Worst NFL Game of the Week – There are obvious reasons to look towards the Lions at the Bears. My favorite Lions stat – all but one opposing quarterback has set a career high for quarterback rating. Ouch. That one won’t be as bad, though, as Jacksonville at Cincinnati. Jacksonville is disappointing and full of problems. Cincinnati is so bad that T.J. Houshmanzadeh talked publicly about the possibility of a winless season. He guaranteed it wouldn’t happen, but still – If he is publicly addressing the possibility of imperfection then things are really bleak.
Best NFL Game of the Week – The Patriots at Indianapolis should be a lock for this honor, but there are too many issues on both sides to give it to them. I did like, though, how Bill Belichick talked trash about the Colts. Green Bay at Tennessee could be a good one, as pretty much every game with an undefeated team is this late in the season. Dallas at the Giants is a good old fashioned divisional grudge match. My choice, though, is the MNF tilt between Pittsburgh and Washington. These are two tough, well coached teams that will take this one to the trenches. It won’t be explosive or flashy, but it should be good fun for those of us who like hard-played football.
Game With Teams With the Most to Prove – There are two here. Houston at Minnesota features two teams that were supposed to be right in the mix but which really aren’t. The Jets at Buffalo is a battle between teams that need a win to stay in touch in a very wide open AFC East.
Oddest Line – The Giants are favored by 9.5 over the Cowboys. I’m not saying that this line isn’t legit (though my gut says it is a bit high), but it is almost impossible to believe that this is where we are at now given the widely held opinions of these two teams at the start of the season. The number isn’t a surprise, but the favorite is.
Best College Game – Shockingly, it involves Texas yet again. For the fourth week in a row the Longorns play an absolutely monstrous game with serious national title implications. They have to travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech. Tough task, made slightly easier by the fact that the Red Raiders have shown about as much ability to play defense this year as the Broncos. Florida and Georgia is another obvious gem. The winner should pretty much secure a spot in the SEC championship.
Filling Me With Dread – Michigan plays Purdue this weekend. That’s two teams that really, really suck. The only thing I can tell myself is that our prospects for improvement over the long term are much better than theirs. It’s a sad statement on how bad things are that Michigan is actually an underdog to a 2-6 Purdue team. This season can’t end soon enough for my boys.
Four Interesting Games Between Unranked Teams– West Virginia (-3.5) at UConn. Winning the Big East isn’t going to mean much other than a bid in a BCS bowl that no one will care about, but both of these teams are very much in the hunt for that bid. Oregon (+3) at Cal. Though it isn’t likely, both of these teams could technically still win the Pac-10. They’d need a big win here to start, though. Fresno State (-4.5) at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs have endured a couple of tough losses, and their win against Utah State last week featured a last second 58 yard field goal. This team is never dull, and they need to win to keep their hopes of conference domination alive. Kentucky (+3) at Mississippi State. Both of these teams can be pesky and tough at times, and ridiculously awful at other times. This game could be great, or truly lousy.
Biggest Line – Washington (+43) at USC. The Huskies are absolutely, irredeemably terrible, and now they are playing with a coach who is just counting the days until they quit. This is a ridiculously massive line, yet there is absolutely no value in Washington.