NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – WEEK TEN

11Nov12

Uh-oh, I finally got one wrong after two perfect weeks in a row.  I’m not sure which team I’m more surprised at, the Bears or the Titans.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just stay away from them both for a while.

This week’s Lock of the Week (7-2).

I narrowed this down to two games.  I considered going with Baltimore over the Raiders, but I just can’t trust the Ravens right now.  They need to get back on track before I lock them down again.

So I’ll go with the other game.  The Pittsburgh Steelers will light up the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.

Let’s face it – these two teams are definitely going in opposite directions.  The Steelers have several key players on the injured list and still appear to be clicking on all cylinders.  Redman has stepped in from the #3 RB slot and looks like a starter, the WR corps is showing how deep they actually are and Roethlisberger just seems to get better (and stronger) every week.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are struggling everywhere…literally!  No matter what city they are in (even KC), they are painfully overmatched by their opponent.  They will find things no better this week, as they find themselves in Pittsburgh on MNF.

This will get ugly quickly!

This week’s Upset of the Week (4-5).

I may appear to be going out on a limb on this one, but I don’t think so.

I’m going with the New Orleans Saints upsetting the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

Okay, get it out of your system.  I know it sounds crazy.  How can a 3-5 team that has no defense beat the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL?

It’s more of a gut feeling than anything.  On paper, you’re absolutely right.  The Falcons should be able to dispose of the Saints in short order.  But there are a couple of important things to consider before writing this one off.

Over the past few weeks, after an abysmal start to the season, New Orleans has shown glimmers of defense, while their offense has caught fire.  They are clearly getting better every week and have now become a legitimate contender for a wild card spot.

Meanwhile, the Falcons have been an efficient, though unimpressive, machine that figures out how to win games they have no business winning.  The reality is they should be 6-2 or 5-3, not 8-0.  They don’t rack up a ton of points, but they don’t turn the ball over, either.

These two teams play each other twice a year, so they know each other better than any other team in the league.  If the Saints hang on to the ball and control the line of scrimmage, they can pull this one off.  If they cough the ball up, they could be in big trouble.

I think the home crowd will help inspire them to play solid enough to hand the Falcons their first loss of the season!

This week’s Game of the Week (7-2).

I know, I know, I just got through saying I was going to stay away from this team for a while.  But how could I NOT call this as the Game of the Week?

The Houston Texans at the Chicago Bears.

This game has all of the potential to be an exciting game from start to finish.  They are both 7-1.  They both have very good defensive units.  They both have very good offensive units.

Okay, I was just testing you to see if you were paying attention!

The Texans have a very good offensive unit.  The Bears…not so much.  In fact, if you take away all of the scoring generated by the defense in the past few weeks, you’d have some pretty low scoring games.

It’s no secret that I have very little respect for the Chicago offense.  On paper, they should be top notch.  In reality, they are far from it.

However, their defense is a monster of a machine.  They generate a lot of turnovers, resulting in very good field position.  Many times, they simply go and get the touchdown themselves, saving the offense the trouble of having to try to score.  This side of the Bears team has all of my respect.

But here’s something to chew on before automatically handing the W to Chicago.  They’ve had a pretty easy schedule up until now.  Over the first eight games, they have only played two teams that currently have winning records, and they are 1-1 in those games.  The remaining six wins have been over sub-.500 teams.

The real test of this team will come over the next six games.  They will face Minnesota twice, travel to San Francisco, and play host to Green Bay and Seattle.  But first they have to deal with the Texans this week.

Look for this to be a bloody, physical game that will be decided by the turnovers.  If Houston coughs the ball up, the Bears will make it a good game.  If not, look for the Texans to win it going away.

I think the Texans will bring the Bears back to reality and pull away in the fourth quarter, handing the Bears their second of several losses on the season.

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