National Football League is where the action is this weekend
The ESPN announcer — darn, I remember his comment but not who it was — said this isn’t much of a college football weekend.
But he added that it should be really good for watching the NFL.
A lot of close matchups make for tough picking. But I look at it as the glass half-full — as in I just dumped a glass of milk on the floor, but thank goodness, it’s the tile floor in the kitchen so it’s easy to wipe up.
To bring it closer to the subject, I figure if my picks go awry, I’ll blame it on the closely contested series of games. But if I do well, hey, I did have a 15-1 week this year to go with other “wonderful” 4-10 and 5-9 marks.
On to the picking:
Today, 8:30 p.m.
Tennessee at Pittsburgh — Finally, a matchup of TWO decent teams on a Thursday night. Both lead their divisions, but the Titans still look a little too fragile to withstand a Pittsburgh onslaught at home. Steelers, 27-19.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Miami — This is a makeup game from Week 1, when Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on South Florida. Seems like the Bucs will be happy to have gotten a win last week. Now they can go back to sleep. Dolphins, 23-16.
Detroit at Chicago — Last week’s performances don’t inspire a lot of confidence in either of these teams, considering how the Lions struggled for a long time against the Browns, 1-24 in head coach Hue Jackson’s tenure.
The Bears really weren’t competitive against the wounded Packers once “the challenge” went haywire in the second quarter.
It seems more a blip on the Detroit radar, though, where this is status quo for Chicago. Lions, 24-20.
Jacksonville at Cleveland — Refer to the last game and Jackson’s 1-24 record. Jaguars 19-11.
Baltimore at Green Bay — One of many games I struggled with and changed my mind on twice. In the end, I suspect a bit of a Packer hangover while Baltimore is coming off the bye. Ravens, 27-23.
Arizona at Houston — I don’t like either team, but it’s a more recent development with the Texans after their key injuries. I’m hoping and holding my breath that I’ve been too critical of the Cardinals, 17-13.
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota — One of four or five games pitting two quality teams this week. Just doesn’t seem like the Vikings will be dynamic enough to keep up with the good play by L.A. on both sides of the ball. Rams, 28-20.
Washington at New Orleans — New Orleans has turned into a Super Bowl-caliber team with a revamped defense. Saints, 29-19.
Kansas City at New York Giants — The Giants now look so bad I’d make them an underdog playing at home against Cleveland. Chiefs, 30-16.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers — I had to think this one through carefully.
This L.A. team is the worst closing team around, witness them successfully playing give-away with Jacksonville last weekend along with a number of other games this season.
But the Bills have gone so far south, L.A. won’t be able to give enough away in the fourth quarter to blow this one. Not that they won’t try. Chargers, 31-27.
Cincinnati at Denver — The Broncos are like the Bills, Texans and Giants, having dove off the deep end of late. But bringing the Bengals to town should revive Denver for one weekend. Broncos, 20-16.
New England vs. Oakland (at Mexico City) — Two good teams, and even if they weren’t, a good old-fashioned shootout is fun to witness on occasion. One thing to watch for — the Raiders are Mexico’s team. Patriots, 38-34.
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Philadelphia at Dallas — The Cowboys sure took a thumping last weekend now that Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. But rivalries produce close contests. Eagles, 31-29.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Atlanta at Seattle — The season-ending injury to Richard Sherman is the final gash in the Seahawks’ defense, even with the return of Byron Maxwell, cut in October by the Dolphins. Falcons, 33-23.
Last week — 10-4, 71 percent. Season — 88-58, 60 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.