Last week, I faded the Falcons – which given the pot-odds in what turned out to be a coin-flip game was the right call even though they won on a long field goal. Unfortunately, I took the Steelers on Thursday night – which was the wrong call, and lost two of my three remaining pools (I took the Dolphins in the other one). Most of the other teams won except the Cardinals, so in the end, most of the people who were alive last week are still around. Let's take a look at this week's slate.
Home Team in CAPS
* according to OfficeFootballPools.com<
** average of the two moneylines
1. New England Patriots - They're only 38 percent taken which means there's not a huge potential payoff in fading them. They're also by far the most likely team to win, especially at home against a weak passing offense. I give New England an 84 percent chance to win this game.
2. San Francisco 49ers - They got beaten pretty badly at home last week, and Seattle has a tough defense. But the Seahawks don't travel well, and the short week only makes things worse. I give the Niners a 76 percent chance to win this game.
3. Houston Texans - They make me a little nervous as the Ravens are so well coached they might be able to overcome their defensive losses. And the Texans looked awfully shaky on Sunday night. Still, they're at home and have most of their key players healthy. I give Houston a 73 percent chance to win this game.
3. Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings draw a good matchup against Arizona's porous offensive line, but keep in mind the Cardinals' defense has been solid this year, and Minnesota has an inexperienced quarterback. Still, the Vikings should cause big problems for John Skelton. We give the Vikings a 72 percent chance to win this game.
5. Chicago Bears - The Lions are still dangerous, and their defensive front is playing better of late. But the Bears are home, off a bye and have arguably the best defense in the league this year. I give Chicago a 71 percent chance to win this game.
New York Giants - They were swept by the Redskins last year, and usually play about as well at home as they do on the road. Coming off the huge emotional win of last week, this has the makings of a letdown game.
Buffalo Bills - I think the Bills will roll, but I wouldn't use them in survivor given their starting quarterback and defense, two somewhat important aspects of their team.
Oakland Raiders - The Jaguars are a doormat, but what is Oakland? Maybe a little better, but I don't want to speculate about a fight between two weaklings.
Green Bay Packers - They looked like they were back last week, but St. Louis has as tough defense, and Packers are on the road for the third week in a row.