Washington VS Carolina –
The John Beck era officially begins in Washington this weekend as they take on Carolina and rookie sensation Cam Newton. While Newton has put up outstanding numbers, they haven’t led to the wins that the Panthers were hoping for. Washington is going to look to pound the ball with their three-headed running back monster of Tim Hightower, Ryan Torrain and Roy Helu. 4 out of Carolina’s 5 losses have been by 7 points or less and I like Carolina to win this one 20-13.
Seattle VS Cleveland –
Mike Holmgren faces his former team for the first time, albeit in a different position. The status of running back Peyton Hillis is uncertain for the game (Madden curse anyone?), but Montario Hardesty should fill in just fine. Colt McCoy will continue to look the way of Greg Little and exploit the Seattle secondary. The Cleveland defense is better than advertised, especially the secondary, so if they can shut down Marshawn Lynch, I think Cleveland takes this one 17-13.
Atlanta VS Detroit –
Atlanta got back on the winning path last week against Carolina and Detroit suffered their first loss of the year at the hands of the 49ers. Two key players for both teams will be inactive this game: Julio Jones of the Falcons and Jahvid Best of the Lions. The Lions will look for Maurice Morris and Keiland Williams to change up the pace for the Lions on the ground. Harry Douglas will look to fill the void left by Jones for the Falcons. In what could be a shootout, look for Michael Turner to have a huge day. I’m taking the Falcons 35-32.
Denver VS Miami –
The good news for Miami is that they sold an additional 20,000 tickets for this game in the past week and a half. The bad news, it’s so the fans can see the visiting quarterback. That’s right, the Tim Tebow era has officially began in Denver. Tebow, returning home to his college stomping grounds, will look to silence the critics and prove to his coach John Fox why he was the man for the job the whole time. Plus, Miami is just horrible. Denver wins this one, 24-10
San Diego VS NY Jets –
San Diego is coming fresh off the bye week which they needed desperately. New York ended their three-game skid on Monday night with a victory against the Dolphins. Early word out of San Diego is that Antonio Gates looked good in practice and is anticipating playing for the Chargers. While the Jets ended their skid last week, they still didn’t look that impressive against the ‘Phins. I picked San Diego to make the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year and I’m not jumping off their ship yet. San Diego wins this one 20-14.
Chicago VS Tampa Bay –
Ah yes, the annual London Game for the NFL (which I despise). I think the novelty of the idea has worn off and I can only pray Goodell doesn’t actually put a franchise in London. Chicago looked impressive against the Vikings last week, but then again, besides the Cardinals, who doesn’t? The offensive line gave Jay Cutler plenty of time in the pocket and he took advantage of it. However, Tampa Bay is on a roll with a huge win against the Saints last week. Tampa’s defense is too quick and explosive for the shaky Bears o-line to handle. Look for Adrian Claybourn to have a field day. Tampa Bay wins this one 31-17.
Houston VS Tennessee –
I wonder how many people actually realize that Tennessee is in first place. With the Peyton Manningless Colts struggling as they are, one of these two teams are going to take the division. The question is which? Tennessee has lost its number one receiver for the year in Kenny Britt. Rumors are swirling that they may take a flier on Terrell Owens in the coming weeks. Tennessee, is last in football in rushing (they just signed Chris Johnson to that huge contract). The Texans have struggled since the injuries to Andre Johnson and Mario Williams. I think Johnson has his breakout game that fantasy owners everywhere have been waiting for. Look for the Titans to win 28-21.
Pittsburgh VS Arizona –
There is still no team that we know less about in the league than the Steelers. Their 4-2 record is very misleading and they have taken some steps back. James Harrison and Aaron Smith still aren’t available and Maurkice Pouncey is expected to play. For the Cardinals, they are coming off a bye week after getting smoked by the Vikings (yes those Vikings) and are looking to rebound and win this Super Bowl rematch. The Steelers have a history of playing to the level of their opponent, that’s why I think this will be a close game. Larry Fitzgerald will have 120 yards and two touchdowns, but it won’t be enough as the Steelers win this game 27-24 on a last second field goal by Shuwn Suisham.
Kansas City VS Oakland –
Oakland made an Al Davis type move in acquiring the retired Carson Palmer from the Bengals for a 2012 first-round and a 2013 second-round (could turn into a first-round) pick as their quarterback Jason Campbell broke his collarbone. Palmer, who still hasn’t been announced as the starter but he is better than Kyle Boller, will look to relive the years of 2005-2007. If he does this, the Raiders could continue their playoff push. However, if he looks like the 2008-2010 edition, then Raiders’ fans will continue to question the move their front office makes. Kansas City is off their bye week and are hoping to save their season with a win against their rival this week. Oakland is favored by 10 points, but these games are always closer than people think. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs pull an upset, but I’m taking the Raiders 27-21.
St. Louis VS Dallas –
St. Louis is looking to showcase their newly acquired wide receiver Brandon Lloyd and try to win their first game of the season. Dallas is coming off another heartbreaking loss against the Patriots making it 14 straight games decided by four points of less. Take a minute and let that soak in….14 straight. However, Dallas WILL break that streak this week and Tony Romo will have his best game of the season. Dallas wins big 42-17.
Green Bay VS Minnesota –
Lucky me, I get to rip Minnesota for the third time in this post. They drafted Christian Ponder 12th overall out of Florida State in this years draft. Congrats kid, you get to make your starting debut against the 6-0 reigning champion Packers. I don’t care if it’s a rivalry and if it’s at Minnesota, it’s going to be the blowout of the week. Minnesota is very bad and will be for a long time. Green Bay wins this one 45-10.
Indianapolis VS New Orleans –
I feel bad for the NFL schedule makers. This will mark three times in four weeks that the Colts will be on primetime. If I had a vote, I would make Peyton Manning my MVP right now for this season. No other player in the league has as much impact on his team when injured. New Orleans is coming off a loss to Tampa Bay and will gain confidence as they steamroll the Colts. New Orleans wins this one as Mark Ingram has his best game as a pro, 28-7.
Baltimore VS Jacksonville –
The Ravens are looking for real this season and I put them just behind the Patriots as the second best team in the AFC. Jacksonville hung in there against Pittsburgh last week and will be looking to make this a trap game for the Ravens. However, with the explosive talent on offense in Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin and the stars at all three levels of the defense in Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, this Ravens team will be too much for Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew to handle. The Ravens win this one 27-14.
About the Author
Written by Michael Waterloo
I'm currently pursuing my Master's degree in Communication and Journalism from Clarion University. I currently work for Ohio Valley Athletics where I serve as the West Virginia Football Beat Writer and cover West Virginia Men's Basketball as well. I'm a big Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pitt Panthers and Oregon Ducks fan. Follow me on Twitter at @MichaelWaterloo or visit www.ovathletics.com