My wife read this before I posted it and pondered divorcing me for picking against the Patriots (for the first time in three years, by the way).
Either that, or it was because I constantly force her to read these things, most of the time against her will.
(Home team in CAPS)
NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Oakland
Al Davis finally woke up from his nap and fired Lane Kiffin. I, unlike most, feel that Kiffin deserved at least a portion of the blame here. He didn’t come out of this looking good at all. Most NFL owners saw him openly bashing his team, its talent, and its ownership.
That won’t go over well in the old boy’s network that is the NFL’s ownership club.
But that press conference. Good God. Al Davis is a rambling, insane mess. From telling the world he doesn’t plan to pay Kiffin a penny (effectively destroying any chance he had of hiring a decent coach after this season), to blaming the Patriots for tampering last year with Moss—it was a wreck.
He’s a wreck. Kind of like the team he put together.
INDIANAPOLIS (-4) over Baltimore
The Colts have to win in their new stadium eventually, right?
Baltimore will keep this game close, and Peyton could take an absolute beating in this game, but in the end I expect the Colts to get the job done. They know they’re approaching must-win time.
Plus, I have trouble taking rookie quarterbacks on the road against good teams.
Cincinnati (+8.5) over NEW YORK JETS
I have a rule. When a team as mediocre as the Jets is favored by more than a touchdown, I take the other team. Every time. Regardless of the situation.
Unless the Rams or Lions are involved.
Though against the Bengals without Carson Palmer…let’s just say I was tempted.
Carolina (+1.5) over TAMPA BAY
Jake Delhomme leads his Panthers into Tampa Bay, adding an exclamation point to what is going to be a tremendously disappointing weekend in Tampa Bay.
I’m not sure why the Devil Rays are everyone’s favorite team now. I’m rooting for Philadelphia in the National League, even though the Dodgers would be the better story. The reason I’m rooting for them is because their fans are tremendous and they deserve to win.
By that standard, how could anyone outside of Tampa root for the Rays? Their fans just recently discovered there’s still baseball in Florida after spring training ends.
MINNESOTA (-13) over Detroit
Good God, Detroit is terrible. Awful. Humiliatingly porous.
Matt-Millenesque, if you will.
Chicago (-3) over ATLANTA
I’m not 100% sold on this. I could be talked into switching this pick.
The fact is, I’m basing this on the “rookie quarterback against the Bears’ defense” rule. Which clearly states, the Bears will eat-up any rookie quarterback they face.
But Atlanta plays pretty well at home. So, like I said, I could be talked out of this.
HOUSTON (-3) over Miami
I’m curious. If anyone knows the answer to this, please post it in the comments. Can you, in Vegas or wherever, bet that a game will be a push? If so, what kind of odds would they give me? Because I’m seriously contemplating changing this pick to “push”.
Houston by three sounds just about right. Assuming they play like they did for 95% of last week’s game, instead of the way they played in the last 5%.
WASHINGTON (-13.5) over St. Louis
The St. Louis Rams have morphed into the Washington Generals of the NFL.
Jacksonville (+3.5) over DENVER
Denver can’t stop the run. Jacksonville has good running backs. This is an extremely bad combination.
I’m not sold on Jacksonville’s defense stopping Denver’s offense, but they’re at least good enough to slow them down. And before you start arguing with me, remember, the Chiefs figured out how to stop them.
And in case you’ve forgotten, the Chiefs are not too good.
Philadelphia (-4.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
I realized last week, sometime during Matt Cassel’s breakout game against their defense, that the 49ers are absolutely terrible. The Eagles, even with their injuries, are going to mop the floor with this pathetic bunch.
Mike Martz does seem to have the offense playing decently though. Surprisingly balanced for an ego-manic driven offense. But that defense lacks playmakers and manhood. If they can’t get off the field, Martz’ offense could be as good as his 1999 Rams and it won’t matter.
Dallas (-5) over ARIZONA
Bet the over.
Seriously, bet the over.
Dallas is a powder keg of egos, insanity, unbalanced players, and terrible coaching. Jerry Jones is standing over the whole thing holding a match. If anyone thinks we’re going to go an entire season without Jones accidentally (or purposely) dropping that match, you obviously haven’t watched enough NFL football.
Green Bay (+1) over SEATTLE
Think Mike Holmgren regrets coming back for one more season? Think he really thought he had a Super Bowl team? Part of me wonders if he’s going to bother finishing up the season. The guy’s 60 years old, he’s ready to quit but came back for one more crack at a championship.
That isn’t happening. Why bother killing yourself for an entire season?
Although, if there’s a division a team like Seattle could win, it’s the NFC West…
SAN DIEGO (-5) over New England
I know. I never pick against the Patriots. Ever. But a couple of things are working against them this week.
*San Diego is the more desperate team.
*East Coast teams, whether they stay out west or not, don’t play well in the second game of back-to-back west coast games.
*Tom Brady isn’t walking through that door.
*The Patriots beat the Chargers with their running game twice last year. Maroney is clearly hurt. Their running game, even though we all like Sammy Morris, isn’t the same without Lawrence.
*The only significant advantage the Patriots have is coaching. And it’s a SIGNIFICANT advantage. But I can’t overlook the Chargers’ advantages on offense, defense, and special teams. They’re better everywhere. They have to win this game.
New York Giants (-8) over CLEVELAND
I’m openly rooting for the following scenario to take place. The Giants go undefeated in the regular season, pounding everyone. They make it to the Super Bowl. Matt Cassel gets hot in the playoffs and shocks the world, getting the underdog Patriots to the Super Bowl.
And then Sam Aiken catches a ball on his helmet, Corey Webster drops two or three easy interceptions, and Giants fans learn what a real gut-punch loss is like.
Sure, it’ll never happen. Not because the Giants can’t go undefeated, but more likely because Cassel just isn’t getting the Patriots to the Super Bowl. But I can dream.
Last Week: 7-5-2
Overall Record: 36-34-2
Sean Crowe is a Senior Writer and an NFL Community Leader at Bleacher Report. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His archive can be found here. You can find everything he writes, including articles for other publications, here.