Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Affiliated Sites | Home RSS

Return to reality just what the doctor ordered after improbable Week 2 run

Armchair Quarterback

September 29, 2011
The Mining Journal

At least I got one thing right last week. After going 15-1 two weeks ago based on a whole bunch of last-minute games going my way, I stated here a week ago that I was worried the law of averages would swing back and whack me in the face.

It sure did.

Monday night's pick of Washington was a microcosm of my week. Despite not scoring a touchdown, Dallas kicked the winning field goal in the last two minutes to send me reeling to a 7-9 week.

So it's back to reality, back to checking the Internet for new injuries and now-healed players.

With that, here goes:

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Detroit at Dallas - Who are the real Lions, last week's first-half stinkers or the second-half comeback kids?

I have this drumbeat going on in the back of my mind that NFL analysts used to always trot out in Week 4: "If a team shouldn't be 4-0, they won't be 4-0." And invariably, 3-0 pretenders would become 3-1.

The best redeeming feature to the Lions season so far was Week 1, when they went on the road and beat Tampa Bay, which has won its other two games.

With all the injury problems the mistake-prone Cowboys have, I'm willing to go another week and watch Detroit become one of those 4-0 teams, so it's Lions, 27-24.

Washington at St. Louis - If Washington had won Monday, they'd be my pick as 3-0 team not worthy to become 4-0. But they got a wakeup call in Dallas. Redskins, 31-14.

Buffalo at Cincinnati - At least all the smart preseason analysis predicted the Lions' improvement.

Who would've believed Buffalo as the only 3-0 team in the AFC when Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, the Jets, and, thanks to the Bills, New England aren't?

As weak as the Bengals are, however, unless it's revealed on Saturday that Buffalo has been spending this week drinking gin martinis and carousing till all hours of the night, I've gotta take the Bills, 35-17.

Minnesota at Kansas City - The Vikings have won the first-half NFL championship this year - "first half" meaning the first and second quarters. They've outscored their opponents 54-7 before intermission, but have yet to win.

This time they hold on in the second half, with the Chiefs getting stopped at the Minnesota 1 as the final gun goes off. Vikings, 34-28.

Carolina at Chicago - One of the many teams that burned me last week, I way underestimated Carolina and overestimated their opponent, Jacksonville. Chicago is the more desperate of these 1-2 teams, so I'll take the Bears, 28-19.

Tennessee at Cleveland - This is the kind of game that killed me last week: a slightly better team on the road in a game I don't care much about.

Is either team going to win the Super Bowl? No way. Will they even make the playoffs? Likely not. But I still have to pick it. Titans, 23-13.

Pittsburgh at Houston - This is more like it - two playoff contenders.

And a tale of teams going in opposite directions, Houston on the rise and the Steelers falling. Since I was so full of hot air last week, I'll take the rising team. Texans, 23-20.

New Orleans at Jacksonville - New Orleans being much better in the Superdome won't change my pick, only the point margin. Saints, 37-26.

San Francisco at Philadelphia - The 49ers have the better record, 2-1 vs. 1-2. But I'm wholly unimpressed with their bottom-feeder wins over Cincinnati and Seattle. And this is two weeks in a row that San Fran has come east. Eagles, 30-20.

Sunday, 4 p.m.

Denver at Green Bay - Denver has played three close games so far, going 1-2. But they haven't played a team anywhere near the quality of Green Bay, even with the Packers missing several starters like Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins and possibly running back Ryan Grant and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga.

The scare two weeks ago in Carolina and coming home gives Green Bay a decided advantage. Packers, 35-17.

N.Y. Giants at Arizona - The other New York team didn't look so good going west to Oakland last week. Cardinals, 22-20.

Atlanta at Seattle - Maybe it was true that the NFL was considering a Pluto-like demotion for Seattle if they hadn't won last week.

You know, the Seahawks would become a "minor" franchise since they're already the planet furthest from the center of the NFL solar system. No such threats now. Falcons, 40-23.

New England at Oakland - Oakland has the 28th-ranked pass defense after playing the Jets, Buffalo and Denver, teams not known for high-powered offenses.

The question may not be whether New England QB Tom Brady passes for 500 yards, but whether he makes it to 600. Patriots, 45-37.

Miami at San Diego - San Diego's mistakes won't hurt if the Dolphins can't make any points out of them. Chargers, 21-9.

Sunday, 8 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Baltimore - The Jets have been a great playoff team the past few years. But it's still the regular season. Ravens, 24-14.


Indianapolis at Tampa Bay - Even if the punchless Colts can muster a lead for the second straight week, Tampa is a professional comeback team. Buccaneers, 20-13.

Last week - 7-9, 44 percent. Season, 34-14, 71 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web