Many people had either the Bengals or Packers in their Super Bowl pick, and it's still possible both teams make it. The road will be tougher for whoever loses on Sunday, however.
The Packers and Bengals are each 1-1, and they play in Cincinnati on Sunday. Both teams are among the best 10 in the NFL, and one is going to be 1-2.
In the last six seasons, only one team has gotten a playoff bye with five or more losses (the 2010 Chicago Bears). So most likely, the loser of Sunday's game probably needs to go at least 11-2 to get a bye. Many teams have made the Super Bowl without a bye, but the odds grow longer.
The Bengals aren't getting much respect. Using the Yahoo Pro Football Pick 'em line, Green Bay is a 2.5-point favorite. Reverse the standard 3-point edge for home field, and that means the Bengals would be 8.5-point underdogs at Lambeau Field? Come on. Way too high. The Redskins were only 7.5-point underdogs at Green Bay last week, and they're terrible right now.
The Bengals are a good team, and it appears the Packers will be without safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward again, and also running back Eddie Lacy. Cincinnati's front seven is legit, especially against a Packers' offensive line that is pretty shaky.
Cincinnati as a home underdog is the pick, but check the record at the end ... this is obviously for entertainment purposes only. If you're smart. With that, onto the rest of the picks!
Kansas City (+3) over Philadelphia (picked Thursday): Thankfully, I'll have one win this week.
St. Louis (+4) over Dallas: The NFC East is now 0-5 in games outside of the division. Might as well stick with that trend.
Tennessee (-3) over San Diego: The Titans are the team that nobody saw coming. Aside from some circus catches by Houston's DeAndre Hopkins that saved the Texans, Tennessee outplayed Houston last week. Judging by this line, the Titans are still under the radar.
Tampa Bay (+7) over New England: Both teams have their problems right now. I suppose the right play is to take the points. The Buccaneers' defense is pretty good, at least.
New Orleans (-7.5) over Arizona: I'd take the Cardinals if I had any faith in them being able to run the ball to keep Drew Brees off the field.
Washington (-1.5) over Detroit: At some point the Redskins will translate their garbage time success to something that counts. And I don't trust the Lions.
New York Giants (+1) over Carolina: Bad matchup for the Panthers. Their secondary is beat up, and the Giants don't have any faith in their running game. Oh, and Ron Rivera still coaches Carolina.
Baltimore (+2.5) over Houston: If Bernard Pierce has to replace Ray Rice, he can be effective. Houston hasn't been great yet, and I'm not ready to bury the Ravens.
New York Jets (-2) over Buffalo: No idea what to do with this one. Jets get the edge for home field and a few extra days to prepare and rest.
Indianapolis (+10.5) over San Francisco: I'm sure the 49ers will be angry after last week, and the Colts have been shaky, but I'm still going to take Andrew Luck and 10.5 points whenever that is available.
Jacksonville (+19) over Seattle: How can the Seahawks possibly get up for this game after last week? I don't know how the Jaguars score, but 19 is a huge spread in a NFL game.
Pittsburgh (+2.5) over Chicago: There's really no good reason for picking the Steelers after watching that offense flail around for two weeks, but don't bet against their defense (which has been good) forcing a lot of Jay Cutler turnovers.
Denver (-15) over Oakland: Like the Jaguars game, it's incredibly tough to lay more than two touchdowns in any NFL contest. I'm just not ready to pick the Raiders' secondary (without its best player, Tyvon Branch) against Peyton Manning.
Last week: 7-9
Season to date: 10-21-1
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