It’s week 11 and I’m hitting my stride. Sorry to post these Sunday morning, but if you want to GET PAID, put your mortgage payment on my picks. I’m on fire! Joining us to attempt to stop the bleeding for contenders is Buffalo Gal.
GAME 1: Oakland @ Pittsburgh -7
Phil: Something has to give this game. The Steelers hold teams to about 63 yards a game on the ground, the Raiders rush for 162. Although, the Steelers spotty pass defense has shown that it may be worth it to run it into the line 20 times to keep them honest, then exploit their secondary. The Raiders have Zach Miller, but beyond that no one who scares you in the passing game. That means the Steelers will be able to stack the line and then feast on the shaky arm of Jason Campbell. Barring an A+ game from the Raiders D the Steelers cruise here. Pittsburgh 27 Raiders 12
Buffalo Gal: Oh hey, Oakland, where did you come from this season? You came from a 2-4 season start. . . and now you greedily eye a play-off spot? Impressive. Ever since losing to the other Bay-Area team almost a month ago, the Raiders have boasted unbelievable momentum. Coming off an epic home win over Kansas City and a bye, Oakland must now overcome another play-off-hungry team, in a foreign field, to maintain its forward motion. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has lost two of its last three games – most recently in a very physical battle against the Patriots. Though it pains me to say it: I predict a valiant fight, but I predict Pittsburgh’s incredible defense and Big Ben will walk away with a W. Steelers 27, Raiders 17.
GAME 2: Atlanta -3 @ St. Louis
Phil: The Falcons average 18 points per game on the road giving them a 2-2 record away from the half-filled Georgia Dome. So the question is, can the Rams score 3 touchdowns? They’ve only done that once before this year. That’s trouble for the Ovis aries. Falcons should take this one and now the Seahawks are the front runner to win the AFC West with an 8-8 record. Though it won’t be as high scoring as Buffalo Gal thinks and the Rams cover the margin. Falcons 18 Rams 17
Buffalo Gal: The Rams have won their last four home games, and this game is in St. Louis. Other than that, this game belongs to the Falcons in every way. I will add here that those four home wins are the only wins St. Louis has this season. By contrast, Atlanta has a 7-2 record, including four 4th-quarter comebacks. With stars like Matt Ryan and Roddy White on the Falcon’s offense, and with relatively evenly-matched defenses, I think the Rams can bid their home-field luck goodbye. Falcons 32, Rams 20.
Indy @ New England -3
Phil: The home team is only 6-4 straight up in the last ten games of this battle of the strangely headed QBs. The last 5 games in the series have been decided by an average of less than 5 points. Both teams are solid, but neither is spectacular. The Colts are without some weapons which costs them a point, the home field is worth a point to the Patriots, and Brady’s teenage girl haircut is slightly better to look at than Peyton Manning’s teenage elephant forehead, so give the Pats a point there. I’m not going predict a push so I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the team I think will win. Pats 27 Colts 23
Buffalo Gal: I cannot help but state the obvious: this match-up showcases two very polarizing quarterbacks, backed by even more polarizing teams. Although Manning has triumphed over the Patriots in five of their last six meetings, the overpaid, overrated QB and his Colts have a (very slightly) weaker defense in Sunday’s game. Tom Brady, whose hair I will not feign to defend, is playing for his 25th consecutive home start victory. However, he is also complaining of a right shoulder injury. So given all this, my sense of reason tells me it will be a close game. But my fan goggles are calling this one, and they see another victory for Belicheck, the sexy beast. Patriots 28, Colts 20.
STANDINGS: Phil 17-11-2 CONTENDERS: 13-15-2