Another weekend of business travel during football season! ARGH! What is wrong with these people?!?
Thank DirecTV for Supercast, because Eagles/Falcons isn't being broadcast nationally, and I'll be in Minneapolis. Somehow I think the local 1 pm (well, technically, noon) games there are going to be NFC North games, because 3 of the 4 teams are playing in the early slot (Lions/Giants, Dolphins/Packers, and Seahawks/Bears).
Anyway, we're in "will he or won't he?" territory this week. You KNOW Mike Vick wants to face - and preferably kick the asses of - his old team. But can he play? Unknown. If he can't go, can K2 put up enough points - and avoid enough mistakes - to win?
The Falcons are a tough matchup. Not only are they looking solid this year, winning their last 4 games after a season-opening loss to the Steelers, but they're currently the #2 rushing team. Know where the Eagles rank against the run? Not #2 - try #24. Ouch. And that might be the story of the game right there.
The Eagles do have Brian Westbrook the Second, aka "Mr. Stud of the Week two weeks running" LeSean McCoy. (In other news, Nate Allen really is looking like the next Brian Dawkins - and not a moment too soon.) On the other hand, this is mostly a passing offense, at least for the past 12 years under Andy Reid. And there's better news there - the Falcons are #19 against the pass. Oddly enough, though, this year the team is ranked higher in rushing (#10) than in passing (#13) - at least so far, but I supsect some of that's due to K2's tendency to check down FIRST and some big runs from Mike Vick.
But enough stats - what does my gut say? My gut says Falcons. I know they're facing off at the Linc and homefield advantage and whatnot, but I truly believe the Falcons are the better team at this point.
In the rest of the matchups:
Dolphins at Packers: The Packers are REELING from injury. Big time. Aaron Rodgers' concussion is just adding the proverbial insult. Dolphins. Also, the Pack better start looking for some more players, STAT.
Chargers at Rams: The Chargers are struggling, but there is no way the Bad Luck Monster bites them this week the way he did last week. Two blocked punts? That's more in the territory of "Tom Cable sacrificed a goat to get a win." And, since they aren't blacked out at home, I can call Chargers.
Lions at Giants: I really think the Lions are a better team than their 1-4 record indicates. Unfortunately, I don't think they're good enough to beat the Giants.
Ravens at Patriots: Ravens all the way! Also, I'm watching the NFL Network right now, and Sterling Sharpe literally just said, "The Baltimore Ravens win this one, 33-23." See, he knows.
Browns at Steelers: Big Ben (who I now pretty much hate more than the Cowboys) is back this week - and the Steelers are going to end the Browns winning streak at 1.
Edited October 17 add: as was pointed out to me in the comments, the Browns actually lost last week to the Falcons. They had won the prior week, beating the Bengals 23-20. Not that any of that's really going to matter, since they're going to lose this week regardless.
Saints at Buccaneers: The Saints are looking downright...ordinary lately. And the Bucs are technically ahead of them in division due to not having a divisional loss. That'll end this week. Saints.
Chiefs at Texans: The Texans are trying to break my heart this year. But I still believe. Also, 3-2 in the AFC South is a better record than 3-1 in the West. Texans.
Seahawks at Bears: If the Bears can turn the ball over 1,463,638 times and STILL win (thank you very much Matt Forte), they'll get past the surprisingly competent (talk about damning by faint praise) Seahawks. Bears.
Raiders at 49ers: OK, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the 49ers stink. Raiders.
Jets at Broncos: Talk about dominant - the Jets look awesome this year. The Broncos? Not so much. The air's pretty thin in Denver, but I don't think that'll slow down the Jets or Rex Ryan's highly entertaining and R-rated patter. Jets.
Cowboys at Vikings: I know I rail against Brett Favre a lot here, but (so far) I haven't touched the sexual harassment allegations, the whining about his elbow (but I notice it only seems to bother him when he's playing bad), and the whole "my streak is more important than the good of the team" BS. Yeah. He's a complete ass. So are the Cowboys, but they're going to win this week.
Colts at Redskins: I SO want to call Redskins here, and they've been pulling off some improbable wins this season, but come on. The Redskins were 4-12 last year, and they're up against the Colts. DMac and Shanny haven't had enough time to make THAT much of a difference. I don't think. Also (and this is unverified), I don't think McNabb has EVER beat the Colts. I'm calling Colts, but I'd love to be wrong.
Titans at Jaguars: Titans. You can't stop Chris Johnson, and I don't think the Jags can even contain him.
On bye: Cardinals, Bills, Panthers, Bengals.