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.