their win over the Bengals last week. They are in Buffalo (3-2) this week. Look for the Patriots to make it two in a row and improve to 4-2.
The Bengals (3-1) fell from the ranks of the undefeated last week when they lost to the Patriots. This week, they host the Carolina Panthers (3-2). Look for the striped cats to prevail in this one and get back in the win column.
The Arizona Cardinals (3-1) are the other team that fell from the undefeated. They lost on the road to the Broncos. This week, they’re back at home against the Redskins. Like the Bengals, I look for Arizona to bounce back and pick up the win.
The Sunday night game should be another good one. The Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) host the New York Giants (3-2). Eli Manning has led his team to three straight wins following an 0-2 start. The Eagles are off to their best start in decades. They are 3-0 at home this season. Look for the Philly faithful to cheer their team on to another win and drop the G-Men to 3-3.
On Monday night, the San Francisco 49ers (3-2) will be in St. Louis (1-3) to battle the Rams. This one could end up being a blowout. I look for the 49ers to have a huge game. I don’t see the Rams being able to match them. I’m taking San Fran by double digits.
Kansas City and New Orleans are the teams with byes this week.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 8-14, 2014, issue