This is a real gut-check for me this week. My picks haven't been good lately, and even worse, I've written nothing to accompany them. I wonder if the two are related. Regardless, it's time for redemption. This is where I lay my cards on the table, stare you down like the dog that you are, and finally, dunk your head in the toilet and flush.
Yup, home team in caps again.
Kansas City (-6.5) over WASHINGTON
There's nothing particularly good about Kansas City, but you've got to look at what Washington has done so far. They are 2-3, however, every team they've played so far had zero wins (!) coming into their respective games with the Redskins. So, out of five teams with no wins, Washington could only beat two of them. They were the ones who helped the Lions end their 20+ game losing streak. So I'm going with KC.
Does anyone else remember when Joe Montana was on the Cheifs? That was so bizarre. It was like seeing Kobe in a Nets jersey or Michelle Obama in a "Girls Gone Wild!" commercial. I remember that this is when I realized my dad wasn't really a Niners fan, just a fan of Montana. This is entirely acceptable. I mean, the only reason I'm a Dolphins fan is because of Dan Marino. So really, I shouldn't be a Dolphins fan. Yet I am and I can't even help it. Even when I went through a long period in which I did not watch sports, whenever I happened to catch a game involving the Dodgers/Dolphins/Lakers, I couldn't help but feel this strange tinge of excitement and trepidation. In no way do I feel responsible for these emotions.
Cleveland (-14) over PITTSBURGH
This game mades me nervous for a moment, because I picked Pitt in my last man standing pool. Then I remember what happened last week. Cleveland's QB Derek Anderson completed two passes on seventeen attempts last week. And they still won the game! Pittsburgh is looking extremely shaky, which is why I don't think they'll cover the two touchdown spread.
I think I argued against myself in that last paragraph.
JACKSONVILLE (-10) over St. Louis
The Jags got destroyed last week by the Seahawks, which is why I think they'll kill St. Louis, who probably has the least talent of anyone in the league. This week the Jags bounce back and crush the Rams. Fun fact for everyone out there: in five weeks, the Rams have scored a total of 34 points! The Falcons scored 45 last week against an excellent 49ers defense, and yet the Rams have only muster a mere 34 points all year? How is this possible?
You only really wonder until you see Kyle Boller strut out on the field for St. Louis. "Wow" you think to yourself, "this is their Quarterback? There's gotta be someone else." It's like when your friend is dating some really lame chick who is incapable of holding a conversation and you can't believe your friend has settled for this situation. It's like seeing Thom Yorke on the soundtrack for "New Moon," the queer ass sequel to the faggoty faux vampire cockpile that was "Twilight." Thom, what the fuck are you doing on there? I really want to know why you did this. It was done with a sense of irony, right?
Detroit (+13.5) over GREEN BAY
Green Bay can't stop the pass rush at all. The offense line continues to cave into any pass rush. I am as certain as I can that the Packers will win, but Detroit is a young, frustrated, but talented (yup) team that is going to get after Aaron Rodgers, who, bless his heart, still won't complain about being sacked 8 times a game. If Ryan Grant can do a bit better on the ground, then the Packers will be o.k., but I don't see Green Bay covering a nearly two touchdown spread. I think you can move the ball on the Packers.
Fun fact number two: Aaron Rodgers is the eighth highest rated passer in the NFL, yet he gets sacked one and a half times more per game than the second most sacked passer in the NFL (his five per game compared to Dante Culpepper's 3.5 a game). He's by far the most sacked QB in the league, yet he still gets the job done. It's just a shame the Green Bay defense isn't playing better.
CINCINNATI (-5) over Houston
The Bengals are good! The Bengals are good? Yes! Chad Ochocinco is fun to watch again, and Carson Palmer looks like a top ten quarterback. He's comeback has been a weirdly delayed surprise, like finding a Christmas present from four years ago hidden behind the couch. Though in this case, you knew there was a present and were convinced that you'd eventually find it. I wonder if I'm picking this game backwards though. Arguably (which I'll argue later), Denver has a trap game coming up after beating the Patriots. Why isn't this going to be a trap game for Cincy?
I think the biggest difference for the Bengals this year, however, has been their defense, particularly their defensive line, which has netted 14 sacks - fourth in the league. Matt Schaub, the Texans quarterback, tends to hold the ball far too long, so while I expect a lot of scores in this game, I also expect Houston to put up some points. I think this line is too low. Really, the way the Bengals have been playing (they've beaten the Steelers and the Ravens), they should really be favored by at least a touchdown. Especially because the Texans can't stop the run and Schaub looks like he's playing in front of some girl he's trying impress, with unintended consequences.
MINNESOTA (-3) over Baltimore
So the logic goes thus: if Baltimore is a good team, they will not lose three games in a row. Baltimore is a good team. Therefore, Baltimore will not lose this game. That's not the case though, especially in Minny. Did you see Brett Favre MURDER the Packers on Monday Night Football? That was a terrible betrayal. That was Lando when he turned in Han and Leia to Vader on cloud city. God damnit, Lando.
Those freaky Nike commercials with Adrian Peterson (where his skin turns into the athletic gear after he demolishes some anonymous team's hopes and dreams with a dominant run and a firm handshake) have a very cinematic feel, which I happen to enjoy. The sound effects and the music seem to indicate this is some sort of "horror" commercial, where Adrian Peterson develops an unnatural symbiotic relationship with his sporting goods and proceeds to destroy everyone in his path. This is simply not far from the truth. Watch this video and tell me that he's not some sort of Greek god or sign of the Apocalypse or some other thing.
New York Giants (+3) over NEW ORLEANS
Carolina (-3.5) over TAMPA BAY
Every week there is a game that I hate and don't really want to talk about, and this week it's this match up of NFC south bottom-feeders. Watching Jake Delhomme play quarterback is a lot like watching a Kevin Costner movie: you know it's going to be painful and that it won't end well. On the other hand, Tampa Bay is quite terrible. They are possibly the worst team in the NFC after the Rams. So I have to believe that Carolina will win this game. Lots of hand offs to Jon Stewart and DeAngelo Williams and all should be well. Man, it's hard to believe Delhomme was in the Superbowl a few years ago. But then again, the same could be said about Costner in "Field of Dreams."
Philadelphia (-14) over Oakland
If they had to let Michael Vick back into the NFL, why couldn't he go to the level of hell formerly known as "The Raiders"? Maybe that's too much to wish on Oakland's fans. RAIDERS NATION!
SEATTLE (-3) over Arizona
I think I want to watch this game, even though my utter distaste for the NFC West makes that seem contradictory. This game has the potential to involve tons of big passes and almost no defense. I wonder what the over/under is on this game? I'm thinking at least 80. Seattle is the last team with a real homefield advantage.
Wait a second! Sarah just drunk-dialed me from her parents' house! Haha! Who would have thought? I got married to distance myself from annoyingly drunk women!
SAN DIEGO (-4) over Denver
Someone please explain to me how the undefeated Denver Broncos are NOT favored in this game? Vegas has officially lost it. At this point, they're grasping as straws, and I know that you're supposed to take the points if your not sure, but the Broncos have that "too good to be true" look that you have to watch out for in the NFL. As long as the Chargers don't do something stupid, like try to establish a running game, I see Philip Rivers having a big game and the Broncos finally hitting that wall.
By the way, has their ever been a stranger team than the Chargers? You know how sometimes a movie is announced, and the cast is so unbelievably good that you imagine how the film could be anything but a classic, but then when the film is released it's an underachieving piece of garbage? Add steroids, Kim Kardashian and assault charges and you have the San Diego Chargers. Their uniforms are nice though.
ATLANTA (-3) over Chicago
General practice in setting NFL lines is to give the home team 3 points for homefield advantage.(Though I'd argue that doesn't really exist anymore.) So, basically, Vegas is saying that these two teams are about equal. I don't see it that way. Atlanta destroyed the Niners last week, and that actually means something this year. Atlanta has beaten some good teams and Matt Ryan is playing just as well as he did in his rookie season. On the other hand, I can see how Chicago appears to be a good team, seeing how they are 3-1 without Brian Urlacher. But consider how they've won - a fluke last second victory over the Steelers and wins over the Lions and Seahawks. Nothing in particular to write home about. Atlanta is the more talented team at nearly every position, and I'm still not sure whether or not the Bears have a good coach. I do know this: I wish ill upon Jay Cutler.
NEW YORK JETS (-10) over Buffalo
I really like talking about the Jets right now. Specifically, I like to talk about their bravado before the Dolphins game, and their utter refusal to give the Dolphins any credit for beating their asses on Monday Night Football. Their players are arrogant dildos, their coach looks like an inflated chipmunk who just got blown by a prairie dog, and their uniforms suck. If you couldn't tell, I hate the Jets. But the Bills are terrible. So terrible. Epically terrible. If the Bills win this game, I will certainly be happy, but the chances of that happening are very slim. Trent Edwards is going to shit himself when the Jets send nine guys after him on every third-down blitz. And T.O. will probably cry after the game. So, we can all look forward to that.
NEW ENGLAND (-9.5) over Tennessee
13-3. That was Tennessee's record last year. THIRTEEN AND FUCKING THREE! That's fantastic. But, as with many teams that overachieve with an easy schedule (2008 Dolphins), they are suffering a massive letdown as they've lost six straight games. While I'm not particularly hoping this will happen, it's only a matter of time before Brady starts hitting his open receivers in the end zone. And Tennessee can't stop the pass. Or the run. Also they can't pass. Chris Johnson is a very good running back, though.
How bad must Vince Young really be? When you're 0-5, you have to at least start thinking about starting your young first round draft pick QB over the 52 year-old Kerry Collins - Yet the Titans keep trotting out ol' Kerry each week, and each week they lose. I know Young went AWOL last year, but come on! If you don't think he's worth starting in this situation, then you'll never think he's worth starting. At least trade him to some other team for a third round pick or something.
Well, that's the longest thing I've ever written that wasn't for school or about Star Wars. I can only hope my longwindedness is only matched by my success at picking the winners this week.