We're nearing the halfway point in the NFL season this week, with some teams halfway through their schedule. At this point in the year, we have a pretty good picture of who the good teams are, who the bad teams are, and who might get the first pick in next year's draft (Oakland, anyone? Jacksonville maybe?). There are some important divisional games this week that may have big playoff implications. How will they play out? This is how I see it:
Detroit and Atlanta at London. The Lions are playing very good football this year, and the Falcons are terrible on the road. I think Detroit has the edge in this game, with or without Calvin Johnson. Wake up early if you have him on your fantasy teams though; this game starts at 9:30 East Coast Time and he's a game time decision. I'm picking Detroit to win this one, 28-24.
St. Louis at Kansas City. The Rams upset the Seahawks last week (although I wasn't surprised a bit). This week, they won't be as lucky. The Chiefs are playing some good football this year, and the Rams are very hit or miss. I think they run out of luck in KC, and the Chiefs win, 21-14. This should be a relatively low-scoring affair.
Houston at Tennessee. This game is 6th round pick Zach Mettenberger's (yes, I spelled that right) first career NFL start. I think that he's one of the better QBs in this year's draft class (Jimmy Garoppolo might be the best of them all). The Houston Texans are starting.....someone? Ryan Fitzpatrick, a former 7th round draft pick. This game proves that late round picks can make an impact in the NFL. I'm picking Fitzpatrick and the Texans in this game though, since the Titans are a team in turmoil. Final score, Houston 6, Tennessee 2.
Minnesota at Tampa Bay. I can't think of anything exciting to make this game less boring. Oh yeah, there's a rookie QB starting this game too, Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy sends Tampa back to the drawing board, and the Vikings win all day without AP. Final score, Minnesota 28, Tampa Bay 21.
Seattle at Carolina. The Seahawks lost a game they should have won last week. They won't do the same this week. I expect Doug Baldwin to do well, but his numbers will come down a bit after last week's breakout game. Final score, Seattle 35, Carolina 28.
Baltimore at Cincinnati. The Bengals don't lose games at home. They tie. Coming off of a rough couple of games, I expect the Bengals to take out their anger on a divisional opponent, beating Baltimore in Cincinnati. They've played well without AJ Green before this season, and they'll do so again this week. Final score, Cincinnati 28, Baltimore 27.
Miami at Jacksonville. Jacksonville starts a winning streak and beats the Miami Dolphins this week. Hey, it's a boring game and I had to think of something to say. Go Jaguars! Final score, Jacksonville 16, Miami 14.
Chicago at New England. New England doesn't lose at home, and the Bears are who we thought they were. The Patriots won't let them off the hook. If you want to crown Cutler, then crown him, but Jay Cutler is an elite QB in paycheck and fantasy only. Hit him once and he'll run crying for the bench. This team is in-fighting, and the Patriots are picking up steam. The Bears are who we thought they were, and the Patriots are going to beat them, avenging their Superbowl 20 loss with a score of 46-10. Bill Belichick talks about the Superbowl Shuffle in his post-game news conference, proving that he has both a soul and a sense of humor.
Sports give us as the human race something to cheer for and support and give hope to all of us.