The NFL Picks Column: Cowboys, Packers Battle for NFC Supremacy
Interesting thing when looking at this week’s slate: All of the home teams are favored to win, except for the Green Bay Packers, who happen to be playing the best team in the NFL.
I’m not sure I remember a week where 15 out of 16 home teams were favored.
Couple of quick items before I get to the picks.
As I’m sure you know, we do the NFL Power 10 every Wednesday morning. If you’re looking for a decent compliment to the Power 10, Dan Boone writes his Sad-Sack Seven every week. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it.
Bleacher Report also posts their own full-fledged NFL Power Rankings. Shaun Ahmad does a great job putting them together. A bunch of your favorite NFL writers here at Bleacher Report contribute, so make sure you check it out next week.
(Home teams in CAPS)
ATLANTA (-5.5) over Kansas City
Three quick reasons why Kansas City is going to get blown out by the Atlanta Falcons:
1) There’s nobody on that defense that can stop Matt Ryan to Roddy White.
2) I’m still not sure what a Tyler Thigpen is.
3) Herm Edwards is to offensive football as the McCain campaign is to telling the truth.
Seriously, Herm Edwards is a terrible head coach.
He has one of the best running backs in the NFL, but for some reason, he feels the need to not play him.
He concocted some insane injury story that the team can’t seem to keep straight because he hates Damon Huard and didn’t want to take the heat for playing Thigpen over him.
He’s probably the second worst clock-management head coach in the NFL, behind Cleveland’s Romeo Crennel.
He gives great press conferences though.
BUFFALO (-9.5) over Oakland
The Bills were favored, but just barely, over the Seahawks. They were underdogs against the Jaguars. This is the first time that they’ve been expected to win a game.
Not only are they expected to win, but they’re expected to win rather easily.
It’ll be interesting to see how the young team reacts. Sometimes young teams let up in games they think they’re supposed to win. I’m not predicting this will happen; but it’s something to keep an eye on.
The Raiders are in a tough situation. When Al Davis wakes up from his nap, he’s going to fire Lane Kiffin. He could wake up this week. He could wake up next week. He could wake up at halftime on Sunday.
But eventually, he’ll wake up and the head coach will be gone. Until that happens, I’m not sure you can expect much from this team.
TENNESSEE (-4.5) over Houston
Kerry Collins, my fantasy football team’s new starting quarterback, is officially the starter in Tennessee for the foreseeable future. Which means they’ll have someone who can, at the very least, hit a wide-open receiver every once in a while.
I really thought coming into the season that Houston was going to be pretty good. I’m not so sure anymore.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-13.5) over Cincinnati
If I rounded up 21 of my closest friends, went out and bought football pads, hired Rod Rust to devise a foolproof gameplan (Rod Rust is still alive, right?), and replaced the New York Giants for this week’s game against the Bengals, we’d still have no trouble covering a 13.5 point spread.
That’s how bad the Bengals are.
Arizona (+3) over WASHINGTON
Kurt Warner really, really enjoys playing with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. I understand that they’ve played a crap schedule thus far, but did anyone expect Warner to look as good as he has?
The Redskins’ upset of the Saints last week (technically not an upset, I guess) would have cost me a TON of money were gambling legal.
Thank God for Republicans.
NEW ENGLAND (-12.5) over Miami
Joey Porter will never, ever learn. Ever.
He was a loud-mouthed moron when he was in Pittsburgh, but his teams were usually good enough to back him up. He’s still a loud-mouthed moron in Miami, but now I almost feel bad for him.
One win in his last 18 games? Good grief.
There was some truth in what he said, he just shouldn’t have said it. Matt Cassel is no Tom Brady. If Miami had a one percent chance of beating the Patriots with Brady, they have a five percent chance with Cassel at quarterback.
Tampa Bay (+3) over CHICAGO
The Buccaneers get no respect whatsoever. Say what you want about their offense, and I have, but their defense will eat Kyle Orton for breakfast.
This game has 6-3 written all over it. Bet the under. Don’t bother watching.
Carolina (+3) over MINNESOTA
Unless your team has a Peyton Manning or a Tom Brady, there’s always someone out there screaming that they want the backup quarterback to play. I want the Vikings fan who high-fived his buddy when Gus Frerotte was named starting quarterback to email me.
I’m sure you’re out there.
I bet you this: There were far more Carolina fans high-fiving about the chance to play against Gus than there were Vikings fans high-fiving that Jackson was benched.
All that said, Carolina wins this game because Peterson is banged up. Frerotte is a non-factor.
SEATTLE (-9.5) over St. Louis
Seattle is terrible. St. Louis is terrible. This game will be terrible.
SAN FRANCISCO (-4.5) over Detroit
If you’re new to fantasy football and looking for some kind of strategy to help get your team over the top, I have the perfect plan. Every week, scan the waiver wire. If there’s a player available who happens to be playing the Detroit defense, pick him up and start him.
Detroit’s defense is terrible.
New Orleans (+5.5) over DENVER
There are two games this week with an over/under of 51, this is the first. You can safely bet the over on both of them.
There is no way New Orleans’ defense can stop Denver’s offense. Conversely, there’s no way Denver’s defense can stop New Orleans’ offense.
Therefore, I’m picking the Saints in the hopes that they win the opening coin toss.
PHILADELPHIA (-3.5) over Pittsburgh
The Eagles came out on the wrong end of the game of the century last week. Don’t they deserve to win this week?
The Steelers have trouble protecting Big Ben at times. The Eagles can put some serious pressure on the quarterback. Forget what happened to their defense last week, that was an aberration. They’re a good unit, and the Steelers will have trouble putting up points against them.
The NFC might be the better conference this season. The Eagles will be looking to prove it this week.
INDIANAPOLIS (-5) over Jacksonville
I hate the Colts. I seriously hate the Colts.
That said, Peyton Manning is the scariest quarterback not named Tom Brady to play against in the NFL. The Vikings bottled him up for three quarters last week. 15 game-minutes later, they lost.
The reason: Peyton Manning.
His offensive line is struggling. He has no running game to speak of. Marvin Harrison is a shell of his former self. His team is riddled with injuries. The man’s knee is swollen and stiff. He can barely move around, and he was playing against a pretty darn good defense that spent most of the game beating him up.
Yet he took control in the fourth quarter and willed his team to victory. The dude is scary-good.
Cleveland (-2) over BALTIMORE
Cleveland has to win this game. If they can’t beat Baltimore, they’re going to be in for a long, long season.
The Ravens are being overrated a little because of their shocking Week One victory. It was a nice victory, but it was against the Bengals (whom we’ve already discussed). Let’s see what they can do against an NFL team before we crown them this season’s surprise team.
GREEN BAY (+3) over Dallas
I can’t wait for this game.
Aaron Rodgers with his first real test, at home, against the NFC’s best team. The Dallas Cowboys’ defense trying to rebound from a terrible performance against the Eagles last week. The Packers looking for revenge against the team that beat them out for home-field advantage last season. The Cowboys are trying to prove that they’re the alpha-dog in the NFC.
So many storylines, so little time.
There will be many, many points scored in this game. If this game were played in Dallas, I’d go with the Cowboys. But the Packers are tough at home, and there’s something about this Aaron Rodgers kid.
I smell upset.
SAN DIEGO (-9) over New York Jets
The Chargers might have had the toughest two-week stretch in NFL history.
If the call had been made correctly last week (clearly a fumble), they would have won the game. I completely agree. But the way Norv Turner handled this publicly is completely wrong.
You can’t give a group of athletes an excuse to lose, because they’ll take it almost every time. Bill Parcells said that back when he was the Patriots coach. Norv basically lost his mind when that call went the wrong way.
He should have composed himself and told his defense to suck it up and go win the game.
Stop the Broncos. Stop the two-point conversion. Win the game.
It wasn’t like the game ended with the bad call. They had two more chances to win that game. The first chance was keeping the Broncos out of the end zone on fourth down; that failed. The second chance was stopping the two-point conversion; that failed.
Had the call been made correctly, they would have won. But let’s not absolve them of all blame here.
This game will go one of two ways. Either those two losses were so emotionally devastating that their season is basically over and they’ll get killed by the Jets, or they’ll take out their frustration on the Jets and win by 20-something points.
I’m betting on the latter.
Last Week: 11-4
Season Record: 15-15
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at email@example.com. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.
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