Tampa Bay 20, Minnesota 17
It can't be considered a good thing when your star quarterback spends an entire week in the news, not because of his exploits on the field, but because of who he's dating. Distractions often creep in with young teams.
Last Week: 12-2
Green Bay 33, Jacksonville 6
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has also been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, being called a diva by many in the game including a few teammates. Green Bay though, seems to be putting it all together finally. Not sure the Jags will ever do the same.
Indianapolis 21, Tennessee 14
A pair of teams that have shown at times they may be on the cusp of taking it up another level, only to eventually take two steps back. Consistency is the word most closely associated with young teams.
Chicago 26, Carolina 13
If the Bears could ever learn how to protect Jay Cutler on a regular basis, they would have to be considered among the handful of NFC contenders. More than anything right now the Panthers need Cam Newton to mature as a leader - quickly.
Miami 27, N.Y. Jets 20
These teams are average at best, but thankfully, they play in a division where nobody seems to want to step up and take charge. I'll take just about anyone instead of Mark Sanchez, and this week that means Ryan Tannehill.
San Diego 34, Cleveland 14
It amazes me that in this day and age, a coach, in this case Norv Turner, can continue to have a job considering his teams have underachieved on a yearly basis. But that's life in California, which is obviously better than life in Cleveland where Mike Holmgren is 'retiring.'
Atlanta 35, Philadelphia 24
Mike Vick's old team invades his new backyard and doesn't treat the host with much kindness. The Falcons had been sneaking by lately, so maybe the week off did some good.
Seattle 26, Detroit 23
The Seahawks, who acquitted themselves quite nicely in a losing effort last week, now have to fly across country to battle a Lions team that desperately needs to right the ship. Too many turnovers and not enough Megatron this season for Detroit.
Have we seen the return of the 'real' Steelers? It sure looked like it in the second half last week when the ravaged defense turned up the pressure. Can it do the same to RGIII?
New England 30, St. Louis 19
Here we go again with these games overseas. I have never been a fan of such, nor will I ever condone making two teams travel this way in the middle of a season. From a competitive standpoint, this is ridiculous.
Kansas City 15, Oakland 14
Remember when this rivalry actually used to mean something? Well I do. The NFL can talk about parity all it wants, but the league needs the Raiders and Chiefs, two cornerstone franchises, to be good again.
Dallas 27, N.Y. Giants 23
The Giants are obviously not the same team that won the Super Bowl last season. I don't think anyone thought they would miss Brandon Jacobs the way they do, but his departure has left them without that 'hammer.'
Denver 35, New Orleans 28
With the way Drew Brees and Peyton Manning will be putting the ball in the air, this may be the longest game of all time. As it always does though, the game will come down to who can get stops. For that reason, I like the Broncos.
San Francisco 22, Arizona 10
This is a chance for the Cardinals to state their case in front of a national-TV audience, against the team most prognosticators had playing in the Super Bowl during the preseason. The carousel at QB for Arizona though, doesn't do much in the way of chemistry.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net