Shawn Rine’s NFL Picks
Carolina 23, Tampa Bay 10
So Josh Freeman leaves the Buccaneers and he and his new team also stink it up. Gee, but it’s the coach’s fault? Granted, Greg Schiano’s days in Tampa Bay are numbered, but it’s not like he is leading Lombardi’s Packers here. The Panthers have shown a little something lately, in large part because Cam Newton has stopped turning the football over at an alarming rate.
Sunday, Oct. 27
Kansas City 21, Cleveland 6
Eight weeks into the season and the Chiefs are the league’s lone remaining unbeaten team. What parallel universe am I suddenly inhabiting? Make no mistake though, Andy Reid has this club believing it’s for real – and it most certainly is. Kansas City is doing it on defense (No. 5 overall, third against the pass). You might have noticed the Browns’ strength isn’t on the offensive side of the ball.
New Orleans 32, Buffalo 17
The Saints have had a week to stew about their first loss, meaning the Bills could be in for a rough time heading to the NFL’s second-toughest venue, which trails only Seattle. There’s a sliver of hope for Buffalo in that all-world New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham may not play. That’s quickly erased when you realize the Saints have an embarrassment of offensive weapons.
New England 24, Miami 12
A pair of teams coming off losses to the Bills and Jets, respectively. Yeah, it’s safe to say the AFC as a whole is way down this season. A victory here by the Dolphins would completely muddle the picture in the East, moving them one game away from the top spot. That being said, I wouldn’t expect it to happen. Rob Gronkowski is just getting back into the flow and he had 100 yards receiving last week.
Dallas 27, Detroit 21
Don’t look now, but the Lions are sitting at 4-3 and are only a game out of the lead in the NFC North. They are, however, coming off a tough loss at home on a 54-yard field goal. That right there is a game Detroit simply has to have if it wants to take the next step. Talk about taking that next step, the Cowboys went into Philadelphia and completely shut down the Eagles. Can they do it again against a high-powered offense? In a word, yes.
N.Y. Giants 30, Philadelphia 29
Thanks to the Giants’ victory Monday night, the NFL has but two winless teams remaining. Throughout his tenure as coach, Tom Coughlin teams have started slowly – admittedly not this slowly – but found their way out of the funk and into the playoffs. That’s a steeper climb this season, but not one that’s out of the question considering the division-leading Cowboys are exactly one game above the .500 mark.
San Francisco 34
The NFL goes across the pond to London again, and once more it’s a ridiculous concept. American football will never compete with soccer over there, just as the same holds true on our soil. All it does is completely screw up the routines of a bunch of pro athletes. Oh, as for the game … do I need to break it down for you?
Pittsburgh 17, Oakland 13
For whatever reason the Oakland Coliseum has been a house of horrors for the Steelers, and we’re not talking about the adults sitting in the Black Hole – shouldn’t the Raiders change their name to this? – in full face paint and costume. Seriously … adults. Speaking of holes, Pittsburgh has built itself one. But with the emergence of Le’Veon Bell at running back and the mistake-free Ben Roethlisberger at the helm, they get a victory here to climb within a game of .500.
Cincinnati 24, N.Y. Jets 22
The Jets are 4-3 and in the hunt for the AFC East’s top spot after beating New England – a feat they nearly, and probably should have, pulled off in Week 2. The Bengals are winning the close games, including the last two on last-second field goals. You could say that makes them an average team or a good one, but I am going to go with the latter.
Arizona 16, Atlanta 15
A couple of severely banged-up clubs are set for action in the desert, but only one has a franchise quarterback. That being said, as I have pointed out numerous times in this space the Falcons at home and on the road have a history of being two completely different teams. If the Cardinals can find a way to create a couple of turnovers, they will pull this one off. Arizona defense end John Abraham is coming off his best performance of the season, and it’s no coincidence his former team was next on the schedule.
Denver 37, Washington 15
The Redskins may just have saved their season last week, rallying past the Bears in the NFL’s highest-scoring game (45-41) this season. But can you rely on expect backup running back Roy Helu to repeat his performance (11 carries, 41 yards and three scores)? The problem for Washington continues to be on the defensive side, surely not a good thing when facing an angry Peyton Manning-led offense that is ranked first in the league, averaging a little more than 469 yards a game.
Green Bay 31, Minnesota 10
Aaron Rodgers’ receiving corp is basically down to you, me and that guy you see buying coffee every morning at 7-Eleven. I mean, does any quarterback in the NFL have more trouble keeping his key guys healthy? At first glance, you would expect to see a heavy dose of rookie RB Eddie Lacy, but then comes the realization the Vikings allow 102 yards a game on the ground. Still, don’t bet against the Pack.
Monday, Oct. 28
Seattle 40, St. Louis 9
Oh. My. Goodness. Yet another Monday night snoozer is on tap. Even if you want to get to bed early, don’t bother setting the DVR because there’s nothing to see here. The Rams with Sam Bradford were nowhere near as exciting as they should be. Without him – finished for the season with a torn ACL – they will be a downright bore.
Shawn Rine can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org