The Indianapolis Colts were dealt a difficult hand to play this season. After Peyton Manning led the team through the best decade in team history (by far), Manning’s neck injury ended up sidelining the star for the 2011 season. Kerry Collins was brought in and, predictably, that hasn’t worked out well. Now the Colts are going with Curtis Painter – Manning’s understudy – and Painter has shown some promise. They’re still looking for their first win of the season and they’ll have a tough time getting it this Sunday night in New Orleans.
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The Detroit Lions are coming off their first loss of the season, having lost at home last week to the San Francisco 49ers. They have another tough matchup this week when the Atlanta Falcons come calling.
The New York Jets have had a tough season so far. But they’re coming off a nice win against Miami and still have a shot of making some noise in the AFC playoff hunt. But they need to win games against fellow AFC teams with a serious shot of making the playoffs. That makes this week’s game against the Chargers that much more important.
The Oregon Ducks have been steamrolling teams again this season. They’ll look to keep their momentum going this Saturday when they travel to Boulder to take on the struggling Colorado Buffalos in a Pac 12 matchup.
The Penn State Nittany Lions have very quietly put together a solid season. They’re currently 6-1 with their lone loss coming to mighty Alabama, and they’re technically in first place of the Leaders division, a half game in front of Wisconsin. They head to Evanston, Illinois for a game against the Northwestern Wildcats this Saturday night.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have had a somewhat surprising solid season in 2011. If not for a week 1 meltdown in the fourth quarter at Syracuse, Wake would be 5-1 with their only loss to Virginia Tech last week by three touchdowns. Similarly, the Duke Blue Devils are off to a surprising start, going 3-3 after 6 games, which for Duke is actually pretty good. Both teams have a legitimate shot at making a bowl game, which makes game that much more important for both teams.
No team in the NFL has been hotter than the Detroit Lions. How many times have you read that sentence? The Lions are 5-0 straight up and 4-0-1 against the spread, including an improbable comeback in Dallas two weeks. Detroit avoided a letdown this past Monday night when they took down the Bears at home. They host the San Francisco 49ers this week, a team nearly as hot as the Lions, in one of the week’s best games.
The Philadelphia Eagles have abandoned the title “Dream Team,” and for good reason. The Eagles’ season has been closer to a nightmare than a dream come true. With loads of talent on both sides of the ball, Philly hasn’t been able to put things together. They’ll look to get on track this Sunday when they travel to the nation’s capital to take on the surprising Washington Redskins.
The best game on Saturday will likely be the one in East Lansing. Michigan State hosts Michigan in what promises to be another great game in one of college football’s most underrated rivalries. Both teams have played well this year. Sparty enters the contest at 4-1 having lost to Notre Dame, while the Wolverines are 6-0 including a dramatic comeback win against the Fighting Irish.
The Iowa Hawkeyes and Northwestern Wildcats are set to do battle this Saturday in Iowa City. Kinnick Stadium is historically a tough place to play, but Northwestern has had the upper hand in recent years. For a free pick this weekend, considered taking a touchdown and backing the road underdog in this contest.