Something new this week: I am going to type out my Thursday impressions of each NFL contest along with my predictions (BEFORE).
Then, my prediction.
Finally, after all results are final, I’ll assess how I did. (AFTER). SCORE and comments.
Bears @ Commanders
BEFORE: Short week for both teams… Bears still in shock from Denver’s comeback win just 4 days earlier… Sam Howell more accomplished than Justin Fields… Bears’ defense blows… No easy fixes here…
Washington wins by a TD or more.
AFTER: BEARS 40 – COMMANDERS 20… Turns out Bears QB Justin Fields can indeed command an offense with his throwing arm. And Washington can’t play pass defense. Can you say D. J. Moore? Bears losing streak ends, and the Commanders have lost three straight since their 2-0 start—and counting!
Jaguars @ Bills (in London)
BEFORE: Jags stayed in England after thumping Falcons… Rested and ready… Emotional win for Bills over Miami… Overseas plane trips always take their toll on travelers… Jet lag and letdown possibilities… Bills defense a TD better than Jags…
Buffalo ekes out a tough win on the road.
AFTER: JAGUARS 25 – BILLS 20 … Buffalo defense only better if they can stay on the field. Too many of them left the game with injuries. Trevor Howard gets better every week, especially with Cal Ridley open on every pass play. The time zone change and jet lag definitely impacted Buffalo!
Saints @ Patriots
BEFORE: Belichick’s team not scoring points… Mac Jones limitations on full display… Saints QB’s not much better… Saints defense can still confuse and dominate… Could be low scoring and dull...
New Orleans wins by default.
AFTER: SAINTS 34 – PATRIOTS… Unless Derek Carr plays which he did. Then New Orleans can score points. As for the Patriots, Mac Jones is terrible—and so is his team. Much harder to win without Tom Brady, ain’t that right, Mr. Belichick?
Titans @ Colts
BEFORE: Like how Steichen is developing Richardson… Jonathan Taylor’s return matters… Derrick Henry back in business... Titans play better defense… Colts showed comeback ability and heart against Rams…
Colts rally for a hard-fought divisional win at home.
AFTER: COLTS 23 – TITANS 16… Colts rallied behind Gardner Minshew, not the again-injured Richardson. And Taylor returned just in time to watch Zack Moss roll up 165 yards rushing, leading the Colts second half comeback.
Ravens @ Steelers
BEFORE: Pickett and Canada not on same page… Prefer Warren to Harris in offensive backfield… Steelers pass rush flushes out Jackson… Steelers regret it… Ravens D is pretty damn good… Baltimore's offense as good as its QB…
Even if Pickett plays, Ravens still win going away.
AFTER: STEELERS 17 – RAVENS 10… Could not have been more wrong, and glad for it. Pickett can throw more than sideline outs and swing passes. And Warren is the Steelers best running back. The Ravens played as well as their quarterback once again. When the hell will I learn about that guy?
PANTHERS @ LIONS
BEFORE: Lions are solid on both sides of the ball… QB Jared Goff is performing at an All Pro level… Panthers may be regretting choosing QB Bryce Young with first overall draft pick… Winless and looking lost.
Detroit wins easily.
AFTER: LIONS 42 – PANTHERS 24…Young threw for 3 TD’s and 2 INT’s. Jared Goff countered with 3 TD’s to complement David Montgomery’s 109 yards rushing. Detroit never trailed and continues to look impressive.
Texans @ Falcons
BEFORE: QB C. J. Stroud the real deal for Houston… Jury still out on Desmond Ridder… DeMeco’s defense keeping Texans in games… So is Atlanta’s… Falcons ground game not quite in full bloom… Both teams trending up…
Falcons triumph on a last-second field goal.
AFTER: FALCONS 21 – TEXANS 19… Nailed this one. Stroud played well enough to win, but DeMeco Ryan’s defense couldn’t stop the Falcons game-clinching field goal drive and the wizardry of Bijan Robinson. Along the way, Ridder made some key throws. Like I said, both teams trending up.
Giants @ Dolphins
BEFORE: Giants do nothing well… Especially bad on offense… Daniel Jones looks lost... Dolphins were force fed humility pills in Buffalo… McDaniel’s team will be ready... Giants hopes fading fast…
Miami wins big.
AFTER: DOLPHINS 31 – GIANTS 16… And they did. Adding De’Von Achane to Miami’s offensive roster makes them ever more lethal and fast. The Dolphins set an all-time NFL record for points scored in the first five weeks of a season. Once again, Miami looks like the AFC’s best team.
Bengals @ Cardinals
BEFORE: Joe Burrow looks lame… Ditto for the Bengals defense… Love Joshua Dobbs’ energy… Cardinals offense capable of big plays… Neither team appears Super Bowl bound… Bengals season nearing implosion...
Take your pick—maybe last team with the ball?
AFTER: BENGALS 34 – CARDINALS 20… Dead wrong again. Burrow appears to be healed, and Jamarr Chase is “always f***ing open.” Dobbs kept it close until he didn’t. Cincinnati still has a pulse.
Eagles @ Rams
BEFORE: Nacua could burn Eagles iffy secondary… Kupp could to the same… Birds pass rush penetrating then blowing sacks… Eagles run defense strong… Rams must throw to win… Birds offense improving… Hurts still hesitating…
Rams keep it close—unless Eagles real pass rush shows up.
AFTER: EAGLES 23 – RAMS 14… Kupp and Nacua played well early, but Philadelphia’s field-long drive with 32 seconds on the clock to end the first half broke the Rams’ spirit. Hurts ran effectively by design, and Philly’s pass rush finished off Los Angeles late.
Jets @ Broncos
BEFORE: Wish Aaron Rodgers could be there for this one… Zack Wilson needs to sustain drives… Denver’s D is horrible… Russ Wilson really not playing that badly… Both teams on the brink of playoff extinction…
Broncos win at home just because.
AFTER: JETS 31 – BRONCOS 20… Nope, Wilson sustained drives against Denver’s horrible defense, and New York’s defenders made key plays late to secure an emotional win. Here’s to you, Mr. Hackett. Your successor is now 1-4 and bickering with his QB. Sweet schadenfreude!
Chiefs @ Vikings
BEFORE: Vikes defense no match for Mahomes… Danielle Hunter needs to have a day… Chiefs run game solid… Vikes passing game still potent… Chiefs may pile up points… Cousins and Jefferson must keep score close…
Kansas City wins a high-scoring game.
AFTER: CHIEFS 27 – VIKINGS 20… Got the winner right, but points were hard to come by. Jefferson’s injury a big factor. Kelce’s return from ankle injury scare accounted for KC’s winning points. But in the end, a reversed call spelled doom for the Vikings. Minnesota won these close games last year!
Cowboys @ 49ers
BEFORE: Game of the Week… Two potent offenses… A healthy McCaffrey tilts the field… Critical contest for Dak Prescott… Brock Purdy undefeated in regular season games… Cowboys D formidable against the pass… Not as good against the run… 49ers just the opposite… Home Field Advantage applies here…
49ers win a nail biter.
AFTER: 49ERS 42 – COWBOYS 10… San Francisco dominated Dallas. Prescott tossed 3 picks, Brock Purdy was near perfect, and the 49ers’ defense held the Cowboys under 200 total yards. Anybody who still thinks San Francisco is NOT the most complete team in pro football just isn’t paying attention.
Packers @ Raiders
BEFORE: Jimmy Garoppolo???... If he’s not healthy, his backup Aidan O’Connell does not suck… The same for Jordan Love … Packers D soft against the run… Raiders can’t run… Packers average 10 more offensive points per game…
Packers bounce back in a must-win game.
AFTER: RAIDERS 17 – Packers 14… A big NO on this one as well. Jimmy G. did play, and he threw for a touchdown then led the Raiders on a game-clinching fourth quarter touchdown drive. The Raiders D intercepted three Jordan Love passes and mustered an impressive third quarter goal line stand that limited the Pack to a field goal, turning the tide for the Raiders.
Here’s the point: picking regular season NFL winners is HARD! So many factors to consider, so many conclusions to draw, situations to assess. Picking against the spread consistently is damned near impossible. And no particular pedigree seems to make much difference. For example:
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I worked for NFL Films 43+ years, shot hundreds of games, watched dynasties come and go., etc. My wife Barbara is a hypnotherapist and intuitive coach. I pick with my heart as well as my head, Barb goes with her hunches.
Yet after five weeks of action, we’re tied for the season. Go figure!