APTOPIX Panthers Saints Football

Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) celebrates a touchdown front of Panthers cornerback James Bradberry (24) during their game Sunday in New Orleans.

So, Kash went 9-7 for a second straight week and now the sea lion from Miller Park Zoo is 18 games behind his closest rival in our Pantagraph Picks competition.

However, as our sports editor pointed out, he's "still got his head above water" at 104-88, and he's not showing any signs of backing off his upset picks. This week, he's alone in selecting the Bears, Colts, Dolphins and 49ers.

Somehow, Joe Deacon continues to widen his lead. A second consecutive 13-3 week has boosted him to 131-61 and five games ahead of Randy Kindred, with Randy Sharer in third place.

Sharer and Randy Reinhardt each have one solitary pick this week, with Sharer picking Jacksonville over Seattle and Reinhardt taking Philadelphia over the Rams. 

The panel is divided on the Tennessee-Arizona contest but unanimously likes the Packers, Cowboys, Chargers and Steelers. 

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. 


Matchup      

   Kindred   

   Benson   

   Reinhardt   

    Sharer    

   Deacon   

      Kash      

NO @ ATLNOATLNONONOATL
OAK @ KCKCOAKKCKCOAKKC
SF @ HOUHOUHOUHOUHOUHOUSF
MIN @ CARCARMINCARMINCARCAR
CHI @ CINCINCINCINCINCINCHI
GB @ CLEGBGBGBGBGBGB
DET @ TBDETTBDETTBTBTB
IND @ BUFBUFBUFBUFBUFBUFIND
DAL @ NYGDALDALDALDALDALDAL
WSH @ LACLACLACLACLACLACLAC
TEN @ ARZTENARZTENTENARZARZ
NYJ @ DENNYJDENDENNYJNYJNYJ
SEA @ JAXSEASEASEAJAXSEASEA
PHI @ LARLARLARPHILARLARLAR
BAL @ PITPITPITPITPITPITPIT
NE @ MIANENENENENEMIA
Last week11-513-311-511-513-39-7
Season 126-66122-70121-71124-68131-61104-88

One of the NFL's better rivalries has plenty riding on its latest installment.

Saints-Falcons on Thursday night also is one of the better midweek matchups on this year's schedule.

New Orleans leads the NFC South at 9-3, one game in front of Carolina, which the Saints have swept, and two games in front of Atlanta, which gets two shots in three weeks at the Big Easy's team. Considering that the Saints are 3-0 in the division, they truly are in charge in the division.

"We have to turn the page fast to get to New Orleans," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "We're right back into our division. It's all there for us, we know that."

New Orleans is a 1-point choice over Atlanta. The Falcons badly need this one, but they've struggled in their spanking new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta's playoff chances take another hit. SAINTS, 28-24

KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP

Before discussing that, how about some kudos for Pro Picks hitting the exact scores on wins by the Steelers and Rams?

The Chargers came through last week, and this one is a bit of a stretch given who we have left. Let's try CINCINNATI.

New England at Miami (Monday night): Patriots won't have Gronk, which makes this a tiny bit closer. BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 33-10

Seattle at Jacksonville: Russell Wilson is making pitch for MVP award. UPSET SPECIAL: SEAHAWKS, 24-23

Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Another test Steelers will barely pass. STEELERS, 17-13

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams: After loss in Seattle, Philly phans getting antsy. Calm down. EAGLES, 27-24

Minnesota at Carolina: Vikings' win here establishes them as NFC's best. Sorry ... PANTHERS, 20-16

Oakland at Kansas City: AFC West mess starts getting settled. CHIEFS, 22-20

Washington at Los Angeles Chargers: Chargers do their part in AFC West. CHARGERS, 30-20

Green Bay at Cleveland: Cleveland tempting us at home, but we're not biting. PACKERS, 23-11

San Francisco at Houston: Niners fans getting geeked by Garoppolo. But we like Houston here. TEXANS, 20-13

New York Jets at Denver: This shows how far Broncos have fallen, even at home. JETS, 27-19

Tennessee at Arizona: Tennessee's AFC South competition, Jacksonville, slipped here. Titans won't. TITANS, 21-20

Dallas at New York Giants: Bye-bye Ben factor makes us think this will be close. COWBOYS, 23-20

Chicago at Cincinnati: Actually thought about this as Best Bet. BENGALS, 26-13

Detroit at Tampa Bay: Loser here might soon start coaching search. BUCCANEERS, 17-16

Indianapolis at Buffalo: Bills' lengthy playoff drought about to continue, though they survive this one. BILLS, 13-10

RECORD: Last week: 11-5; Season: 121-70; Best Bet: 9-4; Upset special: 8-5.

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Assistant Sports Editor

Assistant Sports Editor for The Pantagraph.

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