We are going to try something a little different this week, just for fun. I almost never pick against the spread, but I thought I should give it a shot. Home team in Bold
Raiders (+7.5) vs Steelers
This pick goes against just about everything I know. The Steelers are coming off a tough loss and will want to bounce back. The Raiders are playing an early game on the east coast. The Steelers are more talented and have the better offense and defense. Call it a hunch. The Steelers win, but the Raiders make it interesting enough for people to wrongly pick them to win the West.
Jets (-6.5) vs Texans
Can we agree the Texans aren’t very good? Please? I mean I am reluctant to pick a cover here with how close the Jets have been playing people, but if Ryan Fitzpatrick and Donovan “Washed Up” McNabb can torch this secondary, then Mark Sanchez can too. I am intrigued to see this offense i action against th Jets, but the real deciding factor is the jets offense making the Texans look like a Pop Warner team.
Ravens (-11.5) vs Panthers
Brian St. Pierre. That is all.
Ok, it isn’t all because that would make for a boring section, but there is no way the Panthers hang tough in this one. The Ravens defense will shut Mike Goodson down, Ed Reed will probably have at least one pick, and I just cannot figure out a way the Panthers win here. 4 special teams TDs? That might get them to cover.
Titans (-7) vs Redskins
I am somewhat reluctant to pick this one, since Randy Moss seemed to be a bit of a flop for the Titans, and the Redskins got completely humiliated, but I will not-so-boldly go with the Titans. I am definitely weary of the Titans getting up 24-13 or something and leaving the back door open for Washington, but if the Titans are a playoff team, they shouldn’t have any issues with that, right? If they are a playoff contender, they take care of Washington without too many problems.
Lions (+6) vs Cowboys
This is a game I am very uneasy about picking. I have absolutely no idea if that Cowboys performance was a sign of things to come, or if it was simply “We have our new coach’s back! We will prove it tonight! And not next week!” It could very easily be either, and I have absolutely no idea. The worst part about picking games with teams with character issues is the inconsistency. When you have unmotivated players, you do not know if they care or not. Do they officially care now that Garrett took over, or did they just care about perception and show up for that game? We will know by the end of the first quarter if the Cowboys care or not.
I am going to guess they do not care, but it is entirely possible they do. I think the Cowboys win regardless, but only by 4. Lets say 34-30? Yeah, that sounds good.
Packers (-3) vs Vikings
I am way more afraid of this game than most other people. The Vikings are awful on the road, but they are pretty decent at home. Sidney Rice might return this week, and Favre is facing his last (I think) game against the Packers. The motivation of this team has got to be through the roof, and even though their season likely ended last week, it seems like teams hold on for a week after their “death” for personal pride. I still think the Packers can cover, but I am way more concerned about this one than most people are.
Bills (+5) vs Bengals
Realistically, the Bengals are the better team. Their defense is pretty decent, despite some of the numbers, and if they would just run the ball they could be decent. But evidently, Cincinnati is the last city in the US to realize that Carson Palmer is no longer good (at all), and it keeps costing them week after week. What is so different this year that the Bengals cannot run the ball anymore? That is not even a rhetorical question. If someone has the answer (especially Marvin Lewis), I would like to know. The Bills, on the other hand are on a tear, having won a real life football game, and it is unclear if they can even be stopped.
Ok, joking aside, the Bills are still bad, and I expect the Bengals to win this game, but the Bills can make it really interesting. Ryan Fitzpatrick knows this Bengals team, and I think he can keep the Bills close for most of the game. I could definitely see the Bengals being up a few scores and having to hold off the Bills down the stretch.
Jaguars (-2.5) vs Browns
The Browns play everyone close, but here is the catch. At this point, they do not have that guy in crunch time to win them games. We criticize bigger teams for it, but it’s not a big deal for smaller teams because they are not expected to win yet. The Browns do not have that killer instinct yet, and that is ok. BUT, until they do get it, you should take advantage of the close spreads knowing that the Browns will not hurt you in crunch time. Same goes for the Lions frankly. Jags win by 3 or 4 and you still win money.
Chiefs (-8) vs Cardinals
The Cardinals are awful, and the Chiefs want revenge. Even that might be too much analysis for this game. I may not pick the Cards the rest of the year. I’m not kidding.
Saints (-11.5) vs Seahawks
Reggie Bush is back! Turns out he was way more valuable than we thought he was. Without a running game, the Saints are above average. With one, they are scary. The Seahawks are the opposite of scary, regardless of running game. Oh, and they are even worse on the road. You could literally make this Saints -18 and I would take it.
Falcons (-3) vs Rams
If not for the Thursday game, I would be hesitant. However, the extra rest the Falcons got makes me at least somewhat confident that they can avoid the issues that so many teams run into in the Edward Jones Dome. Matt Ryan will probably put up a relative stinker, and Michael Turner will not run roughshod, but the Falcons will do enough to win this game. The Rams are a different team at home, just not different enough to warrant a pick.
Buccaneers (+3.5) vs 49ers
Logic tells me to go with the 49ers, who have been great since Mike Singletary realized that Troy wins the battle of the Smiths 10 times out of 9 (yes, I know what I wrote). However, the Buccaneers have thrived in close games, and even if they really do not have any impressive wins, it’s not like the 49ers are an impressive team. I think Aqib Talib picks Troy once, Josh Freeman takes the lead for the Bucs in the 4th quarter, and the Bucs come out of San Fran with a “how the hell did that happen” win. It will not be pretty, but take the points.
Colts (+4) vs Patriots
Oh boy. I do not even know where to start, except to tell you to ignore my actual pick because I am a homer. The Colts have never been more banged up going into a game against the Patriots, but I am not sure if it matters entirely. Jacob Tamme has been pretty damn decent, Mike Hart (should he return) has been very solid, and as long as the offensive line (which isn’t banged up really, it just sucks) can give Manning a little time to throw, there are holes all over the Patriots secondary. Lest you forget, two weeks ago, the Browns were shredding the Patriots, and a week before that, the Patriots were holding on for dear life against the Vikings. The Colts, on the other hand have been far from their usual selves, and yet sit atop the AFC South yet again and are still just a game back of the best record in football.
But just because there are cracks in the armor does not mean there is any diminished nature to this matchup. Just hearing the word Patriots when not followed by the names Franklin, Jefferson or Washington makes me gag. It is like my body is trying to purge my system of that cheating, scumbag, overrated organization out East. Yeah, I said it. I think the Colts win this game and bring the Patriots down to earth, which is still higher than they belong.
I hate the Patriots so much, that I do not even hope they lose every game. I would much rather see them be 8-8 every year so that they can get their hopes up about their team, and then have them crushed every year. It would be so much more excruciating than say 2-14, because the fans would care, and hope, and then have their souls torn out. Behind and Indians World Series (a peacepipe dream) and a Colts Super Bowl, there is nothing I would rather see than an epic failure from the Pats.
I swear I am not biased. No, my fingers weren’t crossed.
Eagles (-3) vs Giants
A few bold predictions: Eli Manning significantly outperforms Michael Vick, “McCoy on the draw play!” is shouted at least once and it goes for a TD, and the Philly defense turns a late interception into points (whether on that play, or getting the return close enough to lead to points). The Giants will definitely bounce back after that Cowboys game, and the Eagles will come back to earth after that Redskins game, but the regression from the Eagles and progression for the Giants will not overtake each other. I have the Eagles winning late in a good, close game.
Chargers (-9.5) vs Broncos
Well, I picked the Chargers to finish 7-0, so it has to start somewhere right? The Chargers will blow them out at home and get everyone hyping them up.
That was fun, maybe we will try this again next week. Enjoy losing money off my advice!