Last week's third victory in a row was sullied by my first top-5 pick loss. Chicago, behind Matt Forte's torn knee and Tyler Palko's hail mary toss at the end of the first half, went down (and took poor Rose with them). Still, my pick of San Fransisco was on point, and we are 14/15 in the last three weeks. Let's keep it going.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New England, Cincinnati, San Fransisco
So: if you have Green Bay, New England, San Fransisco, Baltimore, or Pittsburgh left? Congratulations. That's 4 of the 5 top teams (plus Pittsburgh at #6). So, who is that mystery team left in the top 5? Any guess? At all?
I'll give you a minute.
(Nope, it isn't the Jets, Texans, Lions, Saints, Falcons, or Broncos).
Still stumped? It's Seattle!
Yes, the Seahawks host lowly St. Louis on Monday night. That's my pick. The goddamned Seahawks.
Not just 2 in a row, but another 5/5 week makes it 10/10! (continued pelvic thrusting) Let's keep it rolling. Keep that pelvis rolling.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New England, Cincinnati
San Fransisco over St. Louis (90.8%): The best pick on the board, IMO. San Fran is at home, coming off a mini-bye week and with new motivation after a painful loss at Baltimore. The Rams are going to get steamrolled.
New England over Indy (90.4%): I've already used New England, but if you've got them left, you won't go wrong picking Tom Brady and Bill Belichick against Curtis Painter Dan Orlovsky. Orlovsky is a quarterback most famous for scrambling out of the back of the end zone for a safety while doing his part for the 0-16 Detroit Lions a few years back.
Chicago over Kansas City (82.2%): Another case of my system not necessarily understanding the impact of a backup quarterback. Although I do still expect Chicago's defense to outscore Tyler Palko and the Chiefs offense.
Baltimore over Cleveland (79.3%): B-more is also off of a mini-Thanksgiving bye week. Cleveland, meanwhile, almost spoiled my party last week, the frisky little bastards.
Green Bay over NY Giants (77.4%): Gah, I do have the Packers available. It's too painful to think about.
That's more like it, baby. Not only did my picks of Green Bay, New England, Dallas, San Fransisco, and Detroit go 5/5, but my new and improved system correctly picked the game winner in 11 out of 14 games played last week. My only misses were the NY Giants, NY Jets (Tebow!!!!) and Buffalo. So, where is our new and improved method taking us this week? Let's find out.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia, New England
Houston over Jacksonville (85%): Here is the problem with a completely historically based method; it doesn't know about things like injured quarterbacks and good run defenses. My brain is firing off all kinds of alarm bells. Divisional game! Road game! Matt Leinert! Let's see what our other options are.
Pittsburgh over Kansas City (82%): KC actually looked frisky for a half against New England. Punt return touchdowns always make the score look crazier than the game might have suggested. Still, KC couldn't move the ball at all and has looked terrible in three straight games. Too bad I already used Pittsburgh. Let's keep looking.
Carolina over Indy (76%): Loving road teams this week, apparently! Carolina looked primed for the upset against Detroit last week, until their defense let them down. They are, Cam Newton or no, still a bad team. But they aren't on pace for historical badness like Indy. Definitely worth a look.
Arizona over St. Louis (73%): St. Louis has not gotten enough credit for how bad they have been this year. Maybe Spagnuolo wants his old job back as the Giants defensive coordinator? Anyway, I've already used Arizona.
Cincinnati over Cleveland (72%): Now THIS is an interesting play. By all measures other than running the football, Andy Dalton has actually been a better QB than Cam Newton this year. Do we still not believe in them?
Since there are other viable options on the table, I'm giving Houston at least a week to prove they can be competent with Leinert under center. And, I did just say Dalton has been better than Newton this year, right?
Now, first things first: a man admits when he has made mistakes, and clearly, I have made a few here this year. While I still think my pick of the Giants was defensible, clearly Kansas City and Philadelphia are not good teams. It is a fools errand to stake your suicide pool life on bad teams. But more importantly, I have been using SYSTEMS approach to this when I should be using a MATHEMATICAL approach. We are changing gears and taking things up a notch. My mathematical approach will be based on the following basic assumptions.
The first: a team's scoring differential is a better description of its relative skill than its won-loss record. A MODIFIED won-loss record can be calculated using a team's scoring differential and Bill James Pythagorean expectation formula.
The second: the odds of a team winning a particular matchup can be roughly calculated based on the MODIFIED won-loss record using the log5 method, also developed by James.
What does this approach tell us about the matchups this week? Here, according to this approach, are the top 5 matchups to consider this week.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, Kansas City, Philadelphia
#1: Green Bay over Tampa Bay. Now, obviously, we don't need some fancy formula to tell us Green Bay is a powerhouse. What this does tell us is that they have the highest odds of winning this week, at 87%.
#2: New England over Kansas City (80%). And that's before we consider the fact that KC is starting their backup quarterback!.
#3: San Fransisco over Arizona (79%). The old system would scare us off this matchup because it is a divisional game. My eyes tell me Arizona has looked frisky. And since I still have NE and GB on my (admittedly marked up) board, I'll steer clear for now.
#4: Detroit over Carolina (74%). I've used Detroit, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
#5: Dallas over Washington (72%). Not only a divisional game, but a road game.
For what it's worth, the system predicted the Jets as a 61% favorite over the Broncos. Of course, some mitigating factors (short week for the Jets, road game for the Jets, Jesus for the Broncos) would have indicated that the Jets might be in more trouble than that.
Too close to mess with: Buffalo (58%) against Miami, Cleveland (51%) against Jacksonville, Baltimore (57%) against Cincinnati, Atlanta (50%) against Tennessee.
What made last week's loss by Kansas City even more painful? In my Yahoo picks pool (where we don't pick against the spread but assign each game confidence points), I picked 11/14 games correctly last week. Denver over Oakland, Chicago over Philly, Arizona over St. Louis, the Giants over New England? Got all of those right. But my suicide pool pick shat the bed.
(Before the game, Daytrader told me it was a bad pick because it was a trap game. But was it any more of a trap game than, say, Dallas against Seattle or San Fransisco against Washington , both of whom won last week? Of course not. Trap games, as Aaron Schatz has shown, don't actually exist. At least, that is what I tell myself to get to sleep now.)
Anyway, just because I've been eliminated doesn't mean I can't continue to vicariously enjoy participation in the pool by making suggestions to you, the reader.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, Kansas City
Philadelphia over Arizona: Well, if I didn't get eliminated last week, it just might happen this week. There are only two match ups against a winning team vs. a losing team this week: Packers vs. Vikings, and Ravens at Seahawks. I've already used the Ravens, and Vikings vs. Packers is a divisional matchup. So that leaves us to pick against a winning team, or for a losing team. Philadelphia is the most attractive of the losing teams. There really isn't that much else to say this week, unless you want to take Jacksonville on the road at Indy or Cleveland hosting St. Louis.
A near miss last week as Baltimore took an extra half to shake off the doldrums from its Monday night egg laying in week 7. Still, I made out better than anyone foolish enough to pick New Orleans (on the road) or the Panthers (showing why they are a losing team). We'll stick with last week's process of identifying who the bad teams are playing and rolling from their.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore
The zero win teams are Miami and the Colts. Miami is on the road against Kansas City. KC is playing an inferior non-divisional opponent at home. It looks like a good pick. But I am concerned about letdown potential after an emotional Monday night win against division rival San Diego.
The Colts are at home, hosting Atlanta off their bye week. I have Atlanta available, but we saw what happened to New Orleans, a road favorite last week. On the other hand, Atlanta is coming off an extra week and shouldn't be caught looking ahead here. Let's put a pin in this one too.
The one win teams are Arizona and St. Louis. And they are playing each other! So much for that.
The two win teams are Minnesota, Seattle, Denver, Carolina, and Jacksonville. Three of them (MIN, CAR, and JAX) are on their byes this week. That leaves Seattle (on the road against Dallas) and Denver (at Oakland). Oakland is playing a division rival, as well as still breaking in "new" quarterback Carson Palmer, so they are out. Seattle is playing Dallas, who stinks. Plus, they already burned me once.
Which takes us back to Kansas City or Atlanta. The question: do I violate one of my guidelines (don't take a team on the road) or do I take the home team that might be in a letdown game?
Screw it. If I'm going out, I'm going out on my own terms.
Got a bit caught up last week and wasn't able to post. Of course, if you needed my advice to take New Orleans last week, then you are likely already out of your pool and you can stop reading now.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants, Pittsburgh, New Orleans
Now that we have 7 weeks completed, time for a shift in strategy. There are three teams with zero wins (Rams, Dolphins, and Colts); and two teams with one win (Cardinals and Vikings). Suffice it to say, if you have been picking against these teams, you are doing well for your self. (If you are like me and have successfully used one of these teams, give yourself an extra pat on the back.) So let's check in on who these five teams are playing.
Cardinals: Coming off their bi-week for an early afternoon road game against a Baltimore team looking to make up for an embarrassing Monday night no-show in Jacksonville. Did you know that the NFL has instituted new restrictions this year on teams practicing during their bi-week, and that teams are now 3-6 coming off of the extra rest?
Colts: On the road against division rival Tennessee, who I have already used. No dice.
Dolphins: On the road against the Giants, who are coming off of their bi-week. I have already used them. No dice. But if you do have them available, I'd still be cautious, due to the aforementioned post bi-week doldrums being exhibited in the NFL this year.
Minnesota: On the road against the Panthers. I don't like picking teams under .500 if I can avoid it, so I'll pass.
St. Louis: Hosting the Saints, who I have already used. Plus I don't like taking teams on the road. No dice.
That pretty much narrows it down to Baltimore. San Fransisco coming off their bi at home against Cleveland will likely get some play as well, but I DID just say something about the bi week teams this year, didn't I?
So, if you are like me, and you are in a two-strike suicide pool where everybody picked the Giants last week, then that loss didn't hurt too bad. However, if you are in a one strike pool or, like me, are a Giants fan, then last week hurt like a motherfucker.
What hurts just a little bit more (other than my second choice, the Niners, destroyed the Bucs last week) is that every week, I have avoided picking the consensus choice. The one week that I go in on the group favorite, I got burned. Is there a lesson there? Let's find out.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, NY Giants
Green Bay over St. Louis: When I initially saw this game, I thought this would definitely be my pick for the week. But then I remembered the emotional abuse I took last week at the hands of Victor Cruz, and reconsidered. Here we have a Green Bay team off an emotional Sunday night road win against a playoff opponent from last year facing off against an ostensibly terrible team that started the season with designs on winning their division AND coming off a bi week. All primary signs go. All secondary signs stay think twice. I'm thinking twice.
Pittsburgh over Jacksonville: Aaah, here we are. Pittsburgh, despite last week's whupping of Tennessee, still needs to play hard to keep up with Baltimore in their division. Jacksonville actively seems to be trying to get run out of town so they can move to LA already.
Bengals over Colts: Okay, so here's the deal. I think that Indy is going to, at some point, decide that the season is a loss and go all in trying to get the first pick and draft Peyton's heir apparent in Andrew Luck. However, they played at least one competent half of football last week, so they may think they can still turn this ship around. The sign that they have thrown in the towel will be when defensive end Dwight Freeney stops playing through his rib injury. Right now, he's still listed as probable. So I'm staying away.
Stay away from: NY Jets over Dolphins (Sparano is coming off the bi-week with his job on the line, and the Jets may just not be very good, plus its a divisional game); Falcons over Panthers (despite their 1-4 record, the Panthers are a scary team to bet against); Patriots over Cowboys (Dallas has had a chance to heal coming off the bi-week).
You can blame the lateness of this posting on Canada. But there is still time to change your picks based on my great advice! We are 4-0 on the season. Let's keep it rolling.
Teams used: Arizona, Detroit, Tennessee, Tampa Bay (record: 4-0)
NY Giants over Seattle: The bandwagon pick of the week. Now, I usually try to avoid the bandwagon pick of the week, since there isn't much upside if you and everybody else gets through on the same team. However, there is the upside of actually getting through. With the bye weeks kicking in, the pickings become slimmer, and this week all signs point to the Giants (home team with a better record against a west coast team playing an early east coast game - plus Seattle has sucked on the road for years - plus Tavaris Jackson against the Giants pass rush - plus Eli is quietly having his best season statistically so far).
Buffalo over Philly: Buffalo fell into the classic trap game last week, playing on the road against a weak opponent after an emotional win against the bully in their division. You'd expect them to bounce back this week. On the other hand, Philly, after all the pre-season hype, has their backs against the walls. If they lose this one, I don't see any choice but to write them off.
Houston over Oakland: Looked like a possibility until Al Davis died. Will Oakland play better now that his ghastly visage is restricted to their nightmares, and not their waking hours as well?
San Fransisco over Tampa Bay: I can't decide if San Fran is for real yet. Their wins look impressive on paper, including Dallas and at Philly. On the other hand, their quarterback is still Alex Smith.
Stay away from: New Orleans at Carolina (divisional road game, plus Cam Newton is going to light up the bad Saints pass defense); KC and Indy (Indy isn't going to go 0-16, right? I say this is one of their 3 wins this season); San Diego at Denver (divisional road game); New England over Jets (potential bounce back game for the Jets, and looks to me like a bad matchup for New England - specifically, New England doesn't have the running game or pass rush to take advantage of the Jets front seven, and the Jets pass defense has already shown it can shut down Brady).
Last week's pick of the Arizona Cardinals successfully weathered the storm of Cam Newton and of being the Cardinals. If you picked last week's other terrible home team choice, the Cleveland Browns, your season is already over. How sad for you. Let's get into this week's options.
Teams used: Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh (home) over Seattle: This one has all the makings. A superior home team over an inferior opponent traveling from the West Coast for a 1pm East Coast start. Everyone and their mother will be riding Pittsburgh. There is no upside here: if you go with the crowd, and Pittsburgh wins, then you will have gained nothing. If last week was not a mirage and Pittsburgh actually stinks this week and they lose, you will have missed a huge opportunity. Still, for those of you who lack intestinal FORTITUDE, this is the pick.
Buffalo (home) over Oakland: Now we are talking. Buffalo LIT UP division winner Kansas City in Arrowhead, where the Chiefs were 7-1 last year. Oakland, for its part, is coming off a late Monday start and will have a short week to recover from the slopfest in Denver.
Detroit (home) over KC: Another intriguing option that tests how much of what you saw in Week 1. Is KC as bad as they looked against Buffalo? Is Detroit as good as they looked in their road win over Tampa Bay, a 10-game winner last year? As long as Matt Stafford's shoulder is still attached by the time Sunday rolls around, this could be another intriguing pick.
Some other teams that might get some buzz that I would stay away from are:
Cleveland on the road over Indy, who looked like a high school JV squad without Peyton last weekend; Houston on the road over Miami (too much sucking of Houston's popsicle this week, and they are going against a Miami squad that was able to move the ball against New England Monday night); The Giants over St. Louis (if Bradford was out I could be convinced, but I need to see something out of the G-Men before I pick them for anything this year); and the Jets over Jacksonville at home (the Jets, try as they might, just couldn't choke as hard as the Cowboys last week).
Before we begin, a podcast recommendation. Go to iTunes (or right here) and listen to ESPN's Gambling Insider Chad Millman talk with the winner of the Vegas Hilton SuperContest. It is an uplifting story of a man, a SuperContest, and winning a goddamn assload of money betting on football. Also, I WILL be running an ObscureCraft SuperContest next year with the same rules as the Hilton SuperContest, but much smaller prizes*. Now, onto the picks!
*There will be no prizes.
Baltimore (+3) over PITTSBURGH
My dreams of a Vick v. Roethlisberger Super Bowl match up are now dashed like so many other dreams I've had. These two teams split the season series, with each one winning in the other's stadium. This game is in Pittsburgh. I like patterns. Done deal.
ATLANTA (-2.5) over Green Bay
Fucking Philadelphia. First they ruin my NFL season with a comeback win so epic that for the next 100 years every time the Giants lead somebody by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter I'm going to have to hear about that shit. Then, they ruin my football suicide pool season with an epic choke job at home on Sunday Tuesday night against the Minnesota Vikings (featuring Joe Webb). THEN they go and ruin my chance at a 4-0 round one by blowing a game that Mike McCarthy was trying to give away like it was herpes. Jesus Goddamn Christ, Andy Reid! You are down by two scores and there are only six minutes left!! HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN ANYONE RUN THE HURRY UP OFFENSE? Here's a hint: that thing you do when you pull up to an all you can eat buffet with only 5 minutes left before they close? THAT'S THE HURRY UP OFFENSE. DO THAT EXCEPT ON A FOOTBALL FIELD AND WITH LESS COCKTAIL SAUCE.
Anyway: Mike McCarthy is a terrible coach, Atlanta has lost two games at home in the last three years, and Matty Ice is one good postseason away from an Atlanta brewery producing a crappy beer with his nickname on it.
Seattle (+10) over CHICAGO
I don't like to read other people's columns before making my picks, but I somehow ended up reading Bill Simmons' today before getting down to this, and he pulled a parallel that cannot be ignored: Cardinals over Panthers in the playoffs three years ago, when Jake Delhomme self destructed to the tune of five interceptions. The parallels are eerie: an NFC West champion that many argued shouldn't have been allowed into the playoffs pulls off a round one upset at home. They're given no chance against an over-rated team with a shaky quarterback. Plus, Seattle beat Chicago in Chicago already this year.
Also, if you haven't seen this, please watch with the sound ON:
NY Jets (+9) over NEW ENGLAND
This week has just been delightful. To recap:
Rex Ryan calls out Bill Belichick like they were making a movie trailer. This time, IT'S PERSONAL.
Antonio Cromartie (he of the 6 or 7 children, I mean, who can keep track of how many and what their names are after a certain point, right?) calls Tom Brady an asshole.
Wes Welker holds a press conference and manages to use some variation of the word "foot" at least 11 times.
I'm sure I'm missing something. Point is, the Jets have overachieved since Rex Ryan arrived last year, and I attribute it entirely to him being a blustering loudmouth. And I LOVE IT. There's no way you could be a player on the Jets and listen to him day in and day out and not become convinced you are the most talented group of individual football players ever assembled, PERFORMANCE ON THE FIELD NOTWITHSTANDING. It makes me want to buy this.
Last week: 3-1 Regular season: WHO GIVES A FUCK ITS THE PLAYOFFS NOW WOOOO!!!
It's been a rough season, so I decided to rest my starters last week going into the playoffs. You gotta stay fresh! Here we go.
SEATTLE (+10) over New Orleans
You've heard it over and over again: division winners host playoff games because the regular season has to MEAN SOMETHING. Divisional rivalries have to MEAN SOMETHING. You know what makes football mean something? WELL PLAYED FOOTBALL. One of the best regular season games I've ever watched was the Giants and Patriots in the conclusion to the 2007 season, when the Pats and G-Men went toe to toe in a game with absolutely no playoff implications, only the 16-0 season on the line. Because that was a 16-0 team and an eventual Super Bowl champ throwing haymakers. Anybody who watched the Sunday night game between the Rams and the Seahawks saw a less entertaining version of this.
The Seahawks suck, and no playoff format justification is going to change that. In fact, as a result of this atrocity, real-life Fathead Roger Goodell is already weighing the option of re-seeding the playoffs so that division winners don't automatically get home games.
Not good enough. If we really want change that we can believe in, the Seahawks have to win a playoff game. And they will.
WHAT? Jesse you are the world's worst gambler, you are no doubt saying to yourself. I say: the only thing that will drive the football universe more insane than a 7-9 team in the playoffs is that team moving on into the second round. SUCK ON THAT ANALYSIS NATE SILVER.
Here's some real analysis. Seattle has one of the loudest stadiums in the league. The Saints' top two running backs are out injured. And everybody and their mother is betting on the Saints, which means that they WILL lose.
NY Jets (+2.5) over Indianapolis
Mark Sanchez has an injured shoulder, and we don't yet know if he'll be able to throw the ball. I haven't yet decided if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
The Colts are not the same this year, and even in the years that they WERE the same they had a bad habit of losing on Wild Card weekend. They are too banged up. Reggie Wayne is getting ready for a stay on Revis Island. A Jets win, when all they do is talk and talk and talk, will infuriate Peter King, if he isn't still doing keg stands. And Shonn Greene will trick me into taking me in the 2nd round of next year's fantasy football draft by having a monster playoffs.
Baltimore (-3) over KANSAS CITY
When the news broke that Charlie Weis, the Chiefs offensive coordinator, was taking a job as the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators, I did one of these. It made no sense! Why would you leave a job as an NFL coordinator to be a college coordinator? Not a head coach: a coordinator.
Until I found out that Charlie Weis and Chiefs head coach Todd Haley hate each other. Yeah.... that would do it.
PS: If division games mean so much, NFL, why are the Chiefs (2-4 in the AFC West) in the playoffs instead of the Raiders (6-0 in the AFC West)? Sounds like the Raiders "won" the "division" to "me".
PHILADELPHIA (-2.5) over Green Bay
Because the Super Bowl has to be Michael Vick vs. Ben Roethlisberger. Speaking of which, how come Michael Vick can't have a dog but Ben Roethlisberger can have a fiance? I mean, shouldn't we value our women more than we value our dogs? BALL'S IN YOUR COURT, SOCIETY.
Week 16: 6-10 Regular season: 107-122-7 (in which I remind you: it doesn't matter whether I am above or below .500, it only matters how much I deviated from it)
Last week, the apocalypse finally happened. I went 3-13 against the spread. 3-13. 3 AND 13!!! Wow! So what went wrong? Let's start with Carolina. The Panthers had the driver's seat for the #1 pick. John Fox is DEFINITELY GETTING FIRED, no matter what happens. And Arizona still had a shot at a playoff spot. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! The only possible monkey wrench was that Jimmy Clausen, faced with the prospect of Carolina taking Andrew Luck with the top pick and replacing him at quarterback, would be super motivated and play out of his mind. But, I mean, as monkey wrenches go, that's got to be up there with a team's season being derailed because a sports gossip website reveals that the coach's wife has been posting foot fetish videos on the internet. NOT TOO LIKELY.
Dallas (-6.5) over ARIZONA
When the Redskins benched McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman against Dallas not week, not only did I jump on the Cowboys as 5 point favorites, I picked them in my suicide pool. Naturally Rex would throw for four touchdowns and nearly lead the Skins back for the upset. Rex Grossman. Jimmy Clausen. Are we detecting a theme yet? ALL THESE BAD QUARTERBACKS ARE FUCKING WITH ME.
Detroit (+3.5) over MIAMI
Detroit is coming for your football teams, state of Florida!
PHILADELPHIA (-14.5) over Minnesota
I can't decide if this makes me feel better or worse about the Eagles' win.
Okay, yes I can. Worse. Much worse.
JACKSONVILLE (-7) over Washington
Consider me a Rex Grossman doubter.
San Fransisco (+2.5) over ST. LOUIS
All the hand wringing about a 7-9 team making the playoffs as got to stop. Division winners get playoff spots and home games because division games should mean something. This is not the first time that I good team missed the playoffs in favor of a bad team because the bad team won their division, and it won't be the last. This makes the regular season better for everyone. It makes the games mean more. Do you want the NFL regular season to be as meaningless as the vestigial NBA regular season? Huh? Do you? DO YOU? NO YOU DON'T.
Now we know why Rex loves to go for it on 4th and a foot! Rex has two favorite games: football, and feet on his balls! Rex becomes sexually aroused by his wife's gross feet! Feet! FEET! FEEEEEEET!!!
(So, yeah, this might be a distraction for the Jets.)
CLEVELAND (+3.5) over Baltimore
Because Cleveland seems overdue for another upset win over a vastly superior opponent.
KANSAS CITY (-5) over Tennessee
I swear to god, if I wake up Sunday and find out Matt Cassel got his tonsils out or something I am going to flip right the ruck out.
Indianapolis (-3) over OAKLAND
Jacksonville, you fools! You have to shoot them in the head! IN THE HEAD!
DENVER (+2.5) over Houston
Or you could hope they just shoot themselves in the head like Houston this season.
NY Giants (+3) over Green Bay
Matt Dodge: it's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT! IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT!!
San Diego (-7.5) over CINCINNATI
It's fucking week 16 and I still can't spell Cincinnati right the first time. Fuck them.
ATLANTA (-2.5) over New Orleans
If I wasn't a Giants fan, here's what I would be rooting for in the playoffs: NFC Championship Game, Philadelphia over Atlanta. Super Bowl, Philadelphia over Pittsburgh. Monday morning, Roger Goodell found dead in his office from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
So last week I was all, like, "Why is Kansas City an underdog to San Diego, this is stupid" and picked KC, only to find out 10 minutes later that Matt Cassel's appendix had been removed and they would be started one of his Fathead posters in his place. My bad. Anyway, if I find out after I make this pick that Matt Cassel has recovered from his appendix removal and is starting on Sunday, this pick is null and void. NULL AND VOID I SAY!
Houston (-1.5) over TENNESSEE
As I watched Suzi's face crumple in despair as Matt Schaub threw the TAINT that ended Houston's season Monday night, I reflected that maybe some people are happier not caring about sports.
Jacksonville (+5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Finish them! FINISH THEM!!!
Arizona (+2.5) over CAROLINA
Arizona can still win their division, and Carolina can still win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. I don't see why this game even needs to be played.
Cleveland (+1) over CINCINNATI
Never leave me again, Colt McCoy. Promise to never leave me again.
Buffalo (+5.5) over MIAMI
Which was a more dramatic implosion: the Metrodome or Chad Henne's career?
NY GIANTS (-2.5) over Philadelphia
Suzi and I had the "should Michael Vick be allowed to own a dog" argument in the car this morning. Suzi says that, of course not, he's basically dog Hitler. I say he should: can you imagine a dog that would be better taken care of? Vick would NEVER let anything happen to that dog. The dog would be driven around in a little doggie version of the Pope-mobile. And nothing but the finest, softest rape stands! Why, you might even call them lovemaking stands.
DALLAS (-7) over Washington
Rex Grossman alert! Rex Grossman alert! We are at Rex Grossman Alert Level 5! This is not a drill people!!
Detroit (+5.5) over TAMPA BAY
Washington beats Tampa Bay by 6 with most high school kickers last week.
New Orleans (-1.5) over BALTIMORE
This will play out for Baltimore exactly like the Monday night game against Houston, except without the 21 point lead against Houston's soft, soft pass defense.
SEATTLE (+6) over Atlanta
Is that a trap game I smell? I think it is!
PITTSBURGH (-6) over NY Jets
Everybody is too anxious to say "the Jets come out shooting with everything they've got, they've GOT to win this game", which ignores the fact that Mark Sanchez is battling Carson Palmer for the title of "former USC quarterback single handedly destroying his team's season".
Denver (+7) over OAKLAND
I'm excited for the beginning of the Tim Tebow era, if only for all the virgin and abortion jokes.
NEW ENGLAND (-13) over Green Bay
There is a number high enough to make me take Green Bay in this game. It's out there somewhere. But 13 is not it.
MINNESOTA (+6.5) over Chicago
When I hear players saying things like "when the field is frozen, we might as well be trying to make cuts in cleats on the parking lot" I take the points.
Last week (excluding Thursday): 9-6 Last night: 1-0 Overall: 99-99-7 (back at .500 bitches!!)
Oakland's inexplicable domination of San Diego notwithstanding, this matchup falls under the hard and fast dominion of the "never take the West Coast team on the East Coast in a 1pm game" rule. Apparently no amount of athletic conditioning can prepare you to play football when your body thinks its 10am.
PITTSBURGH (-8.5) over Cincinnati
Thanks, Cincinnati. I dreamed of the day when we would no longer have to wait while an offense tried to draw a defense off-sides by barking out hard counts and audibles with no intent of running an actual play. Now, thanks to you, this nonsense will continue.
New England (-3) over CHICAGO
I'm assuming New England will be able to show up for this game on time, and won't be delayed because they were unable to dislodge their foot from the Jets' ass in time.
Cleveland (+1) over BUFFALO
While Buffalo may have lost the game, when that Bills defender potentially ended Favre's season (and career) by planting his face 6 inches below the turf, I think we all became winners.
NY Giants (-3) over MINNESOTA
While I'm sure Favre will insist on coming back for this game, he should give some deep consideration to the string of quarterbacks that the Giants have knocked out of games this year.
DETROIT (+6.5) over Green Bay
Because that's just enough of a spread for Detroit to remain competitive yet still lose handily.
Atlanta (-7) over CAROLINA
On behalf of everyone who had Seattle in a suicide pool last week, I would like to personally thank Carolina for tanking that game after going up 14 last week. John Fox' halftime speech must have sounded something like this: "Okay, boys, we've proved our point: now let's go out there and get that #1 draft pick!"
Tampa Bay (-2) over WASHINGTON
The immutable law of Tampa Bay holds: they are now 7-0 against losing teams and 0-5 against winning teams.
NEW ORLEANS (-9) over St. Louis
Yes, I know New Orleans has already lost to Cleveland and Arizona at home. Yes, I'm nervous about it. Leave me alone.
Seattle (+5) over SAN FRANSISCO
Because I don't care about this game, I will instead use the opportunity to climb on my soapbox: can somebody explain the difference between what Cam Newton allegedly did and what Reggie Bush allegedly did? Otherwise, I can't help but find Gregg Easterbrook's explanation this week irrefutable. Finding Reggie Bush guilty of violations after the tickets were sold, the TV ad time was sold, and the awards were handed out would be much less detrimental to the NCAA than if Cam Newton was declared ineligible just a month before the BCS Championship game. If I gave a crap about college football the whole thing would make me fucking puke.
(And for the record: just fucking pay the players already and get it over with).
NY JETS (-5.5) over Miami
I love Rex Ryan ceremoniously burying the football after the Monday Night game. It's like he's already story boarding the sports movie about the 2010 Jets ("Taking Flight: The 2010 Jets", starring John Goodman as Rex Ryan!)
Denver (-5) over ARIZONA
This Denver season has been such an abortion that Tim Tebow should quit the team in protest.
Kansas City (+7) over SAN DIEGO
This line is a slap in the face for Kansas City. How is the most secure division leader in football a full touchdown underdog? What am I missing?
DALLAS (+3.5) over Philadelphia
As a Giants fan, Dallas finishing the season on a roll is the best possible outcome: they won't get a good draft pick, AND they'll keep Jason Garrett instead of hiring Bill Cowher.
Baltimore (-3) over HOUSTON
The only interesting thing to discuss regarding the Houston Texans is: have we decided yet? Are Houston fans "Arian Nation" or "Foster's Kids"?
Fun is over, Houston. Philadelphia is about to do this to you.
Buffalo (+5.5) over MINNESOTA
It's an old cliche in sports that good teams find ways to win. Buffalo has created its own cliche: each week, they find new and more exciting ways to lose games. If Steve Johnson had caught that pass, I would have sent a similar angry tweet to God about my suicide pool. I PRAISE YOU EVERYDAY, THIS IS HOW YOU DO ME?! OUT IN WEEK 12?!?!! THANKS ALOT GOD.
Cleveland (+4.5) over MIAMI
Wait, is this the line for the football game or the basketball game tonight? Either way my pick is the same.
Jacksonville (+1.5) over TENNESSEE
With a third-string quarterback and the best running back in the league, it makes sense that you have to pass on 57% of your plays, right? The fact that you scored zero points against one of the worst defenses in the league is a coincidence. That's some smart coaching right there, Jeff Fisher, you creepy-mustache having douche. I can't wait until Vince Young is tearing up the league in Arizona next year.
Maybe its time for Tom Coughlin to use reverse psychology and encourage his team to fumble the ball away and throw interceptions. Watching the Giants play is like trying to sleep with a hammer stuck in your ceiling, just waiting for another Ahmad Bradshaw fumble or Eli Manning tipped interception to jostle it lose onto your face.
DETROIT (+4) over Chicago
Now that everyone has stopped under-rating Chicago, its time for them to lose a game to an inferior opponent.
San Fransisco (+9.5) over GREEN BAY
New Orleans (-6.5) over CINCINNATI
Cincinnati might secretly be the worst team in the league. I wish they played Arizona sometime this year so we could find out for sure.
Atlanta (-3) over TAMPA BAY
Hope you are wearing a cup, because it is time for some hard hitting analysis: Tampa Bay is 7-0 against teams with losing records, and 0-4 against teams with winning records.
Oakland (+13) over SAN DIEGO
Because San Diego's first loss to Oakland this year cost me my first strike in my two-strikes-and-you-are-out suicide pool, and no its just because I'm bitter that they went down 12 points in the first quarter because of two blocked punts, I mean, Jesus Christ who allows two blocked punts in a season, nevermind one goddamned quarter!! GAHH!
SEATTLE (-6) over Carolina
This should actually read "QWEST FIELD (-6) over Carolina".
INDIANAPOLIS (-5.5) over Dallas
Because Peyton Manning won't lose 3 in a row (and if he does, then next week I'll pick him again with the same sentence, except it will be 4 in a row).
Breaking news: Chad Pennington is actually made entirely out of chiffon and sugar crystals. I wish that there was a place that I could have gambled on him re-injuring himself during his first game back.
Oakland (+7) over PITTSBURGH
Did you see the way New England's defense just forced themselves on Ben Roethlisberger last week? That was not right.
Houston (+7) over NY JETS
The unluckiest team in the league (we've all seen the Hail Mary, right? Jesus Christ) vs. the luckiest (scraped out two overtime wins on the road against teams that a legit contender should be able to handle thanks to crazy fumbles and horrible time management by their opponents). Karma fucking owes this game to Houston.
Baltimore (-10) over CAROLINA
I think the fact that Jimmy Clausen wasn't a first round pick gives Carolina cover to take another quarterback in next year's draft. The fact that he wasn't a first round pick also proves that sometimes, the NFL actually seems to know what the fuck they are doing.
TENNESSEE (-7) over Washington
This actually makes me feel bad for the Eagles player who was blocking Haynesworth. Just because Fat Albert wants to lay on the ground like he's looking for a cookie he lost under the sofa doesn't mean the defender wants to stand around with his dick in his hand.
Detroit (+6.5) over DALLAS
Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's hold on just a second, Dallas fans. I believe the term of art for this situation is "let's not start sucking each others dicks just yet."
Green Bay (-3) over MINNESOTA
I've heard the phrase "all-in" alot to describe this Vikings season. Bringing back Brett Favre. Trading for Randy Moss. But doesn't keeping Brad Childress as your head coach mean you were going all-in with Queen-Jack off-suit?
Buffalo (+5.5) over CINCINNATI
I hate fucking Cincinnati. Why? Because I can never remember how to spell it. Is it the N or the T that gets doubled I CAN NEVER REMEMBER FUCK YOU CINNCINATTI. Also Carson Palmer is the personification of everything that is dumb about fantasy football. He's having a good fantasy season, yet is probably the 28th quarterback you'd actually want on your team (I'd probably take him over whatever the fuck is happening in Carolina and Arizona, but that's about it).
JACKSONVILLE (-1.5) over Cleveland
I can't tell which of these teams is going to be let down more - Jacksonville after the Hail Mary, or Cleveland after two straight weeks of competitive games against the best teams in the AFC - so I'm just taking the home team and calling it a day.
Kansas City (-8) over ARIZONA
Is it necessary to have a quarterback? Couldn't you just have the center hike the ball, let it roll around, maybe somebody picks it up, or it just gets kicked around? I mean, just see what happens, right? These are the questions Arizona should be asking itself right about now.
NEW ORLEANS (-11.5) over Seattle
Seattle has to be one of the worst division leaders in the history of the NFL. I can't wait to bet against them when they get a playoff home game.
Atlanta (-3) over ST. LOUIS
Look: I'm a huge Steve Spagnuolo fan, and I love what he has done with St. Louis, but Atlanta is the best team in the NFC right now. Three points is a slap in the face.
Tampa Bay (+3) over SAN FRANSISCO
San Fransisco is another team a la Dallas that is rushing into some mutual fellatio.
NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) over Indianapolis
This is an Indy team that is winning solely on the skill of its quarterback and the confidence instilled from years of success. Which makes it all the more upsetting to me that they embarrassed the Giants so badly when they played.
PHILADELPHIA (-3) over NY Giants
While I expect the Giants to put up more of a fight than the Redskins, mobile quarterbacks have always KILLED the Giants because they neutralize their best asset (aggressive pass rush). This game is definitely Bad Newz for the Giants.
Denver (+10) over SAN DIEGO
11 weeks in, and San Diego STILL has the #1 rated offense and defense, and they are STILL under .500. They are putting the "special" in special teams.
At this point, I am clearly not in danger of being accused of cheating on my NFL picks like some overrated Wheel of Fortune contestant, but I keep plugging along: much as I would exult in the adulation that correct football picks would surely bring, so must I suffer the humiliation of failing where so many German octopi have succeeded.
Baltimore (+1) over ATLANTA
Less because I have a strong opinion and more to mollify an enraged sister-in-law Selma, who was so furious that I didn't pick Baltimore last week that she only cooked me one delicious dinner while she was visiting.
INDIANAPOLIS (-7) over Cincinnati
I'm not the only one who considered the possibility that Austin Collie might have been dead, right?
JACKSONVILLE (-1.5) over Houston
That Gary Kubiak continues to have a job coaching the perennially underachieving Texans is one of the great ongoing mysteries of the NFL.
Tennessee (-2) over MIAMI
Chad Pennington is a white flag, not a solution.
Minnesota (-1) over CHICAGO
The only thing more nauseating than watching Brett Favre celebrate after Minnesota's miracle win last week was that three of the remaining seven people in my suicide pool all escaped unscathed because of it.
BUFFALO (-2.5) over Detroit
This is a matchup for the ages: never have I seen two teams more adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Detroit shot themselves in the foot so many times last week they had to reload. And only Buffalo could lose a game by three points in which the only scoring was three touchdowns by both teams. There were no field goals (the difference was a missed extra point and two-point conversion attempt by Buffalo and a made two-point conversion attempt by Chicago). Amazing!
CLEVELAND (+3) over NY Jets
To anybody who is surprised by the success of Cleveland under rookie quarterback Colt McCoy: how could he not succeed? His name is COLT MCCOY!! He sounds like he was forged out of steel at the 50 yard line of Lambeau Field, or sprang forth from the forehead of Johnny Unitas. He is a quarterback and also has the same name as a gun!
TAMPA BAY (-6.5) over Carolina
I love a coach that has the tenacity to ruin the confidence of not one, but two young quarterbacks at the same time. Well done, John Fox.
Kansas City (-1) over DENVER
Josh McDaniels is the anti-Colt McCoy.
St. Louis (+6) over SAN FRANSISCO
This is just out of principle: a 4-4 team should not give almost a touchdown to a 2-6 team. I don't care what you think, Mike Singletary's Enormous Cross.
Seattle (+3) over ARIZONA
I mean, Seattle is basically coming off a bye week, right? What? They were actually on the field against the Giants last week? Yeesh.
NY GIANTS (-13.5) over Dallas
When they played three weeks ago, Dallas was favored by 3.5. Has there ever been a swing like that*?
*It's a rhetorical question meant to make a point about the degree to which the fortunes of these two teams have diverged, I'm not actually expecting you to know.
New England (+4.5) over PITTSBURGH
Overreaction to that Cleveland game. Belichick is a smart enough coach to know that, once the game in Cleveland got out of hand, he wasn't going to go out of his way to try to win and give Pittsburgh anything to study on game film. New England bounces back against a Pittsburgh team coming off a short week.
Philadelphia (-3) over WASHINGTON
The most fascinating part of Michael Vick's season is going to be this offseason, when he is a free agent. Think of all the teams that need a quarterback: Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona, San Fransisco, and, potentially, Washington. I'm sure I'm missing somebody. Or does Philly keep him and trade Kolb instead? We're all agreed that Dan Snyder is going to offer him a huge deal to come to DC, right?
Whoochaw! P-chow! Hiya! That's right bitches, I am back with my ninja NFL picking skillZ with a Z so capital it was just used as punishment to kill a retarded Texas inmate that was innocent of his crimes, WOOPCHAW! 9-3 last week motherfuckers.
Buffalo (+3) over Chicago
Nobody gets capitalized because Buffalo is technically the home team, but this game is in Toronto which is the wrong goddamn country. Fact which Buffalo fans can use to get themselves to sleep at night: this is one hell of a good 0-7 team.
HOUSTON (+3) over San Diego
Logic demands it, and Football Outsiders confirms it: if a football team has the #1 rated offense, #1 rated defense, and a losing record, they must have some historically bad special teams. Your 2010 San Diego Chargers!
CAROLINA (+6.5) over New Orleans
Apparently we are having a special this week on picking home dogs to cover.
Arizona (+8) over MINNESOTA
I've seen alot of bad personnel moves in my day, but a third-round pick for 4 weeks of Randy Moss running half-speed is an all-timer.
Tampa Bay (+8.5) over ATLANTA
Jesus CHRIST I LOVE THE UNDERDOGS THIS WEEK GIVE ME YOUR DELICIOUS POINTS
NY Jets (-4) over DETROIT
Look, there is a perfectly good explanation for the Jets getting shutout at home after their bye week last week, and I'm going to give it to you right nowHEY LOOK OVER THERE ITS AN ALLIGATOR FIGHTING AN ELEPHANT
Miami (+5.5) over BALTIMORE
If Old Spice had any integrity, those commercials would end with Ray Lewis stabbing that giant space raven to death.
CLEVELAND (+4.5) over New England
Everybody is touting New England as the new best team in football, time for them to LOOOOSE
SEATTLE (+7) over NY Giants
Men hide your women and Seattle hide your quarterbacks, the GIANTS are coming to town! They've already got notches on their bedpost for Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Sean Hill, Matt Moore, and now they are coming for you Matt Hasselback.
OAKLAND (-1) over Kansas City
Daytrader, who is a football traditionalist, does nothing but yell and scream about Todd Haley going for it too often on fourth down. Listen: the outcome of an individual fourth down conversion is MEANINGLESS. What matters is that he is telling his team that they are no longer going to settle for being safe losers, and they are going to be bold winners. And fate rewarded their manliness with an undeserved victory last week against Buffalo.
Indianapolis (+3) over PHILADELPHIA
Peyton Manning + points = auto-wager
GREEN BAY (-7.5) over Dallas
If I lose this bet, I've still got some left over winnings from when I bet Giants Defensive Line (+8.5) over TONY ROMO'S CLAVICLE
Pittsburgh (-5) over CINCINNATI
Because I have picked Pittsburgh in my suicide pool this week, please ignore everything I said about home dogs covering up until now. Thank you.
Our long national nightmare is over: I've taken my P.E. test and will now have free time again! (For anyone who doesn't know what the P.E. test is, its an engineering licensing test along the same lines as a bar exam for a lawyer. Imagine every test you ever took in college, distilled down into pill form, and delivered as a suppository. For eight hours.) In any case: on to the picks! This week, all in math!
San Fransisco (+2) over Denver
The Niners first win on the road + Denver lighting themselves on fire and throwing themselves off a cliff at home = another Niners win in England
Jacksonville (+6.5) over DALLAS
Dallas already sucked + Tomo Romo's shattered clavible = Dallas is going to really REALLY suck now.
DETROIT (-2.5) over Washington
McNabb + Shanahan - 2004 + 2010 = Disappointment
NY JETS (-6) over Green Bay
Jets bye week + emotional Green Bay game last Sunday night = letdown game whoopin for Green Bay
ST. LOUIS (-3) over Carolina
Steve Spagnuolo + Matt Moore = Jesse picked St. Louis in his suicide pool and will be really sad if this doesn't work out
Miami (+1.5) over CINCINNATI
Miami undefeated on the road + the better team getting points = my lock of the week
Buffalo (+7.5) over KANSAS CITY
KC overrated + Buffalo underrated = too many points
Tennessee (+3.5) over SAN DIEGO
San Diego continuing to be overrated + San Diego CONTINUING TO BE OVERRATED = the better team getting points again
Tampa Bay (+3) over ARIZONA
Rose hates Arizona + Daytrader hates Tampa Bay = Rose wins
OAKLAND (-2.5) over Seattle
Seattle is horrible on the road + JESUS CHRIST OAKLAND SCORED 59 POINTS LAST WEEK! IN DENVER!! = I thought this line would be higher
NEW ENGLAND (-5.5) over Minnesota
Brett Favre - ankle bones = Tavaris Jackson
Pittsburgh (+1) over NEW ORLEANS
The 2010 Saints - Kim Kardashian = The Saints from every other year
At this point, I hope nobody is reading this picks to gain insight into how they should wager on the weekend's games. Actually, I know nobody is, because if you had been wagering on my advice, you'd be in an unmarked grave somewhere just off the New Jersey Turnpike. However! This is the week I turn it around, with one magic word: Overreaction.
Pittsburgh (-3) over MIAMI
Overreaction: to Miami beating a floundering Packers team.
Glad to see you've gotten over that whole "Ben Roethlisberger definitely raped one girl and probably a bunch more we don't know about it" to applaud him last Sunday. Stay classy, Pittsburgh.
ATLANTA (-3.5) over Cincinnati
Overreaction: to Atlanta struggling against a talented Eagles team, as well as everybody taking the bye week to forget how bad Cincinnati is.
Jacksonville (+9) over KANSAS CITY
Overreaction: to Jacksonville deciding to just lie back and enjoy it on national TV Monday night. Did you know that horrible, unwatchable football game between two tiny markets got better ratings than Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte dueling it out in the baseball playoffs for two of the top 5 markets in the country?
Philadelphia (+3) over TENNESSEE
Overreaction: to Tennessee laying in to Jacksonville on national TV. And before you say "but Tennessee is at home!", Philly is 3-0 on the road this season and the Titans are only 1-2 at home.
CHICAGO (-3) over Washington
Overreaction: to Washington hanging close with the Colts. Is there a QB who inspires less confidence that he can execute a fourth quarter game winning drive than Donovan McNabb?
Cleveland (+13) over NEW ORLEANS
Overreaction: to New Orleans finally putting up some points last week. Everybody is ready to say "New Orleans is back!" but Cleveland hung in last week against the best team in football for three quarters. I'm taking the points.
BALTIMORE (-13) over Buffalo
Overreaction: ...okay this probably isn't an overreaction, Buffalo sucks balls.
CAROLINA (+3) over San Fransisco
Overreaction: to SF finally winning a game. Home underdogs have a very good record this year. No, I don't know what it is. No, I'm not looking it up. I just know its true because its why my picking record sucks so goddamn hard this year.
TAMPA BAY (-3) over St. Louis
Overreaction: to the Rams not being 0-6 again. They are 0-2 on the road, losing by a combined score of 60-20 in those two games.
Arizona (+6) over SEATTLE
Overreaction: to Seattle's so-called "home field advantage". Everyone talks about how Seattle is a hard place to play because the "acoustics" (i.e. the stadium staff pumping in crowd noise over the speakers, which nobody can prove, but they fucking do it and its totally cheating) make it difficult for opposing offenses to execute. You know what makes it hard for the Seattle offense to execute? The fact that they SUCK.
New England (+3) over SAN DIEGO
Overreaction: to San Diego supposedly having the #1 rated offense and #1 rated defense in football. They are 2-4. If this team has the best offensive and defensive ratings, then there is a problem with the ratings.
Oakland (+8.5) over DENVER
Overreaction: to Denver almost beating the Jets last weekend. Nobody has covered a big spread in a divisional game this year.
Minnesota (+2.5) over GREEN BAY
Overreaction: ... actually, I think this is an underreaction to how bad Green Bay has been. So... maybe... overreaction to Brett Favre's penis?
NY Giants (+3) over DALLAS
Overreaction: the overreaction is ME, flipping the fuck out. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SAY THESE TWO TEAMS ARE EQUAL, VEGAS?! The Giants are going to DESTROY THE DALLAS COWBOYS IN A FOOTBALL GAME ON MONDAY, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY WOOOOOOOO
And now I have taken a strike in my 2-strikes-and-your-out-of-caring-about-this-NFL-season-anymore suicide pool, because San Diego couldn't PUNT THE GODDAMN BALL CLEANLY. San Diego sucks, and I will relish St. Louis embarrassing them by not allowing them to win by more than 8.
Kansas City (+4.5) over HOUSTON
And you, Houston, what do you have to say for yourself. Poor Suzi got herself all excited for you not sucking this year, and this is how you repay her.
NEW ENGLAND (-2.5) over Baltimore
The Patriots only have themselves to blame for what happened with Randy Moss. By not giving him a contract extension they were practically begging him to implode on the team. I hope Wes Welker enjoys being triple teamed the rest of the year.
TAMPA BAY (+4) over New Orleans
New Orleans has not played a convincing road game yet. They lost last week, they should have lost at San Fransisco. They haven't played a convincing game yet, full stop. The league is convinced that they can't run the ball, which may be in part because their game plan each week includes holding up a giant sign that says, "WE CANNOT RUN THE BALL PLEASE PLAY DEEP AGAINST OUR PASS GAME THANK YOU." God, I feel so unreasonably confident about my picks this week!!
Atlanta (+2.5) over PHILADELPHIA
Either Michael Vick isn't playing, in which case Atlanta will win, or he is but he's still going to be hurt, and will be knocked out of the game in the first half, in which case Atlanta will still win.
NY GIANTS (-10) over Detroit
That's a fuckload of points. On the other hand, I have it from a HIGHLY TRUSTED SOURCE (one of the degenerate gamblers I follow on twitter) that Calvin Johnson isn't playing for Detroit. Plus, they haven't won a game on the road since 9/11. And now they are playing in New York! Coincidence?!? Perhaps, but only because I made that fact up.
CHICAGO (-6.5) over Seattle
We learned last week that when Chicago is playing a horrible team, it doesn't matter who the QB was. And Seattle on the road is horrible.
Miami (+4) over GREEN BAY
In three weeks Green Bay has gone from Super Bowl favorite to everybody wondering when their coach is going to get fired.
Cleveland (+13.5) over PITTSBURGH
Okay, I know, it seems crazy. Rookie QB starting on the road against the best defense in football. On the other hand, consider:
- if the aforementioned rookie QB throws the ball more than 15 times it will be a shock; - Big Ben hasn't played a competitive football game in 5 weeks; - this is a divisional game, all of which have seemed to be very competitive this year; - Cleveland has a good running game, which allows them to control the clock;
I'm not saying Cleveland will win. I'm just saying two touchdowns seems like alot of points, and I want them. I WANTS THE POINTS.
NY Jets (-3) over DENVER
I saw before last weekend that Denver led the league in passing yards. Then they laid an egg against Baltimore. Maybe they led the league because they hadn't played any good defenses yet?
Oakland (+6.5) over SAN FRANSISCO
On the scale of ridiculous proclamations, I rank the 49ers president declaring that his 0-5 team will still win their division somewhere between death panels and "Modern Family" winning the Emmy for Best Comedy last year.
MINNESOTA (-1.5) over Dallas
I also have Greg Oden (-4.5) over Brett Favre.
Indianapolis (-3) over WASHINGTON
These... Colts... just... won't... DIE!!!
Tennesee (-3) over JACKSONVILLE
I remember reading somewhere (I can't find it now) that Maurice Jones-Drew is an avid fantasy football player, and this year he picked himself with the number one overall pick. Which, I guess, you sort of have to do... I guess? So when he has a bad game, he has to get angry at himself as a professional AND as a fantasy owner? That'd be difficult.
At this point, these picks are no longer going to be an expert column. Think of them as a side show, a car crash for horrified onlookers to look at the wreckage and ponder the emptiness of this thing we call life. (Home team in CAPS)
Denver (+7) over BALTIMORE
Letdown game for Baltimore after the big win over Pittsburgh last week, plus Baltimore hasn't beaten anybody by 7 yet this year (note: this may not be true, because I haven't looked it up, but it FEELS true). Meanwhile, Denver leads the league in passing yards this year.
BUFFALO (-1.5) over Jacksonville
I looked at this game earlier in the week and it was Jacksonville +0.5. A two point line move? The sharps know something we don't. I'm going with the sharps.
INDIANAPOLIS (-7) over Kansas City
Honestly, I wanted to go with KC, but Daytrader talked me into this one. Which is the blind leading the blind. Literally, because we have both been blinded by our bookies for failure to make payments.
St. Louis (+3) over DETROIT
Despite the combined 2-6 record, these teams have both played well (especially compared against expectations). I honestly don't know what to make of either of these teams, so I'm going to take the points like a chump.
Atlanta (-3) over CLEVELAND
This line is an overreaction to Cleveland's close loss and Atlanta's close win last week. The point is, one team lost and one team won, and it'll happen again this week. Also, FUCK YOU Atlanta for giving me a goddamn heart attack in my suicide pool last week. You fucks.
Tampa Bay (+6.5) over CINCINNATI
Daytrader doesn't like this pick because he has Cincinnati in the suicide pool this week, but I think they've got collapse written all over them. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is coming off their bye week and had time to prepare for this game. If you have Cincinnati in your suicide pool, don't say I didn't warn you. Because I did. JUST NOW.
Chicago (+1.5) over CAROLINA
Another overreaction game. Chicago looked wretched against the Giants, but if you put a smart quarterback in his spot who just throws quick screens and slants instead of standing their like a tackling dummy until he gets the world's most predictable concussion, that game is alot different. Carolina played New Orleans tough in a divisional game. Letdown for Carolina, bounce back for Chicago, even with Todd Collins at QB.
Green Bay (-2.5) over WASHINGTON
Listen, Vegas: you think I'm going to fall for this Washington bullshit because they beat Kevin Kolb last week? I saw the egg they laid in St. Louis two weeks ago. I. Fucking. Saw it. Green Bay is going to CRUSH the Skins.
HOUSTON (-3) over NY Giants
If I wasn't such an emotional guy, I'd be taking Houston in my suicide pool this week. But I just couldn't bear it.
New Orleans (-7) over ARIZONA
Playing Arizona might be just the thing to get New Orleans' offense back on track. If so, my fantasy team thanks you, Phoenix. Rose's take: "Arizona sucks."
San Diego (-6) over OAKLAND
A hesitant pick, but maybe the momentum from last week's blowout of the Cardinals carries over to this game.
Tennesee (+7) over DALLAS
Rose's take: "Dallas sucks."
SAN FRANSISCO (-3) over Philadelphia
If San Fransisco is going to win a game this year, I don't see how this isn't it: at home, against a rattled Eagles team without Michael Vick. I guess that is a big if...
NY Jets (-3) over MINNESOTA
Rose's take: "God, Brett Favre is SO OLD." Enough said.
Denver had something like 18 snaps inside the 5 yard line against Indianapolis last week that resulted in a total of 3 points. At home. Watching them flaccidly trying to punch it in was no doubt reminiscent of Ted Haggart's sexual encounters with his wife. Just didn't seem to be that into it.
PITTSBURGH (-2) over Baltimore
Why am I convinced that Pittsburgh is the best team in the league? Their three opponents are 0-3 against them, and 6-0 in their other games. Not only that, but in the three games against Pittsburgh, those three teams have an average margin of defeat of 13 points; against the rest of the league, they have an average margin of victory of 16 points. That's a 29 point goddamn swing. And THAT is some fucking statistical analysis.
Cincinatti (-3) over CLEVELAND
Jake Delhomme is back! Red alert! Red alert!!
GREEN BAY (-14.5) over Detroit
Detroit, you really disappointed me last week.
Carolina (+13.5) over NEW ORLEANS
Are we still sure New Orleans is an elite team? They've only beaten their opponents by a total of 8 points in the two games they've won, and those teams have a combined record of 1-5 right now.
ATLANTA (-7) over San Fransisco
The Falcons take care of business at home against bad teams.
ST. LOUIS (+1) over Seattle
Seattle needed two kicks run back for touchdowns and their huge home field advantage to eke out a win against San Diego. St. Louis, meanwhile, just took care of some goddamn business at home against Washington.
NY Jets (-5.5) over BUFFALO
That was quite a show by the Bills offense last week, but it also included some mitigating factors, including a kickoff return for a touchdown, and that New England's defense sucks balls.
Indianapolis (-7) over JACKSONVILLE
Okay, Indy, I give, I give. I'll stop betting against you. Jesus Christ you take that shit personally.
Houston (-3) over OAKLAND
Goddammit Houston, way to shit the bed at home when you could have ended Dallas' season. Now I need to continue hearing about the Cowboys as if they are a legitimate team. FUCK. And Sebastian Janikowski, you are a worthless sack of crap. You have one job, and you get paid more than anybody else on the planet to do it: kick a ball through some steel poles. How do you miss THREE TIMES?!
SAN DIEGO (-8.5) over Arizona
Jesus, Arizona is bad. I have no idea how they actually score any points.
PHILADELPHIA (-6) over Washington
At what point are we all going to admit that Michael Vick is for real? I still hear people saying shit like "well, he's being playing against bad defenses, let's see him do it against a real team." He's not just playing against bad defenses, he is destroying them like he destroyed all those dogs. It's like the Detroit Lions defense lost a dog fight and he had to put them down in the cruelest way possible.
Chicago (+3.5) over NY GIANTS
Wow, Tom Coughlin, way to be a fucking disciplinarian, that shit is working out GREAT. Eight - EIGHT!!! - personal foul calls against Tennessee last week. That's as many yards of penalties as Vince Young threw for. I'm not picking this team again until his withered red face is fired.
MIAMI (+1) over New England
I'll take the points for the home team in the division game. Did you like how that sentence made it sound like I know what I'm doing? It's funny, because...
Someday in the not too distant future, I will be taking my PE exam. On that magical day, I will no longer be spending all my free time studying for said exam, and may once again write something on this here forum on a more regular basis. Someday. But at least today you get some more of my expert advice.
NY GIANTS (-3) over Tennessee
Daytrader and I had a long heart-to-heart about the Giants last week during half time of their butt whupping by the Colts. Ultimately, we feel it came down to the coaching. The Giants came out in a dime defense, which means you take out all your big fat linemen and play the pass. The Colts responded by saying, "Thank you very much," putting all their big fat linemen in, and then running the ball down the Giants gullet.
Merely a week after watching Houston run up and down the field on the Colts, the Giants, perplexingly, came out throwing. Then, down three scores at the half, they had to keep throwing and throwing. All those drop backs gave Freeney and Mathis, the Colts defensive ends, lots of opportunities to sack Eli. And sack him they did, including a strip-sack that led directly to a Colts touchdown.
In short, the Giants coaches were outsmarted. Or they outsmarted themselves. This week, they get back at home against a Tennessee team that suddenly looks out of sorts. And with Chris Johnson coming to down, I don't expect to see them try that dime defense bullshit again.
At least, these are the things I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
NEW ENGLAND (-14.5) over Buffalo
I give you your suicide pool whipping boys of 2010, the Buffalo Bills!
Cleveland (+10.5) over BALTIMORE
I don't have alot of rules in life, but this is rule #1: never take a team favored by more points than they have scored in a game all season. Baltimore has only scored 10 points in each of their first two games.
TAMPA BAY (+2.5) over Pittsburgh
Once you are done laughing, listen up: Pittsburgh is going to be starting their eighth string QB this weekend (I think Steelers starting quarterback is up their with cop and fireman as the most dangerous job in America right now), and Tampa Bay showed they can stop a team with a shitty quarterback and a good running game (Carolina). So I'll take the points at home, thank you very much.
Cincinatti (-3) over CAROLINA
What, exactly, happened to Matt Moore? The way that bandwagon crashed it looks like it was driven by Dale Earnhardt.
Atlanta (+4) over NEW ORLEANS
Here's the real question: which QB should I start in my fantasy league, Drew Brees or Matt Ryan?
KANSAS CITY (+3) over San Fransisco
Wait, you mean I get a 2-0 team hosting an 0-2 team AND three points?
Detroit (+11) over MINNESOTA
See Rule #1: Minnesota scored 9 points week 1 and 10 in week 2, and yet is favored by 11 here. This is my upset pick of the week: I say Detroit wins outright and ends Minnesota's season. HOUSTON (-2.5) over Dallas
Is this a misprint? It's only 2.5 points, not 12.5 points? Because I would still take Houston. Dallas is done. I tried to warn you, Suze.
Washington (-2.5) over ST. LOUIS
What a choke job by Washington. Nice job blitzing on fourth and ten, leaving the best wide receiver in the game in single coverage. Although when Gary Kubiak elected to punt instead of kick the 53-yard field goal (or just trying for the first down) inside Washington territory in overtime, I thought that was game over for Houston. What a total lack of testicular fortitude.
Philadelphia (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Andy Reid's mistake wasn't making Michael Vick the starter. It was making such a big deal out of Kevin Kolb in the first place. We're talking about KEVIN KOLB, for fuck's sake. Andy Reid once again proves Rule #2: Walrus' are terrible at making decisions. Don't let a walrus coach your football team.
DENVER (+5.5) over Indianapolis
Hold your horses, Colts fans (get it?) Denver isn't liable to hand the game over to you the way the Giants did last Sunday night. Let's see them earn one first before making them heavy road favorites.
SEATTLE (+5.5) over San Diego
This line is an over-reaction. Seattle is still a very tough place to visiting teams to play.
ARIZONA (-4.5) over Oakland
Let's just keep going, okay?
MIAMI (-2) over NY Jets
I'm not saying that drunk driving is ever okay, but isn't it a hundred times worse when a rich guy does it? Braylon Edwards could pay a guy $100k a year just to drive him around when he's drunk, the same way Plaxico could pay a guy $100k a year to carry his gun for him. At least when a poor guy is doing it, he can justify it: what was he supposed to do, leave his car there?
Green Bay (-3) over CHICAGO
Wow, you mean Chicago beat both Detroit AND Dallas! That's amazing, that they were able to beat those two horrible teams, only one of whom they technically should have lost to. Give me a break.
Here are this weeks picks (home team is listed in CAPS).
Kansas City (+2) over CLEVELAND
In wagering on Cleveland last week, its not that I forgot Jake Delhomme was their quarterback, per se; its that I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt on a new team against what should be a putrid Tampa Bay squad. Well, he was who we thought he was.
GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
Down by five, with under a minute left, needing a touchdown to win at home, I watched in disbelief as Buffalo executed dump off pass after dump off pass until they were dumped off the field with a loss. Tea Party members watched that game and thought, "Jesus Christ, these guys are really conservative."
Baltimore (-2) over CINCINNATI
Look out, Cincinnati fans: I think they are coming back down to Earth this year, and I mean hard.
TENNESSEE (-5) over Pittsburgh
As Kevin pointed out last week, I continue to believe in Tennessee. Philadelphia (-6) over DETROIT
I reserve the right to call a mulligan on this game if Andy Reid starts a concussed (and also just terrible anyway) Kevin Kolb instead of Michael Vick. Andy Reid, did you see the Eagles play last week, or did you run out to eat an entire pizza during the game? Are we sure that you didn't also get a concussion at some point, because I just can't imagine why you wouldn't start Vick the rest of the season.
And speaking of Detroit: Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously wrote regarding hard-core pornography that it is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it." Mr. Calvin Johnson, touchdowns are apparently very hard to define, but that, sir, was a touchdown, and only people who picked Chicago in their suicide pools would argue otherwise.
Chicago (+7.5) over DALLAS
Why don't we wait for Dallas to actually score more than 7 points in a game before we install them as over 7 point favorites, shall we?
(Confidential to the Suze: WHY ARE YOU PICKING DALLAS IN THE SUICIDE POOL?!?!? You are picking a team that LOST over a team that WON! Just pick Green Bay like every other sane person! You will rue the day, my dear.)
CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay
Matt Moore threw what might be the worst interception I've ever seen last week against the Giants. I didn't even know there was such a thing as quintuple coverage until I saw him try to throw to the guy that was in it. And yes, I'm aware I'm picking him. It's Tampa Bay, they aren't starting 2-0.
Arizona (+6.5) over ATLANTA
How many text messages and voice mails do you think Larry Fitzgerald has left for Kurt Warner by now, begging him to unretire? 1000? 2000?
Related: did Matt Leinart watch Derek Anderson play last week while cutting himself?
MINNESOTA (-5.5) over Miami
Stories of Brett Favre's demise are greatly exaggerated, and here's why: he skipped training camp. If there is one position player who cannot get away with skipping training camp, its quarterback. You could tell that his timing was off with his receivers, he didn't trust anybody except his tight end Shiancoe, and his two favorite targets from last year were injured or suffering from crippling migraines. Now the migraines have been cured, he's had another week of practice, and he'll be at home instead of in the opener against the defending champs (a game which the champs never seem to lose, year after year). The Vikings are going to be just fine.
OAKLAND (-3.5) over St. Louis
Like Detroit, St. Louis is another team that hasn't been able to shake last year's stink off, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Rams were rumbling in for a touchdown after a turnover when Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston stripped the ball away in what has to be the hustle play of the year so far. Instead of being up 20-10 the score remained 13-10, which is the kind of thing that happens when you are a losing team.
Seattle (-3.5) over DENVER
Not just an unexpected victory, but an unexpected ass whupping of San Fransisco by Seattle last week. I can only assume some sort of recruitment violation by Pete Carrol is the reason.
Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON
I said last week that if Houston wants to be a playoff team, they have to beat Indy at home. They did it. Well, if they want to be a playoff team, they need to beat Washington on the road.
Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO
BOLD PREDICTION ALERT: Somebody other than San Diego is winning the AFC West this year.
New England (-3) over NY JETS
Lost in all the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments over the Jets loss last week is this: they lost by one point, AND 4 of those points came from almost directly from a bogus running into the kicker call in the 2nd quarter that kept a drive alive that would have ended in a field goal that ultimately resulted in a touchdown.
That being said, the Jets offense is among the worst I have ever seen (says the man who drafted Shonn Greene in the 2nd round of his fantasy league and is already mentally checking out), and New England will reassert their dominance over their AFC East rivals.
NY Giants (+5.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
Houston has given the league the blueprint for beating Indy this year: run the football. And the Giants can run the football. I loved what I saw from the Giants last week: they were up against an inferior opponent and didn't just beat them, they throttled them. They stepped on their neck. I am officially excited for this season.
And if you are wondering, here is what a jinx looks like: CBS puts up a graphic that says the following: "Bob Sanders has played 45 career games, and missed 47 career games due to injury." Five seconds later, Bob Sanders is out with an elbow injury. He is Sam Jackson from "Unbreakable."
New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANSISCO
Don't understand why this line isn't higher. San Fransisco had already quit on the season midway through the second quarter last week. That game was an embarrassment. They are going to get lit up.
I may have mentioned this before, but it needs to be said again: I am like a crackhead about to get my crack fix on crack rocks. I am EXCITED FOR THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. I'm been watching any football-like substance I could get my eyeballs on for the last 9 months, including high school football, college football, pre-season football and, god help me, futbol. So while some other people might not like the new Thursday opening night tradition, for me, it is like finding an oasis in the desert. And in that oasis, there is a football game on.
I'm taking over the picks column this year; not that Daytrader did a bad job, per se. I mean, he did PICK all of the games, as in, he did manage to announce a choice about what his opinion of the outcome would be successfully. But if you were gambling based on his advice, then you are not reading this, because you sold your computer at the pawn shop and your electricity has been shut off. Also, you were murdered by your bookie for unpaid debts. Such a tragedy.
Home team listed in caps:
NEW ORLEANS (-5) over Minnesota
A rematch of the NFC championship game at the same stadium. So what's changed since New Orleans won this game by 3 points last year? As far as I can tell, the Saints are as good as ever, while Minnesota has gotten worst: Sidney Rice, their #1 receiver, is out; Percy Harvin, their #2 receiver, can't see straight through his migraine headaches; and Brett Favre, who took a brutal pounding in the NFC title tilt, is already getting injections in his ankle just thinking about facing this defense again. That has to be worth at least 2 more points.
In fact, I can't believe Favre is playing. If he wasn't on this silly consecutive games streak, he probably sits this one out, right? Or stays retired until Week 4?
Carolina (+6.5) over NY GIANTS
Speaking of rematches, here's another: in the last game the Giants ever played in the old stadium, Carolina came in and beat them by, if I remember correctly, 1000 points. Again, I have to ask: what has changed? Yes, I am a Giants fan, so maybe my pessimism about the season is clouding my judgment, but the Giants have to prove to me that they are going to be a different team this year, and a breakout pre-season by their #5 wide receiver is not what I mean.
(Quick side note: do you think it sucks as a professional athlete having a name that rhymes with "boo"? Victor Cruz, the aforementioned breakout, would get the "Cruuuuuuuuz" call every time he made a play, but if you were paying attention, it just sounded like booing. Same thing for former Yankee great Mike "The Moooooose" Mussina.)
Miami (-3) over BUFFALO
I looked at this game long and hard for my suicide pool pick. Buffalo is going to be one of those teams you can pick against all year (ultimately, I decided to wait until Buffalo goes back to Miami to pick them). Quick, name a player on Buffalo. The only one I can think of is Lee Evans, which I sometimes get confused with Bob Evans, which just makes me hungry. But Miami will win this game; they get a break by going to Buffalo in early September, when it is still warm, rather than, say, late September, by which time upstate New York has transformed into a frozen hellscape from which none may escape.
PITTSBURGH (+2.5) over Atlanta
Ben Roethlisburger didn't play defense, and Troy Polamalu is back. This is going to be a low scoring game - take the points on the home team.
Detroit (+6.5) over CHICAGO
Detroit, one of last year's punching bags, is going to be significantly better this year. Sure, significantly better doesn't have to mean good, or even over .500; it can mean 6-10. But they've got a young team with some talent at a spot other than wide receiver now that Matt Millen is making the draft picks anymore.
Chicago, meanwhile, is a team in total disarray. Just remember when Ndakomong Suh is running back his strip-sack of Jay Cutler for a touchdown, and everybody is booing (Cutler doesn't rhyme with boo, so you can tell the difference), I warned you.
Cincinatti (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Before you go crazy, check out this. Yes, the day the NFL season kicked off, Tom Brady was in a car accident. Yes, I know he's fine. That's not the point. It's an omen: this Patriots season is when the wheels finally come off. It's over. And if that's still not enough of an omen, check out this.
Cleveland (+3) over TAMPA BAY
The line (3 points) means the bookmakers think the Browns and the Bucs are just as good (or, if you prefer, just as bad), but I don't buy it. The Browns showed life at the end of last season (winning against Pittsburgh and putting 41 up on KC down the stretch), and Josh Cribbs is a legitimately exciting player. The only thing exciting about the Bucs is that I get to pick against them in my suicide pool all year.
JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) over Denver
If nobody shows up to your home games, does it still count as home field advantage?
HOUSTON (+2) over Indianapolis
Is the AFC South the best division in football? Tennessee has Chris Johnson, the best player in the game and, once Kerry Collins' corpse was pushed overboard last season, finished 8-2 after their 0-6 start. Indy is the reigning AFC Champion and still has Peyton Manning. And with even a reasonable amount of luck last season, rather than the multiple groin kicks they received, Houston would have finished 10-6 instead of 8-8.
One of those should-have-won games was against Indy, IN Indy, when they lost a touchdown on a freaky goal-line fumble that was overturned on replay when Houston stupidly called a timeout that gave the refs time to review it, AND when the choker of a kicker choked on a kick.
If Houston is ready to make the next step, they win this game at home. And I think they are.
TENNESSEE (-6.5) over Oakland
Go ahead, pick Oakland. Three Chris Johnson touchdowns and 250 yards later, you'll feel really dumb.
PHILADELPHIA (+3) over Green Bay
The football pundit-industrial complex has gotten very excited about Green Bay this pre-season. Until I see them do it in the regular season, I'm taking the points for the home team.
San Fransisco (-3) over SEATTLE
The lines are always very conservative week one. If this game was replayed in a month, this would be at least a touchdown. And I would STILL take San Fransisco. Seattle may be the worst team in football, and they have a new coach straight from college, which never. Ever. Works.
Arizona (-4) over ST. LOUIS
After Matt Leinart's junior year, when he won the Heisman, he was the consensus overall #1 pick. Instead, he went back to school, took a single ballroom dancing class as his entire course load, lost the national championship game, slid to #10, couldn't beat out an elderly man for the starting job, and then, when the elderly man finally retired, instead of getting that job, he was traded to Houston. The lesson, as always: don't take ballroom dancing classes.
WASHINGTON (+3.5) over Dallas
I wouldn't want him as my Super Bowl quarterback (unless they institute a rule change where vomiting is worth 3 points), but D McNabb, in week one, at home, in revenge mode against a Dallas team that embarrassed him in the playoffs? I'm okay with that.
My bigger concern for Washington is Clinton Portis, who couldn't get on the field last year without suffering a concussion. I think by the end of the season he would get a concussion if he had an especially vigorous bowel movement. He was openly considering retirement before the season. Is his heart (or his brain) really going to be in it to win it this year?
NY JETS (-2.5) over Baltimore
I'm hoping that Hard Knocks and the Jets preseason was an elaborate ruse to make other teams think they would be throwing the ball this season, and then they will come out Monday night and rush for 300 yards while Sanchez has 10-15 drop backs. Also, I'm hoping Antonio Cromartie can make it through the game without getting another woman pregnant.
KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over San Diego
Remember when SD almost lost to Oakland in their first game on Monday Night last year? I remember.
12. Panthro (aka Brad): 47 points, 0 weeks won 11. Gomer (aka Dustin): 359 points, 0 weeks won
Fraternity brothers who apparently got bored with the NFL. Brad picked Week 1, and then got distracted by, I'm going to go ahead and guess Japanese tentacle porn. SOMEBODY GET HIM A BLANKET! Dustin picked through Week 7, and then he, too, disappeared.
Tier 4: The Professors of Fail
10. Plaxico's Gun Holster (aka Jesse, aka me): 908 points, 0 weeks won 9. Particle Men (aka Rick): 926 points, 1 week won 8. Stock Brokers (aka Daytrader): 930 points, 1 week won
This group represents, by my estimation, 18+ years of higher education. Apparently none of it involved picking winners in football games. At least student loan holders don't break your thumbs if you miss a payment!
Tier 3: I'll Still Respect You In The Morning
7. I heart football (aka Sister Rose): 945 points, 0 weeks won 6. JaMichael (aka Yaworm): 955 points, 1 week won 5. Plaxico's Sweatpants (aka Fat Tony): 965 points, 2 weeks won
This group didn't quite make it to a .500 record on their picks, but didn't poop all over themselves either. Plus, I think one of them might have been using a random number generator.
Tier 2: The 1000+ Point Club
4. Punt Party (aka Greg): 1,022 points, 3 weeks won 3. Michael Vick's Rape Stand (aka the Suze): 1,053 points, 4 weeks won 2. MinicooperChickGoPats (aka Selma): 1,115 points, 3 weeks won
I can't believe that neither Selma or the Suze won this. Selma visited for a week before Thanksgiving, and that's when I found out that she did actual research for this! Unfortunately, part of that research included reading Daytrader's picks column, which likely held her back from the ultimate prize.
The Suze won the most weeks AND had the most correct overall picks, going 138-115. She was hampered by her Week 15 performance, in which she correctly picked 4 games that she neglected to put any points on. However, even that would not have been enough to overcome the insurmountable lead of...
Tier 1: The Champion
1. Brett Farve is the Antichrist (aka Jim): 1,132 points, 2 weeks won
That's right, ladies and gentlemen: the winner of our NFL pick league does not know how to spell Brett Favre's last name. Truly, this is the sport of kings.
Believe it or not this is the last week of the regular season. It seems like the NFL season started yesterday. Remember when the Giants started 5-0. And who can forget when Mark Sanchez and the Jets beat the Patriots. And speaking of the Patriots, remember that 4th and 2 play against the Colts. And what about that crazy tipped ball in Week One to give the Broncos that win over the Bengals. But alas, the regular season has come to an end and my Giants are out of the playoffs. Now I can finally watch the games and enjoy them.
OK...to the picks. This week is probably the hardest to predict since some teams just don't care anymore, others don't play their starters, and well I just can't predict any games right. But here's my last stab in the dark. I'm taking TEN underdogs btw.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills (-8.5) Only in Week 17 would you see a spread like this. The Colts ended their season last week. Yeah, I know they're 14-1, but no Superbowl this year. This team doesn't know how to restart itself after it starts resting their starters. I imagine that they aren't going to play anyone meaningful, so that's a big advantage to Buffalo. But the real question is are the Bills' first teamers better than the Colts' second teamers. I say yes, but not by 8.5 points. I like the Colts to cover. Confidence Points: 2
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cleveland Browns (-1.5) Cleveland has been playing better recently, but Jacksonville is still in the AFC playoff hunt. I think the Jaguars should at least be a one point favorite. I'll take the team that still has something to fight for and go with the Jags. Confidence Points: 6
Chicago Bears (-3.0) vs. Detroit Lions A game that has no meaning. But Chicago played the Vikings tough last week, tough enough to win. The Lions don't have anything going well for them. Chicago is going to play and that means that three points should be an easy cover. I like the Bears. Confidence Points: 16
San Fransisco 49ers (-7.0) vs. St. Louis Rams I've tried to fight for this Rams team, but they are pretty hopeless. The 49ers are a team that I feel is going to improve next season. And I think that helps them in this game. Sorry St. Louis but I'm done hoping that you can cover these spreads. Go with San Fran. Confidence Points: 11
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) vs. Miami Dolphins Can the Champs stay alive and make it into the playoffs? Actually, both of these teams have an outside chance. Pittsburgh's chance is slightly better than the Dolphins, but Miami is at home. And the Steelers have done this to themselves. I don't think that either team will make the playoffs even if they DO win, but I think Miami has the better chance of winning this game. Confidence Points: 3
New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings (-9.0) The Giants were embarrassed last week at home against the Panthers. But to be fair, almost no one saw that one coming. And I admit that I didn't see the Vikings losing to the Bears last week. The Vikings are definitely playing to win to give themselves a shot at the #2 seed in the playoffs, but I don't like Favre. He's breaking down. Minnesota might win this game, but I don't think (perhaps hope is the better word) by more than a touchdown, so I'm going with the Giants to put up a fight. Confidence Points: 10
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Another meaningless game in the standings, but not so to the Bucs in my opinion. They've been playing better and BEAT the Saints in New Orleans last week who weren't resting their starters. I have a good feeling about this team. Watch out for Tampa next season and watch them win at home today. Confidence Points: 9
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers (Off(0)) Fact: New Orleans is on a two game losing streak, their only two losses of the season. Fact: New Orleans has nothing to play for. Fact: The Panthers beat the Giants last week without their best offensive player. Fact: The Panthers would be in the playoffs if they never started Jake Delhomme. Fact: The Panthers will win this game. Confidence Points: 12
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans (-8.0) The Pats will either be the #3 or #4 seed in the AFC, which doesn't really matter since no one will have any idea who the #5 or #6 seed will be until the end of the day. The Texans could be one of those Wild Card teams. They need some help with the win, but it's not impossible. But haven't we seen this from Houston before? I like the Patriots to cover, if not just outright win. Confidence Points: 4
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys (-3.0) Ugh...who to root for as a Giants' fan. It would have been nice for the Giants to have won last week so I could root for the Eagles. I really don't like either team, but if you put a gun to my head and told me to root for one in this case I would choose Philly. But I'm not really rooting for anyone. Anyway, the Cowboys can thank the Giants for that loss last week which has allowed them to lose this game and still get in. Does anyone think that the Cowboys are going to win this? Haven't we seen this all before? Dallas has lost their last 7 regular season games. Why should this be any different? Fly Eagles, fly. Confidence Points: 8
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos (-13.0) I don't actually know why, but I can see no reason why Josh McDaniels would bench Brandon Marshall? He's their best player, and the Broncos need to win AND get a little help to get into the playoffs. Josh McDaniels is not Bill Belichick, no matter how much he thinks he is. This is a Bronco's team that lost at home to the Raiders WITH Marshall. Thirteen points is too much for me. I like the Chiefs. Confidence Points: 7
Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) vs. Oakland Raiders It's simple for Baltimore. Win and you're in. Oakland beats good teams and lose to bad teams. But I don't see it happening here. 10.5 are a lot of points, but I think the Ravens will get it done and get into the playoffs. Confidence Points: 14
Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals (-3.5) The Packers have a Wild Card spot and the Cardinals could get #2, 3, or 4 seed. What's interesting is that these two teams could potentially meet next week in the Wild Card round. In fact, that makes the most sense to me. So I expect that this is going to be a pretty routine game. I think that the Cardinals have more to play for with the possibility of getting that #2 seed, so I'll take Arizona. Confidence Points: 13
Washington Redskins vs. San Diego Chargers (-4.0) Seriously, the Chargers are only four point favorites?! WOW! I think that the Chargers will play their starters and I think the Redskins are just a defeated team. Gotta go with the Chargers here. Confidence Points: 15
Tennessee Titans (-4.0) vs. Seattle Seahawks Another meaningless game. I think Seattle will play well at home and that Vince Young will kill himself in the off season. That was pretty tasteless. Oh well. Confidence Points: 1
Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets (-10.0) Well will the Bengals play their starters? If they do I think that they'll win. If they don't, the Jets will probably win, but not by ten points. If the Jets get into the playoffs most people will say that they didn't deserve it. They probably wouldn't have beaten the Colts last week with Peyton Manning, but that's how the cookie crumbles. Bold prediction alert: If the Jets make the playoffs they will win at least one playoff game. With all that being said, I'll take the Bengals. Confidence Points: 5
So we can finally stop believing in Tennessee now right? They're done. Finito. Caput. Let's move on to some other interesting topics of this week in football.
The NFC playoff picture is much easier to sort out than the AFC. Dallas and Green Bay currently are in the Wild Card spots, but the Giants aren't far behind. It looks like if they finish tied with either of the teams ahead of them they should make the playoffs (if I did my tiebreaking procedures correctly). The AFC race is still up for grabs. Currently the Broncos and Ravens hold the Wild Card spots at 8-6, but even with the Titans' loss last night, there are still five 7-7 teams that are fighting for those spots. In the next two weeks a good portion of these teams will go head to head. These are the most intriguing games of the next few weeks. OK...to the picks.
Buffalo Bills vs. Atlanta Falcons (-9.0) Both teams are out of the playoff hunt, but still have some questions to answer. There is an interim coach in Buffalo who might want to be promoted to head coach next year (which is NOT a good career move), and what will happen with Terrel Owens next season? In Atlanta, are they going to keep on playing Mat Ryan and Michael Turner? Or will they rest them for next season? I feel like Atlanta is going to play for next season, while Buffalo has a few things to prove still. I'll go with the Bills. Confidence Points: 12
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-13.5) With San Diego's win last night, the Bengals will be hosting a Wild Card game in the first week of the playoffs. They're currently tied with the Patriots for the #3 seed, but I don't see much of a difference between the #3 and #4 seed this year, especially since the two Wild Card teams are going to be around the same caliber. Thus I can't see the Bengals needing this win. The Chiefs don't need it either, but I think they still have something to prove, especially with Matt Cassel. The points are too high for me, so I'm going with the underdog Chiefs. Confidence Points: 5
Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns (-3.5) This is a battle between two bad teams that have both beaten the Superbowl Champion Steelers. I think these teams are starting to click better at this point in the season, but it's certainly too little too late. I really have no idea if this is going to be a shootout or a snoozefest, but either way I'll take the Raiders...I think they're the best of the worst. Confidence Points: 13
Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers (-14.0) Seattle laid an egg at home last weekend to a Tampa Bay team that came in with one win. Coincidentally, the Bucs' two wins have come against both of these teams. The Packers' heartbreaking loss to the the Steelers last week has made their playoff hopes a little more uneasy. Still, if they win out they're in, but it's not as much of a lock as it was the past few weeks. That being said, the Packers are going to come out swinging. Even with such a large spread, Green Bay has to make a statement and I think the Packers are going to win big. Confidence Points: 11
Houston Texans vs. Miami Dolphins (-3.0) The Dolphins lost a tough game last week in Tennessee, after they had a great fourth quarter comeback. But due to a lot of other losses, they're one of those 7-7 teams in the AFC Wild Card hunt. Actually, both of these teams are. The Texans eked out a win in St. Louis last week, but this one is going to be a bigger test. I like the home team here. The Texans have gotten close before and never figure out how to get into the playoffs. I think that trend will continue and Miami stays alive. Confidence Points: 10
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots (-8.0) Will this be the end of the line for the Jags? Due to it being an away game, the one hundred or so Jaguar fans will be able to see this game. Jacksonville did play well against the Colts last week, but just couldn't get it done. The Patriots on the other hand got their first American road win in Buffalo last week, which is important since they're going to have to go on the road in the playoffs. I like New England to win the game, but I don't like the eight point spread. I think the Pats will win by a touchdown, so I'm going with Jacksonville. Confidence Points: 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints (-14.0) Too bad for the Bucs that the Saints lost last week. Because then I would have liked them for a trap game. Not anymore though. The Saints are going to put on an old fashion whoopin'. They need to make a statement and there aren't many better teams to do that to besides Tampa. Big win for New Orleans here. Confidence Points: 15
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants (-7.0) Big game for the Giants here. They basically have to win out in order to have a chance to make the playoffs. (They could lose one and have the Cowboys, and maybe the Packers, lose out and still make it.) This will be their last home game in Giants Stadium, and I think that will make a difference. I like the crowd to get on the Pathers' relatively new QB Matt Moore, and with DeAngelo Williams (doubtful) and Jonathan Stewart (questionable) injured for this game, I don't see the Panthers winning via the passing attack. Will the Giants cover? Eh, I never know, but I like their chances in this game. Go Giants! Confidence Points: 9
Baltimore Ravens vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) A must win for Pittsburgh here. I believe that the winner will get into the playoffs. The Steelers have a knack for staying in it, e.g. game winning TD catches last week against the Packers and in the Superbowl against the Cardinals. But I don't like them against this Ravens' team. These teams know each other too well. And Pittsburgh is not immune to losing at home. This is a tough call, but I think the Ravens have what it takes. Confidence Points: 2
St. Louis Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals (-14.0) The Cardinals almost lost to the Lions last week and the Rams almost beat the Texans last week. Every time I pick the Rams to cover (usually not to win) they get blown out, and when I pick against them on large spreads like this they make it close. So I'm going to pick the Rams again. So everyone else should pick the Cardinals. Do it. And then watch as the Rams cover. Confidence Points: 4
Detroit Lions vs. San Fransisco 49ers (-12.5) I'm really not sure with this one. The 49ers struggled in Philly with the Eagles last week, but so to most people. After benching Donte Culpepper, the Lions came roaring back (boo) against the Cardinals. It's a lot of points for the 49ers. I'll take the Lions and the points. Confidence Points: 8
New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) Well the Colts have it all sewn up and don't have to play for anything anymore. They don't have a meaningful game for three weeks. But they are 14-0. All of the previous Colts teams that have packed it in during the end of the regular season (and then usually lose in the playoffs) weren't undefeated. I don't see them giving away a loss. If it's close, they're going to try to win. I can't see the Jets flying out of the gate and blowing the Colts away, so I think Peyton is going to play the whole game (unless the Colts are routing) and say that Indy makes it 15-0. Confidence Points: 7
Denver Broncos vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-7.0) A win would almost give the Eagles the NFC East. With the Vikings' loss last week, Philly could potentially get the #2 seed and a first round Bye. Both teams have a lot to play for, as the Broncos are one of the two current Wild Card holders in the AFC. Brian Westbrook is supposed to be back for the Eagles this week, and I actually think that may hurt the Eagles since they're been playing so well without him. The Eagles don't usually lose in December, so I'm picking Philly, but I wouldn't be too surprised if the Broncos steal one here. Confidence Points: 6
Dallas Cowboys (-6.5) vs. Washington Redskins It's strange that the Sunday night game is the first game on the list where the home team isn't favored. Dallas obviously came off their biggest win last week in beating the Saints and the Redskins laid an egg hosting the Giants last week. Nothing would give the Redskins more pleasure than beating the hated Cowboys and severely hurting their playoff chances. I think getting embarrassed at home will rile up the Redskins, and I also think that Dallas may come into this game still riding the high of beating the Saints. That to me equals trouble for Dallas, and I like Washington here. Confidence Points: 3
Minnesota Vikings (-7.0) vs. Chicago Bears Last week was another poor performance by Favre and the Vikings last week. Favre almost got yanked in the 3rd quarter, up 7-6, since he was taking such a beating from the Panthers' defenders. This is Chicago's Superbowl, but they just don't have the players to compete. Jake Cutler needs reliable receivers and also needs to not be like the old Brett Favre. I like the Vikings to bounce back and try to solidify that #2 seed. Confidence Points: 14
Since I don't have a lot of time to go through all of my picks right now, I'm going to just do today's Christmas Night Game between the Chargers and Titans. Look for the continuation of my Pulitzer Prize winning NFL Picks blog tomorrow. Merry Christmas.
San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans (-3.0) So lemme get this straight. The San Diego Chargers, which are on a 9 game winning streak and haven't lost a game in December since 2005 (!!!), are the underdog against the 7-7 Tennessee Titans. OK...just wanted to make sure that I got all of my facts right. OK, the Titans have been playing much better, winning 7 of their last 8 where that only loss was to the undefeated Colts. But right now the Chargers are basically playing like the Colts, and as most people predict, the Chargers should beat the Colts (undefeated or not) in the playoffs for the third straight year. I know that people (Jesse) believe in Tennessee, but not tonight. How can you not take San Diego? I certainly can't find a reason not to, so I'm flying high on the Chargers. So high that... Confidence Points: 16
I apologize to all of my loyal readers that were devastated that that I wasn't able to give you my picks so that you could choose the opposite and make a killing. But don't worry. I'm back to give you my advice so you can make a few bucks before Christmas. Here's my picks.
Indianapolis Colts (-3.0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars People are calling this Jacksonville's Superbowl. I believe that is because this will be the first time that the Jags play in a sold-out stadium. The Jags are the worst team that would still make the playoffs if the season ended today...oops, not correct -- Dallas would still be in on the NFC side. Everyone loves the Jaguars because they think the Colts are going to mail this one in. I say "Ha." The Colts are going to knock the Jags out of the playoffs with a big win tonight. Confidence Points: 14
Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints (-7.0) Oh Dallas, why can't you and December be friends? I will say that it can't be entirely blamed on a "collapse" this time. The Cowboys' schedule is brutal, and thus they will finish outside of the playoffs. New Orleans has looked shaky in the past weeks, but they always show up to play the "better" NFL teams, especially at home. This one's a no brainer. Saints. Confidence Points: 13
New England Patriots (-7.0) vs. Buffalo Bills Did you know that the Patriots have not won a road game at the other teams home stadium? Their lone road win was in London against the Bucs, which was technically a Tampa home game. Why didn't the NFL let New England be the home team in for the game played in England!? Well anyway, I'm not sold anymore on the Patriots. Bill Belichick is going out of his way to prove that he's the smartest head coach, and in several games this season that's resulted in losses. If he didn't have 3 Superbowl rings I'd say he'd be on the hot seat. I'm picking the Bills. Confidence Points: 1
Arizona Cardinals (-12.0) vs. Detroit Lions The Cardinals laid an egg last week in San Fransisco (get it...cardinals are birds). But these are the Lions...who got destroyed last week against the mediocre Ravens. Considering that the Cardinals lost by 15 after turning the ball over SEVEN times, let's me know that that game was a fluke. Gotta go with Arizona here. Confidence Points: 12
Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans (Off(0)) I guess this can be considered a playoff game for both teams. They're both in the hunt (Miami more than the Titans), and it should be all but assured that the loser won't make it. Unlike Jesse, I do NOT believe in Tennessee and thus pick Miami. Confidence Points: 6
Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) Yawn. Chiefs. Confidence Points: 2
Houston Texans vs. St. Louis Rams (Off(0)) The Texans can't lose this game right? I mean seriously. They can't right. Right. They won't. Go Houston. Confidence Points: 16
Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets (Off(0)) Who is going to start at QB for the Jets? Sanchez or Clemmens? Will Atlanta have Michael Turner or Matt Ryan back? I don't know. The Falcons are pretty much out of the playoff race in the NFC, while the Jets are still kinda in it. I think New York will hang around a little longer before crushing their fans' hopes and missing out. I'll take the Jets. Confidence Points: 5
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-9.0) This is a pretty high spread in my opinion. The Eagles won that game against the Giants basically in the same manner as the Giants beat the Cowboys the week before. This could be a trap game for the Eagles. They tend to have an irregular heartbeat every once in a while and lose games they shouldn't (::cough:: Oakland ::cough::). Here comes the other Bay Area team, but I think the Eagles are gonna show up. With a win here and a Dallas loss, the Eagles will pretty much have the NFC East sewn up. I'll take the Eagles to cover. Confidence Points: 7
Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) Another tough spread here. The Bears actually played the Packers pretty well last week, but still lost. The Ravens really bounced back nicely thanks to the Lions. The Bears want this season to end, and the Ravens are still alive in the AFC Wildcard. I think that they might be able to get it, but that requires a win here. I fairly confident that they'll get the win, but covering the 10.5 points??? Eh, alright. I'll stick with Baltimore to have another big win. Confidence Points: 8
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos (-14.0) No Bruce Gradkowski for the Raiders, and apparently no JaMarcus Russel. Gradkowski is injured, physically...Russel is injured, as a good quarterback. So the Raiders turn to Charlie Frye. This is gotta be a blow out for the Broncos. Those 14 points should be no problem to cover with a Raiders team playing on the road that basically has no quarterback. So since all logic points to Denver, I'll take the Raiders. Confidence Points: 3
Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Diego Chargers (-6.5) Big game in the AFC, basically a fight for the number two seed in the playoffs and a first round Bye. If the Chargers lose and Denver wins, Denver could make a come back into the top spot in the division. The loss of Chris Henry is going to be emotional for the Bengals, but shouldn't affect their play recently since he's been out with an injury since November. If this game was in Cincy I would probably take the Bengals, but in San Diego, I gotta go with the home town Chargers. Confidence Points: 11
Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5) If the Raiders can win in Pittsburgh, why can't the Packers? I never realized how much Troy Polomalu meant to the Steelers' defense. This team isn't going to make the playoffs and they need to focus on lowering Ben Roethlisberger's sack total (hehe). The Packers are pretty much going to get the #5 seed in the NFC and I think they continue their winning ways this week, continuing the Steelers' losing streak to 6 in a row. Confidence Points: 10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Seattle Seahawks (-7.0) Yawn. Seahawks. Confidence Points: 9
Minnesota Vikings (-9.0) vs. Carolina Panthers Ah, the battle between the Giants' two remaining opponents. When Favre and the Vikings played the Cardinals two weeks ago, I thought we were seeing the Favre of last December. Brett played better last week against the Bengals, but I'm not sold on him yet. Even though the Panthers are struggling this year, I think they still have some fight in them. Nine points on the road is a lot in my opinion, so I'm taking the underdog Panthers. Confidence Points: 4
New York Giants (-3.0) vs. Washington Redskins The Redskins have looked a lot better the past few weeks. They should have beaten the Saints two weeks ago. They should have beaten the Cowboys a month ago. But they didn't. They did beat the Raiders last week and their defense is playing well. But this is a divisional game, and these teams know each other well. If the Cowboys lose on Saturday night, the Giants know that they control their destiny to get into the playoffs. I think they'll be prepared for this game, especially after losing a game against the Eagles last week where they played very well offensively. The Giants need the game and the Giants win this game. Confidence Points: 15
I have good news for all you traumatized gamblers who can no longer read this column on your mobile device because Daytrader's horrible picks have either caused you to pawn it, or you cannot operate it with your grotesquely mangled thumbs. The self-correcting nature of the universe has sprung in to action and destroyed his internet connection, leaving him unable to disseminate his wretched gambling advice on an unsuspecting population.
Not all news is good, however: my internet connection is just fine. (Home teams listed in CAPS.)
BROWNS (+10) over Steelers
When Pittsburgh lost in Kansas
City three weeks ago, they did something far worse than lose to a bad
team and harm their playoff chances in the process. They gave the Suze
a strike in our suicide pool. Suze may not be a football expert. She
may insist on calling football teams by their corresponding baseball
team names (she was very pissed when the Royals beat the Pirates). But
that doesn't matter. What matters is that the Steelers are on the wrong
side of Suze mojo and I will be betting against them every opportunity
that I get. Suze mojo turned Bruce Gradkowski into Joe motherfucking
Montana last week. Stay out of its way.
Confidence points: 1
Saints (-10.5) over FALCONS
Last week, I saw lots of people in
Atlanta cheering for Michael Vick. These people all had something in
common. Some particular trait. You might say that their was something
coloring their opinion of Vick, something that made them race out and
cheer for him. And that trait is that the Falcons suck, and they had to
root for something. What did you think I was talking about?
Confidence points: 11
Packers (-3) over BEARS
Only 3 points? Is it possible for me to
put more than 16 confidence points on this game? Yeah, yeah, division
game, Bears at home, blah blah blah. Two teams headed in two different
Confidence points: 16
Broncos (+7) over COLTS
Okay, hear me out. The following are true facts.
The Broncos have more wins against teams with winning records than anybody else in the league. The Colts have only 6 wins by more than 7 points. Of their 6 home wins, only 2 have come by more than a touchdown.
Convinced yet? No?
Confidence points: 10
Bills (PK) over CHIEFS
Sometimes a line makes no sense. There are only two possible reasons. One, I am an idiot (possible). Two, there is something the oddsmakers know that I don't. Either way, I recognize what my gut is telling me: stay out of the way.
Confidence points: 2
Bengals (+6.5) over VIKINGS
Vegas may have shrugged off Favre's horrible performance last game and the second half of last year, but you know better. Right?
Confidence points: 8
PATRIOTS (-13.5) over Panthers
Another classic "Angry Redneck" game for the Pats, where the Pats are the drunk angry redneck coming home from a rough day at the coal mine, and the Panthers are their wife on who he will be taking out all his frustration on (see: whupping of the Jets after that loss to the Colts). At home, coming off of two excruciating losses, against a team that will either be starting a career backup or Jake the TAINT* Delhomme at QB? Better turn up the TV now, neighbors, cause its going to get ugly.
*Touchdown After INT, the alternative to Pick Six as proposed by Bill Simmons
Confidence points: 7
Jets (-3) over BUCCANEERS
The Bucs rolled up over 500 yards of offense last week, and scored only 6 points. Six! Enough yards to go the length of the field five times, and only 6 points? Plus, you know the Jets will win the next 3 games before disappointing their fan base with a Week 17 loss that knocks them out of the playoffs.
Confidence points: 6
JAGUARS (-2.5) over Dolphins
The Dolphins have a bad habit of playing down to the level of their competition. That's why they can beat the Patriots one week, and lose to Buffalo another week. In other words: another stay away game from a stay away team.
Confidence points: 5
Lions (+13) over RAVENS
The Ravens point totals in their last 5 games: 14, 20, 15, 16, 7. For a team averaging barely more than 2 touchdowns a game over the last month, 13 points sure seems like alot.
Confidence points: 4
TEXANS (-6) over Seahawks
The Texans crumbled under the weight of expectations this season. Now that they are solidly out of the playoffs and barely within shouting distance of .500, those expectations are gone, and they can once again get everybody's hopes up for the future. This one will be a blowout.
Confidence points: 13
Rams (+13) over TITANS
Yes, I still believe in Tennessee. Maybe I'm just trying to justify the fact that I put 16 confidence points on them last week, but they definitely could have won that game. It was much closer than the final score indicated. The game basically ended on a 4th and 5 with the game still close, when Tennessee elected to have Vince Young throw a fade route to their rookie wide receiver on maybe the most important play of their season so far. Chris Johnson is still alive, right?
Having said that, 13 points seems like a lot.
Confidence points: 3
RAIDERS (+1) over Redskins
One team is playing at home after an emotional win over an AFC powerhouse. The other is flying across the country after a much-talked about embarrassment in New Orleans. What am I missing here?
Confidence points: 12
Chargers (+3) over COWBOYS
Wait, wait, wait... I'm GETTING points for a division leader on a 7 game winning streak against Tony Romo in December? And its not even my birthday!
Confidence points: 15
GIANTS (-1) over Eagles
This game was decided earlier in the week, when the Eagles gave Andy Reid a 3-year contract extension. This game ends with the clock expiring as the Eagles try to line up for a game winning field goal because Reid and McNabb both forget that they have a timeout left. Jim is gently weeping right now. There there, Jim.
Confidence points: 9
Cardinals (-3) over NINERS
The hell with the Titans. I believe in Arizona(tm). Thank you, Jesus, for healing Kurt Warner's brain.
With five weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to clear up. The Saints and Vikings seem to have complete control of their divisions in the NFC and the Colts and Bengals have the inside track of clinching their divisions. As usual, the real races in football come down to the Wild Cards. Five teams are in the hunt for the two Wild Card spots in the NFC and EIGHT are in the hunt for the two spots in the AFC. These five weeks are going to separate the men from the boys.
A few interesting spreads this week. Four games have spreads over a touchdown, four have no spread (two of them are Off, but still two straight up Pick 'Em's are rare), which leaves ten games within one touchdown. I think it's been pretty obvious over the past few weeks that I have no idea who to pick, but I think this week is going to be even harder to be confident in the picks. Anyway, here I go embarrassing myself with bad picks again.
New York Jets (-3.0) vs. Buffalo Bills At 5-6 the Jets are one of the eight teams in the AFC Wild Card hunt. Mark Sanchez did less to lose the game last week against the Panthers than Jake Delhomme, and thus the Jets got a sloppy win. The Bills somehow throttled the Dolphins last week. Maybe the Bills have some fight in them. For a team like Buffalo, a game like this is what they are looking for right now. A loss by the Jets pretty much eliminates them from playoff contention, and even though the Jets won last week, Sanchez wasn't the reason. For a nationally televised game, I think the Bills show up and ruin whatever is left of the Jets' season. Confidence Points: 3
Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons Both of these teams eked out wins last week against bad teams (Washington and Tampa Bay). The Atlanta win helped them stay in the hunt for an NFC Wild Card spot, and Philly's win has them in the driver's seat. This is a big game for tiebreaker situations. It'll be tough for Atlanta to get in, even with this win, so I think this is a game that Philly CANNOT lose. Even though I see the Eagles due for an upset, I think Philly will win a close one by a touchdown and still cover. Confidence Points: 11
St. Louis Rams vs. Chicago Bears (-9.0) All of the high hopes that everyone had for the Bears (Jesse!) have been for naught this year. Jay Cutler leads the NFL in interceptions, even with Delhomme and Sanchez playing in the same league! I keep on picking the Rams (which is probably by I keep on losing) and I think I'll continue this week. Nine points just seems too high for a team as lousy as the Bears. I'll take St. Louis and the points. Confidence Points: 5
Detroit Lions vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-13.0) I can't see the Bengals losing this game (although they did lose against the Raiders) so the real question is will the Bengals win by 13? With spreads this high it's really tough to figure this one out. I just feel that the Bengals will want to put up some points, especially at home, and try to send a message as they head into the playoffs. Confidence Points: 13
Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts (-6.5) I must admit that I was impressed with Vince Young's 99 yard game winning touchdown drive last week against the Cardinals. But playoff talk (where the Titans are included in those 8 AFC teams) just seems unrealistic after an 0-6 start. (Although it would be interesting if they do make the playoffs after starting 0-6 and the Broncos miss the playoffs after starting 6-0.) BTW, the Colts have won 19 straight regular season games. And with a spread under a touchdown, picking Indy is a no brainer. Confidence Points: 15
Denver Broncos (-4.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs Denver impressed me last week in basically dismantling the Giants. But this is a divisional game, and in divisional games weird things happen. The Chiefs are like the Bills: they want to ruin someone's season. But I don't see that happening. Now that Kyle Orton is back at quarterback, I like the Bronco's chances. The Chiefs should give a good fight, especially at home, but with Denver only giving 4.5 points, I'll take the Broncos. Confidence Points: 12
New England Patriots (-5.5) vs. Miami Dolphins Looks like the Patriots aren't the cream of the crop in the NFL anymore. This team is getting too smug and the blueprint to beating them has been exposed. That being said, they show up for divisional games, and that is exactly what this one is. The Dolphins inexplicably lost to the Bills last week and they won't be in the playoff hunt anymore after this game. Give me the Pats win big. Confidence Points: 10
Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Off(0)) The Steelers almost beat the Ravens with third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon playing at Baltimore. This week it looks like Ben Roethlisberger will be back at quarterback (hence the Off(0) spread) and does anyone seriously think that the Raiders will win, especially in Pittsburgh and with the Steelers fighting for a playoff spot? I didn't think so. Give me the Steelers. Confidence Points: 16
New Orleans Saints (-9.5) vs. Washington Redskins The Redskins have played two close games versus divisional opponents the last two weeks, but both ending in losses. I like their fight, but I don't like them in this game. The Saints have too much firepower. And with this not being a divisional game, I gotta pick New Orleans. Confidence Points: 9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers (-6.0) With Jake Delhomme's broken finger, the Panthers finally have an excuse to bench their terrible quarterback. Their backup, Matt Moore, is unproven in this league so I can't see him coming in and lighting up the scoreboard. The Bucs have been playing well (albeit in losses) recently and as far as I'm concerned, the Bucs should be favored and should win this game straight up. So with that being said, I'm taking Tampa. Confidence Points: 8
Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (0.0) Here's one of the two straight up pick 'ems without the line being off. The Jaguars right now hold the final AFC Wild Card spot (betcha didn't know that) and the Texans, only one game behind, need to hop over 6 teams to get that spot. I don't know if the Texans can lose games in any different type of fashion, so with that logic, I choose Houston to win. It'll help make the Wild Card picture more interesting. Confidence Points: 4
San Diego Chargers (-13.0) vs. Cleveland Browns Cleveland sucks! Cleveland sucks! Cleveland su-u-ucks! Yeah Cleveland sucks! Prediction: San Diego will be up by 13 with 13 minutes left into the first quarter. Chargers please. Confidence Points: 7
Dallas Cowboys (-2.0) vs. New York Giants Ugh, the Giants. Well here's your chance to not only get back into the Wild Card picture, but in the divisional picture. A win by New York leaves them only one game behind the Cowboys and gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker since they will have beaten them twice. A loss by the Giants, and they're in trouble. This is December, the Cowboys' kryptonite. I always pick the Giants and they never win, nor cover. I'll root for the Giants, but I'll pick the Cowboys. (Look what I've done now that I've moved to Texas! ARGH!!!) Confidence Points: 1
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks (0.0) The other pick 'em game. I don't really get the spread. I guess that the 49ers are better, but since Seattle is at home I guess that cancels it out. The 49ers have been improving now that Michael Crabtree as been integrating more on offense. Seattle is bad. Real bad. I don't think that playing on the road is going to phase the 49ers too much, so I'll pick San Fran. Confidence Points: 14
Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals (Off(0)) This spread is off due to the uncertainty at quarterback for the Cardinals. If Kurt Warner is back, I like the Cardinals to throw the ball all over the Vikings. If Matt Leinart is quarterback, I STILL like the Cardinals to throw the ball all over the Vikings. Even though according to Yahoo Arizona is the favorite, there is no question that Minnesota would be the favorite either way. They just can't determine a spread number without knowing who will play. So I'll take the upset and go with Arizona. Confidence Points: 2
Baltimore Ravens vs. Green Bay Packers (-3.0) Here are two Wild Card fighting teams, although in different conferences. But still, wins are wins. Baltimore eked out a win last week at home in overtime against Pittsburgh's third string quarterback. The Packers stuffed the ball down Detrot's throat last week on Thanksgiving, but I smell something funny here, and no it's not the cheese in Wisconsin (boo). Give me the Ravens. Green Bay is due for a bad game, remember that game in Tampa... Confidence Points: 6
I don't have the brain power to think of anything clever to say at the opening (not like I ever say anything clever to begin with), so I'll just say FUCK-A YOU BRONCOS, and I really also need to say FUCK-A YOU GIANTS.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons (-12.5) Big chance for the Falcons to get right back into the playoff picture here thanks to the Giants' loss. A win here would give them the same record, although New York holds the tiebreaker via their head-to-head win last week. I don't know though. Tampa has shown a little life recently, and that's a lot of points, basically two touchdowns. I think the Bucs have enough life to cover the spread. Confidence Points: 6
Miami Dolphins (-3.0) vs. Buffalo Bills This seems like a small spread since one would think that the Dolphins are superior to the Bills, even though their records might not completely reflect that. The Bills keep on losing, although they seem to have some more life since their quarterback change. That being said, the Dolphins are the superior team, and unless it's real bad weather in Buffalo (which I don't know if it is or not because I live in Texas and don't feel like taking the two seconds to look it up online) the Dolphins should win by more than 3 points. Confidence Points: 14
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-14.0) This game would have been a total lock for me to pick the Bengals two weeks ago, but losing to the Raiders makes me rethink that a bit. The Browns played a hell of a game last week in Detroit, but hey, that was against the Lions. Cincinnati is certainly better than Detroit, but 14 points is a lot. I imagine that Cincinnati will make a statement and try to crush the Browns, but the Bengals have been involved in a lot of fluky types of plays. I'll take Cleveland and the points. Confidence Points: 4
Seattle Seahawks (-3.0) vs. St. Louis Rams A classic rivalry between the two bottom feeders of the NFC West. Both of these teams used to rule this division in the last 10 years, but now are in complete rebuilding stages. They're both bad, and I guess I'm biased towards St. Louis since their coach used to correctly coach the Giants' defense. I'll take the home team Rams. Confidence Points: 7
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets (-3.0) How are the Jets favored in this game? Mark Sanchez has definitely caught Jake Delhomme's interception bug. Will Sanchez give it back? I doubt it. I expect a LOT of running since both teams are afraid of their quarterbacks giving the ball away. With that said, DeAngelo Williams one ups Thomas Jones in my opinion so I pick the Panthers. Confidence Points: 8
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-9.0) Washington has looked a lot better in their last two games. A few field goals away from beating Dallas at home and possibly wondering if Jim Zorn deserves to stay (oh wait, he's not calling the plays anymore...that's why they're doing better). That said, this is a game the Eagles always show up for. This will be a rout as the Eagles start turning up the heat on the Cowboys for the division title. Nine points are enough for Philly to cover. Confidence Points: 3
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) vs. Houston Texans Here you go Houston. Here's your chance to make up for the missed field goals to tie the last two games. You beat the undefeated Colts people will start believing in your again (only to be crushed since you're not going to make the playoffs AGAIN). Oh wait, you didn't replace your kicker (I believe that this is true but I've been quite sports deprived the last few days). That makes the three and a HALF point spread even more interesting. If you miss the tying field goal, Houston still covers. Don't worry Kris Brown, I don't think this one will be left up to you. The Colts will cover and thus it won't be your fault. Confidence Points: 13
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers (-13.5) Now that the Chargers are back in the lead in the division, they'll be on cruise control. I know that the Chiefs upset the Steelers last week, but I just can't see them doing it again, so then it comes down to points. San Diego can be explosive, so I like their chances. Pick the Chargers to cover the big spread. Confidence Points: 5
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Fransisco 49ers (-3.0) The Jags have quietly been putting together a playoff caliber season, but no one is talking about them because, as the Jaguar fans like to point out at home games, no one cares. But I think they like it like that. Flying low under the radar. San Fransisco hasn't really been impressing me anymore, so I'll take the underdog Jags. Confidence Points: 11
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans (Off(0)) No spread since it's unknown if Kurt Warner is going to start at quarterback for the Cardinals. Again, I could probably find this information out now, but I think that would be cheating since I made these picks back on Wednesday. Either way, I think the Titans are due for a little shock back to reality. Vince Young might be the quarterback of the future (and probably is) but Arizona is the best team that he will have faced so far, and that's enough for me to think that he's not going to have a good game. I'll take the Cardinals in the pick 'em. Confidence Points: 1
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings (-10.5) Jay Cutler of the Bears also has a case of the picks. I think this one will be closer than people think, but I like the Vikings to pull this one out anyway. That is all. Confidence Points: 12
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Off(0)) This is Off since we didn't know who would be quarterback of the Steelers. I actually do know that Big Ben will be out and third string QB Dennis Dixon will get the start. Seriously. I guess the Steelers think that they can afford to lose this game. I picked the Ravens before I knew that fact, and with that knowledge now I would have put a lot more confidence points on this game, but I'm going to be consistent and stay true with my original picks. Confidence Points: 2
New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints (-3.0) Ah, the game of the week. Too bad I have to wait until Monday night to see it. The Patriots have to make up for blowing the game against the last undefeated team that they played (that being the Colts a few weeks back) Again the Saints get all of the tough games at home. But they actually don't need to go undefeated. They'll easily win their division, although the Vikings only have one loss so they'll need to stay ahead in the race for home field advantage. I say this is the day the music died in the Big Easy. Belichick will gain some respect back as the Pats not only win, but win BIG in this game. Confidence Points: 9
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Last week I did all of my picks by flipping a coin and using a random number generator to get my confidence points. Unfortunately, even that method got me only 4 correct last week. So what...who cares? (Getting old yet?)
So I'm hosting Thanksgiving right now and will only give you today's picks. Sorry to disappoint. Here are my picks...if you're smart you won't use them.
Green Bay Packers (-11.0) vs. Detroit Lions It's unfortunate that the Lions traditionally host this Thanksgiving game...because they SUCK! However, it was a thrilling game last week against the Browns. Do you think this game will be broadcasted in Detroit if it's not a sell out? Will the local FOX affiliate show nothing but Shamwow! infomercials? Too bad that game with the Browns wasn't today so everyone could see two bad teams light it up on each other. The Packers seem to be back on track. It's a lot of points, but Green Bay will spoil Thanksgiving for the Lions. Confidence Points: 16
Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys (-13.5) The Cowboys have only scored 14 points total in the last two games, with both touchdowns coming in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. The Cowboys survived a scare at home against the lowly Redskins last week, and the Raiders shocked the Bengals. Wouldn't that mean that I should take Oakland, especially with 13.5 points? NOPE! Why you ask? Because I'm retarded. But Dallas ALWAYS plays well on Thanksgiving. And Oakland is a bad team, although they have beaten the Bengals and Eagles, but they were in Oakland. Stick with the Cowboys...they'll still have more games to fall apart and miss the playoffs. Confidence Points: 15
New York Giants (-6.5) vs. Denver Broncos The Giants broke their four game losing streak last week with a squeaker of a win over Atlanta in overtime after they blew a 14 point lead in the fourth quarter. Denver is coming into this game on their own four game losing streak where they have blown a 3 game lead in the AFC West and now trail the Chargers. The Broncos are going to start Kyle Orton this week and are going to be playing at home. Quick note: the last time the Giants played at Denver was a prime-time Monday night game on September 10, 2001. Today they will play a prime-time night game. New York City should be on high terror alert tomorrow. Anyway, enough of the banter. I feel like the Giants have righted their ship and that the short week after a win will help keep the momentum. I like the Giants to win. (Big surprise right.) Confidence Points: 10
Its not your fault, Daytrader. Its not your fault. Its not your fault. Its not your fault.
After a week in which he got only two picks right - technically, he got one right and a coin he flipped got one right - we've decided that he'll take a mental health holiday from making NFL picks. I didn't do much better, as we both got caught up in the Underdog Swing. The season started with every favorite covering due to the plethora of horrible teams this year. The inevitable over-reaction came last week, when the lines dropped and underdogs were covering all over the place. So where does that leave us this week? After 10 weeks of football, have we finally figured these teams out? (Home team in CAPS.)
CAROLINA (-3) over Miami
I had to read this line a couple of times. Last week, Miami was maybe the best 3-5 football team in the history of the NFL. Since Chad Henne took over at quarterback, the team is 3-3 with losses to New Orleans, at New England, and at San Diego, all quality opponents. I just didn't understand what was going on. That is, until I saw this. Oh.
Confidence points: 4
Washington (+11) over DALLAS
They say that one of the signs of global warming is the shifting of the seasons. Maybe that explains why Dallas' annual December collapse is happening three weeks earlier than usual.
Confidence points: 3
DETROIT (-3.5) over Cleveland
I'm calling this game the Turd In the Punch Bowl. The combined statistics of Matt Stafford, Brady Quinn, and Derek Anderson: 51% passes completed, 5 yards per attempt, 9 touchdowns, 26 interceptions, a QB rating of 50.9. In other words, just flip a coin and move on with your life. Thinking about this game too much might cause brain damage. Instead of broadcasting this game there should just be a test pattern on the TV for 3 hours.
Confidence points: 1
San Fransisco (+6.5) over GREEN BAY
Which Green Bay is going to show up? The one that throttled a suddenly flailing Dallas team last week, or the one that couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag named Tampa Bay two weeks ago? Now that the Curse of Crabtree was broken by the even more powerful Curse of Cutler last week, I say San Fran gets back on track with a win.
Confidence points: 2
Pittsburgh (-10) over KANSAS CITY
Cincinatti showed everybody the blueprint on how to beat Pittsburgh last week: play good defense. Too bad for Kansas City they can't do that.
Confidence points: 12
Seattle (+10.5) over MINNESOTA
The line has moved down from 11 since it opened. That tells you I'm not the only one who thinks this is too high. If the Lions weren't so pathetic they could have capitalized on a sloppy Vikings team last week. Seattle is slightly less pathetic, so take the points.
Confidence points: 5
NEW YORK GIANTS (-6.5) over Atlanta
Either the Giants straightened out their defense over the bye week and will get back on track, or they lose this game and finish the season 7-9. The Giants have been punished by Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, and Donovan McNabb over the last few games. Matt Ryan is good, but he's not in that class yet.
Confidence points: 6
TAMPA BAY (+11.5) over New Orleans
A shaky looking Saints team + an improved Tampa Bay team + waaay too many points = underdog cover.
Confidence points: 10
JACKSONVILLE (-9) over Buffalo
Do you still get a home field advantage when the home field is empty? In any case, Buffalo is a mess right now. Remember, only two things grow in upstate New York: rutabagas and despair. And Buffalo, you don't look like no rutabaga to me.
Confidence points: 11
Indianapolis (-1) over BALTIMORE
I'm giving this game my "WTF" Award of the week, because I saw this line, and said "WTF?" I didn't even say what the fuck, I actually said WTF, because that's how we talk now as a society and I'm kind of sad. This line opened with Baltimore favored by a point and moved 2 full points in one day. I don't know if this is supposed to be a trap game for Indy, or if the big win over the Cleveland Steamers got everybody back on the Baltimore bandwagon, but bet the farm on Indy.
Confidence points: 14
Arizona (-9) over St. Louis
Kurt Warner returns to the scene of the Greatest Show on Turf. He is going to light the Rams up. This is my suicide pool pick of the week as well.
Confidence points: 15
San Diego (PK) over DENVER
This game has no line, so we call it a pick 'em. The game is off the board because nobody knows if the starting QB for Denver will be Kyle "Neckbeard" Orton or Chris Simms. Is Chris Simms actually Phil Simms son, or did they just make a bad copy of Phil like Stewie did on Family Guy last Sunday?
Confidence points: 16
OAKLAND (+9.5) over Cincinnati
Trap game trap game trap game trap game trap game for Cincinaaaaaatti! Coming off the big win at Pittsburgh, Cincy is probably feeling pretty confident heading into matchups with Oakland and Detroit over the next two weeks. I predict Oakland catches them napping with a feisty, ugly 13-10 win.
Confidence points: 7
NEW ENGLAND (-10.5) over New York Jets
New England is like a man coming home from a bad day at the office (loss to Indy), stopped off at the bar for a few drinks on the way home (all the talk about Belichick's 4th down decision), and now he's home, stinking of beer and ready to beat his long suffering wife (the Jets). We're all okay with domestic violence metaphors, right?
Confidence points: 13
Philadelphia (-3) over CHICAGO
What's the only difference between Jay Cutler's time in Chicago and the Challenger explosion? Jay Cutler hasn't killed a teacher yet.
Confidence points: 9
Tennessee (+4.5) over HOUSTON
Poor Houston. Poor, snakebit Houston. They lose three games on goal-line fumbles. Three! Three games! Three whole games! And now they get an inexplicably hot Tennessee team featuring Chris Johnson, the best running back in the game right now. Sorry Houston, but I believe in Tennessee.
It's mid-November and that means that football is back on Thursday nights! WOOOOOO!!! Unfortunately it's on the NFL Network and most of the country can't see this game. But so what...who cares? (Is that line getting old yet?) It's just the Bears and 49ers. Yawn.
Last week the underdogs finally broke through and covered 10 of the 13 games played. Will the trend continue this week? Hopefully not, since I only picked 5 of 15 underdogs this week. Now to my unfounded banter!
Chicago Bears vs. San Fransisco 49ers (-3.0) The 49ers have lost 4 straight games and haven't looked in sync at all. Their defense is giving up points and their offense isn't scoring enough...wait are we talking about the Giants or the 49ers? The Bears are a strange team. Some weeks they look dominate and some weeks they look pathetic. However, I think Chicago is up for a victory tonight in a battle of two NFC wanna-be's. Confidence Points: 11
Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans (-6.5) If you're not on the Vince Young bandwagon then you need be psychologically evaluated for suicidal thoughts. He's led the Titans to two straight wins. Their only wins of the season. Tennessee is running the ball for over 200 yards almost every game and has looked unstoppable these past two games. With all of that said, I'll take the Bills. Confidence Points: 7
New Orleans Saints (-13.5) vs. St. Louis Rams What's up with this spread? Less than two touchdowns for the Saints? They went to Miami and were down by THREE touchdowns at one point and still came back to win by more than two touchdowns. Last week they were down two touchdowns to the Panthers and still won (although they didn't cover). I'm glad to see that the Saints finally have a "difficult" road game this season, but I can't see anyway that the Saints don't cover, so they get the pick. Confidence Points: 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins (-10.0) Well the Bucs won their first game last week with help of sack- and pick-happy Aaron Rodgers as well as a blocked punt touchdown. Although it was good to see that the Tampa players played hard. Miami didn't have a good showing in New England last week (even though those bastards covered the spread by a half point...FUCK-A YOU DOLPHIN!!!) but I can't see them falling into the same trap that the Packers fell into last week against the Bucs. Tampa will go back to its losing ways as Miami covers at home. Confidence Points: 10
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings (-16.5) Detroit came out strong last week in Seattle, only to lose big. The Vikings are coming off of their Bye after they won in Green Bay. This is a big spread (obviously) and not ill-advised. I think the Vikings will win (and they'll make sure of that) but I like the Lions' chances of keeping it close, so I'll go out and pick Detroit to cover. Confidence Points: 6
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets (-7.0) The Jags survived a late scare by the Chiefs last week playing in their half-empty stadium. Seriously, I watched part of that game (unlike anyone in Jacksonville) and there were more empty seats than a in preseason WNBA game. The Jets are coming off of their Bye and now trail New England by 2 games in the AFC East. However, if New England loses this week in Indy and the Jets win, they'll be one game back with another match-up with the Pats left this season and would be playing for the division lead. But the Jets have to keep pace first and I think the Bye Week will help. I like the Jets to get back to where they were at the beginning of the season and win this one comfortably. Confidence Points: 3
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.0) This game is for first place in the AFC North and what a game it should be. The Bengals beat the Steelers earlier in the season and handled the Ravens last week. But the Steelers are on fire right now. They are clicking in every phase of the game and I just can't see the Bengals going into Pittsburgh and leaving with a win. So then it comes down to will the Steelers cover the spread and I like those chances. If it was a ten point spread then I might reconsider, but at seven, give me the Steelers. Confidence Points: 5
Denver Broncos (-3.5) vs. Washington Redskins The Broncos aren't on such a mile high (get it) any more after losing two straight. Plus, combined with some Charger wins, San Diego is only a game behind Denver in the AFC West. I assume that the Broncos' two losses have driven this spread down and I'm grateful for that because the Redskins SUCK. This is just what the Broncos need to get back on the winning track. Confidence Points: 15
Atlanta Falcons (-1.5) vs. Carolina Panthers The Panthers have been looking better the past few weeks, including that semi-meltdown against in New Orleans last week. They are following the Titans strategy of handing the ball off to their running backs so their crappy quarterbacks can't throw interceptions. Atlanta got a healthy dose of the Redskins last week to give them some confidence, and with a 1.5 point spread this game is pretty much a pick 'em. The Falcons can run the ball almost as good as the Panthers but they can throw the ball a hell of a lot better. That's enough for Atlanta to get the pick. Confidence Points: 9
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders (-1.5) Another pretty much pick 'em spread. I really couldn't care less about this game between two shitty teams. I flipped a coin and the coin told me to pick Kansas City so there. Confidence Points: 1
Dallas Cowboys (-3.0) vs. Green Bay Packers Dallas won in November last week against the Eagles. The Packers got embarrassed last week in Tampa. I sure that the Packers will play tough this week, especially at home, but the calender says that it's still November and Dallas doesn't yet have a lead large enough to blow, so the Cowboys will take care of things in Green Bay. Confidence Points: 2
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals (-8.5) This is a scary game for me this week. All logic says stick with the Cardinals, but the Cardinals two weeks ago got dismantled by a Panthers team that is pretty much in the same league as the Seahawks. I sense this as a trap game for the Cardinals, but I really can't pick against them (can I?) Nope. I'll take the Cardinals with for some reason a ridiculously high amount of confidence points even though I obviously have no confidence in them, so don't b surprised if the Seahawks cover, if not win. Confidence Points: 12
Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Diego Chargers (-2.0) As I predicted, the Eagles lost last week. They also did it in typical Eagles fashion: no timeouts in the fourth quarter, no challenges left, losing timeouts on ridiculous challenges, continuously failing on 3rd and 4th and 1. San Diego beat the Giants due to a two minute drive against a defense filled with holes and poor decisions by the Giants' coaching staff. Putting both of these things together would suggest that the Chargers should have no problem against the Eagles. If the Broncos lose to Washington, San Diego would be set up to tie them for the division lead, but I don't think the Broncos will lose nor the Chargers win. Philly rebounds and gets the win. Confidence Points: 8
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts (-3.0) Here it is. The game of the season. These two teams seem to play every season, and these are always good games. If the Colts win they have a good shot of running the table and going 16-0 and in my opinion, it would be good for the NFL to have the Colts tie the Pats' record. These two teams have been the most dominate in the NFL the past decade, with the Steelers getting an honorable mention. Both of these teams are running out of time to keep it going and basically for me this pick comes down to the home field advantage. Therefore I like the Colts. Confidence Points: 4
Baltimore Ravens (-11.0) vs. Cleveland Browns The Ravens need this victory to hang around in the AFC Wild Card picture. After being swept by the Bengals, they need to bounce back against the inferior Ohio team. The Browns are a hot mess. They have two incompetent quarterbacks, both making big money. It's a high spread and the game is in Cleveland, but I think the Ravens are going to want to make a statement. I'll take the Ravens and the points. Confidence Points: 13
So that's two weeks in a row where I haven't gotten any picks correct in the late Sunday games. So what...who cares? (Apparently I care.) This week is a big week for a lot of teams. Depending on the outcome of some of these games, we might know right now which teams are going to be in the playoffs. I'll give my picks, but I suggest that you pick against them.
Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons (-10.0) Well the Saints got another favorable call last week in their win over the Falcons. Regardless though, the Falcons are the #2 team in the NFC South and are on course for a Wild Card berth. The Redskins are coming off of their Bye, but this isn't an ideal match-up. Washington might hang around for a bit, but I'll take Atlanta and the ten point spread. Confidence Points: 12
Arizona Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears (-3.0) It looks like Arizona is going to stay in first place in the NFC West, even though both the 49ers and Seahawks aren't too far behind. This team is very volatile. After a great game on the road against the Giants, they got beat down by the Panthers. The Bears are another team that I have questions about. They beat the teams they're supposed to and lose against the good teams. This is a game between two evenly matched teams in my opinion, but I think Arizona is due for another good game so I'm picking the Cardinals. Confidence Points: 8
Baltimore Ravens (-3.0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals This is an odd spread for me to understand. A few weeks ago the Bengals beat the Ravens in Baltimore. Wouldn't you then think that they would be the favorite at home? I guess this is due to the Ravens' defense looking a lot better last week when they beat the previously undefeated Broncos. Cincinnati had their Bye last week after destroying the Bears, so I don't know why people are down on them. I think the winner of this game is heading to the playoffs and I've been impressed with the Bengals this season so I'm going with them. Confidence Points: 1
Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts (-9.0) The Texans are 5-3 and are in second place in the AFC South...second to Indy. The Colts looked a little off last week hosting the 49ers, scoring their only touchdown on a halfback option pass. After a shaky start, the Texans are looking better. I don't think that they can beat the Colts on the road, but I think 9 points is a little too much, especially after last week for the Colts. I'll probably be proved wrong and the Colts will romp, but I'm taking the Texans to lose, but by less than 9. Confidence Points: 2
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots (-10.5) The Dolphins had TWO 100-yard kickoff returns for a touchdown last week against the Jets, and still barely won. The Dolphins' Wild Cat looked good last year against the Pats, but with the Patriots coming off of their Bye I'm sure they spent a lot of time on defense working against it. I'm also sure the Dolphins will show some new looks, but New England playing too good right now. It's a lot of points, but I like the Patriots to cover (as long as they can play good kickoff return defense). Confidence Points: 6
Green Bay Packers (-9.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers This game is known as the Battle of the Bays. Although "battle" might not be the correct term for this game. The Packers lost a tough game at home against Brett Favre last week, but now that's over there isn't a better bounce-back team than the Bucs. People have said that the UFL's Florida Tuskers could beat the Bucs head-to-head and I'd agree with that. This team has a good chance of going winless. The 9.5 points are a joke to me. Green Bay will be up by more than that halfway through the first quarter. The Packers win big in Tampa. Confidence Points: 13
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-6.5) Remember when the Jags were favored by like 10 points hosting the Rams after they lost 41-0 the week before against the Seahawks? Yeah...I didn't think so. Well it happened and the Rams lost in overtime. Here we are again, with the Jags favored at home after getting blown out by the previously winless Titans. WTF!? Just based on that, I take Kansas City. Confidence Points: 4
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints (-13.5) The Panthers salvaged whatever is left of their season with an impressive win in Arizona last weekend. The Saints (as noted before) again got a little help from the zebras. This could be a trap game for New Orleans and dare I say the Panthers pull off the upset in New Orleans? Oops, that's italicized, so I doubt it. The Saints having to win by two touchdowns tempts me to pick Carolina, but I've been burned by not picking New Orleans almost every week, so I pick the Saints to cover. Confidence Points: 9
Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks (-10.0) This might be another bore-fest between two pretty bad teams. Detroit comes off losing to a team that hadn't won a game in over a full calender year. The Seahawks laid an egg (get it) in Dallas last week, when I thought they were a little better than that. Since Seattle is a home, and they are better than the Lions, I'll take the Seahawks, even with the 10 point spread. Confidence Points: 10
San Diego Chargers vs. New York Giants (-4.5) This is a big game for both teams. If San Diego loses, I can't see them getting into the playoffs this season. If the Giants lose, it'll be really tough for them to get in. I think the Giants could still get it because they have games against Atlanta, Dallas, and Philly. But if the Giants lose this game then they'll go into their Bye on a four game losing streak and basically telling everyone that they are a mediocre team at best. In my mind this is going to be a close game, and the Giants have proven to win close games. Based on that, I'm taking New York, but on the other hand, if it's a close game, they might not cover. Just some food for thought. Confidence Points: 5
Tennessee Titans vs. San Fransisco 49ers (-4.0) Well the Titans got their first win last week against the Jags under previously suicidal quarterback Vince Young. Now they head to San Fransisco, a team that's been close in a few games, but hasn't gotten the victory in their last few games. This is a must win for the 49ers if they want to stay close with the Cardinals and I think San Fransisco sends Mr. Young back to the psych ward. Confidence Points: 11
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-3.0) This is the battle for the NFC East. A lot of people left both of these teams for dead a few weeks ago and crowned the Giants the division champions. Well that was premature ejaculation. The Eagles destroyed the Cowboys in the season finale last season, sending the Eagles to the playoffs and knocking out the Cowboys. A lot of people think that this is a revenge game for Big D. I think it's going to be a trend game. Philly loses games in November while Dallas wins. Then in December Dallas loses while Philly wins. Therefore, I pick Dallas and predict the Eagles get revenge later in the season. Confidence Points: 3
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) vs. Denver Broncos The Broncos got handled last week in Baltimore. I said I was on the Broncos bandwagon until they lost, and now I think I'm jumping off and switching to the Steelers'. Pittsburgh is coming off its Bye and is ready for a smash-mouth football game, which I think this will be. Denver can afford to lose another game and still be in control in the AFC West, whereas Pittsburgh has to worry about Baltimore and the Bengals. Three points on the road isn't enough to sway me from going with the Steelers. Confidence Points: 7
OK...so last week I was perfect in the early games. But then I was wrong on all of the late games. So what...who cares? This week features a lot of nice underdog picks. However favorites have been consistently covering the spread every week, regardless of how ridiculously large the spreads are.
I also went 0-2 in my bold predictions last week. (Although I should get half a point for that Miami pick.) I don't know if I'll be so bold this week, but perhaps another italicized pick might slant out of the page.
Houston Texans (-3.0) vs. Buffalo Bills In a relatively weak AFC this season, the Texans are in a good spot to make the playoff run everyone has been talking about. However, they probably will suck in December like they do every year and miss out. But it's not December yet and this spread is ridiculously low for a Buffalo team that hasn't beaten anyone worthwhile, so the Texans get my pick. Confidence Points: 13
Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears (-13.0) This is a spread that is way too high in my opinion. The Bears have LOST their last two games (granted both on the road) and the Browns are TERRIBLE. If Green Bay beats the Vikings and the Bears win, they're right back in the NFC North, but I smell a trap game here. The Bears may win, but I like Cleveland to cover. Confidence Points: 8
Seattle Seahawks vs. Dallas Cowboys (-9.5) Dallas gets a mediocre team at home and that should mean a win. They looked awfully impressive last week in beating the Falcons and the odds-makers proved me wrong yet again. The Seahawks are a team that either shows up and dominates or goes away fast. But Dallas has had a few hiccups in games like this. I think their win last week raises their confidence too much and the Seattle show up for this game. Confidence Points: 7
St. Louis Rams vs Detroit Lions (Off(0)) This will be the game that nobody watches. I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine that this will be blacked out in Detroit for not having a sell out. So that means the only people that will get this game are people in the St. Louis market. The funny thing is that I think this will be an exciting game. There will be lots of turnovers and probably some big plays. I think the Rams are due for a victory, but honestly I have no idea...everything I've just said is probably complete bullshit. Confidence Points: 3
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Indianapolis Colts (-12.0) There isn't much to say about this one. The 49ers have been struggling (although I think they have found a QB in Alex Smith), and the Colts are on complete cruise control. Perhaps the spread is a little high, but since it's in Indianapolis I'm going with the Colts. Confidence Points: 11
Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (-3.0) I've been trying to figure out why the Jets and Giants are playing at the same time. Is there another obscure Jewish holiday that starts at sundown like there was last time? But then I realized that this Sunday's Jewish holiday is Yom Brett Favre. The New York market wouldn't get to see the Viking-Packer game if the Jets played in the late game, therefore the NFL decided to put the two New York teams up against each other. Anyway, back to this game. The Jets looked great in Oakland and for a half Miami looked great against the Saints. These two teams met up a few weeks ago and Miami gave the Jets a heavy dose of the Wildcat. I think it's too soon for these two to play again and this time the Jets will be ready and will prevail. Confidence Points: 1
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (NL) This is game one of NY vs. Philly on Sunday and this one is almost as important. The winner takes control of the NFC East (Dallas may also be in the picture) and would be a legitimate win for either team. The Giants are coming off of two losses to two very good teams and the Eagles are 1-1 against two very bad teams. I don't know how into this game the Philly fans will be with the World Series game coming up later in the day, and Brian Giant-killer Westbrook is a little banged up (although he always seems to be beat up). The road team has been winning the games the last few times these teams have hooked up, so I'm going with New York. Confidence Points: 4
Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) Again this is a spread that I question. The Ravens have lost three in a row and by the way the Broncos are UNDEFEATED. But the Ravens are coming off of a Bye and maybe they've figured out their defense. That said, I'm not picking against the Broncos until they show me that I should, so Denver gets the pick. Confidence Points: 5
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans (-3.0) This spread CANNOT be right. The Titans are WINLESS. I know they're coming off of their Bye, but starting Vince Young is not going to magically give the Titans a win. The Jags aren't a great team, but they are better than the Titans. I'm not picking the Titans until they win a game, so go with Jacksonville. Confidence Points: 10
Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers (-16.5) Vegas is BEGGING you to pick the Raiders. Sixteen and a half points for a 3-3 team going up against a 2-4 team is ridiculous! And Oakland almost beat the Chargers in Week 1! That doesn't phase me...I'm going with San Diego even with their shitload of points. Confidence Points: 6
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers (-3.0) Ah, the game that has been giving FOX a hard-on since the beginning of August. Brett Favre returns to Green Bay. Do they boo or cheer? I say cheer. As for the game, both teams are pretty evenly matched. Here's the deal-breaker for me: Brett Favre is going to be extra pumped for the game, all 53 Packers are going to be pumped for this game. 53 > 1 ==> Packers get the pick. Confidence Points: 9
Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals (-10.0) Last year in the playoffs the Cardinals exposed the weaknesses of Jake Delhomme and he had a pick-fest and the questions started. Since then he has continued to play poorly and the questions continued. On Sunday the questions will end and so will Delhomme's job as starting quarterback of the Panthers. If Carolina losses they're virtually out of the playoff picture and it will be time to look towards the future and see what else they have at that position. The Cardinals are back to Superbowl form and will win big. Confidence Points: 12
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (-10.0) The Falcons fell apart in Dallas last week and now have a probably more difficult task this week on the road in New Orleans. The Saints would have lost that game last week in Miami if the Dolphins continued running their Wildcat offense in the second half. The only thing the Saints haven't done is play a divisional game. This will be their first one and these are the games they need to win. They might get the win, but I like Atlanta to bounce back and at least cover. Confidence Points: 2
I begin by admitting that last week didn't live up to the hype. As Jesse alluded to earlier in the week, the refs made that Giants-Saints game look more lopsided than it really was. The Vikings let the Ravens come back and make it a little more interesting, but the Ravens continued their new tradition of blowing it, this time with a missed field goal. And Denver proved me right by handling the Chargers. The closest games were the two overtime games between the Jags and Rams (ugh) and the Bills and Jets (double ugh).
This week isn't as loaded with marquee games like last week, but there
still are a few gems out there, so don't get too disappointed. The Vikings will get another test this week and for some reason people think that there is going to be a good game in Dallas this week. WTF! Plus, the away team is favored in 7 of the 13 games this week. May this be a good time to pick some underdogs? Let's find out.
Green Bay Packers (-9.0) vs. Cleveland Browns Do you remember when Eric Mangini was coaching the Jets and people referred to him as the Man-genius? No really...it's true. He needs to stop acting like he's Bill Belichick. The Packers feasted on the Lions last week...so I see no reason why they can't do the same against another lowly team. I'd be upset if I were the Packers and only got a 9 point spread. Confidence Points: 11
San Diego Chargers (-4.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs Congrats to the Chiefs for getting their first win last week...although it did come against the Redskins. San Diego was easily handled by Denver last week and this needs to be a bounce back game for them. The AFC is looking awfully weak this year, so San Diego is only a few games away from getting back in the playoff picture. This is a must win and 4.5 points is enough for me to go with the Chargers. Confidence Points: 8
Indianapolis Colts (-13.0) vs. St. Louis Rams Well the Rams took Jacksonville to overtime and the Jags only lost to the Colts by 2 so St. Louis has a chance right? WRONG. Indy is coming off a Bye and they're playing unbelievable right now. The Colts play in a dome, so the Rams won't have an advantage there and their best receiver just got injured. I can see Indianapolis up by 13 in the first quarter. The 13 point spread doesn't scare me; Colts win big here. Confidence Points: 13
Minnesota Vikings vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) This might be the best game this week. As I said earlier, the Vikings almost blew an 18 point lead against the Ravens (well actually they did, but came back). I'm not sold on this team yet. I think old man Favre is going to come out and the Steelers are going to make some plays on defense. Pittsburgh needs a quality win, and I think the Vikings are due for a let down seeing as they've come close twice now. Plus, I have a side bet on the Steelers to win straight up with Jesse, so I'm picking Pittsburgh. Confidence Points: 5
New England Patriots (-14.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers This is a pretty big spread for an away team. Last week the Eagles were favored in Oakland by 14 and the Raiders won! But the Pats won by 59 points last week!!! I smell something fishy here, and no it's not Tom Brady's pussy. Will the Bucs cover? Hmm...it's not a bold prediction, just an italicized one, and that's not enough for me to pick them. New England wins easily (I think). Confidence Points: 10
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans (-3.0) Which 49ers team is going to show up this week? Which Texans team is going to show up this week? I can't answer either of these questions. So it's off to the intangibles. San Fran is coming off a Bye week. Texans are playing at home. 49ers are starting Michael Crabtree at wide receiver. I need to pick an underdog. Therefore I pick the 49ers. Confidence Points: 1
New York Jets (-6.0) vs. Oakland Raiders This is a tough one for me. Oakland played very well against Philly last week, while the Jets continued to stumble to their third straight loss. Logic would tell me that this trend would continue, but logic doesn't always work in the NFL. I think the Jets should stop throwing the ball and go back to the run. Oakland is ranked 29th in the NFL in rushing defense so that doesn't look good for them. Except I don't think the Jets WILL stop throwing and I don't like the Jets to cover this. They may get the win, but not by 6, so I'm picking the Raiders. Confidence Points: 2
Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers (-7.0) I would have never thought that the Panthers would be favored by 7 points after the horrible start that they had this season. Buffalo intercepted SIX passes last week against the Jets and Jake Delhomme is tied with Mark Sanchez with 10 interceptions this season. Sounds good for the Bills right? Except that the Bills had to win that game in overtime and only scored 16 points! The Panthers are playing better and should get this win at home to keep their season going. Confidence Points: 9
Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-1.0) Ah, the one point spread...basically a pick 'em. Both teams suffered tough losses last week, so the real question is which one is going to be able to bounce back. Again, with the AFC being weak this season, the Bengals can probably afford to lose this game. The Bears need this win to stay in the hunt in the NFC. I think Chicago gets the victory based on necessity. Confidence Points: 4
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys (-4.0) Let's all have a good hearty laugh at the spread makers here. I know that the Cowboys had a Bye last week, but seriously, this team isn't good. If you recall, all of their wins have been against teams that were winless when they played. Last I checked, the Falcons are 4-1 and playing great football. I don't think Atlanta is looking past this game to next week's match-up with New Orleans, so I really don't get this spread. I'd pick the Falcons if they were favored by 4, so I'm definitely taking Atlanta with this spread. Confidence Points: 7
New Orleans Saints (-6.0) vs. Miami Dolphins New Orleans' offense is on a roll right now. Regardless of the bad calls last week, they still executed their offense. The question for me is can the Dolphin defense slow them down? Miami's wildcat offense just keeps getting better and better every week. And they're coming off a Bye week, and I can only imagine what crazy plays they're drawn up. I don't think New Orleans has the defense to stop them, so Miami is going to get its points. Can they keep up with the Saints? Again, that depends on Miami's defense...and I say they will. There is my bold prediction: Miami over New Orleans. Confidence Points: 3
Arizona Cardinals vs. New York Giants (-7.0) This spread surprises me. I would have thought that it would have been Giants favored by 3. Apparently people have faith in the G-Men. Arizona's offense is looking like it did last year...when the Giants went to Arizona and beat the Cardinals. The Cardinals' offense is similar to the Saints', but I think the Giants will be able to get pressure on Kurt Warner, unlike what happened in New Orleans. This is a big game for both teams as they each look for a quality in conference win. I may be a little biased, but I like New York to come out strong and get a big win for Big Blue. Confidence Points: 6
Philadelphia Eagles (-7.0) vs. Washington Redskins What can be said about this game? Philly lost to Oakland and now is a favored on the road by a touchdown. That goes to show you the lack of faith people have in Washington. The previously winless Chiefs went to Washington and won by 8. I think the Eagles fix the problems they had last week in Oakland, while the Redskins continue to create ones in Washington. If the Redskins lose I think Jim Zorn gets fired. That's bold prediction number 2, and since I like Philadelphia in this game, Zorn should start clearing out his office. Confidence Points: 12
It's Friday and that means NFL picks time! I know you can't contain your excitement, but trust me, don't blow your load now. Wait until this weekend. There are A LOT of good games this weekend and I think we'll find out who is legit and who isn't.
This week was difficult for me to pick. I think the spreads were set perfectly. It took me a long time to make my confidence point picks and frankly I'm not really confident on any of them. Good teams are playing each other, bad teams are playing each other, and spread is really trying to help the underdogs in the good team-bad team games. OK...now let's get to the picks.
Houston Texans vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-5.0) What Texans team is going to show up this week? This team is consistently inconsistent. One thing we do know is that thanks to the Bengals, this game will be exciting and won't be won until the last minute. With the exception of the Bronco's game, the Bengals have won them all. So I'll assume that the Bengals will continue to win, but will it be by a field goal or touchdown? I say touchdown and like Cincinnati in this one. Confidence Points: 12
Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers (-13.5) Thirteen and a half points is a big spread for the Packers. The Lions only lost by 8 to Pittsburgh last weekend, but that was at home and the Steelers haven't looked all that good this year. I don't think that the Packers are going to look past this game. They are currently two and half games behind the Vikings in their division and they've been beaten by the Vikings. They can't afford to lose (and they won't) but will they cover? I say Packers cover, and they better because... Confidence Points: 14
Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings (-3.0) Ah, the traditional three-points-for-playing-at-home spread. This will be one of those good games I mentioned before. The Ravens have beaten themselves in their two losses (dropped catch on 4th down against the Pats, three defensive penalties that lead to a touchdown against the Bengals). But the match-up I like is old man Favre against Ravens' safety Ed Reed. I smell a bad game by the Vikings and pick the Ravens. Confidence Points: 1
New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints (-3.0) Again the three point spread for playing at home. Personally I think this game means more to the Saints than the Giants. Beating the Jets was a statement win, except that the Jets then lost to Miami last week and maybe they aren't as good as we all thought. The Giants are a legit team and a win over New York would be impressive. The Giants have a lot of injuries and if New York was at home I might pick against them, but they're in New Orleans and 1) the Giants LOVE playing on the road and 2) they LOVE being underdogs. The Giants will come marching in and then out with a victory. Confidence Points: 6
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-14.0) Pittsburgh can't lose this game, can they? I mean Derek Anderson went 2-17 throwing the ball last week. You can't win doing that, right? Oh...what's that...Cleveland won! WHAT THE FUCK! But I can state with some confident that Pittsburgh is no Buffalo. Will the Steelers cover this huge spread? I don't know but I'm picking Pittsburgh anyway just because I'd be too ashamed to pick Cleveland. Confidence Points: 4
Carolina Panthers (-3.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers The Panthers won their first game against a terrible Redskins team. A terrible Bucs team is just what they needed to get a winning streak going. Carolina is in the class of whatever is right above terrible. As long as they keep playing terrible teams, I'm going to keep picking the Panthers. Confidence Points: 11
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Washington Redskins (-6.5) OK, here is one that the spreadmakers got wrong. Washington owner Dan Synder has zero confidence points in the Redskins right now. Both of the Redskins' wins (against winless St. Louis and Tampa Bay) have been by a combined score of FIVE POINTS and you think that Washington will win by SEVEN POINTS! I'd even go further on to say that the Chiefs, who came oh so close last week to beating the Cowboys, will win big. Kansas City is the logical choice here (which probably means that Washington will crush them...oh well). Confidence Points: 7
St. Louis Rams vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-9.5) OK...can somebody explain to be how a team that lost last week 41-0 could come into the next week as a 9.5 point favorite? Oh...what's that....they're playing the Rams. Hmm...I guess that makes sense. The Jags are another consistently inconsistent team. The Rams just flat out suck. But they're coming off of a good game last week yardage-wise against the Vikings. I smell an upset. I'll take the Rams here. Confidence Points: 3
Philadelphia Eagles (-14.0) vs. Oakland Raiders Last week I picked against my beloved Giants for you Oakland and I got completely bitch-slapped for that. This week you get NO love from me. Philly is a team that will continue to score points when they are blowing a team out, so Oakland has no chance of covering this spread. Oakland is so bad that I'm calling a Michael Vick touchdown pass against the Raiders in an Eagles rout. Confidence Points: 9
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks (-3.0) A lot of people are on the Seahawks bandwagon now that Matt Hasselbeck is "beck" from being "hasseled" (hehe) from a back injury. I'm not so convinced. Arizona's offense looked good in the first half last week against the Texans and then kinda sputtered in the second half. I still like Arizona, and with the 49ers coming back down to Earth, I think the Cardinals are going to win this division. Confidence Points: 10
Tennessee Titans vs. New England Patriots (-9.5) Man, can the Titans catch a break? This team is a perfect example of how important momentum is in a short 16 game season. Last year they won their first TEN games, while this year they LOST their first five. And it can very well be six after a trip to New England. The Pats had a tough loss in Denver last week, but with the Jets losing they kept pace in the AFC East. I like the Pats to win and cover this, but I wouldn't be shocked if the Titans won this game outright. Confidence Points: 8
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets (-9.5) Rex Ryan's defense was obviously not prepared for the Miami Wildcat offense last week. Buffalo just wasn't ready to play last week. I think both teams are going to improve this weekend, but I don't think Buffalo has the right quarterback or coaching staff to be a good team. The Jets need to win this, and they need to win by a lot in order for them to be taken seriously again, and I think they will. Confidence Points: 5
Chicago Bears vs. Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) Another good game between a pair of one-loss teams. Hopefully this game will be as dramatic as the one last year between these two teams, when Chicago scored with 11 second left to take the lead, only to lose on a last second field goal by Atlanta. Jay Cutler has improved from his opening game disaster, but I'm not sold on them yet. Atlanta was dominate last weekend in San Fransisco, embarrassing the 49ers. I think Atlanta, not New Orleans, is the team to beat in the NFC South and the Falcons are going to get the win. Confidence Points: 13
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers (-3.5) I. Am. Sold. On. The. Broncos. Give me more Broncos. This team is fun. This team knows how to come back and win. And this team needs to prove itself against the Chargers. They're beaten some good teams thus far, but this is the biggest game for them this season. San Diego needs this game or else they can kiss the division good-bye. And I think that's exactly what's going to happen after the Broncos pick up the win. Confidence Points: 2
Many thanks to Jesse for filling in for me last week. I thought his picks were expert-worthy (they were better than mine). I'm glad to let you know that my thumbs are still intact, although I don't know how I got that scar over my right kidney or why I woke up in a tub of ice water. Those Mafia guys are such jokesters.
But now I'm back to spend another hour writing this blog entry that I'm sure at least half of you don't read. Is it because it's about football? Is it because I'm writing it? Is it the deadly Daytrader-NFL combination? Whatev. It's a good excuse from doing work. OK...now to the picks.
Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills (-6.0) Buffalo got spanked last week in Miami. Cleveland played well against the Bengals and almost pulled off a big upset. Hopefully Cleveland has figured out that Derek Anderson should be their starting QB. I don't think trading Braylon Edwards to the Jets will hurt this offense (not that there is much to hurt anyway) so I like the Browns to cover if not win Confidence Points: 5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) vs. Detroit Lions The Steelers got back on track last week with a big win over San Diego and they might get back Troy Palomalu on their defense. Detroit might be without Matt Stafford at QB and, oh by the way, they're the motherfucking Lions. I think this spread might even be too small for Pittsburgh so they're the clear pick in my opinion. Confidence Points: 11
Dallas Cowboys (-8.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs Can we finally say that Tony Romo is the most overrated player in the NFL? The Cowboys' two wins have come against the Bucs and the Panthers, who have a combined record of 0-7. Being fair and balanced, I point out that their two losses were against the Giants and Broncos with a combined record of 8-0. Kansas City's record: 0-4. Am I clear on this one? Go with the Cowboys. Confidence Points: 9
Minnesota Vikings (-10.0) vs. St. Louis Rams The Rams are the worst team in the NFL. They've been shut out twice in four games. OK, they almost beat the Redskins, but the Redskins lost to Detroit and barely eked one out against the Bucs. The Vikings are findings ways to win and the past two weeks it hasn't been Adrian Peterson but now 40-year-old Brett Favre. Favre is going to struggle later in the year, but not now so the Vikings should have no trouble with this one. Confidence Points: 13
Oakland Raiders vs. New York Giants (-15.5) I find it hard to believe that the spread on this game hasn't been Off (0). It is unknown if Eli Manning is going to start. I, as a Giants fan, have no idea. Are the bettors saying that David Carr can beat the Raiders by 16 points? What would the spread be if they knew for a fact that Eli Manning was going to play...24 points? Regardless of who plays QB for the Giants, I think they're going to win this one, but on the same token, regardless of who plays QB for the Giants, I don't see them covering this spread. They run the ball and take time off the clock when they have a lead, so as painful as this is for me to do, I pick Oakland to lose but cover the spread. Confidence Points: 4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Philadelphia Eagles (-14.5) I find it interesting that this game, unlike the previous one, was Off(0) until Donovan McNabb said that he was going to start. Then it went to 14.5. Tampa Bay is on par with Oakland in the sucky catagory. I don't get it. Regardless, McNabb is going to come out throwing the ball and don't forget that Tampa lost to Washington last week. Even though there is a big spread, I like the Eagles to win and cover. Confidence Points: 3
Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers (-3.5) I've picked the Panthers every week that they've played so far and they just keep on disappointing me. But Washington is a complete mess right now. They just hired an "offensive consultant" without talking to their head coach. Oh, and did I mention that they got the guy from a retirement home in Michigan whose most difficult job was calling numbers at Bingo!?!?!?! How can I choose either of these teams!? The deciding factor is that Carolina had a Bye last week and hopefully they worked on some new stuff. I'll go with the Panthers...this team did go 12-4 last season right? Confidence Points: 6
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens (-8.5) The Bengals keep playing tight games and have won most of them (the lone exception is the loss to Denver in Week 1 on that fluke tipped pass). But they had problems last week with Cleveland and they really shouldn't have. I have learned this year that Baltimore is going to cover at home. So enough said about this game. Confidence Points: 10
Atlanta Falcons vs. San Fransisco 49ers (-2.5) This is an interesting match-up between two one-loss teams. The 49ers were one Hail Favre pass away from being 4-0, while the Falcons really got out played by the Pats in their only loss. San Fransisco has been playing very good football at home and I think they'll win, and with a small spread I pick the 49ers. Confidence Points: 7
New England Patriots (-3.0) vs. Denver Broncos This is going to be a good game, and in my eyes the game of the week. This is the fifth game where the Patriots are playing a team that is undefeated coming into the game. They look much better than they did their first two games, but so is Denver. The Denver defense has given up 26 points ALL SEASON! That's less than a touchdown (with extra point) a game. Now I think the Patriots are going to score more than 6.5 points this game, but I think Denver will too, and I like the Broncos in the upset at home. Confidence Points: 2
Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals (-5.5) Houston has had flashes of brilliance and flashes of ignorance this season. This is a team that I cannot figure out. Arizona is coming off of their Bye and I think it came at a good time for them. They're 1-2 and they needed to work on basics. I think they're going to be throwing the ball better and then that will open up the run. The Texans' defense might be able to get to the immobile Kurt Warner, but I think the Cardinals will be able to beat the unstable Texans. Confidence Points: 8
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks (Off(0)) I don't really follow either of these teams so I'm not 100% sure why there is no spread. Perhaps it's due to not knowing if Matt Hasselback will start at quarterback for the Seahawks. The Jags have looked a lot better since their 0-2 start, and I guess their fans can watch the game since it'll be in Seattle. The Seahawks play well at home and for a game that I really don't have a read on, that'll be enough for me to go with Seattle. Confidence Points: 1
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) vs. Tennessee Titans This is the Prime-Time match up on Sunday night this week and boy the schedulers must not have seen this coming. The Titans STINK! I thought for a while that this was due to playing some tough teams, but they just stink. Their defense is no good, their pass offense is no good, they can run the ball, but they're always playing from behind and this week will be no different. Peyton Manning is playing maybe his best football ever, and this spread is a joke. Unless Vegas knows something that I don't, the Colts will win BIG this weekend. Confidence Points: 14
New York Jets (-1.5) vs. Miami Dolphins Going into last week, this match-up would have been a total walkover for the Jets. But the Jets lost last week and the Dolphins, after losing starting QB Chad Pennington, crushed the Bills. Now this is going to be an intriguing game. I think the addition of Braylon Edwards to the Jets is going to help Mark Sanchez and give him a receiver that he can just throw a jump ball to. Edwards will probably just drop it, but at least it won't get picked. I'm not jumping off the Jets' bandwagon yet and I think the spread is small enough to go with New York. Confidence Points: 12
Daytrader, your usual guide through the world of losing money on football gambling, is unable to type this week due to a problem involving his bookie, a 300 pound Italian man, a car door, and his thumbs. So I apologize for the lateness of these substitute football picks. Although I hear Vegas is open 24 hours. Just sayin'.
Chicago Bears (-10.5) over Detroit Lions My sincere congratulations to the Lions for getting that huge, rabid monkey off their back last week with a win over the Redskins. And not just because I called it (everybody with a picks column not named "Daytrader" called that one correctly). It was just really getting sad. Now, back to the business of losing. If you still have the Bears available in a suicide pool, congratulations on making it to week 5! Confidence points: 12
Cincinatti Bengals (-5.5) over Cleveland Browns For those of you that aren't degenerate gamblers, I feel this line requires some explanation. The goal of a Vegas line is not to say, "we think the Bengals are 5.5 points better than the Browns." Instead, they are saying, "we think that if we set the line at -5.5, then we'll get the same number of bets on the Bengals and the Browns." The line started the week at -5, and has moved to -5.5, which indicates that more money has been going on the Bengals than the Browns. For once, humanity has given me a reason to continue having faith in it. This line could move to -10 and I'd still take the Bengals over the Browns. The Browns quit on Eric Mangini faster than he can finish a meatball sub. Confidence points: 14
Indianapolis Colts (-10.5) over Seattle Seahawks Seattle has great fans and one of the last remaining home field advantages in football. What? This game is in Indianapolis? Oh. Confidence points: 4
New York Giants (-9.0) over Kansas City Chiefs Scott Pioli, general manager for the Chiefs, used to be the GM for the New England Patriots. Matt Cassell, quarterback for the Chiefs, stepped in as QB for the Patriots last season after Tom Brady got injured. This offseason, Pioli left for the Chiefs and traded for Cassell. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I guess Bill Belichick was the brains behind the Patriots operation after all, because Cassell and the Chiefs have been embarrassing. Confidence points: 11
Baltimore Ravens (+2.0) over New England Patriots *rubs his eyes* *blinks* *rubs his eyes again*
Huh. That still says that the Ravens are two point underdogs to the Patriots. Weird. I still think its a typo. Confidence points: 10
Tamba Bay Buccaneers (+7.0) over Washington Redskins Dating back to the start of last season, the St. Louis Rams and the Detroit Lions have won three games, and have been the worst teams in football by a wide margin. In the last two weeks, the Redskins beat the Rams at home by two, and lost to Detroit. Those three combined wins? Two have come against the Redskins. The Redskins shouldn't be favored by 7 against most high school teams right now. Confidence points: 13
Tennessee Titans (-3.0) over Jacksonville Jaguars If such a thing exists as the best 0-3 team ever, then the Titans may be it. I'm about as enthusiastic about this game as the city of Jacksonville (yes, blacked out again in J-town). Confidence points: 6
Houston Texans (-9.0) over Oakland Raiders Over the last two weeks, the Texans have been gashed by two of the best running backs in the game, Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Quick, name the running back for the Raiders. Yeah, that's what I thought. Confidence points: 5
Buffalo Bills (-2.0) over Miami Dolphins The only thing more surprising to me than Buffalo being a road favorite at any point during this season is the fact that I'm picking them. Although its possible that Miami surprises us this weekend by running the Wildcast for 30 straight snaps. When you can't even get your best quarterback named Chad behind center, it might be time to try something... wild. *sigh* Confidence points: 7
New Orleans Saints (-7.0) over New York Jets I am excited for this game. Is the Jets defense as good as we think it is? Ditto for the Saints offense? Can Mark Sanchez handle a big game on the road against a quality opponent? Will I finally break down an admit that I'm jealous of Daytrader and his NFL Sunday Ticket package, since I will be stuck watching the goddamned Texans and Cowboys this Sunday? From a gambling perspective, however, all those question marks mean I have no idea what to make of this game. That's why... Confidence points: 1 Dallas Cowboys (-3.0) over Denver Paper Tigers Much like the stock market, you can make money in gambling when teams (stocks) are overvalued or undervalued. Rarely do you get such a potent combination of an overvalued and undervalued team meeting in one game. The Broncos are 3-0, but two wins were against crummy teams, and one win was due almost entirely to a single miracle play. Meanwhile, for all the talk fo their demise, the Cowboys are 2-1, with the one loss coming by only 3 points against the Giants, one of the best teams in football. This one is a no-brainer. Confidence points: 8
San Fransisco 49ers (-9.5) over St. Louis Rams The Rams are just happy the Lions finally lost, so they can get that pesky question about who is the worst team in football out of the way. Confidence points: 2
San Diego Chargers (+6.5) over Pittsburgh Steelers This may be a must win for Pittsburgh, but I can't see them scoring enough points to beat the Chargers by a touchdown. Whether they win or lose, the Chargers will at least cover. Its also possible, now that we see Tennessee (the team they beat week 1) isn't as good as we thought either, that Pittsburgh is just a bad team. Confidence points: 9
Minnesota Vikings (-3.5) over Green Bay Packers Will this be the highest rated Monday Night Football game ever? Admit it: as much as you bitched about Favre in the off-season, you cannot wait to watch this game. Confidence points: 3
Well last week was more like it. Maybe going with my football gut is the way to go. Let's quickly recap what we learned from week 2:
The Saints offense can score points at will against teams other than the Lions.
The Eagles defense sucks a big fat dick.
The Jets are for real.
The Patriots' dynasty is over.
The Giants still cannot score touchdowns in the red zone.
The Cowboys will not win a playoff game with Tony Romo as their starting quarterback.
There were a lot more things that we learned, but I'm not in the mood to keep on listing them. Watch some goddamn ESPN if you want some more lessons. OK...now to the picks.
Washington Redskins (-6.5) vs. Detroit Lions Can you believe that this crappy game is a game to watch?! People are thinking that this game is winnable for the Lions. The almost equally shitty Rams went to Washington last week and ALMOST WON! Will Detroit pull off the upset? I say: NO! Washington got its wake-up call last week and will take care of this one...enough I say to even cover the spread. A heavy dose of Clinton Portis will do the trick as Washington goes back to its smash-mouth NFC East roots. Confidence Points: 4
Green Bay Packers (-6.5) vs. St. Louis Rams The Rams had their chances last week in Washington and failed. Green Bay is another team that got unexpectedly (although I expected it) stung last week. The Packers' defense is suspect, so good thing the Rams can't score points (only 7 points all season!). This one shouldn't be too tough for the Packers. Confidence Points: 16
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings (-7.0) Two 2-0 teams clash in this one that is a little spicier than we all would have thought a few weeks ago. The 49ers have surprised me these last two weeks, winning two divisional games, and I've paid the price by not picking them both weeks. The Vikings haven't really surprised me beating Cleveland and Detroit (ooh, you want a cookie for that) so this is a real test for them. Seven points seems a lot and Favre has a lifetime losing record when he plays in Minnesota, so I'll take the 49ers. Confidence Points: 5
Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots (-4.0) People aren't talking about this game, but it's a BIG game for both of these teams. The Pats can't afford another loss with the way the Jets are playing, and Atlanta can't afford to lose right now with the way the Saints are playing. The Pats have been flat all season, except for the 4th quarter against Buffalo, but I can't see them staying that way. They need this win and I think they'll turn it around so I take New England at home. Confidence Points: 6
Tennessee Titans vs. New York Jets (-2.5) Last year the Jets went into Tennessee and handed the Titans their first loss giving them a record of 10-1! Now the Titans sit at 0-2 while the Jets are flying high at 2-0. Tennessee lost both games by 3 points, which explains the small 2.5 point spread. I got a feeling that the Jets put so much into that Patriots game last week that they might let this one slip away. I think the Titans get the win they desperately need. Confidence Points: 1
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Off (0)) Like I mentioned last week, the Off (0) spread means that legally there is no betting on this game, but since we're playing for fun, this is an old fashion pick 'em game. I almost think it's silly to have no spread because I think whoever the Eagles start at quarterback will win. Kevin Kolb was able to score points against the Saints, the problem was that the Saints scored more...a lot more. The Chiefs looked good against Baltimore in Week 1 on offense, but bad last week so I have to go with the Eagles here. Confidence Points: 15
New York Giants (-6.5) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Here's another 6.5 spread for the Giants...just like Week 1. The Giants have yet to score a touchdown inside their opponents' 20 yard line. This baffles me when you have the running attack that they do. I don't like the play calling when they get there. But they have to finally score at least once there this week right? Right. The Giants will win this game and I think finally be able to cover. Confidence Points: 14
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens (-13.5) Hmm...this looks familiar. The Ravens a 13.5 favorite at home against a team that sucks. I have no doubt that the Ravens will win this game, the question is will they cover the spread. I didn't see anyway it would happen in Week 1 when they were tied with like 3 minutes left to go, but they went out of their way to cover the spread when they could have just sat on the ball and won. This is going to be a cursed spread for me with this team, so now I'll wait to get beat the other way. I'm picking Baltimore. Confidence Points: 7
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (-4.0) The Jaguars are horrible. The Texans defense doesn't look good. But their offense way good enough to beat Tennessee, in Tennessee, in a shoot out. If the Texans win, they're back in the conversation in the AFC South. Jacksonville has a lot of problems and there has already been talk of looking to draft Florida QB Tim Tebow next year. THEY'RE ALREADY THINKING ABOUT NEXT YEAR! Take the Texans on this one. Confidence Points: 13
New Orleans Saints (-6.0) vs. Buffalo Bills There is no doubting the Saints' offense anymore. Drew Brees is the real deal. But I still have questions about their defense. They haven't faced an offense with the ability to attack, and in my eyes they aren't going to face one this week. Buffalo hasn't looked too bad this season, but I see the Saints winning by at least a touchdown. Look for New Orleans to go 3-0. Confidence Points: 8
Chicago Bears (-2.0) vs. Seattle Seahawks This game shouldn't be too hard for the Bears. They knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers last week with a solid performance by Jay Cutler. I still don't like this team in the long run, but this week Seattle is starting backup QB Seneca Wallace. He played a good portion of the season last year for the Seahawks and led them to a 4-12 record. Seattle is tough at home, but the Bears should win this one. Confidence Points: 11
Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.0) vs. Cincinnati Bengals This is a good AFC North match-up. The champs are coming off a tough loss in Chicago while the Bengals went to Green Bay and outplayed the Packers. The Steelers needed a wake-up call and I think they'll get back to smash mouth football. Cincinnati may be able to throw the ball against the Steelers, but Pittsburgh can both throw and run the ball against the Bengals. I don't see the champs losing two in a row, so I pick the Steelers on the road. Confidence Points: 10
Denver Broncos (-1.5) vs. Oakland Raiders This is an interesting game from a spread point of view. At the beginning of the week Oakland was favored by 2.5 points (most likely from being home for the game) and people must have bet all over the Broncos for that big of a swing. Denver has won both games against the state of Ohio, which includes an improbable freak play to beat the Bengals. Oakland's defense has been keeping them in games and I think they're an underrated team. Last I checked Oakland isn't in Ohio, so I pick the Raiders. Confidence Points: 3
Miami Dolphins vs San Diego Chargers (-6.0) San Diego lost to Baltimore last week because they didn't trust their strength, the passing attack. Miami lost last week because they couldn't stop the quick pass attack of the Colts. It's unbelievable that they controlled the ball for over 45 minutes and STILL lost. That has to be demoralizing for that team. Look for San Diego to throw all over Miami as the Chargers roll in this one. Confidence Points: 9
Arizona Cardinals vs. Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) This should be a good game on Sunday night. Both of these teams have lethal passing attacks and questionable defenses. The kicker for me is that the Colts seem to be able to run the ball a little better than the Cardinals. Plus they're playing at home. With a small spread, if the Colts win they probably cover, so I'm going with them. Confidence Points: 12
Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys (-9.0) If Dallas didn't want to lose their home opener in their new crazy stadium then they shouldn't have opened against the Giants. There are too many problems in Dallas for this team to be a real threat: Tony Romo, Wade Phillips, Jerry Jones, just to name a few. Carolina looked better against Atlanta last week, but still didn't get the W. Nine points is a big spread. I imagine that Dallas is going to really try to run up the scoreboard to try to makeup for the loss last week and I think they'll win, but Carolina will stay close enough to cover. Confidence Points: 2
OK...so I only got 2 of 16 picks right last week. But to my defense they were the picks that I gave the most confidence points to. And it was Week 1 so no one really knows anything about the season yet (unless you are: MinicooperChickGoPats, Punt Party, Brett Favre is the Antichrist, Michael Vick's Rape Stand, I heart football, Gomer, Particle Men, Panthro, and Plaxico's Sweatpants). So this week I'm throwing away my football brain and listening to my football gut.
But before I give you my picks for this week I want to rant a bit.
Rant #1 goes to the Baltimore Ravens who for some reason after being up by 7 with less than a minute to go GOES for it on 4th AND GOAL instead of kicking a field goal to be up by 10. Granted they scored a touchdown putting them up 14, but if they didn't get it they would allow the Chiefs to drive down the field and score to tie. If they kicked the field goal (the obvious choice) they would be up by two scores and would definitely win. But they went for the touchdown because THEY WANTED TO COVER THE 13 POINT SPREAD! There is NO other logical reason and the NFL should investigate the Ravens for betting on their own team. Someone else please offer me any other reason.
Rant #2 goes to my beloved New York Giants. While I will always root for the win regardless of the score, YOU ALWAYS GIVE UP THE SPREAD AT THE END OF THE GAME! They always give up garbage touchdowns which both ruins the spread for loyal Giants fans and hurts their own defensive ranking both in actual NFL statistics and in fantasy. Now I know that I'm being totally hypocritical in these two rants, but whatevs.
OK...now to the picks.
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons (-6.5) The Panthers are sticking with Jake Delhome entirely based on the reason that they've guaranteed him $20 million and that their new backup A. J. Feely won't be able to do any better. I think this is a team that is on the decline, but they can't have 3 terrible performances in a row, can they? The brain says Falcons, but the gut says Panthers. Confidence Points: 2
Minnesota Vikings (-10.0) vs. Detroit Lions Adrian Peterson ran all through the Browns' defense in the second half last week and this week he gets possibly a worse defense. Minnesota's defense is better than the Saints', so I don't see the Lions scoring many points. As long as Favre sticks with the game plan like last week the Vikings should have an easy time again. Confidence Points: 13
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers (-9.0) The Packers did NOT look good last week against the Bears, who were without their defensive leader Brian Urlacher for the entire second half. The Bengals should have beaten the Broncos last week, but they need to score more points. I think the Bengals will score more points, maybe not enough to win, but enough to cover the spread since Green Bay loves the close games. Confidence Points: 9
Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans (-6.5) Well the Texans looked HORRIBLE last week against the Jets and the Titans held their own against the Steelers and probably would have won the game if they hit either of those two early field goal tries. Kerry Collins does a good job of managing games. He doesn't win the big ones, but since this one isn't big, the Titans should win this one. Confidence Points: 14
Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-3.0) Interesting match up this week between two teams that need to figure themselves out. Both looked good last week in pushing two playoff teams from last year to the end, but they both lost. Since the Chiefs are at home and they should get Matt Cassel back at quarterback by brain says KC, but the gut says go with Oakland. Confidence Points: 12
New England Patriots (-3.5) vs. New York Jets The spread has been going down all week on this one, which means that people are betting on the Jets. The Pats barely squeaked one out Monday night against Buffalo (who loves giving away MNF games) and the Jets overachieved last week and are getting very cocky in talking smack to the Patriots. All of this together would mean that the Patriots are going to destroy New York, but the gut says that the Jets are going to find a way to win. I think this is going to be a dangerous team this season. Confidence Points: 1
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Even) This game wasn't being bet on at the beginning of the week (the Off(0) spread), but now you can gamble on this game now with no spread. This is all due to no one knowing who is going to start at quarterback for the Eagles. Regardless of who starts for Philly, I think the team with the better defense is going to win and there is no question that the Eagles' defense is superior to the Saints' so I'm going with the Eagles. Confidence Points: 8
St. Louis Rams vs. Washington Redskins (-10.0) The Rams scored ZERO points last week in Seattle and now they take on Washington. I know that the Redskins scored 17 points in New York last weekend, 7 were on a fake field goal at the end of the first half and 7 were on a touchdown during garbage time at the end of the game, so that means that Washington should win this one 3-0 (actually it doesn't). Last year the Rams only won 2 games, but one was IN Washington so I like the Rams to at least cover if not win. Confidence Points: 3
Arizona Cardinals vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.0) This home game is being blacked out in Jacksonville for not being able to sell out their home stadium. The Cardinals looked rusty against the 49ers last week, but started to get things going at the end. I think they carry that into this week and get back to Superbowl form against a team that should be embarrassed that they can't sell out their home field. Go with Arizona for this one. Confidence Points: 11
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Buffalo Bills (-5.0) Buffalo let one get away last week, but they showed that they might be a problem for some elite teams. Tampa Bay is NOT an elite team and they scored points last week against an overrated Cowboys defense. I think TO has a big game at home and the Bills win this one. Confidence Points: 7
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) Both of these teams had big wins last week against divisional foes. Seattle completely outplayed the Rams (which wasn't hard to do) and the 49ers stunned the defending NFC Champion Cardinals. To me this one comes down to who has more playmakers on the field. I think the 49ers are on the way up and the Seahawks are on their way down, but I think Seattle is still a little higher up so they get the pick. Confidence Points: 5
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.0) vs. Chicago Bears Both of these teams lost key defensive players in Week 1. The Steelers were still able to win their game while the Bears couldn't get it done. Ben Rothlisberger won the game for Pittsburgh, while Jay Cutler lost it for the Bears. I think the trends continue and the Steelers win a hard fought game in Chicago. Confidence Points: 10
Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos (-3.0) The Broncos won last week on a fluke while the Browns just lost the game. Denver did keep it close for a long time against the Bengals so they were in that game. Cleveland was in it for the first half against the Vikings, but their defense imploded in the second half. This is a game that Denver SHOULD win and I think they will. Confidence Points: 16
Baltimore Ravens vs. San Diego Chargers (-3.0) Both of these teams struggled against teams that they should have beaten, but did win in the end. The Ravens would be a 3 point favorite if this game was played in Baltimore, so this point spread is basically based on home field advantage. With some running back controversy in San Diego, and the Ravens having a better defense, I like the Ravens to win this one on the road. Confidence Points: 6
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (-3.0) Same situation here as above. The 3 point spread is based on home field advantage. This home field advantage is a little different since the Cowboys are opening their $1 billion + new stadium filled with reportedly over 104K fans, largest in NFL history. But the road team usually wins in this rivalry and I don't think the occasion will hurt the Giants. As seen from their Superbowl run a two years ago, they love being the underdog. This one should be good and I'm going with my Giants. Confidence Points: 4
Indianapolis Colts (-3.0) vs. Miami Dolphins Miami didn't look very good in Atlanta last week, but neither did the Colts. Only managing 14 points at home was a little discouraging, but I think that helps the Colts this week. The older Manning will get the pass attack back on track and lead the Colts to a victory on Monday night. Confidence Points: 15
Now that you all have signed up for the OC Pick 'Em League (group ID 19207, password boobs), I'm sure you're all wondering who to pick. It's not easy. I mean how can you compare Vikings and Browns? Vikings are savages from northern Europe, while Browns own Seven-Elevens and drive taxis. How can I compare them!?
While there are tons of totally arbitrary ways of making picks based on absolutely NO football knowledge at all (and often these methods give great results), I feel like talking about football to my computer and will pass on my weekly picks to you and attempt to give reasoning based on some sort of self-proclaimed football knowledge.
Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.0) The NFL's opening game tomorrow is set up to be a good one: The Superbowl Champs host the reigning AFC regular season champions. The game is in Pittsburgh, which I think is a big deal. In my opinion the Titans aren't going to be as good on defense. Pittsburgh brings back almost the same team as last year and they win games like this. Since they're at home and are favored by less than a touchdown I pick the Steelers to win. Confidence Points: 7
Miami Dolphins vs. Atlanta Falcons (-4.0) Both of these teams were surprises last year. They weren't supposed to be good and they both made the playoffs. The Dolphins are flying under the radar now that Tom Brady is back with the Patriots, but I like their style. The Falcons added Pro-Bowl tight end (hehe) Tony Gonzalez which will give second year QB Matt Ryan a reliable target, but I have a hunch that Miami might eek this one out. Confidence Points: 2
Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5) These are two teams with some questions this year. Last year was tough for both, especially for Denver after completely collapsing and losing the AFC West. Carson Palmer is supposedly healthy while Kyle Orton isn't and probably won't play. I'd buy the Bengals before the Broncos this season so I pick Cincinnati to win at home. Confidence Points: 5
Minnesota Vikings (-4.0) vs. Cleveland Browns I'm shocked at how small the spread is for the Vikings. I don't even care about Brett Favre. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson and the NFL's best run defense. The Browns don't even have a starting quarterback. Unless Favre throws 4 interceptions (which very well may happens) the Vikings win big. Confidence Points: 15
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (-7.0) Jaguar fans will be able to watch this game since they're not playing at home, but it won't be one that they'll enjoy. Peyton Manning is going to show everyone that HE is the reason that the Colts have been so good for so many years. This will be a statement game for the Colts and that's why I'm picking them. Confidence Points: 10
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints (-13.0) The Lions went winless last season and are starting a rookie quarterback in Week 1. That doesn't sound good for them to pick up a win, especially since the Saints have one of the best offenses in the NFL. But I'm not picking outright winners, I'm picking against the spread. The Saints defense is horrible and I believe that the Lions will lose, but cover the spread nonetheless. Confidence Points: 4
Dallas Cowboys (-6.0) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Other than their new gigantic punt-blocking jumbo HD screen in their new stadium there has been NO news coming out of Dallas this preseason. I think that's a good sign for a team that has been nothing but underachieving for the past few seasons. Tampa redid its entire team in the offseason and this is going to be a rebuilding season. There is no way that Dallas can't win by less than a touchdown. Confidence Points: 16
Philadelphia Eagles (-1.0) vs. Carolina Panthers This is one of the best Week 1 matchups in my opinion. Both of these teams have questions and with a 1 point spread this is basically a pick 'em game. Carolina was undefeated at home in the regular season last year and the Eagles tend to be slow starters so the Panthers get the pick this time. Confidence Points: 1
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens (-13.0) The Chiefs are in a rebuilding mode, but I think they'll be better than most people think. Matt Cassel (who may not play) will give them a legitimate passing attack. Baltimore's defense is NOT going to be as good after losing their coordinator, but their offense will still help them win this one. But just like the Lions-Saints match, I think the Chiefs will lose, but still cover the spread. Confidence Points: 9
New York Jets vs. Houston Texans (-4.5) The Jets are starting rookie QB Mark "Dirty" Sanchez and they have questions all over the offense. The Texans have been getting better and better and I think this is a good Week 1 matchup for them. The Jets will need time to come together, and I'm a little worried about the spread, but I still think Houston takes it at home. Confidence Points: 8
Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants (-6.5) A classic NFC East battle in Week 1. Obviously there are questions about the Giants' receivers, but there are the same questions about Washington's QB Jason Campbell. I think this is the best divisional foe for NY to face Week 1 and I think the Giants will get it done through defense and running the ball. Confidence Points: 11
San Fransisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) The 49ers are still without their first round pick Michael Crabtree and without him I don't like their offense. Arizona's passing attack is just too good and I think their defense should be able to hold off the lowly 49er offense. I feel the spread is too low and this should be a cakewalk for the Cardinals. Confidence Points: 12
St. Louis Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks (-8.5) I don't know why everyone is on the Seahawks. Their running game is questionable and is their aging QB Matt Hasselback. Seattle does play well at home, but I like the Rams. I think they'll play hard for their new coach and they have some play makers, so I go with the Rams to at least cover, if not win. Confidence Points: 6
Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers (-3.5) This is another tough call for me. I'm not sold on Jay Cutler as the savior for the Bears. He throws too many interceptions and the Bears don't have any receivers, plus he's a baby. The Packers should win this game, but last year they lost SEVEN games by FOUR points or less! That's why they should win this game, but don't so I pick Chicago. Confidence Points: 3
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots (-11.0) The T.O. show heads into New England to check on the health of the Golden Boy Tom Brady. The Patriots have dismantled their defense this past year, but I'm not concerned about it with the Bills coming in. The Bills may score points, but the Pats will score more and T.O. is going to start complaining fast. The Patriots are my pick here. Confidence Points: 14
San Diego Chargers (-9.5) vs. Oakland Raiders The Raiders are a mess and they will be a mess until Al Davis dies. San Diego's offense will get them all the points they need. The Raiders defense has some talent, but I don't trust their offense. The Chargers will get things done in Oakland as they begin running away with the AFC West. Confidence Points: 13