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It feels slightly strange to be sitting down to write this today, but whilst my thoughts are with the people of Paris, the people of Beirut, the refugees fleeing those who falsely claim these attacks are in the name of Islam, one of the ways we counter the actions of those who perpetrated those acts is by carrying on as normally as we can. They want us to be scared, and feel alien from one another, but whilst I feel heartbroken, I choose to write as normal and so on to football.

I’ll start with a confession, I quite like the single colour kits, although I suspect this will depend on what they come up with for each team going forward. The game was also a good one between two good defences that came down to the end of the fourth quarter.

The Bills offence struggled against the Jets’s blitzes, giving up four sacks as Muhammad Wilkerson frequently got through their line and garnered two sacks. Things could have been even worse but for Tyrod Taylor’s running ability, although there was at least one occasion when he ran out of bounds for a loss when he could have simply thrown the ball away. Still he was able hit enough plays to get a touchdown, as the Bills used screen plays and LeSean McCoy to move the ball. The only really good offensive display from either side was McCoy who repeatedly ran for ten yards as his burst and ability to change direction enabled him to pick a path through a Jets defence that was determined to protect their injured secondary through aggressive play. McCoy finished the game with an impressive one hundred and twelve yards rushing off just nineteen carries as well as catching five balls for forty-seven yards. The defences are what won the day in this game, and the Jets made life very difficult for the Bills, particularly after the Jets finally added to their first quarter field goal with a touchdown that brought the home crowd into the game, and the Bills didn’t score another point in the game.

The Jets struggled on offence as much as the Bills, outgaining them by thirty-eight yards but Ryan Fitzpatrick also threw two interceptions to go with his two touchdowns. They managed to get over one hundred yards rushing, but clearly weren’t confident in their ability to run consistently against the Bills defence as they often passed on first/second down. There were times where Chris Ivory looked like the back who started the season so strong, but he also looked tired at times, and it didn’t help that Stevan Ridley finished the game losing one yard on his three carries. However, as well as the Bills did stifling the Jets offence and getting the two interceptions, they really could have lost this game. Several times the Jets aggressively went for it on fourth down, and one particularly impressive sequence had Fitzpatrick run a quarterback sneak for six yards on third and ten before going for it on fourth down and getting the yards he needed with a pass. Then the Jets defence not only stopped the Bills, but their special teams blocked a punt to get the ball on the Bills own thirteen yard line. However, the Jets couldn’t get the ball in the end zone, with a lofted pass on fourth down floating past Kellen Davis before he could find the ball in the air.

This was really good game to watch if you like defensive battles, but it was really won in the second quarter. Firstly Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted when he threw a dangerous ball into bracketed coverage that Brandon Marshall couldn’t hold onto as he tried to catch it coming over the corner, and it popped up into the hands of Corey Graham. The Bill could only get a field goal from the resulting drive, but on the following kick off they forced Devlin Smith to fumble on the return and Duke Williams ran the ball in for a touchdown. After this ten point swing they were able to build enough of a lead to withstand the Jets late rally, but they really could have lost it.

And having failed in the first game, it’s time to move onto the rest of the week’s picks.

Bears @ Rams (-7.5)

The Rams are coming along nicely with a fearsome defence and Todd Gurley giving them something they can focus on to make the offence run. The problem is that Nick Foles has not been that impressive this season, but the addition of Wes Welker to give him help on third down in the slot may well help if he can still play. That said, I’m going to worry about Welker every time he is hit and I just hope he doesn’t get another concussion. However, despite all their progress, I’m not sure they should be giving this many points to a Bears team who have been within three points of every team they have played since they were shut out in week three. The defence seems to be coming together, whilst Jay Cutler is throwing fewer interceptions and seems to have something going with offensive coordinator Adam Gase. I don’t think they will win this game, but it will be closer that eight points.

Gee’s Pick:      Bears
Dan’s Pick:      Bears

Browns @ Steelers (-4.5)

The Steelers’ defence is going to have to keep playing as well as they have to keep the team in playoff contention. It’s hard to believe that Roethlisberger managed to only come away with a foot sprain from last week’s game as his foot really looked like it could have been badly hurt. They have so far managed to keep themselves in touch of the playoff race, and the Browns are not the worst team to be facing. Their run defence has not been good, and you could see a healthy dose of DeAngelo Williams in this one. I don’t see the Browns having enough offence to compete in this game, so I’m backing the Steelers to beat this spread.

Gee’s Pick:      Steelers
Dan’s Pick:      Steelers

Cowboys @ Buccanneers (-1.5)

The Cowboys go into Tampa with a six game losing streak, and you could say they’re due a win, equally you could say that there isn’t anything to indicate they are going to turn this round. However, Jameis Winston hasn’t thrown an interception in the last four games, and they might stand a chance in this one. I’m not fully sure of my reasoning, but I just have a feeling that the Bucs are going to get the win in this one at home.

Gee’s Pick:      Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:      Buccaneers

Lions @ Packers (-11.5)

The Packers are coming off two losses, but they are a different team at Lambeau Field than they are on the road and the Lions are just the team for them to get themselves back on track. I don’t know if there will be a reaction from the Lions to the recent spate of firings, but I don’t see them doing anything in this one.

Gee’s Pick:      Packers
Dan’s Pick:      Lions

Panthers @ Titans (+4.5)

The Titans are coming off their second win of the season having fired Ken Wisenhunt and handed the team to Mike Mularkey, but the Saints defence definitely lent a hand. However, they were glad to have rookie quarterback Marcus Martiota who has looked like he is going to be a very good quarterback. The problem for them this week is that they are welcoming an unbeaten Panthers team whose defence has been playing really well. Not only that, but whilst the Titan’s defence is ranked in the top ten by DVOA, they are a relatively lowly twenty-third in run defence as they welcome a Panthers team who really run the ball well.

Gee’s Pick:      Panthers
Dan’s Pick:      Panthers

Dolphins @ Eagles (-6.5)

The points do give me a little pause, but the Dolphins are too far off the pace whilst the Eagles are beginning to come together. The Eagles have run for over one hundred and fifty yards in the last four games and the Dolphins are another team with a bad run defence. Equally the Eagles defence has been good all year, and so I think they will have enough in this one. Sorry Dan.

Gee’s Pick:      Eagles
Dan’s Pick:      Dolphins

Saints @ Washington (+0.5)

The Saints offence has been good over the last few weeks, but their defence has been horrible. This should give Washington a chance in this game, but I can’t quite bring myself to pick them to win.

Gee’s Pick:      Saints
Dan’s Pick:      Saints

Jaguars @ Ravens (-5.5)

I’m really not sure what the Ravens have done to be getting this many points even before they lost Steve Smiths. The Jaguars have been good enough to just lose this season, but Blake Bortles has the receivers to take advantage of the Ravens secondary so whilst I may regret this, I’m backing the Jaguars for a second week in a row.

Gee’s Pick:      Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:      Ravens

Vikings @ Raiders (-2.5)

The Raiders have played really well on offence this season, but their defence scares me. However, whilst I said I should not have picked against Mike Zimmer last week, I think I am going to do it again, because whilst the defence looked really good, Amari Cooper has been special and I just think the travelling Vikings may lose out with Bridgewater trying to come back from his concussion last week.

Gee’s Pick:      Raiders
Dan’s Pick:      Vikings

Chiefs @ Broncos (-6.5)

The Broncos need to get back to running the ball and they may well do that this week, but the Chiefs have the defence to cause them real problems. I’m not sure the Chiefs will win this one, but I think they’ll keep it closer than seven points.

Gee’s Pick:      Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:      Broncos

Patriots @ Giants (+7.5)

The Giants have been good on offence, but their defence has been struggling in recent weeks and are likely to be missing Prince Amukamara who has a torn pectoral muscle. The Giants have had success against the Patriots in recent seasons but this defence is not the one that beat them, and I see the Patriots continuing their great run even if they are on the road.

Gee’s Pick:      Patriots
Dan’s Pick:      Patriots

Cardinals @ Seahawks (-3.5)

The Cardinals are a really good team at home, but I wonder if they have enough to win this one on the road. Their offence has been very good this season, but they’ve had a tendency to turn the ball over with Bruce Arians aggressive approach and I’m not sure that this is going to work for them against the Seahawks in Seattle. Their defence will have more than enough to contain the Seahawks offence, but I think they will struggle overall. This is my pick of this week’s game, and I think the Seahawks will be desperate to win it to keep themselves in the playoff hunt.

Gee’s Pick:      Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:      Cardinals

Texans @ Bengals (-10.5)

I’m not very comfortable about this pick, but the Texans have really struggled this season so whilst I am taking a leaf out of Dan’s big book of optimism, I don’t have to feel good about it.

Gee’s Pick:      Bengals
Dan’s Pick:      Bengals

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