The days leading up to the second Sunday of NFL Season are my favorite. Each year, I've just come off a relatively successful weekend picking games. I take a look at the early lines and my eyes get wide. I count five, six, seven games that look profitable, and I have to stop myself from making all my, umm, choices, on Tuesday.
I hold off until Thursday when I just can't take it anymore and I create teasers and parlays with reckless confidence and the creativity of Monet.
A five team parlay? Why not? The odds are so good and all of those games look like locks! It could happen!
Why not put the house on a four team sweetheart teaser? There's no way Team X will lose to Team Y at home, let alone by 10 points...right?
I believe we all know how this story ends. By Sunday evening, Monday evening if I'm lucky, I'm staring blankly at the television, hoping ESPN tells me this is all some sick joke and every single one of my artistic masterpieces were not in fact destroyed.
By 8pm on Monday, I talk myself into the whole, "Well, it can't get worse than this, there's no way Team N.O. loses to Team S.F. on Monday Night Football," and throw down whatever I have left on the road favorite. Five minutes into the game when the home team is up 10-0 and the crowd is going bonkers on a 3rd and 13, I might as well turn the television off and go to bed.
For those of you nodding your head solemnly and knowingly, I feel your pain. Let's all be careful out there on Sunday.
We think we know everything heading in to Week 2, but more often than not we find out we know nothing by the end of the weekend. The bright side? Next Tuesday we'll be talking ourselves into believing we can learn from our Week 2 mistakes and can come back strong in Week 3.
Home team in caps, picks in bold.
Kansas City (-1.5) over CLEVELAND.
CAROLINA (-3.5) over Tampa Bay. Both of these games are off the board in most places due to the uncertainty at quarterback. If you're planning on betting on these games, it may be time to reorganize your priorities.
GREEN BAY (-14) over Buffalo. I really can't decide how high would this line have to go before I considered taking the Bills on the road. Probably somewhere between 36 and 45.
Baltimore (-2.5) over CINCINNATI. I won't say I told you so. Instead I'll just set the Over/Under at 3.5 weeks before T.O. and Ocho Cinco injure Carson Palmer, only to regret it when they realize the backup is Carson's younger brother, Jordan.
TENNESSEE (-5.5) over Pittsburgh. Did the Steelers defense look that good, or was Matt Ryan that inept? By the way, well actually no, this really isn't related to much of anything. Random digression; is it just me, or has Mike Tomlin gained about 20 pounds in the off-season? The comparisons to Omar Epps can only survive this for so long, Mike.
DETROIT (+6) over Philadelphia. Just a guess, but I think the "controversy" in Philly over the quarterback situation will go away once a solid defense has an entire week to prepare for Vick, instead of flying by the seat of its pants like Green Bay seemed to do in Week 1.
Chicago (+7.5) over DALLAS. I suppose I could have cheated and used the line where it started at 9 points, but I don't think it matters. Monday: The Cowboys start 0-2 and Jason Garrett disappears. Jerry Jones, when asked about the situation, says that this is a "teachable moment" much like Pete Carroll's assessment of the Reggie Bush situation. Reporters nod their heads, don't ask any more questions, and write in the Dallas newspapers that Garrett has been granted a week's vacation on a cruise ship. Have you heard how many people get "lost" on cruise ships? Such a tragedy.
ATLANTA (-7) over Arizona. It's fascinating how adequate Derek Anderson's statistics looked after the Cardinals 17-13 win over the Rams last week. Unfortunately for Derek Anderson, I watched that game. I seriously thought Larry Fitzgerald was going to walk over to a sideline camera in the 4th quarter, grab it with both hands and with his face inches from the lens, say,"Do you see what you've done to me, Kurt? What did I do to deserve this? I'm deeply hurt but I'll forgive you if you come back right now and save me from this monster. I still love you." Unfortunately, the most pressing thing on Kurt Warner's mind at the moment is how he's going to avoid his wife's wrath when he dances a wee bit too close to his partner on Dancing with the Stars.
Miami (+6) over MINNESOTA. If Harvin doesn't play, who exactly is Favre throwing the ball to? Maybe he could get away with throwing one at Brad Childress' head, blaming it on miscommunication with some washed up receiver.
St. Louis (+4) over OAKLAND. I'm not really taking a rookie quarterback in his first road start, am I? Let's just move on.
Seattle (+3.5) over DENVER. What am I doing? When was the last time the Seahawks covered on the road? Talk about overreacting to Week 1. Perhaps this will be another one of Pete Carroll's "teachable moments."
Houston (-3) over WASHINGTON. Houston's bound to have a bit of a let down after their win over the Colts. Ditto for Washington after their lucky win over Dallas. When in doubt, take the road team with the points? No, that doesn't sound right. Oh well.
Jacksonville (+7) over SAN DIEGO. It's September, so take underdogs against the Chargers. That's one lesson that tends to carry over from year to year.
New England (-3) over NY JETS. I'm willing to believe the Jets offense will be vastly improved once Santonio Holmes returns in Week 5. Until then? I can see the Pats scoring between 17 and 20 points against the Jets defense, but I cannot see the Jets scoring more than 14 points. This is like a logical proof. If A and B, then C. Take New England giving the field goal.
INDIANAPOLIS (-5.5) over NY Giants. The Giants still aren't that good. The Colts aren't as bad as they looked last week. Peyton in a night game? Yes please.
New Orleans (-6) over SAN FRANCISCO. The reason I'm forced to learn the exact same lessons every year by Week 2 is because I cannot follow my own advice. I know exactly what is going to happen in this game (see earlier in the article), and yet there's no way I'm picking against the Saints. Oy.
Here's to surviving the weekend. Enjoy the games.
Last Week: 8-6-2
Season to Date: 8-6-2