By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Halloween came early for yours truly this past weekend. What a horror show. Not only did my Las Vegas Raiders suffer a demoralizing loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but I went a very mediocre 3-3 in my Pick6 predictions. (Seriously, if I even start to consider picking the Cowboys to win again, just shoot me.) Oh, and my ESPN Honolulu Fantasy Football League team lost OBJ for the remainder of the season. AND the NFL player I despise most, Antonio Clown, is back in the league. Just lovely.
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On to this week’s picks:
♦ NEW ENGLAND @ BUFFALO: Before the start of the season, I said, “Never count out Bill Belichick.” Well, I never counted on the possibility that, seven weeks into the season, the Patriots would already be 2.5 games behind the division-leading Bills. The Bills are certainly vulnerable. Despite their 5-2 record, the team is minus-4 in point-differential so far. They’ll need the Dr. Jeckyl Josh Allen, not the Mr. Hyde version. The Pats, meanwhile, have hit a rough patch, losing three straight. And Buffalo will be at home. Pick: BILLS
♦ LAS VEGAS @ CLEVELAND: Heading into last Sunday’s game, the entire Raider Nation was focused on the health of the team’s offensive line, as all five starters went into COVID protocol. And while they got four of them back for the game, it was too little, too late. The Tampa Bay defense hounded Derek Carr all game long, and the Raiders’ D surrendered 45 points. Now they travel to Cleveland, which posted a remarkable comeback victory over the Bengals on Sunday. Guess which team has momentum on its side? Pick: BROWNS
♦ L.A. RAMS @ MIAMI: This is the game that a lot of Hawaii fans are anticipating, as it will mark Tua Tagovailoa’s debut as an NFL starter. (ESPN Honolulu will bring you this game, by the way, starting at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday.) We’ve all heard the pros and cons of Brian Flores’ decision to replace Ryan Fitzgerald with Tua, but this move could pay off for the improving Dolphins, who are 3-3 on the young season. Still, I can’t help but think Tua is being thrown into the fire one game too early. Tua, meet Aaron Donald. Yikes. Pick: RAMS
♦ PITTSBURGH @ BALTIMORE: At 6-0, the Steelers have won this year’s regular-season version of “Last Undefeated Team Standing.” But they’ve got the 5-1 Ravens right on their tail, and the Ravens have the home field advantage on Sunday. In past years, Steelers-Ravens games were physical, defensive battles. And while both teams do boast stifling defenses – Baltimore is No. 1 in the league in scoring defense (allowing 17.3 points per game), and Pittsburgh ranks first in rushing defense and fourth in passing defense – Sunday’s game could bring some offensive fireworks as well. Can the Steelers contain Lamar Jackson? I think so. Pick: STEELERS
♦ SAN FRANCISCO @ SEATTLE: The Seahawks SHOULD still be undefeated, but they let a gutty Arizona Cardinals team get by them in overtime on Sunday. Up next for Russell Wilson & Co. are the San Francisco 49ers, who are coming off impressive wins over the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. Seattle will be at home, but the 49ers are 3-0 on the road so far. Even though injuries have ravaged the Niners, let’s not forget they are the defending NFC champs. This will be a close one, but unlike this past Sunday, Seattle won’t let this one slip away. Pick: SEAHAWKS
♦ TAMPA BAY @ N.Y. GIANTS: I didn’t like the Bucs before they dismantled my Raiders, and now I REALLY dislike them after signing Antonio Clown, who I hate. (And none of this Gary Dickman “sports hate,” either.) At least he won’t suit up for Tampa this Sunday. But as I mentioned last week, the Bucs are taking shape as a viable Super Bowl contender, and they’ll only get better as the season progresses. This should be an easy win for the Bucs, as the lowly Giants are 1-6 and at the bottom of the hopelessly bad NFC East division. Pick: BUCCANEERS
HAVE A HAPPY AND SOCIALLY DISTANT HALLOWEEN!
Last Week: 3-3
Season to Date: 26-16 (.619)
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