So we have competing picks going on. Which early bird will get the worm? Who will be king prognosticator. Who will stand alone atop Mount Champion drinking Victory’s Juice… okay… that sounds dirtier than I had intended… but, yeah. Which one of us is gonna win THIS week?

Last week. Our first week of doing this saw a big win for the Good Guys. Namely me. I only got 2 wrong. PIcking New England and Houston being my only 2 blemishes. Rob kept pace, but his picks of Buffalo, Indy, and New England cemented my name in annals of history.

For those wondering how my picks faired in my “Pick ’em”, league? I tied for the best record. Tied for the most confidence points. I have the best record in the league and am 2nd overall when it comes to points… Please give me a moment, as I shake my fist at the heavens and lament…

– damn you confidence points!!!

Anything to add to this opener Robly?

You might be leading by one, but that’s NOTHING in the grand scheme of things.  This week’s going to be a big difference and not only am I going to catch up with you, but I’m going to surpass you… and my team’s going to beat your team in the process.  If I weren’t writing this after spending most of my waking hours today in a car, my trash talk would be better.  Next week, when I’m in the lead, I’ll be sure to rub it in a little bit.

Good enough. Lets get with it. These people have clearly come here to see my hand raised once again in victory… unless we make the exact same picks, and then you’ll see my hand raised in Tie.

Oh trust me, we won’t be making the same picks.  Monday Night’s game ensures that much.

Thursday Night Game:

Baltimore @ Atlanta

Hayes XIV Says: Baltimore is one of the best teams in the NFL, in my opinion. Atlanta is one of the best teams when at home. This could, believably, be a Super Bowl preview. Ray Lewis is not happy about the Thursday night game, as he thinks the short rest is unfair, and ultimately doesn’t give time to recuperate… why do I point this out? Its not cuz I think Ray’s checking out of the game, its because he’s angry… and you won’t like him when he’s angry. To me? Baltimore has the advantage defensively. Offensively? They’re even. Good young QB’s. Deep WR corps. Good strong hard nosed RB.

My Pick: Baltimore

Rob’s Pick: Baltimore is my pick too, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re even offensively.  Although both of us can name multiple wide receivers for the Falcons, the only guy running routes for Matt Ryan to throw to who is a household name is Roddy White.

Detroit @ Buffalo

HayesXIV Says: A Game that could easily be very entertaining. Buffalo has been scoring, and has nipped at the heels of victory the last few weeks. Detroit just lost their young #1 Draft Pick QB, Matthew Stafford… again. I think both of these teams are slightly better than their respective records. Not playoff better, but still the records don’t do them justice. I think this is Buffalo’s chance to get out of the Skunkbox! One of the rare times I feel comfortable picking the Bills… so?

MY Pick: Buffalo

Rob’s Pick:  I hate to say yet again that we agree… so I won’t.  The Bills have a terrible rush defense, and I’m assuming that Jahvid Best is going to run all over them… and catch a few passes… and find the end zone.  Did you forget how well the Lions were playing when Stafford was still nursing his first injury?

Minnesota @ Chicago

HayesXIV Says: Was last weeks 4th quarter come from behind win a sign of the Vikings righting the ship? Get it… VIkings? SHIP?! *sigh* forget it. Their team has been a cluster eff this season. Internal strife. Players battling coaches. Quarterback and head coach snipping at one another in the media… oh and a 4 week cameo by Randy Moss. Chicago is okay… inconsistent. Not great, and I heard a great stat. Their QB, Jay Cutler wasn’t a winner at any level of football. Not High School. Not College. And not in the NFL.

My Pick: Minnesota starts a “streak”

Rob’s Pick:  No doubt about it, Minnesota wins this game.  Their pass rush is going to destroy Chicago.  When you get a chance, I’d like to hear the stat you mentioned regarding Jay Cutler.  What you mentioned was just a trend.

New York Jets @ Cleveland

HayesXIV Says: 2nd week in the Mangini vs. Former Employees. Of course he’s going to want to exact revenge on the J-E-T-S. Of course he wants to win back to back weeks against two of the NFL’s elite teams. The Jets defense ISN’T giving up 180+ yards to Peyton Hillis. They are going to make Colt McCoy as uncomfortable as he’s been in his short career as a starter. The Browns come back to reality this week.

My Pick: New York Jets

Rob’s Pick:  Again I’ll agree, the Jets have this one.  I believe the Browns are better than their 3-5 record, but I don’t think the Jets offense is going to turn the ball over enough to let Cleveland get this win, and I don’t think the Jets defense is going to allow the Browns offense to get a ton of traction.

Cincinatti @ Indianapolis

HayesXIV Says: Indianapolis with some assistance from the zebras lost a close hard fought game to the Philadelphia Eagles. They don’t lose two in a row all that often. Cincinnati is in a dangerous spot. They are nearly “done”. Ochocinco is throwing hissy fits on the field, and T.O. continues to get catches and TDs by the boat load… man, I didn’t see that one coming… I was sure it’d be the other way around.

MY Pick: Indianapolis

Rob’s Pick:  Indy wins based on the fact that Manning won’t let his team lose two in a row, especially with the Bengals being one of the lowest ranked teams in the league.  If the Colts can’t win, I think other teams should start preparing their contract offers for Peyton Manning, because there’s a decent chance he’d consider leaving after the season when he becomes a free agent.  Something seems to be brewing between Peyton and the Colts decision makers, and I just seem to think that Manning’s frustration is growing.

Tennessee @ Miami

HayesXIV Says: Randy Moss’s debut as a Titan. I have set his over under at 3.5 games as a Titan before they drop him. He’s dangerously close to playing himself out of the league. The Titans are coming off a bye Miami is coming off getting dominated by Baltimore. Fresh legs and new weapons for Tennessee is why I picked ’em.

MY Pick: Tennessee

Rob’s Pick:  I’ll go with the Titans because they’re one of the top 10 teams in the league (according to the Power Rankings you can find here at GuysNation) AND because Miami is yet to win at home this season.  I really wanted to hedge my bet and predict the Dolphins because Chad Pennington seems to find ways to win and because decent teams should be able to find ways to win at home… but I have trouble believing in Miami.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay

HayesXIV Says Carolina is one of the worst teams in the league. They have flip flopped between starting QB’s first because of ineffectiveness and now because of injury. Unfortunately neither has been that good. Tampa nearly won at Atlanta, no small feat. Tampa has a young developing QB who has been opening more than a few eyes in Josh Freeman. A young receiving corps, and a young bruising RB. I don’t know if I agree with Tampa’s coach that they are one of the best teams in the NFC… but they’re damn sure better than Carolina.

MY Pick: Tampa Bay

Rob’s Pick:  This one was over the minute I saw the Panthers name listed on it.  Tampa Bay is going to win this game, if for no other reason than Carolina is THE worst team in the NFL (according to those pesky Power Rankings I was talking about before)

Houston @ Jacksonville

HayesXIV Says – Houston seems to be the “it” team the last 3 years, but they always end up 8-8 or 9-7. Always on the verge. This is a huge matchup in the AFC South. Jacksonville, is a team Houston SHOULD beat. Houston has Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, and Matt Schaub. If Jacksonville wants to be decent and take a step forward they need this win.

MY Pick: Houston

Rob’s Pick:  I don’t like the Jaguars, but I’m picking them here.  I don’t understand why Houston can’t be more consistent given the talent they’ve got, but they’re decent one week and then fail the next.  Jacksonville is coming off of a bye week, and their coaching staff has done well to get them some decent wins this season.

Kansas City @ Denver

HayesXIV Says: AFC West is WIDE open. Oakland is charging. San Diego is starting to play how San Diego SHOULD play. Denver is coming off a bye after losing to San Francisco. Kansas City is still very effective at running the ball and playing great defense. Denver showed some holes against the run against Oakland and then San Francisco.

MY Pick: Kansas City

Rob’s Pick:  Remember when the Broncos let the Raiders run all over them?  Guess what the Chiefs’ strong point is.  I’m not predicting that there will be a blowout, but the Chiefs are going to win.

Dallas @ New York Giants

HayesXIV Says: Dallas is a mess. They fired their coach this week. Promoted offensive coordinator Jason Garrett… and who is going to welcome Dallas’ new regime? Arguably the best team in the NFC. Great pass rush. Solid Running Game. Good passing game. Sounds very familiar to the team that just dismantled the Cowboys, in the Packers. So that makes the pick a no brainer.

MY Pick: New York Giants

Rob’s Pick:  Even if the Giants weren’t a top 5 team, I’d have trouble picking the Cowboys this week.  In the future, we’ll see, but not this week.  Maybe Jason Garrett is a miracle worker, but the Giants are damn tough this season.

Seattle @ Arizona

HayesXIV Says: Uh… What the hell do we with the NFC West? Arizona is uh… a mess. Seattle is inconsistent and looked horrendous last week. Admittedly with backup QB Charlie Whitehurst. This week Matt Hasslebeck is back. So, yeah… my who thinking behind this pick? I’m going with the home team.

MY Pick: Arizona

Rob’s Pick:  Definitely the home team.  Arizona’s wild card?  Their defense.  The Seahawks beat the Cardinals in Week 7, and now Arizona is going to return the favor to put Seattle on a three game losing streak.

St. Louis @ San Francisco

HayesXIV Says: Great. ANother NFC West Matchup. Seriously. Went with the exact same strategy for this pick. Home team.

MY Pick: San Franciscso

Rob’s Pick:  Though it’s close, the Rams are tougher than most people give them credit for (and I’m not just saying that because I flipped a coin and needed a reason).  I tried to pick based on one of the teams having a bye week, but that didn’t work.  Forgive and forget the outcome of the Lions game, the Rams have looked at LEAST decent in their other games and would be 5-3 if it weren’t for a good last second comeback by Tampa Bay in Week 7.

New England @ Pittsburgh

HayesXIV: Great AFC Matchup. These two teams are among the top teams in the league, and the top franchises the last decade. Is the Steel Curtain and Big Ben’s offense a match for Brady and Belichek? I was back and forth on this game. What pushed to pick New ENgland is I just can’t see the Pats lose 2 straight.

MY Pick: New England

Rob’s Pick:  The Steelers have this game.  Their offense is at LEAST as potent as the Patriot’s, and the Steeler defense is far better.  Can’t see the Pats lose two in a row?  Don’t tune in on Sunday night.

Philadelphia @ Washington

HayesXIV Says: Washington has a healthy amount of drama thanks to Shanahan’s benching of McNabb in the 2 minute drill. So they come off the bye and have the Philadelphia Eagles come in off a big win over the Colts. Last time they met the Skins run game was the difference. McNabb didn’t do much in his return to the Linc. The Eagles come in to DC with an offensive identity. A healthy Mike VIck. A Healthy Desean Jackson. A defense that showed some improvement last week in that win over Peyton Manning and the Colts. So of course the Eagles avenge their loss… possibly over Rex Grossman… god I hope they play Grossman… just cuz its such a bad idea.

MY Pick: E-A-G-L-E-S …. EAGLES!!!

Rob’s Pick:  Hail to the Redskins!!!  Remember why DeSean Jackson and Mike Vick were injured in the first place?  Because they couldn’t handle the physicality of the Redskins.  After a bye week where people keep questioning Donovan McNabb, making idle speculation that he’s not going to start against Philly, McNabb is going to blow away his previous performance against the Eagles this year with a good game this time around.  HTTR!

Alright. Lets see how we do this week. Enjoy your NFL!

Key Games:

Detroit @ Buffalo

Houston @ Jacksonville

St. Louis @ San Francisco

New England @ Pittsburgh

Philadelphia @ Washington