|Who wins this round of Ryan vs. Belichick? (Getty)|
Austen is hoping that Stally stumbles with some of his picks for the second straight week to turn the blog back into a competition. Meanwhile, Stally is hoping to recover after last week's debacle to try to start putting it out of reach.
We did promise that Nick Haskell would weigh in with the Las Vegas take, as he's on The Strip this weekend. However, he never got his analysis to us, so it'll be the standard look this weekend.
Stally (Eight-Point Pick) - @Green Bay over Minnesota
Stally: I'm back to taking the undefeated team to win each week. This being a home game, I think they'll control a far inferior Minnesota team.
Austen: Christian Ponder is probably going to tear up a Green Bay defense that has really struggled to stop the pass, but would anyone bet on Ponder beating Aaron Rodgers in a shootout? I don't think so.
Austen (Eight-Point Pick) - @Philadelphia over Arizona
Austen: The Eagles are at home in yet another must win game for them. This time they are luckily facing the struggling Cardinals. I said last week that John Skelton might be a better quarterback than Kevin Kolb, but that does not mean he makes this team as good as the Eagles. As much as I hate them, I cannot see the Eagles screwing up so badly they lose to this team.
Stally: I think the Cards are just awful and you have to assume the Eagles will take care of business. If they don't, it's time we all accept that Philly won't ever live up to the team we thought it would be.
Stally (Seven-Point Pick) - Houston over @Tampa Bay
Stally: I have some reservations taking Houston on the road against a Bucs team that isn't good, but always capable of a good game. However, I think we're getting to the point now where the Texans might be the AFC's best team.
Austen: The Bucs are so desperate along their defensive line that they claimed Albert Haynesworth off the waivers. That is bad news considering they are not only facing possibly the best running back in the league, Arian Foster (yeah, I think he might be better than Adrian Peterson), but also a young star in Ben Tate. These two backs should have a huge day and control the game for the Texans. However, with the Bucs, you never know when their offense is going to explode and have a huge day, but I do not see this being the day against the Texans top ranked defense.
Stally: See? What did I say to Fisch before the year started about Arian Foster being better than Adrian Peterson? Haha. Given it was because I wanted his to draft Foster first so I could draft AP second, but maybe i was on to something.
Austen (Seven-Point Pick) - Baltimore over @Seattle
Austen: If the Ravens lose this game after sweeping the Steelers, I will officially stop even commenting on this team because it is so hard to get a read on how talented they are. However, they should be able to win this game simply on relying on their defense to shutdown just about everything the atrocious Seahawks' offense throws at them. This should be a blow out. I see the Ravens defense scoring more points than the Seahawks offense, but then again you never know.
Stally: I agree. I can't see the Seahawks even scoring double digits in points. I'd expect they might hit a few field goals, but not much else.
Stally (Six-Point Pick) - @San Diego over Oakland
Stally: This game's gone final (on Thursday) and San Diego lost. I took them because road teams always struggle on Thursday's and I thought the absence of Darren McFadden would really hurt the Raiders. I also thought San Diego was the better team, but evidently that was incorrect.
Austen: I had the Chargers in this game because I thought Carson Palmer did not have a big game in him quite yet. However, it was Palmer, not Phillip Rivers, who made the plays that he needed to help his team win this game. Michael Bush played like an all star with well over 200 total yards and made it easy for Palmer. The Chargers' pass rush was nonexistent and Palmer had all day in the pocket to tear up this defense. I've said all along I thought the Raiders were a playoff team and this game showed they are legit.
Austen (Six-Point Pick) - @Kansas City over Denver
Austen: It is hard to put any faith into a team that got blown out by the Dolphins at home last week, but I think the Chiefs have what it takes to slow down Tim Tebow. The Broncos' defense is terrible and Matt Cassel and Jackie Battle should have solid enough days to take care of the Broncos, but you never know what team will show up with either of these teams.
Stally: I've said for a long time now: the Chiefs lose the games should win and win the games they should lose. Tebow might not be cut out long term for the NFL, but he can be dangerous if he gets it going and I'm taking the Broncos in this one. I think you spend way too many confidence points to take Kansas City.
Stally (Five-Point Pick) - Pittsburgh over @Cincinnati
Stally: This is a big test for a Bengals team that people, like myself, think have benefited from an easy schedule. I don't think they're nearly as good as Pittsburgh, but who knows, I thought the Giants would struggle once they hit the crux of their schedule and they beat the Pats last weekend in New England.
Austen: I think this will be a close game, but I think these two teams split games this season and I think the Bengals will come out on top of a close one. I don't have any real logic on this one, but I think Andy Dalton plays more efficiently than Ben Roethlisberger and that will be the difference in this game.
Austen (Five-Point Pick) - Jacksonville over @Indianapolis
Austen: I am going to keep betting on the Colts to stay winless. The Jags defense is playing very well and I see MJD having a big day for the Jags, or at least big enough for them to win this game. In a week with very even matchups, the Colts continuing to losing is the best bet left on the table.
Stally (Four-Point Pick) - @Dallas over Buffalo
Stally: I think the dream is about over for Buffalo. Dallas also seems to be quite good at home and this was the last game of the week that I didn't feel like was more or less just a coin flip.
Austen: I like the Cowboys in this game, but I think the Bills offense could have a very good day against a very weak Dallas secondary. Rob Ryan will throw a lot of blitzes at Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I think he will beat the blitz more often than not. I think it will be closer than you might expect.
Austen (Four-Point Pick) - @Chicago over Detroit
Austen: The Bears are extremely pissed about losing to the Lions earlier this season. The Lions are completely unable to run the ball without Jahvid Best and that allows the Bears to really get after Matthew Stafford. The biggest change in the matchup from last time is that the Bears offensive line looked great last week against a very talented Eagles defensive line. I think the Bears are going to get rolling and knock the Lions out of the playoffs.
Stally: I jumped on the Bears last week and was rewarded by a win on the road in Philadelphia. I've doubted this team for too long and they usually prove me wrong. I think it's only fair for me to be on their bandwagon earlier than later.
Stally (Three-Point Pick) - @Atlanta over New Orleans
Stally: Of all the games remaining, I could most justify this one. Atlanta plays well at home, New Orleans struggles on the road and they're on similar levels to one another. I'll take the Falcons at home.
Austen: I am sticking with the Saints despite their recent struggles. I know Matt Ryan is almost unbeatable at home, but the Saints are still a tough matchup for the Falcons to defend against. I see the Saints coming from behind to win a close one.
Austen (Three-Point Pick) - @New York-J over New England
Austen: I am going to this game and the only reason I bought tickets at the last moment is because the Patriots have looked so bad the last few weeks. If they are ever going to turn it around, it will probably be against the Jets, but I do not see their problems being fixed enough to come out on top of this game. I see Rex Ryan's defense making Tom Brady very uncomfortable and continuing his frustration.
Stally: I'm so disenfranchised by the Patriots right now that I didn't have much interest in taking this game. Of course, I'll take New England to win the even matchup out of faith to the team, but they haven't looked good. With both teams at 5-3, this is a crucial game for each. I think 10-6 is going to take this division over a 9-7 team and whichever team wins this one should be the 10-6; the loser will be the 9-7.
Stally (Two-Point Pick) - @Miami over Washington
Stally: Miami has been playing better lately and that came to fruition last week in a 31-3 win over Kansas City. I thought they'd be a good choice since they're the home team. Austen reminded me after that they barely ever win at home. What the heck!?
Austen: The Dolphins are terrible at home, but the recent change back to quarterback Rex Grossman shows me that the Shanahans have no idea what they are doing with their quarterback situation. I was going to take the Redskins before the quarterback change, but that makes me have to bet on a Dolphins team that looked great last week.
Austen (Two-Point Pick) - St. Louis over @Cleveland
Austen: Cleveland's offense has scored 28 points in their last three games. That is horrendous. No Peyton Hillis means this team will continue their losing streak.
Stally: It's also worth noting that St. Louis finally looks somewhat competent. They're far short of the preseason expectations, but the young team is finally starting to play better.
Stally (One-Point Pick) - Tennessee over @Carolina
Stally: I still have some faith in the Titans. I think this is the kind of game they should win because I think they're the better team.
Austen: I continue to think the Titans are mediocre and I think Cam Newton makes the plays to win this one at home.
Austen (One-Point Pick) - New York-G over @San Francisco
Austen: I know Stally left me this one on purpose because he knew I could not resist the Giants with the final pick. This will be a very close game and a win would mean much more for the Giants than it would for the 49ers, who almost already have their division locked up. I think the Giants stay hot and win a close one because their offense is simply much better than the 49ers offense.
Stally: The 49ers are good, but I can't believe they're 7-1. That's nutty. This Giants team showed me a lot last week in its resilience to beat New England in Foxborough. I'm also taking New York, but, considering I let this game go to the bottom, I obviously can see the Niners winning.
Oakland @ San Diego - Thurs
Stally: San Diego
Austen: San Diego
New Orleans @ Atlanta - Sun, 1 p.m.
Austen: New Orleans
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati - Sun, 1 p.m.
St. Louis @ Cleveland - Sun, 1 p.m.
Stally: St. Louis
Austen: St. Louis
Buffalo @ Dallas - Sun, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis - Sun, 1 p.m.
Denver @ Kansas City - Sun, 1 p.m.
Austen: Kansas City
Washington @ Miami - Sun, 1 p.m.
Arizona @ Philadelphia - Sun, 1 p.m.
Stally: PhiladelphiaAusten: Philadelphia
Houston @ Tampa Bay - Sun, 1 p.m.
Tennessee @ Carolina - Sun, 1 p.m.
Baltimore @ Seattle - Sun, 4:05 p.m.
Detroit @ Chicago - Sun, 4:15 p.m.
New York-G @ San Francisco - Sun, 4:15 p.m.
Stally: New York-G
Austen: New York-G
New England @ New York-J - Sun, 8:20 p.m.
Stally: New England
Austen: New York-J
Minnesota @ Green Bay - Mon, 8:30 p.m.
Stally: Green BayAusten: Green Bay