I HAVE MADE 3 CHANGES. I hate to waiver on any of my picks, especially after posting but when you post early it poses some disadvantages when looking closely at the games. After a good deal of thought I have made 3 changes with justifications of course and I wanted to post this as soon as possible.
I apologize if this has caused any confusion, but I submitted my final sheet and I wanted my post to be consistent for anyone keeping score. I appreciate all of your messages and postings. The changes are listed below the original selected game and are in bold. As always, best of luck.
After several requests, I’m posting this as early as I can. It’s a little tough to do because it leaves very little time scope out the games. After a tough couple of weeks going 9-7 and 7-7, took some of my pride back by going 10-4 against the spread and 10-4 straight up. My losses included Pitt covering the 10.5, the Jets in that painful loss, and Carolina missing by ½ point. Those three games prevented me from a nice 13-1 week, but oh well. This is a really tough week to call and I’ve got most of the favorites playing at home this week. I hope to keep the streak alive especially after retaining my lead in my pool. I appreciate all of the offline comments as well as the online criticisms and most of all your reading. Best of luck.
The Redskins were clearly a different team in the second half of that game versus the Panthers last week. With Chris Samuels hurt and the offensive line pieced together with a mismatch of tackles playing guards and vice versa, this team offensively is a mess. Jason Campbell still has some weapons in Clinton Portis (when he’s not fighting with Mike Sellers) and Santana Moss, but this team is banged up and I don’t see the troops rallying to help Jim Zorn keep his job by playing at a higher level. He is clearly on his way out and add a new offensive coordinator to the mix, not selected by him, can you spell disaster? This team has become a train wreck. The Chiefs on the other hand have done some nice things. Sure they haven’t been able to win a game, but keep in mind 3 out of their 5 losses are to the Ravens, Giants, and Eagles. Yes, that loss to Oakland is a black eye, but they played the Cowboys tough and almost got the win. Matt Cassel has looked better and better. I take the Chiefs for the upset and the 6.5 points.
The Texans are one of the most frustrating teams in the NFL. The Texans are the model of inconsistency. First they can’t score, and then they can’t be stopped. The only thing that is consistent is there terrible defense. Cincy on the other hand has been very consistent defensively. Cincy is coming off a huge win against the Ravens and are playing at home this week. I don’t care for picking this game because you don’t know which Texans team will show up. The Texans are certainly capable of beating the Bengals, but after a crushing defeat last week against the Cardinals coupled with their inability to stop a rolling Bengals offense with a real rushing attack in Cedric Benson, I think the Bengals cover the 4.5 points they are giving.
This game bothered me since I originally picked it, and even the line has recently moved. For some reason I get the feeling that this going the other way given how big Cincy has been playing. They have also played two huge games in a row against division rivals. I think they are due for a let down and the Texans showed me something last week against Arizona. I'm switching here and taking the Texans and will take the 5 points.
The Steelers didn’t cover for me last week. Thanks, that loss was one of my 4 losses for the week and I just missed it by a couple of points. Enough about my whining, the Steelers are going to be missing Aaron Smith, but hopefully Polamalu will be back. I feel like I have been saying that for weeks now, but it may actually happen this week. With that said the defense, despite giving up some points were sack machines last week and will give the Browns more than they are capable of handling right now. The good news is that Braylon Edwards is playing like a legitimate #1 WR, the bad news for the Browns he is playing for the Jets. The Browns are a sinking ship, and when I said I thought the team played better with Derek Anderson, I certainly expected more than a few field goals. Let the Mangini mutiny begin! The players hate this guy and can’t wait to get out. Even Brady Quinn has supposedly put his house up for sale and he hasn’t even been traded yet. The Steelers offense should have no problems moving the ball and playing at home the defense should dominate. Steelers cover the 14 points.
Vikings vs. Ravens –
The Ravens have lost 2 games in a row now and have lost a bit of that early luster. Their losses of course have been a couple of heartbreakers to the Patriots and the Bengals. By the way, that shot by Ray Lewis on Ocho Cinco is one of the best highlight hits you will ever see, simply awesome. The Vikings have been rolling on the other hand, and crushed the hapless Rams last week. Two top tier teams and tough one to pick. The Vikings are giving only 2.5 at home which means it’s virtually a pick’em. I am taking the Vikings and giving the 2.5 because they have had an easier couple of weeks. This will be a very physical game and one of the weeks best. Both teams are well balanced with passing, rushing, and defense. If Brett Favre can remain consistent, the Vikes have the small advantage because they will be playing at home and had an easier time last week.
Jaguars vs. Rams –
The NFL should pay people to watch this game. This may be the worst game of the week. The Jags got trampled by the Seahawks last week 41-0 and the Rams lost 38-10. The Jags unlike the Rams actually have wins this year and at times have looked like a pretty good team. I completely whiffed on the Jags vs. Seattle last week as I thought they were turning a corner, but if your going to lose better to go down in flames. The Jags have Mike Sims-Walker coming back this week after an unknown team suspension. With their #1 WR threat back the team should easily get back on track versus the Rams. Poor Spagnuolo has to be crying himself to sleep after leaving the Giants for this group. With virtually no offense besides Steven Jackson, and a defense seemingly incapable of stopping anyone, I just don’t see the Rams staying with this team. I take the Jags who are playing at home and give the 9.5 points.
Saints vs. Giants –
Everything in me says to pick the Saints here. They are an offensive juggernaut, they are coming off a bye week, they are playing at home, their head coach is familiar with the opponent from his Dallas days, Jeremy Shockey is looking for revenge, and their defense has been stout, but I just can’t. I don’t think teams fully understand how physical the Giants are until they play them. These are men amongst men. They are disciplined, and they too are well balanced. With a good rushing attack they may be able to keep the Saints off the field and though Brees will get rid of the ball in a hurry and avoid the sack those receivers will not have all day to get open. Both teams have something to prove and with the Saints giving only 3 points at home this is virtually a pick’em. I think the Giants are the overall better team with a better rushing attack (especially with Ahmad Bradshaw), and defensive and offensive lines. The only concern is the Giant secondary, but I will take the Jints and the 3 points.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers –
Yet another ugly game in the NFL this week. Has anyone seen DeAngelo Williams? This guys was unstoppable last season and has disappeared this year. The guy has 220 yards rushing all season. Perhaps they should give him the ball more considering Jake Delhomme has thrown 8 picks and only 3 interceptions. While the Panthers got a big win last week after rallying past the Redskins, I think it might be an indictment against the Redskins and not because the Panthers magically turned it around. This is a tough game to pick. It’s like trying to decide exactly which team will play worse this week. Even though the Buccaneers were squashed by the Eagles last week they have played decent against similarly bad teams. Their beatings have come from the Giants and Eagles in recent weeks. Tampa’s Josh Johnson has something, has looked good at times, and they are playing at home this week. I’m going to take a flier and go with the Bucs who will feel like this is a vacation after their recent competition. Going on a limb with the Bucs and will take the 3.5.
The Packers have handedly beaten one team this year in the Rams. The Packers have had a tough time piecing together a front line that has forced Aaron Rodgers to run for his life. Ryan Grant has had no room to run and this team really needed the past bye week to lick their wounds after a disappointing MNF showing against the Vikings. The Lions have only imploded once this season and that was the second have of that miserable Chicago game. They lost to a tough Steelers team by 8 points last week, beat the sorry Redskins, and lost to the power house Vikes by 14 points. The Lions can do some things and are starting to believe. While I don’t think this is the week for their second victory I think they cover the 13.5. With Matthew Stafford still hurting and possibly out, the same for Calvin Johnson, that leaves the cupboard a little bare for the Lions. Green Bay is looking to get on track and should get the victory, but two touchdowns seems unlikely.
Eagles vs. Raiders –
Raider fan was a little upset last week because I called the Raiders the worst team in football. That small squabble was quickly followed up by a complete annihilation by my beloved Giants (Yes, I am a Giants homer for those who have wondered.) In fact the Giants put up 16 points with their backups and ultimately won 44-7. And if not for a questionable pass interference call the Raiders would not have put any points on the board. Raider fan has yet to offer a rebuttal to my comments last week, oh well. JaMarcus Russell is not an NFL quarterback, their head coach Tom Cable is looking at league discipline, and their best rusher is still out. The team is not just a sinking ship, it is a submarine. With that said, I would pay handedly to see them beat the Eagles (I did say I was a Giants fan). The fact is that the Eagles are one of the leagues best. They have offensive fire power and likely the leagues most under appreciated quarterback. The Eagle defense is stout and will be sack happy with Statue Russell awaiting them.This is going to be another long day for the black and silver. I happily give the 14 points.
Seahawks vs. Cardinals –
Tough one to pick here. Much like the Bengals vs. Texans. You have the Cardinals who are very inconsistent, but very capable of beating anyone versus a team who looked like world beaters last week when the crushed the Jaguars. Arizona did not look good in the second half in that game versus the Texans. Side note: Beanie Wells is starting to complain about carries….why? He’s only averaging a little more than 3 yards per run, not exactly AP numbers. Well, despite having a superior offense, I am not confident in Arizona and will take the home team, just because they are playing better and because they will be playing on their home field. Matt Hasselbeck is back and paired with Nate Burleson and TJ “Housyourdaddy” the team looked really good. The only thing keeping this team back is the massive injuries to the offensive line. Could be a bad sign, but some how I keep underestimating this team and they manage to play it up. I give the 2.5 and take the home team Seahawks.
The destruction of the Jags seems to me now as more of an indictment on the Jags than it was a coming out party for the Seahawks. The the Cardinals are very inconsistent, this team is still a better team on paper and will put up a much bigger fight than Jacksonville. Seattle is very banged up on the offensive line and I think they are going to have problems and I just can't ignore that. They are playing at home and only giving up 2.5 which tells me something is up and I'm not going against Vegas. I think this game is ripe for the picking and I'm going the other way from my original thought. I will take the Cardinals and the 2.5.
Jets vs. Bills –
This game currently has no line. It is going to take a pretty big line for me not to take the Jets this week. The Bills are terrible and will be even worse with two recent injuries to their best linebackers, Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs. Both will be out for the rest of the season. Trent Edwards is bad, just bad. If you can’t get the ball to two top flight guys in Owens and Evans its not a good sign. Worse, if you can’t score more than 3 points against the Browns, then you are really, really bad. The Jets on the other hand will bounce back after getting punched in the mouth by a bigger bully in the Dolphins on Monday. Not to mention I’m sure they feel bad for letting me down when I picked them (Don’t worry Rex, I still won my pool this week). They are in the mood to inflict some pain and it will be against the Bills. Poor Bills. I guess that’s what you get for having a head coach named Dick.
Patriots vs. Titans –
The Patriots fresh off a loss to the Broncos will be more than ready to take on a dreadful Titans team who still hasn’t found a win this season. Unfortunately for the Titans it will be even harder this week as they lose yet another defensive back in Nick Harper. Can you say good times for Brady, Moss, and Welker. Not to mention Big Brain Bill will be looking to flex his coaching muscle after being side swiped by his pupil last week. The Titans just don’t have enough and got crushed again last week, this time by the Colts. I don’t see a better outcome for them this week and Jeff Fisher I’m sure can’t wait until the season is over. I take the Pats and give the 9.
When I thought the Falcons would win, I didn’t think they would obliterate a good 49er team. Chicago is another good team and is coming off a bye week. Tough one to pick as the Bears have kept it close versus good teams and walloped the Lions a couple of weeks ago. I just think the Falcons are going to get on a roll and the bye week did wonders for getting the team back on track from what doesn’t look like such a bad loss to the Patriots a few weeks back. Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Matt Ryan will have a chance to show America who they are as they get the lone stage on Sunday night at home. I think this will be too much for a Bears team that has some awesome weapons of their own in Matt Forte and Jay Cutler. Reluctantly I give the 3 points and take the Falcons for the win.
A very sneaky pick here and I feel like I almost missed it. I think it has gone under the radar because the Bears have been under the radar. Originally I placed too much on that game at the 49ers and overlooked that the Bears are a really good team with a bye week. So with 2 weeks to prepare for this game I think Jay Cutler is going to do quite well. Therefore, I change the pick to the Bears getting 3 points.
Chargers vs. Broncos –
San Diego Super Chargers have been anything but. The Broncos who were supposed to be rebuilding and terrible have been anything but. The Broncos are for real and the addition of Brian Dawkins was an A+. That guy brings serious attitude to the defense. And yes I will eat some humble pie and say that Kyle Orton has looked exceptionally well, despite all my jokes. It must be the sweet ‘stache. With Eddie Royal coming out last week and the man beast in Brandon Marshall, this team is legit. Everything says take the Broncos. They are even getting 4 points! I think this is Vegas bait. Maybe they know something. The Chargers still have tremendous weapons in Vincent Jackson, Gates, and even a hurt LT is better than most. And with Phillip Rivers they are capable of putting points up on anyone. I think the bye week helped this team may be a tad angry after the GM called them “soft”. I will go against every bone in my body, against the fray and take the Chargers for the win and to cover the 4 points.
TO AVOID ANY CONFUSION & FOR THOSE KEEPING TRACK HERE IS WHAT I HAVE:
- CHIEFS +6.5
- TEXANS +5
- STEELERS -14
- VIKINGS -2.5
- JAGUARS -9.5
- GIANTS +3
- TAMPA BAY +3.5
- LIONS +13.5
- EAGLES -14
- CARDINALS +2.5
- JETS -9.5
- PATRIOTS -9
- BEARS +3
- CHARGERS -4