We're at the halfway point on the NFL season with the cream starting to rise to the top. Arizona and Denver, the league's one loss team, face tough tests on the road, while the lone winless team, Oakland, heads to the toughest place for visitors to win. As Washington heads to Minnesota, third year QB RGIII finally makes his way back to the lineup. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to shake off the rust.
Overall: 80 - 42 - 1
Tampa Bay (1 - 6) 17 @ Cleveland (4 - 3) 24: The Browns need to win to keep up with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, one of which will move to 6 - 3 today. The Bucs have shown brief...okay, very brief, flashes of promise this season.
Arizona (6 - 1) 27 @ Dallas (6 - 2) 20: The Cardinals, despite a loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, have been as consistent as anyone but, well, Denver. Dallas will be without starting QB Tony Romo, who sustained a bruised back during their loss to Washington.
Philadelphia (5 - 2) 26 @ Houston (4 - 4) 23: The Texans have been up and down in the first half of the season, with only one of their wins coming against a team with a winning record. Likewise for the Eagles. who need a big victory to get back some of the momentum from earlier in the season.
New York Jets (1 - 7) 14 @ Kansas City (4 - 3) 27: Either the Jets start a miraculous turnaround today or Rex Ryan can start thinking about what he might be doing at this time next year, because it won't be coaching the Jets. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are hoping to beat a team they should.
Jacksonville (1 - 7) 20 @ Cincinnati (4 - 2 - 1) 31: I just don't see how the Jags are going to stay on the field with the Bengals, but this is the NFL and strange things happen on the way to L.A. At least that's the most likely destination for the Jacksonville franchise, despite the fact that they have a cool pool in their stadium.
San Diego (5 - 3) 27 @ Miami (4 - 3) 24: The Dolphins are a slight favorite in this game, but if San Diego plays like they can, this shouldn't be that close. I like the Chargers to recapture the good play that had them at 5 - 1 before consecutive losses to Kansas City and Denver.
Washington (3 - 5) 23 @ Minnesota (5 3) 20: RGIII will be back in action today and Washington hopes the QB merry-go-round sill stop. The big questions are 1) will RGIII be able to be effective after missing 6+ games and 2) how long will he be able to stay healthy? I like the way the 'Skins can play defense, so I'll go with them to eke another one out on the road.
Denver (6 - 1) 34 @ New England (6 - 2) 31: This is the 16th meeting between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Both teams are hot, winners of four straight, all but one of the eight games being decided by double digits. The Broncos have beaten a little more impressive group of teams, but probably not by a large margin. History would dictate this one will go the the Patriots, but...
Oakland (0 - 7) 13 @ Seattle (4 - 3) 30: The line on this game is Seattle by 15. Ouch! That's a huge margin for an NFL game, yet I can't think of any reason to go with the Raiders. Seattle hasn't looked very impressive the last few weeks, but that doesn't mean they won't dismantle Oakland.
Baltimore (5 - 3) 20 @ Pittsburgh (5 - 3) 23: After the Denver - New England game, this is the other one to see. The Steelers have suddenly started playing like the Super Bowl teams from the last decade. Their performance in Baltimore earlier this season was dismal at best, so they'll have plenty of motivation to avenge the loss.
Indianapolis (5 - 3) 27 @ New York Giants (3 - 4) 24: The Colts inexplicably laid an egg last week against the Steelers, giving Ben Roethlisberger what seemed like minutes to throw, resulting in a record breaking performance by the Pittsburgh QB. I don't see Eli Manning getting the same consideration.