NFL Picks: Things have changed for the LionsPublished 1:15pm Wednesday, September 28, 2011
It’s funny how things can change in a few years. Just think of this – three years ago the Green Bay Packers were closing out a 6-10 season in front of Lambeau Field as fans chanted 0-16! 0-16!
The opponent on that fateful day in history was the winless Detroit Lions, who are now tied with the Packers atop the NFC North. The Packer fan in me can’t help but feel that Green Bay may have some bad karma coming from that chant, but that remains to be seen as the teams won’t face off until week 12.
But the Lions will once again close out their regular season schedule at Lambeau Field this year.
Here are the picks:
Buffalo at Cincinnati
The Bills proved last week that they are a force to be reckoned with when they knocked off the Patriots. The Bengals proved that they could lose to the 49ers, which isn’t quite as impressive.
BILLS 30, BENGALS 17
Tennessee at Cleveland
Two surprising 2-1 teams here and the Titans have to get Chris Johnson going at some point. He was in the discussion for best running back in the NFL until his holdout and now he’s looked like a poor man’s version of Green Bay fullback John Kuhn.
I say he finally hits his stride against the Browns.
TITANS 20, BROWNS 10
Pittsburgh at Houston
The Steelers looked awfully bad in barely scraping by the Colts, while the Texans hung right with the Saints in New Orleans until the last few minutes. Maybe the Texans are for real.
TEXANS 27, STEELERS 24
Detroit at Dallas
I’ve heard national media types try to talk up the Cowboys after they squeaked by the Redskins at home. But the reality is that the team is banged up and Tony Romo isn’t good enough to win games without a lot of help on both sides of the ball. The Lions took another big step by playing a near flawless second half in the Metrodome last week.
LIONS 31, COWBOYS 16
San Francisco at Philadelphia
The Eagles have looked shaky, but the 49ers have the medicine they seek. Michael Vick should be able to sit the fourth quarter to rest up all of those bumps and bruises he’s been racking up.
EAGLES 38, 49ers 20
Carolina at Chicago
It’s easy to say the Bears are on a downslide after they dropped two straight games. Then you realize both of those losses were to the last two Super Bowl champions.
The Bears are far from done.
BEARS 29, PANTHERS 10
Washington at St. Louis
Always go against the NFC West.
REDSKINS 17, RAMS 3
New Orleans at Jacksonville
No way the Jags keep up with Saints’ offense.
SAINTS 27, JAGS 9
Minnesota at Kansas City
Both teams are winless, but only one has a coach who lets his players and fans override his decisions. I was appalled when the Vikings had a chance to take a 26-20 lead in regulation with a field goal against the Lions and they ended up going for it. Head coach Leslie Frazier was sending out his kicking team, only to be influenced by a booing crowd and an angry Adrian Peterson.
Of course, Peterson wasn’t even involved on the fourth and one as Toby Gerhardt was stuffed up the middle. Maybe the Vikings don’t win and maybe they do if they go up six, but you should never let outside factors affect your decision as a coach.
CHIEFS 17, VIKINGS 13
N.Y. Giants at Arizona
The Cardinals found a way to lose to Seattle last week.
GIANTS 33, CARDINALS 13
Atlanta at Seattle
The Falcons need this one in the worst way as they can’t afford to keep falling back in a competitive NFC South.
FALCONS 28, SEAHAWKS 3
Denver at Green Bay
Packers better just stay healthy in this one.
PACKERS 40, BRONCOS 23
New England at Oakland
The Pats have shown weakness in their secondary, but the Raiders aren’t exactly a pass-happy squad. They’ll stay on the ground and the Pats should be able to contain that attack.
PATRIOTS 20, RAIDERS 16
Miami at San Diego
The Chargers nearly lost to the Chiefs last week and the Dolphins are due for an out-of-nowhere upset.
DOLPHINS 23, CHARGERS 20
N.Y. Jets at Baltimore
This is a big litmus test game for both teams as they are trying to show they belong on the top of the AFC. The Ravens really don’t have a bruising runner who can go up the middle to open up that Jets defense.
JETS 21, RAVENS 17
Indianapolis at Tampa Bay
For the second straight week, the punchless Colts get the national spotlight, this time on Monday Night Football. Peyton Manning’s injury may burn the networks ratings as much as it hurts the Colts on the field.
BUCS 20, COLTS 7
Last week: 10-6 overall; 33-15 overall