Archive for the ‘Weekly Spread Picks’ Category

Week 15 picks

December 17, 2009
  • Indy @ Jax (+6.5). I like Jax here. They will be laying it all on the line and Indy doesn’t have to. Jax to win outright.
  • Dal @ NO (-7.5). I want to pick Dallas here and believe that they are better than they are. Not sure why, I’ve never liked Dallas. But I just can’t shake the image of the fat-faced Wade Phillips looking dumbfounded the moment his team falls behind, no doubt saying to himself: “how can Jerry Jones believe in me? how do I possibly make this kind of money just standing here? what should I eat late night tonight? I’m thinking Arby’s…”. All this instead of thinking about what could be done to help his team stop losing. I don’t think this will be a blowout. No, wait, it may in fact be a blowout. Yeah, blowout. Another party in NO.
  • Chic @ Balt (-10.5). Ray Rice is a tool. I don’t like the fact that every time an athlete says something stupid, something that they clearly meant at the time, they have to apologize publicly afterward in a very forced, insincere way. Ray Rice meant what he said about Green Bay. I’d take the city of Green Bay over the city of Baltimore any day.
  • NE @ Buff (+7.5). If you look at the coaching match-up alone, you might laugh. But I don’t think there’s much laughter going on in NE right about now. Moss is reverting, Brady is busy fathering and living with hot wife, Adalius Thomas can’t make it to meetings on time, Welker is busy having the quickness of a fly. I just can’t get a handle on this game – either Pats by 40 or a super tight game that scares the crap out of Pats fans. I’ll guess the latter because it’s in Buff.
  • AZ @ Det (-10.5). Just to give you an idea of how programmed I am to think upset first, I gave strong consideration to picking Detroit to win outright here and for SF to go in to Phil and win too. All just so that there could be headlines about how SF could catch AZ and lots of hype only to have it crash down with one AZ win. I have been able to overcome my upset-picking weakness though, and I’ve reached the point where I not only think Detroit won’t win, but I think they’ll get pounded.
  • Cleve @ KC (-2.5). Can you imagine having to watch this game?
  • Atl @ NYJ (-4.5). In Peter King’s picks for this week, he mentions Mike Smith’s temper tantrums on the sidelines lately and wonders if Mike is thinking at all about the effect it may have on kids watching. Despite disclaiming his comments as not prudish, that’s prudish. I’ll take a Mike Smith tantrum over a Wade Phillips bewilderment any day.
  • Phil @ SF (-8.5). Phil’s offense looks good lately. I’m getting closer to officially declaring DeSean Jackson undefendable, as it were. The guy is so fast and so quick, and when he’s decisive, he is just so good he’s fun to watch. Never thought I’d say that about an Eagle, but he’s just plain fun to watch.
  • Mia @ Tenn (-3.5). While I admire Ricky Williams’ hard running style and unquestioned effort on the field, we might start seeing him intentionally chunk a few runs in an effort to take Miami right out of the playoff race so he can start smoking pot sooner.
  • Oak @ Den (-13.5). Oak has been tough to pick, but with Charlie Frye starting, I don’t think this will be tough to pick. Elvis Dumervil could have 9 sacks in this game, which would suck for Packer fans because he’s considered Charles Woodson’s main competition for Defensive POY. Denver by 40.
  • Cincy @ SD (-6.5). I had already picked Cincy to win outright as one of my big upsets this week. But after the sad news of Chris Henry this morning, I actually think there is a chance this upset pick may not just be a stupid-Andy-whim-upset pick. Feeling bad for Cincy this week and the Henry family.
  • GB @ Pitt (.-5). Not liking this game. Very uneasy about it. Of course, like most Packer fans, I’m uneasy about every Packer game. And really, we maybe shouldn’t feel so uneasy because Pitt has been horrible lately, they are without Polamalu and Keo8237njapp98touwerhg (o-lineman), and on the right day, Roeth can be sacked all game long. But they did win a few Super Bowls recently and they tend to show up for big games. Sooner or later, we may all just need to start trusting in the talent and the schemes that have made us 9-4. Pack wins, Rodgers has a very good game and so does Woodson.
  • TB @ Sea (-7.5). Some speculation out there that Matt Hasselbeck may not have the job security everyone thinks he has – especially Matt himself. I had big plans for him this year and he simply didn’t deliver. Sure, the offensive line lost 5-6 starters this year (including 3 left tackles I believe), but Hasselbeck and co just aren’t getting the job done. A lot of it is the travel for this team – weak road team. The next few years in Seattle could be interesting, my guess is that there will be lots of changes.
  • MN @ Car (+7.5). A reader has already called me out on the fact that I always pick against MN. I not only don’t dispute that, but I can freely admit I have as much credibility picking MN games as I do GB games – zero. Still, in this one, I’ll take it a step further. MN will lose. Car is bad. But I think it’s becoming clear to the team now that there is almost no way John Fox keeps his job. So, I can actually see his players playing for him – especially in the prime time Sunday night game. Car 21, Vikes 17.
  • NYG @ Wash (+3.5). London Fletcher continues to be profoundly underrated as he leads the surprisingly good Wash defense. I just can’t see the Giants leaving Fed Ex Field with a victory. I can see them, however, getting stuck in the snarls of traffic still there 3+ hours after the game like the rest of the fans.

Week 13 picks

December 3, 2009
  • NYJ @ Buff/Toronto/so not really @ Buff/more like @ the city threatening to steal Buff (+3.5). I root for Buff because I worry often that the Bills will be relocated someday. I like the Bills. They have a great fan base and my hope would be that the NFL considers relocating first, the teams that can’t sell their games out (MN, Arizona, Oakland, StL, Cincy, Jax) before they consider moving the Bills.
  • Oak @ Pitt (-7.5). Surprising spread – I’d put lots of money on Pitt to cover here. One interesting thing about last week’s Pitt/Balt game was how well prepared Pitt was despite having to go with an unprepared 3rd string QB. Coaching made that a game. Mendenhall may rush for more than 200 yards in this one.
  • StL @ Chic (-8.5). Urlacher’s quote earlier in the week (calling Orton a winner and Cutler a loser) was harsh, but mostly accurate. Funny that I wrote a post earlier this season about how Cutler was the first Bear in decades to have 3 games with a QB rating over 100. Jay Cutler’s overall 2009 QB rating is 74.4 – so I wonder just how bad a rating he’d have if we were to take out the three 100+ rating games…he’d probably be in Derek Anderson territory, sub-50. That said, for some reason (maybe because StL totally sucks), I think Cutler will bounce back this week and have a 124.8 rating game – though for Chicago fans, all that will do is serve as more evidence that Cutler just can’t win games that matter.
  • Det @ Cincy (-13.5). Sad that Cincy needs an extension to sell out this game. Sure, I realize it’s Detroit and a well known side effect of watching Detroit Lions football is suicidal ideation. But Cincy is winning their division and likely headed for the playoffs for the first time in a while. Come on Cincy, wake up.
  • SD @ Cleve (12.5). I’m done making my sneaky “upset” picks and taking horrible home teams mostly just because they’re playing at home. It’s possible this game will be over mid-way through the first quarter. By the way, while I’m never happy when a player gets hurt, Jamal Lewis’ career should have ended a couple years ago when he ran out of…effectiveness.
  • NO @ Wash (+10.5). Ok, I guess I’m not done making “sneaky upset” picks, taking horrible home teams because they’re playing at home. But Wash has shown something in the past few weeks somehow playing competitive NFL games with very little talent. I can also see a NO letdown here (especially if the weather isn’t so nice).
  • NE @ Mia (+5.5). While a small part of me (my toe) wonders if Mia could keep this a game because NE may have developed a confidence issue after losing twice in high profile games, a larger part of me (my right leg) believes that NE will blow out Mia and be merciless and unsportsmanlike in the process (Vince Wilfork will have 5 unnecessary hits, only one of which will be flagged).
  • Den @ KC (+4.5). To me, this may be one of the biggest tests for Denver this year. They’re still trying to establish their identity as a quality team, but it’s sort of like they’re just not sure it’s accurate yet themselves to say they’re “quality”, so they’re playing with that uncertainty. In the end though, because I have to make a decision, I’ll say the good Denver team shows up – and when I say that, I think about Brian Dawkins’ leadership and how other teams that passed him up in the off-season are likely regretting that decision.
  • SF @ Sea (-.5). I can’t figure out why Jim Mora is being stubborn about keeping Julius Jones the starting RB. He’s clinging to Jones like Jones has Steven Jackson-like talent. Julius Jones, from games I’ve watched, has zero juke, TE-type speed, questionable vision and limited power. (He has the physical tools not of an NFL RB, but of an IRS auditor.)  Justin Forsett, meanwhile, has done more in 3 games than Jones has most of the season (and stats almost support this statement). Make the change Mora, playoffs are out of the question anyway.
  • Hou @ Jax (-.5). Ugh. Don’t like this one. Not sure about this, but it’s possible Jack Del Rio decided earlier in the year to simply not bring his WRs to road games. The difference in stats for WRs on the road vs at home is shocking. This one could be a shoot-out.
  • Tenn @ Indy (-6.5). I wonder if that Jeff Fisher-wearing-Manning’s-jersey incident earlier this year will somehow come back to haunt him Sunday. Just wondering.
  • TB @ Car (-6.5). Will Car come out on fire and destroy TB because everyone in the stadium (except John Fox) will be so pumped that Delhomme is finally not in the game? OR, will a hot TB Bucs group (the use of “hot” here is very relative) come in and surprise a reeling Car team that is out of the playoff picture? Judging by recent history, I’ll take TB to at least cover, and maybe sneak out a win (which could be the beginning of the end for John Fox).
  • Phil @ Atl (+6.5). Two guys in the NFL who annoy me considerably  are Donovan McNabb and Hines Ward. Both of these guys like to flash smiles a lot during games and try to come across as cool dudes “just having fun out here”. But the accurate interpretation of their behavior and the way it really comes across is that they’re “just being tools out there”. I don’t want to see a happy Donovan McNabb after the game  Sunday – don’t like watching that. This game will end in a tie, because that would help the Packers’ playoff chances the most.
  • Dal @ NYG (+2.5). I still can’t shake that sad, deer-in-the-headlights, gut-bulging look Wade Phillips sported throughout the Packer game I went to at Lambeau a few weeks back. He seemed to have no idea what to do when the Pack pulled ahead (even though the game was really never out of reach). That said, for some (non-Wade-Phillips-related) reason, I think they’ll win in NY this weekend. The NYG are a team that has gone back to an “achieving level”, down from the “overachieving” level they’ve been playing at for the last few years. This to me, is the real Giants.
  • MN @ Ariz (+6.5). In the Minneapolis area, it takes 20 minutes to go anywhere. Whether you’re headed to the golf store, or the suburb 2 suburbs over, or to the lame Mall of American Field – 20 minutes. Well, that is, for everyone except Adrian Peterson. He was caught driving 109 mph last Sat night apparently trying to make it to the team hotel on time. (Though I suppose it’s possible that with the police stop, it did end up taking 20 minutes.) This all has nothing to do with this game. Nothing.
  • Balt @ GB (-2.5). A few weeks ago, after the Pack got embarrassed by MN, I resolved to pick against my beloved Packers for the first time in years. I was mad. (I’m comfortable having zero credibility picking Packer games, zero). Anyway, I went as far as identifying which game this season would be the best one for picking against the Pack. I decided on this week’s game against Balt – because I’ve been a believer in Balt all year. (I still contend that if they had a decent FG kicker, they could be  7-4 or 8-3). Anyway, as game time approaches, I no longer have the stones to pick against the Pack. I don’t even have the stones to say that this will be a close one but that the Pack will win. I do, however, have the stones to say the Pack will coast to an easy victory Monday night – 31-16.

Week 11 picks

November 21, 2009
  • Buff @ Jax (-8.5). Buff comes out hot inspired by the words of newly hired Perry Fewell. Then, they stop and say to themselves “Perry Fewell, who the hell is that?” and start playing like crap. MJD, Garrard, Mike Sims-Walker go nuts.
  • SF @ GB (-6.5). SF is a good team and Mike Singletary may well be a good coach. But this game will go to the hotter team. The Pack will build off the momentum from last week and they will roll. Look for 1-2 defensive TDs by the Pack.
  • NO @ TB (+11.5). I’m tempted to pick TB here as they have played well 2 weeks in a row. And, I think Josh Freeman has had a fairly explosive start to his young career. But I think NO realizes that people are starting to wonder re their 9-0 record – are they really THAT good. This will be one of those games where they show conclusively that they are THAT good. Running, passing, scoring TDs. New Orleans big here.
  • Cleve @ Det (-3.5). I still don’t know how Eric Mangini starts Jamal Lewis after Lewis’ anti-Mangini comments to the media last week before the Balt game. Sure, he may have had some basis for saying what he said, but those were within-the-lockerroom type comments, not comments for the media. If Mangini wants to be the hardass he seems to want to be, why would he put up with this. But of course, the much bigger question is: why the al;sjdfasfjoawjefoajfjoajf would Mangini even play Jamal Lewis in the first place. HE IS HORRIBLE and he’s been horrible for the last few years. And, he’s announced he’s retiring at the end of the year so he has no investment in the future of the team. Just put Jerome Harrison in there and see what the young guy can do. Bad coaching. Anyway, I’m supposed to comment on this game. Um, no comment.
  • Cincy @ Oak (9.5). It seems kind of obvious to me that Cedric Benson is not happy the Bengals signed LJ. There were some stories out this past week about how he was pissed they signed LJ and some stories saying that it genuinely didn’t bother him and that the talk that it did bother him was simply overreaction. It wasn’t. Benson is not happy about this. He’s grown petty in part because of how he feels things played out in Chicago. It will be interesting to see if a move like this may end up adversely affecting the Bengals’ sense of team – especially because this is a team that has been playing quite well as a whole team (special teams, offense, defense all help out when needed).
  • Sea @ MN (-10.5). The temptation is there. I’m tired of the Vikes playing well. But this is the second half of the season now and historically, it’s time for a Minnesota meltdown. Taking Seattle here to cover is a questionable move. taking them to win outright, dumb. I’ll take Seattle to win by 4 because I’m dumb.
  • Atl @ NYG (-6.5). Neither team seems to be playing true to their identities. Or, maybe neither team is that good. I haven’t thought the Giants have been good for several years now (I was wrong about that obviously for at least a couple of those years). But I thought Atlanta would be decent this year because I think they have a great coach – and they added a great weapon in Tony Gonzalez. Matt Ryan needs to raise his level of play, and if he does that, this could end up being an Atlanta victory.
  • NYJ @ NE (-10.5). I don’t think any amount of tears can inspire the Jets to take down an angry, angry NE team. While even I probably would have punted that ball away last Sunday vs the Colts, I don’t think Belichick’s decision was a terrible one. His defense had looked shaky in the last 2 Indy possessions and he probably knew that with 2 minutes left Manning could have driven that team down the field whether it was 35 yards or 65 yards. And, Belichick is one of few coaches who astutely gives his offense injections of confidence by going for it on 4th downs. And, he wins ALL THE FREAKIN’ TIME, so he’s pretty much earned his crazy-decision-making immunity.
  • Tenn @ Hou (-4.5). One offense I seriously don’t enjoy watching is one that runs the option. But imagine if Tenn went to that from time to time with Chris Johnson and Vince Young. Well, they may not need to think about different offensive plays a whole lot when what they’re doing presently is clearly working. Even though the 2008 draft has turned out some nice players (Ryan Clady, Jerrod Mayo, Flacco, Jonathan Stewart), there have to be a few teams kicking themselves for not taking Chris Johnson before the 24th pick.
  • Indy @ Balt (-.5). Balt will win here. It will be a good game and Balt will win. Should be interesting for the Balt coaching staff/GM Ozzie Newsome to see Matt Stover back (kicking for the Colts). In one of those “we believe in youth” moves, Stover was jettisoned earlier this year in favor of younger kicker Steven H(don’t want to try to spell the last name). Steven sucks, missed a bunch of important kicks and was just cut last week. If I were Stover, I’d request that for one game, the name on the back of my jersey simply read “I told you so”.
  • SD @ Den (+2.5). I was sure Denver would win this one until I learned Orton may not play. I’m not real confident in Chris Simms. So, it doesn’t make sense that I’m going with Den to win outright here. But I think their defense will rise to the occasion and Knowshon Moreno will go nuts – and I mean nuts. He’s been getting better with each game, but this will be a huge one against a so-so SD defense.
  • Wash @ Dal (-11.5). These two teams usually play tight games if I’m not mistaken. This shouldn’t be a close game but I think it will be. Betts could have a big game here, but I think it will be the Dallas trio of RBs who will carry the day.
  • AZ @ StL (+8.5). I’m tempted to take StL here. In fact I will, StL outright.
  • Pitt @ KC (+9.5). With Polamalu out, that should give KC a chance it would seem. But Pitt will be too much and I think Big Ben redeems himself after last week’s poor showing with a huge game.
  • Phil @ Chic (+3.5). This game is at the bottom because I had the least confidence of all the games picking it. Phil was beaten up by Oak earlier this year and before staging a comeback of sorts last week, got handled by SD. Then they beat up on the NYG and a few other quality teams. I think they often go as McNabb goes. McNabb was terrible the other night against the Cowboys in Philly and despite Chicago being his hometown, I wouldn’t be surprised if McNabb is bad in this one too. Both teams see this as a must win game, but it’s must-winnerer, as it were, for Chicago. I’ll take Chicago because they’re more desperate.


Week 10 picks

November 14, 2009
  • Chic @ SF (-3.5). SF by 4. Cutler will have a putrid game, 4-5 picks. Bears D won’t be bad, but Gore will get his.
  • NO @ StL (+13.5). Shouldn’t be close. StL may play with heart and get hyper people worked up re a possible upset after they go down and score early. But then NO will flatten StL, flatten them. 45-17.
  • Buff @ Tenn (-6.5). Interesting that a 2-6 team has a 6.5 spread advantage. Shows how much folks think of Buff nowadays. Vince Young is an interesting dude. He’s isn’t that great a QB, but I think he may be one of those guys who just knows how to win. It may surprise some to learn that he is 12-6 as a starting QB in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers, for sake of comparison, is 10-14 as a starter.
  • Den @ Wash (+6.5). Crack pick alert. I’m going with Wash to win outright. If Clinton Portis were playing, I’d pick Denver in a decisive victory. But as long as Ladell Betts feels reasonably well, I think he may take this opportunity to start and run with it – and in the process, be a bit of a spark for the whole team. He’s done this in the past. Wash won’t continue winning after this and Zorn will get canned, but at least they’ll win one decent game this year.
  • Det @ MN (-16.5). You know what I miss? Seeing that bewildered “what can we possibly do now?” look that Brad Childress used to sport most of the time. I am not liking his apparent developing confidence. Maybe Jim Schwartz and co can at least scare MN so that I can see that trademark Childress look. (MN actually has struggled with Detroit both home and away for the last few seasons – let’s hope Detroit can give them a game.)
  • Jax @ NYJ (-6.5). Despite a recent scare from KC, something tells me Jax is going to give the NYJ all they can handle. I hate to say it but I am starting to hope for Jet losses because I find Rex Ryan’s back-tracking entertaining (at the beginning of the season, he was swollen with confidence…not so much now).
  • Atl @ Car (+1.5). At 80% of the people picking this game have taken Atlanta. I think Atlanta is good, but Carolina probably should have beaten NO last week in NO and they handled AZ in AZ the week before. I think Car is back and this will be a decisive victory for Car. Now, if DeAngelo Williams doesn’t play, they’ll still win, but not by much.
  • Cincy @ Pitt (-6.5). I don’t like taking so many visiting teams like I am this week, but a lot of these games are important ones and I think a good number of them will be close. This is a huge game for Cincy as a victory here gives them a huge advantage in the division race (will have swept both Balt and Pitt). But winning at Heinz Field is difficult. In fact, if memory serves, one odd Heinz Field fact that I’ve heard is that nobody has kicked a field goal of 50 yards or over in the stadium’s history (GB’s Mason Crosby converted a 52 yarder, but it was during a preseason game). Something tells me this curious fact might play a role in the game this weekend.
  • Phil @ SD (-2.5). Did anyone else question Andy Reid’s coaching decision in the waning minutes of last weekend’s game? With a little over 4 minutes left, the Eagles were down by 7 w/zero timeouts left and faced a 4th and 11 from the Dallas 35 yard-line. Instead of going for it or punting the ball to give Dallas bad field position and hope for a defensive stop, Reid elected to try a 52 yard field goal. David Akers came in and made it. So, that left Phil down by 4 with 4 minutes left and kicking off to Dallas. Instead of trying an onside kick, Phil kicked it deep, Dal managed an OK return, got the first down they needed and won the game. I just didn’t get the FG try – that wouldn’t have been an option were I coach. Didn’t gain them anything whatsoever. And a miss, which is fairly likely from 52 yards, would have made that decision even poorer. Not sure what Reid was thinking there – seemed like a bonafide coaching error by a seasoned coach.
  • TB @ Mia (-9.5). Josh Freeman just plain impressed last week in the second half against the Packers. Several times he made quality passes with Packers draped all over him. This may be a better game than some believe. By the way, anyone hear anything lately about Bill Parcells? Either I’m just reading websites that never refer to the guy or the guy has truly vanished from the public scene. I thought for sure he’d have a domineering Jerry Jones-like presence in his role there in Miami. Looks like I was wrong.
  • Sea @ AZ (-8.5). Still trying to figure out how AZ stuck it to Sea a few weeks ago in Sea. I now they blitzed a lot, but Sea must have just played like total crap. Somehow, I see this being a much better game – it matters big-time to both teams and it may in fact, be the season for Sea.
  • Dal @ GB (+2.5). Ugh. What to say? I have visions of this game going one of two ways. A few ugly things happen early on to the Packers, Lambeau gets quiet, and the Packers self-destruct as Rodgers gets rolled by DeMarcus Ware and Ratliff over and over again. Dallas runs the ball at will and exits Lambeau with a comfortable 21 point victory. Or, the Packers come ready to play after an emotional week and surprise everyone by taking down a hot team. Rodgers and Grant will go nuts and the defense will pull off a game to remember. Keep in mind, while the Packers lost ugly last week in Tampa, Dallas escaped just a few weeks earlier after barely beating KC in KC. Of course, because I’m a Packer fan, I’ll guess the latter scenario will play out. But I have to admit, I’m starting to consider picking against the Packers going forward – they’re ruining my pools.
  • KC @ Oak (-1.5). KC is the better team with a better future. They should win this game easily.
  • Balt @ Cleve (+10.5). There is a simple problem with Eric Mangini’s coaching style: it doesn’t fit his personality. Clark Judge had an interesting interview with Mangini the other day and he was struck by how normal, nice and un-dictator-like Mangini seemed – in light of all of the negative publicity about the guy lately. In past years, I’ve read other stories about how Mangini has a great sense of humor, how he’s a family guy and how he is a tremendously generous human being. But the guy tries to coach like Bill Belichick – who has a different personality. Mangini has had a difficult time getting out from under Belichick’s shadow mostly because, despite denying it, he simply tries to copy Belichick’s style. Seems from all I’ve read about his “real” personality, if Mangini lightened up and encouraged more of a fun, loose environment – an environment he himself would feel more comfortable in – he might find success.

Week 9 picks

November 6, 2009
  • Wash @ Atl (-10.5). Interesting that the highest revenue team in the NFL (Wash) is also one of the worst. I believe Atlanta, somewhat surprisingly, is #31 in terms of revenue.Tony Gonzalez 2+ TDs, Falcons will run away in the 2nd half.
  • Az @ Chic (-2.5). AZ is 3-0 on the road and Chic is 3-0 at home. Should be a good game. Perhaps it will end in a tie so that both can continue to say they are undefeated on the road (AZ) and at home (Chic) – and so that the Packers can reclaim 2nd in the NFC North.
  • Balt @ Cincy (+2.5). Not sure what you think about Chad Ochocinco, but I’ve finally reached a conclusion re how I feel about him: I think he’s hilarious and good for football. Most of his stunts are harmless and he certainly does a good job of bringing attention to a team that for years was an afterthought. But importantly, he plays hard – really hard, and he’s a good WR. It takes guts too, to taunt guys like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs (he sent them both deodorant to help them deal with the sweating they’ll be doing just trying to keep up with Cincy).
  • Hou @ Indy (-9.5). It’s about time people start talking about the job Jim Caldwell has done. Manning is great, yes. Manning is practically a coach himself, yes. But Caldwell seems to have helped improve the defense and the team hasn’t lost yet. He clearly knows what he’s doing even if, at times, that just means staying out of Manning’s way.
  • KC @ Jax (-6.5). These game will feature at least 3 TDs by MJD, and 2-4 long, somewhat spectacular runs by Jamaal Charles. Jax comfortably. One thing I would like to see, for entertainment sake, is Jack Del Rio and Todd Haley in a screaming match. Hard to believe, with his temperament, that Todd Haley was a golf instructor at one point in the not-s0-distant-past. I wonder if he taught Happy Gilmore.
  • Mia @ NE (-10.5). I don’t think Miami’s secondary is up for this challenge. Belichick probably has hundreds of articles up in the locker room talking about the beat down NE suffered last year at the hands of the Wildcat in NE. At the same time, it seems kind of difficult to count Miami out of any game – they continue to just be this weird, peripheral, but not-so-peripheral team that’s just…weird.
  • GB @ TB (+9.5). Yikes. Don’t like having this game now. GB is definitely the better team and should win this game easily. But Josh Freeman is taking what I consider to be the right approach to his first starting gig – he’s loose and he’s willing to “let it rip”. While this could just translate into 3 defensive TDs for the Pack, it might also be the spark TB has been looking for. In the end, I don’t think TB will be able to keep up for 4 quarters- but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a game for the first 3 quarters. Greg Bedard at jsonline said this morning on the radio that he thinks the Pack escapes with a 20-17 win. I’d say more like 27-14.
  • Car @ NO (-14.5). I know NO is unstoppable, but this spread is curious considering Car just dumped AZ in AZ on the strength of 270 yards rushing. And, Jake Delhomme, as badly as he’s played this year is 8-2 lifetime against NO. I think NO will win, but not without a fight.
  • Det @ Sea (-10.5). I heard someone talking about this game on the radio this morning (Mike &Mike in the Morning, ESPN I believe) – saying that Detroit has fight in them or something and could make this a game. BS. A few weeks ago, I sat directly behind Detroit’s bench at Lambeau and I don’t think I’ve seen a team with less fire in a long time. They had nothing. Zero energy. I wrote about it at the time because I was surprised. I figured Jim Schwartz would be a contagious energy guy and he apparently isn’t. Seattle 48, Det 17.
  • SD @ NYG (-4.5). I don’t trust either of these teams right now. The big issue for me with SD is their mostly non-existent running game. LT is just not that good anymore. On the other side, I think it’s possible a very angry/hungry Brandon Jacobs could do major damage to the SD D-Line absent their stud Jamal Williams.
  • Tenn @ SF (-3.5). Didn’t these 2 coaches play together in Chicago? I’m pretty sure they did. Important game for both guys. Think of the athleticism this game will feature: Vince Young, Chris Johnson, Courtland Finnegan, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree…Rob Bironas.
  • Dal @ Phil (-3.5). I am going very much against my better judgment here (what does that mean anyway – why not just write “I’m doing something I believe is really stupid here”) and I’m going to pick the Cowboys to win. My thought is this: at some point, Tony Romo has to win in Philly. At some point, the Cowboys have to not be bullied and out-muscled by the nasty Philly D. If it doesn’t happen Sunday night, not sure when it will.
  • Pitt @ Den (+2.5). Two sharp young minds going at it here in McDaniels and Tomlin. But my guess is that the real battle will be between sharper, older minds in Dick LeBeau and Mike Nolan. I’ll give the edge to LeBeau. Out of nowhere thought: seems Ricky Williams would have been a natural fit in the Mile High City, no?

Week 8 picks

October 30, 2009
  • Den @ Balt (-3.5). I’m still bullish on Balt and I’m still cowish on Den, as it were. Den has overachieved so far and while they may in fact not be bad, I just don’t think they’re undefeated-good. Denver’s #3 ranked rush defense (yards against) will get beat up this week. Ray Rice is turning into one of the better players in the league, somewhat quietly.
  • Hou @ Buff (+3.5). Interesting thought – though Houston opted out of the T.O. sweepstakes immediately this past off-season, what if they would have picked him up for this year? I wonder what he’d be like on a team where he would clearly be the #2 guy, like he would have been in Houston behind Andre Johnson. He probably would have been quite good – and would have made the Texans offense harder to defend. He also could have brought unwelcome distractions to the team and a coach facing a must-go-to-the-playoffs-or-I’m-canned year.
  • Cleve @ Chic (-13.5). The Cleve is horrendous. Even though Chic has been playing poorly lately, this game won’t be close. I read the other day that former Cleve GM Phil Savage was ripping on Mangini and the Browns present front office for the moves they’ve made – noting essentially that they’ve undone what he and Romeo Crennel built. From 2005-2008 with Crennel, they had records of 6-10, 4-12, 10-6, 4-12. Sorry Phil, nothing had been built. What does Phil Savage gain from this? Perhaps he’s still just trying to…savage his reputation.
  • Sea @ Dal (-9.5). The Cowboys have the #2 offense in the NFL (yards per game). They also have the #22 defense.  Tough team to figure out. Seattle’s O-Line problems have essentially rendered rookie sensation TE John Carlson useless. He’s staying in for extra help protecting Hasselbeck on most plays. If they can figure out a way to set this guy loose and still protect Hasselbeck somewhat, they could be good again. For some reason, and it may be a dumb reason, I smell upset here.
  • StL @ Det (-3.5). This game may set the record for fewest viewers (none in Michigan because it will be blacked out and 8 in StL because they didn’t get the digital converter and Fox is the only station that sort of comes in).
  • SF @ Indy (-11.5). A little scary that Michael Crabtree can come in after holding out for half the season and have 5 catches for 56 yards in his debut. His freakish talent coupled with the fact that Vernon Davis is finally living up to his potential might end up having the biggest impact on the 49ers sluggish running game. Outside of one huge game by Frank Gore, it’s been weak. The Colts quality defense may have their hands full this week.
  • Mia @ NYJ (-3.5). I know how Ricky Williams would respond to this question: is there anything you’d recommend Coach Ryan do to help him settle down a bit?
  • NYG @ Phil (-2.5). It would be funny to listen to a “discussion” between an Eagles fan and a Giants fan re this game. Both would certainly employ the East Coast Shot Clock: on the east coast, you have 4 seconds to say what you want to say before being interrupted. It’s a manner of conversing quite a bit different than the plodding midwestern discussions where possibly too much listening takes place.
  • Oak @ SD (-16.5). Funny, I saw a KC upset of SD last week and expected lots of talk this week about how Norv Turner would suddenly be THE coach on the hot seat. Didn’t happen. San Diego may win this game by 40, seriously.
  • Jax @ Tenn (-2.5). Vince Young will finally get the start. Nice that Jeff Fisher tried keep secret which QB he’d be playing this week so that Jax would have to prepare for 2 QBs. While Jax is no superpower, Fisher doing this at 0-6 after getting blown out 59-0 is the equivalent of Bob Ueker, a lifetime .200 hitter, refusing to share any hitting tips during his playing days. That said, Tenn may in fact win here.
  • Car @ AZ (-9.5). I think it would be really fun to spend some quality time on some Carolina Panthers blogs and websites just about now. How can Delhomme remain the starter? And how insulting is it to the other QBs that John Fox explains his decision by saying Jake gives the team the best chance to win. (Especially when one back-up is the more than capable AJ Feeley.) This is a good example of a contract interfering with a coach’s judgment. Had Delhomme not signed that huge deal earlier this year, I wouldn’t imagine he’d still be the guy with his 56.5 QB rating and league-leading 13 picks.
  • MN @ GB (-2.5). It will be hard for me to boo Brett Favre. I used to love Favre and I still value what he did for this organization. But when this love is crossed with my greater love for the Packers as a team and my hatred for the Vikings, Favre loses out. So I will boo. I don’t see this game playing out like many experts seem to (Favre rising to the occasion having a monster day, Vikings prevailing). I don’t see that at all. I see Favre having a more non-descript type game, a big game from Aaron Rodgers (because CB Antoine Winfield will likely be out) and a quality RB duel between Grant/Adrian Peterson. I also believe the boos will be louder than the cheers. Packers win 27-17.
  • Atl @ NO (-9.5). Big spread facing an Atlanta team that isn’t bad, though they got handled last week by the Cowboys. I think now about the headache I’ve had all week (I would say the whole headache thing is the worst symptom of H1N1 – it’s like being hungover constantly), and how this is what it must feel like for any defensive coordinator about to play the Saints. They run well and pass well. They have athletes all over the place. They have a fantastic QB and a coach who knows what he’s doing. Atlanta may keep it tight for a half or so, then NO goes nuts.

Week 5 picks

October 9, 2009
  • Cincy @ Balt (-8.5). No respect here for Cincy. Balt is a very good team yes, but no respect for Cincy with this spread. Poor Carson Palmer. A week after several Balt players and the coach brazenly went after the refs for calling weak Tom-Brady-Protection calls (and weren’t fined by the league), I wouldn’t be surprised if the refs look the other way when the Ravens’ D whips Palmer around like a rag doll. My guess is that this will be a decent game though because Cincy is showing a scrappy quality they’ve lacked for years.
  • Cleve @ Buff (-5.5). Buff is a mess, Cleve is the Cleve. Whenever I pick games, I think about what the headline will likely be the next day. In this case “has there ever been a 3-3 tie before?”
  • Wash @ Car (-3.5). Blowout alert. Carolina may win this game by 30. The other day, I woke up and I couldn’t get the name Gerald Sensabaugh out of my head (SS for Dallas). I have know idea why – actually wait, I know why. That same morning, I had a competing thought flying around my cloudy head: sudden certainty that the Carolina Panthers are going to look like a different team going forward. I have little to base this on considering they looked rotten in the first 3 games. Their offensive line is pathetic, Jake Delhomme is playing with the confidence of Chuck Knoblaugh and their coach has adopted the “stay the course” approach with a team that should clearly not stay the course. Following hunches like this, it’s no wonder I picked the NYG to be 6-10 the year they won the Super Bowl.
  • Pitt @ Det (+10.5). Conventional thinking suggests this will be blowout. But Detroit is a bit different team now – I really believe that. Jim Schwartz had the team stick around on the field for a few minutes after beating the Redskins to thank the fans in attendance – smart. They finally may have a coach who is not clueless and the Pittsburgh mini-dynasty may be fading. If Polamalu plays, I reserve the right to take back this whole pick and go with the blowout. But I’ll take Det.
  • Dal @ KC (+8.5). Soon, Jerry Jones is going to get so worked up and carried away about the fact that his lame, enormous market team keeps the smaller, crappy market teams afloat because of revenue sharing (teams like MN b/c of their worthless Mall of America Field), that he’s going to demand that each small market stadium build a special luxury box suite for him if the Cowboys are coming to town. He’ll make sure the suite is gaudy and insincere to suit him.
  • Oak @ NYG (-15.5). Someday, maybe in about the year 2020, when the NFL reaches even higher levels of ridiculous focus on superstars/money like the NBA did years ago now, some games won’t be played at all – in order to prevent injuries to any of the superstars. So if this game were played in 2020, for example, Oak would simply be told that they’d have to take the loss, obviously, but they would be given the chance to negotiate the final score. I wouldn’t let Oak negotiate for anything closer than a 20 point loss.
  • TB @ Phil (-13.5). Phil by as many points as inches on Andy Reid’s expanding waste-line (so, 50?). Like the Oak/NYG game, this isn’t a contest. How does Raheem Morris, a coach with minimal coaching credentials and possibly very little coaching talent, inspire his seriously bad team to do anything positive whatsoever in the nasty confines of Philly? Could TB get shutout for the 2nd time in 3 games?
  • Atl @ SF (-2.5). Tough one. SF is sexier. LB Patrick Willis is the best LB in the NFL. Having Mike Singletary as a mentor probably doesn’t hurt. It also has to be exciting for their fans to finally see Vernon Davis taking advantage of some of his other-wordly physical tools. But something tells me that the bye week did Atlanta right – and that they will be healed and ready to execute at the high level they did last year again. Atlanta in a great game.
  • MN @ StL (+10.5). It’s likely not smart that I keep picking so many underdogs and losing teams to cover this week. But it’s still the early part of the season when teams tend to fight against being assigned a crappy identity for 2009. I think the Rams are motivated to reverse the developing possibility that they will repeat their 2008 identity. So, I am expecting a bit of a letdown from MN and a quality effort from StL this week. In the end, MN will escape with the victory. It’s interesting, I’ll bet if someone cared enough to look at the Rams’ season stats in the first halves of games this year, we’d learn that they actually haven’t been that bad at all. It’s the second halves that are killing them.
  • Hou @ Ariz (-5.5). It’s possible the total number of points scored in this game may exceed 80. Possible. Two offenses that can catch fire and 2 defenses that have stalled so far (though I’m still in denial that Houston’s D is THAT bad.) I’ll bet that both Warner and Schaub throw for over 300 yards, with one throwing over 400 – most of which will happen in the second half. This game does offer some intrigue too in the statistical sickness category – both Andre Johnson and Larry Fitz could eclipse the 200 yards receiving mark and have multiple TDs.
  • NE @ Den (+3.5). If you had to guess the spread of this game before the season, I’d bet most people would have said over 10, maybe 15 favoring NE. If you had to guess what position Denver’s team defense would be in, you might have guessed 30th, not #2 (for yards against). While conventional wisdom again would say pick the teacher not the pupil (what a strange word pupil is), I’m taking the pupil. This McDaniels guy may have some serious game-flow understanding.
  • Jax @ Sea (-.5). Jax is really odd. They get blown out at home and then play teams like Indy and Houston super tough on the road. Would make you think this would be another unlikely victory for Jax. I don’t think so. I think this will be the game, with Hasselbeck back, that Seattle shows off it’s revitalized passing offense. Jax will do well against RB Julius Jones, but won’t be able to keep up with Seattle’s passing game. Seattle will put up a ton of points in this one.
  • Indy @ Tenn (+4.5). Really tough game. While there are a number of analysts who are picking a close game here because they still believe Tenn should be good this year (I was not among them, if I dare consider myself an “analyst”, I had Tenn 3rd in the division, ), I will say, this may be a close game. Let me explain. Tenn isn’t that good, and they weren’t great last year despite their record – they overachieved. But Jeff Fisher is feisty, and I can see him inspiring something good from the defense this week. So as dumb as it is to sort of bet against Peyton Manning lately, I’m going to do it.
  • NYJ @ Mia (+1.5). I’m glad that the NYJ had a bit of a reality check last week against the Saints. It’s sort of like watching the cheesy, undeservedly arrogant sales guy deflate after losing a big account. The Jets are still a good team, but they will have their puke moments this year with a rookie QB and a stubborn coach. I was going to take the Dolphins here up until today, when I have arbitrarily decided to take the Jets. I have no explanation for this.

Week 4 picks

October 2, 2009
  • Det @ Chic (-10.5). I heard Detroit is getting cocky now. It’s funny to think they have won more times in 3 games than last year’s team did in 16.
  • Cincy @ Cleve (+5.5). This is the kind of game where Mangini might think of something and somehow pull out a surprising victory. No, that won’t happen. The lowly Cleve may in fact be rated just right (is there a word for this? not underrated or overrated…how about ratedjustright?)
  • Oak @ Hou (-9.5). Houston has been bad at home and they are costing me dearly in pools. Still, I’ll be stubborn about it and say Houston should handle Oakland unless JaMarcus gets his passing percentage over 40%, then they could be in trouble.
  • Sea @ Indy (-6.5). Would not pick many teams to beat Indy in Indy right now. They look tough. Ever get the feeling that you could spend all Saturday night out partying and eating brats, and then just show up to Lucas Oil Stadium and line up in the slot for Indy Sunday afternoon and suddenly become the fantasy football sleeper everyone talks about? Manning is really that good.
  • Tenn @ Jax (+2.5). Apparently David Garrard hosted a radio show each week that coach Jack Del Rio just found out about – and canceled promptly. Del Rio found out about it because he tuned into the show one afternoon. This is true.  About the only interesting story to come out of Jax in 2 years.
  • NYG @ KC (+9.5). Will this be the week that I finally pick the Giants? That I stop losing pools because I pick against them constantly? That I stop believing that they overachieve and will at some point, start to play down to the level I believe they should truly play at? No, I will very foolishly take KC to cover here in an inspired effort.
  • Balt @ NE (-2.5). Tough game. I started to write that Brady’s rust would wear off in this one and was going to pick the Pats, then I just thought about the fact that this is a very symbolic game for Balt. Even though Pitt has won Super Bowls and Indy has been no slouch, I still think many believe the Pats are the kings of the AFC because they’ve been so good for so long. Balt will want this more and their superior talent will lead them to victory.
  • TB @ Wash (-6.5). Who cares? (Actually, this is an important game. Wash has a weak schedule coming up and if they can win this game and the other easy ones they may find themselves having a not so bad record come the second half of the season – which is something that can even inspire bad teams to make waves.)
  • Buff @ Mia (+2.5). Man, it would be hard to be a Buffalo fan. You almost take out the Pats in the first game and would have had Leodis McKelvin not made a bonehead play. Then you get pissed at McKelvin, vandalize his house, and he suffers a season ending injury a couple games later. So, you still hate him for disrupting the tone for the entire season, but you also feel bad for him. Then, you have TO, Jauron, and a RB controversy. But the big question I have is what ever happened to Aaron Schoebel? Wasn’t that guy one of the best in the business a few years ago?
  • NYJ @ NO (-6.5). I have liked the Saints for years so I have a bias here – but I really, really want the Saints to win. Rex Ryan thinks he’s the bomb and the Jets need a humbling loss. One thing to watch for here is the Saints’ defense, they’re not as bad as they have been recently.
  • Dal @ Den (+3.5). Weird game. I’ll bet Josh McDaniels has learned a valuable lesson about how to exist in an offseason. But so far, once the real season has started, he seems to be down to business and effective. I don’t care if their schedule has been weak – good teams win games they should win. It’s the bad teams who puke those kinds of games. While I don’t think their run of success will continue necessarily, they may end up with a far better record than I thought they would. DC Coordinator Mike Nolan deserves some credit for what he’s put together defensively so far. Let’s see how he things this week against a team with a potentially huge running game.
  • StL @ SF (-9.5). Interesting in a league with a salary cap and draft-advantage-for-losers that some teams can stink for as long as the Rams and Lions have. It would be hard to be a fan of the Rams right now. SF will look really good this week, really good.
  • SD @ Pitt (-6.5). Man, the spread here alone is great bulletin board material for SD. They are playing a team with a worse record that is missing their best player. I think SD covers, but as they often do, Pitt will pull out an ugly win by 3-4 points.
  • GB @ Minn (-3.5). Anyone else tired of Brad Childress? I have spent a bit more time over the last year reading his quotes and watching his interviews and I find him to be very annoying. Here’s why: he acts more confidently than he should  because he hasn’t done jack as a coach. He acts like a coach who has won 3 Super Bowls with all the joking and attempted ‘coolness’ he pulls during press conferences and interviews. He thinks he’s very cool and very hilarious. He strikes me as one of those people who has had to develop thick skin over time due to being a tool, but then he forgot why he had to develop the thick skin and now he mistakenly thinks he’s not a tool. Tool. (Read here, for more quality Childress bashing by Aaron at Packers by 50 (or 3) – goat of this game: Ryan Longwell. Hero: Mason Crosby.

Week 3 picks

September 25, 2009
    • Cleve @ Balt (-13.5) Blowout. I don’t know why I continue to believe that when we all see Eric Mangini, we’re not seeing the real Eric Mangini – we’re seeing an act, we’re seeing a carefully crafted Bill Behlichick impersonation. Something tells me that this guy isn’t as much of a hard-ass as he acts like he is. Just be yourself Mangini – maybe your team won’t then totally, totally suck.
    • Pitt @ Cincy (4.5) Here it is, the pick many will ridicule: Cincy by 10. Pitt’s reign as a high level team may be about to take a break for a while. The Polamalu loss is big and while they’ll still have their moments, this team will fall shy of the playoffs. Cincy, on the other hand, may finally be ready to not suck. Their attack against the Pack was balanced and they have the talent to take down mighty Pitt this week.
    • Wash @ Det (6.5) Can’t pick this game. Either Wash will run away with this one or lose. Ok, wait, I’m seeing it more clearly now. Det will hang in there long enough to keep it a game and then snatch this one at the end pleasing the 14 fans in the stadium. This may be our first glimpse of Matthew Stafford, Legit QB.
    • Jax @ Hou (-3.5) Houston by 50. Ok, probably not due to their shoddy defense (actually due to their not-so-bad-defense that is playing shiddy, if you will). Hou will overpower and Steve Slaton may end up with over 200 yards total and yes, 4 TDs.
    • SF @ MN (-6.5) SF is for real and they will have spent all week figuring out how to slow AP down. Favre may end up having to pass in this one. His performance at Detroit was simply odd (23-27 for 155 yards and 2 TDs). All seemingly unFavre-like #s. Though it’s still early in the season and MN hasn’t played anyone yet, I must say, I’m growing more and more worried that my initial worry about Favre going to the Vikings may come true. Initially, I said that Favre wouldn’t have to do too much because of AP and that he may in fact end up having higher percentage passes when he does throw because defenses are so constantly worried re AP. By the way, one annoying thing I’ve noticed more and more is that Chilly is starting to get confident. He’s one of those guys I look at and think “that guy doesn’t deserve to be confident”.
    • Atl @ NE (-4.5) Tough one to predict. This is a rather bold statement, but I really believe it’s possible Bill Behlichick will be meeting his equal on the other sideline of this game. Mike Smith is a smart, smart coach. In fact Atlanta’s transformation in the last 1.5 years is really something. Great GMing, as it were, and great coaching.
    • KC @ Phil (-9.5) Anyone else ever wonder if a coach’s credibility is reduced when he is enormously fat. It’s mean to say, especially when I think Andy Reid has been dealing with some seriously difficult family stuff, but the guy just gets fatter and fatter. As a player sweating, running sprint # 15, I’d be a be resentful if I were being egged on by a coach with a BMI of 45.
    • GB @ StL (6.5)  Ok, it’s possible my cockiness last week actually cost the Pack the game. But I’m stubborn and I’m calling for a blowout again. Our defense may not play that well again, but I really think the offense will in part because Rodgers will simply will this one to victory.
    • NYG @ TB (6.5)  Eli is the strangest QB in the NFL. He doesn’t project outside confidence and looks almost like one of those guys who is just constantly worried about what others might think of his every move. Yet, in the face of huge pressure to screw up in Dallas, he drove them down and got the job done. It may be time for me to just eat some crow and say straight out here, Eli Manning is good.
    • NO @ Buff (5.5)  NO is averaging 46.5 points a game. That’s hilarious. Who does that? One thing I really don’t understand is why there is any discussion whatsoever about who is the best QB in the NFL. The answer has to be Drew Brees. The guy is amazing – especially a month removed from his mother’s sad death at just 59 years old. One more tidbit, the NO has 6 interceptions already this year, in good part because of forgotten Darren Sharper. He did always have a nose for the football.
    • Chic @ Sea (2.5)  Jay Cutler is one of those guys who acts just like he looks. He looks arrogant, entitled, spoiled and like the kind of guy who never accommodates anyone else – he’s always been accommodated his whole life. Still, he led Chic back to victory last week and the Bears may ride the momentum of that big V. One thing to watch for in this one is Seneca Wallace going nuts in the passing game – because Julius Jones is going nowhere on the ground.
    • Tenn @ NYJ (-2.5)  I’m taking Tenn in this one just because suddenly I don’t like the Jets and I want them to lose. Rex Ryan rubs me the wrong way – wait a second, who came up with that expression? There would be no possible way Rex Ryan could rub me the right way. May place a ban on that one. Rex Ryan, by the way, is another in the coaching fat camp. I’d like to see stats on how overweight coaches have done over the years vs generally in-shape coaches.
    • Den @ Oak (-1.5)  Oak’s questionable jettisoning of a #1 draft pick for Richard Seymour is starting to look a bit less foolish. That guy can flat out play. What an incredible story it would be if he really helps turn that D around as it’s looking like he’s doing. I had Oak written off this year due to having a QB who completes 25% of his passes (not really, but close).
    • Mia @ SD (-6.5)   Miami shredded Indy’s defense but couldn’t punch it in. While I’m starting to change course on my opinion of SD’s defense, I somehow think they will be up to the challenge this week. And, I think for the last 1.5 years, Philip Rivers has quietly (actually not so quietly, he’s kind of obnoxious too), put together some amazing passing stats.
    • Indy @ AZ (-2.5)   AZ, comfortably. Indy is a confident team after driving down in the waning minutes and getting a TD to win at Miami. But this will be one of those games where they will simply be overwhelmed by an AZ defense that is a bit better balanced this year than it was last year (Tim Hightower is turning into the back they thought he was).
    • Car @ Dal (-9.5)   It’s hard for me to pick Dallas here. That Tony Romo “crap we just lost again and it may have been largely my fault” look is indelibly etched in my brain. It’s funny, because I either picture that when I think of him or I picture that cocky “I’m smiling a lot looking around at people because I helped us win” look. I guess in the end, I can better envision that latter look. Though Dal will pull it out, I do think Car will have some fight in them though so they will cover.

      Week 2 picks

      September 18, 2009
      • Car @ Atl (-4.5). I just feel badly for Jake Delhomme. He’s a good guy, but he’s played so badly his last 2 games it’s unreal (and I’m not sure, but I believe he may have the NFL record for most turnovers in 2 consecutive games – not sure how he couldn’t with 11). Still, I think this will be a close game. Car is pissed and there are 44 other guys on the team who could play well Sunday.
      • MN @ Det (+9.5). My feeling on this game fluctuates – I go from thinking Detroit will surprise and make it a game (like they have the last few times these two teams have played), or they’ll get rolled so badly the NFL may consider simply canceling their games for the rest of the year. I’ll go ahead and say this will be a game – and Detroit may be in it right to the end.
      • Cincy @ GB (-9.5). Blowout. Palmer and co may offer a scare early on with a TD or two, but the Pack’s offense will get it into high gear Sunday and level Cincy.
      • AZ @ Jax (-3.5). Wouldn’t it be interesting if Matt Leinart, after all he’s been through/put himself through, ends up replacing Warner as the QB because of Warner’s…futility? Warner was terrific last year and fun to watch, but I wonder a bit if that magic may simply not be there anymore – he looked like an old man out there last Sunday.
      • Oak @ KC (-3.5). Larry Johnson will have a big game Sunday – huge game. Darren McFadden may too. This will be an offensive game in both of the ways something can be “offensive”. This is one game after which I could see the 2 head coaches squaring off in an all-0ut brawl after the game. Nice tempers…
      • NE @ NYJ (+5.5). Rex Ryan is obnoxious. Many New Yorkers pride themselves on their obnoxeity (prefer this made up word to obnoxiousness). Ryan and New York are a good match. I think they take down the once mighty Pats. The Pats’ loss of LB Jerod Mayo hurts a lot – their defense will just plain be weaker this year overall because of his absence. Now, despite picking the Jets to win outright, I must say, I can’t wait to see Rex Ryan have to verbally backpedal when his team gets crushed by some pedestrian team soon because they’ll be way too cocky.
      • NO @ Phil (-2.5). Interesting QB group in Philly right now. I read somewhere there are 12 pro-bowls among them, and the only non pro-bowler will likely start (Kevin Kolb). Should be a good game on Sunday. As much as I want NO to win and think that their offense may even overwhelm the Eagles, somehow, I think Andy Reid and co figure out a way to win. One way I can always comfort myself when the hated Eagles win though, is with the thought that some idiot Eagle fan will have to explain to his wife why he decided to punch an elderly grandma in the face at halftime. His only answer will be more cursing.
      • Hou @ TN (-6.5). Wow did Houston suck last week. I still can’t believe it. I know the Jets’ D is good, but that was some terrible execution. I really can’t believe that will happen 2 weeks in a row. They have way too much talent and now Andre Johnson’s side-kick Kevin Walter is back – which will help more than most think it would. I pick the upset here.
      • StL @Wash (-9.5). The only chance for StL here is that their coach puts together a game plan that handles the Skins like he did when he was Def Coord of the NYG. While I think Wash will win, I don’t think they’ll win by much. As strange as it sounds, the 28-0 StL loss last week to the Seahawks wasn’t as lopsided a game as the score indicates.
      • TB @ Buff (-4.5). Was T.O. brought to Buff to be an intentional distraction for…Lee Evans? I’ve seriously wondered this. Owens can still make plays for sure, but Evans is the guy with more of a career left. My guess is Evans goes nuts this week. I also think Leodis McElvin will have a heck of a game (not name) after being the goat last week.
      • Sea @ SF (-1.5). Brutally difficult for me to pick this one. I think it will be close and hard fought. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that I think this will become a new hot rivalry in the NFL over the next 10 years or so as both franchises rebuild and become playoff contenders regularly. I’m starting to take Mike Singletary seriously after last week’s nice win at AZ.
      • Pitt @ Chic (+2.5). I don’t know why I am so fixed on this but I am taking Chicago. To commit 4 horrible turnovers and barely lose, the team had to be doing something right. And the defense didn’t completely breakdown when Urlacher left because he was out most of the second half. I pick Chicago here and to the likely surprise of many – in a lopsided game. Pitt simply CANNOT continue to win the way they win. It’s often so ugly – it just can’t keep happening (especially now without Palomalu).
      • Cleve @ Den (-3.5). This game would kind of be fun to watch. Both coaches spending the whole game trying to outsmart the other – and being very very coy in the process. Watch out for both Braylon Edwards and Brandon Marshall in this one. Marshall in particular. Orton will realize starting Sunday just how good this guy is. One note re Marshall: though I think HE is the idiot for the holdout and his behavior for the most part, his argument isn’t a terrible one. He will be making $2.2 million this year but his stats the last 2 years (2 consecutive years over 100 catches) are more in line with the top 3 or so WRs in the NFL. Again, he should simply play out his contract while making the effort to renegotiate, but in his mini-defense, he has significantly outplayed his present contract (and not for one, but for 2 years).
      • Balt @ SD (-3.5). I don’t know – SD didn’t show much winning last week, though it won and that counts. Balt let KC hang around for a while before cruising to a V. While I was set to take SD earlier this week, I think I’ve come around to thinking Balt may just be too talented here. Even with a pick or two from Flacco, I think Balt wins.
      • NYG @ Dal (-2.5). Blowout alert. People will accuse me of crack-use once again, but I see a blowout here: Dallas 38, NYG 16. One of these days, my lack of true faith in the NYG as a football team will be supported by what actually happens on the field. I think that will happen this Sunday. The Cowboys are for real this year.
      • Indy @ Mia (+3.5). Tough game to call. I don’t like how Indy won last week at home. I think Miami will be happy to be at home and will open things up on Indy’s defense. Also look for a Jason Taylor re-emergence party Monday night. I read an interesting mini-article the other day wondering if Ricky Williams has turned into a veteran leader/role model for the Dolphins. It’s a funny notion, Ricky Williams as a respected leader. What the article didn’t mention is that Williams has simply cast marijuana clouds over his teammates when they disagree with him – leading to passive acceptance of his leadership.