The NFL season is starting to take some shape, but there are still 18 teams with records of 3 - 2, 2 - 3, or 2 - 2 before the start of play this week. Six games involve two teams from that group, so we could end up with a big logjam in the middle or some separation in the standings. It just gets fun to watch at this point.
Indianapolis (3 - 2) 27 @ Houston (3 - 2) 24: The Colts have run off three wins in a row after a tough start, while the Texans have dropped two of their last three after jumping out to 2 - 0 to start the season. These Thursday night games definitely favor the home team, but both participants have to adjust to an abbreviated preparation schedule and recovery time. This one is just too close to make a definitive call, but I'm going to go with the Colts. I think their offense is better than Houston's and their defense is playing pretty well.
Jacksonville (0 - 5) 17 @ Tennessee (1 - 4) 23: The Jags put a pool in their stadium, but it won't keep the league from pushing for them to be the top candidate to fill the vacancy in the nation's second largest television market. But for this game, I have to go with the Titans.
Baltimore (3 - 2) 20 @ Tampa Bay (1 - 4) 24: The Ravens have a tough task, going on the road for the second week in a row to take on a team on the rise, despite their misleading record. I'm taking the Bucs in an upset.
Denver (3 - 1) 27 @ New York Jets (1 - 4) 16: The Broncos head east to take on a desperate Jets team that needs to find a quarterback that can either play or get prepared to play. Manning has always been able to do both, so advantage Denver.
Detroit (3 - 2) 27 @ Minnesota (2 - 3) 20: Both teams are coming off losses, the Vikings in a rout and the Lions in a tight game. Minnesota's inconsistency bothers me, so I'll stick with what I think is the better overall team.
New England (3 - 2) 20@ Buffalo (3 - 2) 23: Can the Patriots sustain the energy they had in last week's home destruction of Cincinnati? Because all of the issues surrounding New England still exist, regardless of the win. Buffalo's defense is stout and they should be able to give the Pats a lot of problems.
Carolina (3 - 2) 20 @ Cincinnati (3 - 1) 24: The Bengals laid an egg last week, casting some doubt on how strong they really are. I'll give them a bit of a pass as they were heading into the lion's den, with Pats' QB Tom Brady on fire to set aside all of the negative conjecture about his team.
Pittsburgh (3 - 2) 27 @ Cleveland (2 - 2) 24: The Browns made a stunning comeback against the Titans last week that was led by QB Brian Hoyer, not that other guy. That should keep that other guy on the bench for a few more games. This is one of those true college style rivalries in the NFL, complete with nasty fan behavior and "throw the records out the window" type of environment. But on the field, I'll stick with a pretty good Steeler team.
Green Bay (3 - 2) 28 @ Miami (2 - 2) 24: The Dolphins went into the bye week with a big win over Oakland, but everyone gets a big win over Oakland. The Packers have dispelled doubts with eighty points in victories over Detroit and Minnesota. When Aaron Rodgers gets on a roll, he's tough to stop, even for a pretty good defense.
San Diego (4 - 1) 31 @ Oakland (0 - 4) 17: This is one of those games where ;you have to think the Raiders have little or no chance of victory. But as I say frequently, it's the NFL. However, the Chargers are really playing well and I don't think this is the game where it comes to an end.
Chicago (2 - 3) 28 @ Atlanta (2 - 3) 30: This is a very interesting game.The Falcons are 2 - 0 at home while the Bears have played well on the road, going 2 - 1. Both teams have been inconsistent, but I'll toss the coin and come up with the home team today in a close one.
Dallas (4 - 1) 20 @ Seattle (3 - 1) 28:As good as Dallas has played at times, it's just not smart to predict that they'll prevail in the toughest place to play in the league. The Cowboys QB Tony Romo hasn't made some of the mistakes that have led to tough losses in the past, but Seattle has a way of making good quarterbacks look pretty average.
Washington (1 - 4) 20 @ Arizona (3 - 1) 27: The Cardinals won't be announcing a starting quarterback until a couple of hours before kickoff, so there are still three possibilities. If they have to go with rookie Logan Thomas, Washington has a chance. If they get starter Carson Palmer back, then I have to figure the Cardinals will win big. If it's backup Stanton, then it could be a closer game. I'll take two out of three.
New York Giants (3 - 2) 26 @ Philadelphia (4 - 1) 30: By the time this one kicks off, these teams will know if the Cowboys pulled an upset to got to 5 - 1. If so, it becomes an early season must win for the Giants. Philadelphia has looked impressive at times, but at others have given up a lot of points to either fall behind early or let teams back in the game. New York has won three in a row after looking terrible to start the season.The Eagles are three point favorites, which means the oddsmakers see this as a tossup.
San Francisco (3 - 2) 34 @ St. Louis (1 - 3) 24: The 'Niners are playing tough defense and running the ball very well. The Rams have given up 34 points in each of their three losses and are giving up over 150 yards rushing per game. That's not a good combination for St. Louis.