Cleveland at Cincinnati -- I really thought the Browns were going to pull out a win against Buffalo last week, so this week has left my confidence in this team a little shaky. Still, Colt McCoy has been named the starter for the rest of the season, which is a good move for this franchise. He'll reward them with a win against the struggling Bengals.
Washington at Dallas -- Remember when the Cowboys weren't worthy of an explanation from me in my picks segment? That seems like ages ago. Right now, in fact, it's the Redskins who should be ashamed of themselves. Donovan McNabb has been benched in favor of 'Sexy Rex' Grossman, but there's nothing desirable about his play on the field. I like the Cowboys here.
Houston at Tennessee -- One of several tough games on tap this weekend, both AFC South teams have no chance at the postseason. Houston came so close to completing one of the biggest comebacks in MNF history (short of Jumbo Elliott's triumphant catch) and appears to have a little more swagger than the struggling Titans. Houston is on the road in this one, but they're the better team right now. I think.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis -- My three co-workers all picked the Colts to take down the Jags Sunday and reclaim their rightful place atop the AFC South. However, I think the Jaguars are the real deal, starting with running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Peyton Manning has had a less than stellar year, even with all of the injuries around him, and Sunday's loss will mean no playoffs for the Colts in what seems like ages.
Kansas City at St. Louis -- It's simply not fair how every year the Chargers can start so poorly and still wind up getting into the playoffs. Right now, the only ones who can put a stop to the madness is the Chiefs, who may have to start Brodie Croyle for the second straight week. Last week Croyle struggled against the Chargers defense, but the Rams are a little less scary, which means another win for KC.
Buffalo at Miami -- Over the last two decades, it seems, the Dolphins have become the standard for mediocrity in the NFL. They seem to win anywhere between eight and 10 games most years, occasionally make a run into the playoffs, but fall short of reaching the Super Bowl. Fortunately for them, the Bills have been awful for the last decade and a trip down South doesn't bode well for this team.
Philadelphia at New York Giants -- This might be the best game of the week here, as both teams are fighting for the NFC East crown. I think both teams will make the playoffs, which means this game is for bragging rights and seeding. Philadelphia has been a little more consistent recently, so I'll stick with Michael Vick. If he wins, I'll buy him a puppy.
Detroit at Tampa Bay -- Another team fighting for a Wild Card spot is the Bucs, who have quietly been one of, if not the most, surprising team in the league. Quarterback Josh Freeman has been playing well but some injuries to their secondary has left them vulnerable in recent weeks. Luckily, the Lions are coming to town and that usually spells W-I-N.
Arizona at Carolina -- **Upset Special** Of course the Panthers will put their first overall pick in jeopardy this weekend with a win against the Cardinals and quarterback John Skelton. Skelton looked like an all-star last week against Denver, but this year even I could throw for a couple of scores against that defense. I have no other reason to pick Carolina other than it's my upset pick, but that's reason enough, says I.
New Orleans at Baltimore -- Yours truly will be enjoying this game in person this weekend, as I accompany my friend to his first-ever NFL game. If you've never been, it's a different experience than a college game, something he'll find out on Sunday. For the two teams, this could be a potential Super Bowl matchup, and while I'll root for the Ravens, the Saints' offense is too much to slow down.
Atlanta at Seattle -- To those who don't think this is a big game, think again. Both teams are very much alive in the playoff hunt, with the Falcons trying to secure home-field advantage, while the Seahawks flirt with a divisional crown. Atlanta is way more talented here, and like Randy Jackson, I love it when I see talent.
Denver at Oakland -- Oakland, folks. That's right. The Broncos don't deserve my words right now.
New York Jets at Pittsburgh -- Before hearing that Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will likely miss Sunday's game, I would've picked the Steelers in a landslide. Even with Pittsburgh's defense incomplete, however, I still like its chances against Mark Sanchez, who has struggled lately. Playing on the road is a dangerous task for someone trying to right the ship, but unfortunately the Steelers poke a few more holes in Rex Ryan's quickly-sinking ship.
Green Bay at New England -- Matt Flynn vs. Tom Brady in this one, folks. If that's not a guarantee this weekend then I don't know what is. Brady has been lights out and should win MVP this season. Another great performance from him this weekend will all but seal the award.
Chicago at Minnesota -- Former Bronco sighting here as the Vikings signed Patrick Ramsey to the back-up role, leaving Minnesota to rely on some guy whose name I've forgotten and am too lazy to look up to lead the team. That means I'm going with Da Bears, even if they're complaining about having to play outside in Minnesota. Hey, I'd fit right in.
Last week: 8-7