Did you miss the Bears during their bye week? Think the time off will help them knock off the rival Packers?
All but one of our NFL experts thinks Chicago benefited from its week off and will take down Green Bay on Sunday at Soldier Field. However, that one — Randy Reinhardt — topped the panel last week by going 8-7, so he may know more than the rest of them.
Randy Sharer was the only other prognosticator to get more than half the games right at 7-6. Everyone else went 6-7, including Kash. The Miller Park Zoo sea lion is five games behind the pack and will try to make up that ground with five solitary picks this week: Arizona, Indianapolis, the Chargers, Houston and Denver.
Randy Kindred, the overall leader, is the only panelist without a solo selection. Joe Deacon is alone with Dallas at Atlanta; Jim Benson went with Miami in the Monday night game at Carolina; and Sharer has sided with Cincinnati at Tennessee. Everyone expects Detroit to take care of business at home against lowly Cleveland.
Want to play along? Click here to sign up and play in our Pro Football Challenge. And read below the chart for the Associated Press picks by Barry Wilner.
|SEA @ ARZ||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||SEA||ARZ|
|PIT @ IND||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||PIT||IND|
|MIN @ WSH||WSH||MIN||WSH||MIN||WSH||WSH|
|LAC @ JAX||JAX||JAX||JAX||JAX||JAX||LAC|
|NO @ BUF||NO||BUF||NO||NO||BUF||NO|
|GB @ CHI||CHI||CHI||GB||CHI||CHI||CHI|
|CIN @ TEN||CIN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN||TEN|
|NYJ @ TB||NYJ||NYJ||NYJ||TB||NYJ||TB|
|CLE @ DET||DET||DET||DET||DET||DET||DET|
|HOU @ LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||LAR||HOU|
|NYG @ SF||SF||NYG||NYG||NYG||SF||NYG|
|DAL @ ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||ATL||DAL||ATL|
|NE @ DEN||NE||NE||NE||NE||NE||DEN|
|MIA @ CAR||CAR||MIA||CAR||CAR||CAR||CAR|
When the schedule came out, folks in Seattle and Phoenix pointed to the Seahawks-Cardinals game on Thursday night as a pivotal one in the NFC West.
Forget that: Arizona, plagued by injuries and mediocre play, has been a huge disappointment.
Indeed, the Seahawks haven't exactly been world beaters, either, bothered by untimely penalties and a sporadic attack.
This is an opportunity for Seattle to keep close to the division-leading Rams, who sort of have a bye as they face the powerless Texans. Are the Seahawks up to it?
Star linebacker Bobby Wagner has no doubts, and even finds a benefit to playing the Cardinals on a short week.
"Yeah, because you don't have to relearn a new offense, like you have seen this team a handful of times," Wagner said.
"We got a lot of film on them, so that's what helps us. They know us, we know them, and it's just who can remember what they did the fastest."
The Arizona roster Wagner and cohorts will face in truth isn't all that recognizable with Carson Palmer and David Johnson sidelined.
But newcomer Adrian Peterson has had two big games running the ball and will get all of Seattle's attention.
"I think this is a style of offense where he is excelling really well in because he is a very patient runner, and this is a patient kind of run game," Wagner said.
"It is just crunching and just waiting for someone to pop out of their gap. He does a good job of finding it, but I feel like we have been very disciplined when we played him, and we understand the problems that he kind of presents when we play him. If we stay gap sound, we should be fine."
Seattle, a 6-point favorite at Arizona, should be fine, indeed. SEAHAWKS, 19-12
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP
OK, we get a mulligan. Due to deadlines, the surefire pick of Houston last week was made the day before Deshaun Watson went down. Does anyone this side of Chuck Pagano think we would have picked the Colts?
Hoping that Matthew Stafford does not have the same issue this week, we'll go with DETROIT.
Houston at Los Angeles Rams: Without Watson, Texans have no offense. And no chance. BEST BET: RAMS, 27-10
Dallas at Atlanta: Two teams headed in opposite directions. Go with the team pointing upward. UPSET SPECIAL: COWBOYS, 30-20
New York Jets at Tampa Bay: Actually toyed with this as Best Bet. JETS, 26-17
New Orleans at Buffalo: Actually toyed with this as Upset Special. BILLS, 24-23
Pittsburgh at Indianapolis: Did not toy with this for Upset Special. But did for Best Bet. STEELERS, 38-13
New England at Denver: Patriots often struggle in Mile High City. Not this time. PATRIOTS, 27-16
Minnesota at Washington: Redskins looked so good in Seattle, but also are so banged-up. VIKINGS, 20-17
Green Bay at Chicago: Cheeseheads are putting their faith in Wisconsin Badgers now. BEARS, 13-9
Miami at Carolina (Monday night): Another prime-timer for Dolphins, who haven't really earned it. PANTHERS, 20-14
Los Angeles Chargers at Jacksonville: We could see Chargers sneaking away with this one. JAGUARS, 21-20
Cincinnati at Tennessee: If Titans expect to win AFC South, they can't stumble in this kind of matchup. TITANS, 23-16
Cleveland at Detroit: First win for Browns? Not happening. LIONS, 27-12
New York Giants at San Francisco: First win for Niners? Maybe. Or maybe not. GIANTS, 17-13
RECORD: Last week: 6-7; Season: 80-52; Best Bet: 7-2; Upset special: 6-3.