Houston Texans (4-4) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4), 12 PM CT, CBS
The Line: Jaguars -1.5
The Experts: ESPN has a 4-4 split, CBS is 3-2 in favor of the Texans, Yahoo! is 2-1 in favor of the Texans, Football Outsiders Premium picks the Texans, MIke Tanier picks the Jaguars.
Two of the worst defenses in the NFL hook up in Jacksonville, so look for a barnburner and look for Gus Johnson to mention that whoever gets the ball last is going to win. Jacksonville will likely be without defensive end Aaron Kampman after he injured his knee in practice, and Houston will likely be without tight end Owen Daniels.
On paper, the Texans should win this game. They can stop the run, which is more than the Jaguars can say for their defense. On the other hand, the Jags are at home, the Texans are known for prolonged swoons under Gary Kubiak, and Jacksonville will still get to lob passes at Kareem Jackson for 4 quarters. Call me crazy, but I like the Jaguars.
The Pick: Jaguars 38, Texans 35
For more on the Texans, check out Battle Red Blog
Cincinnati Bengals (2-6) @ Indianapolis Colts (5-3), 12 PM CT, CBS
The Line: Colts -7.5
Experts Picks: Not a single expert is picking against the Colts in this game. FO Premium Picks does take the Bengals with the points.
I don’t think the Bengals are such a bad matchup against the Colts. They have a running game with Cedric Benson and that offensive line, and they won’t have to throw that often if they don’t turn the ball over. The Colts continue to be beleaguered by injuries, and have lost Austin Collie again this week. Jacob Tamme’s back hurts, but he’s pushing through.
Ultimately I can’t pick against Peyton Manning at home, but I do think because of the Bengals cornerbacks and running game, this game will be closer than you might think.
The Pick: Colts 24, Bengals 23.
Tennessee Titans (5-3) @ Miami Dolphins (4-4), 12 PM CT, CBS
The Line: Dolphins +0.5
Expert Picks: 6 of 8 on ESPN for the Titans, 3 of 5 on CBS for the Titans, sweep of 3 Yahoo! pickers for the Titans, FO Premium Picks likes Miami, Mike Tanier likes the Titans.
The Dolphins have two things that lower them in the eyes of league observers in this game: they haven’t won a game at home, and they have switched from Chad Henne to Chad Pennington. Personally, neither of those things bother me. The Dolphins have played many opponents tough at home, including the Steelers, and Chad Pennington is one of the more underrated quarterbacks of the 2000’s in my mind. As long as he’s been healthy, he’s done good things.
Combine that reasoning with a Randy Moss addition that I’m not sure will work out yet, Vince Young supposedly taking awhile to get over his injuries, and my sheer and unblinding dislike of Tennessee for stealing our original football team, and you’ve got one person picking the Dolphins.
The Pick: Miami 23, Tennessee 20.