|The Super Bowl XLIV rematch|
won't be nearly as exciting.
The big game on the schedule at the start of the season was the Super Bowl XLIV rematch between the Saints and Colts in prime time. Of course, with the Colts as bad as they've been without Peyton Manning, it went from being a great game to another Sunday night sleeper. So one-sided in fact, that it was the clear top pick for the week.
Austen: Sorry everyone for the late response! I will be unbiased despite a lot of these games being already decided.
Austen (Seven-Point Pick) - @New Orleans over Indianapolis
Austen: The Saints are almost unbeatable at home. They are super pissed about losing to the Bucs last week on the road and will come home with a lot of motivation to put a good game together. Also, it does not hurt that the Colts have not won a game yet this season.
Stally: I can't blame you for this one. I was ready to write it down as your pick before I even called.
Stally (Seven-Point Pick) - Green Bay over @Minnesota
Stally: I think the discussion that the Packers could go undefeated is way too early and somewhat farfetched. They're a great team, but they'll lose a few games. However, until they do lose, I don't see any reason not to pick them.
Austen (Six-Point Pick) - Baltimore over @Jacksonville
Austen: The Jags are as bad as I thought they were. Home or on the road, it is a good bet to bet against them, especially playing a talented team like the Ravens. Blaine Gabbert is not going to know what, or who, hit him once this Ravens defense comes after him.
Stally: I have to assume the guy that set the MNF schedule at ESPN must have been told a few days earlier he was being let go and thought it would be funny to pick the worst games available. I mean, we've seen the Dolphins twice, the Broncos, the Rams, the Redskins, now the Jags!? The Ravens did lose by 13 in a road game at Tennessee, but there's a huge disparity in talent between these two teams.
Stally (Six-Point Pick) - Pittsburgh over @Arizona
Stally: This is a similar pick to Austen's last one. There's a bit of unease taking what could be a trap road game against a lousy one-win team, but you can't argue against the differences in talent making it a wise choice.
Austen: The Cardinals are playing worse than I ever thought they could. The Steelers are also playing worse than I ever thought they could. The difference is the Steelers are actually a good team. A long trip to Arizona could be tough on the Steelers, but they have too much talent to struggle against a Cardinals team that seemingly has holes all over the place.
Austen (Five-Point Pick) - @Dallas over St. Louis
Stally: So, you're admitting you think Dallas is a good team that could win the NFC East? I mean, you told me the Giants are a good team because of a home win over the 0-5 Rams. I assume if you're this confident about Dallas, you must think they're good as well, right?
Austen: I'll take a team that beats bad teams over a team that always seems to blow it in critical situations. However, this matchup is too easy for them to screw up.
Stally (Five-Point Pick) - @Cleveland over Seattle
Stally: Seattle is a horrible road team (unless they're playing the below average Giants, of course). I'm not a huge Browns fan, but there are a lot of coin toss games this week and this is one I feel confident taking.
Austen: Obviously this one worked out for Stally, but barely. The Browns won the worst game of the week 6-3, despite having not one but two field goals blocked. Stally slipped away with these five points, but it was closer than either one of us had thought it would be.
Austen (Four-Point Pick) - @Oakland over Kansas City
Stally: I'll stay away from the messy situation of Oakland's quarterback. They should be able to stay with or in front of the Chiefs throughout, which will allow them to utilize Darren McFadden. If they fall behind, however, they're not making a comeback.
Austen: Nice call! The Raiders are behind and they look to have no chance to catch up.
Stally (Four-Point Pick) - Chicago over @Tampa Bay
Stally: I'm never big on the Bears, but there always comes a point in most seasons when I say: "You know what? This team's better than I give them credit for." I think I've reached that point. Matt Forte has to be one of the most versatile running backs out there and should cause Tampa Bay some trouble, while the defense should shut down Josh Freeman and a mediocre Bucs offense.
Austen: The Bucs looked great last week against the Saints at home, but this clearly was not a good matchup for them. They only ended up losing by 6 points, but the game was never that close. Their defense went back to looking terrible and Josh Freeman looked as confused as ever, throwing 4 interceptions. I thought Chicago would win, but I did not expect the Bucs to look this bad.
Austen (Three-Point Pick) - @Detroit over Atlanta
Austen: This was a toss up to me, but the Falcons are such a bad road team, and they have been so inconsistent in general, I had to side with the surprisingly good Lions. Losing Jahvid Best clearly had an effect on this game since Atlanta never had to respect the run game as a threat. I was not a big fan of this pick, and it clearly wasn't the right choice.
Stally: I'm taking Atlanta. The running back situation is kind of a mess in Detroit between Jahvid Best being out and Jerome Harrison being traded, diagnosed with a brain tumor, getting returned and needing immediate surgery. I think the Lions early season roar might be quieting a little.
Austen: Once again you nailed the issue right on the head and that's why you get another upset win.
Stally (Three-Point Pick) - Denver over @Miami
Stally: According to a recent poll on taken by the Stubborn OXen, four of four poll takers said the Dolphins are the worst team in the league. They might be more likely to go 0-16 than the Packers to go 16-0. I'll keep picking against them, even against the Broncos!
Austen: I was so close to getting this upset! Had the Dolphins not totally melted down in the last 5 minutes of the game, they would have easily taken this one. Tim Tebow had 40 passing yards until then, but a great drive followed by a successful onside kick finished off with another touchdown and 2 point conversion took this game into overtime. The Dolphins had clearly already check out and quickly fumbled the ball over to the Broncos in field goal range. The Dolphins are a mess and they should end up with Andrew Luck, unless he stays at Stanford for his senior year.
Austen (Two-Point Pick) - @Carolina over Washington
Austen: Cam Newton is playing too well for Washington to keep up with him. John Beck should not be starting for a college team let alone an NFL team and there is no way he can match a shoot out with Newton. I see the Redskins completely falling apart the rest of the season.
Stally: I'll give the Panthers this: they're the best one-win team in the league. I also think that the Redskins are the worst three-win team in the league, so I can buy that they both might equate to two-win teams and the Panthers should win this game at home.
Stally (Two-Point Pick) - San Diego over @New York-J
Stally: I'm not a biased hater from New England. I just don't like the Jets. I think they're a borderline playoff team and that the Chargers are much better. I almost wanted to let this one slide to force Austen to pick between logic and fandom, but I wanted the two-points for the win.
Austen: My faith in the Jets has been wavering a bit, but I still think they are a playoff team and to prove that they had to beat the Chargers at home. Phillip Rivers has been mediocre all season and I had to believe they would get it done after their first bye week against the Dolphins last week. I was unable to get this out on time because I was at the game today, and it was definitely worth it to see my Jets bounce back from yet another slow start.
Austen (One-Point Pick) - @Tennessee over Houston
Austen: Boy oh boy was I wrong about this game. The Texans have come out flat the last couple of games and I thought they would continue the trend against a surprisingly solid Titans team. However, Arian Foster had his way this the Titans defense and Chris Johnson failed to do anything once again. I do not understand at all how poorly Johnson is playing, but I really hope he has not given up on football after getting the huge contract he desired. He is such an exciting player to watch and it hurts the entire NFL to lose his explosive play.
Stally: So, this is the battle for the division, huh? The Titans are better than we expected they'd be, especially Austen (I said they'd be 8-8, he said 6-10). The fact they're the favorite to win the game and take control of the division over the favored Texans makes this a fun game in which to pay attention.
Keep in mind that due to bye weeks, Stally doesn't get a one-point pick. Austen won't get one next week, so it all works out!
Seattle @ Cleveland - 1 p.m.
Atlanta @ Detroit - 1 p.m.
Houston @ Tennessee - 1 p.m.
Denver @ Miami - 1 p.m.
San Diego @ New York-J - 1 p.m.
Stally: San Diego
Austen: New York-J
Chicago @ Tampa Bay - 1 p.m.
Washington @ Carolina - 1 p.m.
Kansas City @ Oakland - 4:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh @ Arizona - 4:05 p.m.
St. Louis @ Dallas - 4:15 p.m.
Green Bay @ Minnesota - 4:15 p.m.
Stally: Green Bay
Austen: Green Bay
Indianapolis @ New Orleans - 8:20 p.m.
Stally: New Orleans
Austen: New Orleans
Baltimore @ Jacksonville - 8:30 p.m.