Just kidding - but it does feel good to do pretty well the first time I actually took to writing these silly things down for public consumption.
As I see it, the games now get tougher, and so do the decisions. None of the teams have played enough yet to get a very good sense of their quality. Since they went to a 16-game season and none of your regulars play together for long in the preseason, it takes six weeks of games just to gauge quality and depth.
No way am I going to go 11-5 again. That's because there are only 14 games scheduled this week.
Seriously, this is a tossup week. I hope I can at least break even:
-- Panthers vs. Buccaneers: A couple of 0-2 teams desperate for a win. Tampa Bay's defense remains tough. Their offense is surprisingly awful. Carolina had a victory in hand last week and gave it away. They won't make the same mistake this week.
-- Bears vs. Vikings: Division rivalry at play here. Minnesota has fought hard for its 2-0 record. Chicago has merely been impressive over weaker teams. This week “da Bairs” get to impress a better one.
-- Bengals vs. Steelers: Intradivision rivalries don't get any better now than this one. Both teams were pretty much beaten up last week. At least Cincinnati took their lumps in a winning effort. Take the Steelers at home and both teams go to 2-1.
-- Packers vs. Lions: The stakes are not too high, but it's another division rivalry game. Detroit has shown a strong defense so far, and Green Bay's offense woke up last week (thank goodness, because I love watching Favre). I'm torn. Forced to choose, I take the Lions at home.
-- Jaguars vs. Colts: The Jacksonville team plays its first road game after two very impressive home wins (Cowboys and Steelers). They have a defense that can stop anybody and will get the Colts' best offensive effort, which so far this year hasn't been as good as in previous seasons. The RCA Dome can be tough on visitors. I pick the Colts in a squeaker.
-- Jets vs. Bills: After errantly picking against the Bills on the road last week, I'm comfortably taking them at home this week. New York has shown more grit than I thought they had in them with the loss of Curtis Martin. If they play as well as they did last week, they have a chance. I still don't think it's enough.
-- Titans vs. Dolphins: Take Miami easy at home against a team whose quarterback last week had a rating in the single digits. After looking weak but competent to start the season, Tennessee is just flat heading into the tank. If coach Jeff Fisher is going to rescue the season, he better start soon.
-- Redskins vs. Texans: This is an odd game to pick, because other than the fact these two teams play pro football, they don't have much in common. Washington has the much better defense, which will play better on the road. Besides, I have yet to see Houston win a game, and I can't pick on the basis of rumors that they have, in fact, ever done it.
-- Ravens vs. Browns: The lowly team from Cleveland is improving. Even at their best, these Browns will get crushed by the original Cleveland Browns, my early, early Super Bowl rep from the AFC.
-- Giants vs. Seahawks: One thing about the Giants is evident - Peyton's little brother sure is growing up. Seattle is strong at home, and their offensive line is beginning to get it together. It's two good teams and another toss-up game. I take Seattle at home.
-- Eagles vs. 49ers: This game will determine if Philly learned its lesson after their debacle last week against the Giants. They are the better team. I think they know Andy Reid's doghouse is no place to stay.
-- Rams vs. Cardinals: This one stumps me. St. Louis should not have beaten the Broncos or lost to the 49ers. They did both. Their defense is as surprising as their offense is disappointing. Arizona has just enough offense to tempt me, but I cannot pick them to beat any of their division rivals until they prove they can.
-- Broncos vs. Patriots: As long as Belichick is coaching, I will never pick against New England at home (and will seldom do so when they are on the road).
-- Falcons vs. Saints: So New Orleans finally gets a real “home” game. The Superdome will be decked out and everyone will be pumped way up. The Saints have been playing pretty well, winning back-to-back road games for the first time ever. By midnight Tuesday, they will wish they had stayed gone. Michael Vick makes ‘em look sick.