Well, if there is one thing we learned during this past week of games, it is that it is definitely time for the real referees to come back. The last call during the Packers-Seahawks game was atrocious and cost the Packers a win. On the other hand, the Seahawks covered! As of late Wednesday night, it is being reported that an agreement has been reached with the real refs and they should be back for all of this weeks games. I think it’s time. Up until this past Sunday, I thought people were just overreacting and jumping on the “replacement refs are horrible and ruining football” bandwagon just because everyone else was. The games were lasting an average of 6 minutes longer, and the change of the average of flags being thrown per game was minimal. The new refs just didn’t seem like a big deal to me. Laughing at the mistakes some of the refs had made resulted in some pure entertainment but nothing seemed to really decide the outcome of a game. But after seeing Sunday’s slate of games and the Monday night game, it has become clear to me that the integrity of the game had officially been compromised as well as the safety of the players. Hopefully the reports coming in are true and we will be back to regular refs this week. On to this week’s lines! I had my best week of the young season last week and I’m feeling good about this one too!
Browns at Ravens (-12) – The Browns are pretty clearly the worst team in the NFL, and after the Ravens squeaked out a slightly controversial win against the Patriots, I expect them to come out firing on all cylinders with confidence. And even if they don’t, they are still playing the Browns.
Patriots (-4) at Bills – The Patriots could greatly help themselves (and my fantasy team) by utilizing Rob Gronkowski more. The Bills have a great defensive front, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to stop the Patriots this week. Especially considering the Patriots have a losing record for the first time since they lost the first game of the 2003 season and there’s no way Bill Belichick allows that to last for long.
Panthers at Falcons (-7.5) – The Falcons are really good, and even better at home. The Panthers are not good, and won’t be able to stop Atlanta. Plus, I don’t think that Cam Newton is all he is cracked up to be. If the Panthers want to show that they are a good team this season, they have to at least keep this one close. But I don’t think they will.
49ers (-4) at Jets – This is tricky because it’s a west coast team playing an early afternoon game on the east coast. The 49ers didn’t play very well in Minnesota last week but I think that changes this week. Also, the Jets defense doesn’t look as good as it was supposed to be and nobody knows what exactly is going on with their offense.
Chargers at Chiefs (Pick) – The Chargers started off hot and have cooled off considerably (like pretty much every season). I like the Chiefs to play well and beat their AFC West rivals at Arrowhead.
Vikings (+5) at Lions – The Lions defense got torched in Tennessee while the Vikings just laid it onto the 49ers last week. I think that these two teams are moving in different directions and the Vikings might actually be kinda-sorta…good. This game should tell us a lot about both teams.
Titans at Texans (-12) – It almost seemed like the Titans pulled out all of their tricks last week against the Lions. I don’t think that the disciplined Texans defense will fall for the stunts but will instead prove why they are the best defense in the NFL. Plus, the Texans are just really, really good and I’m riding them until I lose.
Seahawks at Rams (+3) – The Seahawks got quite a controversial win on Monday night, but they did prove two things: that they have a great defense, and that they have trouble scoring points. The Rams don’t have as good of a defense as the Packers, but I think that they find a way to keep this real close and maybe pull out the win.
Miami at Arizona (-6.5) – This Arizona team intrigues me, mostly because I think they might actually be good, even without a very good quarterback. Miami has looked good (maybe ‘competent’ is a better word than good, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now) at times but I think that Arizona wins by a touchdown.
Oakland (+6.5) at Denver – Oakland pulled off a gutsy win last week in Pittsburgh while Denver hasn’t looked very good since week 1. Maybe Peyton figures it out this week, but if the trend of Denver falling behind by 20 points continues, Oakland will shut the door.
Bengals at Jaguars (+2.5) – I still don’t think that the Bengals are very good this season. I know that the Jaguars aren’t very good but Blaine Gabbert has resembled an actual NFL quarterback at times, and MJD is still doing MJD things. I like Jacksonville.
Saints at Packers (-7.5) – The Packers are coming off the controversial loss in Seattle and the Saints are coming off of three straight non-controversial losses. This
will be loss number four for the Saints because they just aren’t very good. Look for the Packers will prove that they are still one of the premier teams in the NFL and look for the Saints to prove their defense has more holes than Augusta National.
Redskins at Buccaneers (-3) – I’m still not ready to admit Robert Griffin III is good, although he is doing better than I originally thought he would. But until the Redskins defense can stop anything at all, I’m betting against them.
Giants (+1) at Eagles – I really like this one. The Giants play well on the road and force turnovers, and the Eagles have had 12 turnovers in 3 games. I’ll take the Giants and I feel real good about it.
Bears (+3.5) at Cowboys – I think that Cutler will play really well in the Monday Night spotlight, especially with Forte back in the backfield. It depends on which Cowboys team shows up, but I like the Bears to at least keep it very close.
Last Week: 10-6