Finally, there is a front-runner in the NFC North, but the spread is still close. The 6-3 Lions have just a one game lead over the Bears and Packers who are both without their starting quarterbacks. With all four NFC North teams playing on the road anything can happen in the standing so each team needs to take advantage of their match ups this week. Let’s take a look at how Shack and the red hot Hack have these games shaking out this week.
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers
Shack: The Steelers are 3-2 in their last five games. Guess what? So are the Lions. These two teams may seem like they are trending in different directions, but the they are more evenly matched then their record indicate. The difference between the Lions and the Steelers is the Steelers are minus 11 in turnover differential compared to the Lions plus one turnover differential. Assuming this trend continues into the Sunday match up the Lions should win, as long as they take care of the football. Although the Lions lead Pittsburgh in almost every statistical category I expect this game to be a tough one. The key for the Lions will be to start out strong and put the Steelers away early in all three phases. If they can do that, it will force the Steelers to have to pass more often putting the Lions in prime position to get sacks and turnovers, which you can count on happening with the Steelers minus 11 turnover differential and plus 30 sacks allowed.
Prediction: Lions 33-26
The Hack: The games that define the Detroit Lions season are starting to come every week now. Can the the upstart Lions hold off and beat the great old warriors named the Steelers? It’s funny hearing stories of the Steelers getting ready for the fearsome Lions coming to town and to defend their honor. I’m loving every second of this and think the Steelers have too many problems to focus on us. This is the kind of game the Lions need to win to show people that they mean business. This thing is starting to roll. Lions win over the bumble bees.
Prediction: Detroit-38 Pittsburgh-34.
Shack: Well, the Vikings finally one a game on American soil last week. I hope they enjoyed it while it lasted, because now they travel to Seattle, the toughest place to play in the NFL and it looks like Percy Harvin will be back. If the Vikings can keep the spread within 10 points they should feel pretty good about themselves.
Prediction: Seahawks 33-17
The Hack: The Seahawks have the second best record in the NFL, and have the loudest stadium to boot. The Vikings have one the worst records in the league, and they only hurt their chances to land a top quarterback in next years draft by winning last week against the Redskins. The Vikings need to get their act together and start to take these losses more seriously– by that I mean, they need more of them. Hopefully the Seahawks don’t fall asleep after they’re ahead by 30 at halftime.
Prediction: Seahawks-44 Vikings-21
The Giants have won three games in a row and are still in the NFC East hunt. Playing at home against a third string quarterback and a beat up defense should equal a win, but the Giants haven’t been taking very good care of the ball at all this season. The Packers can win this game if they capitalize on turnovers and field position, but I don’t think they will.
Prediction: Giants 31-23
Th Hack: The once-winless Giants are on a three game winning streak now, and only two games out of first place, so they’ll be extra hungry to face whoever is quarterbacking the Packers. The Pack is having a dreadful year, by their standards, and it’s not going to get any easier for them. Hey Packers , you don’t look so tough without your Aaron Rogers, do you? The Giants are known for their late season surges, so I think they they will defend their home field with a win. Giants- 24 Packers-21
Shack and The Hack’s Game of The Week
It’s the Josh McCown era in Chicago. Well maybe not just yet, but could you imagine the money the Bears could save if McCown played so well that they could validate not re-signing Cutler in the offseason? Then again his first start and win this season was against the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. I think this game could go either way, but given the inconsistency by the Ravens this season I’ll take the Bears.
Prediction: Bears 27-24
The Hack: Whatever what was left of Jay Cutler after the Lions mauled him last week won’t be able to work this week, so Josh McGowen will handle the signal calling this week. The Ravens are only a couple of games out of first place despite having a 4-5 record. They haven’t played nearly as well as they did last year, but they are the defending Super Bowl champs, which means something. I’m never impressed by Da Bears, (big surprise there), so I can’t see them defending Soldier Field for the second week in a row.
Prediction: Ravens-28 Bears-21
Record so far this season
The Hack: 17-4