Philadelphia at Detroit
- Favorite: Detroit (via NFLPickWatch.com)
Philadelphia has lost 2 in a row against teams that aren’t exactly heavyweights by league standards. Tampa Bay is improving, but Miami’s been poorly inconsistent. Last week’s brutal, one-sided loss to Tampa Bay caused a typhoon of turmoil for Philadelphia, causing a firestorm of reports and gossip about whether or not Chip Kelly and the Eagles were on each other’s last nerves. One thing’s for sure: if Philadelphia keeps losing, Kelly’s head coaching job likely won’t last past this season.
Detroit’s recent activity has been the opposite. After starting 0-5, they’ve won 3 of the last 5, with a 2 game winning streak against Green Bay and Oakland. They seem to be clicking more as a team, even if they aren’t exactly in playoff form. That might just be enough to keep them from dropping a game at home against a currently featherless Eagles team.
Both teams have a variety of problems, but with Mark Sanchez starting and Philadelphia’s defense fresh off a blowout performance, I think Detroit will make it close enough to win through in the end.
Carolina at Dallas
- Favorite: Carolina
This might be the toughest pick I’ve had all season. Carolina has had a piss-easy schedule all season and Dallas is one of the more complete teams as long as Tony Romo is the starter. Wouldn’t you know, Tony Romo is starting. Decisions, decisions.
On one hand, Carolina has shown to perform well due to an ultra-balanced offensive attack of pass and run. That’s easy with Cam Newton as your quarterback, but nonetheless. The receivers aren’t great, but Greg Olsen is a reliable target and the offensive line is performing very well. Then you have the defense, which has consistently held teams to under 23 points, so offense isn’t entirely needed. They’re also pretty good with takeaways and sacks. They’re 10-0 for a reason.
On the other hand, Dallas is also a very good team. Their record is 3-7, but they’re 3-0 with Romo. Dez Bryant is healthy, Terrance Williams benefited from having Romo back, Jason Witten is still Jason Witten, and that Dallas offensive line. It’ll definitely be a fun game to watch, and their defense doesn’t slack, either. I only wonder how they’ll respond to Carolina’s ground game onslaught.
For the sake of taking chances, I thought long about every scenario possible. In conclusion, I feel more comfortable picking Dallas at home with a healthy Tony Romo than I am with Cam Newton and the Carolina defense. It’s a stretch, but I think it can happen.
Chicago at Green Bay
- Favorite: Green Bay
If this were 2014, or 2013, or 2012, or 2011, or whenever else, I’d pick Green Bay at home no question against Chicago. Now, I’m a little iffy. Chicago has shown that they aren’t exactly a team one can push around, even Green Bay. They’ve improved their play considerably since last season, especially defensively. I really like Chicago’s chances here, but ultimately, it’s still Green Bay’s division, and they showed that against Minnesota on their own turf last Sunday.
Aaron Rodgers’ offensive line has struggled since Denver clobbered them on Sunday Night Football. It was only until last week that the running game could get going, even if Rodgers still faced an enormous amount of pressure. His receivers are lacking, with James Jones and Randall Cobb the only real threats (and Cobb has been inconsistent) in the passing game. I feel this game will be a defensive one, with the turnover battle being a key factor. I expect a lot of sacks and a few interceptions from both sides.
One of the true “rivalry games” in the NFL, it should be a lot more competitive this game than it was in the last few years. I wholly look forward to it, and I’m confident in Green Bay to sweep Chicago in the division.
Winner: Green Bay