Last week turned out to be the City of Champions staff’s worst week for picks this season. All with the exception of Matt Gajtka who has been nailing the home underdogs a good bit this season. Here’s how we all fared last week.
Matt Gajtka – 9-4 (51-33)
Matt Shetler – 6-7 (49-36)
Zac Weiss – 4-9 (46-39)
Jason Harding – 4-9 (44-41)
Here is a look at our picks for this week.
Tennessee at Buffalo
The Titans are coming off a big win at home against Pittsburgh. They travel this week to play the bills where they remain winless on the road, 0-3. The Bills are also coming off a big overtime win over the Cardinals. Buffalo also expects to get Shawne Merriman back into the line-up this week. Merriman will look to help Nick Barnett and Mario Williams after each had two sacks last week.
Bills: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Cleveland at Indianapolis
Interesting look on the two rookie quarterbacks in this game. Both have around a 54% completion rate. Both have thrown for around 1,500 yards. Both have thrown for 7 TDs. What was their difference again? A lot of draft picks. Weeden’s only difference is his 10 INTs to Luck’s 7. The Colts also only have one extra win up on Cleveland as these two struggling teams look for another win or a high draft pick again.
Colts: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Green Bay at St. Louis
It’s no secret that the Packers have an explosive offense, which is why this game is all about their defense again this week. Aaron Rodgers went on a tear throwing for 6 TDs last week after some criticism starting flying his way. The defense however limited Houston to 3.2 ypc last week. They will need to do the same to stop the Rams and force the ball into Sam Bradford’s hands.
Packers: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Arizona at Minnesota
John Skelton will get another chance this week in Minnesota as Kevin Kolb is out with an injury. The Cardinals have allowed an average of just of 7 sacks per game in their last three games. The Cardinals defense knows how to put pressure on a quarterback as well which is why this game is so interesting. Both quarterbacks will be scrambling looking to extend the play down the field. Christian Ponder has grown slightly accustomed to that, but as Matt Kalil develops it will be less necessary.
Vikings: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Washington at New York Giants
This is a must win game for the Giants if they plan to win the NFC East. They already have losses to the Eagles and Cowboys. Last season the Redskins swept the Super Bowl Champs. This will be Robert Griffin III’s first look in the most talked about conference. The number to keep an eye on is Griffin’s completion percentage, which is currently a league best 70%. The Giants defensive front will need to bring the pressure but find a way to stop Griffin’s run able at the same time.
Giants: Shetler, Harding, Weiss
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
The Bucs look like they may have started to figure out what Coach Schiano’s game plan is all about, Chopping wood. Just keep chipping away and you’ll eventually get there. That is what Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount have done for the Bucs running game recently. However, the Saints are coming off their only win just before their bye week, which gave them time to get healthy. Big game early in the season for the NFC South.
Saints: Gajtka, Shetler, Weiss
Dallas at Carolina
The Cowboys may play with a sense of urgency after failing to show any in the waning minutes against the Ravens, which ultimately cost them in a 31-29 loss. Cam Newton continues to struggle in what many are calling a sophomore slump. He is at a 58% completion rate with 4 TDs and 5 INTs. Many had bigger expectations for the Panther’s after Newton’s stellar rookie season.
Cowboys: Gajtka, Harding, Weiss
Baltimore at Houston
The only two teams with winning records in the entire AFC will square off this weekend. Traditionally Baltimore struggles away from home and now they have BIG injury concerns. Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb will both miss the remainder of the season. Only good news for Raven’s fans is that Terrell Suggs have been removed from the PUP list and is questionable for Sunday. Houston is coming off a tough week where Aaron Rodgers picked apart the league’s 3rd ranked defense statistically.
Houston: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Jacksonville at Oakland
Remember this game at the end of the season when you’re trying to figure out the draft order. Both teams are 1-4 and struggling to stop any teams offense. Combined they are allowing an average of 28 ppg and averaging 15 ppg offensively. The Raiders however are coming off their most explosive offensive week in a 23-20 loss to Atlanta. They managed to rack up 474 yards of total offense in the loss.
Raiders: Gajtka, Harding, Weiss
New York Jets at New England
A lot of big conference games this week and the Jets vs Patriots is always one of the best. You can always bet that Rex Ryan will talk as much as possible about how they are prepared to win. The fact is the Patriots have won the last three consecutive regular season matchups. The Pats are coming off a tough loss to Seattle last week while the Jets have been trying to get healthy. Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes are definitely done for the season. New York is still trying to get Dustin Keller, Nick Mangold and Stephen Hill all healthy once again as well.
Patriots: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
Pittsburgh will get their first AFC North action this weekend while it will be the Bengals fourth divisional game. The Bengals hold a 1-2 record in the division after dropping a 34-24 game in Cleveland. The Bengals defense has been struggling much like Pittsburgh’s defense as of late. Last week Cincy gave up 21 fourth quarter points in the loss. Pittsburgh is coming off of one of their more concerning losses in a 26-23 loss in Tennessee. Pittsburgh is still looking for their first win on the road this season.
Steelers: Gajtka, Harding, Weiss
Detroit at Chicago
The Lions will need to find their running game and force Chicago to play more man coverage if they want to stand a chance. Chicago’s defense has been solid with turnovers this season. They have 13 INTs and 6 forced fumbles through 5 games. The Lions, however, are coming off a big win in the right direction. They were able to put together a come from behind 26-23 OT win in Philly. Detroit will need to play more disciplined as they committed 16 penalties last week.
Bears: Gajtka, Shetler, Harding, Weiss
Bye: Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, San Diego