Rick Weegman column: Gunslinging at a premium this week in NFL picks
A certain co-worker often uses the term "gunslinging" in office banter. From gunslinging quarterbacks to gunslinging about his weekly NFL selections, one would think Brett Favre is in the adjacent cubicle. But, as my selections show, gunslinging ...
A certain co-worker often uses the term “gunslinging” in office banter.
From gunslinging quarterbacks to gunslinging about his weekly NFL selections, one would think Brett Favre is in the adjacent cubicle.
But, as my selections show, gunslinging isn’t working out so well in the NFL this year.
Though parity seems to be still alive and well, favorites are excelling this season and making it more difficult to find the right upset pick. And now that it’s November, there could be a clearer delineation between playoff-type teams and those that are not.
This week, partly due to six more teams on byes, is no different. Gunslinging will be at a premium.
Chicago (3-5) at Green Bay (5-3): Jay Cutler has thrown one more yard passing than Aaron Rodgers this season. That’s about the only advantage the Bears QB has over his rival. Only time Bears have won in series’ last nine games is when they knocked Rodgers out of game. Green Bay won’t quite equal 38-17 win earlier this season.
Line: Packers by 7
Rick’s Pick: Packers 31, Bears 20
Cleveland (5-3) at Cincinnati (5-2-1): Home team has won five in a row and eight of last nine in this series. Bengals appear unbeatable at home, beating teams by average of 11 points this season and have A.J. Green back as a deep threat. Browns pulled out lackluster win vs. Tampa Bay but need to play much better in division where everyone is above .500.
Line: Bengals by 6
Rick’s Pick: Bengals 33, Browns 17
Dallas (6-3) vs. Jacksonville (1-8): Cowboys better hope Tony Romo finds a back healer in London as the Brandon Weeden experiment failed miserably. DeMarco Murray could get 35 carries this week otherwise. Jaguars have beaten Dallas last two meetings but this year’s woeful edition might score the same number of points it gets during its bye week next week.
Line: No line
Rick’s Pick: Cowboys 34, Jaguars 13 (with Romo); 20-13 (without)
San Francisco (4-4) at New Orleans (4-4): 49ers, my NFC Super Bowl pick, won’t even make playoffs at this rate. From Colin Kaepernick’s poor decisions to Frank Gore’s aging legs to rumors of Jim Harbaugh’s return to Michigan, San Fran will have to be content with Giants’ World Series triumph. Saints are average but know how to win at home (just ask Vikings and Packers).
Line: Saints by 5
Rick’s Pick: Saints 27, 49ers 24
Atlanta (2-6) at Tampa Bay (1-7): NFC South is so mediocre that winner of battle between teams with a combined nine-game losing streak stays in the division hunt. Falcons didn’t leave Mike Smith on the London tarmac after Lions debacle and have clear offensive and defensive advantage over team they beat 56-14 on Sept. 18. Bucs go back to Josh McCown at QB. And that’s supposed to help?
Line: Falcons by 1
Rick’s Pick: Falcons 27, Bucs 17
Miami (5-3) at Detroit (6-2): Who could have predicted Ryan Tannehill would be outplaying Matt Stafford? But this game could be decided by defense with both teams ranking among league leaders. Fish have dominated in winning four of five, while Lions have relied on Ouija boards and soothsayers to squeak out back-to-back one-point wins. Not this time.
Line: Lions by 3
Rick’s Pick: Dolphins 17, Lions 16
Kansas City (5-3) at Buffalo (5-3): Chiefs defense is receiving very little pub but has keyed team’s 5-1 run. Alex Smith “managing” games is no longer a dirty word. Bills, with three comeback wins over NFC North teams, are fortunate to be above .500.
Line: Chiefs by 1½
Rick’s Pick: Chiefs 20, Bills 16
Tennessee (2-6) at Baltimore (5-4): Titans are truly a poor team but, perhaps, bye week allowed rookie QB Zach Mettenberger to become more in tune with the offense. Ravens slid to bottom of AFC North after back-to-back losses, but start the climb back with a return home where they have won last three games by a combined 70 points.
Line: Ravens by 9½
Rick’s Pick: Ravens 31, Titans 17
Pittsburgh (5-3) at N.Y. Jets (1-8): Hard to believe these teams met in a championship game three years ago. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and Co. have turned Steelers’ passing game into a major threat. Despite outgaining last three foes Jets are miserable. Now a Michael Vick injury could mean a return a Geno Smith. Uh-oh.
Line: Steelers by 4½
Rick’s Pick: Steelers 30, Jets 16
Denver (6-2) at Oakland (0-8): Broncos fell flat at New England and now know they must own home-field advantage for playoffs in order to return to Super Bowl. They won’t have trouble vs. an opponent they have beaten by double-digits five straight times. Raiders’ only bright spot in 0-8 start is they haven’t quit but don’t have enough offensive firepower here.
Line: Broncos by 11
Rick’s Pick: Broncos 34, Raiders 17
St. Louis (3-5) at Arizona (7-1): Rams sprung another upset last week but looked awful offensively in the process. They have been outgained by 536 yards in last four games. Cardinals dominated a QB-hindered Cowboys on the road for fourth straight win. I’m still not sold on Arizona come playoff time, but defense should control this one.
Line: Cardinals by 7
Rick’s Pick: Cardinals 24, Rams 10
N.Y. Giants (3-5) at Seattle (5-3): Giants appear to be on verge of total collapse on both sides of the ball. They have been outscored 33-15 on average during three-game losing streak. Seahawks are a far cry from Super Bowl winners of a year ago but should be able to run at will and shut down Giants offense as it did in shutout last December.
Line: Seahawks by 9
Rick’s Pick: Seahawks 27, Giants 13
Carolina (3-5-1) at Philadelphia (6-2): Teams have met only four times since 2004 NFC championship game. Panthers in 0-3 slump and have been outgained in eight straight yet remain in chase for home playoff game in NFC South. Eagles adapting to Mark Sanchez at QB after losing Nick Foles for several weeks. As long as there’s no butt fumble, Eagles should be OK utilizing other weapons.
Line: Eagles by 6
Rick’s Pick: Eagles 27, Panthers 20
Last week’s record (season) - straight-up: 7-6 (81-52-1); against the spread: 5-7 (69-64).