I lost the right to write the intro for my NFL Week 6 picks against the spread. It's really not important how that happened.
"Hey all, Mike here.
I want to thank Brandon for all of his money this opportunity to advertise my 'enterprise.' The poor guy always gets his hopes up while his teams are covering in the second quarter, only to watch them fold late.
Anyways, I'm running a promotion in honor of Brandon. If you mention that you religiously read his weekly picks article, I'll give you one game for free!
That's just the type of year it's been.
You've heard of Michael Schottey's "Hater's Guide?" If this trend continues, I might change the name of this slideshow to the "Sucker's Guide."
Last Week's Record: 5-9
Season Record: 30-44-3
All lines are courtesy of footballlocks.com. All advanced stats and rankings were sourced from ProFootballFocus.com.
Basically, you have to pick a side between an incredible streak continuing and a team somewhat changing its stripes in Week 5.
But the stripe-changing team isn't the New York Giants. I understand why you'd think the team with the league-worst turnover ratio (-13) needs a change. While you're right, there's something you're missing.
The Chicago Bears are a tweener team. And tweener teams can't be trusted with that many points.
What's a tweener team? It's a team that's undefinable. We only know that it's neither good nor bad.
They couldn't put away the one-win Vikings until the very end, were blown out twice (regardless of the final score) and got some help before pulling out the other two wins over Cincy and Pittsburgh.
The Bears will also possibly be relying on their fourth- and fifth-string defensive tackles. Even the moribund Giants rushing attack might be able to find a hole or two against that depleted front.
Now, let's turn to the streak.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning hasn't played this poorly for this long since his rookie season. He isn't the type to get rattled, so breaking his ridiculous interception run shouldn't scare him.
And he has two stud wide receivers going against a Bears defense that isn't particularly good at defending the pass. Sounds like the makings of a sloppy Thursday night backdoor cover.
And no, I don't feel great about it.
Update: Chicago 27, New York 21.
The Giants covered the spread.
The Kansas City Chiefs are good, but if you look closely, you'll see the warts on that 5-0 record.
For starters, they don't particularly defend the run well (115 yards allowed per game). Guess who runs the ball decently?
And the Chiefs offense is whatever the opposite of explosive is. Kansas City grinds out victories and capitalizes on the other team's mistakes.
Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders aren't terrible with Terrelle Pryor at the helm. They hung with the Colts and only lost by 16 points to the Broncos in Denver. Yes, that actually is an accomplishment.
You know what that means. I'm taking the points because that spread has two too many.
How about the Philadelphia Eagles? Five games in and they're in first place of the NFC East.
I know I'm reaching here. But that's what happens when you're choosing between two teams with a combined record of 2-7 record.
Out of the two, only the Eagles perform well in any facet of the game. That offense, even with Nick Foles guiding it, is a legitimate problem for opponents not named the Kansas City Chiefs.
Unfortunately, Philly is offended by the notion of of playing defense. The Eagles have given up the third-highest number of touchdown passes in the league, and only four of those 11 scores were thrown by Peyton Manning.
But they're playing against rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and you only have to give up one point. That's pretty much all you need to know here.
Is that? I think it is.
It's a home dog!
Home dogs are the best. They greet you at the door after a long day, wagging their points and licking your face. That's why we love them.
But they come in different breeds. Some are just noisy lap dogs that can't muster much more than attaching to your pant leg. Others are great danes that will knock you over by jumping on you.
The Baltimore Ravens are closer to the latter.
If you take away the seven season-opening touchdown passes by the Broncos quarterback, the Ravens have only allowed two on the season. That bodes well when facing quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Plus, the injury bug threw the home dog a bone by sidelining Clay Matthews for a month. Outside linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal played well, but will see a ready-to-prove-something Eugene Monroe at left tackle. That might be more than the young guns can handle.
Lastly, rookie offensive tackle David Bakhtiari has to try and stop Terrell Suggs. Good luck with that.
"That's why you have a losing record. You spend an entire slide talking up the benefits of your beloved 'home dog' and then reverse course on the next pick."
Save it. You'll see why after the next few paragraphs.
The Detroit Lions played well defensively against Rodgers and the ever-potent Packers offense. Despite Detroit's inability to sustain drives, the Lions held Green Bay to only one touchdown and that took the Packers 41 minutes of football to accomplish.
That's a damned good defense that will be facing off against the reinstated-by-necessity Brandon Weeden. Does that inspire a lot of confidence in the home dog?
"But what about that Cleveland Browns defense against a Calvin Johnson-less offense?"
That's a fair question, and one that will keep me up all week. However, I'm going to place my trust in the All-Everything receiver's remarks that he "should" play.
Well, that, and I'm a massive homer.
Last time we saw the Minnesota Vikings, I was riding Adrian Peterson and Matt Cassel to a victory over a winless team.
What happens when Peterson faces a tough rushing defense (92.3 yards allowed per game) and Cassel is asked to do more?
I'll tell you what happens: You take the points and change the channel. It won't be a pleasurable viewing experience.
And that's only if Cassel is given the starting nod. Apparently, the Vikings will still list Christian Ponder as the starter.
That's cool with me.
Now, the Carolina Panthers certainly have to keep Cam Newton's pocket clean. But it helps that the Vikings are one of only five teams with single-digit sacks this season.
Allow me to be the 3,432nd person to say this: This is Matt Schaub's last stand!
The Houston Texans quarterback is struggling. He's thrown a pick-six in each of the past four games and was benched for T.J. Yates last week.
But head coach Gary Kubiak is sticking by his man. And so am I.
Or, better yet, I'm sticking by running back Arian Foster against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. Let Foster control the game, give Schaub a few easy play-action plays to work with and let the offense come naturally.
Heck, the Rams let the Jags score 20 points. Anything is possible.
I checked this line three times before I made the pick. I really don't get it.
I've made fun of the New York Jets more than anyone, and have paid for it with a few losses. They're still not a good team, but that defense keeps them just north of bad.
I can't say the same for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They're winless, have no offensive line and the defense was last seen giving up 34 points to Matt Cassel.
All of the good things said about home dogs in this game applies, plus a solid defense and a winless opponent.
Yup, I still don't get it.
The Buffalo Bills are starting a practice-squad quarterback and I'm worried about laying a single-digit spread.
That's the state of the relationship between me and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Yes, I picked them over the New England Patriots and everyone mocked me, but I did so very timidly.
In the end, I can't see how Thad Lewis is going to lead the Buffalo Bills on point-scoring drives. How many quarterbacks have come off the practice squad to lead his team to an upset victory?
So if you're keeping score at home, Brandon Weeden and practice-squad quarterbacks are acceptable reasons to go against a home dog.
No, I haven't turned my back on the Tennessee Titans.
Just quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
He couldn't get anything going against the Kansas City Chiefs, ending with a rating of just 57.7. Here's betting things are just as difficult against the Seahawks in Seattle.
That's still a lot of points to cover, and had it been a solid 14, I would have gone the other way. But I don't trust Fitzpatrick to take care of the ball, creating chances for an opportunistic defense.
And those free points that Fitzpatrick will serve up will ultimately require the Titans to throw more.
You see the problem here?
How long until Jake Locker is back? I miss riding on the Titans bandwagon and picking up wins every week.
When I first checked the lines, the Denver Broncos were favored by 28 points.
And I was honestly thinking that I might take the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Luckily, I checked back before writing in the pick, and the line had dropped to 27.5. I then gladly hopped back on the Broncos quicker than I bailed on the Titans.
There's no need to get too in-depth here.
The Jags are really bad and won't have either of the starting tackles they began the season with. The Broncos are really good and running back Knowshon Moreno looks like he's found his groove.
Need I say more?
Peyton freaking Manning.
Linebacker Daryl Washington is a beast.
Dude made his long-awaited debut in the desert by racking up two sacks, picking off a pass and almost taking it for a touchdown. With him back, the Arizona Cardinals defense is a completely different animal.
And that animal is only giving up 79 yards a game. That will be key against the ground-pounding San Francisco 49ers.
If the Cards can keep running back Frank Gore under wraps, then the game will rest on the second-worst passing attack yards-wise. Advantage, Cards.
Granted, Carson "I love me some I-N-Ts" Palmer will have to be a little stingier with the rock, but this game has the potential to be close. And, in that case, I'll take that nice stack of points.
This is about certainties.
I'm certain the New Orleans Saints will have quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton.
I have no idea if the New England Patriots will have tight end Rob Gronkowski.
That really does make a huge difference. You saw what happened last week when the Patriots ran into a good defense without their best player. They ended the game with six points.
If New England fails to hit double digits again, there's a chance they lose by 20 points.
There's also a chance that the Pats aren't that good.
Their best win is a three-point victory over the New York Jets. That seems relevant here.
Of course, the Saints' best wins have come against two teams mired in two-game losing streaks, but they have a much more dominant feel to them.
Basically, they don't look like they're trying to figure it out. They already know what they're doing.
I'm not so sure if the Pats do.
Did something happen during the Washington Redskins' bye week that I should know about? Did I miss something?
Because I don't know how this team should only get an additional 2.5 points on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.
Was it that 10-point win against a Matt Flynn-led Raiders team? Do the oddsmakers know that Flynn is now an unrestricted free agent?
Maybe they assume Robert Griffin III finished healing during his week off. Or maybe they think people will pick Washington because the fans believe RG3 is healthy.
Or maybe somebody forgot the one in front of the five.
Either way, running back DeMarco Murray and quarterback Tony Romo are going to have a field day against a defense that ranks 27th and 31st against the pass and the run, respectively.
I'm not sure what else the Indianapolis Colts can do to shut me up.
They went on the road and physically dominated the San Francisco 49ers. They then turned out the Seattle Seahawks at home.
I give up. The Colts are good.
As for the San Diego Chargers, I also give up.
Supposedly, quarterback Philip Rivers had fixed his problems. Then he throws three picks in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.
So now I'm stuck making a pick in apology to one team and with malice towards another. Considering the way this season has started, that seems about right.