In one of those NFL scheduling anomalies that make you wonder, the Bears are completing an Eastern swing of three straight road games. They've won the first two, but each presented some moments of peril, particularly when a team challenged Chicago with a really sturdy defense. Now, with the Patriots coming up, you could say the Bears will run into the toughest defense of the three, but I'm not so sure. New England took the Packers apart in routine fashion on Sunday, a classic Belichick dissection that must have been the result of a severe midweek blistering by the coach, because the week before they got outhit and outmuscled in a loss to the Jets. The weird thing was that some of their brightest stars decided to take the day off. While that Patriots team would get eaten alive by the Bears, the one that carved up Green Bay matches up well with Chicago. So which will it be? I'm guessing the good boys will show up. Patriots are the pick.
K.C.-Denver is the only Thanksgiving game that looks interesting. The Chiefs ran heavily to take the pressure off Trent Green on Sunday. It'll be a little rougher against the Broncos, but I like Kansas City anyway. Atlanta--New Orleans is a revenge game. The Falcons got swept away in the great Superdome celebration last time. Now they're ready. Atlanta's the pick. An easy formula used to be, Never go against the Lions on Thanksgiving. That's gone the way of the blacksmith. Miami gets the nod. Green Bay's at Seattle on Monday night. Last weekend the Niners stuck it to the Seahawks on the ground, of all things. The Pack has no such luxury. A nod to Seattle. Could the Panthers be looking past Washington to Philly? Doesn't seem logical. Carolina to beat the Skins. And in a game that used to get everybody excited, Ravens to top the Steelers.
Last week 6--2
Dr. Z writes for the Web every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at SI.com/nfl.
BEAR HUNT The Pats' knack for pressuring the QB will pay off.