Thursday, October 25, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 8

COLTS @ Panthers +6.5

Panthers haven't really beaten anybody; the Colts have beaten everybody. What's more, Carolina is 3-0 on the road but 0-2 at home. Vegas really doesn't think the Colts will win this game by a touchdown? Really?

Lions @ BEARS -4.5

The Lions have looked pretty bad on the road since their Week 1 win at Oakland. Also, I think the Bears are good now. Maybe not play-in-the-Super-Bowl-again-this-year good, but good, especially now that they seem to have their quarterback situation settled. Which is funny to think about; I mean, who ever thought that Brian Griese would be the answer to anything (other than the question, "Why have the Broncos only won one playoff game in the nine seasons since John Elway retired?")?

STEELERS @ Bengals +3.5

The Steelers have long been capable of a weird hiccup here or there, even when they're pretty good (just ask any Steelers fan who watched any AFC title games between 1997 and 2004). That's what last week's loss to a bad Denver team was: a weird hiccup. I expect they'll chew on their sugar; breathe into a bag; or drink a glass of water by holding onto it with their middle, ring and pinky fingers while plugging their ears with their thumbs and plugging their noses with their index fingers like Frasier on "Cheers" (which is the world's most foolproof hiccup cure, by the way); and they'll be just fine in Cincinnati on Sunday.

And the Bengals are just plain bad; don't let a win over the terrible Jets fool you.

GIANTS @ Dolphins +9.5

This game is in London, so it's not really a "home" game for the Dolphins. In fact, if you forced me to hazard a guess, I'd bet that New York is actually closer to London than Miami is. I think that'll be the difference.

EAGLES @ Vikings +1

The Eagles are bad, but they're capable of putting up some points. The Adrian Peterson Game notwithstanding, the Vikings aren't. As I've said: I don't think it matters one iota whether this Vikings team plays at home or on the road. Other than Adrian Peterson, they play the most passionless, uninspired football I've seen.

A while back I called them the Worst Vikings Team Ever, and, although I was just venting after a bad loss, that title is still within reach for the 2007 group.

JAGUARS @ Buccaneers -4

I've told this story before; I'll tell it again. First of all, you must know that Darrin McKee was our quarterback at Marshall Senior High School in Marshall, Minnesota for a brief period in the mid-90s.

Towards the end of the Vikings' 15-1 season in 1998 (when Randy Moss first did what he's doing now), they hosted a decent Jacksonville team that had been beset by injuries at the quarterback position. My friends and I made the trip up to Minneapolis for the game, and we were discussing the fact that the Jaguars had almost no chance to beat the Vikings, particularly -- as my friend Mike pointed out -- since "Darrin McKee is starting at quarterback for the Jaguars today."

Turns out we were right (about the Jaguars' chances, that is. Not about Darrin McKee. Mike was joking); the Vikings won 50-10.

I bring this up because once again a decent Jacksonville team, beset by injuries at the quarterback position, goes on the road this Sunday, and their newly-signed backup quarterback is, quite literally, a man who went to high school only a few years before -- and a few miles away from -- Darrin McKee.

Still, I don't think this bodes ill for the Jags. After last week's pooch-screw in Detroit, I took a closer look at this Buccaneers team. They've got only one good win (over Tennessee), and they haven't stayed close with any of the other decent teams they've played. Even if Darrin McKee does get in the game for Jacksonville, I still like them to cover the 4-point spread.

Raiders @ TITANS -7.5

"Quarterback uncertainty" is not really high on the list of encouraging signs that your 2-4 team has a particularly good chance on the road against a playoff contender who almost blew a huge lead last week and is going to be determined not to let that happen again.

Really, though; the Titans almost blew a 25-point fourth-quarter lead in Houston on Sunday. How is there even time for that to happen? In that situation, you'd think you could just take a knee throughout the entire fourth quarter and still win by like four.

BILLS @ Jets -3

The Bills' last three games: win; that crazy Monday night loss to Dallas; win. They've got some up-and-coming mojo to them, a Watch Out For Us in Three Seasons kind of thing, with the rookie QB and rookie running back. I like 'em. I think the Bills got lumped into that "bad team" category by most of us before the season started, and I'm not sure they belong there anymore. The 2007 Bills are the 2005 Detroit Tigers, let's put it that way. If the Tigers hadn't gotten good until, like, next season.

The Jets are just bad. It seems like the Jets have been in every game, but they manage to find a way to lose. This week, the wheels come off.

Texans @ Chargers *

Hopefully, I'll be back with a pick on this game when we know where and when it's going to be played. If I can, I'll get my pick in for the record before kickoff on Sunday. If I forget to do it, then let's just say I take the Chargers to cover whatever the spread might be.

BROWNS @ Rams +3

Two weeks ago I wrote about how the Browns don't lose to bad teams. I don't imagine that, having had the bye week to rest up, they'll start now.

Also, I saw on "SportsCenter" this afternoon that the Rams contacted Darrin McKee about backing up the banged-up Marc Bulger this Sunday, and Darrin McKee claimed that he would love to, but, he has "a ton of stuff to get done this weekend."

Redskins @ PATRIOTS -16.5

I just don't want to pick the Patriots the week they finally don't cover, hence my pick against them last week. But, I suppose they'll be extra-determined not to "look past" the Redskins to their big matchup with Indy next week, and as determined as ever to prove that they can win every game by 90 points, spy cameras on the sidelines or no spy cameras on the sidelines.

A side note on the Pats: can we all agree that anyone who expresses surprise or amazement at the Randy Moss renaissance has forfeited his or her credibility as a sports commentator? Shouldn't anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to professional football in the last decade have known already that Randy Moss is the most talented football player on the planet right now, if not the most talented football player ever? When has Randy Moss not delivered in the spotlight? Wasn't he always good for 150 yards and two or three touchdowns in nationally televised games? And isn't every game the Patriots play a big game, by virtue of the fact that they're the Patriots? Aren't you just bad at what you do if you forgot -- or never knew -- that this is how Randy Moss plays at his best? How many questions in a row can I cram into one paragraph? Are you sick of this already?

Saints @ 49ERS +3

The Saints are currently riding a two-game winning streak against lousy teams, and the Niners are in the midst of a 4-game losing streak against any teams. Still, for no reason in particular, just because I feel frisky, I'll take San Francisco.

PACKERS @ Broncos -3

Don't be fooled by the Broncos' win over Pittsburgh on Monday; they had two weeks to get ready for that one and didn't win by much. Plus, there's the much-ballyhooed Steelers Hiccup Theory to take into account.

The Packers are now rested from their own bye week, and if there's a team that won't be bothered by playing in Denver in late October -- sorry; in late ROCKtober -- it's Green Bay.

The five I feel good (or, if not good, better than the others) about:

COLTS @ Panthers +6.5
Lions @ BEARS -4.5
GIANTS @ Dolphins +9.5
EAGLES @ Vikings +1
Raiders @ TITANS -7.5

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