NO @ Wash (-.5) The Colston injury affects NO somewhat. But this will be a Campbell-Cooley-Portis game. As good as NO will be this year, Wash will take this one. (If they don’t, I may have to give up my insistence that they’ll be good this year and that Jim Zorn could be great).
Buff @ Jax (-5.5) After week 1, most would pick Buff here (in fact 61% are taking Buff at sportsline.com presently). I like the Buff and think they’ll be good, but Jax will win comfortably here as players like Jones-Drew will be ready for this game.
Chi @ Car (-3.5) Not sure I would pick Carolina if they had lost last week because the Bears impressed. But I hate the Bears and am very much looking forward to seeing the resumption of a Bears’ QB controversy after Orton throws 2 picks and loses a fumble.
Tenn @ Cincy (-1.5) Tenn had to be solid to take down the Jags last week and their 7 sacks and 2 picks make them appear to be a high quality defense. I also think Cincy will by 5-11 this year. So why pick Cincy? They are at home and they do have some talent and like their last several years, Cincy needs to tease their fans a bit with a couple solid victories here and there before imploding.
GB @ Det (+2.5) I’ll take the Pack here because I think they’ll win. But the Pack isn’t great at Ford Field and Detroit does have some talent. The obvious key matchup will be Harris/Woodson against Johnson/Williams. Kitna has predicted a 63-4 victory for the Lions (though he noted that he will not be the one who gives up the 2 safeties).
NYG @ ST L (+8.5) Crack pick alert. Right now 73% of Sportsline participants are picking the NYG to cover in this game. Last year’s SB champs vs last year’s and this year’s crap team. Crap team may not win but they’ll fight. If St. Louis gets handled in this game too, Linehan might get sacked and my preseason crack pick of St. Louis being 9-7 will require public undressing.
Oak @ KC (-3.5) Interesting spread considering Oak got blown out last week and KC hung in there against the Pats. Of course the Brady injury changed that whole game. From a player’s perspective, this is probably what they’ll hear from Herm Edwards before the game: “This is the most important game, not just of the season, but of your lives. I know I said that last week, but still, it’s really important. It is a division rival, maybe the most important rivally in all of sports. blah, blah, blah…”. (By the way, not surprising that Croyle, who is 6’2″ and 28 pounds, got injured immediately).
Indy @ MN (+1.5) Once again, taking the less popular pick here. Not a fan of MN after the trash-talking and the no handshake. Apparently McCarthy talked to Childress Tuesday and all is well, but that is a public slap in the face. Of course, I’d love to see Indy roll the Vikes, but I don’t think they’ll be able to stop AP this week.
SF @ Sea (-8.5) This is a surprisingly big spread. When most teams “get” 3 points for being the home team, sometimes I think they give Seattle 7 or so because of the 12th man. It is a tough place to play. But this will be the coming out party for TE John Carlson (right now, Hasselbeck’s only target). I’m not sure how a putrid Seattle offense will take it to a quality SF defense, but they will and people will be falsely lulled back into thinking Seattle is good. If Seattle ends up in the playoffs this year, I’ll say it right now, it will be mostly because of coaching by Mike Holmgren.
Alt @ TB (-8.5) Appears to be a crack-like spread here considering Atlanta’s fine showing in week 1 and TB’s loss (of both the game and Garcia for week 2). It will be very interesting to see how Michael Turner runs against a better TB defense this week. I wonder if TB already wishes they’d offered more for Favre.
NE @ NYJ (-2.5) I’ll bet it was strange for NYJ fans to see them favored over the Pats. Will Cassel slip in fine because NE still has talent or will the team be deflated by losing its superstar? This game could feature a Jericho Cotchery nightmare for NE (one of the best names in the NFL, along with Roscoe Parrish from Buff).
SD @ Den (+2.5) Interesting SD favored. They lost their first game, Shawn Merriman is out for the year, Denver crushed Oak in their first game and the game’s in Denver. This may be a key game for determining if Cutler is ready to play at a higher level this year. He apparently looked unstoppable Monday night.
Balt @ Hou (-4.5) Houston did not have a good opening game in Pitt. The score was a poor reflection of how the game went. Pitt totally dominated (and once again they look like they’ll be really good again somehow). But Hou has talent, and some really exciting young talent. Schaub, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Steve Slaton likely will be the story lines after this game. The vaunted Balt D will run out of adrenaline about mid 3rd quarter while their offense will struggle. (Kubiak borrowed a page from Scott Linehan this week and burned the game tape from last week).
Mia @ AZ (-6.5) Miami may challenge a bit more than people think in this one, but in the end, Warner and co will escape comfortably. Now with Boldin deciding to perform again (he Randy Mossed in the first half last week against SF but dominated in the second), this remains a team with quality potential. I am excited for a Parcell’s chewing out that will happen soon if Miami loses this game and maybe another game or two after that.
Pitt @ Cleve (+5.5) The Cleve didn’t offer much last week against the overpowering offense of the Cowboys. But the Cleve will show up for this big game against division rival Pitt. Pitt is quality. Year after year, they find ways to win despite not having huge talent. They play intelligently there in Pitt, but this night will belong to the Cleve (and it has to frankly, if Cleve has designs on winning this division).
Phil @ Dal (-6.5) Big spread for game after Phil destroyed another opponent. This is usually a good game, but as long as Barber is in there, Phil will struggle to match up with all of Dallas’ weapons (Felix Jones, Barber, TO, Witten, Romo running). How did McNabb throw for 361 last week without any good receiving targets? I guess the Rams’ Otogwe couldn’t cover all the receivers by himself.
I was stunned by how unprepared he looked against the Giants, especially in the last 5 minutes when they needed two socres and were huddling up, wasting time and throwing 6 yard passes when they needed 10 yards.
Is this just one of those gut calls or have I missed something about Zorn?
Jim Zorn’s grandmother was my third grade teacher. She made us promise to cheer for him except when he was playing the Packers. She was a good teacher because I am still cheering for him despite having absolutely no rational reason to. If he is half as good as his grandma at getting his players to do what she wanted, he’ll be great.
Fair enough RayMidge – Bucky also wondered why I thought Zorn would be a good choice. It is (was?) mostly just a hunch. I remember him being a somewhat savvy QB – heady may be the better word. He doesn’t have a distinguished coaching career, but I figured he’s been involved in football ever since he retired in the late 80s so I figured he’d at least bring some worthwhile experience with him as a coach. I agree though, he sure didn’t look good against the Giants. Don’t worry, if he sucks, I’ll be the first to acknowledge it!
New Orleans – Double digit win. Can’t hop on that WAS train, no matter what talent they have or sign. They are in line for another 8-8 this year.
Buffalo – By a TD for the easy cover. I think they are poised for a big year.
Carolina – Just because…
Tenn – Kerry Collins leads the team. Marvin Lewis is my 1st bet in the coaching “dead pool”.
GB – wins by 10. New era has begun. The ghosts of the dome are exorcised.
NYG – Huge, double digit blow-out. Linehan is tied for #2 in my coaching “dead pool” with…
KC – Kiffin in OAK. The proverbial “who cares” game this week.
MN – I think Indy’s run is over. Although it pains me to pick MN, who wins by a TD or more. AP runs wild, which lead to the questions from the Twin cities about Childress about why he didn’t do that in GB.
TB – I have no idea who made this line and what they know that the general public does not. TB doesn’t cover and grind it out. Griese looks to be starting, although Garcia is saying he is fine to play. Also rumors of Garcia being shopped. Not sold on ATL though after one week though.
NYJ – Because I want a better draft pick from them.
Den – I agree with Andy – no idea why SD is favored.
Hou – Although I had a moment of pause since Brian “I am so smart” Bilick is no longer there. BAL also has a QB that isn’t 48 years old this year so they could generate some offense.
AZ – Although I think MIA keeps it close and the Cards don’t cover the 6.5.
Pitt – Blowout. Until they throw up a crappy game, I will continue to ride the Steel Curtain week in and week out. Ben R just wins games.
Dal – Closer on paper then when they hit the field. Dallas by 2 TD’s.
No crack picks or going out on a limb this week. Just trying to feel out yet who is real and who is going to be eliminated by Week 6.
Really? You really thought the Browns were going to beat the Steelers? The Steelers are the real deal. Not just some novelty. Steelers ARE football. I’m surprised somebody who picks football scores and tries to talk “tough” about each team hasn’t realized that. Hopefully, after Sunday night’s game, you realized that.