I wrote that if I missed last weeks Lock of the Week, Id let my dog pick it. So I did.
Twenty-six teams will play Sunday or Monday. I wrote the name of each on a card and randomly divided the cards into six groups. Two groups had five cards and four groups had four cards.
I arranged the cards in a semi-circle on the floor or the bottom step so that nobody would receive a geographic advantage. When Taz the greyhound approached he encountered them at the same time.
I put a small treat, healthy and natural, on each. The store was out of unhealthy and unnatural treats.
Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, the New York Giants and Seattle were the first-round winners. Taz, obviously, is an NFC dog. Hes also smart. Hell chew on dirt or an acorn but doesnt eat paper. He did, however, eat part of Detroit.
I split the six winners into two groups of three, and Taz picked Cincinnati, a 31/2 -point underdog against Denver, from the first group and Detroit, a four-point favorite against Jacksonville, from the second.
Ill announce the winner at the end of the column. Taz wants to do it again next week, and if hes accurate, Ill let him.
Last week: 10-4
Lock: I missed Green Bay.
Upset: Picked Atlanta over Philadelphia
This weeks picks, with the home team in CAPS:
NEW YORK GIANTS 30, Pittsburgh 24: Almost everybody is a New York fan this week, especially since the Jets dont play.
NEW ORLEANS 33, Philadelphia 30: At 32, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick doesnt move like he once did and has been sacked this season as much as he has at any time in his career. But New Orleans has a get-well defense, and on national TV Monday, Vick will get it going. So will Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
GREEN BAY 27, Arizona 13
Baltimore 20, CLEVELAND 17
HOUSTON 31, Buffalo 19
Chicago 20, TENNESSEE 17
Miami 20, INDIANAPOLIS 17
SEATTLE 24, Minnesota 21
OAKLAND 24, Tampa Bay 23
ATLANTA 31, Dallas 27
Denver 30, CINCINNATI 26
Upset of the week
Carolina (+3 1/2) 1 over WASHINGTON: Id say the Panthers are due but due doesnt apply. Some teams win close games and some teams lose them. Yet this might be the day somebody from Carolina makes the big play. The Redskins give up a staggering 314.3 passing yards a game (the Panthers give up 229.4). Maybe Steve Smith makes the play, or maybe Jonathan Stewart catches a short pass and goes as far as he needs to.
Lock of the week
Detroit (-4) 7 over JACKSONVILLE: I think Taz regards Jacksonvilles strong performance against injury-depleted Green Bay last week as an aberration and believes Detroits comeback victory against Seattle might be the catalyst that finally gets the Lions going.
If hes accurate, Ill have a new leash on life.