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.
It’s about time Marshawn Lynch got some love. Sure he got a little love his rookie season after his 1,115 yard, 7 TD season, but he’s a top 10 running back that is rotting on a terrible team. First Buffalo and now Seattle, Lynch is prone for the highlight real. His “Beast Mode” reached astronomical heights in the playoffs last year with the infamous run against the Saints. He’s since followed that up with a very strong season (854 yards, 8 TD) that has the NFL buzzing in appreciation.
Born in Oakland, it seems that Lynch often goes unnoticed when talking about the best running backs in the league. He’s not as elusive as Adrian Peterson or as good a receiver as Arian Foster but he’s formidable at both. Is it because he played for Cal? Is it because he’s played for two bad franchises throughout his career? Is it because he scares little children?
The fact he plays in the wretched NFC West has hindered his popularity and awareness through the league. After his primetime performance against the Eagles last Thursday and his continued success on the field we should be hearing A LOT more of Marshawn Lynch in the future. Hopefully in Pro Bowl discussions.
For old times sake…
9-7-0 last week
98-75-5 for the season
Home team in BOLD and CAPS
Browns (+ 14½) over STEELERS – W
Yes this game already happened. Yes the Browns covered. Yes I would have really chosen the Browns to cover 14½ points.
RAVENS (-17) over Colts
I’m always hesitant to choose big spreads, especially after I got screwed last week courtesy of the New England Patriots. The difference here is the Baltimore defense. Baltimore always plays better at home. The Ravens have had some horrible losses this year (JAX, SEA, TEN) but all have been on the road. Expect 27-3. Maybe worse.
Texans (+3) over BENGALS
There are two types of backup QB’s in the NFL: 1) The guy that looks like he doesn’t belong anywhere near a football and 2) The guy that looks like he could be starting somewhere. I’m not saying TJ Yates is better than Schaub, but the team hasn’t lost a step with him behind center. In other words? He’s no Kyle Boller.
PACKERS (-11½) over Raiders
My Twitter companion and fellow sports blogger Bay Area Sports Guy brought up a great point when talking about this matchup. To paraphrase, BASG said that this would be the type of game the Raiders would win. The Raiders would be the ones to screw up the Packers perfect season. Why? Because the Raiders are a screwy team. One game they look like AFC contenders the next they look like bottom feeders. Les we forget they’re playing the Packers this week at Lambeau. I see bottom feeder Raiders this weekend. “My heart….is…telling me YES!!!!….but my mind…is…telling me NO!!!!”
JETS (-9) over Chiefs
I hate Shonn Greene. I was on the fence of the playoffs in my fantasy league: I was in the 7th spot and the top six teams make the playoffs. I needed the 6th seed (my dad) to lose (he was playing my little brother, 3rd seed) and I needed to win against the worst team in the league. I won my match handily, but thanks to a certain Mr. Greene, who scored a blasphemous 29 points thanks to garbage time TD’s, my fantasy playoff hopes were thrashed. What does this have to do with their game against the Chiefs on Sunday? Not a god damn thing.
LIONS (-8) over Vikings
I was watching Sound FX on NFL Network yesterday while they were showing the Vikings-Broncos game. The piece focused on Leslie Frazier and the Vikings sideline. If there was ever a coach that just knew he was going to get fired it would be Frazier. Uninspired, slow and seemingly dead was the Vikings sideline. I feel bad for two elite talents like Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson who are just rotting previous years off their illustrious careers. Let the Bill Cower rumors start in 3…2…1…
Saints (-4) over TITANS
All three of New Orleans losses have been on the road (Green Bay, Tampa Bay, St. Louis). Their largest margin of victory on the road was 16 against a hapless Jacksonville squad. Translation? The Saints are not the same team outside of the Superdome. With this in mind I still like them to cover against the Titans. Chris Johnson seems back to normal but the Titans still are an average team to me despite their 7-5 record. Cortland Finnegan can’t cover everyone either. Take the Saints.
Eagles (+3) over DOLPHINS
I’ve been wanting to bust out my Michael Vick Eagles jersey for the longest time. I got it last off-season and wore it at my offline fantasy draft…a lot of good that did me. Since then its been grabbing dust in my closet hoping for a significant weekend for me to put it back on. With Vick coming back from injury and playing a now formidable Dolphins team I feel like this weekend could be the one. Whether that’s a good thing for the Eagles still to be determined.
Patriots (-9) over REDSKINS
If it weren’t for the Colts the Redskins would easily be the worst team in the league. Why is Mike Shanahan coaching this team? Why is he coaching at all? How is it that Dan Snyder has no GM yet? The Patriots win this one easily.
Falcons (-3) over PANTHERS
This will be a great game. The Falcons must win this game to keep in the playoff hunt. The Panthers are a one man show with Cam Newton looking more and more like a superstar QB. Get this Panthers team a defense and another WR and they’re easily in the playoff discussion next year. For now they’re facing a healthy Falcons offense and a team desperate for a win. I wouldn’t be shocked if this is a push but take the Falcons regardless.
Buccaneers (-1) over JAGUARS
There’s always one game every week that no one really cares about. The game NFL Red Zone cuts to and everyone cries “Why are they cutting to this game?” With Josh Freeman back I like the Bucs to steal one in Florida. Not that it really matters.
49ers (-4) over CARDINALS
Since Thursday I’ve been trying to figure out why this spread is so low. Is Patrick Willis really worth six points to the spread? The 49ers are beyond the “trap game” syndrome and have shown no willingness to let up. A late Patrick Peterson punt return TD aside I see no reason the 49ers shouldn’t cover.
BRONCOS (-3½) over Bears
The Bears were already decimated with Cutler gone. Now add Forte to the injury list and you have a team that resembles the Minnesota Vikings. Forte accounted for roughly 70% of the Bears offense. Sure they still have their defense intact…but does that even matter with Tebow God behind center? Until proven otherwise take Denver.
CHARGERS (-7) over Bills
San Diego is coming off a blowout victory against the Jaguars. The Bills have lost five straight games. Take the Chargers.
Giants (+3) over COWBOYS
The Cowboys don’t have one impressive victory all season. Sure they beat the 49ers but that game was outrageous fluke. The Giants have lost four in a row but three of them to playoff teams (SF, New Orleans, Green Bay). The Giants are clearly the better team and I expect them to get back on track this week, even on the road against a division foe.
SEAHAWKS (- 4½) over Rams
“Beast Mode” indeed. Even with teams stacking the box Marshawn Lynch still is running like crazy. Too bad Lynch has never had a consistent QB or he can be even scarier. Combine the game being played in Seattle, Bradford and Feeley banged up, Lynch beasting and a very underrated Seattle defense and you have a formula for disaster for the Rams. Take the ‘Hawks with confidence.
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.
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 BRONCOS — L
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.
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.
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.
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?