Saturday, March 8, 2014
COLTS (6-3) at PATRIOTS (6-3), 4:25 p.m.
This one got a Game of the Week sniff. Teams have won seven in a row between them, and Tom Brady vs. Andrew Luck feels special, somehow. Very much like Pats to win at home, but also like rejuvenated Indy to keep it close. Although trading for CB Aqib Talib will help, New England's pass defense has allowed 19 touchdowns, and Luck-to-Reggie Wayne can do a little damage.
Prediction: Patriots, 34-27.
JETS (3-6) at RAMS (3-5-1), 1 p.m.
The Dog panel looked at this game the way a buzzard looks at a road-killed possum. The tumultuous, bickering, reeling Jets are facing a fourth loss in a row -- especially if that 30th-ranked run defense can't stop Steven Jackson. Hey, sometimes you make a pick just because, you know? Sometimes nothing is telling you it's right except that strong gut feeling that just won't go away.
Prediction: Jets, 24-23.
EAGLES (3-6) at REDSKINS (3-6), 1 p.m.
Philly has lost five in a row, and now rookie QB Nick Foles is all but certain to make his maiden start because of Michael Vick's concussion. The thing is, Washington isn't in much better shape, with three consecutive L's, a 1-3 home record and a near-putrid pass defense. Eagles need a spark, and it says here Foles could be it.
Prediction: Eagles, 24-20.
JAGUARS (1-8) at TEXANS (8-1), 1 p.m.
Dog honors go to the worst matchup of the week, and normally we target two bad teams jousting, but in this case we opt for sheer lopsidedness. The very bad Jaguars and the very good Texans present an extreme talent contrast seldom witnessed. Houston beat Jacksonville 27-7 in September and will dominate again, although I think I'll accept the offer of those two-TD-plus points, thanks. Texans are coming off that big, emotional showdown win at Chicago, face a natural letdown and will be on autopilot in this one.
Prediction: Texans, 24-10.
CARDINALS (4-5) at FALCONS (8-1), 1 p.m.
Atlanta lost its perfectness to Saints last week, and now the Falcons will be after The Big Rebound. Atlanta last lost consecutive regular-season games in December 2009, and Matt Ryan's 30-4 is the best home record by a QB in the Super Bowl era. Reeling Cardinals are OK on defense but just don't have the offensive pop to hang in this game.
Prediction: Falcons, 31-16.
BROWNS (2-7) at COWBOYS (4-5), 1 p.m.
Cleveland coming off bye is offset by the fact Browns have lost 11 games in a row on the road, and the offense has produced only one TD in the past two games. Cowboys need to get on a roll and climb into playoff hunt to save Jason Garrett's job and cannot afford to let this one slip. Garrett could only be more under the gun if Mike Holmgren and Jon Gruden were lurking over his shoulder on the sideline like vultures.
Prediction: Cowboys, 28-17.
PACKERS (6-3) at LIONS (4-5), 1 p.m.
Home teams almost always have a big shot in a division rivalry, and Lions are no exception here, but all indicators are aimed squarely at the Packers. Green Bay is 11-1 in this series under Mike McCarthy and is coming off a bye. Packers have some key injuries (Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson), but in what should be a shootout, I'll take Aaron Rodgers just about every time.
Prediction: Packers, 34-28.
BENGALS (4-5) at CHIEFS (1-8), 1 p.m.
Despite playing Pittsburgh tough last week, the Chiefs have reeked to six consecutive losses by a combined score of 157-78 and are 0-4 at Arrowhead, which officially is denuded as a scary place to play. KC is way due, though, and inconsistent Cincy figures to be overconfident and thinking it is better than it is after whippin' the Giants last week. I'll play this one safe, but be on Upset Alert.
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