San Francisco 49ers vs Carolina Panthers: CAR +3
Philadelphia Eagles vs Tennessee Titans: UNDER 43
Collins could have just as many problems as Kolb. He is nowhere near as mobile as Young to avoid the aggressive PHI pass rush. With Collins under center it will also allow PHI to stack up against the run MUCH easier. With Young in there the ends and edge rushers would have had to stay much more disciplined in case he scrambled which in turn opens up much better running lanes for CJ. Go back and look at CJ's rushing stats with Collins at QB and with Young at QB. He is not nearly as effective. PHI will use a lot of slide play on the line and zone blitzes to attack CJ so he will need to look for the cutback lanes as much as possible. I don't see either team running away with this one and it could come down to the most reliable kicker. Prediction: Bank U43.
Cleveland Browns vs New Orleans Saints: UNDER 43.5
Colt McCoy will get his second straight start and he will be rewarded with a myriad of blitzes from defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The worse news for Colt is that they will not have any advantage in special teams this week. This means he will need to drive the ball 60+ yards to yield some points. Up to this point, the Browns offense is only averaging nine points per game from long drives. This will not be enough to put this game over unless they get four or five pass interference calls. On the other side of the ball, Brees finally had the kind of game most fantasy owners expected out of him last week in Tampa Bay, but it still wasn't enough to put the game over the total. He could have another good outing on Sunday, but CLE have fought hard this year. They have already played three playoff-caliber teams so don't expect them to be star-struck and wide-eyed in this one. CLE haven't been shutout this year, but it's going to happen sooner or later. Prediction: Bank U43.5.
Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos: UNDER 42.5
Arizona Cardinals vs Seattle Seahawks: SEA -4.5
In this matchup SEA's defense will keep ARI's running attack under control which will put the game in the hands of Max Hall. He might have inspired his teammates with his bonehead dive for the end zone in their upset win over the Saints, but make no mistake about it - he is not the next coming of Kurt Warner. He will be under pressure for most of the day as SEA will dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. SEA might only be averaging 10 points a game from long drives, but they won't need to do a lot of that because of their advantage in the return game. Hasselbeck shouldn't have too much trouble putting up points since ARI have one of the worst third down defenses in the league. The opposite can be expected when ARI is on offense. They can't sustain drives, score points, or take care of the football. A division matchup and a bye week will help ARI in this game, but SEA is a tough place to play. I expect SEA to win by at least 10 ponits. Prediction: Bank SEA -4.5.
St. Louis Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: STL +3
TB got off to a great start, but they have allowed two superior teams to come into their backyard and smack them around this season. When a young team plays better on the road than they do at home it's a sign that they are comfortable as the underdog, but aren't yet ready to handle higher expectations. They are a disciplined bunch and rank near the top in turnover differential, but if you can't sustain drives and put up points those intangibles become a lot less meaningful. They also have a lot of trouble getting consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback which helps explain why they can't get off the field. Much like the Rams they are a nice surprise to start the year, but they will struggle to win by more than a field goal this Sunday. Prediction: Bank STL +3.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Atlanta Falcons: ATL -3, OVER 42.5
The only thing going for CIN will be opportunities in the passing game. Dunta Robinson will likely be out with a concussion and CIN have done a pretty solid job protecting Carson Palmer this year. When both teams have an offensive edge I like to play the over and I wouldn't be surprised if the number moved up towards 44 by game time. Unfortunately for CIN, Palmer has been pretty bad this season despite having more receiving options than last year. They should be able to put up some points through the air, but they won't be able to consistently stay on the field. I expected better things from the Bengals this year, but they are struggling in too many important areas to be a real contender at this point. On the bright side, at least Ocho and T.O. have their own TV show. Prediction: Bank ATL -3, O42.5.