Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears
When Jay Cutler was in Denver, fans used to insist that he was going to be the next John Elway. Stan from South Park was a little more accurate: “you kinda suck, but my dad says you might be good some day.” He can pull off amazing plays now and again, and he makes you wonder why he can’t make great plays all the time, because he looks so effortless in doing it. Bears fans cringe every time he drops back, hoping for the best but bracing themselves for the worst. Every drop back is an adventure. Washington fans only have to worry about the FG unit adventures. Redskins.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins
The Steelers weaknesses on defense are passes to tight ends, running backs, and non-starting wide receivers. Miami isn’t equipped to take advantage on any of those fronts. Sorry Dolphin fans, but it’s going to be a rough week. Steelers.
Cleveland Browns @ New Orleans Saints
*yawn* Saints. Huh, oh, what, did I yawn? No, that was analysis. *yawn*
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs play a Trent Edwards led Jacksonville team this week, and Buffalo next week. I wish the Redskins could play a schedule half this easy. Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers
In a week with many mis-matched games that are sure to be blow-outs, this is a pretty even matchup, but for all the wrong reasons. Pick the 49ers to win this cover-your-eyes matchup.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Tennessee Titans
Kerry Collins is starting this game for the Titans. Pick the Eagles and change the channel.
Buffalo Bills @ Baltimore Ravens
For years everybody thought the Bills sucked, even though they won 6-7 games per year. I guess that’s what happens when you play in the AFC East. This year, they are suddenly playing as poorly as everybody thought they have been for years. This is one reason why I wish we had relegation in the NFL—I don’t think anyone could argue they’d rather see the Bills than the Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes. Pick the Ravens in a bloodbath.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Atlanta Falcons
I want to root for Chad Ochocinco. He’s a real guy with a real personality and a good sense of humor. But then he changed his Facebook avatar to a picture of him completely naked, and holding a football to just barely cover up his Brett Favre. Atlanta is one of the best in the league at stopping an opponent’s #2 receiver, and one of the worst at stopping #1 receivers. So depending on how you rank Ochocinco and T.O., one of them is likely to have a big game in the stats. The Falcons are still a much better team and will win anyway.
St. Louis Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A battle of two improving teams who used to be terrible, but who are still pretty bad. The Rams defense is pretty decent at stopping the run, and the Bucs offense is terrible at running the ball, so we can just forget about that aspect of the game entirely. The Rams run a balanced offense; they are equally bad running and passing. Fuck it—let’s just say Steven Jackson scores a TD or two and Tampa wins because they’re playing at home.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
Even in the worst of times the AFC West teams engage in intense divisional battles. In the best of times we remember the games for a decade—remember the Dante Hall “joystick” game? Then there’s the Bradlee Van Pelt game, where the kid scored his first and only NFL touchdown on a run out of some ancestor of the modern-day wildcat formation. But in this series, the Broncos have won 8 of the last 10 (or 8 of the last 12, depending on where you want to place your endpoints).
All year I’ve been asking, “instead of Knowshon Moreno and Tim Tebow, wouldn’t you rather have just one guy who’s better than Mario Haggan?” But Haggan should be good enough this week against an improving but still dismal Raiders squad. Broncos.
San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots
It ought to bring joy to the hearts of Bronco fans that A.J. Smith and Norv Turner are still in charge in San Diego. FO writer Bill Barnwell imagines Chargers GM AJ Smith “just turns on Madden and starts a franchise where all he does is turn down trades for Vincent Jackson every week.” Jackson will play his minimum 6 games this year in order to be a free agent next year, but those games don’t start until week 12. The Patriots won’t miss Randy Moss very much at all Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are playing like they suffer from dissociative identity disorder, fluctuating between above-average and awful. The Cardinals are just playing bad. Seahawks, until AZ finds a QB.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys
Everybody’s been talking about how the Cowboys have been beating themselves this year. Monday’s game will be a nice change of pace for Cowboy fans, and they will get to see someone else beat them for a change.
Bonus coverage: read about the ritual Wade Phillips uses each week to pump himself up before each game.