Time for another update on where Vinnie stands at this point late in the season:
50% correct overall
69.2% correct among four- and five-star picks
42.4% correct among two- and three-star picks
Pittsburgh @ Tennessee (+1): This game features the top two AFC teams up to this point and should be a toss-up, right? Thing is, Tennessee’s top pair of defensive linemen will be out. Ben Roethlisberger won’t be in nearly the danger he’s become accustomed to when dropping back to pass, and Willie Parker should be able to get the running game going. Remember what the ’07 Titans defense played like minus Albert Haynesworth? Oh yeah, and then there’s the Steelers unbelievable defense to consider. I just don’t think Tennessee has a shot, hence the four-star status.
Gimme the Steelers minus a point.
Atlanta @ Minnesota (-3): The Falcons have the potential to score a lot of points against a Minnesota defense lacking Pat Williams in the middle. Both teams need this win but while the Vikes have playmakers good enough to keep up, Atlanta has shown enough in road games that I’m believing in ’em.
Gimme the Falcons plus the points.
Arizona @ New England (-8.5): The Pats are hoping for a come-from-behind sort of entrance into the AFC playoffs, and the team standing in the way this weekend happens to have only won once (at home against St. Louis) in the past four weeks. The forecast seems to indicate that the weather may well negate what would otherwise be a favorable matchup for Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald.
Gimme the Patriots minus the points.
Philadelphia @ Washington (+5): The Redskins have been a bad, bad team since, well … you could make a case for early October. The Iggles, meanwhile, are riding a three-game winning streak and have a real shot at an NFC wildcard berth. Things could get ugly real quick in this divisional rivalry game.
Gimme the Eagles minus the points.
New Orleans @ Detroit (+7): The Lions have two more chances to avoid the 0-16 record no NFL team has ever finished with. At home this week, pitting the worst defense in the league against the best offense in the league. And at Lambeau Field next week, where the Lions haven’t won since 1991 (seriously). Judging from Detroit’s ability to press some playoff-bound teams well into the fourth quarter, recently, it’s not a stretch to expect more of the same this weekend – a close game, if not an upset.
Gimme the Lions plus the points.