Last week I attempted and pulled off a rare and nearly unprecedented Double Lock. So why don’t I pick a rare and nearly unprecedented Double Lock every week? If I picked a Double Lock every week it would cease to be rare and nearly unprecedented.
Also, I need to feel it. I’ve felt it twice this season and both times it involved the Panthers. I’ve twice been accurate on my Double Lock. On conventional Locks I have yet to be correct.
Cam Newton said in his news conference this week that those of us, media people, who make bold predictions should be paid more when we’re correct and paid less when we’re not. I like the idea. I especially like it if it’s retroactive and we start with last week.
Last Week: 10-4
Locks of the week: Picked Carolina (plus-6) over Seattle. Panthers won 27-23. Picked San Francisco (plus-2 1/2) over Baltimore. The 49ers won 25-20.
This week’s picks, with the home team in CAPS:
CAROLINA 24, Philadelphia 21: I like the Eagles. They’re inventive and they’re creative and they’re going to be good. Coach Chip Kelly was blasted during the offseason for, oh no, daring to be different. I trust the man. After beginning the season 1-3, the Eagles have won two straight. They beat New Orleans by 22 and the New York Giants by 20.
I didn’t pick the Panthers last week because I was hopeful. I watched them in camp, see some of their practices and knew they were capable of more than they showed in their first four victories.
I like their defense and I like their offense and I especially like their poise. When they have to be good, they are, and I think that continues in front of a loud home crowd Sunday night. I wrote before the Seattle game that I could envision Kawann Short and Mario Addison picking up two sacks apiece, and Short did.
Who comes up with a big game this week? I like Ted Ginn Jr. Watch Greg Olsen against the Philadelphia defense, a group that can move and will theoretically patrol the middle against any tight end. The Eagles will make it tough for Olsen and for running back Jonathan Stewart.
This game will be close and dramatic and some fans will spend the evening tweeting about how officials hate the mid-market Panthers. The mid-market Panthers will win anyway.
Lock of the Week
NEW ENGLAND (minus-8½) 31, New York Jets 20: The Jets run well and they’ve so far played the best defense in the NFL. The Patriots, meanwhile, win for a variety of reasons. (A.) They’re the Patriots. And (B.) Tom Brady has been impeccable in their unstoppable short passing game. I didn’t see any matchups that called out to me this week, let alone two. But I like Brady and the Patriots at home against any defense, including New York’s.
Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17 (in London)
Atlanta 23, TENNESSEE 17
KANSAS CITY 20, Pittsburgh 19
ST. LOUIS 26, Cleveland 20
WASHINGTON 21, Tampa Bay 19
Minnesota 23, DETROIT 21
MIAMI 19, Houston 16
INDIANAPOLIS 31, New Orleans 28
SAN DIEGO 29, Oakland 26
NEW YORK GIANTS 24, Dallas 21
ARIZONA 24, Baltimore 17