Hey, I was three for three last week.  Whoo-hoo!  If I can get the Upset of the Week right this week, I’ll be back to .500 or better in all three categories.  It’s almost beginning to sound like I know what I’m talking about.

I said ‘almost’!  And keep those comments to yourself, will ya’?

This week’s Lock of the Week (5-2).

This one may seem to be a strange pick to some of you, but there’s reason behind the madness.  I’m taking the Chicago Bears as a lock over the Carolina Panthers.

This isn’t based on the juggernaut (big word, huh?) offense that the Bears possess, because, quite frankly, they don’t possess one.  I know, on paper they have the manpower to be putting up big numbers.  But anyone that has been watching them lately knows that they always seem to find a way to break down just outside of scoring range.

Carolina has a very similar problem.  They have a sophomore quarterback that lit up the league as a rookie for half a season last year.  In addition, they have an All-Pro receiver to go with a couple of solid running backs.

So why can’t they seem to score any points?  The biggest reason is the youth and inexperience of their Field Marshall.  Cam Newton has all of the tools to make big plays, but doesn’t have the experience to know that you can’t make big plays on every play, which is why they just don’t make the big plays any more.  If he would be content to drive down the field in a controlled and sustained attack, he’d see the team average begin to climb quickly.

The big difference in this game will be the defense.  Chicago has a very good one.  Carolina has a very mediocre one.  Carolina tends to turn the ball over.  Chicago tends to cause turnovers.  End of story.

The game won’t be filled with fireworks, but it will be dominated by the Bears defense.

This week’s Upset of the Week (3-4).

It’s been several weeks since my Upset of the Week was actually considered an upset by the boys in Vegas, but I actually had a couple to choose from this week.  I figured I’d roll the dice (pun intended) and go with a team destined to have next year’s #1 pick.

That’s right folks, I’m picking the Cleveland Browns to upset the San Diego Chargers.

It’s really not that far-fetched, if you think about it.  I’ve been saying all season that the Chargers are over-rated.  The fact that they have to travel to a very cold city to face a very frustrated team will not help things.

Neither will the fact that the Browns actually do have a decent defense.  It’s the offense that prevents them from winning games.  I can’t put my finger on the reason, but something is telling me that they will break out of their offensive shells this week and hand the Chargers their helmets on a platter.

This week’s Game of the Week (5-2).

Most people are looking to the mile-high city for the game of the week, but I’m keeping things in the desert.  Monday night’s San Francisco 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals won’t see as many points, but will be every bit as entertaining.

Not only are these teams battling for the division lead, they truly do not like each other.  Whenever they get together, regardless of where the game is played, it is a brutally physical game with at least one fight breaking out.

So who am I picking?  Well, if I went with my heart, I’d have to go with the hometown Cardinals.  But like last week, when I picked the Vikings to beat the Cards, I’m going with the 49ers to do the same.

Defensively, these teams are fairly even.  They both play hard and physical and do not allow many points.

Offensively, neither team is a scoring juggernaut (there’s that word again), but both teams have the talent to score quickly.  The big difference is the offensive line, where the Cardinals come up short to just about any team in the league.

Last week, they managed to get a running game going for the first time in over a month, but they still let up way too many sacks.  They are facing a much better defense this week.

It will be brutal and bloody, but the 49ers will go home with the victory and a two game lead at the mid-point of the season.



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