By Jeffrey Flanagan Special to FOXSportsMidwest.com ______________
LAST WEEK STRAIGHT UP: 10-4 SEASON STRAIGHT UP: 48-29
LAST WEEK VS. SPREAD: 5-9 SEASON VS SPRAD: 34-42-1
STEELERS (-5.5) AT TITANS
A chance here for the Steelers to flex some muscles on both sides of the ball against an overmatched Titans team. It’s time the Steelers played a solid four quarters. Steelers 24, Titans 13
RAMS (+3.5) AT DOLPHINS
Yes, I’m starting to like these Rams and what Jeff Fisher is doing with this team in transition. Sam Bradford is building confidence (too bad he doesn’t have more weapons). Problem is, I also like what Joe Philbin is doing with another young quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, and another young team in transition. These are two teams on the rise, and, quite frankly, I’m tired of the Dolphins beating me week after week. Evenly matched game but the Dolphins get a big break late and pull it out.
Dolphins 17, Rams 14
CHIEFS (+4) AT BUCS
Call me crazy, but I think the Chiefs show up here and grind out a win. Brady Quinn gets the start, and if you think there’s a quarterback controversy in KC now, imagine what it will be like if Quinn gets a victory Sunday. It’s certainly not unthinkable. The Chiefs are getting their ground game going, and that may set up a play-action pass or two for Quinn, who HAS to be more accurate than Matt Cassel. The Chiefs’ defense, of course, will have to do its part again after holding the Ravens to three field goals. A Chiefs’ win will create some great drama the following week when Cassel is cleared to play. Too juicy not to happen.
Chiefs 17, Bucs 13
COLTS (+3.5) AT JETS
Wow. What a tossup. The Jets played hard at home against the mighty Texans, got a couple of breaks, and nearly pulled off a stunner. The Colts, of course, did pull off a stunner, rallying from a 21-3 deficit to upset the puzzling Packers. This, however, is anyone’s guess. After just five pro games, Andrew Luck already is the better quarterback in this matchup against Mark Sanchez.
Colts 20, Jets 17
BENGALS (-1) AT BROWNS
The Bengals are another confusing team, having laid an egg at home against the Dolphins last week. They did handle the Browns in an earlier matchup, but not without a struggle. The Browns are improving and certainly good enough to get a win here.
Browns 17, Bengals 16
COWBOYS (+3.5) AT RAVENS
The Cowboys are coming off a bye week after that horrific showing against the Bears. The Ravens slept through an unconvincing win against the Chiefs. The guess here is Tony Romo, under pressure, throws a few more costly picks.
Ravens 24, Cowboys 14
RAIDERS (+8) AT FALCONS
Good luck trying to predict each week what Raider team will show up. On paper, this looks like a massive blowout. The Falcons are clicking, they are at home, they are unbeaten….
Falcons 35, Raiders 17
LIONS (+4) AT EAGLES
All the high expectations in Detroit are fading fast. And now the Lions have a tall task trying to win on the road against an ornery Eagles team coming off a tough loss. No reason to believe the Lions come through here.
Eagles 27, Lions 20
PATRIOTS (-3.5) AT SEAHAWKS
Always a tough place to play for any opponent, especially one traveling clear across the country. The Patriots might be do for a letdown after an emotional win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Seahawks 20, Patriots 16
BILLS (+4.5) AT CARDINALS
The Bills get another taste of the NFC West and they’re not going to enjoy this one any better than last week’s thumping at San Fran. This one should get out of hand early.
Cardinals 31, Bills 14
VIKINGS (+1.5) AT REDSKINS
Who are these Vikings? Granted, the schedule seems to be falling just right for them, and again they get a game they clearly can win. But the fun ride has to stop soon. RG3 practiced this week after getting knocked out by the Falcons, and that should make the difference in a tight game.
Redskins 23, Vikings 21
GIANTS (+3) AT 49ERS
Think the 49ers want a little revenge after last year’s loss in the title game. The 49ers figured they had that game won before a special teams fumble cost them. This time around they will leave no doubt.
49ers 27, Giants 17
PACKERS (+3.5) AT TEXANS
The Texans were less than impressive in slipping by a lousy Jets team. And now they have a short week and are beat up defensively. The Packers are the most perplexing team in football right now after coughing up what should have been a routine win at Indy. It’s early in the season but this is must-win time for Green Bay. The Packers may play this like a playoff game, and if nothing else, it will be entertaining.
Packers 30, Texans 27
BRONCOS (+1.5) AT CHARGERS
Another fun matchup. The Broncos and Manning have a chance to really stir up the AFC West race with an upset here. Too tall an order, though.