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Brian Eller

Fashionably late to this whole 'picking games' trend


Seattle at Chicago -- The verdict is still out for me on the Bears, a first-place team that has had the benefit of an easy schedule to this point. I watched my Broncos tear Seattle apart, and knowing how mediocre they are this year, I'm inclined to take the home team in this one. I can't tell yet if I miss Jay Cutler.

Miami at Green Bay -- No team has been bit by the injury bug harder than the Packers. Just six weeks into the season, Green Bay has suffered injuries to Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee, Nick Barnett, and Clay Matthews among others. That doesn't bode well against a team looking to keep pace in the tough AFC East. Usually a trip up to Wisconsin would spell doom for the boys from South Beach, but the Dolphins are healthier, therefore, victorious.

San Diego at St. Louis -- **Upset Special** Each week I'll go out on a limb and pick an upset special, simply to brag about it if it turns out to be true. Of course on paper San Diego has the advantage in talent and personnel, but the Rams are at home, the Chargers are struggling, particularly on special teams, and Rams rookie Sam Bradford is making strides. Let's do it. Rams with the upset.

Baltimore at New England -- With most of my family back home in Baltimore, I can tell you they're a bit nervous for Sunday's matchup against the Patriots. They have reason to be, too. On a neutral site I would take the Ravens any day and twice on Sunday (pun), but Tom Brady and the Pats are still sour from last season's Wild Card butt whooping. I took the Ravens in the paper, so I'll stick with it. Whatever makes the family happy.

Detroit at N.Y. Giants -- The Lions may be the most talented 1-4 team I've ever seen, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Matthew Stafford continues to heal his shoulder injury, while breakout rookie running back Jahvid Best is nursing a toe injury, leaving him less than 100 percent for the trip to the Meadowlands. I like the Giants in this one, but only by single digits.

Atlanta at Philadelphia -- Kevin Kolb gets the start for the Eagles, as the quarterback situation in Philly continues to be of interest. Michael Vick will be on the sidelines if available, according to ESPN, but it looks to be Kolb's show Sunday, meaning Atlanta's defensive front will have some chances to bring him down. Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is arguably the least talked about star in the game today. I expect another big week from him as the Falcons roll.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh -- Sorry, Browns fans, but with Ben Roethlisberger returning to action and a home game coming off of a bye week, there's little chance you come away with the win here. Pittsburgh has beaten Cleveland 13 of the last 14 times, a trend that shouldn't change this weekend. Look for Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to let Big Ben really spread the ball around.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay -- At some point the Saints' offense will pick it up, right? Was Reggie Bush really that vital to Drew Brees and the offense? It looks that way, so far. Most people are quick to dismiss Tampa Bay as a legitimate 3-1 team, but there is some talent there, particularly in quarterback Josh Freeman. New Orleans wins, but it's not easy.

Kansas City at Houston -- This is one of the toughest games to pick, as two division leaders will square off in Texas. The Chiefs held their ground against the Colts a week ago, but now face an offense just as lethal with Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster. I can see Kansas City putting a stop to either Foster on the ground or Schaub through the air, but I think one weapon will continue to shine Sunday.

N.Y. Jets at Denver -- I've heard all week this is setting up to be a "trap game" for the Jets, who look like the class of the AFC East. Despite my passion for the Broncos, I'm not sold on this matchup hurting quarterback Mark Sanchez. Denver quarterback Kyle Orton is having a career season through the air, but don't expect him to throw for 350 yards against that secondary, even with a questionable Darrelle Revis.

Oakland at San Francisco -- Every week seems to be the one where San Francisco stops the skid, but so far, it's 0-5 for the 'Niners. Facing an Oakland team in the Battle of the Bay Area, this once again seems like the perfect opportunity to take Mike Singletary's bunch, but until they show me something else, I have to take the Raiders in the mini-upset here.

Dallas at Minnesota -- Oh, the story lines with this game. Brett Favre's elbow. Tony Romo's future. Jerry Jones' ability to keep from going nuclear on coach Wade Phillips. As ESPN has appropriately named this game, the Panic Bowl is setting up to be one of the highlights -- or lowlights -- of the season. Against the Jets, Favre was able to find his new target down the field. I expect the two to get along swimmingly against the Cowboys.

Indianapolis at Washington -- Someone recently brought up the thought of how good Peyton Manning would be if he played alongside a great defense for just one season. Scary to think, I know. For now, however, he's stuck with this year's crop, which ranks 29th in the league in rushing defense, giving up more than 140 yards a game. That makes it tough against a Washington team, under the direction of Mike Shanahan, improving each week. It's a tossup here, in my opinion, but I'll take Indy on the road in a close one.

Tennessee at Jacksonville -- From a fantasy standpoint, this week's Monday Night Football matchup is the best of the week, as viewers will get to see two of the top running backs in Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew battle it out, while quarterbacks David Garrard and Vince Young are quietly having solid campaigns. I haven't seen much of either of these teams yet, but I like Jacksonville to squeak it out.




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