Okay, so last week wasn’t exactly a prognosticator’s dream.  The NFL schedule yielded more than a handful of upsets.

Unfortunately, the impact of the week’s results was felt here, too.  Not only was my Upset of the Week a disaster (I know, why in world did I think Atlanta would figure things out against Seattle?), but I suffered my first loss in the Lock of the Week.

I’d love to say that I feel confident that this week will be different, but I only picked one game different than the odds-makers, so I’m not feeling very warm and fuzzy!

This week’s Lock of the Week (9-1).

There are two games that I think are locks this week.  If I go with one of them, I’ll be accused of being a homer, but c’mon, do you really think Jacksonville will get their second win in a row?  Cardinals fans don’t think so.

Still, there is one other game that should be considered an even bigger lock.  This one will take place in the great state of Washington, where Minnesota travels to take on the Seahawks of Seattle.

Wilson and company were able to get the “road” monkey off their backs last week by destroying the Falcons in Atlanta.  This week, they come back home to take on one of the worst teams in the league in the Vikings.

Don’t look for this one to stay close for long.  I’m guessing we’ll see the Seahawks second stringers quite a bit in the second half this week.

This week’s Upset of the Week (5-5).

As I stated above, I’ve only gone against the experts on one game this week, so that makes it easy to pick the Upset of the Week.

Not easy to pick the winner, just easy to select the game.  And to make it worse, I’ve got to wait until Monday night to see if I’m right.

That’s right, as up and down as the Patriots have been, and as hot as the Panthers have been lately, I’m going with New England to upset Carolina.

Maybe I’m waiting for Brady to have a, well, a Brady game.  Or maybe I think the Panthers have been overachieving over the past five games.  Either way, I don’t think Carolina’s defense will stop the Patriots like they did the 49ers last week.

I’m looking for Brady to get back into his game, tossing at least three TDs to go with Ridley’s rushing touchdown.  Meanwhile, the Panthers will need their duo of Williams and Stewart to pound out some yardage on the ground.  Otherwise, there’s no way they’ll be able to keep up with the Patriot’s scoring.

In the end, I think New England will outlast and outscore Carolina, taking one more step toward locking up the #2 seed in the AFC.

This week’s Game of the Week (5-5).

There are several games that could fall into this category this week, for various reasons.

Baltimore at Chicago should be a black and blue, sloppy game, with the fewest turnovers determining the victor.  Washington at Philadelphia is always a good matchup, even if both teams are below average and dinged up.  Cleveland at Cincinnati is always good for an Ohio grudge match.  And who could argue that San Francisco at New Orleans has some major playoff implications.

However, when all is said and done, you’re not gonna’ beat Sunday night’s game – the Kansas City Chiefs at the Denver Broncos.  It’s the game everyone has had circled for at least four weeks, maybe even longer.  The fact that the rematch will be in two weeks just adds fuel to the fire this week.

A lot of questions should be answered this week.  One involves the health of Peyton Manning, but the more important question is in regards to the other sideline and “are the Chiefs for real?”

I know, I know, they have a perfect 9-0 record.  That’s impressive regardless of whom their opponents have been.  But let’s take a closer look.  Of the nine teams that they have beaten so far, not one of them has a winning record.  Only the Dallas Cowboys (victim #2) has a non-losing record at 5-5.  And beyond the Broncos, only the Indianapolis Colts have a winning record for their remaining opponents.

Now is that really a sign that they aren’t as good as their record indicates?  Let’s take a look at Denver’s schedule first.

Of the nine teams that the Broncos have played so far, the only team that currently has a winning record is the Colts, which coincidentally handed Denver their only loss of the season.  And like the Chiefs, there is only one upcoming opponent on their schedule, besides Kansas City, that has a winning record.  That would be next week’s battle against New England.

So I guess that criteria doesn’t work for either team, does it.  So let’s look at a few other items.  Denver is scoring an average of 41.2 points per game, while allowing 26.4 points.  Pretty impressive, huh?

Kansas City isn’t putting up nearly as many points on the board as Denver, averaging 23.9 points per game.  But their defense is the stingiest in the league, allowing only 12.3 points per game.

So what does that mean?  Well, the Broncos won’t be held to 12 points, but breaking 40 may be too much to expect.  But I still think they’ll be able to score at least three TDs, probably four.  And the Chiefs haven’t been able to put up those kinds of numbers.  In fact, the most they’ve scored all season was 31, and that was in week four against the Giants.

I don’t look for a defensive battle, although there are sure to be some great plays on that side of the line of scrimmage.  But ultimately, the Chiefs won’t be able to keep up in this one.  Look for the Broncos to walk away with a 34-27 victory, setting up the rematch in Kansas City in two weeks to be the battle for the divisional title.


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