Well, I knew I was bound to have a stinker of a week sooner or later, and hopefully it doesn’t get any worse than last week’s 7-7 showing, which brings the season record to a respectable 36-26 (.581) for the year. So, let’s take a look at this week’s games (Picks in Bold, Home Team Listed Second):
Browns (+6) at Bills: Last week, I was looking for either of these teams to show me something. The Browns put up a good fight in a losing effort against the Bengals. The Bills floundered against the Chad Henne-led Miami Dolphins. This is the only reasoning I used in picking the Browns. Both of these teams are awful.
Steelers (-11) at Lions: The Lions looked like the toothless team we had become accustomed to seeing during their 19-game losing streak last week, while the Steelers played like a team that was desperate for a win. Pittsburgh needs to win again this week in order to stay with the Ravens and Bengals in the AFC North. I expect them to play very well again this week.
Cowboys (-9) at Chiefs: Dallas is having just a plethora of issues right now, the latest being an injury to WR Roy Williams that will sideline him for tomorrow’s game in Arrowhead Stadium. Fortunately for the ‘Boys, they’re playing in Arrowhead Stadium, which means they get to face the hapless Chiefs, who look far, FAR away from being competitive in any game.
Vikings (-11) at Rams: Minnesota is flying high right now with their 30-23 victory over the Packers to move to 4-0 on the season. Meanwhile, the Rams are a team with Kyle Boller at QB and, potentially, Rush Limbaugh for an owner…Recipe for disaster, methinks.
Raiders at Giants (-16): This is just an absurd spread for an NFL game, but if you’ve seen both JaMarcus Russell and the Giants’ defense, you would struggle to not pick the G-Men. I wouldn’t worry too much about Eli Manning’s plantar fascitis, either. This is an injury common with runners, and with the amount of time Eli should have in the pocket, he shouldn’t have to run at all.
Bucs at Eagles (-16): I am going way against my tendencies this week by picking all of these favorites with huge spreads, but I think it’s more of a testament to how much of a gap has been established between good teams and bad teams in the league this year. Parity looks as if it might be dying in a quick and painless fashion. McNabb is back for the Eagles, who could really use a win to show that they can compete with the G-Men in the NFC East, and will play that way too.
Redskins at Panthers (-5): Living in Washington has forced me, at times, to suffer through Redskins games this year. As a result, I am baffled by their 2-2 record if I don’t remember who they beat. Then I remember they beat the Rams and Bucs by a combined five points. If there is any justice in the world of football, then Carolina will win this game, because the Redskins would be the least-deserving 3-2 team ever.
Bengals (+9) at Ravens: Call me crazy, but I am becoming a believer in the Cincinnati Bengals. They seem to have enough offense to win games, and their defense is serviceable, as well. That being said, I am a believer in them to lose by less than 9. The Ravens are a team that doesn’t blow anyone out, but finds a way to win more often than not. B-More wins an ugly one 24-21 at home.
Falcons (+3) at 49ers: This is a very interesting game because it’ll really be the Niners first game without Frank Gore (I’m not counting the Rams as a real opponent.). The Falcons have been a team that hasn’t really had a ton of attention payed to it so far this year, which is odd considering they won the NFC South last year. I think Atlanta will start to make some noise tomorrow with a win in San Francisco.
Jaguars (+2) at Seahawks: Once again, Seneca Wallace will be starting for Seattle. Once again, I am picking against the Seahawks at home. Jacksonville is coming off of a resounding victory over Tennessee at home last week and needs to win this one in order to maintain position in a still-competitive AFC South.
Texans at Cardinals (-6): This is a very interesting game between two of the more high-octane offenses in the league, that have struggled to get going so far. The Cardinals and Texans both need this game to keep up with their division’s leaders. However, I think Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald will outgun Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson and continue Houston’s first half misery and underachievement.
Patriots (-3) at Broncos: Finally, after four weeks of playing some subpar competition, the Broncos and their 4-0 record are going to be tested. It also is a matchup of Teacher (Bill Belichick) vs. Student (Josh McDaniels). In the end, though, the Patriots are playing at a much higher level than the Broncos right now and should have little trouble going into Mile High Stadium and taking the game.
Colts (-5) at Titans: Peyton Manning and the Colts offense have looked as good as they have in a few years and the D isn’t too shabby, either. Meanwhile, the Titans are in deep trouble of starting the season 0-5 after going 13-3 just last year. I don’t see the Titans figuring out all of their problems in just one week and playing Indy doesn’t help them at all.
Jets (-3) at Dolphins: It took me five weeks to do it, but I’m finally taking the New York Jets to win a game. The Jets lost in a very deceiving way last week that masked how well their defense played against the Saints’ highly-praised offense. I think that Mark Sanchez will cut down on his mistakes from last week and the Jets’ D will take care of Ronnie Brown and Co. in the wildcat and win easy in Miami.