The NFL started last Sunday with 10 undefeated teams. It ended last Sunday with two.
So, yeah, last week was a tough one on those dumb enough to put their NFL predictions in a blog (See: 9-7 straight-up; 6-10 versus the spread).
Of course, we probably should have seen a lot of those “upsets” coming. After all, of the seven underdogs to win outright, five — Buffalo, Indianapolis, the Jets, Chicago and Washington — were at home. The Jaguars were in the UK, where the Brits swear Blake Bortles is the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
There are five winless teams, but that number will drop to at least four this week. Unless, of course, the people of Cleveland are further mistreated to 70 minutes of a Bengals-Browns stalemate.
Here are this weeks picks …
Bears plus-7 1/2 at Packers: Packers by 3
Seems like every male in Green Bay is on the injury report. But as long as one of them isn’t Aaron Rodgers, we’ll take the Packers tonight.
Lions plus-1 1/2 at Vikings: Vikings by 3
I don’t know if Everson Griffen is right about Greg Robinson being “lazy.” But I do know the Lions’ left tackle is a liability. He struggled in key moments at home last week. U.S. Bank Stadium will make things a whole lot worse. Detroit’s run defense was awful against Atlanta, giving up 5.4 yards per carry. Devonta Freeman had 106 yards on 21 carries (5.0), and would have gashed Detroit for a lot more if not for penalties. The Falcons should have won by a lot more than four points, but Matt Ryan’s three picks and Matthew Stafford’s gun and grit kept the Lions close. Ryan’s first interception was a poor decision unbecoming of a reigning league MVP. Glover Quin turned that into a pick-6. The next interception was a hurried short throw under pressure. Bad decision and thrown too hard. The last interception came in the red zone and was the receiver’s fault. He was looking for the goal line when the ball bounced off his hands. The Vikings should be able to get Dalvin Cook going, stop Detroit’s alleged new running game and pressure Stafford. Go with the home team, although the Vikings would be wise not to make it a close game with Stafford and kicker Matt Prater, who made field goals of 58 and 57 yards last week.
Saints minus-2 1/2 at Dolphins: Dolphins by 6
The urge is to ride with the hot hand that is New Orleans’ offense. But I see the Saints’ defense wilting back to its original form.
Rams plus-8 1/2 at Cowboys: Cowboys by 7
Unless they start playing on Satur-ays (football has no D on Saturdays, except in Alabama), the Rams won’t keep scoring 40-plus points a game.
Bills plus-8 1/2 at Falcons: Falcons by 10
If Buffalo’s No. 1-ranked scoring defense can follow up last week’s upset of the Broncos at home with a win over the Falcons in Atlanta, then I’ll shuffle onto the Buffalo bandwagon.
Panthers plus-8 1/2 at Patriots: Patriots by 3
The Pats have given up 95 points, the most in the Belichick era. But the Panthers might have a hard time scoring 95 points the entire season.
Jaguars minus-3 1/2 at Jets: Jets by 3
Which is harder to believe? Jacksonville being 2-1 and averaging 29.7 points per game, or the Jets having a two-game winning streak after this game?
Bengals minus-3 1/2 at Browns: Browns by 7
A stat that Clevelanders are made aware of on the third week of just about every NFL season: 0-3 teams have a 2.3 percent chance (3 for 132) of making the playoffs. It hasn’t happened since the Bills did it in 1998.
Steelers minus-2 1/2 at Ravens: Steelers by 6
Baltimore’s John Harbaugh says he never wants to go back to London. After watching Joe Flacco pass for 28 yards last week, the Brits are OK with Harbaugh staying in the States.
Titans minus-1 1/2 at Texans: Titans by 7
Tennessee is absolutely mauling opponents with its powerful running game. Right, Seattle?
49ers plus-7 1/2 at Cardinals: Cardinals by 3
Carson Palmer can still sling it. Unfortunately, other teams are catching it (four INTs) as often as Carson is reaching the end zone (four TD passes).
Eagles plus-1/2 at Chargers: Eagles by 7
Los Angeles has only one team in town to ignore this weekend. Philly is a hot team that should keep getting better. Although it might not want to give Philip Rivers 24 fourth-quarter points this week.
Raiders plus-2 1/2 at Broncos: Broncos by 7
What in the world happened to the Raiders’ offense last week? A stinker like that heading into Denver to face a ticked off Broncos team will be tough.
Colts plus-13 1/2 at Seahawks: Seahawks by 6
The Colts are bad. With Jacoby Brissett have to start in Seattle, there’s little doubt who will win this game. But it’s also tough to take Seattle and give 13 1/2 points the way this team’s disappointing season is unfolding.
Redskins plus-6 1/2 at Chiefs: Chiefs by 3
Kareem Hunt versus Washington’s No. 2-ranked run defense on Monday Night Football. Could be a fun throwback night for fans who remember when running backs were the stars.
Giants plus-3 1/2 at Buccaneers: Giants by 7
Odell Beckham Jr. crawls like a dog, lifts his leg like a dog and then acts like a mutt, saying the team is just going to have to live with the penalties he gets. The owner disagrees. Now, let’s see if OBJ’s greatness before the whistle blows can carry be followed by a little more class.
Last week straight up; versus spread: 9-7; 6-10
Year to date: 31-15; 20-26
Upset specials: 1-2
Record picking Vikings games: 3-0