Worst NFL Game of the Week – This one is a no-brainer – it’s Jacksonville at Detroit. The Jaguars just lost to the freaking Bengals, and the Lions are as pathetic as a team can be. One of these teams is going to score more points, but neither of these teams are going to be winners. This is football at its worst.
Best NFL Game of the Week – There are several to choose from. Buffalo at New England is a huge battle for divisional supremacy. Indianapolis at Pittsburgh could be good if the Colts can manage to show up two weeks in a row. The Giants at Philadelphia is another big one from a divisional perspective. My choice, though, is Tennessee at Chicago. The Bears are much better, and more fun to watch, than most people thought. Tennessee just keeps finding ways to win. It should be fascinating.
Game With Teams With The Most To Prove – This one would be Green Bay at Minnesota. Both teams are underachieving, and both need to win to be competitive in a wide open division. They both have strengths, but both need to overcome some consistent problems if they still want to be standing eight weeks from now.
Oddest Line – Given what happened to the teams last year – one team made the playoffs as a division winner yet again, and the other won one game – how odd is it to see the Dolphins favored by 9.5 over the Seahawks? It’s a reasonably sound line, but it shows just how quickly things can change in this league.
Best College Game – For once this one doesn’t feature Texas, but it is still from the incedibly entertaining Big 12. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech – which upstart will survive? Using some basic algebra, the Red raiders have a slight edge – they beat Texas and Oklahoma State, playing their best, didn’t. Plus Texas tech is at home. THe game is as close as one can be – the three point spread is entirely explained by the home field. This could be yet another classic from the conference.
Filling Me With Dread – Michigan plays Minnesota this week. It’s in Minnesota. My Wolverines will lose badly. I’m resigned to the inevitable.
Four Interesting Games Between Unranked Teams – Louisville (+6.5) at Pittsburgh. The Panthers can play when they want to, and they can disappoint with regularity, too. It will be interesting to see which team shows up with the conference title in their grasp. Wyoming (+25) at Tennessee. How will the Vols play in their first game with a lame duck coach? Under normal circumstances they would win in a walk, so anything less than that indicates problems. Stanford (+13) at Oregon. The Cardinal were ridiculously dominant against Washington State last week. Some of that can be explained by how awful the Cougars are, but some comes dow to a promising team starting to find their stride. This game will be a good measure of how far Stanford has progressed. NC State (+4.5) at Duke. College basketball is just around the corner, but until it arrives we can make due with this game between basketball schools. Beyond that, the interest here is to see whether Duke can do the impossible and become bowl eligible.
Biggest Line – Arizona (-40) at Washington State. The Cougars lost by 58 last week, and 69 the week before. They haven’t scored in 10 quarters. There is no reason to trust them no matter how big the line is.