Thursday, May 23, 2013
SAINTS (0-3) at PACKERS (1-2), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Sure, Giants-Eagles had support from the conservative wing of the Game of the Week committee, but the fact the Saints and Packers are stunningly a combined 1-5 is what lends the intrigue here. Extenuating circumstances have rocked both of these erstwhile NFC powers, with New Orleans decimated by the Bountygate punishment and the Packers flat-out jobbed by the replacement officials in that Monday night travesty.
Prediction: Packers, 34-30
REDSKINS (1-2) at BUCCANEERS (1-2), 4:25 p.m.
Outlook: Tampa's 3-point favorite's role rests largely on the fact it has won six in a row at home over Skins, but I see that as a law-of-averages thing ready to swing the other way rather than as a trend you'd saddle up with any confidence. Both teams have putrid pass defenses, so give me Robert Griffin III over Josh Freeman to better take advantage.
Prediction: Redskins, 24-20
BENGALS (2-1) at JAGUARS (1-2), 4:05 p.m.
Outlook: Real Dog game of Week 4 probably was Browns-Ravens on Thursday. There isn't a proper awful matchup left so we'll take this one by default as simply largely uninteresting even though both teams are coming off wins. Jags are 7-2 all time at home in this series, but Bengals arrive as clearly the better all-round squad. See a big day for Andy Dalton-to-A.J. Green.
Prediction: Bengals, 27-17
PANTHERS (1-2) at FALCONS (3-0), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Falcons are bubbling with confidence these days behind a very hot Matt Ryan and a defense that already has forced a league-high 11 turnovers. Atlanta also has won four in a row in this series. But Panthers have had lots of prep time after losing a week ago Thursday so give 'em a big chance to cover here if Cam Newton gets his head right, bounces back and avoids picks.
Prediction: Falcons, 30-21
PATRIOTS (1-2) at BILLS (2-1), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Here's one of nine Sunday division games, so it might bear mulling that Pats have best division mark in NFL (.783) since 2002 realignment -- buoyed by a 21-2 run against Buffalo -- while Bills have lost 21 of past 25 to AFC East foes. I'm just sayin'. Pats won't lose a third consecutive game. Bills likely missing RB C.J. Spiller makes me that much more sure. By the way, I'm taking up a collection to help Bill Belichick pay that 50K fine for grabbing a fake ref. Who's in? (Awkward pause) Nobody!?
Prediction: Patriots, 31-23
VIKINGS (2-1) at LIONS (1-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Motown QB Matthew Stafford (questionable; hip) appears likely to play so our pick will assume that. Make it a venue call shaped by too much Lions offense as Detroit wins a fourth game in row in this series for first time since 1961-63. Chance Vikes to keep it close, though. Any team good enough to beat San Fran has my attention.
Prediction: Lions, 27-24
CHARGERS (2-1) at CHIEFS (1-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: This one settled in as the season's first pick-'em game after San Diego opened as slight favorite. Part of that is that Chargers and KC both are inconsistent squads capable of wild swings. Unpredictable, in other words. Well, when in doubt, stay home. Give me Jamaal Charles and that Chiefs ground game.
Prediction: Chiefs, 28-27
SEAHAWKS (2-1) at RAMS (1-2), 1 p.m.
Outlook: Wouldn't it be fast-acting karma if Seattle lost this game after being the beneficiary of Monday night's officiating debacle and Big Cheat by WR Golden Tate? Pete Carroll is probably the only coach who didn't want the real refs back. An upset could happen; Rams are improved. But I'd not bet on it.
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