Halloween weekend and the lucky 13 games scheduled were good to old Matti, as I was a better than respectable 8-5 last week. The Lions surge not only got my fantasy team untracked, but helped jump start the weekend. Let’s see how this week shapes up.
Tampa Bay (5-2) at Atlanta (5-2) – Before the season, this just looked like a ho-hum division win for Atlanta. The Buccs have set their sights stubbornly on the division crown. LeGarrette Blount has really emerged for Tampa Bay and Mattie Ice is playing some solid football. This one comes down to defense, and the edge goes to Atlanta. Falcons 34-28.
Arizona (3-4) at Minnesota (2-5) – Someone tell Bret Favre to just stay down. The shot to the chin is a lot to take for an “older” player. Throw in the Randy Moss distraction, and this is a team flirting with disaster. Derek Anderson wasn’t quite the answer for the Cards last week, and Beanie Wells is banged up, but the Cardinals look sounder in the mental department. Arizona 31-28.
Miami (4-3) at Baltimore (5-2) – The Ravens are one of the NFL’s most balanced teams. They have the D, a solid QB in Joe Flacco, and a great ground game behind Ray Rice. Chad Henne’s first taste of that Raven D comes at a good time, as they have been giving up a lot of yards lately. Brandon Marshall will have a big game, but the off week leaves too much extra gas in the Raven’s tank for Miami to keep up. Baltimore 30-24.
Chicago (4-3) at Buffalo (0-7) – Da Bears can take a big step towards capturing a division title with a win. Cutler is struggling with the nuances of the Martz offense and holding the ball a little too long. Look for the Bills to try and knock him out early. Until last week, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a touchdown throwing machine for the Bills. They have lost soooo many close games. This week they pull through. Buffalo 41-35.
New Orleans (5-3) at Carolina (1-6) – Chris Ivory seems to be an adequate replacement for the production lost with Reggie Bush’s injury, and should be able to go Sunday. Drew Brees is, well beginning to look like Drew Brees. Matt Moore seems entrenched at QB for the Panthers, lending some stability to a struggling team. Carolina always plays the Saints tough, and they are at home. Who Dat? Is the Panthers 24-14.
New England (6-1) at Cleveland (2-5) – Tom Brady and the Pats didn’t seem to miss Randy Moss at all, and they finally found a running game with the “law firm” of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Cleveland must decide whether to start Seneca Wallace or Colt McCoy – look to the past or look to the future. They should get McCoy as much experience as possible because this season is over. New England 45-17.
NY Jets (5-2) at Detroit (2-5) – The Jets offense disappeared against a short handed Packer D last week. LT has put up some big numbers, and should do well against the Lions run D. This game pits the two most touted rookie QBs from a year ago. Mark Sanchez has the experience edge – due to Matthew Stafford’s injuries, but Stafford is the more talented of the two. Detroit’s D gets a pick six and the Lions find a way to get Jahvid Best the ball. Detroit 24-20.
San Diego (3-5) at Houston (4-3) – The Chargers have a tough course to division respect that winds through the AFC South. Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates for the game winner in an emotional victory over the Titans. Now they visit Matt Schaub and Arian Foster, who are facing a short week. Houston 41-31.
NY Giants (5-2) at Seattle (4-3) – It seems like the Seahawks record should be worse, from the way they have played. Matt Hasselbeck and Justin Forsett were both shut down by the Raiders. They now welcome a formidable Giant defense and a hot QB in Eli Manning. Giants 37-17.
Kansas City (5-2) at Oakland (4-4) – The Chiefs have been playing at a .500 clip since the 3-0 start, barely squeaking by Buffalo last week. Matt Cassel and the offense will be facing an up-and-coming defensive unit that stymied the Seahawks. Jason Campbell seems to have finally settled in at QB. Raiders 38-30.
Indianapolis (5-2) at Philadelphia (4-3) – Not a great logistics situation for the Colts. They are coming off a short week to face an Eagle’s team that is well rested. The last time Philly was in action, Kevin Kolb was getting knocked around by the Titans. This time, Payton manning and Reggie Wayne knock the Eagle D around. Indianapolis 38-21.
Dallas (1-6) at Green Bay (5-3) – The Packers flexed their defensive muscles in shutting out the Jets. Brandon Jackson seems to be providing a ground game to take some of the pressure off Aaron Rodgers. After losing Tony Romo, the Cowboys are even more of a disaster team and could find themselves playing for a number one selection in the upcoming draft. Packers 34-10.
Pittsburgh (5-2) at Cincinnati (2-5) – We knew the Roethlisberger magic could only go so far, and it was the Saints they lost to BTW. There’s nothing wrong with the Steelers. The Bengals, on the other hand, have a lot wrong. Carson Palmer is not putting up the expected offense and they’ve relied too much on Cedric Benson. Their defense isn’t holding its end up either. Pittsburgh 34-17.