NFL Picks: Vikings should bring in PonderPublished 1:10pm Tuesday, October 18, 2011
It’s Packers-Vikings week and although the game has less relevance than it has in the past couple of years, it’s still a big game for both teams due to the rivalry.
I’m sure the Vikings will go with Christian Ponder to see what he can do on the big stage and this is his best chance to succeed against the Packers, who haven’t seen a lot of film on him yet. The Green Bay defense has also been allowing plenty of big plays, although they have tightened up in the red zone as they’ve started to find their rhythm.
A week ago, I think the Vikings would’ve been close in this game and then Packers 24, Rams 3 happened. The score looks nice enough, but the Packer offense couldn’t have played much worse in the second half. There were dropped passes, missed blocks and mis-reads.
Still, Green Bay walked away with a lopsided win against a hopeless foe.
I have a feeling Mike McCarthy spends most of the week talking about that second half and how poor it was. When you’re an unbeaten team, you need every ounce of motivation when playing a 1-5 team and I believe the Packers will have it.
For the Vikings, their best hope this year is to keep Ponder on the field and pray that he develops, because they are the worst team in the NFC North and they’ve got a lot of ground to make up to catch the Lions and Bears.
The good news for Minnesota is that teams can turn it around quickly in the NFL, you just have to make the right moves.
PACKERS 28, VIKINGS 17
Here are the rest of this week’s picks:
Denver at Miami
The Tim Tebow Era kicks off in his home state of Florida against the winless Dolphins. It couldn’t be a better set-up for success and if he fails in this one, it could be a short era.
San Diego at New York Jets
The Chargers are coming off a bye week against a Jets team that still hasn’t found its offense. The defense can only carry you so far.
CHARGERS 20, JETS 13
Houston at Tennessee
Maybe it’s just the Texans’ luck. It was supposed to finally be their year when Peyton Manning got hurt. Then the Titans start playing quality football and Houston’s best defensive player Mario Williams went down for the year and their best offensive player Andre Johnson also suffered an injury.
TITANS 19, TEXANS 16
Atlanta at Detroit
Losing when Alex Smith makes a game winning fourth down TD pass in your house could do one of two things for the Lions. It could knock them into a free-fall and rattle their confidence or it could motivate them to work harder and get better.
I’m leaning towards the second option.
LIONS 34, FALCONS 23
Washington at Carolina
As long as Cam Newton keeps throwing Favre-like interceptions, the Panthers will keep losing. His team isn’t loaded on both sides of the ball like all of the winning teams Favre played on.
REDSKINS 24, PANTHERS 17
Chicago vs. Tampa Bay in London, England
The fact that this game is being played in England makes it very unpredictable.
These two teams are also very hard to gage as the Bucs lost by 45 points before knocking off the Saints and the Bears looked helpless on pass protection against the Lions before they completely dominated the Vikings’ front four.
As a guess, I’ll go with the team that’s closer to the Atlantic Ocean.
BUCS 12, BEARS 10
Seattle at Cleveland
I guess the NFC West rule applies here, especially on the road.
BROWNS 16, SEAHAWKS 13
Pittsburgh at Arizona
The Steelers will clean up on the Cardinals, who looked like they were trying to play touch football against the Vikings two weeks ago.
STEELERS 27, CARDINALS 10
Kansas City at Oakland
Thanks to a deadline trade, the Raiders will now look to Carson Palmer to take of the quarterbacking duties. While he’s been out of football for a while and was starting to erode with the Bengals, this is the perfect opportunity for Palmer to rejuvenate his career.
The Raiders are a run first, run second and play-action pass third team and he’ll have much more time to throw then he ever did with the Bengals, who relied on a poor O-Line to try and set up downfield throws.
Palmer won’t put up big numbers, but he could win plenty of games with the silver and black.
St. Louis at Dallas
The Cowboy defense was very impressive in shutting down New England for much of the night, but Tom Brady was too much in the end. Still, that loss was a positive as it showed how good Dallas can be when it wants to be.
The Cowboys need to build on that and get better each week.
COWBOYS 28, RAMS 13
Indianapolis at New Orleans
The Colts have got to be wondering if ending the lockout was a good idea or not.
SAINTS 42, COLTS 10
Baltimore at Jacksonville
The Ravens defense will make Blaine Gabbert wish he was still back in college.
RAVENS 24, JAGUARS 10
Last week: 9-4; overall: 60-29