Thursday, September 13, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 2

TEXANS @ PANTHERS -6.5

I didn't really see any of the Panthers-Rams game last week, but it looked like the Panthers won handily. And the Texans won at home against a Chiefs team that was supposed to be bad, and turned out to be worse. Still, if the Texans are good -- like some people suspect they are -- 6.5 seems like a lot.

BENGALS @ BROWNS +6.5

For those of you who don't get Sports Illustrated, they have something in their opening pages called the Pop Culture Grid. They pick four sports "stars" -- they usually throw in a WNBA player or a soccer guy for what I'm convinced is the sole purpose of pissing me off -- and ask them to respond to the same six or seven quick little questions. This week, for example, it was, like, Last DVD Purchased; Favorite Summer Celeb Scandal; Now That Summer's Over, I Can...

Now, one thing that has absolutely nothing to do with this weekend's Browns-Bengals game but that must be mentioned here is the greatest response in Pop Culture Grid history. In response to "If I Were a TransFormer, I Would...", Braves catcher Brian McCann said "...transform into not being so fat." It goes without saying that I am now a big, big Brian McCann fan.

Anyway, this week, one of the featured athletes was Browns quarterback Charlie Frye, who, by the time the issue hit newsstands, had been traded to the Seahawks after entering the season as the Browns' starting quarterback and lasting less than 30 minutes in that job. This is all an unnecessarily complicated way of telling you that I don't like the Browns this week.

FALCONS @ JAGUARS -10

Ten? Really? Didn't the Jaguars just crap the bed in their home opener? I think the Jaguars are developing a reputation for playing up or down to the level of their opponents. As bad as the Falcons looked last week in Minnesota, I'm not so much picking them to beat the spread as I'm picking Jacksonville not to cover the spread against Lousy Team X.

PACKERS @ GIANTS pk

I don't think the Packers are good, and I don't think the Giants are bad. I'm pretty surprised by this line (by way of explanation, for the uninitiated, "pk" is just short for "pick," which means "just pick a winner, because the point spread is that each team is favored by zero points).

BILLS @ STEELERS -9.5

Who knows how the Bills will react to Kevin Everett's horrendous injury last week? I'm going to play it safe and go with the recent Super Bowl champion home team that just destroyed a divisional opponent on the road last week, even if 9.5 points is more than I'd like to give away.

49ERS @ RAMS -3

I feel like both the Niners and the Rams may as well have not played at all last week, for how much I was able to learn about them. I'm taking the Rams, but I'm just guessing. If the Niners were the home team I'd take them.

SAINTS @ BUCCANEERS +3.5

The Buccaneers are really bad, and I don't share the prevailing opinion that last year's Saints were something of a fluke and are due for a letdown. I think they're fine, I just think last year's Colts would have beaten last year's Saints 41-10, too.

COLTS @ TITANS +7

The Titans have quite a bit of momentum dating back to last year. They're coming off a nice road win over the certainly-not-worse-than-average Jaguars, and they beat the Colts in Tennessee last year; I think they're capable of losing by less than a touchdown. Plus, the last four defending Super Bowl champions are 1-3 in the subsequent season's Week 2 game.

Still, the Colts started 9-0 last year and 13-0 the year before that. Also, they're the defending Super Bowl champs and they won 41-10 last Thursday, so they'll be nice and rested. This is a game where, if you lose it, you have a great excuse. "I took the Colts; what was I supposed to do? Not?"

SEAHAWKS @ CARDINALS +3

Seahawks good, Cardinals bad.

VIKINGS @ LIONS -3

Sure, the Vikings dominated the Falcons last year, but, their offense made one -- one -- play, and even on that play Adrian Peterson came dangerously close to batting the ball into any defender's waiting arms before hauling it in and taking it 60 yards to the end zone.

I realized this week that, as a lifelong Minnesota fan, I feel about second-year Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackon the way certain people feel about God: even though I'm desperate to believe in him because the ramifications of believing otherwise are terrifying, I've not yet been able to force myself to do it.

And I don't believe that you can count on the Vikings defense, as good as it is, to score 14 points every week.

COWBOYS @ DOLPHINS +3.5

Just because I don't like the Cowboys, and I've already picked too many road teams.

(by the way: not that you were going to anyway, but, I'd really advise strongly against running out and placing a bunch of bets on this weekend's NFL action based on this column. Because, I'm not kidding. I don't like the Cowboys, and I've already picked too many road teams. That's my real reason)

JETS @ RAVENS -10

The Ravens played really badly, on the road, and still almost won. I think the Jets, not the Saints, are this year's letdown team.

CHIEFS @ BEARS -12

A lot of folks seem to be regarding this game as the Lock of the Century. Who am I to disagree?

RAIDERS @ BRONCOS -10

Double-digit point spreads almost always scare me. Luckily, this one involves the Raiders.

CHARGERS @ PATRIOTS -3.5

Will this "cheating" "scandal" be a distraction for the Patriots? Well, has anything, ever?

REDSKINS @ EAGLES -6.5

Seems like too many points for an Eagles team that has shown no indication it's any good.

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:
BENGALS @ BROWNS +6.5
PACKERS @ GIANTS pk
SEAHAWKS @ CARDINALS +3
CHIEFS @ BEARS -12
CHARGERS @ PATRIOTS -3.5

Suicide pick: Bears


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