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Archive for November, 2011

NFL Week 12 : My Picks: Thanksgiving Edition

The NBA has Christmas Day games. MLB has its July 4 games. The NHL has it’s outside game on New Years.

Each sport has their respective “day” on the calendar.

I love the NBA’s Christmas Day schedule. Often filled with top tier matchup’s (like last year’s Heat vs. Lakers game), the games on Christmas day have become another gift for me and most NBA fans.

Baseball has every team play on Independence Day. Some argue that this day is the most prestigious of all the sports respective “days.” I beg to differ. For me, I always find the MLB games to lack that “wow” factor. They don’t seem all that special compared to the other sports top notch matchups.

I bash on the NHL quite frequently, but the game played outside on New Years day is pretty freaking cool. That’s doesn’t mean I watch the whole game, but I will give hockey a glance when I normally wouldn’t. Now can the Sharks get in on the New Years day festivities please?

Turkey. Football. Get fat. Watch people try and kill each other.

There’s no doubt that football and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. They were made for each other. It’s the day when you see family members you haven’t seen in awhile, catch up over dinner, share some stories, get bored of those stories, butter that warm sourdough roll and stuff turkey and gravy in between, dress fancy for dinner than immediately change out when you’re done, have pumpkin pie for the first time since last Thanksgiving, ask yourself “Am I related to that guy?”, but most importantly, more important than anything I just listed: it’s a day when you can unite with family and enjoy the game.

My mom and sisters struggle each Sunday with my dad and brother’s day long chillfest on the couch watching the games. But on Thanksgiving? They even get into it.

This Thanksgiving should be no different.

We always travel to Fresno for Thanksgiving. Translation? We always travel to Cowboys-land for Thanksgiving. It’s fun but no doubt can rub some family members the wrong way. Two years ago the Raiders played the Cowboys on Turkey Day in Cowboys Stadium. Most of my family is Raiders fans, the other small portion is Cowboys fans. That was fun.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy family, the food, but most of all: the football.

5-8-1 last week

78-63-5 for the season

Home team in BOLD and CAPS

Packers (-7) over LIONS

It kinda sucks that this game is in the morning doesn’t it? Normally I don’t mind Lions games in the morning because of their usual terrible squad but for ONCE I wish this game was the afternoon game. This game has all the ingredients of a great, entertaining game. With Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford on the same field I expect nothing less than 80 points between the two. Take the Packers in an absolute shootout.

COWBOYS (-7) over Dolphins

Anyone else think Matt Moore is a top 15 QB in the making? No? OK…nevermind. The Cowboys are rolling, playing in Dallas and facing a fairly weak Dolphins defense. All signs point to a trap game here but I think the Cowboys are actually good this season. Yes…for once they might deserve the attention they get. Take the ‘Boys in a surprisingly competitive game.

49ers (+3) over RAVENS

The “Harbowl” as it’s come to be known now…this game seemed like a mismatch when the schedule was released. Oh how the tables have turned. You guys know my stance by now: take the 49ers until they fail to cover. 9-0-1 against the spread this season the 49ers have been absolutely money (See what I did there?). Take the 49ers in what should be a fantastic way to end Thanksgiving day.

Cardinals (+3) over RAMS

Two NFC West teams playing against each other. Any NFC West matchup that doesn’t involve the 49ers are always the worst games of the week. Ugh. Take the Cardinals. I’m still bitter from that horrible OT loss the Rams gave me a couple weeks ago.

JETS (-8) over Bills

The Jets piss me off. Not just because their coach tells paying fans to “Shut the fuck up!”, but because they’re wasting so much talent. They have the talent to win the Super Bowl. They’re one of the most talented teams in the league. Does that fall on the head coach? In my opinion no. Brian Schottenheimer is the one to blame here. He should be fired after the season. Will he? Probably not. Even with the Jets offensive woes they should beat the Bills pretty handily this week.

That Bills victory over the Pats seems like years ago now doesn’t it?

BENGALS (-7½) over Browns

All signs point to AJ Green being back for this week. The Bengals should have no problem with the Browns. Ugh. Anyone else just have the immediate impulse to shake their head in disgust after just saying “the Browns?” OK just me then.

Texans (-3½) over JAGUARS

If Schaub was playing I’d say this would be a double digit spread. Vegas is essentially saying Leinart is at least a seven point downgrade. That’s understandable, but I think Leinart is due to shock the world here. He has incredible talent on both sides of the ball. If he can’t succeed in this situation he really should just go back to partying with sorority chicks at USC. Can’t blame him for that though.

Panthers (-3½) over COLTS

A shockingly low line for a team coming off scoring 35 points on the road against a tough Detroit defense. Now they’re playing one of the worst defenses in the league? I think the correct term for Cam Newton’s play this week would be: HAM. Sign me up!

Buccaneers (+3½) over TITANS

If last year’s Chris Johnson was playing I would take the Titans. It also doesn’t help that their starting QB is more brittle than Samuel Jackson’s character in “Unbreakable.”

FALCONS (-9½) over Vikings

Adrian Peterson isn’t playing. That’s all that really needs to be said.

RAIDERS (-4½) over Bears

Caleb Hainee is starting for the Bears…I’ll pause for a second to give everyone time to Google his name.

Done? OK.

The Bears have a great defense. Can Michael Bush find enough seams up the middle? Can Carson Palmer infiltrate the Bears Cover 2 defense? Can the Raiders hold Matt Forte in check? Can the Raiders have less than 100 years in penalty yards?

All viable questions.

I believe in Carson Palmer. I believe the team is now fully in support of their QB now after a rough first couple weeks. Palmer has proved to be a viable QB even after months on the couch. Even without Cutler this is an extremely tough matchup for the Raiders. The Black Hole will be in full force on Sunday and I expect the Raiders to being their “A” game.

SEAHAWKS (-4) over Redskins

The Redkins are reeling losing six straight games. They look hopeless. No QB, no WR, no RB, no coach. This team needs an ownership change before it can succeed. Remember when “experts” were choosing the ‘Skins to win the NFC East after their 3-1 start? Yeah, this collapse wasn’t predictable. The Seahawks win by a TD.

Patriots (-3) over EAGLES

A fairly low line considering the Patriots are rolling and the Eagles are somewhat in flux, even with their shocking win over the Giants last Sunday. Although the Eagles played well last week at home, the Giants have been known to play the occasional “How the hell did that happen?” game. With Welker and Gronkowski at his disposal, I see the Patriots winning this one. It’s close for most of the game but the Patriots break away late.

Broncos (+7) over CHARGERS

Why is this spread so big? The Broncos defense is playing very well and here comes the Chargers turnover-friendly offense. Oh yeah and that Tebow guy is playing pretty well. I’d be willing to bet on the Broncos winning straight up, let alone getting seven points. Take the Tebows.

Steelers (-10½) over CHIEFS

The Steelers are still the best team in the AFC. The Chiefs just got massacred by the Patriots. While the Chiefs made the Patriots look offensively challenged for a half, the Pats were able to let loose as usual in the 2nd. With the Steelers potent aerial attack I see no trouble for Big Ben and Co. against KC, even on the road.

SAINTS (-7) over Giants

The Saints have had an extra week to prepare for the always disappointing Giants. The Saints are also undefeated at home. No Ahmad Bradshaw for the Giants.  While Eli has the tools to win this game, I just can’t see the Giants getting a W after looking so awful last week. Take the Saints with confidence.

—Jordan

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NFL Week 11: My Picks

My dad: “I bet Tebow takes down the Jets this week.””

Me: “No way, Jets with Revis and that complex defense will make Tebow look stupid.”

My dad: “Wanna bet? Money talks son.”

Me: “Come on that’s easy money. $10?”

My dad: “Make it $20 Mr. Confident.”

Me: “You got it. Wow, that was the easiest $20 I ever made.”

I really would have gone more if my dad wanted to, I was that confident that the Tebow Express would make a valiant stop against the Jets this week. Me and my dad bet football spreads all the time, but this one was, in my opinion, one of the easiest ones of the year.

The Broncos were coming off an emotional high after their win in Kansas City that Sunday. The Jets? The exact opposite. They were obliterated by the Patriots Sunday night. Great defenses travel, so I thought even off a short week the Jets would give Tebow enough looks to really make him struggle.

I’ve seen Denver’s defense shine before, specifically against my Raiders a couple weeks back in Oakland, but I still wasn’t a believer. Mark Sanchez has always been a late in-season bloomer, playing better as the season went on, so I was expecting a turn of the corner type game for him.

My last reason? The Jets are simply the better, more talented team. No way were the Jets going to not come into this game fired up, desperate for a win after their embarrassing loss at home last week.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong again.

I guess I have to start respecting this Tebow guy now. It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just I’m so damn sick of hearing his name that I wouldn’t be surprised if he surpassed “Brett Favre” on my “If I Hear His Name One More Damn Time I’m Going To Punch A Whole In My Wall” list.

Yes, “he just wins games” is a phrase that also is getting severely overplayed, but it’s true. The Broncos are winning, albeit the ugliest possible way a football game can be won, and at the same time chasing the Raiders for the division lead in the AFC West. If Tebow was in the NFC South I would care a little bit less than I do now, but the fact he’s in my own division makes it even worse. He’s winning and hurting my team at the same time.

Tim, I respect you, you’re a man of faith, spirituality and whole-heartedness, but I beg you, stop winning games. Stop haunting my TV with constant coverage from ESPN and more specifically Skip Bayless, who, if you are indeed the second coming of Christ, be my Judas to your Jesus.

It has to end eventually right?

7-8 last week

73-55-4 for the season

Home team in BOLD and CAPS

Jets (+7) over BRONCOSL

FALCONS (-6½) over Titans

Everything in my head is saying “Don’t pick the Falcons. Don’t pick the Falcons. Don’t pick the Falcons”. So why am I picking them? Good question. And honestly I still don’t know why I am. Maybe because they’re the more talented team. Maybe because they’re at home. Maybe because they’re determined to comeback after their heartbreaking should-be-win-but-loss-because-of-the-stupidest-call-I’ve-ever-seen last week. I like the Matt Ryan to Roddy White connection to win by a TD this week.

Bills (+2½) over DOLPHINS

I’ve been a big proponent of the “Dolphins aren’t as bad as they look” mentality. They’ve covered the past two weeks and have looked like a team that actually cares about their play on the field (Hear that Colts?). I’ve also been a big proponent (except last week) of the “Bills aren’t as good as they look” mentality. So what gives this week? The Dolphins normally are terrible at home. They beat the Redskins last week but really, the Redskins are just as bad as the Colts. This won’t be a barn burner, but I like the Bills to win outright.

RAVENS (-7) over Bengals

I hate the Ravens. No, not because I hate the dumb look that Joe Flacco has after every incomplete pass or the city of Baltimore (seriously though what’s there to like?), but because of how awful it feels to bet on them. I lost a survivor pool in just Week 2 of this year because of them. They didn’t cover last week against the Seahawks a week after a great comeback win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. What the hell? Without AJ Green I give the edge to the Ravens. I’d be lying if I said I was confident in this pick though.

Jaguars (-1) over BROWNS

I only picked this game because I had to. Really, does anyone care for this game? I’m 95.9% confident than the state of Florida could care less for this game. Heck I’m not even sure if they know they have a team. Cleveland? I’m sure they’re still lying in their corners wondering how Lebron left them for Miami. Yeah…shocker!

Raiders (-1) over VIKINGS

Adrian Peterson vs. the Raiders 25th ranked rush defense. Jared Allen vs. Carson Palmer. Jared Allen vs. Michael Bush. Jared Allen vs anyone who gets in his way. LOUD Minnesota crowds vs. Carson Palmer. For a 2-7 team the Vikings present tons of problems for the Raiders. I had my doubts last week on the road against the Chargers. Palmer proved me wrong. Here’s hoping that Palmer me right this week. Take the residents of the Black Hole. And no I’m not talking about Ray J or Reggie Bush (Kris didn’t hit it).

Panthers (+7) over LIONS

This could be my genius pick of the week, or it could end up like my Bills and Vikings picks last week. The Lions are banged up: Calvin Johnson is dealing with concussion symptoms, Jahvid Best is out (what else is new?) and Mathew Stafford is dealing with a broken right index finger (what else is new?). Cam Newton is playing on turf. Let me repeat: Cam Newton. Turf. I expect this to be high scoring and a fun game to watch. Lions take it in a close one.

PACKERS (-14) over Buccaneers

I finally manned up and decided not to choose the Packers last weekend. I tried to buck the trend after they failed to cover a couple big spreads earlier in the season. Well, they sure made me look like a moron. Home, again, facing a below average Buccaneers team? Take the two touchdowns. Heck, tease that sucker up.

Cowboys (-7½) over REDSKINS

“In the 11th round Team Rubicon selects Demarco Murray!” ……. **everyone wonders in silence for 20 seconds who the hell Demarco Murray is** ……

Yes, Demarco Murray was actually drafted in our family fantasy league. I honestly didn’t know who he was until I searched his name seconds after he was drafted.

The funny thing? Team Rubicon dropped, yes dropped, Murray the week before his huge debut start for the Cowboys.

As you would expect he was picked up immediately the next week off the waiver wire.

It’s safe to say Team Rubicon isn’t very happy with that drop.

Did I mention his other running backs are Shonne Greene and Ahmad Bradshaw?

49ERS (-9½) over CARDINALS

A wise man once said: “Good teams win, great teams cover”. The 49ers are 8-0-1 against the spread this season. Until they prove us wrong, take them.

Seahawks (+1) over RAMS

Another game that I pick because I must. After the Rams lost in OT to the Cardinals by the single worst way possible I will forever hold a grudge against them. Marshawn Lynch is also quietly having a very good season. Take Seattle against the Rams in a game that no one really wants to watch.

BEARS (-3½) over Chargers

I sorta kinda but not really wanted to pick the Chargers in the upset here. I also sorta kinda really believe the Bears could kill the Chargers. San Diego, traveling across the country against a tough Bears team that seems to be in NFC divisional round mode already. Can the Chargers stop Forte? Can the Chargers be smart enough not to kick to Devin Hester? Can FOX not zoom in on Norv Turner’s horrendous neck wrinkles, forcing me to vomit whatever food I’m currently chewing at that time? No, no and no.

GIANTS (-4½) over Eagles

No Michael Vick. No Jeremy Maclin. A sleepy, broke DeSean Jackson. The Eagles are on the road. The Giants are coming off a tough loss to the 49ers. Andy Reid is still coaching the Eagles. Need I go on?

PATRIOTS (-14½) over Chiefs

Tyler Palko is starting for the Chiefs. You’re welcome.

—Jordan


NFL Week 10: My Picks

 

It will never be “the best trade in the history of football” as Hue Jackson stated, but on Thursday night Carson Palmer looked like the QB the Raiders envisioned when they traded a 1st and 2nd rounder for him just weeks ago.

Palmer showed the ability to throw the long ball (with some help from Denarious Moore), showed he could lead a receiver with a nice touch pass and showed that he could go through a game with less than three interceptions. Progress is progress!

Many, including myself, chose the Chargers to win on Thursday (I did take the Raiders and the points though). With both sides of the ball in flux since the Palmer trade, I thought the Chargers would win in a close game. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome, especially with Palmer.

Just three weeks since the trade Palmer looked like he had been with the team for mini camps, training camp and the entire duration of the season. Calling audibles, leading receivers perfectly and even moving around in the pocket were all great signs for the Raiders as they make their playoff push in the AFC West.

With help from Michael Bush, Denarious Moore and the sinking ship that is the Chargers, the Raiders were able to pull off their most impressive victory of the season. With tough games coming up against the Vikings, Packers, Bears and Lions, the Raiders will surely be tested as to their validity as a true playoff contender. For now, they sit on top of their division with their best offensive weapon hoping to come off the sidelines next week. Optimism is now high in the Nation, for how long will be the question.

9-5 last week

66-47-4 for the season

Home team in BOLD and CAPS

Steelers (-3) over BENGALS

I’m not convinced by the Bengals. They’ve beaten the Browns, Bills, Jaguars, Colts, Seahawks and Titans while losing to the Broncos and 49ers. Dalton has played well but I attribute some of his success to the weak schedule. The Steelers are coming off a crushing loss at home to the Ravens. Big Ben has been playing really well and throwing it 40+ times a game. I see a Steelers blowout here and a reality check for the young Bengals.

Broncos (+3½) over CHIEFS

It’s not that I hate Tim Tebow but I just can’t stand ESPN’s constant’s coverage and love for the guy. ESPN is single handily making me despise his name just because of over exposure. With that said until someone (not named Detroit) stops Tebow’s option plays I’m rolling with him. Especially against the VERY weak Chiefs. I love that half point too. Take the Broncos, just watch out for the week long Tebow-lovefest if he beats the Chiefs.

JAGUARS (-3) over COLTS

Until the Colts prove that they’re worthy of taking an NFL field I’m going with the opposition. Bottom line. Can you really blame me?

Bills (+5½) over COWBOYS 

I went back and forth on this one. While I don’t think the Bills are for real I also don’t think the Cowboys are any good. The Cowboys just lost Miles Austin to another injury, their defense isn’t anything special and Romo will always be Romo. The Bills are coming off a tough loss to New York but that’s the best defense they’ve played all year. I like the Bills to AT LEAST cover the points and wouldn’t be surprised at all if they won outright.

TEXANS (-3½) over BUCCANEERS

The Texans are quietly rolling to a three game win streak and putting up tons of points. Meanwhile the Bucs are sporting a two game losing streak and struggling to put up points. What gives? Even though the Texans are on the road, always a tough task in the NFL, I don’t see the Bucs putting up enough points to keep up with them. Take the rising Texans.

PANTHERS (-3½) over TITANS

Another Panthers game, another chance to gloat at my Cam Newton fascination before the season started. The Newton-Smith connection has been one of the best in the league this year and the Titans defense is always susceptible to the big play. P.S., this isn’t the week that Chris Johnson is going to “break out”. That day is not coming this year…maybe not ever.

DOLPHINS (-4) over REDSKINS

My belief that the Chiefs were still a very weak team were proven last week with the Dolphins beating them down to a pulp. The Redskins? Ugh. I thought Rex Grossman was given an unfair shake earlier in the year when he was benched after one bad game. The Redskins were at least respectable (and some predicted a division victory) and they at least put up some points. It tells you something when a 1-7 team is favored by four over a team: they must be pretty bad.

FALCONS (-1) over Saints

The Saints are the better team. The Saints have the better defense. The Saints have the better offense. On the road? They’re a completely different team. We all remember the horrific loss to the Rams in St. Louis that ruined thousands of suicide pools in the process. The Falcons are playing better (winners of three straight) and Julio Jones adds the deep thread dimension they were missing in his absence. With their run-first, pass-later mentality and I like the Falcons by a TD.

Lions (+3) over BEARS

OK, the Bears looked good on the road against the Eagles on MNF, I’ll give them that. The three point favorite is the typical Vegas line if both teams are fairly even. Basically the three points are simply for the home field. The Lions have not lost a road game this year. Yes, believe it. They already beat the Bears earlier this year in Detroit too. I see no reason why they shouldn’t win again.

Rams (+3) over BROWNS

What a way to lose last week for the Rams. Damn. I had them +3½ too.  A close game throughout the Rams just had to make a FG at the end of regulation…no good. All they had to do was give up a FG in OT and they still cover…no good. Instead the improbable happens: a 99 yard interception return to kill my bet and make history at the same time. Just brutal. For this game? Take the reeling Rams because the Browns have the ugliest uniform/logo/city combination in all of sports.

B.T.W. is there any other team in the major sports that needs a new logo/uniform than the Cleveland Browns? Just awful looking.

EAGLES (-12) over CARDINALS

My Eagles disappointed me last week! A tough game against the Bears definitely, but the offense looked out of sync and the defense looked like one of the worst in the league. Ugh. The best cure for a bad loss? A game against the Cardinals. Expect big days from the offense AND defense, I expect both sides of the ball to score. Take the Eagles in a blowout, comeback victory.

RAVENS (-7) over SEAHAWKS

The Ravens always seem to come up short with the spreads. Most of the time because they can’t cover a larger spread against a weaker team. This game fits the bill. So why am I taking the Ravens? They’re confidence is back. When Flacco’s confidence is high the team just looks a lot better. I believe he has turned the corner from bad-Flacco to good-Flacco. Expect a big day from the defense and a lot of Ray Rice. Ravens in an easy one.

49ers (-3½) over GIANTS

GAME OF THE WEEK!!! Who would have thought the 49ers would be in this position? Nobody. Not even the die-hard 49ers fans thought this was possible. The Giants present a unique problem for the 49ers: a dynamic passing attack (with Nicks back) AND a pounding rushing game. The Lions had neither. The Eagles run side to side and not up and down the field. Regardless, the 49ers sport the best run defense in the league, not allowing a rushing TD all year (wow). Until the 49ers fail to cover the spread (6-0-1 ATS) than I’m taking them.

Patriots (+1) over JETS

The last time the Patriots lost three games in a row was the 2002 season after their Super Bowl season. I can’t see them losing three in a row. The Patriots have the worst pass defense in the league but the Jets don’t have a good enough offense to exploit those deficiencies. I expect a high scoring game even if they know each other really well. I like the Pats to bounce back against Sanchez and the Jets.

Vikings (+14) over PACKERS 

I’m usually a big proponent of taking the Packers and the points. In my weekly pool you’ll find me more often than not picking the Packers to cover whoever they’re playing. It seems like they’re NOT covering those big spreads more than they ARE covering them. Few weeks ago the Packers plays the Vikings in Minnesota and won a tight one. 14 points is a lot for a team playing pretty well with their new QB and the best RB in football. The Packers defense isn’t that great either. I like the Vikes and the points.

—Jordan


NFL Week 9: My Picks

This never gets old.

7-6 last week

57-42-4 for the season

Falcons (-7) over COLTS

The Falcons are on a two game win streak, mostly because they’ve reverted back to their “pound the rock” mentality. With Julio Jones back and the horrendous Colts defense on the other side the Falcons should have no trouble passing the ball (See: Saints). Expect big games from every weapon they got. Falcons win this easily.

SAINTS (-8½) over Buccaneers

Why does it seem these two play each other every other week? Regardless, these games are always close. The last time the Saints played in NO? Well, the 62-7 massacre of the Colts. Even though the Saints have superior talent the Bucs always manage to make these games close. Hey, they beat the Saints in Tampa a few weeks back. The Saints get them back in another close one.

TEXANS (-11) over Browns

The Peyton Hillis saga continues. He has strep throat, he’s hurt, he has his wedding mid-week, his agent tells him not to play, he’s healthy again…only to re-injure himself in practice on Friday. Wow. And to think I wanted my favorite player Michael Vick on the cover this year. Thank God for that. Oh, the game? The Texans win this by 20 and the Browns go back to sports anonymity.

Jets (+1½) over BILLS

I still don’t like the Bills. Maybe it’s the look of Fitzpatrick, maybe it’s my disdain for Fred Jackson, who burned me in my fantasy matchup a few weeks back. I see Jackson getting his usual 125+ and a score, but I have a hard time seeing the Bills scoring any other way. With the Bills weak defense opposing him, Mark Sanchez should have no trouble moving the ball. Well, except for the fact he’s Mark Sanchez and he usually does have trouble moving the ball. Take my pick for the AFC Super Bowl participant. Hint: it’s not the Bills.

Dolphins (+4) over CHIEFS

So everyone is jumping on the Chiefs bandwagon now huh? After barely beating the hapless Colts, a QB-less Raiders (ahem) and the inept Phillip Rivers, the Chiefs are suddenly relevant again? Sure their tied for the AFC West lead, sure Matt Cassel is playing better, sure Dwyane Bowe is still a beast, but I’m not buying it. Give me the fighting Dolphins.

49ers (-3½) over REDSKINS

**Stands up, applauds the 49ers for 30 seconds, sits back down**

The 49ers keep on rolling. Even though they barely covered last week the 49ers kept their magical season rolling. This line is shockingly low for a 6-1 team facing a terrible 3-4 Redskins team. I suppose Vegas thinks the 49ers going across the country is worth a couple points. Didn’t the 49ers beat the Bengals, Eagles and Lions on the road? OK, just checking.

COWBOYS (-12) over Seahawks

This one was tricky. Take the always disappointing Cowboys in a blowout or the atrocious Seahawks by eight on the road? The last time the Cowboys played at home they destroyed another atrocious NFC West team, the Rams, by a score of 34-7. Considering I have the Cowboys this week in my survivor pool I’ll take the points in hopes of a nice, easy week. **Plays Selfish by Slum Village in my iTunes**

Broncos (+9) over RAIDERS

Ahhhhhhhhhh to my Raiders. Never a dull moment as a Raiders fan. Run DMC not playing? We’re used to it. QB questions? We’re used to it. Coming off blowout losses? We’re used to it. This is a large spread for a team starting a rusty Carson Palmer and missing it’s best offensive weapon. I can’t see Carson Palmer having a good game here. Even though the Raiders are the more talented team the nine points is simply too much. Raiders by a field goal.

TITANS (-3) over Bengals

I’m writing this post as I have Clash of the Titans playing on my TV. A good movie if you don’t mind terrible writing and Sam Worthington screaming for an hour and a half. Gemma Aterton does look very nice though. For a game against two even teams my logic reverts to this. Genius I know. Take the Titans.

Rams (+3½) over CARDINALS

Kevin Kolb not playing might actually help the Cardinals. Kolb was a turnover machine and might be the worst trade in the NFL this year (The Palmer is leading the vote so far). Meanwhile Steven Jackson has arisen from sci-fi movie hell (terrible Predator reference) to suddenly become a decent player again. The Bradford-Lloyd-Jackson combo is actually very good and if the Rams can force a couple turnovers I like them to win the game.

GIANTS (+9) over PATRIOTS

Love this matchup. The Patriots can score like no other but can give up points just as quickly. Eli Manning called out Tom Brady earlier this year, a refreshing moment from a guy synonymous with the face of a guy who just dookied his pants. Eli is playing well and the Patriots pass D is the worst in the league. Even without Nicks and Bradshaw out I like the Giants to cover.

PACKERS (-6) over Chargers

My MVP and Super Bowl champion picks are looking very nice halfway through the season. Rodgers is playing like a man possessed and the Packers are a perfect 8-0. Traveling to the west coast should be no problem for the champs, especially against the disheartened Chargers. I like the Packers by a TD here.

STEELERS (-3½) over Ravens

You have to love these games. You have to. I love offense as much as the next guy but these defensive battles between the Ravens and Steelers are consistently the best games of the season. The Steelers are at home, are rolling and are facing an offense very much in flux. I don’t believe this will be a low scoring game like the ones we’ve seen in the past. Can the Ravens secondary stop Mike Wallace and Co.? I don’t think they can. Take the Steelers.

EAGLES (-8) over Bears

Have the Eagles found it? They’ve won two games in a row and last week looked like Super Bowl contenders beating down the Cowboys. At home again against the Bears will be a great gauge as to how close they are to NFL superiority. Every time Cutler plays on prime time it seems like he’s always throwing picks, fumbling and getting sacked. Heck that could classify as any Cutler game. Consider me an Eagles believer. Take the points.

—Jordan