The 49ers have been one of the most consistent teams in football this seasob. Under Jim Harbaugh’s leadership the 49ers have moved past “trap” games or “letdowns”. They’ve moved beyond the phase of being “lucky” or “pretenders”. The 49ers vs. Steelers matchup was already enticing before the season even started. Tack on two of the top records and you now have one of the best matchups of the season.
A national game between two of the NFL’s top teams, in San Francisco no less!
Then it got weird.
Candlestick Park suddenly lost power due to a blown transformer (whatever that means). Now I’m not saying there was a conspiracy by Jed York or anything, but if he wanted to show the NFL that the 49ers really do need that new stadium, what better way than on national TV in one of the best games of the year? It showed the world what most Bay Area sports fans new already: that Candlestick is a dump.
It isn’t just San Francisco that needs a new stadium either. Both Bay Area football teams are sporting the most filthy, grimy and downright nasty stadiums in the NFL. Oakland has to share its trash to the MLB as well. That lovely baseball track during the first month of the NFL season is a beautiful sight. Sigh. At least San Francisco has AT&T Park.
This is no way breaking news. The Monday Night fiasco only highlights and hopefully accelerates the efforts in Santa Clara. I still dream of a joint stadium but that window is closing faster than Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. A new football stadium in the Bay Area is long overdue. The Bay Area knows it and now the sports world does as well.
5-10-1 last week
113-91-6 for the season
Home team in BOLD and CAPS
Texans (6½) over COLTS
Leave it to those pesky Titans to ruin my picks last week. All they had to do was beat the win-less Colts by a TD. I remember after the Colts victory that the Titans were also the ones who screwed me in Week 2 when they beat the Ravens. I vowed never to put money on either the Titans or Ravens. Lo and behold I did. My wallet suffers.
Raiders (+2) over CHIEFS
Did you know that the Raiders haven’t lost in Kansas City since 2006? A shocking statistic when you consider the Raiders recent history. The Raiders took care of Kyle Orton in Week 1, if they can limit Dwayne Bowe (i.e. not Calvin Johnson numbers) than the Raiders should win this game. If there is a clear definition to the phrase “letdown game” than this is it for the Chiefs.
Broncos (-3) over BILLS
The Patriot blowout last week was expected and anyone who thought otherwise was drunk off the Tebow Jesus Juice. Against a downtrodden Bills team Tebow and Co. should have no problem this week.
TITANS (7½) over Jaguars
The only reason I lean towards the dreaded Titans is the location of the game. By the way, is there a worse starting QB in the league than Blaine Gabbert right now? Sheesh. I know it’s only his first year and he doesn’t have any WR’s but I see no hope in sight for this guy. I’m not even mentioning the hair…
BENGALS (-4) over Cardinals
The Cardinals are playing well. Let me repeat: the Arizona Cardinals are playing well. John Skelton is Tim Tebow minus the Christianity, the national titles, the Heisman’s and the Skip Bayless-esque blowhards. Here’s a question, which deal was worse: the Kevin Kolb trade and immediate extension or the Carson Palmer trade? The Cardinals can opt-out of Kolb’s deal after this season while the Raiders have to give up (at a minimum) their 2011 first round pick and 2012 second rounder. Just win baby?
PATRIOTS (-10) over Dolphins
The last three meetings between these two teams have all been blowouts in favor of the Patriots. With the Patriots rolling I see no reason why this should be any different.
RAVENS (-13) over Browns
The Ravens at home + Baltimore defense + Ray Rice + Seneca Wallace = a multiple TD victory.
Giants (+3) over JETS
Leave it to Eli Manning and the G-Men to kill my holiday funds last week. In a must win game at home the Giants were giving seven points to the Redskins. They continued to not show up at all and talks of Eli being “elite” quickly flushed down the toilet. Since they played like dogs last week it’s only fitting they play like Super Bowl contenders this week. The universe will restore order.
Vikings (+6½) over REDSKINS
This will be ugly. Don’t expect a shootout. Don’t expect beautiful football. Expect a close game.
PANTHERS (-7½) over Buccaneers
The Panthers have quietly won three of four and sporting a very potent offense. If their defense was healthier they could be a .500 team this year. Watch out for them next year. This week? Take them against a horrible Bucs squad.
STEELERS (-13½) over Rams
Big Ben’s decision to play or to sit out doesn’t matter. The game is in Pittsburgh and the lowly Rams are opposing a tough Steelers defense that’s getting back James Harrison.
LIONS (-3) over Chargers
Whatever the over/under for this game is, take the over. Two of the best offenses in the league playing each other in turf. This will be a great game to watch. One late killer Rivers interception seals the deal for Detroit.
49ers (-2) over SEAHAWKS
Seattle is playing better, it’s always tough to play there and after the 49ers loss in Arizona a couple weeks ago I’m not as confident as I should be in this 11-3 team. The 49ers are oblivious to “trap” games at this point and I expect (once again) tons of FG’s. All they need is one.
Eagles (+1) over COWBOYS
OK, the Cowboys surprised me last week with their shellacking of the Bucs last Saturday. The Cowboys still haven’t convincingly beaten a great team this year. Have they had a “statement” game this year? When was the last time you combined the words “great win” and “Cowboys” in the same sentence? Take the soaring Eagles on the road.
PACKERS (-13) over Bears
It’s been awhile since anyone can say this but…the Packers COMING OFF A LOSS should be ready to roll over Josh McCown and the Bears. The game is in Green Bay too? Sounds like an easy victory to me.
Falcons (+7) over SAINTS
I was tempted to take the roaring Saints at home but the Falcons have been showing a lot of fight lately. Many wrote them off after a disappointing start to the season. Prediction: a lot of TD’s will be thrown. Expect a 34-31 or 27-24 type game. A great way to close out an otherwise horrible MNF schedule.
Ndamukong Suh is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the NFL.
Maybe it’s my mentality as a Raiders fan where penalties, punches, kicks and slaps to the face are welcomed. Maybe it’s the fact that the NFL has quickly become soft. Maybe it’s the fact that I like my NFL with some swagger.
I’m not justifying his Stomp the Yard like dance move that took place on Thanksgiving, but I also don’t think he needs to be persecuted to the nth degree.
The NFL tries to hard to be what it isn’t: safe. No matter what the NFL rules are the sport will never be safe for the players involved. The NFL is now constantly changing its rules to cater to it’s new “safe” ideology. The problem? The very same rules that are being changed for players safety is taking away from the integrity of the game.
The reason why the NFL is America’s most popular sport isn’t a secret. Americans are enamored with violence, sex and stars. The NFL has 2/3 of those traits.
We love to see people get beaten up, slammed to the ground and knocked out.
The NFL is the biggest hyprocrisy in sports today. They’re changing the ideals that made the sport what it is today.
This isn’t how I want my NFL. I don’t want to stand up and cheer for a big hit when no more than 10 seconds later I have to deal with a 15 yard penalty.
Dear NFL, stop trying to be what you aren’t.
Signed, your fans.
11-5-0 last week
89-68-5 for the season
Home team in BOLD and CAPS
SEAHAWKS (+3) over Eagles
Seattle is never an easy place to play no matter how bad the team is. I can just see it now: Pete Carroll, with his one size too big hoodie on, three seconds left in the game, down by two, the kick is up….IT’S GOOD. Seattle goes crazy and everyone runs to their nearest Starbucks.
Titans (+3) over BILLS
Eeek. Did you know that Stevie Johnson is from the Bay Area? Born in San Francisco, Johnson is quickly becoming the new Braylon Edwards of the NFL: gifted, troubled and known for his drops. The Bills actually played well last week against the Jets, but they’re division foes and know each other very well. Even though the Bills are at home I like the Titans. Watch out for Nate Washington.
BEARS (-7) over Chiefs
The Chiefs put up a pretty good fight against the Polamalu-less Steelers last week at Arrowhead. A sign of things to come? No. The Bears are extremely tough to beat at home no matter who’s at QB. Hanie starting helps the Chiefs but the Bears defense alone should account for one score. Take the Bears with confidence.
Raiders (+3) over DOLPHINS
Vegas sees this as an even matchup, I don’t. The Dolphins are definitely playing better since their horrific start but the Raiders have the superior defense and QB. Palmer has surpassed my expectations. Of course it helps when Michael Bush is carrying the load in the backfield (I may regret using those words) and shredding defenses each week. The Raiders win this game but it will be close throughout.
STEELERS (-7) over Bengals
I had a perfect week going last week with my picks (Cardinals, Panthers, Broncos). The Steelers were 10½ point favorites, facing a depleted Chiefs team coming off one of the largest blowouts of the season. I thought the Steelers were now on their playoff mode. I thought Big Ben and Co. would throw all day on the Chiefs secondary. I thought the Steelers defense would shutout Tyler Palko.
That game cost me at least $300. Are the Steelers in my betting doghouse a la Baltimore? No. They’re getting there though. Take Big Ben at home this week.
Ravens (-7) over BROWNS
If the Ravens can’t beat the Browns by double digits than they have no business being in the Super Bowl discussion. We’ve all seen Baltimore on the road before though…I’ll give them one more chance.
Jets (-3) over REDSKINS
The Jets were my pre-season pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
We all make mistakes.
The Jets should win this game on talent alone. Mark Sanchez should find a way to actually complete passes. Darrell Revis should shut down whoever is opposite him.
Saving Private Ryan should’ve won Best Picture too.
TEXANS (+3) over Falcons
The Falcons have shown a willingness to screw with betters this whole season. Because of this I’m choosing the Texans, who if I recall, still have Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and the league’s best defense.
BUCCANEERS (-3) over Panthers
The Panthers actually won a game last week…now it’s time they turn back to losing.
SAINTS (-9) over Lions
This game would be a lot more interesting if Mr. Suh was playing. The Lions haven’t been playing particularly well the last month and the Saints…well…have. The Saints are the best home team in the NFL. The trend of easy victories continues against a reeling Lions team.
Broncos (+1) over VIKINGS
Rams (+14) over 49ERS
The 49ers must be relieved. Going from a short week matchup (on the road no less) against the NFL’s best defense to the Rams is a early Christmas gift. Then again any matchup against the NFC West is an early Christmas gift. Regardless, the 49ers will win this game easy. Frank Gore should tear up the Rams run defense. I expect Brandon Lloyd to have a solid day against his old team but it’s not enough.
Cowboys (-4½) over CARDINALS
If the Cowboys are truly going to earn my respect they have to blow out the Cardinals this week. After a near loss at home on Thanksgiving the Cowboys need to man up. Do they? Yes.
Packers (-7½) over GIANTS
Every time I pick the Packers to cover it seems they don’t (against the Panthers earlier this season, the Bucs). The only concern for the Packers here is Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. If there’s one glaring weakness on the Packers it’s their pass defense. Cruz has quickly become one of the best big play threats in the league. It will continue this week but the Packers find a way (hopefully) to cover.
PATRIOTS (-21) over Colts
I really wanted to pick the Colts here. Then I realized they’re the Colts.
JAGUARS (+3) over Chargers
With every Monday Night Football game comes another stinker. Seriously…what is ESPN thinking? I can’t remember two MNF games this year that A) Were competitive or B) Were worth my time. The Chargers are a walking carcass and the Jaguars are playing with one guy on offense. The Jaguars defense is actually good but…ugh…I’m already bored of this game.
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.
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.
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.
Guess who’s back…back…back again…gain…gain…Shady’s back….back…tell a friend….
While my return to the blogosphere may be far less interesting than Eminem’s comeback on The Eminem Show (one of my favorite albums of all time by the way), I’m glad to be back.
The busiest three weeks of my life have now concluded. From caddying at The Institute pro-am to caddying at CordeValle to working at the Frys.com Open to midterms to anything else that may have distracted me (**ahem 2k12**), my comeback was long overdue.
I missed two weeks of picks during my absence, so let’s revisit what my picks would have been.
Home teams in BOLD and CAPS.
PACKERS (-15) over RAMS — W
STEELERS (-12½) over JAGUARS —L
EAGLES (-1½) over REDSKINS — W
LIONS (–4½) over 49ERS — L
PANTHERS (+4) over FALCONS — L
COLTS (+7) over BENGALS — L
BILLS (+3) over GIANTS — Push
RAVENS (-8) over TEXANS — W
RAIDERS (-7) over BROWNS — Push
COWBOYS (+7) over PATRIOTS — W
SAINTS (-4½) over BUCCANEERS — L
BEARS (-3) over VIKINGS — W
JETS (-7) over DOLPHINS — W
6-5-2 for the week
Bears (-1) over BUCCANEERS — W
PANTHERS (-3) over Redskins — W
JETS (+2) over Chargers — W
BROWNS (-3) over Seahawks — Push
Texans (+3) over TITANS — W
Broncos (+1 ½) over DOLPHINS — W
Falcons (+3½) over LIONS — W
RAIDERS (-4½) over Browns — L
Steelers (-3½) over CARDINALS — W
Cowboys (-13) over RAMS — W
Packers (-9) over VIKINGS — L
Saints (-14) over COLTS — W
Ravens (-8) over JAGUARS — L
9-3-1 for the week
15-8-3 for Week’s 6 & 7
All hell has suddenly broken loose in Raider Nation. The 4-2 start suddenly seems like eons ago after Jason Campbell’s injury, Carson Palmer’s interceptions and a 28-0 loss to the not-as-bad-as-we-thought Chiefs. My take? Relax. Kyle Boller was never going to do well, has never been good and anyone who thought that Boller was going to not lose that game was mistaken. Then, Palmer comes in and is given the keys to the franchise after only 5 days behind the wheel. Anyone that thought that was going to end well was also mistaken.
What seems to be lost in all the QB hoopla is the fact that McFadden only played two snaps in that game. Take away your starting QB, replace him with a lifelong backup, then a previously retired Palmer AND take away your Pro Bowl RB and you have a recipe for disaster. Are the Browns good? No. You know what’s also not good? Six turnovers. I expect Palmer to be much better after the Bye (it’s almost impossible to be worse), McFadden to play and the defense to get behind their new leader. Lose to the Broncos after the Bye and we have problems. But for now…take it as a slight bump in the long highway that is an NFL season.
TITANS (-9) over Colts
Holy shit. If the Colts aren’t tanking for Andrew Luck I don’t know what they’re doing. No NFL team can be that bad…can they? The Titans are nowhere near the Saints in offensive firepower, but that shouldn’t stop them from rolling over the inept, soulless Colts. Matt Hasselback is actually…dare I say it…good? Even with Chris Johnson suddenly losing his entire skillset in one off-season the Titans have looked like a good team at times this year. I like the Titans at home. By the way is it too early to give the 2011 Fantasy Football Bust Award to Chris Johnson?
TEXANS (-9½) over Jaguars
It sounds like Andre Johnson will be a game-time decision for this game. If he plays the Texans offense will be at full strength for the first time all season. While the Mario Williams injury will undoubtedly hurt the Texans in the long run (almost surely making them a first round knockout in the playoffs), the Texans offense is enough to put them past the bad teams in the regular season. I consider the Jaguars win over the Ravens on Monday night an anomaly. Expect MJD to get his but the Texans will win this one by two TD’s.
PANTHERS (-3½) over Vikings
If this game was in Minnesota I would take the Vikings, as the Vikings defense plays a lot better at home. I expect this to be a shootout with Cam Newton (I told you so) and Adrian Peterson to tear it up. 34-27 sounds about right here. Christian Ponder, who I thought was a HUGE reach in the 1st round and seemingly destined for failure…actually looks decent. Or maybe it was Donovan McNabb looking so horrific that makes Ponder look so good. Regardless, Cam Newton finds a way.
Saints (-13½) over RAMS
The most fascinating aspect of the whole Andrew Luck Sweepstakes: the Rams getting the #1 pick and the frenzy that follows. Will they take Luck and trade Bradford? Will they trade the pick for multiple picks? Will Luck pull a Eli Manning? That’s one thing to keep an eye on come next April. This game? Saints keep it rolling. Maybe only 42 points this week though.
Ravens (-13) over CARDINALS
The Ravens are mad, the Cardinals are bad. Even at home I like Baltimore here. Expect at least one defensive TD from that fierce defense. By the way, Worst Off-Season Trade/Way Too Soon Extension Award goes to Kevin Kolb. Ray Rice has a huge game. Ravens soar over the Cardinals in this one. See what I did there!
GIANTS (-10) over Dolphins
The Giants got their yearly “WTF!!!!!!!!!!!???” loss out of the way with the Seahawks loss at home. How many survivor pools were killed after that game? In one of the pools I’m in 32/28 teams were eliminated after that game. The Giants are at home, coming off a Bye and are playing Miami. Anymore reason to take the Giants here?
Redskins (+6) over BILLS
The Bills have quietly gone back to being the Bills. Still good but not AS good as everyone was hopping on that bandwagon the first month of the season. I don’t know why but I have this weird fascination with Ryan Torain, I think he’s a great RB stuck in a horrible situation. With Hightower out expect Torain to go off. The Bills can’t stop anyone and the Redskins aren’t much better. That 6 points seems like too much here. I like Washington.
Lions (-3) over BRONCOS
Sounds like Stafford is going to play. Heck, even if Shaun Hill played I would still take the Lions. I’m so sick of hearing about Tebow that I would pick the Lions even if Drew Stanton was starting. Tebow isn’t playing the Dolphins, he’s with the big boys now. Beat the Lions and then he’ll deserve some credit. For now? He’s getting on my nerves. Lions are the better team and Vegas is jumping on the Tebow bandwagon. Good for us smart betters. Lions roll in what should be a 9 point spread.
STEELERS (+3) over Patriots
Steelers as home dogs? Count me in! The Patriots can’t stop the pass and Roethlisburger is ROLLING right now. A week after torching Arizona Big Ben keeps it going against the weak Patriots defense. These two teams know each other very well, but the Pats defense isn’t what it normally is. Expect a huge game from Mike Wallace…a statement that is really the most obvious thing I can say. Oh well. It’s true.
49ers (-9) over Browns
What happened to Peyton Hillis? Oh yeah…reality sunk in. HEY! I’m not saying a white RB can’t succeed in the NFL, but a white RB can’t succeed in the NFL…ESPECIALLY against the 49ers. They still haven’t allowed a rushing TD all year, which might be the most impressive stat of the year. Alex Smith controls the game…and by controls I mean hands it off to Frank Gore 25 times and let’s him torch the Browns. Until the 49ers DON’T cover a game I’m picking them. Count me in.
Bengals (-3) over SEAHAWKS
I used to think Ginger’s couldn’t succeed in the NFL either. Andy Dalton, consider this an apology. The Dalton-AJ Green connection is quietly becoming one of the most productive in the league. Although playing in Seattle is extremely tough, the Bengals defense is good enough to overcome what the fans will bring to the table.
EAGLES (-3½) over Cowboys
Consider this the start of the Eagles resurgence. I still believe the Eagles are a force to be reckoned with. They have too much talent to not contend and become what they should become: a Super Bowl contender. Andy Reid is 12-0 coming off a Bye and I see no different here. Although the Dallas defense is pretty good the Eagles simply have too many weapons. Yes, this can be said about anyone who plays the Eagles but Vick…Sunday Night…Cowboys…remember this last year?
Probably my favorite TD celebration of all time. Yeah, I like the Eagles.
Chargers (-3½) over CHIEFS
Antonio Gates is back. Sounds like he’s back to 100%. The Chiefs aren’t as bad as we thought they were (insert Dennis Green clip here), but they’re still not a good team. The Chargers should beat them by double digits. But the Chargers should beat a lot of teams. I’ll take the Chargers, but I’m not all that confident in the pick. Hey, no one said I had to be confident in my picks did I?
Here’s to a legend.
Say what you want about his recent shortcomings, but there’s no denying that Al Davis was instrumental in forming what the NFL is today. Unfortunately I’m not old enough to remember what he used to be; I’ve only been accustomed to numerous Al Davis jokes and many “The Raiders won’t be good until Al Davis dies” comments.
Whether you believe in that or not, don’t overlook what the man has done for the sport we all love today.
RIP Al Davis.
Just Win Baby.
Now onto the picks.
Last week: 9-7
Home teams in BOLD and CAPS.
COLTS (-3) over CHIEFS
See what I mean with Curtis Painter? I know they didn’t win (they did cover) but the Colts actually showed some signs of life on the road against the Bucs last week. The Chiefs are atrocious and the Colts are back at home. Expect Pierre Garcon to continue his resurgence as a viable #2 WR. Not that you cared about that anyway. Take the Colts.
VIKINGS (-3) over CARDINALS
People are sleeping on Adrian Peterson this year. Maybe it’s the fact his team has blown three straight fourth quarter leads. Maybe it’s the fact that Run RMC in Oakland has taken his thunder. Either way I like All Day to go off against a weak Cardinals D. McNabb won’t have to pass. The Vikings get their first win and take one step closer to not getting Andrew Luck.
EAGLES (-3) over BILLS
The Eagles will win this game. Book it. The Bills have been a nice story and certainly are a lot better than they’ve been in recent years, but the Eagles WILL win this game. For all the success the Bills have had on offense their defense is still below average. Expect a lot of points, but the Eagles take it by 10 points.
RAIDERS (+6) over TEXANS
I’ll be honest, I liked the Texans to cover before I heard the news about Al Davis. Houston is without Andre Johnson and the Raiders will be playing with heavy hearts.
SAINTS (-6.5) over PANTHERS
Jimmy Graham is quickly turning into Antonio Gates. Both former basketball players turned TE’s with freakish athleticism. Oh yeah, did I mention I liked Cam Newton before the year? Haters were hating, now look at him. A defensive battle this won’t be, but expect the Saints to cover here. Keep in mind for the future: the Panthers are a lot better than their record indicates.
JAGUARS (-1) over BENGALS
I went back and forth on this one but decided to give it to the home team. The Bengals are actually boasting a 2-2 record with the 6th best rush defense in the league. That doesn’t bode well for MJD who is the life and death of this Jaguars team. I have a good feeling this week about him though. After MJD’s cameo on “The League” this week I can’t go against my boy. Take the Jags.
TITANS (+3.5) over STEELERS
The Steelers aren’t very good. Their defense has aged overnight and Big Ben doesn’t look like an elite QB at the moment and Rashard Mendenhall is banged up. Meanwhile the Titans are actually good despite the fact their best player hasn’t shown up. Dare I say the Titans are actually a good team? I like that .5 point. Take the Titans.
GIANTS (-10) over SEAHAWKS
Seahawks on the road. Enough said.
BUCCANEERS (+2.5) over 49ERS
Can you say letdown game? The 49ers off their best win in years are actually 3-1 and leading the horrid NFC West. Props to them. Much deserved. The Bucs did beatdown the 49ers last year 21-0 in San Francisco. Two very similar teams. Young. Driven. Up and coming. With that said the dreaded letdown game is tough to overlook.
JETS (+9) over PATRIOTS
OK my Raiders didn’t fair so well last week against these Patriots, but the Jets are divisional rivals, know the Pats, have the best cover corner in the league and are playing one of the worst defenses in the league. I like the Jets to cover, maybe not win, but the Patriots can’t stop anyone and it’s hard to imagine the Jets losing three straight weeks.
CHARGERS (-4) over BRONCOS
Although I hate the Chargers and their September/October screw-ups I still like them over the Broncos. The Broncos are a complete mess. Expect Brady Quinn to replace Kyle Orton at some point in this game. The Chargers simply have more talent than the Broncos. It pains me to say it, the Chargers are a lock.
PACKERS (-6) over FALCONS
Sweet Jesus…Aaron Rodgers is here isn’t he? Forget the cheater Tom Brady, forget Peyton Manning, forget oft-injured Michael Vick…Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the league. The Packers are actually better than they were last year. They beat the Falcons in a laugher in the playoffs last year too. I love the prospect of Julio Jones but the Packers are a much better team. Expect a shootout but rhe Packers take it.
**Side note: Sunday Night Football has had some VERY good games this year. Minus the Colts vs. Steelers these Sunday night games have been great. NBC paying some big bucks for the big teams.
LIONS (-6) over BEARS
On the contrary Monday Night Football has been horrible the past few weeks. Terrible matchups. Just boring games. Boring teams. NOW we have a real matchup. Can the Lions play in primetime? Calvin Johnson….PUSHA T “EEEHHHHHKKKKKKGGGGGGG!!!”. I love this Lions team. I hear whispers that Nick Fairley will be making his debut as well. Sorry Jay.
My fantasy football team may be in trouble. In my most important league, a league in its 2nd year that includes numerous members of my family, I’m 1-2 with a very murky outlook. In our first offline draft I drafted Peyton Manning and Frank Gore in the 4th and 5th rounds back to back (I had the 12/12 pick). Peyton is obviously done for the year and Frank Gore’s best years are behind him. Ugh. Thought they would be worth the picks at the point in the draft but so far they haven’t panned out.
I don’t want to bore you with my fantasy team lineup or waiver wire pickups or my ridiculous trade proposals that I hoped the other owner would accidently click “Accept Trade” (Don’t act like you haven’t proposed those before) so they went through. I just needed a little venting. I haven’t missed the playoffs in fantasy football at all. Ever. That includes the last 5-6 years or so. We’ll see how this year goes: a $300 prize is on the line. Not to mention the trash talking, trophy and year of bragging rights I get if I win.
Here’s hoping I get back on track this week after two straight heartbreaking losses (both by less than 5 points).
9-7 last week.
Home teams in BOLD and CAPS
Lions (+1) over COWBOYS
Another favorable Cowboys line. The Lions should be 3.5 point favorites here. As long as Stafford and Megatron are healthy I like the Lions most weeks to cover. The Cowboys are banged up. They haven’t scored a touchdown in two weeks. Not to mention they’re playing a Lions team ON FIRE. Take. The. Lions.
Saints (-7) over JAGUARS
For my fantasy team’s sake I hope MJD goes off here. Knowing my luck he’ll carry the ball 24 times for 56 yards and a fumble. We know the Saints can put up points and we know the Jags can’t. The Jags are starting Blaine Gabbert and the Saints have Drew Brees. Both defenses are below average but the Saints will win this by 10+. Here’s hoping the score is 40-30 with MJD scoring three times. Yeah…right.
49ers (+7) over EAGLES
I’m riding the 49ers cover train baby! They’re 2-0-1 against the spread this year. The Eagles look like the worst best team ever. What would you give me for: the Eagles NOW vs. the Miami Heat during their terrible 9-8 start? This will be Kendall Hunter’s breakout game. With Gore likely to be active but be on the sidelines the stage is set for Hunter to show what he’s got against the league’s worst run defense. Hunter looked good last week while Gore has looked sluggish. Will Vick stay on the field long enough to secure a W? I think he will. I like the Eagles to win 21-17.
RAMS (+1) over Redskins
This is the start of the Redskins coming back to reality. They aren’t that good. Before the season I thought they were the worst team in the league. Coming off a short week and a loss traveling away to St. Louis I like the home team here.
Titans (PICK) over BROWNS
I really can’t explain how the Titans are 2-1 right now. CK2K has played about 1/4 of himself. Their defense doesn’t jump off the page screaming “GREATNESS” like the old Titans. Somehow Matt Hasselback has looked like his Super Bowl self (Yeah…remember he started the Super Bowl?). Meanwhile the Browns are back to being the Browns. This will be the “Chris Johnson is Back and 412409810948190849140384 Fantasy Owners Rejoice” game.
Bills (-3) over BENGALS
OK, remember how I said I wasn’t a Bills believer? For three quarters I was feeling pretty smart. Then the Tom Brady pick-fest happened and the Bills 4th quarter swag came back. The Bills can put up points anywhere and Cincinnati is no different. Bills win big.
Vikings (-2) over CHIEFS
After Adrian Peterson’s lack of touches/complaints last week I expect 93 carries against KC this week. Wouldn’t be surprised if his stat-line is something like: 382 yards, 6 TD, 135 receiving yards, 1 passing TD, recovered fumble & 4.5 sacks.
PANTHERS (+7) over BEARS
My readers/Twitter followers know I’m a firm Cam Newton believer. What has he done this season so far? Just rank 3rd in the league in passing yards with a 59.8% completion rate and 4 TD’s/4 INT’s. Not bad for a rookie that can’t play in the NFL. The Bears? They can’t block anyone. Seriously. NO ONE. Panthers win this game outright.
TEXANS (-4) over Steelers
The Steelers look bad this year. Not just bad by their standards…but BAD by any standards. The Texans should have beaten the Saints last week after failing to score in the red zone numerous times. Houston is home, Arian Foster is back and the Steelers are coming off a CLOSE win against a Peyton Manning-less Colts team. The Texans roll.
Giants (+1) over CARDINALS
I guess Vegas thinks the Cardinals are better than they actually are. I don’t see how Vegas favors the Cardinals here. I guess they see the Giants will have a letdown game after their beat down of the Eagles last week. I don’t see it. The Giants are better. Osi is back. Eli may not be completely average. Giants all the way.
Falcons (-5) over SEAHAWKS
I thought about this one for awhile. By awhile I mean about 45 seconds. Still, I think the Falcons take this by a TD. The Falcons have looked horrible this year. Yes they beat the Eagles but that was at home, with Vick hurt against the worst rush defense in the NFL. The Falcons are simply too talented not to win this game by a TD. Just typing that sentence had be re-considering this pick. Oh well. Too late to go back now.
Dolphins (+9) over CHARGERS
Even though the Chargers are 2-1 they’ve been looking like the Chargers of September we all know. Barely beating the Vikings at home, losing to the Pats and beating the horrific Chiefs by a mere FG all show signs of a Norv Turner team. I think Brandon Marshall goes off in this game and Reggie Bush doesn’t look entirely useless. I like Miami.
PACKERS (-13) over Broncos
Aaron Rodgers. Lambeau Field. Broncos defense. That is all.
RAIDERS (+4.5) over Patriots.
Like the 49ers I’m riding the Raiders cover train until it stops baby! In my season preview I liked the Raiders to win the AFC West and win 10 games. Prediction looks pretty solid right now as the Raiders come off a convincing win against a supposed Super Bowl contender. The Patriots are pissed after losing a 21 point lead against their division rival Bills. The “Richard Seymour Comeback” game is in full effect. We’ll hear his name a few times in the broadcast. This will be a great game to watch…a straight shootout. Until the Raiders prove me otherwise I’m rolling with them. Oh yeah and Run DMC is pretty good too.
Jets (+4) over RAVENS
I had a tough time with this one. Like I stated last week I hate betting on the Ravens, you never know what you’re going to get. Both good defenses. Both with iffy QB’s (Yes Flacco thew 3 TD’s last week but that Titans game I still can’t get over). I expect at least one defensive TD from the Jets D in this game. The Jets have a nice comeback win after their loss last week.
Colts (+10.5) over BUCCANEERS
Am I crazy to think that Curtis Painter may not be a terrible thing for the Colts? Seriously. At least he can move around a little bit. He kept the Colts in their game last week against the Steelers. 10.5 is a ton of points to a Bucs team that doesn’t score a lot of points. I like the Colts to cover here.