Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans. This is an odd game to pick. Both teams will have rookie QBs starting for them, and one team (Houston) is having its playoff cherry burst. I think this will come down to which QB is playing the best. I like Cincy’s Andy Dalton more than T.J. Yates because of his consistency. Yates stunk it up the last few quarters he played before sustaining an injury vs. the Titans. Bengals fans should be rejoicing at the end of this game. Bengals 17, Texans 13.
Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints. I love this matchup, and NBC must be loving this matchup. Two teams who can score a lot of points, and two defenses who cannot stop a nosebleed. As good a story as the Lions were (nice to have my back on picking you to make the playoffs fellas!), the Saints are just too good and too hungry. It will be good early, but kinda one-sided in the end. Saints 45, Lions 34.
Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants. These are two teams with a lot to prove. The Falcons want to prove that they are not a one-hit wonder from last regular season’s success. The Giants want to prove that the experts should not bury them just yet. I have the Giants winning this one, only because they are at home and the play to the level of their competition. This will probably be the best game of the weekend. Giants 20, Falcons 17.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos. On paper my Steelers should wallop the Broncos – even in Mile High. Notice I said “on paper”. QB Ben Roethlisberger is hobbled by a sprained ankle (why he played against Cleveland I will never know), free safety Ryan Clark is out because of a sickle-cell ailment in high altitude, and now their running backs coach was severely burned in a house fire. However, the Broncos should go down. Tim Tebow is only completing 41% of its passes, and the Steelers’ #1 defense should and will give the Denver offense problems. That said, this will be closer than people think. My Steelers are not that great on the road in terms of scoring lots of points, and the Broncos still have one of the best home-field advantages in all of sports. Steelers 17, Broncos 9.
Last week’s record: 12-3
2011 regular season record: 156-75