Hello to you all, and welcome to the Matt Wood-Richard Bauer Pro Football Pick 'Em.
This will be a feature that will be revised each week to fit that week's action in the NFL, so that you can continue referring to this one column and be updated as the season rolls along. Because this will be one story, with the picks and the updated "standings" between Matt and I changing week-by-week, I will dispense with capsule previews of all the games -- we will just cut it to the basics, and have our predictions for the winners and losers.
Previews written by much more competent pro football columnists are, I am sure, available at various and sundry places in the SB Nation family of sites.
So, enjoy this little foray into prognostication.
Standings after eight weeks: Matt 83-47, Richard 80-50
WEEK TEN --
- Cincinnati (2-6) at Indianapolis (5-3) -- The Bengals are in free fall, and while the Colts are not up to their normal standards, a 5-3 record and a home date against Cincinnati should be a tonic for Indy, and Matt and I both pick the Colts.
- Minnesota (3-5) at Chicago (5-3) - The Vikings had to make an incredible comeback to win at home last week, while the Bears "bearly" survived in Buffalo. Never has a home game with a team two games better than the road team seemed so tenuous to me for the home team, and both Matt and I take Minnesota to close in on Chicago in the NFC North.
- Tennessee (5-3) at Miami (4-4) -- The Dolphins look for their first home win of the year after their amazing unbeaten road streak ended last week. The Titans, in the opinion of both Matt and myself, will extend Miami's misery at home as we both pick Tennessee.
- Houston (4-4) at Jacksonville (4-4) -- The Jaguars continue to hang in there, while the Texans are hearing loud grumblings, as they were expected to proceed to the next level this year, and instead are stumbling along -- as they have in recent seasons -- at .500. The loser of this game finds itself in real trouble, likely to fall two games our of first place in a tightly-contested four team race in the AFC South. Matt takes the Jags to win at home, while I see Houston righting their ship this week, as we disagree for the second time (our first disagreement being the Atlanta-Baltimore game from Thursday night, in which Matt took the early lead on me in this week's edition of our contest).
- Detroit (2-6) at Buffalo (0-8) -- The Lions have to be angry after squandering a chance to beat the Jets at home last week, while the Bills -- for the third week in a row -- lost a heartbreaker, this time to the Bears. If Buffalo is going to win, this would be a likely week for it to happen, and both Matt and I will take Buffalo to finally get their first win of the year.
- Carolina (1-7) at Tampa Bay (5-3) -- The Bucs gave Atlanta all the Falcons could handle last week before falling on the road, and back in their friendly confines and against a Panthers' team in disarray, both Matt and I take Tampa Bay to move to 6-3.
- Kansas City (5-3) at Denver (2-6) -- The Broncos have had a bye week to try to figure out what is going wrong, while the Chiefs lost a tough one last week on the road in Oakland. Matt is going with K.C. to stay on top of the AFC West, while I -- one more time, and if they lose today, no more -- will take the Broncos to win, only because they are at home and desperate, and a win would let them creep within two games of the division lead.
- St.Louis (4-4) at San Francisco (2-6) -- The temptation to pick the Rams is strong, and in Matt's case, that is what he does. A St.Louis win would effectively bury any chance the 49ers have this year, and because they are playing at home and the Rams are away from their dome -- I will disagree with Matt for the fourth time this week and will go with San Francisco.
- Dallas (1-7) at Giants (6-2) -- I am guessing that the schedule-makers, when they made this a late afternoon game, did not foresee the records of one of the participants. Dallas is done, new coach or not. Yes, the team might play in a more spirited fashion this week for Jason Garrett, but both Matt and I take the Giants to get it done in front of the rabid home crowd and send the 'Boys to another loss in a lost season.
- Seattle (4-4) at Arizona (3-5) -- Ah, the wacky NFC West. If the Cardinals win today and San Fran beats the Rams, all four teams would be separated by only one game and it would literally be a division there for the taking for any member of the foursome. Matt thinks the the Seahawks will put some space between themselves and Arizona, while I am taking the Cards at home to at least tie for second in the division, and perhaps tie for first.
- New England (6-2) at Pittsburgh (6-2) (Sunday night) -- This game should be a beauty. After losing to the Browns, how will the Patriots bounce back? And after beating the Bengals in prime time, how will the Steelers fare in another game under the lights? Matt goes with New England on the road, while I (regretfully) take Pittsburgh to move to 7-2 and ahead of Baltimore in the AFC North.
- Philadelphia (5-3) at Washington (4-4) (Monday night) -- The Eagles come off of an impressive win over the Colts last week, while Washington throws Donovan McNabb against his old team in a marquee match-up in the Nation's Capitol. Matt and I both think Philly will win this critical divisional game and keep pace right behind the Giants in the NFC East.
- and finally...Jets (6-2) at Cleveland (3-5) -- The Browns take on their third straight premier opponent, and if they win this one -- does Cleveland suddenly find itself being considered a premier opponent? How many wins over quality teams would it take to be, in turn, seen as a quality team? Hopefully we will find out after this week. Matt thinks that the Browns will get it done, and I -- maybe out of superstition after picking against Cleveland versus New Orleans and New England -- will go with the Jets, who have been shaky, being shut out two weeks ago and then, last week, needing a furious comeback to beat Detroit.
Last week Matt and I both went 9-4 while I picked up a game at 10-3 to creep within three games in our contest. Of course, after Atlanta's win over Baltimore on Thursday, Matt again leads me by four games.
Fourteen games this week, the last week of byes before the entire NFL plays every week beginning next week. Hope you enjoy, and I especially hope I am wrong about the Browns and Cleveland pulls out their third straight superlative victory.