Filling in for a friend

It has been a long, long time since one of these Armchair Quarterback columns has been written by yours truly. But with my friend and colleague Steve Brownlee on the bench for a bit, I was happy to step up to fill in.

Steve had bypass surgery earlier this week and will be recuperating for at least a couple of weeks. Knowing Steve, he’ll be ahead of schedule and back to sports editing and bowling before too long at all.

While he’s out, I am in. But he’s not really out. Before he went into surgery, Steve picked this week’s games so I shall share those choices with you, then offer up if I agree or disagree.

Different, sure, but Steve’s devoted fans will want to know his take on Week 9.

Here goes …

Tonight

Oakland at San Francisco: Mr. Brownlee no doubt winced at this choice, with two 1-win teams duking it out. Steve picks San Francisco. And I concur.

Sunday

Pittsburgh at Baltimore: An AFC North battle supreme, a game where no love is ever lost. Steve picks Baltimore but I’ll take Pittsburgh, even though the game is in Raventown.

Chicago at Buffalo: The NFC North leaders head to upstate New York to take on the Bills. The Bills average less than 12 points a game. Steve picks Chicago and so do I.

Tampa Bay at Carolina: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick turned in quite the performance in relief last week for the Buccaneers. But the Panthers are perfect at home, which may be part of the reason why Steve picks Carolina. Yep, me too.

Kansas City at Cleveland: The Browns may be 2-1 at home, but Kansas City is formidable opponent which is perhaps why Steve picks Kansas City. Don’t see any reason to disagree on this one.

New York Jets at Miami: The Dolphins are one game ahead of this conference foe. Make that two games. Steve picks Miami and I have to agree.

Detroit at Minnesota: Last week, the Lions disappointed their fan Steve by not claiming a victory over the Seahawks. This week, Steve picks Minnesota. And as much as I’d like to take Detroit, I don’t think that would be prudent.

Atlanta at Washington: The first-place Redskins (5-2) are hosting the 3-4 Falcons. Smart money and Steve pick Washington, but I am going to take Atlanta in the upset.

Houston at Denver: Houston’s 2-2 on the road. Denver’s 2-2 at home. Steve picks Houston and I do as well.

L.A. Chargers at Seattle: Haven’t watched the Chargers, myself, but did view Seattle’s victory over Detroit this past Sunday. Steve picks L.A. Chargers, but I will go with the host Seahawks and the loud crowd that backs them.

L.A. Rams at New Orleans: Two of the NFC’s best meet up down by the bayou. The only undefeated team in the NFL, the Rams are impressive on both sides of the ball. The Saints are 6-1 and have future Hall of Famer Drew Brees at the helm. This should be a fantastic game. Steve picks New Orleans as do I.

Green Bay at New England: Sunday was a frustrating game for Packer backers like me and despite some roster moves this week, I don’t think Green Bay has solved all its problems quite yet. Not good news heading into Foxboro. Steve picks New England and with a heavy sigh, so do I.

Monday

Tennessee at Dallas: Which 3-4 team breaks out of mediocracy this week? Steve picks:Dallas and I cannot disagree.

Steve’s record last week: 11-3, 79 percent. Steve’s season record: 73-46-2, 61 percent