I went 7-6 last week, missed my Lock of the Week, yet again, and am 37-23 for the season.
That's puts me 31/2 games up on Ron Green Jr., who makes his picks in Friday's Observer. But Ron is a colleague and a friend and there's no reason to compare us. I've never understood why some readers insist on doing so.
I was so bad last week that I left town. I drove to Wilmington for most of two days. I got away from football and got some basketball and some sunshine. Man, what a town. Properly refreshed, I'm prepared to be good again, although I'm only as good as my Lock of the Week.
My picks (home team in CAPS).
CAROLINA by 9 over Kansas City
Since the Chiefs now have one win, this no longer qualifies as Homecoming. Homecoming is Nov.16 when Detroit visits.
Chicago by 3 over DETROIT
The Bears get a break. Detroit will be looking ahead to its Nov.16 game in Charlotte.
GREEN BAY by 8 over Atlanta
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is playing with an injured shoulder and his backup, Matt Flynn, is a rookie. But the Falcons, who have a rookie quarterback of their own, have lost nine of 10 on the road. Make it 10 of 11.
San Diego by 8 over MIAMI
LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for more than 100 yards last week for the first time all season. But he's averaging fewer than 4 yards a carry. That will change.
N.Y. GIANTS by 8 over Seattle
When we talk about the best teams in football, we rarely talk about the defending champs.
PHILADELPHIA by 3 over Washington
A reader asked why I despise the Redskins. I don't. Although there are individuals I despise, I can't think of a team to which I can apply the term. That's sad.
Tennessee by 3 over BALTIMORE
The Titans, who have won their past seven regular-season games, just keep rolling.
Indianapolis by 5 over HOUSTON
The Colts have their offensive line back and, I suspect, their timing. Peyton Manning and the fellows will prove that today.
DENVER by 4 over Tampa Bay
Denver's Mike Shanahan and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden both coached the Oakland Raiders. So there is life after Al Davis. There is no life during Al Davis, however. The Broncos are the AFC version of Dallas; they have to outscore you to win.
ARIZONA by 1 over Buffalo
I've picked Arizona and Buffalo every week this season. The Cardinals have betrayed me two straight weeks. If they lose this one, I won't like them anymore. In fact, I will despise them, and they'll have to go through the rest of the season with that stigma hanging over them.
New England by 4 over SAN FRAN.
New England coach Bill Belichick has two weeks to prepare for the 49ers, and Belichick is a genius. He was even more of a genius when Tom Brady played for him, however.
DALLAS by 20 over Cincinnati
After losing to the Redskins at home last week, the Cowboys will run it up no matter how many they're favored by. Dallas is my Lock of the Week.
JACKSONVILLE by 6 over Pittsburgh
The Steelers are beat up and coming off a Monday night game. The Jaguars have beaten them three straight in the regular season. The Jaguars should win by double figures. But I still don't trust them.
NEW ORLEANS by 6 over Minnesota
The Vikings are desperate (again) and you saw how they played against Carolina two weeks ago when they had to win. The Saints, however, can negate the Minnesota rush with swing passes to Reggie Bush. Quarterback Drew Brees is sufficiently poised to win this one, at home, at a dome, Monday night.