Dan’s NFL Picks

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 7

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

SEA (4-2) @ SF (4-2) Thu. 10/18 2:30 p.m.
The Seahawks have scored 16 or fewer points in four of their six games this season. This doesn’t bode well now that they’re facing the number one ranked defense in the league and they’re on the road. After completely dominating the previous two games, San Francisco had a humbling loss to the Giants in which they only scored three points. Seattle has had a knack for beating good teams (Dal, GB, NE) this season but those three were in the friendly confines of Qwest Field. Seattle is 1-2 in away games. This game should make them 1-3 on the road.
Dan’s pick: 49ers

TEN (2-4) @ BUF (3-3) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
Both the Titans and the Bills are coming off unexpected victories last week with the prior knocking off the Steelers and the latter besting the Cardinals. Matt Hasselbeck played well enough so the Pittsburgh defense didn’t focus solely on stopping Chris Johnson and as a result CJ2K had himself a decent game. With CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson both healthy Buffalo has a daunting two-headed backfield. These are two of the worst defenses in the entire league so I’ll go with e better run game and home field advantage.
Dan’s pick: Bills

DAL (2-3) @ CAR (1-4) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
Despite having possession of the ball for more than 40 minutes and gaining over 480 total yards the Cowboys couldn’t hold off the Ravens. Carolina hasn’t won since week two but should be well rested coming off their bye week. Tony Romo has had a less than stellar season to date but no quarterback has underperformed this year quite as much as Cam Newton. The Dallas offense looks like they might be turning a corner. Better late than never.
Dan’s pick: Cowboys

BAL (5-1) @ HOU (5-1) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
Jacoby Jones tied an NFL record last week with a 108 yard kickoff return in a 31-29 Ravens win over the Cowboys. Houston ran into the Green Bay train that decided they were again an elite offense. Although he did score two touchdowns Arian Foster managed only 29 rushing yards on 17 carries in the loss last week. Baltimore won despite having possession of the ball for less than 1/3 of the game. Ray Lewis is out but Terrell Suggs is back for the Ravens. The Texans defense proved it was not super-human last week.
Dan’s pick: Ravens

CLE (1-5) @ IND (2-3) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
After a brilliant showing two weeks ago against the Packers the Colts forgot they had a game last week and got embarrassed by the Jets. The Browns won their first game in what seems like years over their division rival Bengals last week. Brandon Weeden has become obviously more comfortable playing at this level but he’s not quite to Andrew Luck’s level.
Dan’s pick: Colts

ARI (4-2) @ MIN (4-2) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
During their current two game losing streak Arizona has scored a mere 19 points. Minnesota didn’t have a stellar game last week either but their offense is averaging more than 24 points a game on the season. With the way the Cardinals have looked the past two games it’s almost unthinkable that they started the season 4-0. Even if this game were in Arizona I’d still take the Vikes.
Dan’s pick: Vikings

WAS (3-3) @ NYG (4-2) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
The G-men made a statement last week in their thrashing of San Francisco. Robert Griffin III rushed for over 100 yards and led the Redskins offense to 38 points in their win against the Vikings. Eli has fully emerged from his brother’s shadowThe Big Blue defense is starting to play closer to expectations which could mean a long day for the Skins.
Dan’s pick: Giants

GB (3-3) @ STL (3-3) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
Apparently Aaron Rodgers didn’t miss Greg Jennings as much as people thought he would. Six passing touchdowns later the Packers seem to have righted their offensive ship and the defense looked pretty good too. Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins are exceptional cover cornerbacks for the Rams but even without Jennings the Packers passing game has legitimate four or more legitimate targets.
Dan’s pick: Packers

NO (1-4) @ TB (2-3) Sun. 10/21 7:00 a.m.
Even with Tampa Bay’s top cover corner in action I would still bet that Drew Brees would throw for 300+ yards and three touchdowns. But Aqib Talib will be suspended for this one which makes that bet even more of a sure thing. Tampa is second worst (yes, ranked 31st) in the entire league with Talib covering the best opponents’ receivers. New Orleans’ offense could put up 600 yards in this one in what should be a rollover.
Dan’s pick: Saints

NYJ (3-3) @ NE (3-3) Sun. 10/21 10:25 a.m.
Big huge gargantuan game here on my coast. Everyone in the AFC East is tied for first place, and last place! New England is better than how they’ve played so far right? Nobody knows what they’re going to get from the Jets week to week. New York is missing both its best offensive player (Holmes) and best defensive player (Revis). I don’t see A: how they can stop the Pats, or B: how they can keep up with the Pats.
Dan’s pick: Patriots

JAC (1-4) @ OAK 1-4) Sun. 10/21 10:25 a.m.
This is your weekly ho-hummer. These are two of the worst defenses in the NFL but each of their saving graces is that the offense they’ll be facing isn’t good either. In fact the Jaguars are dead last in total yards per game on offense, and dead last in total points per game. If Darren McFadden can just chug along and rush for a few first downs here and there then Oakland should be ok to score at least 17 points…which should be plenty.
Dan’s pick: Raiders

PIT (2-3) @ CIN (3-3) Sun. 10/21 2:20 p.m.
Neither Pittsburgh nor Cincinnati really has a shot at the AFC North title with the way Baltimore has been playing. The Bengals gave the Browns their first win of the season and just got out-played in last week’s surprising loss. The Steelers didn’t take advantage of the fact that the Titans are all around terrible last week in their loss. No Isaac Redman or Rashard Mendenhall this week for the black and yellow.
Dan’s pick: Bengals

DET (2-3) @ CHI (4-1) Mon. 10/22 2:30 p.m.
Despite having scored only six passing touchdowns all season the Lions have the second most passing yards in the entire league on a per game basis. Detroit needed overtime to come away with the win last week over Philadelphia and prevent them from dropping to 1-4. Chicago is coming off their bye week and appear to be fairly healthy. Jay Cutler has lead a steady offense that scores nearly 30 points per game but I just have a feeling. Could be like their week 2 loss to the Packers, only with silver instead of gold.
Dan’s pick: Lions

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 6

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

And then there were two. Houston and Atlanta are the lone undefeated teams left in the league and appear to be steamrolling. The Falcons should have no problem keeping that train rolling but the Texans face the desperate Packers and could find stiffer competition.
PIT (2-2) @ TEN (1-4) Thu. 10/11 8:20 p.m.
A collective cheer went up in Pittsburgh as Rashard Mendenhall made a triumphant return to the field. His 101 total yards and Big Ben’s clutch play with the game on the line gave the Steelers a win over interstate rival Philly. Chris Johnson mustered only 25 yards rushing on 14 carries and the entire Tennessee offense barely showed any signs of life as they got trounced in a 30-7 loss in Minnesota. Pittsburgh looks like they might have righted the ship which should keep sailing in this one.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

CIN (3-2) @ CLE (0-5) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
Joe Haden’s suspension is up and he should be back this week but it won’t be an easy return. AJ Green is fifth in the league in receiving yards and has four touchdown catches in the Bengals’ first five games. Rookie Trent Richardson continues to impress for Cleveland and has scored a touchdown in four straight games. Cincy is well rounded and Cleveland hasn’t won a game in a loooooooong time!
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

KC (1-4) @ TB (1-3) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
There always seems to an early morning game that nobody cares about and means nothing…this is it! Jamaal Charles leads the NFL in rushing but should be keyed on as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback will be Brady Quinn. Quinn’s saving grace is that the Tampa defense is dead last against the pass. If the Bucs can wrangle in Charles at all (I’m talking about 120 yards or fewer) then I like their chances.
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers

STL (3-2) @ MIA (2-3) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
The Rams’ defense has looked absolutely impressive the past few weeks, and have put the team in position to possibly pick up its third win in a row. Miami held on to beat a very solid Cincinnati squad last week. Reggie Bush is quietly having his best season to date and Brian Hartline has impressed but people question whether either one or both are the real deal.
Dan’s Pick: Rams

DET (1-3) @ PHI (3-2) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
Through four games so far this season Detroit finds themselves third in total offense. Their defense has been a disappointment to this point however, recording exactly zero interceptions on the year. The Eagles might just be their ticket to a turnover-fest. Despite turning the ball over 14 times in the first five games Philly somehow has a winning record. Lincoln Financial Field is not an easy place to go play but coming off the bye I like Detroit getting back on track.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

OAK (1-3) @ ATL (5-0) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
Da Raiders give up nearly twice as many points (31.2) as they score (16.9) per game. In their first five games of the season Atlanta has really only had one close call. These Falcons are playing like a top three team in the league and Tony Gonzalez’s resurgence has been the spark their passing game needed to step up to an elite level. This is probably the easiest pick of the week.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

IND (2-2) @ NYJ (2-3) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
Gang Green is ranked in the twenties in both total offense and total defense. Last week they put forward a much better showing than most expected sticking with the elite Texans. Indianapolis was down big early against Green Bay then battled back for a huge win. The Jets’ quarterback play has been atrocious thus far and the loss of Darrelle Revis has reverted their defense to mediocrity.
Dan’s Pick: Colts

DAL (2-2) @ BAL (4-1) Sun. 10/14 7:00 a.m.
Tony Romo needed the bye week last week worse than probably anybody has needed one before. Romo only had 12 incompletions against the Bears but five of them went for interceptions matching a career worst. A win is a win I suppose. Baltimore beat KC 9-6 in what might have been the most boring game of the season. Most everyone expects a lot more from last week’s underperforming Ravens. Dallas could put up a fight here if they could just stop turning the ball over so much.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

BUF (2-3) @ ARI (4-1) Sun. 10/14 10:05 a.m.
97. That’s how many points the Buffalo Bills have given up over just the last two games. There are 12 teams in the league (nine of which have played five games) that have allowed fewer than 97 points the entire season! Arizona is one of those 12 having given up just 78 points in five games. Last week the Cards were betrayed by their offense’s inability to score more than three points. They should have an easier time scoring this week.
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals

NE (3-2) @ SEA (3-2) Sun. 10/14 10:05 a.m.
Strength against strength is the theme in this matchup. New England features the NFL’s number one total offense while Seattle boasts the league’s number one total defense. In situations like this I would usually side with the defense and home team but the Pats’ offense is in a groove right now. I just don’t see a team with as terrible an offense as the Seahawks scoring more points than the Patriots.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

NYG (3-2) @ SF (4-1) Sun. 10/14 10:25 a.m.
Last week the Giants fell behind the Browns 14-0 after only the first few minutes but came storming back to win 41-27. Over the last two games the 49ers have outscored their opponents 79-3. That’s beyond dominance. The Pats-Hawks game above features strength against strength, well so does this one. The G-men have the number two total offense and San Fran has the number two total defense. If the game weren’t in NorCal I might pick differently.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

MIN (4-1) @ WAS (2-3) Sun. 10/14 10:25 a.m.
There’s one focus here, will Robert Griffin III be cleared to play? A nasty hit last week gave him a mild concussion and his status for this game is still up in the air. Minnesota has silenced the critics so far and find themselves in first place in the Black and Blue division. Each week that Adrian Peterson emerges unscathed is a win for the Viking faithful. It all boils down to quarterback health and this has never been more important than this week for Washington.
Dan’s Pick: Redskins if RGIII plays, Vikings if he doesn’t

GB (2-3) @ HOU (5-0) Sun. 10/14 2:20 p.m.
To say last week’s loss against the Colts was devastating for the Packers would be a gross understatement. Aaron Rodgers has admitted that the Green Bay offense hasn’t played up to par so far this season. Houston has looked good if not great in all five of their wins this year. The Texans score the third most points per game and give up the fourth fewest. The Packers O-line and secondary are their weaknesses which is bad news for cheeseheads everywhere.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

DEN (2-3) @ SD (3-2) Mon. 10/15 2:30 p.m.
Peyton Manning was bested by Tom Brady and New Orleans finally got in the win column over San Diego. Ryan Mathews is back and looking like the exciting player he’s always had potential to be. Manning has made a smoother transition than anyone imagined and has developed electric chemistry with Demaryius Thomas. The Rivers-Gates connection that was elite for so long needs to re-emerge or the Bolts don’t stand a chance.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 5
Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

The real refs are back, Dan’s picks are back, the Saints still don’t have a win….onward!

ARI (4-0) @ STL (2-2) Thu. 10/4 2:20 p.m.
Last season these two teams had a combined ten wins. At the ¼ point of this season they’ve already combined for six. Arizona has ridden its strong defense to their so far undefeated record, giving up just over 15 points per game. The Rams rank 26th and 27th in scoring offense and total offense respectively. The Cardinals have virtually no run game so if they’re going to win then Kevin Kolb needs to be efficient with his passes and not turn the ball over. This one could end up with a baseball score.
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals

GB (2-2) @ IND (1-2) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
The regular referees tried taking last week’s game from the Pack but it only almost worked! Green Bay sent the Saints to an 0-4 record with solid play in all facets of the game. Indy is coming off of their bye week and Andrew Luck should have his familiar target Coby Fleener back from his apparently minor head injury. If the Colts could pull this one out it would be a statement but I don’t think their defense can contain the talented Green Bay offense.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

MIA (1-3) @ CIN (3-1) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
Who holds the Dolphins record for most passing yards as a rookie in franchise history? Dan Marino right? Nope, its Ryan Tannehill! He threw for 431 yards last week, 253 of which went to Brian Hartline who also set a franchise record, in their second straight overtime loss. Since their week one drudging at the hands of the Ravens the Bengals have strung together three straight quality victories. AJ Green as emerged as a bonafide superstar and his chemistry with Andy Dalton seems to improve each week.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

BAL (3-1) @ KC (1-3) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
If the Chiefs play even remotely as undisciplined as they did last week this game will be over very quickly. Kansas City had five turnovers in the first half as they got pounded by San Diego. Baltimore on the other hand only turned the ball over one time in their win last Thursday, their ninth straight against Cleveland. Jamaal Charles is one of the most explosive players in the league but the Baltimore defense is still elite. If Charles can rush for 250 yards I like KC’s chances….I don’t see that happening.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

CLE (0-4) @ NYG (2-2) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
Brandon Weeden completed less than 50% of his passes for the second time this season last week in a loss to the division-rival Ravens. The Giants lost a heart breaker to the Eagles as Lawrence Tynes’ 54 yard field goal attempt came up just short with 15 seconds left. Cleveland has now lost ten straight games dating to last season. The Giants can’t afford to lose games like this.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

ATL (4-0) @ WAS (2-2) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
Washington pulled out a victory as their kicker Billy Cundiff went 1-4 in field goal attempts. The only one he made came in the final seconds and proved to be the game winner. Atlanta made a last minute drive capped by a Matt Bryant 40 yard field goal with five seconds left to defeat Carolina. RGIII is a lot of fun to watch and an elite talent but the Skins aren’t as solid top to bottom as Atlanta.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

PHI (3-1) @ PIT (1-2) Sun. 10/7 7:00 a.m.
Philly sports a -17 point differential on the season but have only lost one game. They’ve won three games by a combined four points! This inter-state rivalry could prove to be exciting as Pittsburgh, coming off a bye, look to right their ship after a disappointing first three games. Rashard Mendenhall should be back which balances out the Steeler offense. The Eagles turn the ball over at an alarming rate which could get them into hot water very quickly against the experienced Pittsburgh D.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

CHI (3-1) @ JAC (1-3) Sun. 10/7 10:05 a.m.
Jacksonville is dead last in total offense and scoring offense. Brandon Marshall was always Jay Cutler’s favorite target while they were both with the Broncos and last week they looked as if the old chemistry was back. Blaine Gabbert has very few talents when it comes to quarterbacking in the NFL but not turning the ball over is one of them. Chicago however is coming off a dominant victory over the Cowboys in which they intercepted Tony Romo five times!
Dan’s Pick: Bears

SEA (2-2) @ CAR (1-3) Sun. 10/7 10:05 a.m.
Carolina had a one point lead and had the Falcons pinned back at their own one yard line with just over a minute to play. Needless to say, with five seconds left that one point lead turned into a two point deficit. Seattle’s defense is legitimate but they struggle to put points up on the board from the other side of the ball. Unless Marshawn Lynch goes nutty (or the refs help out again!) I don’t see the Hawks pulling this one out.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

BUF (2-2) @ SF (3-1) Sun. 10/7 10:25 a.m.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a gambler as evidenced by his four touchdowns and four interceptions last game against the Patriots. San Fran played the most dominant game in the entire league last week with their 34-0 manhandling of the Jets. The Niners don’t pass the ball at an elite level but that’s about the only flaw in their game. Buffalo has had some major upsets over the past few seasons but San Fran is just so solid.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

DEN (2-2) @ NE (2-2) Sun. 10/7 10:25 a.m.
This might very well be the game of the week. Two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time will meet for the thirteenth time. Both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are having phenomenal seasons as usual. The glaring difference in these teams is on the defensive side of the ball where Denver gives up just over 300 total yards per game while New England gives up over 360 yards per game. I like Peyton throwing all over Foxboro in an upset over the Pats.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

TEN (1-3) @ MIN (3-1) Sun. 10/7 10:25 a.m.
Jake Locker is hurt, Chris Johnson has shown only a glimmer of his old self, and the Titans have the absolutely worst defense in the NFL. Christian Ponder has emerged as a more than capable professional. Adrian Peterson has roared back from his off-season surgery. Minnesota isn’t a great team but they’re playing for first place in the tough NFC North.
Dan’s Pick: Vikings

SD (3-1) @ NO (0-4) Sun. 10/7 2:20 p.m.
Who Dat indeed! Drew Brees tied Johnny Unitas’ record by throwing a touchdown in his 47th consecutive game. This game will most likely feature his breaking of the record. San Diego rebounded nicely last week from the drudging they took the week before. The Bolts running game however has a lot of question marks. New Orleans has to be one of the most talented 0-4 teams in history. They’re chomping at the bit to get a ‘W’ and I don’t see them waiting much longer to do so.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

HOU (4-0) @ NYJ (2-2) Mon. 10/8 2:30 p.m.
34-0! Any team would be hard pressed to play a worse game than the Jets did last week. Monday’s game won’t get any easier for Gang Green as the Texans are probably the best all-around team in the league. Houston gives up fewer than 300 yards per game on defense and the Jets gain fewer than 300 yards per game on offense. I don’t see how New York will score too many more than the zero points they put up last game!
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Aloha Molokai! Last week was a crazy one for me and I apologize wholeheartedly for missing the predictions. Thursday’s prediction will be up tomorrow morning and the rest up by the weekend.

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 3
Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Yikes, what a season we have on our hands here. Most of my picks are generally safe and with the grain yet last week I went 7-9! The parody in the league this season is exceptional. The Pats lost to the Cardinals, Cowboys got smoked in Seattle, Fins and Bills both scored 35 points, and Jake Locker, Brandon Weeden, and Mario Manningham all have more rushing yards than Chris Johnson! Let’s see if week 3 will bring us back to normal or keep up with this insanity!

NYG (1-1) @ CAR (1-1) Thu. 9/20 2:20 p.m.
The Panthers circa 2011 showed up in week 2 as they rushed for over 200 yards in a win against the Saints. Eli Manning put up video game numbers throwing for over 500 yards in a seesaw shootout win over Tampa Bay. Neither defense looked stellar but that New York defensive line is still the best in football. I expect the G-men air assault to trump the 3-headed ground attack of Carolina.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

STL (1-1) @ CHI (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
It was a bad week in for Chicago football. Matt Forte was lost to injury and Jay Cutler was sacked seven times and intercepted four times all in a loss to the division rival Packers. Sam Bradford and Danny Amendola showed great chemistry hooking up 15 times for 160 yards in an impressive win over the Redskins. Despite the loss of Forte Chicago still has explosive weapons on offense and an aging but still solid defense.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

BUF (1-1) @ CLE (0-2) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
Fred Jackson is quickly becoming the most forgotten man in upstate New York. C.J. Spiller has been on absolute fire since stepping into the starting gig. Trent Richardson justified his number three overall pick in the last draft with a two touchdown 100+ yard game last week. Brandon Weeden took a major step up from god-awful but he still couldn’t lead Cleveland to a win against Cincy. Buffalo looked remarkably better last week than the week before. They should keep getting better.
Dan’s Pick: Bills

JAC (0-2) @ IND (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
Adam Vinatieri was up to his old tricks last week hitting a 53 yard field goal with eight seconds left to secure a win for the Colts. Andrew Luck looked leaps and bounds better than he did in week one. Jacksonville almost pulled off a win the first week but got trounced against a very good Houston squad last week. The Jags offense is still just awful, they scored seven points last game. Look for Luck to keep rising.
Dan’s Pick: Colts

TB (1-1) @ DAL (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
Tampa was on the losing end of an epic shootout in Metlife Stadium on Sunday against the Giants. Their defense intercepted Eli Manning three times in the first half but then completely fell apart and they ended giving up over 600 yards! After an impressive week one win against the Giants, the Cowboys just didn’t show up in Seattle. Tony Romo was forced to throw the ball 40 times but still the usually stellar Dallas passing attack couldn’t get going. Doug Martin could have a great game on the turf in Dallas.
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers

NYJ (1-1) @ MIA (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
The Raiders are bad. As a result Reggie Bush was able to rush for over 170 yards and two scores. Normally a third down specialist because of his ability with the dump off pass, Bush looked good running between the tackles. The Jets couldn’t get anything going against the Steelers defense that stepped up after a week one embarrassment. Sanchez came back down to earth and resembled his normal self. I don’t think Bush can look that impressive against the Jets defense.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

CIN (1-1) @ WAS (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
I’m probably going to say this a lot this season, but Robert Griffin III again looked impressive last week. He flashed his inner Cam Newton as he rushed for 82 yards and two scores. Andy Dalton looked real good throwing for three touchdowns and his only pick was off a deflection. RGIII is as exciting as they come but I like the well rounded Cincy squad.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

KC (0-2) @ NO (0-2) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
KC, ok, I could have seen them 0-2. But New Orleans?? Nobody saw them going the first two weeks winless. The Chiefs were the unfortunate recipients of the Bills frustrations last week. Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards again, ho hum, ‘nother day ‘nother dollar. But despite his gaudy passing numbers, he hasn’t won! After only two games the Chiefs have a -34 point differential. That doesn’t bode well against an elite offense.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

DET (1-1) @ TEN (0-2) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
In primetime last Sunday night the Lions ran into the brick wall that is the San Fran defense. Matt Stafford led the usually electric Detroit offense to less than 300 total offensive yards. Tennessee got absolutely demolished for the second straight game. Their defense is almost as bad as their offense, and their offense is atrocious! The Titans have a -49 point differential after only two games. We should see a bounce back performance from Detroit.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

SF (2-0) @ MIN (1-1) Sun. 9/23 7:00 a.m.
Nobody in this young season has looked more impressive than the 49ers. Their defense has essentially shut down two elite offenses, letting up only 41 points to the Packers and Lions combined. Adrian Peterson looked rejuvenated in week one but was stifled by the Colts in week two. I don’t see any way that Minnesota will be able to get their offense in any sort of rhythm against San Fran.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

PHI (2-0) @ ARI (2-0) Sun. 9/23 10:05 a.m.
With nine turnovers in the first two games it’s nothing less than a miracle that Philly is 2-0. Granted both wins have been by a single point, but a win is a win. Arizona might be the most surprising team at 2-0, having started two different quarterbacks and not even coming close to establishing a run in either win. This is a quarterback driven league and few have more natural talent than Mike Vick (at least not John Skelton or Kevin Kolb!).
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

ATL (2-0) @ SD (2-0) Sun. 9/23 10:05 a.m.
The Atlanta offense has been impressive in both games so far this season. Their shift away from a balanced attack and to a more pass-happy one has been virtually seamless. San Diego should have the services of Ryan Mathews back in this game which should take a little pressure off of Phillip Rivers. He should also have his old favorite, Antonio Gates, back for this one. It comes down to defense for me in this one and I like Atlanta a tiny bit more.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

HOU (2-0) @ DEN (1-1) Sun. 9/23 10:25 a.m.
As far as completely balanced teams goes it doesn’t get much better than Houston. They won each of their first two games by exactly 20 points and can dominate both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Peyton Manning looked horrendous in the first half of Monday night’s loss to the Falcons but he returned to form the second half. The Texans haven’t played a quality opponent yet. I like the upset led by one of the all-time greats.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

PIT (1-1) @ OAK (0-2) Sun. 9/23 10:25 a.m.
As I mentioned before, Oakland is bad. They have pretty much been dominated from the get go in both games so far this season. The Raiders need to get Darren McFadden going early and often and (most important) effective. Pittsburgh bounced back in week two and dominated the Jets. If they can establish anything resembling a run game they should have this one in the bag.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

NE (1-1) @ BAL (1-1) Sun. 9/23 2:20 p.m.
Probably the two scariest teams in the AFC clash here in the Sunday night showdown. This should be a really fun game to watch. Tom Brady got completely blindsided last week as the Pats lost to the Cardinals. Baltimore lost a close one to the Eagles. I see one of two things happening here: either the Pats eek out a close win, or the Ravens run away with it looking dominant.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

GB (1-1) @ SEA (1-1) Mon. 9/24 2:30 p.m.
Both teams looked impressive last week after disappointing first games. The Packers defense had seven sacks and four interceptions against the division rival Bears last Thursday. Seattle used their home field advantage to shut down Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Green Bay rarely establishes a monster run game but if Cedric Benson can at least seem effective (as he did last week) then that should open up the passing game for the reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 2
Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Ok, so last week was a little rough for me! Chalk it up to the long move back to the East coast! I went 8-8 in my picks last week (didn’t get to the Cowboys-Giants game in the predictions but I had NYG all day) so I’m looking at it as if I can only go up from here!

CHI (1-0) @ GB (0-1) Thu. 9/13 2:20 p.m.
Brandon Marshall was signed by Chicago with hopes that he and Jay Cutler would rekindle their old Denver chemistry, and that’s exactly what happened. They put up over 40 points for the first time since 2009. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get the high scoring Packer offense going thanks in large part to the ridiculous 49ers D. It pains me to make this pick (lifelong cheesehead here!), but gotta play the hot hand.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

CLE (0-1) @ Cin (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
Brandon Weeden is a rookie in the league and last week was his NFL debut, but that hardly excuses his historically pathetic stat line of 12-35 passing, 118 yards, 0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 5.1 QB rating! Cincy ran into the juggernaut offense and defense of Baltimore in a 44-13 trouncing. With Weeden’s performance look for the Bengals to stuff eight guys in the box and shut down Trent Richardson.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

KC (0-1) @ BUF (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
At halftime of the first game for Kansas City they were only trailing Atlanta 20-17, but they gave up 20 unanswered points in the second half. The Bills got completely blindsided by the Jets as their defense got embarrassed giving up 48 points and making Mark Sanchez look like Joe Montana! Jamaal Charles is still healthy and Fred Jackson is out for at least three weeks.
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs

MIN (1-0) @ IND (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
The rumors surrounding Adrian Peterson going into week one were rather bleak and people didn’t expect him to get more than 10 touches. Well he carried the ball 17 times for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. Is it 2009? Andrew Luck showed some good chemistry with Reggie Wayne but threw 3 picks to only 1 touchdown. The Colts defense didn’t exactly impress as they allowed 428 yards and 41 points to Chicago. If AP is really back it should be a long day in Indianapolis.
Dan’s Pick: Vikings

OAK (0-1) @ MIA (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
Who would have guessed that an injury to Jon Condo, a long snapper, would lose the game for Oakland in week one? The multiple mistakes by the special teams coupled with the lack of offensive productivity didn’t end well for the Raiders. The Dolphins game went as everyone thought it would. The defense looked almost as bad as the offense! Carson Palmer and DMC should be able to bounce back in South Beach.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

BAL (1-0) @ PHI (1-0) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
Joe Flacco threw for two touchdowns and Ray Rice rushed for two more as Baltimore walked all over the in-division Bengals. Mike Vick and Brandon Weeden played “who can throw more picks” (four each) as the Eagles stumbled to a 1-0 record. Philly can be a tough place to play for opponents but the Ravens looked absolutely awesome on Monday night. Again, I like the hot hand here.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

TB (1-0) @ NYG (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
The Carolina Panthers averaged just over 150 rushing yards in 2011. Last week the Bucs held them to 10 rushing yards. That’s correct, I didn’t leave off a zero, 10 yards! New York didn’t exactly play up to expectations in last Wednesday’s season opener against Dallas. Eli Manning has some elite weapons at his disposal. Look for the G-men offense to have a little more success against the Bucs.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

HOU (1-0) @ JAC (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
During their overtime loss last week the Jags’ Blaine Gabbert looked much better than many anticipated. MJD also looked like he hadn’t lost too much during his off-season holdout. Andre Johnson looked vintage and Arian Foster performed as usual scoring 2 touchdowns in Houston’s 30-10 win over Miami. The Texans D had three picks and should be a top defense all season, this week shouldn’t hinder that.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

NO (0-1) @ CAR (0-1) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
The Sean Payton-less Saints found out very quickly that RGIII is the real deal. New Orleans was down early in week one to Washington as Drew Brees was forced to attempt 52 passes (completed less than half) in a loss. Carolina rushed the ball for a grand total of 10 yards which is a shockingly low number for such a run-heavy offense. The Saints are too good to lose to inferior teams two weeks in a row.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

ARI (1-0) @ NE (1-0) Sun. 9/16 7:00 a.m.
Kevin Kolb led the Cardinals on a late game drive against a solid Seahawks defense to secure their week one win. New England scored 34 points as Tom Brady found each of his elite tight ends once in the endzone, ho hum, on to the next one. As nice as Arizona’s defense looked on Sunday, Russell Wilson isn’t exactly Brady.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

WAS (1-0) @ STL (0-1) Sun. 9/16 10:05 a.m.
Robert Griffin III came out and showed why he was the number two overall pick in last year’s draft. He led the Redskins to a surprising win over the Saints. In the first half of their week one loss to Detroit, St. Louis’ defense actually showed some positive signs including intercepting Matt Stafford three times. The Rams offense however only garnered 251 total yards. The trend this week is the hot hand, and it continues here.
Dan’s Pick: Redskins

DAL (1-0) @ SEA (0-1) Sun. 9/16 10:05 a.m.
Apparently the Cowboys were looking for retribution against the Giants in the season opener. Tony Romo was in mid-season form and made the usually scary New York defense look silly. Russell Wilson’s NFL debut with the Seahawks was mediocre at best although Braylon Edwards let the potential game winning touchdown go through his hands with just seconds remaining. I like how the Cowboys looked and Miles Austin and Jason Witten should both be healthier this week.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

TEN (0-1) @ SD (1-0) Sun. 9/16 10:25 a.m.
Chris Johnson only needs 1996 more rushing yards to re-earn his old nickname, CJ2K. That’s right, he carried the ball eleven times for a grand total of four yards. Its sort of funny that the leading Charger rusher on Monday had twelve yards! It seems rushing won’t be too much of a factor in this one. Jake Locker hurt his non-throwing shoulder but should be good to go. Phillip Rivers is the superior quarterback here.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

NYJ (1-0) @ PIT (0-1) Sun. 9/16 10:25 a.m.
Mark Sanchez and the apparently explosive Jets offense completely came out of nowhere as they put up 48 points on Sunday. Pittsburgh got blindsided by the ageless and well-rested (not a snap since 2010) Peyton Manning in a week one loss in Denver. I would imagine the extremes would balance themselves out a little bit this week. If the Steelers can get someone running the ball with any sort of authority they should take this.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

DET (1-0) @ SF (1-0) Sun. 9/16 2:20 p.m.
Matt Stafford started the season appallingly but finished out the first game more true to form. San Fran absolutely dominated the elite Packers offense during their week one win at Lambeau. Frank Gore carried the ball effectively and Randy Moss even had a touchdown catch! Its highly doubtful that Kevin Smith will score two touchdowns again this week. Alex Smith is an expert at avoiding turnovers. If he can keep that trend going I like San Fran a lot here.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

DEN (1-0) @ ATL (1-0)
Peyton Manning is arguably the best quarterback of all time and he showed that even after more than a year away from the game he could meticulously pick apart good defenses. Atlanta scored 20 points in each half of their first game and it would not surprise me in the least if that trend continued all season. Julio Jones is a superstar in the making. Matty Ice is 26-4 in Atlanta in his career. Manning will probably look good again, but he won’t be able to contain the Falcon passing game.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Dan’s 2012-13 NFL Predictions — Week 1

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary.

Since then, however, we have had a baby boy and decided to move back to the East Coast to be closer to family. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of Molokai and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Week 1 let’s go!

IND (0-0) @ CHI (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Everybody will have their eyes on one person and one person only here. The Colts lost themselves a lot of games last season to acquire the services of Andrew Luck. He will be tested right away against the always tough Chicago D. Jay Cutler has his old buddy from Denver back in Brandon Marshall, I like the experience and better defense.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

PHI (0-0) @ CLE (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
The game has not started yet so there is still a chance for Michael Vick to randomly hurt himself! But in all seriousness that poor guy can’t catch a break. Cleveland has a decent defense but their most dangerous offensive weapon has not only NEVER played a snap in the NFL, but is banged up as well. Philly wants to prove last season was the fluke.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

ATL (0-0) @ KC (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Julio Jones is as exciting a young player in the league as anyone. Matt Ryan’s receiving options are ridiculously talented but in this one KC has the rushing advantage. Jamaal Charles is back healthy to be the lightning to Peyton Hillis’ thunder. On paper Atlanta is the better team but I like the upset in Kansas City.
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs

BUF (0-0) @ NYJ (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Tim Tebow fell bass-ackwards into a string of victories at the end of last season but is he enough to resurrect the Jets meager (at best) offense? Buffalo scored the biggest name in free agency in Mario Williams and as a result their defense is better than people think. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrived in the early parts of the previous few seasons. Look for that trend to continue.
Dan’s Pick: Bills

StL (0-0) @ DET (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
The Rams could have had the services of RGIII but traded the 2nd overall pick away and appear to be standing by former #1 overall pick Sam Bradford at quarterback. Calvin Johnson is freakishly the best WR in the game and is practically uncoverable. Everybody loves a good upset from time to time but I don’t see it happening here.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

WAS (0-0) @ NO (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Washington has revamped their WR corps for RGIII and if Fred Davis can stay off the ganja he can be an elite TE. Their backfield is a mess however with four different guys looking for touches. Drew Brees set the all-time record for passing yards in a season last year. New Orleans’ offense is amazing but will they be the same without Sean Payton? Good enough at least to win this one.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

MIA (0-0) @ HOU (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Ryan Tannehill will become the 17th different starting QB to start for Miami since 2000! Also, who is he throwing too? Or handing it off too? Reggie Bush? It might be painful to watch the Dolphin offense try and break 200 total yards against the daunting Houston D. Did I mention the Texans also have the best RB in the NFL in Arian Foster? AND they’re home! Houston all day.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

NE (0-0) @ TEN (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
Chris Johnson will try to re-attain his elite status in the league this season. Jake Locker will have to wait for next week to get Kenny Britt back as he’s serving a one game suspension for conduct. The Pats made the Super Bowl again last year, ho hum, business as usual. Tom Brady might be the best QB of all time and shows no signs of slowing down. If the Titans can score 40 they have a chance.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

JAC (0-0) @ MIN (0-0) Sun. 9/9 7:00 a.m.
A Tale of Two Not-Quite-Ready-Star-RB’s. Adrian Peterson says he’s ready but only just started full practices. Maurice Jones-Drew held out until a few days ago but the Jags played hardball and he didn’t get a new contract. Percy Harvin and Justin Blackmon are exciting young players but the guys throwing to them are not. If you really care, flip a coin.
Dan’s Pick: Vikings

CAR (0-0) @ TB (0-0) Sun. 9/9 10:25 a.m.
Greg Schiano says rookie RB Doug Martin reminds him of Ray Rice. Josh Freeman has proven he can be really good over a whole season and now he has Vincent Jackson to throw to. Cam Newton had the best rookie campaign for a QB ever last season. Can he keep it up? Steve Smith is only a year older. Whichever defense steps up will decide this one.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

SEA (0-0) @ ARI (0-0) Sun. 9/9 10:25 a.m.
Matt Flynn got a big contract in the off-season but then got beat out for the starting QB spot. Russell Wilson has boomed in the pre-season but Flynn is waiting if he busts. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the best players in the league but he can’t throw the ball to himself (maybe he should try, gotta be better than the Skelton/Kolb disaster!). Seattle’s D will be too much for the Cards offense.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

SF (0-0) @ GB (0-0) Sun. 9/9 10:25 a.m.
This game is pure might on might. San Fran boasts a top 3 defense and Green Bay rolls in with a top 3 offense. Randy Moss is the Niners #2 WR which speaks volumes about their offense (keep in mind its 2012 not 2002). Aaron Rodgers is the reigning MVP for a reason. The Packers’ first six picks in the draft were defensive players so we’ll see how impactful they’ll be.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

PIT (0-0) @ DEN (0-0) Sun. 9/9 2:20 p.m.
Big Ben and company will be looking for a little payback for their playoff defeat at the hands of the Broncos. Denver has a new face of the franchise in Peyton Manning and I’m assuming will rely a little less on late game miracles compared to last year. Pittsburgh’s defense is not only a year older but are a little banged up and there is a huge question regarding their backfield.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

CIN (0-0) @ BAL (0-0) Mon. 9/10 1:00 p.m.
The Bengals surprised everyone last season by making the playoffs. Baltimore was a dropped pass away from going to the Super Bowl however. The loss of Terrell Suggs for the season is a huge blow to the usually staunch yet aging Ravens defense. AJ Green is a superstar in the making but Cincy will need to establish a run with the Law Firm Benjarvis Green-Ellis if they want a shot.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

SD (0-0) @ OAK (0-0) Mon. 9/10 4:15 p.m.
Every year the talent is there for San Diego and every year they seem to under-perform for one reason or another. Antonio Gates is finally healthy but Vincent Jackson is gone and Ryan Mathews is hurt. Darren McFadden is healthy for once and should be looked at as an elite runner. This is the first Al Davis-free season for the Oak Town in a few centuries.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Super Bowl XLVI

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai last July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We both really enjoyed and appreciated the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to have called it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Both Championship games came down to the wire and ended poorly for the Harbaugh family. If you’re into rematches and rivalries, you’re in for a treat!

NYG (12-7) @ NE (15-3) Sun. 2/5 1:20 p.m.
The rematch is set. Four years ago the Giants shocked the world and beat the then 18-0 Patriots in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever. New England hasn’t had quite as epic a year this go around but they were still the best team in the AFC and again have a vaunted passing attack. In the divisional round against the Broncos Tom Brady looked as good as he ever has throwing for six touchdowns (five in the first half!). The AFC Championship game showed the vulnerable side of Brady as he was held without a touchdown pass though did have a clutch touchdown jump against the stellar Ravens D. New York once again has assumed the title “road warriors”. They beat the Cowboys in the winner-take-all week 17 game, trounced Atlanta and Green Bay (last year’s #1 seed and this year’s #1 seed) in the first two rounds of the playoffs then won a nail-biter of an overtime game over the 49ers in the NFC Championship to make it to the Super Bowl. Now the question remains, will history repeat itself? The similarities are scarily obvious. Can the Pats repel the Giants pass rush? Can the Giants stop the Brady-led air assault? As I’ve stated in recent weeks, nobody is playing “scarier” than the Giants right now, but how often do you see the Patriots put up back to back poor offensive games? The playoffs so far have been an amazing combination of upsets and great games, the Super Bowl has all the potential in the world to be both, either, or neither. As much as it irks my fiancee and friends back in NJ, I have to think that Gronk will be fine come kickoff, Brady will have restored confidence (not to mention a chip on his shoulder four years in the making) and the Patriots will bring their fourth Lombardi Trophy back to New England.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Championship Round

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Upset was the word of the week in the NFC in the divisional round. The 49ers-Saints game was one for the ages while the Packers knelt down and lifted the game up to the Giants like an offering. The AFC divisional round went a little more as planned. The Ravens won a defensive battle and the Patriots scored on what seemed like every series in their trouncing of the Broncos. Last week I was 2-2 in my picks. Here are your championship round matchups and my picks for each game.

Bal (13-4) @ NE (14-3) Sun. 1/22 10:00 a.m.
This is the Saints-49ers matchup of the AFC. New England put on a clinic against the more than overmatched Broncos last weekend up in Foxboro. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski each had record games and aside from a nicked up O-line, their offense is firing on all cylinders right now. The Ravens capitalized on three interceptions in their win over the Texans but (not to be insultingly obvious), Tom Brady has a little more playoff experience and poise than does T.J. Yates. Baltimore needs to quickly establish their excellent run game with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams and keep Brady and that New England offense off the field as much as possible. If the Ravens can come up with a few turnovers then I like their chances. If not, I don’t.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

NYG (11-7) @ SF (14-3) Sun. 1/22 1:30 p.m.
I feel bad for both Eli Manning and Alex Smith in this one. The pass rushing attack of both these teams is vicious and relentless. San Francisco came out on top of one of the best football games I’ve seen since the Giants-Pats Super Bowl from the 2007 season. Alex Smith was calm and collected and shut up scores of doubters with the way he handled himself and his team in that fourth quarter win over the Saints. The G-men played a flawless game in the frozen tundra in their win over the Packers. Eli played well, the defense played great and the Packers played like a Pop Warner team. Its hard to describe, but no team is playing “scarier” than the Giants right now.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Divisional Round

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

The Lions-Saints matchup lived up to the hype, Tim Tebow found his old ways (we could say he was “born again”!), the Giants front four wreaked havoc, and the Texans fulfilled the old adage that defense and rushing wins games. Last week I was 2-2 in my picks. Here are your divisional round matchups and my picks for each game.

NO (14-3) @ SF (13-3) Sat. 1/14 11:30 a.m.
The Saints haven’t lost a game since their week 8 head-scratcher to the Rams. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an offense “click” as well as New Orleans the past four games (177 points over that span), aside from maybe the ‘07 Patriots or the ‘99 Rams. The 49ers boast one of the best defenses in the league and rely on that to keep themselves in games. Will the San Fran D be able to keep the New Orleans O in check? I don’t see it happening.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Den (9-8) @ NE (13-3) Sat. 1/14 3:00 p.m.
Can Tim Tebow do it again?! The Broncos shocked the world on Sunday thanks to a few big plays from the Tebow-Thomas connection. Most folks however, can see that they caught the banged-up Steelers at just the right time. The Patriots are the #1 seed for a reason. Their offense is a well oiled machine which has scored 30 or more points in twelve games this season. Can Tim Tebow do it again? I don’t think so.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Hou (11-6) @ Bal (12-4) Sun. 1/15 8:00 a.m.
As far as well-rounded running backs go, you’d be hard pressed to find many better than Ray Rice and Arian Foster. They can each pound the ball inside, bounce it outside and were #1 and #3 respectively in total yards from scrimmage this season. The Texans and Ravens also boast the #2 and #3 ranked defenses in the NFL, each giving up less than 300 yards per game. This game should come down to quarterback play and despite how inconsistent Joe Flacco is, I still like him over T.J. Yates.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

NYG (10-7) @ GB (15-1) Sun. 1/15 11:30 a.m.
The G-men absolutely embarrassed the Falcons last week in a blowout win. Their defense didn’t allow a point and their run game had a resurgence of sorts. Eli Manning is playing at an elite level right now. Green Bay earned the #1 seed a few weeks ago and almost had an undefeated regular season. Aaron Rodgers set a whole bunch of records with his immaculate season. He sometimes doesn’t look like a human, but a quarterback machine. Which Giants team will show up Sunday? The one who beat the Patriots or the one who lost to the Redskins (twice!)?
Dans Pick: Packers

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Wild Card Round

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

At long last the playoffs are upon us! I have had a big smile on my face in anticipation of the postseason for a few weeks now and needless to say, am very excited. Last week I was 11-5 in my picks. Here are your Wild Card Week matchups and my picks for each game.

Cin (9-7) @ Hou (10-6) Sat. 1/7 11:30 a.m.
The Bengals had seven losses this season, all of them came against playoff teams. Their nine wins you ask? You guessed it, zero against playoff teams. Since Matt Schaub went down for the season in week 10 the Texans have had trouble putting up points, scoring more than 20 in a game only once. Both teams lost in week 17 and Houston has lost its last three (including to Indy ha!), and have looked mediocre at best since locking up the #3 seed. As far as the playoffs are concerned, since neither team is experienced, I like the youthful play and the mature-beyond-his-years quarterbacking of Andy Dalton and his Bengals.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

Det (10-6) @ NO (13-3) Sat. 1/7 3:00 p.m.
The NFL playoffs occasionally has first round games that aren’t hyped up too much. These games often feature some mediocre team that fell bass-ackwards into the playoffs through a tie-breaker with another boring team. This game…is not one of those. These two squads combined for 1192 net yards and 86 points in their week 17 games. Drew Brees is one of the great passers in history and Matt Stafford finally stayed healthy and showed why the Lions picked him #1 overall in 2009. Both offenses are prolific and both defenses give up a lot of yards, but the Saints just don’t lose at home. Unless the over/under is 95, bet the over!
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Atl (10-6) @ NYG (9-7) Sun. 1/8 8:00 a.m.
Sunday night’s Giants-Cowboys matchup was really the first playoff game of the season. Eli Manning and the G-men really stepped up and played a quality game against rival Dallas. The Falcons have yet to win a playoff game in the Matt Ryan era and are looking to silence the critics (I’m one of them) who say they’re not a clutch team. The New York front four is the scariest in the league and proved it Sunday by sacking Tony Romo six times. If the Atlanta o-line can keep Matt Ryan upright their offense can put up points in bunches. The Giants have been playing well of late and their wide receivers have stopped blatantly dropping the ball. These are both well-rounded teams but New York has the experience and I think a better defense.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Pit (12-4) @ Den (8-8) Sun. 1/8 11:30 a.m.
Molokai will be torn in two this Sunday as the #5 seed Steelers face the #4 seed Broncos in Denver. Tim Tebow will need his miracle touch to stay in one piece against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. Big Ben is a little banged up and Rashard Mendenhall is out for the year but the Steelers still remain a huge force in the AFC. The Broncos have scored 53 total points in their last four games (of which they’ve lost three). Needless to say they’re having trouble scoring. The Denver defense will need to step up and take advantage of the fact that Pittsburgh’s offense is nowhere near 100%. If the Steelers can put up even 17 points I’m saying lock it up.
Dans Pick: Steelers

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 17

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 12-4 in my picks. Here are your week 17 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Was (5-10) @ Phi (7-8) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
The Dream Team started the season horribly and lost out on the playoffs as a result. They’ve won three games in a row now and a fourth would get them up to even in the wins and losses category. This season has had the Skins giving all or nothing as evidenced by them beating the Giants twice but losing to the Vikings, Panthers, Bills and Dolphins. The Eagles want to salvage any respect then can.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

Car (6-9) @ NO (12-3) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
Who Dat indeed! Drew Brees broke the single season passing record in only 15 games. The Saints looked about as unstoppable as a team can look Monday in their 45-16 win over the Falcons. Carolina looks to spoil the Saints’ chances of nabbing the #2 seed in the NFC. They’ve won four of their last five with young Cam Newton looking more and more impressive every week.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

NYJ (8-7) @ Mia (5-10) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
In order for Gang Green to make the post season, they need to win, they need Cincy and Tennessee to both lose, and either Oakland or Denver to lose. It is not impossible for them to make it but they need everything to go their way. Miami has had some great games and some pretty sad ones. Star offensive tackle Jake Long will be out for the Dolphins so their rejuvenated run game might take a hit.
Dans Pick: Jets

Det (10-5) @ GB (14-1) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
Behind Aaron Rodgers’ five touchdown passes, Green Bay locked up the #1 seed in the NFC with their Christmas win over the Bears. Detroit clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 1999 with a big win over the Chargers last week. The Lions currently have the #5 seed and are slated to play either the Cowboys or Giants in the wildcard round. If they drop to the #6 seed then they’ll probably have to face the Saints in the first round (which nobody wants to do).
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Chi (7-8) @ Min (3-11) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
No Jay Cutler or Matt Forte. No Christian Ponder or Adrian Peterson. This game doesn’t quite have the same oomph it would have before all the major injuries for both teams. Minnesota is coming off a nice win over the Redskins. Josh McCown started his first game since 2007 against the Packers and played like it. Neither of these teams is playing for anything here but Joe Webb looked really good filling in at quarterback for the Vikes.
Dan’s Pick: Vikings

Ten (8-7) @ Hou (10-5) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
Beating the Texans doesn’t seem to be as tough a task now as it was the first half of the season. Tennessee needs a lot of help to make the postseason but its not impossible. Houston is a lock for the #3 seed so this game literally means nothing to them. Wade Phillips is back from surgery this week to coordinate the defense that underperformed in his absense. The Texans want to get back to their winning ways before the playoffs start.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Ind (2-13) @ Jac (4-11) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
The only meaning this game could possibly have is if the Colts happen to win and the Rams lose and the latter would end up with the first overall pick in the draft next season. Just about the only bright spot for either team in this game has been MJD who will probably win the NFL rushing title. Both of these teams have been terrible from the get-go and its not a surprise they have a combined six wins. I’ll go with the home team.
Dan’s Pick: Jaguars

SF (12-3) @ StL (2-13) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
San Fran is currently the #2 seed and can lock it up here with what should be an easy win. However, if they slip up (think GB at KC), they could slip to the #3 seed and miss out on the first round bye. The Rams will most likely end up with either the first or second pick in the upcoming draft. This game and the Colts game will decide which. I don’t see St. Louis upsetting the Niners here…though they did beat the Saints this year!
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

Buf (6-9) @ NE (12-3) Sun. 1/1 8:00 a.m.
A win for the Patriots will shore up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Buffalo got their first win since week 8 on Saturday over the Broncos but their season is beyond lost. The Bills did have New England’s number in week 3 as they picked off Tom Brady four times. That game seems like it was played a hundred years ago however. The Pats have won seven in a row and I doubt this lightning will strike twice in one season.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Pit (11-4) @ Cle (4-11) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
Pittsburgh rebounded nicely from their lackluster week 15 loss to San Fran with a 27-0 shutout of the Rams. They already have a playoff spot locked but there’s still a chance at the #2 seed (if they win and Ravens lose) or even the #1 seed (if they win and Ravens & Patriots lose). More than likely they’ll take the #5 seed and face either Denver or Oakland in the first round of the playoffs. My take on the Browns? They stink.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

KC (6-9) @ Den (8-7) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
All Denver fans want for their new year presents is another Tebow miracle. A win here would vault the Cindarella Broncos to the AFC West crown and most importantly into the playoffs. Kyle Orton would love nothing more than to stick it to Denver and their fans after they called for his ousting. Kansas City has played some resilient games this season. These are two good defenses facing off but I’ll go with the miracle worker!
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

Bal (11-4) @ Cin (9-6) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
This is certainly one of the more intriguing games this week. The Ravens can clinch the division and the #2 seed (and #1 seed with a Patriots loss) with a win. Cincy can clinch a wildcard spot with a win. Both teams are playing for something which is rare in week 17. Baltimore wants that first round bye and their veteran team knows just how important that can be.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Sea (7-8) @ Ari (7-8) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
Marshawn Lynch ran for a touchdown last week! Why is that surprising you ask? It was his 12th rushing touchdown of the season but it was the first rushing touchdown allowed by San Fran all season as well. The Seahawks almost pulled out a season-saving upset against the 49ers but fell just short. Arizona had its modest four game winning streak snapped by Cincy last week. Both teams are out but I’ll go with the quality run game.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

TB (4-11) @ Atl (9-6) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
Atlanta looked like boys playing the men of New Orleans on Monday. Tampa Bay started the season 4-2 including wins over the Falcons and the Saints. Since then however, they’ve lost nine games straight and have looked horrible in the process. The Falcons already have a playoff spot locked up but would like to move from the #6 seed to the #5 seed which they’ll need some help with but is still possible.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

SD (7-8) @ Oak (8-7) Sun. 1/1 11:15 a.m.
The Bolts got themselves eliminated from playoff contention with the 38-10 shellacking they took in Detroit on Saturday. Now all they can do is play spoiler. Da Raiders snapped their three game losing streak against the Chiefs while also keeping their playoff chances alive. If Oakland wins and Denver loses, the Raiders are in. It will probably come down to whether Pro Bowler (???) Phillip Rivers has a good game or a bad one.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Dal (8-7) @ NYG (8-7) Sun. 1/1 3:20 p.m.
Talk about saving the best for last! This is the way every NFL season should end. This is essentially a playoff game for both these teams with the winner moving on to the postseason and the loser not. The health of Tony Romo’s right hand will be the biggest concern for the Cowboys going into this one. Big Blue’s front four (probably the best in the game) will be looking to relentlessly put Romo on his back. If the G-men receivers can hold onto the ball, Easy E should be able to lead them to the playoffs.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 16

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week there were some crazy upsets as I was 8-8 in my picks. Here are your week 16 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Hou (10-4) @ Ind (1-13) Thu. 12/22 3:20 p.m.
As nice as it must feel for Indy fans to get their first win of the season, it didn’t really prove anything. They’re still the worst team in the league. Houston needs a bounceback here as it vies for the #2 seed (I don’t see anyone taking the #1 seed from the Pats) and a first round bye. I don’t see the Texans stumbling AND the Colts pulling one out of you-know-where two weeks in a row!
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Mia (5-9) @ NE (11-3) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
The Pats find themselves abruptly in sole possession of the #1 seed in the AFC. They put up 41 points on a very good Denver defense last week as they ended Tim Tebow’s string of miracles. Reggie Bush had himself a day carrying the ball 25 times for a career high 203 yards last week against Buffalo. The ‘Phins have been playing much, much better the second half of the season but stopping New England looks just about impossible at this point.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Jac (4-10) @ Ten (7-7) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
Talk about embarrassing! Tennessee dropped one to the previously winless Colts with an altogether ugly performance Sunday. Chris Johnson couldn’t get himself going and the Tennessee offense suffered as a result. Jacksonville had themselves a tough game against Atlanta last Thursday but should be well rested for this one. The Titans are in a must-win situation here and back to back tragic losses would end their season.
Dans Pick: Titans

TB (4-10) @ Car (5-9) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
During their current eight game losing streak, the Bucs have scored 20 or more points once. The fewest points they’ve given up over that span is 23. Having both the offense and defense under-produce is not exactly the best formula for winning. The Panthers have stepped it up after a horrible start to their season. Three weeks ago Carolina dismantled Tampa Bay 38-19. Don’t expect anything much different.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

Cle (4-10) @ Bal (10-4) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
This season the Ravens have lost to: the Chargers, Seahawks, Jaguars and Titans. So we know they’re capable of losing to just about anybody in any game. Cleveland is 1-7 in their last eight games as their team has fallen to shambles. Three weeks ago these teams faced off and Ray Rice rushed for 204 yards. The Browns pass defense is among the best in the league (3rd) but their rush defense is almost the worst (31st).
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Ari (7-7) @ Cin (8-6) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
Currently riding a four game win streak, Arizona still finds themselves with a hope and a prayer for the playoffs. Cincy is tied with the Jets for the last wild card but doesn’t have the tiebreaker. If the Cards even want a shot at the playoffs, they absolutely can not lose this game. The Bengals have a much better chance for the post season but a loss here would lower their chances considerably. I like the rookie-to-rookie connection of Dalton-Green.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

Min (2-12) @ Was (5-9) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
There seems to be one game each week that absolutely no one cares about. This would be that game. Adrian Peterson is always a threat to have a big game but he’s just about all Minnesota has. Washington had a solid game playing spoiler in their win over the Giants last week. I’ll go with the Skins because they’re home and their previous game was better.
Dan’s Pick: Redskins

Den (8-6) @ Buf (5-9) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
Everyone will be watching to see if Tim Tebow can get back on the train he (and all of Broncos nation with him) had been riding before last week. Losing to the Patriots is nothing to be ashamed of but the stellar Denver defense giving up 41 is a bit concerning. Buffalo will try prevent their losing streak from reaching eight in a row but I don’t think it will. The Broncos have control of their own destiny and they want that AFC West crown.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

StL (2-12) @ Pit (10-4) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
Monday’s game was a real wake up call for Pittsburgh. Yes they lost to a good team but they didn’t just lose, they forgot to show up for the game. A win would’ve put them in line for the division crown and a first round bye in the playoffs. Those things are still possible if they win out and get some help. St. Louis stinks and shouldn’t pose a problem for the Steelers to right their ship and get back on track.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

Oak (7-7) @ KC (6-8) Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
These two teams took steps in the opposite direction last week. Kansas City used a relentless defense to shock the world and end Green Bay’s perfect season. As a result they still actually have a chance for the division crown. Oakland lost a dramatic one to Detroit on Sunday and squandered a chance to share the division lead. I’ll go with the better run game and the better quarterback.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

NYG (7-7) @ NYJ (8-6) Sun. Sat. 12/24 8:00 a.m.
If you’re going to watch one game this week, watch this one. Not only are both teams in the midst of making the postseason, this is for bragging rights in the Big Apple. The Giants came out and pretty much handed the game away to the Redskins last week. The Jets got trounced by the Eagles by giving an uncharacteristically bad defensive showing. If the Giants’ receivers can hold onto the ball, Easy Eli should take this one down.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

SD (7-7) @ Det (9-5) Sat. 12/24 11:05 a.m.
Late game heroics and an opportune defensive play won the game for the Lions over the Raiders last week. Phillip Rivers and company didn’t let the aura of the Baltimore defense get to them as San Diego won handily Sunday night. The Chargers are right in the middle of the most intriguing division race in the league. Detroit can lock up a playoff spot with a win here. Megatron+Suh back+at home=I like the Lions in this one.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

Phi (6-8) @ Dal (8-6) Sat. 12/24 11:15 a.m.
Philly dropped 45 points on arguably the best defense in the league last week. LeSean McCoy rushed for three touchdowns and the Eagles capitalized on four Jets turnovers in the win. Dallas went out last week and did what they were supposed to do, beat the Bucs. The stacked Cowboys receiving corps is finally healthy which makes Tony Romo that much more dangerous.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

SF (11-3) @ Sea (7-7) Sat. 12/24 11:15 a.m.
The Niners’ defense looked impenetrable on Monday in their statement win over the Steelers. Seattle has been hot lately and still has a slim chance at the playoffs. The recent strength of the Seahawks offense is their run game, San Francisco has given up exactly ZERO rushing touchdowns all season and are ranked #1 against the run, allowing just over 70 yards a game.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

Chi (7-7) @ GB (13-1) Sun. 12/25 3:20 p.m.
A loss by the 49ers or a win here will clinch the #1 seed for the Packers in the NFC. Chicago just isn’t the same team without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. Green Bay had their perfect season ended last week with a weak showing against the Chiefs but the Bears are losers of four straight and are not playing at a high level. Look for the Pack to get back to their winning ways.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Atl (9-5) @ NO (11-3) Mon. 12/26 3:30 p.m.
Another exciting matchup saved for Monday night here. New Orleans is battling for a first round bye in the playoffs while Atlanta needs just one more win to secure themselves a playoff spot. The Saints offense has looked unstoppable of late and Drew Brees is only a few long tosses away from owning the single season passing record. Atlanta will be well rested and coming off a solid win but beating the Saints is a bit tougher than beating the Jags.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 15

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend (now fiancee!), Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 13-3 in my picks. Here are your week 15 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Jac (4-9) @ Atl (8-5) Thu. 12/15 3:20 p.m.
The Jaguars hadn’t scored more than 20 points in any game this season until they dropped 41 on the Bucs last week. MJD scored four touchdowns and their defense forced seven turnovers. The Falcons were down 16 at halftime but scored 24 unanswered second half points in a good win over Carolina on Sunday. One explosive game due to an undisciplined opponent has not convinced me that Jacksonville is any good.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Dal (7-6) @ TB (4-9) Sat. 12/17 8:20 p.m.
As mentioned above, the Bucs turned the ball over seven times in an ugly loss to the Jags. Ironically it was their seventh loss in a row. Maybe they’ll turn it over eight times in this one! Dallas lost a tough one to the division rival Giants Sunday night and lost sole possession of first place in the process. Their defense will look to take advantage of the Tampa Bay offense that fumbled the ball six times last week.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

Cin (7-6) @ StL (2-11) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
It’s a wonder how the Rams ever won two games. They might not win any more as they finish the season off with the Bengals, Steelers and 49ers. Cincinnati is chasing the Jets for the last wildcard spot in the AFC. If they want any kind of shot to make the playoffs, Andy Dalton and company needs this game.
Dans Pick: Bengals

Was (4-9) @ NYG (7-6) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
The G-men are right in the thick of the playoff race as they are tied for the division lead with the Cowboys and only one game behind both wild card teams. Losing this game would put a serious damper on their season. Two weeks ago the Skins got beat up at home against these same Giants. Now they go on the road, I don’t like their chances.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Ten (7-6) @ Ind (0-13) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
Jake Locker almost led the Titans to an exciting comeback against the Saints last week but fell one play short. Chris Johnson had one of his “down” games in what has been the epitome of an “up & down” season. The Colts rank 30th in rush defense though so Johnson could eclipse the 1,000 yard mark in this game. If Indy wants Andrew Luck in the draft next year, he’s theirs for the taking.
Dan’s Pick: Titans

Sea (6-7) @ Chi (7-6) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
The Bears sorely miss Jay Cutler. Chicago has lost three straight since Cutler went down and are watching their playoff chances dwindle. Seattle has won two games in a row by 17 points find themselves two games behind the NFC wild card leaders. One team is hot and the other is cold but I’ll take a veteran defense over an inexperienced offense any day of the week (including Sunday!).
Dan’s Pick: Bears

GB (13-0) @ KC (5-8) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
Romeo Crennel has officially benched Tyler Palko from the starting quarterback job. If his finger is up for it Kyle Orton will start for the Chiefs. Green Bay picked off Orton three times in week 4 when he was the starter for Denver. The Packers want to lock up the #1 seed in the NFC and a win here would do that. Despite losing Greg Jennings for the rest of the regular season, I don’t see the Packer offense slowing too much.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Car (4-9) @ Hou (10-3) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
Despite the onslaught of injuries over the past few weeks, the Texans keep winning. With the division locked up, Houston looks to use their stifling defense to contain the high powered Carolina offense and maintain the #1 seed in the AFC. The Panthers blew a big halftime lead last week against Atlanta. Their defense has been their downfall all season.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Mia (4-9) @ Buf (5-8) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
It’s hard to imagine that the Bills were 5-2 at one point this season. Six losses in a row will do that to an NFL team. J.P. Losman might be taking snaps for the ‘Phins as Matt Moore suffered a head injury last week. Reggie Bush has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the last two games and seems to be relishing the “feature back” role he’s earned in Miami.
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins

NO (10-3) @ Min (2-11) Sun. 12/18 8:00 a.m.
A win for the Saints would clinch the division for them and with the 49ers playing the Steelers, maybe a chance to claim the #2 seed in the NFC. Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder should both be good to go for the game Sunday but their mediocre defense will have more than their hands full with the high flying New Orleans offense.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Det (8-5) @ Oak (7-6) Sun. 12/18 11:05 a.m.
Both of these teams are in desperate need of a turn around. Unlike the Lions however, the Raiders need some help to make it to the playoffs. Oakland finds themselves one game behind both the division lead and the last wild card in the conference. Detroit will have the services of All Pro DT Ndamukong Suh back after his two game suspension, which should help bolster their defense that gave up 59 points over the two games without him.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

Cle (4-9) @ Ari (6-7) Sun. 12/18 11:15 a.m.
The Cardinals find themselves the winners of three in a row including wins over Dallas and San Fransisco. Cleveland has only scored more than 20 points in one game all season. Their running back carousel and ineffective quarterbacking has led to yet another sub-par season. There are only two games this week with no real playoff implications riding on them, this is one.
Dan’s Pick: Cardinals

NYJ (8-5) @ Phi (5-8) Sun. 12/18 11:15 a.m.
Gang Green has control of their own destiny as they are in sole possession of the last wild cared. Philly has about a 0.001% chance to still make it to the postseason but they need this (and every) win here. There are an awful lot of elite type players running around the field in this game and when the talent is there its usually fun to watch.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

NE (10-3) @ Den (8-5) Sun. 12/18 11:15 a.m.
During the reign of Tim Tebow in Denver I’ve picked the Broncos exactly one time to win. Of course during that time they’ve gone 7-1. The thing is, despite my better judgement, I’m going to pick against him again here! The New England defense is shaky at best but their offense is elite. Denver relies on staying in games by limiting opponents’ outputs so Tebow can come back in the fourth quarter. They’ll have their hands full here.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Bal (10-3) @ SD (6-7) Sun. 12/18 3:20 p.m.
The Ravens are battling for the #1 seed in the conference while the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. San Diego has scored 75 points in their last two games as their offense finally (maybe a bit too late) seems to be clicking. Baltimore still has an elite defense and should have their heart and soul leader, Ray Lewis, back for this game. The Chargers have been too unpredictable all season to pick for an upset win in this one.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Pit (10-3) @ SF (10-3) Mon. 12/19 3:30 p.m.
Finally another good MNF matchup. San Fran currently owns the tiebreaker over New Orleans for the #2 seed in the NFC. Pittsburgh is tied for the division lead with the Ravens but two of their three losses this season came to Baltimore. This game has huge implications for both teams. They both still have a legitimate chance for a first round bye. Elite D v. Elite D. I’ll go with the experienced bunch.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 14

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 10-6 in my picks. Here are your week 14 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Cle (4-8) @ Pit (9-3) Thu. 12/8 3:20 p.m.
Usually when the #30 ranked offense plays the #1 ranked defense it doesn’t fair too well for the prior. Pittsburgh is scorching hot right now having won seven of their last eight. Cleveland has lost its last two to the other division members (Bal & Cin). Peyton Hillis is banged up but will probably play and it seems Colt McCoy’s sprained knee won’t cause him to miss any time. This should be in the bag for Pittsburgh.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

TB (4-8) @ Jac (3-9) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
Not too much exciting happening in this one. The Jags rely on a good defense to stay in games because they have the worst yardage and second worst scoring offense in the league. The Bucs are a major disappointment this year and this might be the game for them to start to save a little face.
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers

Hou (9-3) @ Cin (7-5) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
The second half of the Bengals schedule includes Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore twice and these Texans. Houston is one of four AFC teams with a 9-3 record, they look locked for the playoffs and want a #1 or 2 seed to secure a bye. The injury bug has bitten them hard however and that road will be a tough one to navigate. I give the Texans a big nod if Andre Johnson plays (he’s currently questionable).
Dans Pick: Texans

Min (2-10) @ Det (7-5) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
Currently the Lions find themselves out of the playoff picture and a righting of the ship is an order in Detroit. Minnesota has played terribly just about all season and their best player is still banged up. If Adrian Peterson does play he could wreak havoc against the Lions incomplete D-line. I know I say this a lot but Detroit can’t afford to lose any games to bad teams at this juncture.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

NE (9-3) @ Was (4-8) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
Of the four 9-3 teams in the AFC, the Pats seem to have the best shot to run the table given the strength (or lack thereof) of their remaining schedule. It started last week with Indy and continues right along here with the Skins who have lost seven of their last eight (including an impressive six game streak during which they scored all of 77 points). Tom Brady is one of three quarterbacks threatening Dan Marino’s single season passing record.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

KC (5-7) @ NYJ (7-5) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
35. That’s how many points the Chiefs have scored over their last five games combined! Tyler Palko actually didn’t throw three picks last game and KC managed, somehow, to win a game. The Jets are battling four other teams for the last wildcard spot. They have an elite defense that could cause problems all day for the lackluster Chief offense.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

Atl (7-5) @ Car (4-8) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
Sitting at 7-5 actually isn’t too bad for the Falcons. Tied with them are the injury ridden Bears and the undisciplined Lions and they’re all fighting for the two wildcard spots. Atlanta could’ve really helped their cause last week but their offense decided to take a game off and they lost to the banged up Texans. Carolina can put up points in bunches but that defense is the clear Achilles’ heel.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Phi (4-8) @ Mia (4-8) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Getting Michael Vick back for the last four games might make for some better play out of Philly but their playoff chances are about as dead as can be. Same goes for Miami minus the Vick thing! The Phins have won four of their last five and actually seem to be clicking as a team. Too bad they waited till halfway through the season to start playing well. The Eagles would like something positive to come out of this season (I think) and that would include a win here.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

NO (9-3) @ Ten (7-5) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
A solid season from Matt Hasselbeck and a recent resurgence by Chris Johnson has quietly kept Tennessee in the thick of the playoff hunt. The Saints are in hot pursuit of the 49ers for the #2 seed in the NFC. These are two completely different offensive schemes matching up here. If CJ can get the run game going and the Titans can control the clock this could be a better game than some would expect.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Ind (0-12) @ Bal (9-3) Sun. 12/11 8:00 a.m.
I kind of feel bad picking against the Colts every week, but they’re just pathetic. Baltimore has a decent shot at homefield advantage throughout the playoffs but they won’t if they lose this one. Ray Rice could have a field day running against the 30th ranked rush D of Indy.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Chi (7-5) @ Den (7-5) Sun. 12/11 11:05 a.m.
Will the Tebow train keep on rollin’? The Broncos are currently tied for first place in their division and with the Raiders playing the Packers this weekend they could be in line for sole possession of first. Chicago has lost it’s last two games and is seriously feeling their key injuries (Forte, Cutler). The Bears need to get back on track if they want to stay in the playoff picture.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

SF (10-2) @ Ari (5-7) Sun. 12/11 11:05 a.m.
A few weeks ago this seemed like it would be a cake walk for the Niners. Arizona has won it’s last two games however and can sometimes churn out decent games. San Fran is looking to stay ahead of the Saints for the #2 seed in the NFC and a first round bye. The 49ers don’t rely on their offense too often, but with their defense playing at an elite level they don’t need to.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

Buf (5-7) @ SD (5-7) Sun. 12/11 11:15 a.m.
The Chargers finally snapped their six game losing streak last week with an absolute shellacking of the Jags. Phillip Rivers looked to be in 2010 form throwing for three touchdowns and no picks. The Bills have lost five in a row and are all but dead in the playoff race. San Diego still has a prayer for the playoffs because of the division they’re in.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Oak (7-5) @ GB (12-0) Sun. 12/11 11:15 a.m.
Da Raidaaas are currently tied for first in the AFC West. Unfortunately for them they play the Packers who haven’t lost a game in almost a full calender year! Aaron Rodgers had his lowest rated game of the season last week and still threw for 4 touchdowns and 369 yards. I would pick the Packers over anybody right now, Oakland included.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

NYG (6-6) @ Dal (7-5) Sun. 12/11 3:20 p.m.
If this game were being played at Metlife Stadium I’d take the Giants without too much hesitation. It is not however so this pick becomes a bit more complicated. The G-men defense has given up 49 and 38 points the last two weeks respectively. The Eli to Cruz/Nicks connection is a major force to be reckoned with. Dallas had a straight up bad game last week in a loss to Arizona but they’ll have Miles Austin back after missing four games with a hammy issue.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

StL (2-10) @ Sea (5-7) Mon. 12/12 3:30 p.m.
Apparently the schedule-makers decided nobody cared about this Monday. But seriously, in all my infinite wisdom I thought the Rams were actually going to be good this year. If 3-13 is good then I was spot on! The Seahawks have had some real good games this year and have been an all around better team than has St. Louis.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 13

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 12-4 in my picks. Here are your week 13 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Phi (4-7) @ Sea (4-7) Thu. 12/1 3:20 p.m.
Before the season this game was viewed as an easy win for Philly on their way to a high playoff seed. Now they find they have the same record as the Seahawks and making the playoffs is just about impossible. Seattle has won two of their last three while Philadelphia has lost three of their last four. Vick and Maclin are each already ruled out for this game and Philly might be without McCoy and Asomugha as well. Even with all those injuries, Seattle still has less talent.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

Oak (7-4) @ Mia (3-8) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Dallas put an end to Miami’s nice three game win streak last week. Raider nation on the other hand had an impressive win against the red hot, albeit banged up Bears. Carson Palmer is quickly getting back to his old form almost seemlessly and Michael Bush is filling in for Run DMC better than anyone could’ve expected. The Raiders haven’t lost in four weeks and with Green Bay looming they could really use this win to just about lock up the division.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

Ten (6-5) @ Buf (5-6) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Damn November. The Bills managed an 0-4 record this past month. Chris Johnson has rushed for 333 yards the past three weeks (including a 13 yard performance against ATL two weeks ago!), and is finally showing some positive signs that he is still an elite runner. Buffalo actually played a nice game last week against the Jets, Stevie Johnson’s TD dance aside. Tennessee has a shot at the playoffs but every game from here on out is essentially a must win.
Dans Pick: Titans

KC (4-7) @ Chi (7-4) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Tyler Palko and Caleb Hanie aren’t exactly A-list names. They are, however, the starting quarterbacks in this matchup. Chicago can’t afford to lose any easy games in the tight NFC playoff race. The Chiefs’ playoff chances are practically nil but on any given day anyone can win.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

Den (6-5) @ Min (2-9) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
The Tim Tebow led Broncos (along with the Bengals) are easily the Cinderella team of the season. If the season ended today they’d miss the playoffs by one game and they’re hungry to change that. Minnesota has been devastated by questions at quarterback and injury. Without AP they’re a pretty mediocre team. Tebow usually doesn’t do anything until the final quarter so if it’s close late it could be a fun one to watch.
Dan’s Pick: Broncos

NYJ (6-5) @ Was (4-7) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Washington and Buffalo have proved that a hot start means nothing. The Skins finally won a game last week against Seattle after losing six straight. Just like the Broncos above, the Jets are currently one game out of a playoff spot. After making the AFC Championship game each of the last two seasons, Gang Green wants in the playoffs, and Washington might be hard pressed to stop their mission.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

Cin (7-4) @ Pit (8-3) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
If Dandy Andy Dalton can lead Cincinnati to the playoffs, he just might win Offensive ROY. As of right now, they’re in but, and this is a biggy, they have the Steelers here and the Ravens in week 17. Pittsburgh sports an 8-3 record, beat these Bengals three weeks ago, and have only lost once since week four.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

Atl (7-4) @ Hou (8-3) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
Man oh man do I wish Matt Schaub wasn’t hurt. This game would’ve been a great clash between two great offenses. Without Schaub however, the Texans have a very one dimensional offense. Houston is #3 in the league as far as rushing ypg but, Atlanta boasts the #2 rush defense. The quarterback is the single most important position in all of sports, and Matt Ryan is a bit of a safer bet than T.J. Yates.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Car (3-8) @ TB (4-7) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
At one point this season, the Bucs had a 4-2 record and were looking like NFC contenders. This is no longer the case. Five game losing streaks have a tendency of putting a damper on seasons in the NFL. Carolina beat Indy last week and look to form any kind of a winning streak. Last time they won two in a row was the end of the ‘09 season! Tampa looks to right their ship and try to salvage a little respect.
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers

Ind (0-11) @ NE (8-3) Sun. 12/4 8:00 a.m.
The best rivalry over the past decade should be a laugher here. The Patriots have scored 37, 34 and 38 points over that last three games. Tom Brady is a surgeon and the Indy defense is absolutely atrocious. This would be the upset of the year if the Colts could pull this one out.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Bal (8-3) @ Cle (4-7) Sun. 12/4 11:05 a.m.
There are four teams in the AFC with 8-3 records and they all want home field advantage in the playoffs. The Ravens have some weird losses this year and look to avoid one of those flukes here against the Browns. Both teams have solid defenses but only one has a good offense. Cleveland is #1 against the pass but #29 against the run. Look for Ray Rice to pound the ball all day.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Dal (7-4) @ Ari (4-7) Sun. 12/4 11:15 a.m.
Under the guidance of John Skelton, the Cardinals have won three of their last four games. Kevin Kolb might be back for this game. Either way, who cares? America’s Team has won five in a row and are as hot as anyone in football. Tony Romo is playing at an elite level right now and Arizona probably won’t be the team to slow him and the ‘Boys down.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

GB (11-0) @ NYG (6-5) Sun. 12/4 11:15 a.m.
“Backs against the wall” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot of recently regarding the Giants. Currently one game behind in the playoff hunt, New York doesn’t have much room for error. Green Bay hasn’t lost a game since 2010. Despite their lack of a traditional (or any) run game, the Packers lead the NFL in scoring. They’re just too hot to pick against.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

StL (2-9) @ SF (9-2) Sun. 12/4 11:15 a.m.
Despite losing on Thanksgiving, the 49ers can still clinch the NFC West with a win here and ¼ of the season still left to play. San Fran’s defense is really good and their offense is pretty good. St. Louis does nothing well, they stink.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

Det (7-4) @ NO (8-3) Sun. 12/4 3:20 p.m.
The Saints are one game ahead of Atlanta for the division and one game behind San Francisco for the #2 seed in the NFC. They just put up 49 points against a very talented Giants defense on Monday and their elite offense is firing on all cylinders. Detroit will be without the services of their All Pro DT Ndamukong Suh in this one because of his two game suspension. The Lions are just 2-4 since their week 6 loss to the 49ers.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

SD (4-7) @ Jac (3-8) Mon. 12/5 3:30 p.m.
Philip Rivers is well on his way to his fourth consecutive 4000 yard season. The catch here is that he’s already thrown 17 interceptions this season. Fortunately for the Chargers, you only need to score about 5 points all game to beat the Jaguars. With their offense, its amazing that the Jags have actually won three games!
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 12

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 11-3 in my picks. Here are your week 12 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

GB (10-0) @ Det (7-3) Thu. 11/24 7:30 a.m.
Thanksgiving will be started off properly with this, the first of many fun games to watch this week. Aaron Rodgers leads the undefeated Packers into the Lions den against a Detroit team that put up 49 points last week, thanks in large part to Matthew Stafford’s five touchdown passes. Despite leading the NFL in TD receptions, Calvin Johnson didn’t catch a single one last week. Two elite offenses take on two under-performing defenses here. Expect a LOT of points.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Mia (3-7) @ Dal (6-4) Thu. 11/24 11:15 a.m.
Both the ‘Boys and the ‘Fins come into this one riding three game winning streaks. The difference being, Dallas has worked into first place in their division and Miami is still in last place in their division. Tony Romo looks to keep his his good season going and to maintain the Cowboys’ lead in division.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

SF (9-1) @ Bal (7-3) Thu. 11/24 3:20 p.m.
San Fran can shut down the run but not the pass, Baltimore is a little more even against both. These are two of the most complete, well rounded teams in the league, and this game should prove as much. The Ravens have more potential for explosiveness and are in a tight race for the division crown, whereas the Niners are a little more ‘luke warm’ offensively and have no competition for the NFC West crown.
Dans Pick: Ravens

Min (2-8) @ Atl (6-4) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
Adrian Peterson has a high ankle sprain. Normally with this matchup I’d take Atlanta seven days a week. Now with AP hurt, I’ll take Atlanta seven days a week and twice on Sunday. The entire Minnesota offense is(was) based around Peterson. The Falcons can’t afford to lose easy games in the tight NFC playoff race.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Cle (4-6) @ Cin (6-4) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
The past two weeks have been part of a growing process for the Bengals. They have the unfortunate circumstance of being in the same division as Pittsburgh and Baltimore. That makes this game all that more important. Just like the Falcons above, the Bengals can’t afford to lose easy games. The Browns have only let up more than 250 passing yards once all season but their offense is bad enough to “make up” for that fact!
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

Buf (5-5) @ NYJ (5-5) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
Three weeks ago the Bills got trounced by the Jets. Two weeks ago I called that game a sign of things to come for Buffalo. They haven’t won a game since. Last Thursday, at home, the Jets got completely upset thanks to the legs of Tim Tebow and have slipped out of playoff contention for now. Trust me, they want back in.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

TB (4-6) @ Ten (5-5) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
If the season ended today the Bucs would be a full three games out of the final wildcard spot. The Titans would only be one game out. Therefore, Tennessee has a lot more riding on this and all remaining games. Tampa Bay showed some resilience Sunday against the Packers but came up just short. Matt Hasselbeck is a little banged up but should be ready to go by gametime.
Dan’s Pick: Titans

Ari (3-7) @ StL (2-8) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
This game reminds me a lot of last week’s game between St. Louis and Seattle – it means nothing. Neither has a good shot at getting Andrew Luck in the draft (thank you Colts), and neither has a prayer of making the playoffs. Coin flip here, I’ll go with the home team.
Dan’s Pick: Rams

Hou (7-3) @ Jac (3-7) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
Matt Schaub is probably out for the season which means Matt Leinart is the starting quarterback for the Texans. Fortunately for them, their running game is exceptional and they’re playing the Jags! Jacksonville does boast the #3 overall defense but Houston trumps that with the #1 overall defense in the league.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Car (2-8) @ Ind (0-10) Sun. 11/27 8:00 a.m.
Cam Newton is an all around weapon. His combination of arm strength and running ability is becoming more cohesive with each game he plays. Curtis Painter has led the Colts to 27 whole points in their last four games combined. They’re just terrible and haven’t shown any signs of getting better any time soon.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

Was (3-7) @ Sea (4-6) Sun. 11/27 11:05 a.m.
Seattle has a good chance here to extend their season long winning streak to three games. Last week they beat up on the Rams and the week before they surprised the Ravens. The Redskins are currently riding a six game losing streak. Such a promising start to the season down the toilet. The 12th man of Seattle should help the Seahawks take this one down.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

Chi (7-3) @ Oak (6-4) Sun. 11/27 11:05 a.m.
Aside from the Packers and the 49ers, you’d be hard pressed to find a hotter team than the Bears. That is, until they lost Jay Cutler for the foreseeable future with a broken right hand. Caleb Hanie will step in as the starter and try to keep their hot streak going. This game means a lot for both teams though. The Raiders are in first place in the AFC West, clinging to a one game lead over the Broncos. Look for the veteran Bears defense to step up big.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

NE (7-3) @ Phi (4-6) Sun. 11/27 11:15 a.m.
Philly had a really nice win last week against the Giants. That pretty much saved their season. Unfortunately for them though, they have to face the red hot Patriots this week. Tom Brady has an easiness about him that makes quarterbacking in the NFL seem easy. If the season ended today the Pats would get homefield advantage through the playoffs. They want to cement that.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Den (5-5) @ SD (4-6) Sun. 11/27 11:15 a.m.
Tim Tebow is now 4-1 as a starter this season. The guy can’t pass in the NFL but he’s shown a knack for winning! The Chargers find themselves two games behind the Raiders for the division lead so that’s still a possibility but probably not if they lose this one. Phillip Rivers used to be elite, if he can show any signs of his former self in this one then the Bolts have a good chance of winning.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Pit (7-3) @ KC (4-6) Sun. 11/27 3:20 p.m.
Big Ben has a broken thumb on his throwing hand. If I were a Steeler fan I would’ve been concerned for this upcoming game until watching the Monday night game between these Chiefs and the Pats. Tyler Palko is starting under center again for KC which is a scary thought going against this Pittsburgh defense. He threw no touchdowns and got picked off three times against New England and their defense is atrocious!
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

NYG (6-4) @ NO (7-3) Mon. 11/28 3:30 p.m.
This week’s games start off with a bang and end with a bang. The Giants lost a heart breaker last week to the Eagles to take them out of sole possession of first place in the NFC East. The Saints have won two division games in a row coming into this one and find themselves with a one game lead in the NFC South. If this game were in New Jersey I’d pick the G-men, but it’s not.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Dan’s NFL Predictions — Week 11

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 8-8 in my picks. Embarrassing I know! Here are you week 11 matchups and my pick for each game.

NYJ (5-4) @ Den (4-5) Thu. 11/17 3:20 p.m.
How an NFL team attempts eight passes all game and wins is a mystery. How they only complete two of those eight passes and still win is up there with ‘who shot Kennedy’! Denver is only one game back in their tight division hunt. The Jets got pummeled by New England Sunday and looked pretty bad all game. The Broncos lost both of their top two running backs last week. Gang Green has a chance to bounce back in a big way.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

Ten (5-4) @ Atl (5-4) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
Despite a good game (130 rushing yards) from Chris Johnson, the Titans still have the fewest rushing yards in the league. The Falcons lost a heart-breaker thanks to questionable play calling by John Fox in OT against the division rival Saints on Sunday. These are about as different as teams can get and still have the same record. Atlanta has explosiveness and playmakers all over the field while Tennessee has none!
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Cin (6-3) @ Bal (6-3) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
All three of Baltimore’s losses have come to mediocre-at-best teams and its baffling. Joe Flacco has the ability to look like Joe Montana at times but also shows flashes of JaMarcus Russell. The Bengals hung tough in a close loss to the strong Steelers last week, despite their youth. Andy Dalton is proving himself to be a mature game manager. I want to pick Cincy because I want to root for them but the Ravens just have too much talent on both sides of the ball.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Jac (3-6) @ Cle (3-6) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
This exciting matchup (psych!) of 3-6 teams features two of the four worst scoring offenses in the league. The Browns let Josh Cribbs line up in the backfield on Sunday, that’s how desperate their running game is. MJD is the lone bright spot for the dismall Jags. I guess I’ll go with the home team.
Dan’s Pick: Browns

Car (2-7) @ Det (6-3) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
Two #1 overall picks face off at quarterback in this one. And each has a top 5 wide receiver in their arsenal of weapons. There could be a lot of high flying offense here as both defenses have looked shaky of late. Cam Newton has shown a ton of talent on the field but hasn’t quite figured out how to win yet. The Lions need a bounce back after a bad loss to the division rival Bears.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

TB (4-5) @ GB (9-0) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
The Bucs have lost 4 of their last 5 contests, and with each loss their playoff hopes become slimmer. Josh Freeman has thrown 13 interceptions in nine games this season after only six all last season. The Packers D had their best game of the season on Monday against the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers is putting up video game numbers and this is a battered Bucs defense.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Buf (5-4) @ Mia (2-7) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
Matt Moore and the Phins have won two games in a row. Ryan Fitz and the Bills have lost two straight. Buffalo’s early season heroics are in danger of going for naught unless they can right the ship. This is just about a “must win” game for the Bills as they face the tough Jets again next week. Miami is playing well, but games aren’t quite as desperate for them as for the Bills.
Dan’s Pick: Bills

Oak (5-4) @ Min (2-7) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
Carson Palmer had his best game of the season and Michael Bush filled in more than adequately for Run DMC in a good win for the Raiders over the Chargers last Thursday. The Vikings couldn’t get Adrian Peterson going against the Packers and got smoked 45-7. Oakland has a one game lead in their division and they want to keep that lead.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

Dal (5-4) @ Was (3-6) Sun. 11/20 8:00 a.m.
Tony Romo had three touchdown passes in the Cowboys route of the Bills last week. He also only had three incompletions. That’s an elite game. The Boys might get Felix Jones back from injury. Washington hasn’t won a game since early October and have looked bad along the way. Look for more elite numbers from the Dallas offense.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

Sea (3-6) @ StL (2-7) Sun. 11/20 11:05 a.m.
Two of the Seahawks wins this year are against the Giants and the Ravens (how?!). That being said, Seattle still sports a 3-6 record, which is good for second place in the division, but overall pretty bad. In nine games so far, the Rams have scored more than 13 points exactly twice (and once was 16). This game literally means nothing.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

Ari (3-6) @ SF (8-1) Sun. 11/20 11:05 a.m.
San Fran comes into this game seeking their eighth win in a row. Last week they made a statement and beat the Giants in a clash of NFC powerhouses. Larry Fitzgerald proved why he was an elite receiver last week, having a monster game against the very talented Eagles. The Niners should be able to extend their streak in this one.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

SD (4-5) @ Chi (6-3) Sun. 11/20 11:15 a.m.
Last week the Bears manhandled the Lions in an NFC North showdown. They bested Detroit in every aspect of the game. The Bolts fell out of first place to the Raiders last Thursday and are reeling. This has the makings of a really fun game to watch and Phillip Rivers has the ability to win games with his arm alone. Chicago is on a roll though.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

Phi (3-6) @ NYG (6-3) Sun. 11/20 3:20 p.m.
The Eagles come into this game having just lost to the Cardinals (ha!) and getting the news that Mike Vick has broken ribs. Eli Manning tried his damndest for a comeback but came up just short against the 49ers. Philly is practically out of the playoff picture and the G-men are looking to keep control of the NFC East.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

KC (4-5) @ NE (6-3) Mon. 11/21 3:30 p.m.
Tim Tebow completed two (yes, 2) passes all game and still beat the Chiefs last week. Oh yeah, and Matt Cassel broke his throwing hand, leaving Tyler Palko with the responsibility of scoring points and beating Tom Brady and the Pats. Yeah…good luck with that Tyler.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots
Dan’s NFL predictions — Week 10

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 8-6 in my picks. Here are your week 10 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Oak (4-4) @ SD (4-4) Thu. 11/10 3:20 p.m.
Thursday Night Football kicks off with this AFC West showdown. Despite Carson Palmer’s first solid game in silver and black, the Raiders lost a bad game to the Broncos on Sunday. The Bolts made a valiant comeback effort but couldn’t overcome Rivers’ two pick sixes and the Packer offense. First place hangs in the balance.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Ari (2-6) @ Phi (3-5) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
Looking at the Eagles schedule, this would qualify as the third “easy” game they’ve had so far. They won their other two. Patrick Peterson is a natural when it comes to returning punts, winning the Cards game on Sunday with a 99 yard return in OT. Kevin Kolb will likely miss his first return to Philly since being dealt in the off-season. Philly should not have too much trouble against this “easy” team.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

Ten (4-4) @ Car (2-6) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
Could it be? Chris Johnson might actually remember he plays football for a living! CJ2K totalled more than 100 yards from scrimmage in the Titans loss to Cincy Sunday. That makes twice this season. Cam Newton has looked really good in his rookie campaign and it goes without argument that his potential ceiling is REALLY high.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

Was (3-5) @ Mia (1-7) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
There are roughly 11 people that care about this game. Matt Moore looked more than comfortable Sunday leading the ‘Phins to their first victory on the season. The Skins have scored exactly 11 points combined in their last two games. John Beck and Rex Grossman are the options at quarterback for Washington, blegh.
Dan’s Pick: Dolphins

Jac (2-6) @ Ind (0-9) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
If 11 people care about the previous game, probably 4 care about this one! How the Jags ever beat the Ravens no one will ever know. They score fewer points than anyone in football, and somehow, the Colts are actually a worse team! I’m going to pick the Colts this one and only time this season (I really don’t know why!).
Dan’s Pick: Colts

Den (3-5) @ KC (4-4) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
Another huge AFC West battle here. The Broncos, against all odds and oddsmakers, are actually in the thick of things as far as the division is concerned. KC handed the Dolphins their first win last week and couldn’t even muster a touchdown, scoring 3 points all game. Tim Tebow had an impressive outing, confusing the Raiders D all game Sunday. Could be fun but I see the Chiefs bouncing back from a bad loss.
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs

Pit (6-3) @ Cin (6-2) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
The Cincinnati Bengals are 6-2. Who would’ve believed it?! This game means so much, I can’t even describe it properly. Dandy Andy Dalton hasn’t impressed with his numbers but his game management and poise are certainly enviable. If the Steelers can get their run game going, they should be able to use their experience to pull this one out.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

Buf (5-3) @ Dal (4-4) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
Yes, Miles Austin is out for the foreseeable future but, Dallas’ passing game still has plenty of weapons. On Sunday the Bills got shredded by the division rival Jets and I’m calling it now, that’s a sign of things to come. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are among the most talented at their positions and Romo doesn’t usually have too much trouble delivering them the ball.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

NO (6-3) @ Atl (5-3) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
This is a HUGE game in the ATL. Drew Brees is probably going to throw for 700(!) yards but he’s been a little ‘gun-slingerish’ at times this season. Matty Ice is usually a lock at home which means this one could go either way. My money’s on Brees having a good day.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

StL (1-7) @ Cle (3-5) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
One of the three 8 a.m. games that really excites no one. It’s like the schedule-makers got together and picked this week to play the worst six teams against each other! But seriously. Sam Bradford is expected back for this game which is good news (I guess) for the Rams. Both teams are seriously banged up though. S-Jax seems like a good bet considering he’s easily the scariest guy on the field.
Dan’s Pick: Rams

Hou (6-3) @ TB (4-4) Sun. 11/13 8:00 a.m.
I was getting on the Texans when Andre Johnson would miss games. This won’t happen again now that they’re ground game is running (pun absolutely intended) so well! Foster and Tate combined for more than 260 rushing yards last week. The Buccos are just too hit or miss to ever pick. I’ll take that nasty run game all day.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Bal (6-2) @ Sea (2-6) Sun. 11/13 11:05 a.m.
The only advantage that Seattle has here is the fact that they’re home. The 12th man, as the crowd is called, has a history of being loud and disruptive. Unfortunately it doesn’t become too much of a factor when the talent levels are so skewed. Baltimore will win this game and stay at least tied for first in they’re division.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Det (6-2) @ Chi (5-3) Sun. 11/13 11:15 a.m.
Not many people would choose the word ‘gritty’ to describe Jay Cutler. He tried to change that with his hard fought fourth quarter win over the Eagles Monday. Detroit is coming off their bye and recently signed their old running back Kevin Smith to fill in at running back where every other Lion is injured. Megatron has been quiet of late, look for him to explode and be the beast that he his.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

NYG (6-2) @ SF (7-1) Sun. 11/13 11:15 a.m.
As I stated last week, the G-men have a scary schedule from here on out. Of course Easy E proved me wrong and beat the Patriots in the first of their many remaining tough games. San Fran sports a 7-1 record (good for second best in the league) and haven’t lost since week 2. Every game from here on out for the Giants is critical since they have such tough opponents.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

NE (5-3) @ NYJ (5-3) Sun. 11/13 3:20 p.m.
The Pats have lost two straight to quality teams (Pit, NYG), here they face a third. The Jets lit up Buffalo on Sunday with a strong showing on both sides of the ball. One is hot, the other is desperate. I’m siding with the experience and talent at qb.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Min (2-6) @ GB (8-0) Mon. 11/14 3:30 p.m.
Minnesota had a nice win against the Panthers before the bye, but the week prior they lost to these same Packers 33-27. Green Bay continued their quest for perfection against the Chargers Sunday winning in an offensive showdown. Aaron Rodgers is simply the best player in football.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Dan’s NFL predictions — Week 9

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 9-4 in my picks. Here are your week 9 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Mia (0-7) @ KC (4-3) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
Super clutch play by Eli Manning and the G-men is the only reason the ‘Phins missed out on their first win of the year. The Chiefs have made a resurgence, winning four games in a row and beating the division rival Chargers in overtime on Sunday. Miami should still be winless and right in the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes after this game.
Dan’s Pick: Chiefs

Sea (2-5) @ Dal (3-4) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
Dallas looked awful in their blowout loss to division rival Philly on Sunday. The ‘Boys couldn’t get their talented offense rolling in easily their worst showing of the year. Seattle got shellacked again by the Bengals and also didn’t look impressive, though no one is expecting much from them. Tony Romo & Co. should have an easier time against the Hawks than they did against the Eagles stacked secondary.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

NYJ (4-3) @ Buf (5-2) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
At the beginning of the season this was looked upon as an easy win for the New York football Jets. That is certainly not the case anymore. Buffalo continued their Cindarella season last week, pitching a shutout against the hapless Redskins. Call me crazy, but I still believe that the Jets D is elite, and can handle the Bills better than expected offense.
Dan’s Pick: Jets

Cle (3-4) @ Hou (5-3) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
Houston is off to the best start in franchise history. With the Cleveland running game completely up in the air and Andre Johnson day-to-day, I either like the Texans (if Johnson sits) or love them (if he plays) in this game.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Atl (4-3) @ Ind (0-8) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
The Falcons are looking to come out of their bye week with a good start. No better team to do it against than Indy! Let’s see, is Peyton Manning back? Nope.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

SF (6-1) @ Was (3-4) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
The Redskins will have some key defensive players back this week, but that’s not going to help their offense which got shutout Sunday against the Bills. San Fran looks to maintain their elite record and shouldn’t have too much issue doing so.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

TB (4-3) @ NO (5-3) Sun. 11/6 7:00 a.m.
Drew Brees had an ugly game against the Rams last week throwing two picks to only one touchdown. The Saints stumble just put the NFC South division crown up for grabs. The Bucs are coming off their bye with a healthy LeGarrette Blount leading the way. This game has a lot of implications riding on it.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Cin (5-2) @ Ten (4-3) Sun. 11/6 10:05 a.m.
Yes, the Titans won last week (and somehow still are above .500) but, it was against the NCAA-level Colts and there’s now a running back controversy. The Bengals, led by rookies Andy Dalton and AJ Green, is quietly only half a game out of first place in the tough AFC North. This has the #2 rush defense (Cincy) up against the #32 rush offense (Tennessee), which doesn’t look good for the latter.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

Den (2-5) @ Oak (4-3) Sun. 11/6 10:05 a.m.
After an illustrious college career at Florida, the critics said Tim Tebow wasn’t an NFL-caliber quarterback. Turns out they might be right. With two weeks to study and practice his new offense, Carson Palmer should have a little more success this week than his first showing. The Raiders also signed TJ Houshmandzadeh which should give Palmer an extra layer of comfort and familiarity.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

NYG (5-2) @ NE (5-2) Sun. 11/6 10:15 a.m.
The G-men are off to a hot start and they need it. Their schedule from here on out (NE, SF, Phi 2x, Dal 2x, GB, NO, NYJ, Was) is daunting to say the least. The Tom Brady led Patriots rarely lose two games in a row, and after a hard fought loss to Pittsburgh, I don’t see them falling to the Giants.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

GB (7-0) @ SD (4-3) Sun. 11/6 10:15 a.m.
The Bolts find themselves in a threeway tie for their division lead. The Chiefs and Raiders each have sub-par opponents this week so this game is very important for San Diego. Green Bay hasn’t had much trouble getting to 7-0 as they lead the NFL in scoring (32.9ppg). The Packers are well rested and coming off their bye so the Chargers’ secondary has its work cut out here.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

StL (1-6) @ Ari (1-6) Sun. 11/6 10:15 a.m.
What a win for the Rams last week! Steven Jackson showed that he still has gas left in the tank as he steamrolled the Saints defense for 160 rushing yards. That being said, they’re still 1-6 and don’t have a chance at the playoffs. Fortunately for the Rams, the Cardinals are also 1-6 and haven’t shown much of anything all season. Kevin Kolb is looking like a bust.
Dan’s Pick: Rams

Bal (5-2) @ Pit (6-2) Sun. 11/6 2:20 p.m.
This has become the new “it” rivalry in the AFC. The Steeler D is coming off they’re most impressive performance of the season after basically shutting down the high flying Patriots offense. The Ravens crushed Pittsburgh in their week one matchup but has shown some serious signs of inconsistency since.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

Chi (4-3) @ Phi (3-4) Mon. 11/7 2:30 p.m.
Each of these teams has won two in a row and both have looked good in the process. LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte have been two of the top NFC running backs all season. This game is huge as far as the playoff picture is concerned. Mike Vick has the fate of the Eagles (and this game) squarely on his shoulders. If he can remain upright and avoid Chicago’s veteran pass rush, Philly should be able to pull this out.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

Dan’s NFL predictions — Week 8

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 6-7 in my picks. My weakest showing of the year for sure but such is life! Like the old saying goes, “On any given Sunday, anyone can win.” Here are your week 8 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

NO (5-2) @ StL (0-6) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
The Saints scored more points in last week’s dominating win over the Colts (62) than the Rams have scored all season (56)! Unless the Rams build a time machine and go back to 2001, I don’t see any way they can keep up with the deadly efficient New Orleans offense.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Jac (2-5) @ Hou (4-3) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
Both teams here are coming off good games. However, the Jags couldn’t even muster a touchdown in their upset victory over the Ravens. Andre Johnson is day to day as of right now and if he could play this week Matt Schaub becomes a much more dangerous passing threat and the Texans’ offense goes from solid to scary.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Mia (0-6) @ NYG (4-2) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
The Andrew Luck hunt is still on for the ‘Fins. Miami blew a late eight point lead against the equally unexciting Broncos this past Sunday to remain winless on the season. The G-men are coming off a bye the healthiest they’ve been all season. Justin Tuck is just one of many key players the Giants should have available this week.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Ari (1-5) @ Bal (4-2) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
This past Monday the Ravens had a hard time getting anything going offensively and lost to the lackluster Jaguars. Here they face off against a horrific Cardinals team, and I don’t foresee two bad losses in a row. Look for Ray Rice and company to bounce back and not have too much difficulty with the Cards.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Ind (0-7) @ Ten (3-3) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
Peyton Manning means more to the Colts than any other professional athlete means to their respective team. They won at least 12 games every year from 2003-’09 under Manning. Regardless, he’s still not available and that means the Colts are still really really bad. The Titans have done nothing to warrant them being heavy favorites against anyone, but Indy stinks.
Dan’s Pick: Titans

Min (1-6) @ Car (2-5) Sun. 10/30 7:00 a.m.
This is a more intriguing game that the records suggest. Each team is quarterbacked by a first round rookie, with Cam Newton having started all season and Christian Ponder starting his second game of the year. AP put up AP numbers last week against the Packers and almost led the Vikes to a huge upset. Cam the Man rushed for his seventh touchdown of the year in the Panthers solid win over the Skins.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

Det (5-2) @ Den (2-4) Sun. 10/30 10:05 a.m.
Tim Tebow indeed! The second year quarterback led the Broncos in a fourth quarter comeback Sunday. Yes it was against the Dolphins, but Tebow showed poise in the clutch and actually looked decent in the fourth quarter. The Lions offense never got off the ground in London against the Bucs as they lost their second in a row. I don’t think they’ll lose three straight.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

Was (3-3) @ Buf (4-2) Sun. 10/30 10:05 a.m.
John Beck actually had a decent game against the Panthers Sunday, but that should be taken with a grain of salt as he was forced to throw a lot because the Skins were down early and often. The Shanahan backfield merry-go-round will be in full swing again as Tim Hightower went down for the year last week. The Bills should be well rested coming off their bye week and look to keep their Cindarella season going.
Dan’s Pick: Bills

Cin (4-2) @ Sea (2-4) Sun. 10/30 10:15 a.m.
At first glance I thought the Mariners had lost to the Indians but in fact it was the Seahawks coming up short in a 6-3 loss to the Browns. The Bengals will be without Cedric Benson as he serves a one game suspension but the Dalton to Green rookie combo has proven effective so far this season.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

NE (5-1) @ Pit (5-2) Sun. 10/30 10:15 a.m.
This game has the most potential for excitement as two of the top AFC powerhouses collide in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are as well rounded a team as any in the league and can win any number of ways. The Pats usually just score a LOT and win or lose with the arm of Tom Brady. New England is coming off their bye week and face their toughest test so far. Should be fun to watch.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Cle (3-3) @ SF (5-1) Sun. 10/30 10:15 a.m.
Frank Gore and the (very much) run-first offense of the 49ers will have a challenge against the staunch run defense of the Browns this week. Cleveland beat the Seahawks 6-3 Sunday in one of the more boring football games in recent history. The Niners should be able to get back to their winning ways without too much issue coming off the bye.
Dan’s Pick: 49ers

Dal (3-3) @ Phi (2-4) Sun. 10/30 2:20 p.m.
Move over Tony Dorsett. Outta my way Emmett Smith. I’m DeMarco Murray, single-game rushing record holder for the Boys! And he’s facing an under-performing Eagles defensive front. There’s a lot of talent flying around both sides of the field for both teams here. If the Cowboys can put some hits on Vick early, look for them to come away winners in this one.
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

SD (4-2) @ KC (3-3) Mon. 10/31 2:30 p.m.
A nice first half for the Bolts was trumped by a silent second half in a loss to the Jets on Sunday. The Chiefs beat up on the division rival Raiders last week winning easily 28-0. Both were a little fluky in my opinion. Look for Phillip Rivers to have a little more success this week as he’s not facing the scariest secondary in the league.
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Dan’s NFL predictions — Week 7

Aloha Molokai! My name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Sorry everyone for the delay on this week’s post, I’m new to this blogging thing! I should have my new picks up each week every Wednesday from now on. Last week I was 11-2 in my picks. Here are your week 7 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

SD (4-1) @ NYJ (3-3) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
Phillip Rivers may have his favorite target back this week. Antonio Gates is hoping to play after battling a foot injury the past three games. The Jets snapped their three game skid against the woeful Dolphins with some strong defensive play. The Chargers have weapons everywhere on offense and Darrelle Revis can only cover one guy!
Dan’s Pick: Chargers

Hou (3-3) @ Ten (3-2) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
After a long holdout well into the preseason, Chris Johnson got paid. What to the Titans get in return? The fewest rushing yards per game in the entire NFL! Fortunately for Tennessee the Texans are extremely banged up right now. Andre Johnson is out again which evens things out a little, but still, absolutely nothing excites me about the Titans.
Dan’s Pick: Texans

Den (1-4) @ Mia (0-5) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
Matt Moore and Tim Tebow are the starting quarterbacks in this game, yeesh! It does not surprise me in the least that there is a combined one win between these two teams. The Broncos just lost Brandon Lloyd to trade and they’re on the road. Let’s flip a coin for the outcome of this one.
Dans Pick: Dolphins

Chi (3-3) @ TB (4-2) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
Both of these teams have had major ups and downs this season. The Bucs are coming off their best game of the year in a win over the Saints. Devin Hester proved once again why he’s the best returner ever, with yet another return touchdown. Both teams are battling injuries so this game will come down to turnovers and special teams.
Dan’s Pick: Buccaneers

Atl (3-3) @ Det (5-1) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
The Falcons practically traded their entire organization away to move up in the draft for Julio Jones, and don’t even have him available this week. This game features two young stud quarterbacks, two elite receivers, and two pretty good defenses. This has potential to be a really fun game to watch.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

Sea (2-3) @ Cle (2-3) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
Not too much to write about this matchup. The Browns are having contract disputes with Peyton Hillis, though he did play last game. There have been some good showings from the Seahawks (win at NYG), and they have some young explosive players. Tarvaris Jackson has done a lot better than most expected thus far.
Dan’s Pick: Seahawks

Was (3-2) @ Car (1-5) Sun. 10/23 7:00 a.m.
I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on in Washington. There’s clearly an issue at quarterback, no running back seems to want the starting job, and Chris Cooley just went down for the season. The Panthers have a scary offense led by the veteran Steve Smith’s resurgence, and the three-headed rushing machine of running backs D. Williams and J. Stewart and quarterback Cam Newton.
Dan’s Pick: Panthers

Pit (4-2) @ Ari (1-4) Sun. 10/23 10:05 a.m.
There’s not too much to worry about here. Rashard Mendenhall finally had a good game last week in a win against the Jaguars. As long as the Steelers can establish the run early and often again, they should have this game in the bag. The Cardinals are bad.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

KC (2-3) @ Oak (4-2) Sun. 10/23 10:05 a.m.
The Raiders have been all over the news with their acquisition of Carson Palmer. Fortunately for them, their’s is a run first offense with Run DMC putting up MVP type numbers. Yes the Chiefs have won two in a row but both were against (at the time) winless teams.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

GB (6-0) @ Min (1-5) Sun. 10/23 10:15 a.m.
If the season ended today Aaron Rodgers would be MVP. The Vikings aren’t even sure who’s starting at quarterback in this one. Either way, AP is the only real threat for Minnesota. Look for the Pack to have no trouble with the Vikings D.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

StL (0-5) @ Dal (2-3) Sun. 10/23 10:15 a.m.
America’s team has had a real tough schedule so far this season (NYJ, SF, Was, Det, NE) and their record reflects it. The laughingly pathetic Rams have scored four (you read correct, 4) offensive touchdowns all season, and yes, their record also reflects it!
Dan’s Pick: Cowboys

Ind (0-6) @ NO (4-2) Sun. 10/23 2:20 p.m.
Sean Payton literally took one for the team when he suffered a torn meniscus and broken tibia because TE Jimmy Graham was tackled into him last game. Good thing for him, he won’t have to do too much game planning this week because the Colts are hell-bent on getting Andrew Luck in the draft next season. No surprises here.
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Bal (4-1) @ Jac (1-5) Mon. 10/24 2:30 p.m.
Aside from the fluky loss to the Titans in week 2, the Ravens win by an average of 22.5 points. The Jaguars actually played a tough game last week against a good Steelers team, but that probably won’t be enough to beat a really good Ravens team.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

Dan’s NFL predictions — Week 6

Aloha Molokai! my name is Dan Gardner and I moved to Molokai in July with my girlfriend, Erin Morrison, who got a job as a special education teacher at Kualapu’u Elementary. We’ve both really come to enjoy and appreciate the overall relaxed nature of the island and are happy to call it home.

Each week, my NFL prediction column will give a quick synopsis of each upcoming game, my thoughts about each and then my pick for winner.

Last week I was 9-4 in my picks. Here are your week 6 NFL matchups and my picks for each game.

Car (1-4) @ Atl (2-3) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.


Falcons gave up almost 400 yards passing last week and Cam the Man has been slingin’ the ball all over the field this season. The Panthers D has been nothing to write home about however as evidenced by the 1-4 record. Look for a high scoring affair but Matty Ice getting back to his home winning ways.
Dan’s Pick: Falcons

Phi (1-4) @ Was (3-1) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.


It’s worst versus first in the NFC East here. Mike Vick threw four picks Sunday in the Eagles fourth loss of the year. The Skins have shown inconsistent signs of brilliance en route to a good record and are coming off the bye. All that talent in Philly will eventually become cohesive, this might be the week.
Dan’s Pick: Eagles

StL (0-4) @ GB (5-0) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.


The Rams score 11.5 points per game. The Packers score 34.6 points per game.
Dan’s Pick: Packers

Ind (0-5) @ Cin (3-2) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.


The Bengals have won two in a row with a couple of big second halves. The Colts on the other hand almost got in the winning column Sunday but blew a 10-point halftime lead to KC losing Joseph Addai in the process. A.J. Green is a scary talent and has proven so with over 400 yards receiving so far.
Dan’s Pick: Bengals

Buf (4-1) @ NYG (3-2) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.

What can we say about the Bills?? They just keep winning. The Giants on the other hand, well, not so much. The G-men will be looking for blood after a bad loss to a bad Seahawks team but the red-hot Bills don’t show any signs of backing down. This could be a fun game to watch.
Dan’s Pick: Giants

Jac (1-4) @ Pit (3-2) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.

The Jags scored more than 10 points for only the second time in a loss to the Bengals Sunday. Despite MJD’s efforts, this offense stinks. Big Ben tossed five TDs like he was playing a video game. The Steelers have a lot of banged up guys at RB but the passing game seems just fine.
Dan’s Pick: Steelers

SF (4-1) @ Det (5-0) Sun. 10/16 7 a.m.

Alex Smith doesn’t throw for many yards (193 ypg) but also doesn’t turn the ball over very often (1 int). The Niners absolutely spanked the Bucs last week but — and this is a big ‘but’ — the Lions aren’t the Bucs. The Lions are one of only two undefeated teams for a reason … they’re REALLY good.
Dan’s Pick: Lions

Cle (2-2) @ Oak (3-2) Sun. 10/16 10:05 a.m.

No. 2-ranked rush offense (Oak) against No. 25 ranked rush defense (Cle) is usually not a good sign for the latter. The Raiders had a really nice upset win against the Texans last week and I don’t see the Browns stopping them.
Dan’s Pick: Raiders

Hou (3-2) @ Bal (3-1) Sun. 10/16 10:05 a.m.

The Ravens have looked real good the first quarter of the season with the only hiccup being a week 2 fluke loss to the Titans. They still have an elite D and the O scores almost 30 ppg. Houston practically gave away the game last week to the Raiders and will be without All Pro WR Andre Johnson.
Dan’s Pick: Ravens

NO (4-1) @ TB (3-2) Sun. 10/16 10:15 a.m.

Who Dat?? The Bucs gave up almost 50 points last week against an average-at-best offense. This week they face the Drew Crew which is second in the league in total offense (452 ypg) and fifth in scoring (31.4 ppg).
Dan’s Pick: Saints

Dal (2-2) @ NE (4-1) Sun. 10/16 10:15 a.m.

This is the game I’m most excited to watch. Two of the games best passing offenses pitted against each other’s mediocre defenses! The Boys have Dez Bryant back healthy after the bye week. Look for a lot of scoring but Tom Brady is still Tom Brady.
Dan’s Pick: Patriots

Min (1-4) @ Chi (2-3) Sun. 10/16 2:20 p.m.


Adrian Peterson scored 3 TDs in the first quarter last week as the Vikes manhandled the Cards. The Bears didn’t have quite the same luck against the still undefeated Lions on Monday. Chicago still has a better D than does Minnesota.
Dan’s Pick: Bears

Mia (0-4) @ NYJ (2-3) Mon. 10/17 2:30 p.m.


The Dolphins had their best game of the year Sunday by not losing! Gang Green is on a three-game losing streak although they were all against quality opponents. Look for the Jets to bounce back at home and keep the Fins in the “Andrew Luck Hunt.”
Dan’s Pick: Jets