This weekend (including Monday night) will conclude the first half of the season, so the time will come to take a little stock and measure the crystal ball for a halo or a hammer.
Unless some big news from the league gets in the way, we’ll examine the picks record so far this year and while we’re at it see how things are going in the playoff prediction department, too.
Patriots at Rams – To jolly old England we go. While this surely won’t compare to the summer Olympics blast, it’s always good to visit the only nation on earth capable of taking America’s cultural quirks and turning them into art (e.g. Rock and Roll, James Bond, etc.).
To some this match up might conjure up memories of their legendary Super Bowl from more than a decade ago. St. Louis could sure use some of Kurt Warner’s mojo about now. Brady just keeps right on slinging.
Offensively, New England is far superior in point and yardage production, but they are going through the kind of defensive struggles that really create lots of interesting opportunities for Sam Bradford, who must soon find a way to drop the baggage of youthful mediocrity or he could find himself backing up the next graduated whiz kid.
Jeff Fisher will have his guys prepared. He always does.
If Steven Jackson still has a dominating game left in him to give, the Rams have a shot at an upset because right now the Patriots wilt late under the strain. I really don’t see it happening, but there’s a chance.
Dolphins at Jets - If New York was half as good at football this year as they are at yappin’ trash, they’d be about dangerous. Despite their foibles in the mental department, they played really hard against the Patriots last week and looked like a respectable, contending team.
This being another divisional game and highly prized as a trophy since Miami is where All-Pro Darrelle Revis was lost this year, the Jets could very well come out smoking again. But, the Dolphins have been very disciplined in following the formula devised by Coach Philbin: make ‘em earn every yard on defense, and make smart decisions with the ball.
That’s what makes it very tempting to take Miami this time, but the Jets at home in a revenge game is just the sort of thing New York and its fans thrive on.
Chargers at Browns - Poor Cleveland. San Diego has finally backed into a team it can blow out early and not worry about them making any kind of a comeback.
If Cleveland keeps it close, then we have the continued un-makings of the Norv Turner-A.J. Smith era in Charger-ville. As for the former, I don’t think they will. The latter is pretty much a foregone conclusion to everyone not named Norv Turner or A.J. Smith.
Jaguars at Packers - They say another version of “The Perfect Storm” is charging its way up the Atlantic coast. I say it’s actually forming in the Midwest and Jacksonville is about to get leveled by it.
Raiders at Chiefs - You just know what kind of season you’re having when you have to look for Brady Quinn to engineer a turnaround. The good fans of Kansas City only thought they’d seen the worst of it when Todd Haley was skulking the sidelines. C’mon Romeo! It’s rally time.
Oakland showed some pluck coming from behind late to overtake the Jaguars last week. The bad news is they had to overcome the Jaguars last week.
Speaking on behalf of football fans everywhere, only purists and masochists should have a look-see at this one. Forced to choose, I take Oakland, but I do so blindfolded.
Giants at Cowboys - Remember how Dallas came out of the gate with verve and panache to whip the Giants in New Jersey? That was Labor Day, and yes I mean the one in 2012. Time’s not the only thing that flies.
Time for for New York to return the favor and they won’t need all that silly panache stuff. They’ll just take Tony Romo’s verve and turn it inside-out.
Look for the Giants front four to be in his face all night, the linebackers to keep the running game in check, and Eli Manning to deliver whatever miracle throw is necessary so he can keep writing graffiti on Jerry Jones’ pretty walls.
Saints at Broncos - How do you avoid the Brees v Manning story line when the entire character of these teams revolves around their performance, leadership and personalities?
Easy. Just consider which defense is most likely to make the difference and it’s clearly Denver. Then there’s the fact that dome teams hardly ever do well outdoors at night. There might even be snowcaps on the Rockies in the near distance. That’ll spook ‘em.
49ers at Cardinals - Wow, talk about the ravages of time. Not at all long ago we were discussing the amazing 4-0 record of Arizona and how San Francisco looked pretty much invincible.
See. Just wait a little while and the whole world changes. There’s a lesson in there if we’re patient enough to learn it.
Without any real threat from the running game there’s no way I give the nod to Arizona, not even at home. So what if John Skelton beat the Niners bad last year. Past is not necessarily prologue.