Time for Thursday's picks. As always, (Thursday game excepted) these picks will change closer to game time depending on injuries so they are more ruminations on the upcoming slate than set in stone picks.
Last week I went 9-7 which was about par for the course compared with the experts. Now we're into the crunch time of the season every pick matters. Don't believe me? Check out the overall rankings and see how close things are at the top.
On a related note, it's about this time of year that I start to become emotionally fragile, knowing that I need to savour every moment of the regular season. To my fiancee, the Chiefs @ Raiders matchup looks like two teams that have heard about football but - crucial this - never actually played it before. To me and millions of people it represents one of the last 48 succulent, juicy games of the season, something to be savoured like a fine beer. I won't be saying that when Carson Palmer throws his third pick, or Brady Quinn rattles another airball straight into Romeo Crennel's gut, but hey, it's football. You know it's bad when the Pro Bowl is on in January and every fibre in your being is screaming 'YOU ARE MAKING A MOCKERY OF THIS GAME!' but you somehow can't turn it off.
Then from February I have to do that thing we all do, which is pretend I care about college football and start creating NFL mock drafts that inevitably are redundant after pick 3. That kind of keeps me busy until May, then from May-September you know what I do? I take time out from football. Oh yeah I keep on top of some stuff, do my dynasty league draft etc, but seriously, mini-camp and training camp reports can get you over-thinking picks and start to cloud your judgement.
Instead I take up new hobbies like work, spending time with loved ones and mainly pretending that deep down in my soul, there isn't a huge football-shaped void.
Let's get on with my picks before I break down...
Bengals @ Eagles
Giants @ Falcons
Packers @ Bears
Redskins @ Browns
Vikings @ Rams
Jacksonville @ Miami
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
Broncos @ Ravens
Colts @ Texans
Seahawks @ Bills
Lions @ Cardinals
Panthers @ Chargers
Steelers @ Cowboys
Chiefs @ Raiders
49ers @ Patriots
Jets @ Titans
Nothing too controversial, but here's some rationale for you anyway: I hate the Cowboys defence against Big Ben, I really like the Seahawks playing in the 4.05pm timeslot on the east coast (playing at 1pm is like 10am back home for them), and I hate the 49ers going 2/10 on third downs last week against the Dolphins at home.
The Chargers were worse than ever against the Steelers and I hate them against Cam Newton, while anyone who saw RGIII limping around last week knows that whatever condition he's in, he won't be doing a lot of running on Sunday.
The Chiefs and Raiders will also be playing a game of football on Sunday. I'm obliged to mention that despite it not even being of consequence for the players and teams involved.