Balt @ Indy (-4.5) – Indy will roll Balt. Flacco was just named starter for the year and Balt has surprised me with their play so far. Still, Indy has huge momentum after that ridiculous win last week…ridiculous win, and Manning just can’t continue to play so non-ly, if you will.
Car @ TB (-1.5) – This is the kind of game Garcia gets really fired up to play. Someone (his coach) has recently done him wrong and Garcia wants to prove to the world he can still play. This may sound horrible (and Jeff, I know you’re a regular reader so forgive me), but sometimes I think of Garcia as a little child moments away from a spectacular meltdown. Caro takes care of business here and starts to establish itself as a scary NFC force.
Chi @ Atl (+2.5) – I keep picking against Chi and I keep getting burned. But I can’t shake the thought that this most recent wave of confidence has been built on a weak foundation. Soon, boneheaded plays will creep in and remind them that they are actually not that good. Besides, Atlanta is not bad at all – Atlanta won all 3 phases of the game last weekend. Solid team. Key player in this game: the ubiquitous John Abraham.
Cincy @ NYJ (-5.5) – I’ve now read 3-4 articles referring to Cincy as the best 0-5 team in a long time. One stated the best 0-5 team in history. Ummm, no. I had Cincy going 5-11 this year because they aren’t very good. Marvin Lewis’ coaching seat has actually started on fire. Their only chance is if the NFL’s highest rated QB, Brett Favre, chucks a few to the wrong team.
Det @ Min (-12.5) – My “sources” indicated that Brad Childress held a post-practice team meeting after Thursdays’ practice in which he told the team that he plans to use AP minimally this week as he obviously isn’t very good – couldn’t produce last week. Childress borrowed the nauseating NFL cliche “what have you done for me lately” when explaining his move. Childress then described his new “Visanthe Shiancoe” game plan in which Shiancoe will not only get most passes but he will also get most of the carries…and Longwell may play QB. Players snickered in the background thinking this was funny, but Childress looked straight ahead and blinked a number of times. Then he said “I’m serious”.
Mia @ Hou (-2.5) – Interesting Houston (0-4) favored here. That’s due mostly to being home team I guess. Houston will be one pissed off team after puking up last week’s game (hardly a sage effort by their QB). Watch out for the Slaton/Ahman Green duo.
Oak @ NO (-7.5) – My “sources” (they’ve been busy) also just informed me that Al Davis just spoke to new head coach Tom Cable to inform him that he’d been fired for not winning enough. When Cable attempted to suggest that he actually hasn’t coached a game yet so perhaps it’s a bit premature, Davis called him a liar and then told Darren McFadden that Cable has always hated him. Brees to throw for 800.
St L @ Wash (-13.5) – tough game to pick here. I’ve lost every game this year I believe involving the Rams. But I don’t see Wash as an offensive powerhouse. They are good, and my preseason pick for them to make it to the postseason is looking good at the moment (as does my preseason thought that Zorn would be a good coach). I think they’ll win but not by 2 TDs. Also, I can see this being the game where Bulger, Holt, Jackson and co make Redskin fans entertain the uncomfortable possibility that they may be the first to lose to the re-defeated Rams – but they won’t.
Jax @ Den (-3.5) – Not sure what is going on with Jax this year. I believe I picked them for the Super Bowl. Out of sheer stubbornness then, I am picking them here to get them back on track.
Dal @ Ariz (+5.5) – Pacman vs Kurt Warner. What a contrast in people. I think Pacman could stand to spend some good time at Camp Warner for some tutelage in the right way.
GB @ Sea (-2.5) – How should the Packers feel as the dogs to a team that just lost 44-6? Not good. Yet for some reason, I just erased a whole paragraph explaining how the Pack will lose big-time. At the beginning of this week, I was convinced that the lowly Hawks would wipe us out. Now, perhaps because I’ve never picked against the Pack, I’ve come around and decided to pick the Pack. Both teams really need this one so it could be a close one. Here’s is my best guess at how the final few seconds will unfold: Olindo Mare comes onto the field (with Jon Ryan) for a desperation 65 yard field goal to tie the game; Jon Ryan shown on camera with a flush red face due to lingering, justified anger at TT/MM, calls an inaudible audible and unexpectedly takes off; after some nifty moves Ryan eventually gets to the end zone and promptly punts the ball into the stands bouncing off the glass of TT’s box; Seattle comes away with the dramatic last-second victory but in an unprecedented move (but a move that should be duplicated going forward), the official scorer deducts one point from the TD score because it was such an ugly run. Sea 32, GB-30, Packers cover.
Phil @ SF (+5.5) – This will be a good game, seriously. I like a Jim Johnson vs. Mike Martz match-up. That said, if Philly can find a way to shut down Frank Gore, Philly might not just win, but run away with it. I just don’t think they will.
NE @ SD (-5.5) – big spread here considering 1) NE is 4-0 in the last 4 games these 2 teams have played and 2) NE just took care of biz against a decent SF team on the road. I know Brady’s not there but Cassel was solid last week and seems to have learned the value of connecting with Moss. LT will probably be up for this one, but dealing with his inconsistency and injury issues could turn out to be a thorn in the side for SD this year. Good thing they have Sproles. Also, Chambers may be out with a sprained ankle I just heard???
NYG @ Cleve (+7.5) – I vowed after this past weekend to never pick against the Giants again. Well, I’m taking the Cleve because I want to continue losing all pools I guess. Anyone notice how huge Romeo Crennel has become? I’m not sure the guy game plans, coaches or watches film during the week at all anymore. I think he just eats, checks in at practice for 10 minutes, then eats again, drives his personal golf cart over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showers maybe, eats again, watches reruns of Three’s Company, eats, and then drinks bacon grease. Sorry, that was mean.