Miami Dolphins +2 @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals remain a mystery. Carson Palmer does not look good this year. He’s coming off his best game of the season. Last week he put up over 400 yards w three touchdowns on 50 attempts. I don’t trust him to put up those type of numbers in back to back weeks. Cincy has put up big passing yard numbers, but that’s only because they often have to play from behind. Last year, the Bengals were a defensive team that ran the ball well. This year, they have to appease Ochocinco and Owens and do it with a significantly downgraded version of Carson Palmer. Marvin Lewis will make a great defensive coordinator for some team next year.
Miami is coming off one of the all time screw jobs. I think it helps the Dolphins play the “us against the world” card. Tony Sparano does a fantastic job preparing his team and they have a relatively talented roster. With the exception of the blowout Miami suffered at the hands of the Patriots, they’ve been in every game. Unfortunately, the Dolphins play in the AFC East where no win comes easy (Just ask the Ravens about the Bills). Both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams average over 4 yards per carry, but they have just 1 touchdown between them. Brandon Marshal puts up the yards but not the touchdowns. Chad Henne has not reached the point in his career where he will win a team games on his own. I don’t think this Miami team will make a playoff run, but they’re certainly more than a field goal better than the Bengals. Take Miami to win and cover.
PICK: MIAMI +2
Tennessee Titans +3.5 @ San Diego Chargers
Instead of the Pro Bowl the week before the Super Bowl, maybe the NFL should have the Chargers and Cowboys play in the disappointment bowl. San Diego may have both Floyd and Naanee back in the lineup (both listed as questionable but Floyd is a long shot) but a full compliment of receivers all at 75% will do them very little. With so many disappointing aspects to the Chargers season thus far, it is difficult to single out any one aspect. However, the failure of Ryan Matthews to emerge as a viable workhorse running back should have a place at the top of that list. San Diego fans hope his ineffectiveness results from nagging injuries but fear that he may just not be that good. Chargers GM A.J. Smith elected to play hardball with his left tackle and starting wide receiver, and got what he deserved. Both Marcus McNeil and Vincent Jackson will play at some point this year, but Smith’s conceit did its damage. With all that said, the stats for this team are great. San Diego ranks #1 in passing yards and in opponent passing yards and #4 in opponent rushing yards. The team showed some friskiness in their late game comeback against the Pats. If it were not for a false start penalty, which made a 45 yards field goal in a 50 yard one, the Chargers may have pulled out the W.
Tennessee’s defensive line will put pressure on Rivers all day. Without a viable running attack, the Titans can bring the heat. Safety, Michael Griffin, leads the secondary with 4 of the team’s 12 total interceptions. Jeff Fisher’s defense, steady running game, and ball protection has led the Titans to the top of the AFC South. I don’t trust this Chargers team. Rivers may break records this season, but that is not necessarily a good thing. Those numbers will be indicative of how one-sided the offense has become. The Chargers do not protect the ball and are penalty prone. They are the direct opposite of the Titans. The Titans will in San Diego and cover.
PICK: TENNESSEE +3.5