By Doug Halberstadt
I’m happy the Bears beat the Falcons last week. I’m not happy I haven’t picked them correctly over the past three weeks. This week, they’re back home against the Miami Dolphins. The Bears are 3-3 and Miami is 2-3. The Dolphins suffered a last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers last week. If the Bears can put together another complete game like they did against Atlanta, they shouldn’t have any problem in disposing of the Dolphins. I think Chicago has turned a corner and can now expect to start picking up some much-needed wins. Look for Chicago to come away with a 4-3 record.
Tomorrow night’s game (Thursday, Oct. 16) is an all-east battle featuring the New York Jets (1-5) heading over to Foxboro, Massachusetts, to face the Patriots (4-2). The Patriots turned the corner a couple of weeks ago and are in the process of picking up their string of wins. I look for them to knock off the Jets and win their third straight.
Another East Coast match-up features the battle of the birds when the Baltimore Ravens (4-2) host the Atlanta Falcons (2-4). The Falcons were less than impressive against the Bears last week. The Ravens dominated Tampa Bay in week six. I look for The Ravens to continue their domination and hand the Falcons their fourth-straight loss.
A game that looks very interesting to me is the Detroit Lions (4-2) hosting the New Orleans Saints (2-3). In previous seasons, there would have been no question the Saints would be heavily favored, and I wouldn’t think twice about picking them. This season is different. The Lions have exceeded expectations. Meanwhile, the Saints have been a disappointment to their fans. I’m taking the Lions.
The Packers (4-2) have won three straight and will be back at Lambeau Field this week to welcome the Carolina Panthers (3-2-1) to Green Bay. The Panthers kissed their sister in week six by tying the Bengals. This week won’t be any better. I don’t see them going into Green Bay and coming away with a win. The Pack will get the win and improve to 5-2.
Without their superstar running back Adrian Peterson, the Vikings are a shell of what they had hoped to be this season. The next team to crack that shell will be the Buffalo Bills at home. The Vikings will fall to the bottom of the NFC North with a 2-5 record, and the Bills will improve to 4-3.
The Indianapolis Colts have put together a nice four-game win streak and should make it five straight this week when they host the Cincinnati Bengals (3-1-1).
The lock game of the week is the Cleveland Browns (3-2) over the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6). The Jaguars haven’t beaten anyone this year, and I don’t see them picking up win No. 1 against the Browns.
The other winless team in the league is the Oakland Raiders (0-5). They host the Arizona Cardinals (4-1). Just like the Jaguars, they won’t get their first win this week, either.
A team that looked unbeatable earlier in the year was the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks (3-2). Now, they look vulnerable. They lost in week six at home to the Dallas Cowboys. This week, they hit the road to take on the St. Louis Rams. Despite any vulnerabilities, the Seahawks won’t come up short against the Rams. They’ll win this week.
One of the hottest two teams in the league right now is the Dallas Cowboys (5-1). They have won five straight and are off to their best record in several seasons. This week, they should keep that streak alive when they host the very mediocre New York Giants (3-3). I look for Dallas to make it six straight and drop the Giants to below .500.
San Diego is the other team on fire right now. They, too, are riding a five-game winning streak. If they are going to keep pace with the Cowboys, they’ll have to defend their home turf against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-3). Like Dallas, I think the Chargers will make it six in a row.
Another team that has a streak going is the Washington Redskins (1-5). They’ve lost four in a row and can’t seem to find a win. This week, that losing streak should come to an end. They host the Tennessee Titans (2-4). I look for both of these teams to have identical 2-5 records when this game is done.
History could be made during the Sunday night game when Peyton Manning will try to become the all-time leader in touchdown passes. His Broncos (4-1) will be at home against the San Francisco 49ers. Manning needs three more TD passes to surpass Brett Favre’s record of 508. It will be a nationally televised game and the perfect opportunity for Manning to claim the title of the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes. Oh yeah, his team will win as well. Look for Denver to improve to 5-1.
The Monday night game pits two .500 teams against one another. The Houston Texans (3-3) travel to Pennsylvania to meet up with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3). Both teams lost last week. For some reason, I think J.J. Watt on defense and Arian Foster on offense are more than the Steelers can handle. I like the Texans’ chances of getting back above the .500 mark and knocking Pittsburgh under the 50-50 mark.
Philadelphia and Tampa Bay have the week off.
Last week, I was 9-4-1 heading into the Monday night game. I took the 49ers over the Rams in that game.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Oct. 15-21, 2014, issue