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It’s a scary week trying to pick winners

Steve Brownlee

I almost feel like I was forced to do it.

But when I look back, I think it’ll be the right decision.

Looking for a topic for this week’s column when none was apparent, I’m turning inward and looking at my Detroit Lions’ picks this season.

For the first time, I’m picking my Lions to WIN. I feel a bit uneasy doing that as, yes, so far this season, I’ve picked them to lose six times. Since they have a 2-3-1 record, that means I have a 3-2-1 mark picking against them.

I’ve had a few Green Bay Packers fans question a bias I may have against their team, though many didn’t seem to worry about a bias for the Lions.

Hopefully this shows I’m much more interested in getting the games right than in proving who I’m for. Really, I don’t care half the time if the Lions win, because if they do, then what would I have to complain about?

Here’s a blow-by-blow analysis with Detroit — I picked Arizona to beat them in Week 1, thinking overall No. 1 draft pick Kyler Murray would come out with a flourish, kind of like the New York Jets did to Detroit on Monday night last year.

The pick looked terrible until the Cardinals pulled off their 18-point second-half comeback to get a tie.

After that collapse, that set me up to pick the L.A. Chargers to win in Week 2. Little did I know how far the Chargers had slid down the Hollywood Hills.

Same for Philadelphia in Week 3, though it would be a bit of a haul for the Eagles to find a mountain to slide down.

No way was I picking the Lions to beat KC in Week 4, even though it was close, and Week 5 was a bye.

And I knew Detroit couldn’t keep winning in Green Bay in Week 6, while I also figured the rejuvenated Vikings offense would prevail as it did last weekend.

By the way, I’ve picked the Packers to win six times in seven games, though I didn’t pick their loss correctly, instead taking the Cowboys to beat them a week after they actually lost to Philly.

Now onto this week’s picks:

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Thursday, 8:20 p.m.

Washington at Minnesota — These picks seem too easy this week, a sure omen I’m going down, and going down HARD. But I dare you to come up with a reason to pick the Redskins. Vikings, 31-20.

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Sunday, 1 p.m.

Seattle at Atlanta — Confounding conventional wisdom, Seattle keeps looking good on the road while stinking up their own stadium. Seahawks, 29-24.

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Philadelphia at Buffalo — I gotta believe Buffaloians get tired of living in the shadow of Philly, which is about the same 250 miles as it is from New York City. Payback time. Bills, 20-16.

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Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago — The Hollywood Hills that the Chargers are sliding down must end in Death Valley — you know, the lowest point on the continent. Bears, 22-17.

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New York Giants at Detroit — Detroit has enough defense to befuddle New York’s Daniel Jones, while the Giants don’t have enough on that side of the ball to slow Matthew Stafford. And what’s with these formal first names for QBs? I know I hate it when people call me Steven. Lions, 29-23.

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Oakland at Houston — Houston should be plenty annoyed after losing a chance to take over their division at Indianapolis last weekend. Texans, 30-21.

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New York Jets at Jacksonville — Could be a trap game for Jacksonville with a trip to London to play AFC South foe Houston next week, but the Jets ought to still be shellshocked from Monday’s shutout to the Patriots. Jaguars, 17-13.

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Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles Rams (at London) — This is more the kind of game the British are used to seeing — a good, ol’fashioned blowout. Rams, 39-19.

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Arizona at New Orleans — And N’Orleans fans don’t mind seeing their team on the right side of a blowout. Saints, 33-17.

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Tampa Bay at Tennessee — Tennessee might have one more good week out of Ryan Tannehill before they’re forced to reinsert Marcus Mariota at QB. Titans, 23-19.

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Sunday, 4 p.m.

Carolina at San Francisco — The Kyle Allen streak of four straight wins for the Panthers comes to a crashing halt vs. San Fran’s stingy defense. 49ers, 16-13.

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Denver at Indianapolis — OK, if KC’s leaky defense could get to Denver QB Joe Flacco for nine sacks a week ago, what will a newly-stout defense in Indy do? Say, maybe, 10 sacks? Colts, 31-17.

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Cleveland at New England — Did you catch that stat touted before Monday’s game? Bill Belichick had schemed his way to 19 — now 20 — straight wins over first- and second-year QBs. Guess what year Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield is in? Try second. Patriots, 35-10.

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Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Green Bay at Kansas City — Even with Matt Moore at the Chiefs’ helm, this game might’ve hit the 100-point level a year ago. It’s a new, improved Green Bay defense, though. Packers, 37-27.

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Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Miami at Pittsburgh — I’ll repeat last week’s analysis of the Dolphins: “You had me at ‘Miami.'” Steelers, 33-20.

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Last week — 11-3, 79 percent. Season — 72-33-1, 69 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.