8-5-1. Yeah, I really hate ties. At least, though, unlike Donovan McNabb, I knew ties were possible in National Football League games. But a 6-6 tie is as unlikely as they come and yet because of some kicking issues and some strong defenses, that’s exactly what happened. I should have been 9-5, but I’m moving on.
A lot of teams are on bye this week, which makes each pick just that much more important. I picked the Titans on Thursday night, so I’m 1-0 already, but it only gets tougher from here. That’s because there is one heavyweight clash on deck (Eagles vs. Cowboys) and a lot of relatively equal teams battling it out.
Here are my Ace Picks…
Washington @ CINCINNATI (but really in London) – It doesn’t really matter to me that this game is in London instead of in Cincinnati. Neither team has experience going across the pond, and the Bengals are the better team. I’ll pick the better team 9 times out of 10 to win a contest. Pick: BENGALS (by 7).
New England @ BUFFALO – Too many people are chalking up the Bills win in Foxborough to the lack of Brady in that game, but there was more to it. The Bills didn’t put pressure on in that game, and instead played solid defense against both the pass and the run. Brady himself wasn’t great in the game last week, and I think the Bills play well again in this one, even without Shady. Pick: BILLS (by 1).
NY Jets @ CLEVELAND – So I was suckered into believing that the Browns would win a couple of weeks ago, then they got smoked by Cincinnati last week, but this one matches up well. They’ve got Josh McCown back, who looks like their best bet to try and secure a win, and I think they do, beating a listless Jets squad. Pick: BROWNS (by 3).
Detroit @ HOUSTON – I really want to believe in Brock Osweiler. Maybe it’s because even Houston couldn’t have been stupid enough to pay him that much money without suitable returns. But what I’ve seen of him this year shows me they were that stupid. This is the proving ground. The Lions can be beaten through the air. This one will be close, but a turnover by Osweiler late seals the Texans’ fate. Pick: LIONS (by 3).
Kansas City @ INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts still don’t have a solid offensive line, and the Chiefs can get after the quarterback. That sound like a good combination to you? I thought not. Add to that the dynamic running of Spencer Ware and the poor run defense of the Colts. Yeah, I see no way the Colts take this one. Pick: CHIEFS (by 6).
Oakland @ TAMPA BAY – Just when I start believing in the Raiders they throw up a stinker, then they have a solid win, so now I don’t know what to expect. They should be able to move the ball easily in Tampa Bay, but their defense still is hit-or-miss, which means this one might be high scoring. I trust Carr in a shootout. Pick: RAIDERS (by 3).
Seattle @ NEW ORLEANS – Russell Wilson still isn’t quite right. That Seattle defense hasn’t been dynamic against dynamic offenses (that Atlanta game, anyone?). And this one is in the Big Easy. I like Drew Brees to pick the defense apart, and this one will be closer than anyone seems to think. In fact, I think the Saints take it on a late field goal. Pick: SAINTS (by 3).
Arizona @ CAROLINA – Don’t wake the sleeping beast. That’s good advice, except that I don’t think this Panthers team is just sleeping. I think they’re dead this year, and against quality teams they won’t be able to match up. Arizona still counts as a quality team, and it’s revenge time in Carolina. Pick: CARDINALS (by 4).
San Diego @ DENVER – Didn’t they just do this two weeks ago? Yes, they did. Except no one told the Denver defense to stop Melvin Gordon. I think they load up in this one to limit the run game, Trevor Siemian comes up big against a beatable Chargers secondary, and Devontae Booker has an all-world game. Payback time. Pick: BRONCOS (by 10).
Green Bay @ ATLANTA – No Tevin Coleman, no problem. The Falcons still have Devonta Freeman to keep the defense honest. Yes, I know that Packers defense is rated great against the run, but did you see what Ezekiel Elliott did to them two weeks ago? Freeman will have a similar game against an overrated run defense. Green Bay won’t be able to get on track offensively. Pick: FALCONS (by 3).
Philadelphia @ DALLAS – The Eagles traditionally play the Cowboys well in Big D, and their defense got back on track against the Vikings last week. That’s their calling card. Win the turnover battle, and score on defense and special teams. The Cowboys haven’t had much adversity this season, but they also haven’t played a defense quite like this one. Pick: EAGLES (by 4). Upset Special.
Minnesota @ CHICAGO – Jay Cutler is back, and he’s looking to show that he’s still the best quarterback the Bears have on their roster. I think he gets Alshon Jeffery going again (M.I.A. since Brian Hoyer took over). The problem is that he still has to face that Vikings defense, and they’re angry after that loss to the Eagles last week. They will force a couple of turnovers, which will be the difference. Pick: VIKINGS (by 6).