The season gets to its halfway point and is starting to take shape, with the good teams starting to rise to the top of the standings. We can also start to look at which teams will likely have coaching openings at the end of the season, or even before. The biggest story is how long the Chiefs will remain undefeated while playing in a very difficult division. Now let's get to the picks.
Overall: 74 - 45
Cincinnati (6-2) 24 @ Miami (3-4) 20: The Dolphins need to do something to turn their season around, but this is a tough game to do that. The Bengals are getting great quarterback play from Andy Dalton to complement the rest of their stellar lineup. The only advantage I see is that the game is on Thursday night and the Bengals have to go on the road.
Kansas City (8-0) 23 @ Buffalo (3-5) 17: I incorrectly picked the Chiefs to lose their first game last week and eventually they'll fall. But the Bills just don't produce enough points to be able to challenge what may be the best defense in the league.
Minnesota (1-6) 20 @ Dallas (4-4) 31: The up and down Cowboys need a good performance at home to take the sting out of last week's last second loss at Detroit. The Vikings should be just what the doctor ordered.
Tennessee (3-4) 16 @ St. Louis (3-5) 20: The Rams probably should have been able to take out the Seahawks last week if not for some terrible red zone offense. The Titans lost three in a row before their bye week, so maybe they figured something out while they were off. I doubt it,though.
New Orleans (6-1) 27 @ New York Jets (4-4) 16: The Jets were scorched 49 - 9 by the Bengals last week, putting a dent in the reputation of Rex Ryan's defense. Now brother Rob comes to town with a pretty good defense of his own. The Saints should be able to exploit whatever weakness the Bengals exploited, too.
San Diego (4-3) 27 @ Washington (2-5) 30: My daughter got her boyfriend tickets to this game as a birthday present, so I just hope the 'Skins reward him with a victory. For almost three quarters last week, Washington looked like they would pull off the upset of the season, until Peyton Manning shredded their defense for thirty-eight unanswered points. The Chargers head east following their bye week. This is one of those picks from the heart.
Atlanta (2-5) 24 @ Carolina (4-3) 28: Who would have thought the Panthers would be more of a favorite in this game than the Falcons? Carolina has finally found a way to win football games and that is not such a good thing for a reeling Atlanta squad on the road this week.
Philadelphia (3-5) 13 @ Oakland (3-4) 20: The Raiders may be the best 3 - 4 team in the league, especially at home. The Eagles seem to have forgotten how to score points.
Tampa Bay (0-7) 14 @ Seattle (7-1) 26: This is going to be, well, how do I say this? Okay, very ugly. I'm not sure, given the situation in Tampa, that head coach Greg Schiano will last the season.
Baltimore (3-4) 20 @ Cleveland (3-5) 23: The Ravens have lost three of their last four, the Browns their last three. Neither team can generate a lot of points. I'll take the home team here, but not with a lot of confidence.
Pittsburgh (2-5) 23 @ New England (6-2) 26: It's hard to pick against the Patriots when they're only ten points away from being undefeated in a season where they have almost no experienced skill players for Tom Brady to target. New England will find a way to win against a team that is finding it difficult not to lose.
Indianapolis (5-2) 31 @ Houston (2-5) 23: This season has turned into a disaster for the Texans, as it has for the Falcons. Both teams have had great regular season success in recent years, but have not been able to get it done in the postseason. I think that pressure has hurt both teams and will most likely cost at least of coaches, presumably the Texans' Gary Kubiak, his job.
Chicago (4-3) 20 @ Green Bay (5-2) 27: The Packers are playing like a team that can get to and win the Super Bowl. Unlike prior years when the Pack had to throw the ball to win, don't look now but they're tough on defense and very balanced on offense. The Bears are good, but not good enough to beat this Packers team in Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football.