Once a year, as a service that I've just established, I pick the
entire week's card for you. Every game. The amazing thing is,
the price of the magazine stays the same. Why do I do it?
Because I envy those handicappers who pad their record with
puppies, with double-figure favorites, while I get hammered
trying to concentrate on the tough ones. Besides, I need some
wins real bad; I need to get the record respectable, like it was
What follows, then, is the whole board. Fasten your seat belts.
The Broncos got their scare last week against the Bengals, and
now, fortified with the knowledge that any dog with teeth is
capable of biting, they'll take it out on the Chargers. San
Diego prides itself on its top-ranked defense, but it won't hold
up against the firepower the Broncos will present.
The Vikings big over the Saints. Minnesota lost to the Bucs, a
desperate team with a running game. The Saints will try to run
too, but guess what the Vikings will be working on all week?
The Dolphins, another loser on the rebound, will take out their
frustrations on some innocent bystanders, who happen to be the
The 49ers will win big at home over the Panthers. Are you
catching the formula here? Three out of my four no-brainers lost
on Sunday, and the other, Denver, was almost upset. When San
Francisco came back from that horrendous start against Green
Bay, I thought the Niners were going to win it, but who could
have predicted the collapse of their offensive line? Won't
happen this week.
LOOKS EASY, BUT ISN'T
The Cowboys are sitting pretty. Only one team they face in the
second half of the season currently boasts a winning record. The
Giants took the day off against the Redskins and paid the price.
Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman could still be showing some rust,
and I think the New York defense will give him problems. It
would be cool to pick an upset, but I favor the Cowboys when
they're facing the Giants' attack.
If the playoffs were held today, the Cardinals would qualify as
a wild card, based on their record against NFC teams. Arizona
can't move the ball on the ground, and the Skins have trouble
stopping the run. But Washington is riding the crest of an
inspirational victory. The Redskins in an upset.
The Jaguars and the Bengals have met six times, and the final
margin has never been more than eight points. Cincy knows how to
play Jacksonville, which is coming off a rout of Baltimore. The
upset is inviting, but I'll chicken out and take the Jaguars.
LOOKS CLOSE, BUT WON'T HAPPEN
The Patriots over the Falcons, who share the NFC West lead but
must prove they can beat a contender.
The Raiders over the Ravens, who will have home field advantage,
just as they did last week when they were blown out.
The Jets over the Cinderella Bills. Buffalo is hard to handicap
because little Doug Flutie keeps doing amazing things, but I'll
stick with the formula of the Jets coming up big in division
The Packers over the Steelers. You have to fear the natural
letdown after Green Bay's midseason Super Bowl against the
Niners, but Pittsburgh is banged up, particularly on the
The Bucs over the Oilers. These are two teams that need the big,
thumping running game to stay in business. Has Tampa Bay really
turned the corner? I say yes.
The Eagles over the Lions. This is one team that Ray Rhodes knows
how to beat.
The Chiefs over the Seahawks. Seattle lost to Oakland because it
turned the ball over five times. K.C. was outmuscled by the Jets
at Arrowhead, and Chiefs quarterback Elvis Grbac heard it from
the crowd. An away game is the best medicine.
THE JURY'S STILL OUT
The Bears-Cardinals game depends on the condition of Chicago
quarterback Erik Kramer, who has a chronically ailing throwing
shoulder and recently had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
St. Louis is capable of a strong defensive effort, though you
wouldn't have suspected it after last week's performance against
the Falcons. I like the Bears, provided Kramer plays.
Send your pro football questions for Peter King's Mailbag and
read more from Paul Zimmerman at www.cnnsi.com.