How’s this for a stat? There are currently five playoff teams from last year sitting at 1-2: Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New Orleans and San Francisco. Which ones do you worry about the most?
Indy’s kept things close. I think they’re just starting to jell and should be dangerous going forward. New Orleans started off with two away games, which is never their forte. However, they do need to win a few away if they hope to show up again this year, so I’d say I’m mildly worried there. I think both teams will be playing meaningful games in December.
As for the Chiefs, well, they were the beneficiaries of a soft schedule last year, and better teams are now exposing their flaws. I didn’t have them in the mix for the playoffs anyway, so nothing surprising there.
That leaves us with Green Bay and San Francisco. The Packers must deal with the resurgent Bears, starting this week at Soldier Field, and figure out what the heck’s going on with their game. Meanwhile, San Francisco has both Seattle and Arizona to contend with, and they’re doing a very poor job of it.
So if I’m a Niners or Pack fan, I’m pretty darn concerned. Thankfully, there’s still 13 games to go, but it’s never too early for fans to lament their teams, amirite?
Picks below. Remember, don’t actually use these to place bets. You will lose.
N.Y. Giants at Washington: The winner has a shot at doing something in the NFC East. The loser will be banished to the Wall.
Green Bay at Chicago: Jay Cutler is as stiff and wooden as Groot, but he’s getting it done.
Buffalo at Houston: These teams are both 2-1. One will emerge 3-1. Tell me we’re not in an alternate dimension, I dare you.
Tennessee at Indianapolis: The Titans are looking for an exit from Purgatory, but Ichabod Crane ain’t coming to save them.
Carolina at Baltimore: Steve Smith aims to misbehave against his old team.
Detroit at N.Y. Jets: The Lannisters kept Green Bay well in check. The Jets should fall like Starks.
Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh: A drunk Jack Sparrow will now quarterback the hapless Bucs.
Miami at Oakland: So long and thanks for all the fish, Raiders.
Jacksonville at San Diego: The Chargers are alive! Alive!
Atlanta at Minnesota: And lo, Asgard weeps, for not even Mjolnir can hammer these foes.
Philadelphia at San Francisco: In the fourth quarter, the Niners have shown all the poise and determination of Marvin the Martian.
New Orleans at Dallas: I’m not sold yet on Dallas being a good team yet, and this won’t be like shooting womp-rats back home.
New England at Kansas City: The Patriots have a weak grasp on their usual Borg-like efficiency, but the Chiefs’ shields are at 3 percent.
Bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, St. Louis, Seattle — which means four of the best teams aren’t playing. I smell a Doctor Who marathon brewing.
Last week’s record: 11-5
Season record: 27-21