Well kids, we have a bye week, so no Pats on the telly. All is not lost however, as there are still some good games on the tube. I almost never make game predictions, but during the bye, I'm willing to make an exception. Also, I'll add a watchability factor of 1 to 5 just for fun (Note: there won't be any 5's because those are reserved for Pats games of course).
Altlanta @ Detroit or Chicago @ Tampa Bay
Four good teams with playoff potential who will be scratching for a Wildcard slot late in the season. These games could help decide who sits home in January.
Atlanta is 3rd in their division and Detroit just slid to 2nd. How Detroit deals with their first defeat last week will tell a lot about them as a team. Look for Detroit to rebound and stay in the hunt for the division. Watchability: 3
Well we found out a lot about Detroit as a team. They're not used to winning. 0/1
Tampa Bay currently has an edge over New Orleans in the South and Chicago is looking to move up in the North. Chicago is 0-2 on the road. Look for Tampa Bay to make the Saints earn the top spot on their own. Watchability: 3
Tampa Bay looked tired and slow. Forte looked like Walter Payton. 0/2
Seattle @ Cleveland
Beats mowing the lawn or raking leaves, but this game has almost no playoff implications at all. Edge to the Browns for home turf. Watchability: 1 (beats the bowling channel)
Snoozer of a game. Browns win the Nyquil bowl. 1/3
Washington @ Carolina
Washington is still a possibility for the playoffs, but the QB situation makes me think they're going to peter out soon. Meanwhile Carolina may just be the best 1-5 team ever. I think the Cats drop the Skins down a game this weekend. Watchability: 2
Cats scratched their way through. 2/4
Denver @ Miami
Two teams fighting for top spot in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes. One's a divisional rival, so it never hurts to peek in on them. Backstory: Florida Gator QB Tim Tebow is being honored during the game in Miami at Sun Life Stadium. He also happens to be the Broncos starting QB. Sun Life Stadium is also home to the U of Miami Hurricanes, who don't really like the Gators all that much. The game is blah, but the drama is high in Miami. Look for this to be Tebow's day in the Sun as the Broncos pick up their second win. Watchability: 2 (1 for the game, 3 for the drama)
Better game than I thought - especially in the 4th quarter. 3/5
Houston @ Tennessee
Divisional game, and those tend make for good football. Winner of this game is top dog in the AFC South. Houston has struggled on the road, and the Titans have been perfect at home this year. Look for Tennessee to stay atop of the South for another week. Watchability: 4
Tennessee was owned. Houston in charge of the division now. 3/6
San Diego @ NY Jets
Two teams that are near and dear to our hearts. Chargers and Raiders are neck and neck and the Bolts can't stand to lose a game right now. That's usually when they do, though. The Jets are a solid 3rd in the Division, and finally stopped their three game slide with a win over the hapless Dolphins. Also the Jets are home, so Fireman Ed will incite the home crowd. I just have a feeling that the Chargers may be too much for the Jets at this point in time. I also like the thought of LdT failing against his old team. Rexy dissed Norv Turner a little at the beginning of the week, and Norv dished a little back. This game could go either way, but I think the Bolts keep control of the West this week. Watchability: 4.5 (best of the early games)
Should have stuck with this:
...the Bolts can't stand to lose a game right now. That's usually when they do, though.
Chargers keep the division lead, though because the Raiders choked at home. 3/7
Later games after the jump.
Pittsburgh @ Arizona
Hard to get excited for this game. Pittsburgh has some flaws in their game but they are simply too much for Arizona no matter where they play. Story line will feature the Super Bowl clash of a few years ago, but Kolb is no Kurt Warner. Pittsburgh will absolutely do their level best to keep the Birds in it until the bitter end, but the Steelers come away with another hardly earned win. Watchability: 1 (Better than watching WE)
Hardly a game. 4/8
Kansas City @ Oakland
Another division game but just barely. KC has done just enough to keep themselves away from the number 1 draft pick. Oakland has played pretty well, but just lost their starting QB for the season. Step in Carson Palmer (for one first round pick and another conditional first), and all of the sudden you have a game that is up for grabs - well maybe a little bit. Game's at Oakland and the team is playing for Al's memory. Top to bottom they're just better than the Chiefs this season. Raiders decide to, "Just win, baby!", and stay on the heels of the Chargers. Watchability: 2 (Poor football alert), 4 if you're, "also a Raider's fan"
Raiders were owned at home. Two QB's with three picks each. How special. 4/9
St, Louis @ Dallas
Dallas is home again after a tough loss to us. Rams are on the road, but it doesn't matter because they've lost every game to date. Dallas has a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot, but they can't hurt themselves enough to lose this game. We see happy Romo playing today. Watchability: 1 (4 if you actually believe the 'Boys are America's Team)
Dallas wins their rebound game. 5/10
Green Bay @ Minnesota
Nobody is hotter than Aaron Rodgers and the Packers right now. After five losses, Minnesota took time to stop and Ponder their quarterback situation. About freaking time. Christian gets his first start at home against the Pack. Good news for him is there's almost no film on him anywhere. Bad news is he's a rookie playing against the defending World Champs who are on fire. Can Ponder spark a Minnesota win? Um, no. No he can't. At best, the Vikings won't be shopping for a quarterback next spring. The Pack wins this one, but it'll be interesting to see what their shiny new quarterback will be like - as he is hit repeatedly by Clay Matthews. Watchability: 3 (for morbid curiousity)
MUCH better game than I imagined. Loss to Green Bay and folks here in Frostbite Falls are positively giddy. Positive play at the QB position from a guy who is younger than 52. 6/11
NBC Night Game:
Indianapolis @ New Orleans
A replay of the Super Bowl from 2009? No. No Manning, nothing to see here. New Orleans stays neck and neck atop the division, and Indianapolis continues to strive for the number one draft pick. Watchability: 1 (It's still football - sort of, but maybe you can rewatch some old Pats games instead)
Barely a game, barely a game, but I'll take it. 7/12
ESPN Monday Night Football:
Baltimore @ Jacksonville
The Ravens are just going to be too much for the Jaguars in this contest - if you can call it that. The Jacksonville media were even trying to manufacture some drama to make the game interesting. It won't be. We don't play the Ravens this year (except maybe in the playoffs), so if you want to watch this year's incarnation of the Dirty Birds, feel free. I'm thinking it's a great time to rewatch some old Super Bowls - say from the early aughts. Watchability: 1
I was right about the watchability. Anytime the kicker is the busiest guy on the field it's going to be a little dull. The Ravens kept the Jags out of the endzone despite earning every penalty known to man to help them get there. Meanwhile the Ravens just couldn't find their endzone until the fourth quarter. 7/13
I cleared 50% on my predictions, which is why I don't generally make them. The lowest I've ever gotten was 2 right, and I've gotten 16/16 one time. There's something to be said for ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. There's a reason they actually play the games. Some good football from some surprising places (like Christian Ponder) and some sorry excuse for football elsewhere.