Well, the good news is even after going 3-9 the past two weeks, I am still slightly over .500. But I won’t kid you — when you do go through a rough patch, it’s quite the punch to your ego. It wasn’t very long ago when I was 23-15-1. My regression to the mean now sees me at 26-24-1.
Those are just numbers. What happens when you devolve to this is you have a bit of bad luck, but that is combined with a total loss of the sense you had about the truths of the league and how things will play out.
So let’s stop talking and try to get my equilibrium back with a few morsels. I won’t call them delicious just yet.
Last Week: 1-5
Season Record: 26-24-1
Washington Football Team (3-6) at Carolina Panthers (5-5)
Line: Carolina -3.5
Both teams are coming off of their biggest wins of the year. Washington, as a 9.5-point underdog at home, jumped up and bit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina traveled to Arizona to square off with the 8-1 Cardinals and faced a daunting 10-point spread.
So which team has the better chance of seizing on their momentum from last Sunday? The Panthers have had a full work week to incorporate Cam Newton into their offense. My bet is on Newton and Co. dispatching Washington. Christian McCaffrey is a tough matchup, and Washington has to play without Chase Young.
The Pick: CAROLINA 24, Washington 16
New Orleans Saints (5-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-6)
Line: Philadelphia -2
I am not usually a believer in the team-is-due theory, but Jalen Hurts has his Eagles playing some high-energy offensive football. The Eagles are 0-4 at home this season and I think they have the right opponent to put up win No. 1 at home. I’m not a fan of the Saints’ offense behind Trevor Siemian. It would help if the Eagles can rattle his cage and rush the passer better than they have to date in Philly. The Eagles have 17 sacks on the road … and just one at home.
The Pick: PHILADELPHIA 27, New Orleans 19
Green Bay Packers (8-2) at Minnesota Vikings (4-5)
Line: Green Bay -2.5
No question the Packers have been very, very good on both sides of the ball since the Week 1 blowout loss to New Orleans, but I am thinking they benefited greatly in playing a very rusty Russell Wilson on the “frozen tundra.” The Vikings have played with pluck all season and showed me they haven’t penciled themselves out of the playoffs with that come-from-behind win they had to have against the Chargers in Los Angeles. I think the Vikings desperately need this one, and the Packers just want to win.
The Pick: MINNESOTA 25, Green Bay 22
Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at Chicago Bears (3-6)
Line: Baltimore -4.5
Not entirely sure what happened to drop this line from 6.0 to 4.5, but if I were already more inclined to think the Ravens bounce back, this 1.5-point shift in my favor has me feeling much more comfortable. Despite the putrid play of the Ravens in Miami, let’s not get too carried away about the Bears, who are on a four-game losing streak.
Justin Fields will be a handful in the not-too-distant future, but let’s not forget that the Bears were down by 10 in the Monday nighter at Pittsburgh two weeks ago against a very so-so Steelers team that had a 10-point lead with less than seven minutes to go in regulation before coughing up a punt.
Harbaugh and Co. have had extra time to regroup and get some of their mojo back. If I am wrong, the Ravens will really be in trouble.
The Pick: BALTIMORE 29, Chicago 19
Arizona Cardinals (8-2) at Seattle Seahawks (3-6)
Line: Arizona -2.5
Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury has a bit of a tricky decision to make regarding his starting quarterback this week. Kyler Murray (ankle) says he is close to making a return after missing the last two games. Kingsbury, for his part, says he won’t play Murray unless the third-year quarterback is 100 percent. Keep in mind that the Cardinals have their bye next week, so it may just make more sense to Kingsbury to try to beat a 3-6 Seattle team without his ace signal caller.
For their part, the Seahawks might have to almost run the table to get even the second wild-card spot. But one thing about Pete Carroll’s teams is they play very tough defense, especially at home. That and Wilson having a game under his belt should be a spark this week.
It’ll still count as a loss if Murray starts and leads his team to the win and the cover, but I’ll roll the dice.
The Pick: SEATTLE 24, Arizona 19
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox