Lions (-7) @ Cowboys
The Cowboys played outstanding last week. Dez Bryant has emerged into an absolute beast. This bodes well for Miles Austin, who will reap the benefits of defenses gradually shifting coverage over top of Dez. The Lions secondary cannot keep pace with the Cowboys but I have serious doubts over Dallas’ ability to keep Suh and Vanden Bosch at bay. Jon Kitna made a few plays with his feet last week, but the Giants looked lost on defense all day. Kitna’s tough as they come, but he may revert back into captain check down if Suh has his way with the interior linemen. Don’t forget, this is the same line that nearly got Romo killed and these aren’t the Lions of old. The record may not show it, but they have a lot of fight in them. Dallas will struggle to get anything deep going so look for Jason Garrett to bring out the bubble screens that he loves so dearly. They’ve rarely worked this season and I have no reason to believe they will this week.
The departure of Wade Phillips marked a departure of man-coverage-blitz approach. The Cowboys played more zone coverage last week and stayed away from blitzing every down. Keith Brooking didn’t break down and the secondary made some huge plays. The secondary did not have the personnel to play man coverage- as evidenced by every game up until the Phillips firing. The Cowboys have no answer for Calvin Johnson, but who does? As long as Ware puts enough pressure on Lions QB Shaun Hill, who likes to dink and dunk anyway, Johnson will be limited to an over the middle threat. The Cowboys win this one but it isn’t pretty and the Lions cover.
PICK: LIONS +7
Redskins (-7) @ Titans
The Redskins overachieved early in the season but take a step back and look at this team. They have no receiving threats. Santana Moss isn’t the Santana Moss of old. He would do well as the second or even third/slot option but he’s simply not a number 1 anymore. Joey Galloway was born in 1971 (not a joke). Anthony Anderson was a nice surprise but he’s got a ways to go. They produced a fairly good running game considering the injuries incurred but that had to be expected when you go into a season with
veteran washed up backs. The line, although improved, remains suspect. McNabb plays well considering the dearth of weapons. However, he’s on the backside of his career and can’t carry a team any longer. Did you know the Redskins have the oldest average roster in the NFL? Not exactly what you want to see in a rebuilding team.
Tennessee plays good defense, runs the ball well, and seems to find a few deep passes every now and again. They struggled mightily against the Chargers, a pass happy offense with a quietly effective defense. The Redskins rank 25th in the NFL against the run and 31st against the pass. Chris Johnson will have one of those 2009 like performances and Randy Moss gets his first touchdown in a Titans uniform. The Titans win and cover. My only fear in this pick is a garbage time TD by the Skins, but I feel the Titans take a lead, eat up the clock and win by at least 10.
PICK: TITANS -7