In splitting their first four games the Seahawks have been strong at home, and horrible on the road. This week they are tasked with another road trip into Chicago, with the 12th man forced to stay behind. Making matters worse they are playing in the early game. As of last check Bears QB Jay Cutler is expected to play and the Bears defense is winning games without him even if he is forced to sit again.
So far the Dolphins have been the opposite of the Seahawks, winning on the road and losing at home, while splitting their first four games. When the schedule came out this one did not look good, as the Packers were expected to be one of the top teams in the NFC. However, QB Aaron Rodgers is questionable with a concussion, and the rest of the team is ravaged by injuries. At a certain point a team can no longer compete with so many key players hurt or playing hurt.
Last week the Texans laid an egg at home against the Giants, while the Chiefs played well despite losing on the road to the Colts. The Texans overall are the better team, as the Chiefs a young team on the rise has many lessons to learn before they can be considered a contender. One of those lessons is bouncing back. The Texans on the other hand should know how to do that by now.
Last year in the Wild Card Round, Tom Brady suffered his first home defeat at the hands of the Ravens. The Ravens appear to be a team just hitting its stride, while the Patriots have made a few recent changes at the receiver position. Though Deion Brach and Tom Brady should work together like a pair of old shoes, he is no Randy Moss. Even if Moss and Brady were on the same page the Patriots would have a tough time beating the Ravens defense.
For the first time since being injured in Week 1, Lions QB Matthew Stafford is happy. Happy he does not have to stand in there against the Giants defense. After struggling in the first three weeks, the Giants D has looked like the 2007 edition that won the Super Bowl, as the beat up on Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub. Against Shaun Hill expect more of the same as the Giants win easily.
This is a game that could eat Michael Vick alive inside. Not expected to play the Eagles quarterback who has shown signs of regaining his Pro Bowl form will be forced to watch as his new team faces his old team. Kevin Kolb is not capable of beating the Falcons, who have not clicked on offense yet, but has gotten great defense. Once they start clicking on offense and Matt Ryan gets hot they could soar to great heights, and a win Sunday will bring them to 5-1.
This game should be a test for Browns Coach Eric Mangini. If he starts Rookie QB Colt McCoy he should be fired before the bus leaves on Heinz Field on Sunday. This is a game the Browns have less than zero chance of winning. Ben Roethlisberger is back and the Steelers defense has been dominant. Starting a rookie in his first game against this defense is stupid beyond words.
Last week the Rams played their worst game of the year and were thumped by the Lions. The Chargers another Jeckel and Hyde team lost another game they should have won. A loss here and it could be time to press the panic button in San Diego. However, that won’t be necessary as Phillip Rivers is the leading passer so far in the NFL. The Rams will have trouble containing him, and TE Antonio Gates.
The Saints have been out of sync all season. They are 3-2, but can easily be 1-4 or worse. Drew Brees has yet to get it going and the running game is decimated by injuries. A loss here and a deep hole is starting to appear as they will be behind two teams they have already lost to in their own division. The Bucs are a young team on the rise, and a win here will be a big sign they are for real. However, I think Sunday is a day for Brees and the Saints to get back on track using veteran guile.
The Jets at 4-1 could be vulnerable for the upset as they travel to Denver. However, they have already shown they can win on the road, and can put away bad teams early. The Broncos do not have the personnel to beat the Jets, as they lack a running game, and Kyle Orton has showed he has trouble against attacking defenses. Look for the Jets to swarm and force Orton into a bad day as Jersey takes over Colorado.
This is it. This will be the last time I pick the 49ers to win if they lose again this Sunday. At 0-5 their playoff hopes are all but dead, their QB Alex Smith is hopeless and Mike Singletarry may be the first NFL coach to go postal. However, at home in the battle of the bay their defense should be good enough to carry the day. The Raiders are a team with a number of flaws themselves, and the 49ers just have too much talent to be 0-6.
Speaking of desperate teams take a gander at this one; both teams were expected to be contenders for the Super Bowl and this game was protected by Fox as a potential NFC Championship preview. Instead with both teams at 1-3 it’s a battle for survival. The Vikings may have found something at the end of their game with the Jets last week, despite Brett Favre’s aching elbow. Add a full week of Randy Moss and playing at home they are in the best position to win, while the Cowboys are the portrait of underachievement.
Peyton Manning typical shines brightest under the lights of primetime. With a Sunday Night Game in Washington, expect him to be at his best as he helps the Colts to a solid win over the Redskins, who seem to be skating by the last few weeks on the misfortune of others, as injuries to their opponent opened doors that may otherwise have not be there.
This is an interesting AFC South showdown. Looking at their stats so far they are evenly matched as their entire division is 3-2. Both have defenses that are better than most people know, and both rely heavily on the running game. However, Chris Johnson has not even got started yet this year, and he is due to have a big game. With a Monday Night audience look out for an explosion as the Titans win a close one.