Everyone is making political jokes and comparisons this week. I might as well join in. In the national boxing match, the Democrats won a split decision by winning the House but losing ground in the Senate. In North Carolina, the Republicans won the state football game, but did not cover the spread, as they no longer hold a super-majority in the legislature, and only 4 of their 6 constitutional amendments passed. On the local level here in Charlotte and Mecklenburg county, the Democrats won all the medals at the gymnastics competition – Democrats have every seat on the Board of County Commissioners – ousting 2 Republicans that have been on the board for many years – and all the spending bonds passed overwhelmingly.
Now, back to football!
Arizona at Kansas City – Arizona has a good, young QB, but lots of work for the former DC who is now head coach to do. Having defensive issues against Kansas City is the stuff night terrors and anti-depressants are made of. Chiefs 43, Cards 17 
Atlanta at Cleveland – After a terrible start, the Falcons are rounding into shape, while the wheels have fallen off near Lake Erie. There is hope for the future though. Just not this week. Falcons 33, Brownie Troop 10 
Buffalo at NY Jets – Former QB EJ Manuel torched the Bills on Twitter this week over Nathan Peterman having a job with an NFL team over him. Sean McDermott should call him and offer him a contract as long as he apologizes in a public square, because as long as Peterman keeps playing, he’s going to keep losing. The game itself is the Who Cares Game of the Week. J-E-T-S jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets jets 16, Buffalo, NC 6 
Detroit at Chicago – Detroit gave up 10 sacks last week. Even if Khalil Mack is less than 100%, his defense should do nearly as well. It’s time for me to give up on Matt Stafford as my fantasy football starting QB. Chicago is in decent position for a playoff spot. The home team keeps the weakened offense in check. Bears 23, lion cubs 13 
Jacksonville at Indianapolis – Remember when the Jaguars were Super Bowl contenders? Neither do I, but some national talking heads apparently thought they were. I’m looking forward to the end of this game to see what hilarious Civil War take Captain Andrew Luck will have on Twitter. Dolts 27, Jags 21 
Miami at Green Bay – The Packers have about 25 fair-to-midland wide receivers, and it seems to be working OK. They have about 10 fair-to-midland running backs, and that’s a disaster. The rejuvenated Osweiler gets to feast on grilled cheese sandwiches. Fish 27, Packers 23 
New England at Tennessee – The “nothing to see here” game of the week. It’s 2 teams that are doing the same thing they do every year. New England has a prolific offense and just enough defense, Tennessee is consistent, extremely boring, and not quite good enough to be elite. Patriots 28, Titans 17 
New Orleans at Cincinnati – Some talking heads are talking upset here because it’s supposed to be somewhat cold, and the Saints are incredibly average when the temp is below 50. The problem is that Cincy has a lot of weapons, even without AJ Green, but they don’t have enough defense and has to rely completely on Andy Dalton and the weather. Once again, this Panthers fan does not feel like he’s going to get that lucky. Aints 45, Bangles 27 
Washington at Tampa Bay – The ‘Skins have been somewhat surprisingly good on defense. The Bucs are a second-half team. There is little to suggest the season-long patterns won’t continue – Washington uses defense to build a big lead, the Bucs make a furious comeback, and superior talent pulls away late. Dead-skins 38, Yuck-aneers 28 
LA Chargers at Oakland – This should be nothing less than a pinball game – make that a ONE-SIDED pinball game. Clippers 45, Fakers 17 
Seattle at LA Rams – After watching the LA defense the last 2 weeks, I’m starting Russell Wilson in my fantasy lineup, expecting a minimum of 35 points. This will be a 2-sided pinball game, but it would take several helpings of Jesus Juice for Russ to get the upset. LA gets back on track after dropping their first one last week. Rams 44, Seahawks 31 
Dallas at Philadelphia – Here’s how you know you’re having a bad day (or week, or month, or year, or decade, or century, or millennium): when the 2nd-best QB your franchise has ever had thinks the entire organization needs a complete overhaul. The owner just wants some glory hole. How ‘bout them Cowboys? Eagles 26, Cowgirls 16 
NY Giants at San Francisco – This would be the WCGOTW if it were going up against another game. It still might be. Looks like a good time to get started reading my signed copy of Joe Gibbs’ book. Nick Mullens for rookie of the year? 49ers 34, Little People 10 
Carolina at Pittsburgh – Even though this is the first game of the week, I continue my tradition of listing the Panthers game last. We haven’t beaten Pittsburgh since the “Miracle on Mint Street” game in 1996 when Chad Cota intercepted the Steelers to clinch a game 15 win and the division title. We lost at Pittsburgh in 1999, 2002 and 2010, and at home in 2006 and 2014, and that last one was a blowout Thursday night game. Both teams started sluggish and are rounding into form. The problem is Carolina has a gigantic hole in its middle field defense, which means Big Ben & Antonio Brown will probably have a field day with short slant routes. I hate to say it, but…. Steelers 34, PANTHERS 24
Last week’s record: 8-5
Season: 82-52
Bye: Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Minnesota