Bills vs. Jets —
JP- There is a part of me that feels like the Jets might have been blown out if not for the bad weather on Thursday. They really didn’t do anything impressive outside of standing around and watching the Patriots drop balls. On the other hand, the Bills went out and won their game over the Panthers in dramatic fashion. I liked what I saw from Buffalo’s pass rush as well as EJ Manuel‘s growth. I think Buffalo will pressure Geno Smith all day en route to a sound victory. My pick: The Bills
MA- The Jets will again rely on their defense to keep them in this game. They should be able to limit the damage from the rushing standpoint, but if they are good enough in the secondary to keep Manuel in check is another story. Buffalo’s defense is good enough to cause some turnovers–as long as they keep tight in coverage and put ample pressure on Smith. Keep an eye on the production of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, which might change the tone of the game. My pick: Buffalo in a squeaker
Lions at Redskins —
JP- RGIII is not 100%. That’s not going to end well against the Detroit front seven. On top of that, Washington’s defensive backfield is awful, which should amount to a field day for Stafford and Megatron. My pick: Detroit wins BIG.
MA- What can come from a high powered offense playing a hideous defense? Washington needs to turn a corner fast and I don’t think RGIII is ready to help them–yet. This could be a very lopsided game, but Detroit has been known to go M.I.A. at the strangest times. Alas, not even playing at home will help the ‘skins. Kirk Cousins anyone…? My pick: Detroit wins big (but not that big)
Texans at Ravens —
JP- Houston has gotten itself into a couple of shootouts to start the season. I don’t think Baltimore has enough firepower to hang with the Texans if another shootout takes place, especially with health questions surrounding Ray Rice. My pick: Texans by double digits.
MA- Baltimore has a nonexistent running game, and a QB playing below his ability with sup-par pass protection. Houston is headed in the other direction, with everything working right for them. Even if the Texans’ defense falters, I don’t see RB Bernard Pierce or WR Torrey Smith being able to take over this game alone. My pick: Texans by a score
Chargers at Titans —
JP- I get the feeling we are all sleeping on the Chargers. Back-to-back weeks of putting up big points with a dynamic offensive showing have me thinking they should be able to handle a fairly one dimensional Titans team. My pick: Chargers win a close one.
MA- I don’t think the Chargers have a good enough run defense to hold back Chris Johnson. I also like the Titans’ pass rush and secondary against Philip Rivers, as well as their ability to keep the running game of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead under control. The key to the game will be to keep Rivers off the field and as long as Johnson can help keep drives going, the Titans will take this one at home. The Eddie Royal train officially derails this week. My pick: Tennessee in a low-scoring affair.
Rams at Cowboys —
JP- When the going gets tough in Dallas, the Cowboys start changing things up in-season. When the Cowboys start changing things up in-season, the wheels fall off. No way Jason Garrett out-coaches Jeff Fisher. My pick: Rams by a touchdown.
MA- The Cowboys are being given a great opportunity to take control of the NFC East. The Rams have suddenly turned into a formidable opponent but don’t do well on the road. The Rams can capitalize on the weak pass coverage of the Cowboys but they have to give Sam Bradford time to throw. Daryl Richardson hasn’t been the back that Steven Jackson was and the Cowboys play the run well. This one comes down to the quarterbacks and I think Bradford has the edge. My pick: Rams get the win late
Packers at Bengals —
JP- Two 1-1 teams with Super Bowl aspirations square off in this one. I like what Green Bay has done on offense this season. I also think their defense is just good enough to slow down an underrated Bengal offense. My pick: Green Bay in a close one.
MA- Even without Eddie Lacy, Green Bay will have no trouble putting up points. Problem is, neither will Cincinnati. The Packers’ defense has not been good and will depend on Aaron Rodgers and co. to put up big points. What will decide this game is the team with the better defense, and that’s the Bengals. My pick: Cincinnati by a field goal.
BY J.P. SCOTT AND MICHAEL AUGUSTINE ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2013