...since I can at least somewhat distract myself from the mess called the NBA lockout, which had a disastrous end of meetings today once the owners refused to negotiated without getting a guaranteed 50-50 on the BRI first. Alas, at least the 49ers are 5-1 and on their bye week, and the Cardinals were up 1-0 in the World Series before blowing it in the 9th tonight to even it at 1-1....Onto Week 7!
Last week: 7-6
Overall Season: 54-36
Detroit -3.5 vs. Atlanta: This one isn't as simple as it seems, with the barely 3-3 Falcons coming into an angered 5-1 Detroit. The Lions possibly missing Jahvid Best for any amount of time will hurt an already abysmal running game, but they should still be able to generate some explosive plays through the air. The Falcons need to get Michael Turner running like last week in order to keep Detroit's pass rush at bay and try to get anything out of Roddy White.
Tampa Bay +0.5 vs. Chicago: Two inconsistent teams in this one with the Bears slightly favored even though the Bucs are at home. Here's hoping to Josh Freeman playing like he did last week for the rest of the season, which is to say, more like last year, attacking the outside down the field. The Bears will need to stay with its max protection against Tampa's relentless young defensive line, but that limits their options down the field, and I don't trust Jay Cutler making enough plays.
Seatle +3.5 @ Cleveland: This is more of a toss-up, and I'm going with the team coming off the bye getting their backup QB ready against a relatively weak defense. The Seahawks defense should have the edge stopping Colt McCoy's short passing game, so the Browns need to try to get Peyton Hillis going early and often trying to wear down a stout defensive line.
Denver +3.5 @ Miami: Again, a team coming off their bye preparing their #2 QB for a start on the road; against a non-existent Dolphins pass rush, Tim Tebow should have no problem getting the ball to his new top receivers, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Matt Moore was disappointing on Monday night, but he's now facing a considerably less difficult defense so there's a chance for a tight game. I'm going with the more talented team and the points.
Tennessee -3.5 vs. Houston: The Texans were outgunned last week with their injuries, and they could fall in a hole if they lose this crucial divisional game. Unfortunately, we won't be getting Andre Johnson beating on Cortland Finnegan again, and I don't think Houston can score enough to win this game without him. Matt Hasselbeck should be able to make enough plays with Mario Williams not there to harass him, so the home team should take it.
San Diego -1.5 @ NY Jets: The Chargers haven't played their best football, and yet they're 4-1 despite being notoriously slow starters. It's tough for west coast teams flying cross-country for the early games, but coming off a bye combined with the Jets coming off a short week should help. If the Chargers run the ball effectively, like they should, then they win this game easy. If not, then expect a low scoring game with some Phillip Rivers heroics (or Mark Sanchez blunders?) providing late game drama.
Carolina -2.5 vs. Washington: The John Beck Era!...probably won't be much of an improvement on the short lived Sexy Rexy era. The Redskins pass-rush could cause some troubles for young Cam Newton, so they need to be more balanced with their talented running backs getting more touches. He'll still come through in the end, though, and get that home W.
Oakland -3.5 vs. Kansas City: It probably makes more sense to sit Carson Palmer this week and have him start after their bye next week, but they really don't want to start Kyle Boller. He's been coached by Hue Jackson before, and it is just the Chiefs at home, so he should manage. Dwayne Bowe could take advantage of the Raiders secondary if Matt Cassel has time to get him the ball. However, I think the Raiders defense and Darren McFadden on offense does enough to win the game at home.
Pittsburgh -3.5 @ Arizona: It's a Super Bowl XLIII rematch! Kurt Warner will defin...oh wait. That's right, Kevin Kolb is Arizona's quarterback now, and their defense is nowhere near where it was three years ago. Big Ben should feast on this pass defense, and the Steel Curtain should get going against Kolb, but it is a bit concerning that Pittsburgh didn't do anything in the second half last week.
St. Louis + 12.5 @ Dallas: I'm taking the points and the slight chance that the Brandon Lloyd trade and a healthy Mark Clayton spark the Rams offense to their first win. That's assuming Sam Bradford plays, though, and the St. Louis defense to at least keep the game within range. DeMarcus Ware should have a big game, regardless, and I'm excited for former Sooner great DeMarco Murray becoming the feature 'back with Felix Jones out.
Green Bay -8.5 @ Minnesota: Aaron Rodgers against the Vikings' secondary. Packers defense against Christian Ponder in his first career start. A.D. should be relied on early and often to help his rookie QB, but he can't help his defense out, as well.
New Orleans -13.5 vs. Indianapolis: The Saints probably win last week if their head coach doesn't get injured, so they're looking to make up for it this week at home against the 0-6 Colts. Curtis Painter in prime time is not exactly what Sunday Night Football was hoping for. It could get ugly.
Baltimore -7.5 @ Jacksonville Jaguars: Getting the Steelers and Ravens defense in back-to-back weeks is not enviable for rookie QB Blaine Gabbert, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do. Joe Flacco should be able to connect on a couple long bombs before Ray Rice puts it away for the Ravens on the road, and their defense won't allow Gabbert to make any meaningless drives for the backdoor cover.