The Kansas City Chiefs have had the look of an excellent team over the last five weeks, slugging it out with the NFL's elite. After a brutal stretch, the Chiefs sit at 3-3 and in good position for a playoff run, but now need to beat some teams which come into Arrowhead Stadium as underdogs.
The first such opponent is the St. Louis Rams. The Rams are 2-4 but coming off a huge victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Can the Chiefs set up and take care of business, or will it be a repeat of the Week 1 disaster? Let's see what our guys have to say.
St. Louis Rams at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
Matt Verderame: Chiefs 27, Rams 13
Frankly, I just don't see the Rams doing much offensively. St. Louis' offensive line has struggled to protect Austin Davis and the skill position players don't scare me. Provided that Dave Toub curtails the Rams' special teams, I think the Chiefs will hold them under 20 points. Conversely, Kansas City should score plenty of points against one of the weakest defenses in the NFL. My only fear is Andy Reid getting pass-happy, but even then I think the Chiefs get a win. Avoid turnovers, big plays against and penalties. If Kansas City does that, say hello to 4-3.
Clay Wendler: Chiefs 28, Rams 17
The juggernaut Chiefs attack is too much for the Rams' weak defense. The Chiefs send out postseason ticket sales advances.
Matt Conner: Chiefs 21, Rams 12
I love the room for growth on both sides of the ball at this point for the Chiefs. I said I needed to see it to believe it, and the Chiefs now look the part of a playoff team.
Seth Keysor: Chiefs 34, Rams 10
The Rams just won their Super Bowl for the year. The Chiefs, on the other hand, are still looking to prove something (that could be the silver lining of that dreadful Titans loss). The Chiefs have successfully kept Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick in check without Eric Berry. With him returning to help an already stout pass defense (and provide aid to a run defense that's struggled at times), the defense will make a statement. The offense will continue to incorporate DAT and Kelce into the fold, and the Chiefs roll.
Joel Thorman: Chiefs 24, Rams 13
NFL games are usually closer than 11 points but the Chiefs are playing really well right now. The Rams are merely in the way.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
The Chargers (5-2) are a good football team, but they have a few warts which the Chiefs exposed. San Diego struggles to block a solid pass rush and has issues with penalties, to the tune of being the second-most penalized team in football. Meanwhile, the Broncos have too many weapons for San Diego to cover without a great pass-rush. Peyton Manning will throw all night, and the Chargers will fall victim to DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
Pick: Broncos 31, Chargers 24
Detroit Lions (-3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (London)
How is Detroit (5-2) only a 3.5-point favorite over the crap-bag Falcons (2-5) at a neutral site? Atlanta is a raging dumpster fire with an allergic reaction to any whiff of defense. Also, how does Mike Smith still have a job? I simply don't get it. By the way, in case you didn't get the gist, the Lions are going to plaster the Falcons.
Pick: Lions 37, Falcons 20
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Carolina Panthers
Everybody is busy burying the Seahawks (3-3) after a couple of defeats. Doesn't this remind you of how people treated New England after it lost to the Chiefs? Seattle is going to hammer Carolina (3-3-1) because the Panthers' defense is awful. The Seahawks are the better team and are going to prove it with vengeance.
Pick: Seahawks 26, Panthers 17
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (EVEN)
I can't wait for this game. Cincinnati (3-2-1) has been atrocious over the past three weeks, and needs to win this game if it wants to take the AFC North. The Bengals beat Baltimore (5-2) in Week 1, but won't do it again. Why? Because Marvin Lewis couldn't shine John Harbaugh's shoes and the NFL is about adjustments. Harbaugh will figure out why the Ravens lost and make sure it doesn't happen twice.
Pick: Ravens 28, Bengals 23
Miami Dolphins (-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville (1-6) won last week, which means it won't win for another couple of months at best. Miami (3-3) is a weird team, but it will seize the opportunity to get back over .500. Ryan Tannehill played great against Chicago and will continue that trend on Sunday.
Pick: Dolphins 30, Jaguars 10
Chicago Bears at New England Patriots (-7)
Has anybody seen Chicago (3-4) play? The defense is nonexistent and the offense is run by Jay Cutler, the most overreacted quarterback in football. Cutler strikes me as a guy who players likely detest dealing with. Conversely, Tom Brady has the Patriots (5-2) rolling and won't get derailed by Chicago.
Pick: Patriots 29, Bears 19
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-2.5)
Buffalo (4-3) is really mediocre, and this game scares me. New York (1-6) is toast but has enough punch to be scary any given Sunday. The Jets are also coming off a few extra days of rest and now have Percy Harvin. New York is still bad, but for one week I think it rises up.
Pick: Jets 20, Bills 16
Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
Does anybody care about this game? Remember when Minnesota (2-5) and Tampa Bay (1-5) were NFC Central rivals. back in the days of Vinny Testaverde and Tommy Kramer? Good times. Well, actually both teams stunk then too, but at least the Buccaneers had some sweet uniforms.
Pick: Buccaneers 20, Vikings 17
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (NO LINE)
If Houston (3-4) has any designs on a playoff berth, this is a must-win following that debacle in Pittsburgh. The Titans (2-5) are genuinely rancid and likely will find a way to lose this game. How could the Chiefs lose to this team? I'm going to walk into traffic now.
Pick: Texans 24, Titans 19
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)
The battle of the birds is one of the best games to date this season. Arizona (5-1) surprisingly leading the NFC West. Still, I'm not sold due to a complete lack of a pass rush and Carson Palmer at the controls. Meanwhile, the Eagles (5-1) are in a race with Dallas and have the benefit of being rested off a bye week. I'm going upset here.
Pick: Eagles 30, Cardinals 24 *PICK OF THE WEEK*
Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)
Cleveland (3-3) had a golden opportunity to become a real playoff contender last week before getting blown out by the Jaguars. The Browns now have to bounce back and beat the Raiders (0-6) to keep any hopes of a postseason berth alive. The Raiders have played better under Tony Sparano, but they are still brutally horrendous.
Pick: Browns 27, Raiders 20
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a very intriguing game. Indianapolis (5-2) has been playing excellent defensively, shown in its shutout of Cincinnati. Andrew Luck has been great, leading the lead in passing yardage with the return of Reggie Wayne and the continued maturation of T.Y. Hilton. Pittsburgh (4-3) is an enigma, winning one week and losing the next. Can Ben Roethlisberger keep this team alive despite a leaky defense? We'll find out.
Pick: Colts 31, Steelers 23
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (EVEN)
This is going to be great entertainment in primetime. When Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees get together in a dome, expect tons of yardage and ample scoring. However, I don't like the Saints (2-4) at this point. The offense looks disjointed and the defense stinks. Green Bay (5-2) is hit-and-miss defensively, but it will do enough for the victory.
Pick: Packers 35, Saints 27
Washington at Dallas Cowboys (-10)
Let's keep this short. Washington (2-5) is a mess which has decided to start Colt McCoy. Dallas (6-1) has a powerhouse offense and the best line in football. Game over.
Pick: Cowboys 41, Washington 17
Last Week: 12-3