A mere two teams in the AFC have records that are better than .500 and they play each other this week.
Undefeated Atlanta just keeps squeaking by. Supposedly dominating Houston and San Francisco get obliterated at home by traditional power teams still trying to find an identity.
You know it’s a great year when an expert opinion is no more reliable than an average one.
If Jonathan Vilma screws all this up with his vendetta lawsuit, he should be condemned to watch a repeat of last week’s Kentucky/Arkansas game until his eyeballs melt (which actually would only take about 30 minutes in real time).
Seahawks at 49ers - This week’s Thursday night NFL Network kickoff game is a return to that den of drama at Candlestick Park. When last we saw them, the vaunted Niners were being humbled by those (not John) maddeningly inconsistent Giants.
The til-now excellent Niners are not apt to let a bad bolt of lightning strike twice. Seattle may be riding high after throwing a few hefty sparks of their own in knocking off New England in that increasingly impressive home field of theirs in the lush Pacific Northwest.
Still, I put more stock in an intense Jim Harbaugh working Alex Smith’s experience and a decent rushing attack at home over an inspired but youthful Russell Wilson and his head cheerleader Pete Carroll.
This is the first of three straight games against division foes and with a surprisingly tight race in the NFC West going on, Harbaugh’s not about to let his defense give Seattle any breathing room.
Titans at Bills - Again, who really knows which version of these two teams shows up this week, but the Buffalo defense made a rare appearance last week and here’s hoping that was more than just some token dropped in a phantom tollbooth. Tennessee’s best hope is to remain firmly in the experienced grips of the veteran Matt Hasselbeck.
It’s still too early to count on Orchard Park giving much in the way of home field advantage, and since the locals are more than a little disappointed in what they’ve seen so far, it’s understandable to expect a bit of a lukewarm response. Still, Bills’ fans are among the most loyal and boisterous (among East Coast teams) and that should help the team keep on the pace in an AFC East that is a shocking 3-3 across the board.
Browns at Colts - Cleveland is starting to get it, at least well enough to jump off the oh-fer schneid at home. Going on the road is yet another proving ground they have yet to conquer, and they’re just going to have to do it first before I can believe they can.
As far as Indy goes, this is a redemption week following the huge disappointment against the Jets. (That even hurts to think about.) This time Andrew Luck even has the coin toss go his way.
Ravens at Texans - Obvious Game of the Day choice and a real prime opportunity to test the theory that Baltimore will soar into the playoffs on the wings of its offense.
Houston’s loss of linebacker and defensive signal-caller Brian Cushing really plays havoc on their ability to adjust to Joe Flacco’s growing confidence in the options of the no-huddle.
Being at home helps the Texans, but these teams are so evenly matched in talent and injuries across the board it’s really a matter of which offense has it last.
Because the home field advantage theory has been shot full of holes so far during this topsy-turvy season, I’m going to stick with the one area where a slight advantage exists, and that’s with Baltimore’s receivers.
It might be no more than a featherweight difference, but at least it’s a black one.