Another week passes by in this glorious NFL season, and another sub-par selection of winners. I went 8-5 last week, no thanks to the Bills choking. All you had to do was run the fucking ball to kill some clock, then kick the game winning field goal. But no, you are going to pass to the exact same receiver on the same pattern that your last interception came on. That was idiotic. Didn’t Fitzpatrick go to Harvard? Meanwhile, the Bucs are proving me wrong every week, which if you’ve read this column for more than a year is an annual occurrence. I don’t know what it is, I cannot pick that team correctly. Maybe it’s cause I hate them so very very much. Then, the Lions lost in a game full of mistakes on both sides. So those are three picks right there that I really wish would have gone my way. Well, if wishes were turds, I’d have to flush. So that brings me to 61-29 (68%) on the season. In the big picture, that ain’t bad. Here’s what the ESPN guys are doing:
Really that math should be recalculated, as some of them haven’t picked all the games. There have been 90 games, yet Jaws has only picked 84. I just want to beat Accuscore by the end of the year. The worst picks by any so-called expert have to belong to this guy.
It should also be noted, scoring was way down last week, I think that the defensive secondaries of most teams are finally starting to wake the fuck up. A lot less blown coverages and big defensive plays are showing that the lockout hangover might have finally worn off. Now, on with the picks!
Atlanta at Detroit Line: -4.5
Well, I was wrong about the Lions. I said they’d be undefeated come Thanksgiving, but a lack of run defense and some serious red-zone penalties kept them behind San Francisco last week. Even though the Niners gave them plenty of chances to bounce back. The Lions could be in trouble this week (and my fantasy team) as Javid Best might be sidelined after suffering a concussion last week. They shipped in Ronnie Brown from Philly, but he’s yet to pass the physical. So there goes the running game. But Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the tight ends can carry the offense, but not without the play action. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Thankfully, they are at home where the noise is sure to fluster Matt Ryan, who likes to call plays at the line. Might want to start practicing those hand signals now Matt. If the Lions give up the kind of yards on the ground they gave up to the Niners, they will lose this game. I’m torn, but I’m sticking with the Lions just cause I have more fantasy players on that team.
Tailgate City (The Rest)
Seattle at Cleveland Line: -3.0
The Browns. What can be said about my team? Well, Colt looked alright against the Raiders, but it wasn’t until the last five minutes. Whatever they did on their bye week didn’t seem to have worn off. Hillis was a non-factor, leaving with a hamstring injury. Madden Curse anyone? The Browns were pathetic. The Seahawks are just coming off a bye week and have to roll to the east coast again. Though last time, they managed to win the game late with some smart defense. I’ll buy that. Charlie Whitehurst looks to be getting the start over Tavaris Jackson, which could actually be a good thing for the Seahawks, looking to find that magic they lost when Hasselbeck left. I’m going to go against my gut on this one though, and take the Browns to win at home. I’ll probably be wrong (as I usually am when I follow my gut) but I gotta pick my boys every once in while right?
Houston at Tennessee Line: -3.0
The Texans could not get the running game going against the Ravens last week, and that killed them. The Titans aren’t going to make it easy for the Texans this week, as this game may as well be a playoff for the division. Both have massive losses at wide receiver, both teams haven’t been able to really establish a running game. Both teams have defenses that can be up at times, down at others. This is a very evenly matched game. Houston’s defense might be a bit stronger, but they have to find a way to control the bevy of tight ends that the Titans employ. Are they blocking or running slants? No one knows! Titans to win at home.
Denver at Miami Line: -3.0 UPSET SPECIAL!!
How’s this for lame. Before the game, Miami plans on honoring the 2008 Florida Gator National Championship Team – including visiting QB Tim Tebow. Talk about degrading. Not only will this fire up Tebow and the Denver Broncos with false bravado, but it will totally demoralize the Dolphins. Why in the hell are they still going through with this idiotic presentation? The original idea was to sell tickets, but now? It’s just moronic. “We can’t get out of our own way,” said Sparano. Of course, he was referring to the play of his team, rather than the poor decisions by the marketing department. It should also be noted, that after losing to Denver (as Miami will) Sparano is probably going to be out of a job. If he isn’t, I’ll be surprised. That being said, the Miami Dolphins have nothing to give any pundit a reason to pick them. Denver on the road.
Chicago at Tampa Bay Line: +1.5 CRAPFEST OF THE WEEK!!
Apologies to both the Bears and the Bucs. The London game is always an automatic crap fest. One team is always tired and plays like shit, it always rains and the crowd is confused and the stadium is never full. These games are a bit depressing to watch sometimes. Either way, it doesn’t matter what happened last week, the Bucs will win this game because they flew over to London on Monday, giving the guys time to adjust and get a proper amount of sleep. Meanwhile, the Bears opted to practice at home this week, then fly over on Saturday. Bone-head move guys. The Bucs already learned that lesson once, and that’s torture on the body with the time change. Fatigue is going to be the enemy of the Bears, which is why the Bucs will win.
Washington at Carolina Line: -3.0
The Redskins found some mystical way to lose against the Eagles, even though their defense smacked around Vick. The problem was pretty clear, as Rex Grossman tossed four picks to the Eagles defense. He was benched, and now John Beck is going to be the starter. That’s good news, because the kid can run. Sure, he’ll make mistakes but like Tebow he’s got a weak defense his first week out. Meanwhile, Cam and the boys almost pulled one out of their asses last week against the Falcons, but three interceptions killed them. Not to mention allowing a comeback. I expect this game to go about the same, though I can see an upset brewing. Though since the Panthers are favored on the line, it wouldn’t be an upset. Anyway, like an awkward virgin on prom night, the Panthers can’t seem to seal the deal. Redskins on the road.
Kansas City at Oakland Line: -3.5
Raiders Offensive coordinator Al Saunders said about Carson Palmer starting; “As long as he’s breathing.” Sorry Boller, you are nothing but pine warmer. Palmer was acquired by Oakland from the Bungles for a draft pick or something. Either way, it’s a good deal for the Raiders, but don’t you think Palmer will be a bit rusty coming back from semi-retirement? Especially with only four days to learn the plays in Oakland? Thankfully, he’s up against the Chiefs. Now, the Chiefs aren’t terrible, but they sure have not been playing lights out defense. What’s that? They are terrible? Oh, yeah, so they are. The Raiders, coming off a win over the hapless Browns are fired up, looking at a serious run for the playoffs. Kansas City will be a minor speed bump. Raiders to win at home.
Pittsburgh at Arizona Line: +4.0
A lot of so-called experts are picking the Cardinals to somehow snap out of their mediocrity and beat the Steelers. While the Steelers defense and run game took a little while to get going, it’s going. The Cardinals defense is also not going to have an answer for the deep threat of Ben to Wallace. Not to mention that Hines Ward guy still plays football – apparently. Either way, Kolb isn’t nearly as sharp as he appeared to be as backup in Philly. The Cardinals are probably looking to enter the Andrew Luck lottery as well. A loss here will help. Steelers to win on the road in this rematch of that one Superbowl where Arizona lost.
St. Louis at Dallas Line: -10.5
I really wanted to make this one my upset special this week, but I just picked up the Dallas defense in fantasy since the Bills have a bye week and I don’t like to bet against myself. The Rams, well, they showed up against Green Bay in the second half on defense, a little bit. They held the Packers after the half, but also didn’t score. They seem to be lagging on that scoring bit a lot lately. Sigh. They just suck. 400 yards of offense and only three points to show for it. The Cowboys, a team that I picked to win their division, still haven’t stepped up to be the team that they are on paper. I think they lay down a whipping this week, but they really have to get their shit together if they hope to compete with the Redskins. Cowboys at home.
Green Bay at Minnesota Line: +9.5
Remember that time that Donovan McNabb turned out to be a bust? Oh wait, that was last week. For all concerned, the Donovan McNabb era in purple should be over. Christian Ponder, the rookie Qb with the quick feet, has been named the starter after relieving McNabb against the Bears last week. While he didn’t score, he moved the team down the field, which was more than McNabb did. The Vikings are hurting on offense, Peterson is their only weapon but even he is stifled by an offensive line that can’t get out of it’s own way and certainly can’t create any pocket protection. Thankfully Ponder knows how to run, and he’ll have to be running against one of the best defensive fronts in the league. There is no upset brewing here, the Vikings are going to get whipped, but it’ll be fun to watch Ponder escape pressure. Packers to win.
Indianapolis at New Orleans Line: -14.0
The Saints are coming off a 2-1 road trip, tired and hungry. Hey, what’s this? A five course meal being delivered right to their door? I’d like my rookie quarterback rare please. Indy, also in the Andrew Luck lottery, clearly has no faith in their young rookie Painter. Or at least the media doesn’t, as Painter has already been replaced by Andrew Luck on paper. So, their season is bonked. Still looking for their first win, they ain’t gonna find it in New Orleans. Saints to win.
Baltimore at Jacksonville Line: +8.5
Last but not least, the Jaguars. Another rookie QB is about to get squashed like a bug. If Gabbart thought the Steelers were tough, wait until he meets Ray Lewis and friends. The Jags have shown some spark lately, but they really are lacking when it comes to pass protection, passing and pass defense. So, there’s that. It should be a nice, rough game with plenty of silly penalties for the Jags. Ravens to win on the road.
In the Sauna (Bye Week Teams)
Bye Week at Buffalo
So was that bad play calling or a terrible decision by Fitzpatrick that lost the game for the Bills against the Giants? Either way, the Bills better take a step back and deflate those heads. After the Patriots win, the Bills are looking a bit normal.
Bye Week at Cincinnati
The Bungles have been the surprise team of the season, led by young ginger Andy Dalton. They enter the bye week at 4-2 and poised to make a run at the division title. Of course, they have to find a way to beat their division foes first.
Bye Week at N.Y. Giants
The Giants defense seemed to wake up late in the game against Buffalo, a week after the offense lost the game the same way Buffalo did. The defense needs to keep it strong if the Giants can hope to hold off the rest of the division and overtake the Redskins.
Bye Week at Philadelphia
The Eagles, are for real? I still don’t think so and won’t be sold. While they won last week, Vick still made a laundry list of mistakes, but coupled them with some good play too. We’ll see if that huge contract pays off. Oh yeah, Vince Young is really that bad.
Bye Week at San Francisco
Huge win for the Niners over the Lions. I didn’t think I’d ever be saying that. But Harbaugh is doing a good job leading this team and turning Alex Smith into a real NFL QB. Now, if he can only get that offensive line to sharpen up a bit.
Bye Week at New England
What needs to be said about the Patriots? They pulled off a Tom Brady-esque comeback against the Cowboys and sustained their home win streak. Brady and Bellichick also tied Shula & Marino for most wins by a coach/QB duo. Slap on the back chaps.