Last Week: 8-6 Overall: 784-52
Indianapolis 24, Tennessee 12
Geez, it was only a few weeks ago that this had the makings of a pretty decent matchup. Then what happens? The Colts get blasted at home by the Rams and the Titans give up a victory to a Jaguars squad that would struggle in the Southeastern Conference. Injuries are playing a role on both teams, obviously, but those are losses that just can't happen. The problem is, the Titans simply aren't any good without Jake Locker.
Sunday, Nov. 17
Chicago 15, Baltimore 14
Somebody put out an A.P.B for Ray Rice, because the dude hasn't been seen on a football field since last season. The Super Bowl champs have turned into the chumps in a hurry. Sure, Baltimore found a way to beat the Bengals in overtime, but did you see the Hail Mary it gave up at the end of regulation? That's just pitiful. Jay Cutler is out with an injury, which seems to be a yearly occurrence. Still, Josh McCown gets it done.
Oakland 9, Houston 7
Two teams going in the same direction ... nowhere. The Raiders I can understand because they've been a comedy of errors for some time now (I thought it was supposed to get better without the late Al Davis in charge?) The Texans, on the other hand, are a bit more complex. I don't want to kick a guy while he's down, but what shred of evidence has suggested Gary Kubiak has the necessary killer instinct to lead a team to a championship? It sure doesn't help that Arian Foster is finished for the season.
N.Y. Jets 23, Buffalo 14
How top heavy is the AFC, you ask? Consider that the Jets, at a robust 4-5, are holding down the second wild-card spot. The first wild card belongs to Denver (8-1). What I saw of the Bills last week is a team that's lack of a clue is only trumped by an overall lack of talent. New York, no matter how it does it, should get to .500 with a victory here.
Atlanta 6, Tampa Bay 3
The Buccaneers hadn't quite finished celebrating their first victory Monday night when they found out their second-string running back, Mike James, is joining their starter, Doug Martin on the sideline. That leaves Brian Leonard, a career fullback, as No. 1 on their depth chart, followed by Western Kentucky grad Bobby Rainey. Uh, yeah. The Falcons are equally terrible, but still have more weapons.
Pittsburgh 26, Detroit 21
Megawho? Megatron? Never heard of the guy. Oh, you mean Calvin Johnson. Well, Mr. No. 81, meet Swag. Aka Ike T. Squared. Aka the Louisiana Lafayette Larcenist. All Ike Taylor does (usually) is shut down the other team's top receiver. Don't take my word for it, but look at the numbers. Nate Washington (46 yards, 0TDs), A.J. Green (41 yards, 0Tds), Brandon Marshall (52 yards, 0Tds), Jeremy Kerley (19 yards, 0TDs), Torrey Smith (61 yards, 0TDs), Denarius Moore (32 yards, 0TDs), Stevie Johnson (48 yards, 0TDs). Yes I concede that he did have a bad day against Minnesota and the entire secondary got lit up by New England, but this is the kind of matchup Ike lives for.
Philadelphia 34, Washington 33
With Dallas on its bye week, a victory against the Redskins would put the Eagles all alone atop the NFC East ... at 6-5. At what point does anyone stop talking about that being the best division in football? Have we (excluding ESPN who continues to slobber all over it) already reached that point? Remember what happened when these teams met in the opener? The Redskins had to score 13 second-half points just to get it down to a 33-27 loss. Expect more of the same as Nick Foles may have found himself a permanent gig as Philadelphia's starting QB.
Cleveland 15, Cincinnati 14
Can they both lose? Please? You have to give the Browns credit as they looked pretty good against what has turned into an overrated bye week team. Just kidding. But, if you're a Steelers fan, you begrudgingly root for the Browns to muddle the North even more. The Bengals seemed to think all offseason they had a star at quarterback, but the only thing shining so far is Andy Dalton's hair.
Arizona 22, Jacksonville 6
So Ben Roethlisberger wants to go to Arizona and reunite with former offensive coordinator and now Cardinals coach Bruce Arians? B.A. only wishes. What a bunch of gibberish. Although, I wouldn't blame him for trying considering Larry Fitzgerald has basically been rendered useless since Kurt Warner retired. Luckily the Cardinals probably won't even need him in this one.
San Diego 22, Miami 10
I can't really put a finger on why, but for some reason the Chargers are having a roller coaster of a season. Losses to Houston, Oakland and Washington are unexplainable, but then there are victories against Philadelphia, Dallas and the Colts, and they hung in with Denver. Philip Rivers is having what many consider a career season, yet they still sit at 4-5. The Dolphins just lost to the Yuckaneers. Enough said.
Seattle 35, Minnesota 14
Starting with this week and going down the Seahawks' remaining schedule, there's not much reason to think they can't finish at 15-1. There is a road game at San Francisco, but the Niners haven't shown the offensive firepower they did a season ago. Other than Adrian Peterson, who hasn't had the type of season expected thanks in large part to there being no passing game of which to speak, and Jared Allen saying he wants to stay, there isn't much going for the Vikings.
New Orleans 33
San Francisco 17
We're about to get a good look at who is a contender, and who is a pretender. There aren't many worse places to go for a struggling offense than the Super Dome, which is as loud a venue as there is. Hand signals will be a must, so the 49ers had better be on their game. Everyone wants to talk about Peyton Manning for MVP, but what about Drew Brees?
N.Y. Giants 20, Green Bay 19
One elite quarterback isn't playing and the other isn't playing like he's elite. Yet still we're subjected to this game in the 4 p.m. ''showcase'' window. Seriously, and not being facetious, there is nothing attractive whatsoever about this contest. Unless, of course, you're the parents of Scott Tolzein. Don't ask.
Denver 41, Kansas City 21
Speaking of contenders and pretenders, the Chiefs are about to get an old-fashioned butt whipping. No more undefeated season, and no more leading the AFC West. I'm certainly not sold on the Broncos past the regular season, but how can you be impressed by a Kansas City team that has beaten something like 43 second-string QBs?
Carolina 25, New England 13
In case you haven't been paying attention, the Panthers are on fire. They're 6-3 and a game out of first in an NFC South that is admittedly top heavy. One thing we know about the Panthers is they will be physical. Conversely, we all know the pretty-boy Patriots don't exactly like being punched in the mouth. This is a tough call, but ... .
Shawn Rine can be reached via email at email@example.com