Finally, a decent record! Took far too long, but then this season’s been a bit off. The usual suspects have been struggling, and formerly bad teams got good. Parity — more than just an empty word, apparently.
Still, the good teams you expected to be good remain, well, good. The Patriots are playing like a team possessed, though not Poltergeist-possessed, more like chip-on-shoulder possessed. They always have chips on their shoulders. You know, nobody’s really disrespecting you, Pats. Y’all play fine ball.
Denver also remains good, though Peyton Manning has little to do with it, surprisingly. I’m a huge Manning fan, and it’s been incredible to see his career unfold. But this year has seen a deep, depressing downturn in his play. He’s still got the mind for the game, but it’s the defense that’s carrying the team, not Manning’s arm. Honestly, it’s disconcerting — like seeing the Thing from Fantastic Four join the Guardians of the Galaxy. Which is a thing that happened, so I’ve read. Weird.
Anyway, on with the picks. (Winners in italics.)
Atlanta at New Orleans: The Saints are possessed as well — possessed by the spirit of Cleveland Browns past.
Washington at N.Y. Jets: Well, heck. They found intelligent life among the Jets. I still can’t bring myself to pick ’em against good teams, but this’ll be a walk.
Arizona at Pittsburgh: Apparently, Carson Palmer likes to hang out in the parking lot after games and have a beer. Related: He’s one of my new favorite people.
Kansas City at Minnesota: Verily, the might of Mjolnir has returned to the Vikings. Verily.
Cincinnati at Buffalo: Like getting used to Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, we’re all gonna have to get used to the Bengals as an elite team. I still think they’ll whiff the playoffs, though, until I see otherwise.
Chicago at Detroit: I’m calling it here. This is the game the Lannisters win. If not, they’re doomed to an 0-16 season and exile to the Wall.
Denver at Cleveland: I am so very, very tempted to go for the upset here, except for the fact that the Broncos defense is as mighty as a Balrog.
Houston at Jacksonville: You know, sense8 is an excellent show, and a worthy alternative in case this game is being televised in your home market.
Carolina at Seattle: A day may come when Carolina wins in Seattle…but it is not this day.
Baltimore at San Francisco: Which team is in more trouble? The one that loses here.
New England at Indianapolis: Indy’s high hopes for the season have quickly deflated. (Yep, went there.)
N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia: Chip Kelly looked like a genius, but kind of morphed into a version of MODOK. Comical and not 100% competent.
Last week’s record: 10-4. I need double-digit wins to feel respectable in this windmill-tilting exercise.
Season record: 46-31. I still need a few weeks to catch up with these guys. I have time.