There are no more bye weeks in the NFL, meaning that Blade pro football writer Dave Hackenberg has to clear 16 hurdles, all against a point spread, for this week's picks:
NY Jets (+1) at Cleveland - Players gave Butch Davis lip service all week, so maybe they'll actually perform for him. Pick: BROWNS.
Detroit (+7 1/2) at Minnesota - Lions don't have enough ground game to win, but they should beat the spread. Pick: LIONS.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (+4) - Steelers are due for a letdown and Cincy is getting points in "The Jungle." Pick: BENGALS.
St. Louis at Buffalo (+1 1/2) - Drew Bledsoe bounces back as sloppy track puts the brakes to Rams' attack. Pick: BILLS.
Dallas (+8) at Baltimore - 'Boys aren't very good, but this is too many points for one-dimensional Ravens offense to cover. Pick: COWBOYS.
Indianapolis at Chicago (+7 1/2) - Peyton Manning was co-MVP last year with 29 TD passes; he already has 31. Pick: COLTS.
Arizona at Carolina (Pick) - Redbirds are actually starting to look like a real NFL team. Pick: CARDINALS.
Tennessee (+3) at Jacksonville - Steve McNair hopes to return for Titans, but that may not be enough. Pick: JAGS.
San Francisco (+7 1/2) at Tampa Bay - Gruden's guys are starting to show a little spunk. Pick: BUCS.
Denver at New Orleans (+4) - Denver's offense is too balanced and Saints' defense is iffy to start with. Pick: BRONCOS.
Miami (+10) at Seattle - New coach, new quarterback, and a bye week to get ready. Too many points. Pick: DOLPHINS.
San Diego at Oakland (+3 1/2) - The only thing disappearing into the Black Hole this year is Raiders' offense. Pick: CHARGERS.
Atlanta at NY Giants (+2 1/2) - Fans primed for Eli Manning's first start, but so is Atlanta's defense. Pick: FALCONS.
Washington (+10 1/2) at Philadelphia - Mark Brunell finally sits down, but change won't help Redskins here. Pick: EAGLES.
Green Bay at Houston (+3) - This is a huge test for Packers, who are on a roll with Mike Sherman calling plays. Pick: PACK.
New England at Kansas City (+3) - Has everyone noticed that New England has started another winning streak? Pick: PATS.
Last week: 8-6. Season: 75-68.43.23644 -75.88338