Last week we hit rock bottom. It was capped off by the inaccurate reception crushing my Green Bay pick and bringing the record on the week to 3-11-1. Now for the season I’m at 6-17-2. This human torch will not be denied a bank loan though. Grampie got fired after making the picks and not having the wisdom to look into the degree to which the replacement officials were determining outcomes. This week the real officials are back. And so I am.
ATLANTA HAWKS (-7 ½) over Carolina Panthers: I was listening to Doug Gottlieb on CBS Radio earlier this week speak about how much has changed in the perceptions of Cam Newton versus Matt Ryan. Good point. Perhaps a better point though is how much the outlook on this whole division has been altered. The Falcons have looked like the best team in football while the Saints look to be heading toward the Matt Barkley sweepstakes (not saying Drew Brees is done – just saying Matt Barkley is going #1 regardless).
New England Patriots (-4.5) over BUFFALO Bills: The conventional wisdom is that the Patriots are going to be mean and angry, and that Bill Belichick will have the Patriots ready. The Pats haven’t loss three in a row since 2002. That said, the Bills have the type of team that can matchup with New England defensively. They can get to the quarterback and it won’t hurt that they are playing on the road. In the end though, I’m not sure if Buffalo can accomplish enough offensively. Both running backs are dinged up and New England has been pretty good at stopping running backs thus far in 2012.
DETROIT LIONS (-6) over Minnesota Vikings: Coming home the Lions will be ready to play after a disappointing loss at Tennessee, and the Vikings will be hung over (still) from their win against the 49ers.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+3) over San Diego Chargers: What’s that you say? The Chiefs beat New Orleans in New Orleans last week. And they’re GETTING points? At home? This is the lock of the week. The Whale’s Vaginas have done nothing to merit getting points in the season. Their “weapons” Gates, Matthews, Floyd, etc. have been yawnspiring to date and they just got walloped at home.
Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) over ST. LOUIS RAMS: In the most well-documented case of a fated cover since the Cincinnati Reds sent out a hot starting pitcher five straight nights under Pete Rose, you hafta ride the hot hand in Seattle.
San Francisco 49ers (-4.5) over NY JETS: Both teams come in 2-1 and obviously the 49ers are traveling across the country, but the eye test says that SF the best team in football. They have the kind of defense that can win a game by itself. The Jets are without their best player for the rest of the season and there’s no Kurt Warner for them to rally around.
Tennessee Titans (-13) over HOUSTON TEXANS: The Texans are winning games by an average of more than 15 points per contest thus far, but only won by 6 last week. The teams that Houston has beaten up on are Miami and Jacksonville. Tennessee isn’t that bad.
Oakland Raiders (-7) over DENVER BRONCOS: The Broncos have been awful against the spread this year, and Darren McFadden hasn’t had his 9-game injury bug hit yet. Maybe today’s the day, but before it happens he should get one of those 60-yard runs in.
Miami Dolphins (-6) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: Who is Arizona? Kevin Kolb isn’t good. This is a quarterback league and this team seems to have missed the memo. This is the week that they show their true colors. I swear of it.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-3) over Cincinnati Bengals: This line started at -1 and has gone up to 3. Red flags – especially with the Jags at home.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (+9) over New Orleans Saints: Even with the regular officials back, the league is going to make sure that nothing good comes out of New Orleans this season. There is no word on what the bounty is for Roger Goodell on Bourbon Street. The Packers meanwhile are going to get charity from the officials today.
Washington Redskins (+3) over TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: I don’t like this game. At first I thought Tampa, but then I realized there was no good reason for that so it had to be a trap. Now, I’m taking Washington and I can’t explain that either. I just wasted a few seconds of your life. I’m sorry.
New York Giants (+1) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: These are just the sorts of games that Eli Manning and the Giants win, and Michael Vick and the Eagles lose. Gone are the days of DeSean Jackson punt returns for touchdowns. The Giants are much too clutch and the Eagles don’t have me sold that anything has changed from 2011 after almost losing to the Browns and losing to the Cardinals.
Chicago Bears (+3.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS: Dallas will win this game late, but that’s too many points. Jay Cutler will again have the spotlight to himself and will be playing for his reputation as a good NFL quarterback. I think he will respond. Even though I don’t want him to.