Better late than never as they say. Unless it's a reprieve for a death sentence based on new DNA evidence that proves the person didn't do it. In which case it can almost make it worse. But I digress.
Saints @ Falcons
Nice, easy pick to start with...
My problem is, I'm not sure about the Saints. One week Drew Brees will come out and rip someone apart. The next week they'll start feeding the ball to their three headed rushing attack. Then all of a sudden Brees is throwing incomplete passes and interceptions and the defense is giving up chunks of yards and points like there was no tomorrow.
Conversely I think the Falcons are getting better by the week. They look more stable offensively. They know what they want to do. They're getting the ball to Michael Turner, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez who are making the big plays. If there was one question mark over the Falcons it's the defense. They're not generating the kind of pressure that a defense with those kind of players should.
Ultimately I cant shake the feeling that Atlanta does well against some of the weaker teams in the league, but struggles when they come up against the better sides. On that note, I'm edging towards New Orleans. Saints win.
Titans @ Panthers
Looking around, there's a surprising lack of love for the Titans in this game. Alright, they've had some bad losses to the Steelers and the Texans, but they've won some games along the way, more than the Panthers have at least. Carolina's two wins to date have been against the Jaguars and the Redskins. It's tough. The Panthers run defense has been pretty shoddy, but then the big talking point about the Titans has been the lack of production out of Chris Johnson, though he did seem to pick up a little last week. I think I just prefer the Titans because of the potential match up between Cortland Finnegan and Steve Smith. Smith is good, but I think if anyone can shut him down then Finnegan can. I'm saying Titans win.
Steelers @ Bengals
The Bengals have done well so far. Really well... against the Browns, Bills, Jaguars, Colts, Seahawks and Titans. That's not exactly a laundry list of the best teams in the NFL right now. Conversely the Steelers schedule has included three losses, twice to the Ravens and once to the Texans, and six wins... against the Seahawks, Colts, Titans, Jaguars, Cardinals and Patriots. Not much to choose between them then really.
Andy Dalton has been playing great and the Bengals defense is having a great year. The Steelers have been a bit more spotty. Sometimes they play really well, sometimes they just stink it out. Their pass coverage in particular has struggled this year. Against rookie Bengals receiver A.J. Green that could be problematic. However, I'm still going with Pittsburgh on account of their pass rush and the play of Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers win.
Rams @ Browns
God, some of those poor fans. Rams fans in particular are feeling the pain, just a week after playing the Cardinals. In fairness to the Rams, they've played some really tough teams so far this season, they just struggle like crazy to score points. This week they get Sam Bradford back and combined with Steven Jackson, that instantly gives them more weapons than the Browns. I have to say Rams win.
Bills @ Cowboys
The Bills got undone last week by the Jets while the Cowboys put one over the Seahawks. It's a tale of two teams with contrasting fortunes; the Bills are doing pretty good with a less than all-star cast, while the Cowboys have a number of big names to their credit and yet are really struggling at times. It's an odd match up and not one I fancy picking much. But when push comes to shove I think the Cowboys have a diamond in DeMarco Murray and their defense is probably a bit stronger. So, Cowboys win.
Jaguars @ Colts
Two bad teams collide in a game that is probably unwatchable. Blaine Gabbert vs. Curtis Painter for Gods sake. No thanks. As for who wins, I'm tempted to say the Colts. I think if they can just kick start their defense then they have a chance. But honestly even the players are starting to look like they've bought the whole "suck for Luck" crap. They just don't have an drive about them. I'd have to take the Jaguars win.
Broncos @ Chiefs
I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna back Tebow for at least one more week. In for a penny, in for a pound as they so on these shores. Broncos win.
Redskins @ Dolphins
What is it this week with horrible teams playing each other. Frankly I think the Dolphins are the lesser of two evils. Dolphins win.
Cardinals @ Eagles
The Dream Team has been bad, but not that bad. Surely not. Eagles win.
Texans @ Buccaneers
The Texans are on quite the roll this season. With the loss of Andre Johnson they've just got better, not worse. They run more and they pile on the yardage, putting two 100-yard rushers on the field last week. The defense has markedly improved under Wade Phillips and with Buccaneers Quarterback Josh Freeman misfiring, I think it's safe to say that I fancy a Texans win.
Ravens @ Seahawks
I've been against the Seahawks pretty much all the way. I'm not stopping this week, that's for certain. Ravens win.
Lions @ Bears
This is one of the weekends big match ups, one in which the Lions are heavily touted for victory. But I still think the Lions are grossly over rated and I think the Bears have a really good chance in this one. They have Julius Peppers back and healthy. They have a run game now that is more than equal to most defenses and I honestly think the Bears should be given more attention. That's why I'm picking them for the win. Bears win.
Giants @ 49ers
This for me is a no brainer and I'm going Giants all the way. People have to get over this obsession with San Francisco and Jim Harbaugh. Let's not forget Harbaugh is an offensive coach and if anything the 49ers offense has got worse this year, not better. The defense has improved markedly, thanks in large part to Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio, who used to be a coach with the Ravens under Harbaugh's brother. That guy should be the one getting all the credit. But anyway, as good as the 49ers defense has been the offense has been rubbish and I can't see that getting any better against the Giants. I think Eli Manning has enough weapons left despite some injuries to push his side to victory. Giants win.
Patriots @ Jets
This is probably one of the biggest clashes of the week and there's plenty of speculation surrounding it. The Patriots have been stumbling a little lately while the Jets have been building some momentum, playing much better compared to the first part of the season. Mark Sanchez still isn't quite living up to the "Sanchise" tag, but he at least is getting better at managing the game. The Jets are starting to get some running going to and even the defense has stepped up its game. The key question is really what happens with Wes Welker and how much pressure the Jets can generate on Brady. It worked for the Giants as they forced Brady into a number of mistakes, but then the Jets don't have the pass rushers that the Giants do. I dunno, my heart says that the Jets just can't get after the quarterback as well as they'll need to. I'm going with a Patriots win.
Vikings @ Packers
As much as I like Christian Ponder and as much as I think the Packers are getting a little cocky for their own good, the Vikings secondary is probably going to be outmatched. I'd say Packers win.
So fingers crossed for another 10 win week, or maybe more what with it being a 16 game week, even though I only have picks for 15 of them.
This also might be the last week I do the picks in this manner. I just find it a little time consuming often to sit here and type out what I'm thinking for each game and a lot of the time I just end up repeating comments about teams from the week before, because their situation hasn't changed much. I think I'd prefer to use this time as time off, while making up for it during the week with more of my badly drawn diagrams and cack handed explanations. I'm also considering cutting the recap section for similar reasons, assuming that most of you have seen the games anyway or at the very least know all the results and have seen the numbers. Maybe I'll just focus more on my general thoughts for those games, giving me more time to recharge my batteries and focus on the meat and bones of the blog which is the technical stuff.