Thursday, November 01, 2007

NFL 2007 - Week 9

49ers @ FALCONS -3.5

Both of these teams are awful, but the Falcons have played some decent teams close. The 49ers, however, haven't won since Week 2 and have looked pretty bad in most of the games they've played since. Last the Niners were a somewhat encouraging 7-9, but it looks like they're regressing.

Bengals @ BILLS +1

The Bengals are just bad. Yet they're favored. It is because Chad Johnson comes up with touchdown celebrations that are funny 70% of the time (and pretty lame otherwise)? Is it because they had a decent season two years ago? What indication have the Bengals given that they should be favored on the road against any team in the NFL, let alone a Bills squad that's two last-second field goals away from being undefeated at home?

Once a week there's a line that just confuses me. Of course, I usually pick that game wrong anyway. We'll see.

Broncos @ LIONS -3

Time for this week's rant:

Lions quarterback Jon Kitna has apparently caught some flak for the Halloween costume he and his wife chose this week. A little over a year ago, Lions assistant coach Joe Cullen was arrested twice, once for getting drive-thru at a Wendy's while naked, and once for DUI. While we can all agree that drunk driving is a serious issue, and while I may not really have any problem with the idea of driving naked, the Cullen story was inarguably hilarious. So, Kitna and his wife went as a naked coach and a Wendy's employee. It might have been slightly funnier had the wife been the naked coach and Kitna been Wendy, but that's beside the point.

Now it seems that some local panties have been bunched, and Kitna has issued what seems to be genuine apology for all of the ruckus he caused.

America, you can't make Halloween into this great secular holiday, you can't constantly encourage the pushing of the Halloween costume envelope, and then bitch about it when people step over some perceived "line" (it should be noted that, according to Kitna and others within the Lions organization, Joe Cullen was okay with the Joe Cullen costume). You can't take perverse glee in last year's glut of Dead Steve Irwin costumes and then get the vapors when someone shows up in a costume that recalls a local story that was preposterous rather than tragic. If you've got a problem with what Halloween is becoming, that's one thing. But don't take that out on the Kitnas and their relatively harmless costume. This isn't Prince Harry dressing like a Nazi, here.

Anyhoo, the Lions have beaten two good teams in the last two weeks, and the Broncos are a road team that just had to play on "Monday Night Football." I'm done getting burned by a lack of faith in the Lions.

Packers @ CHIEFS -2

I think everyone assumed, even before the season started, that this week's Colts-Patriots matchup would be a battle of first-place teams. But Packers-Chiefs, too? Not a lot of people saw that coming. I still can't decide if the Chiefs are good. Then again, I still can't decide if the Packers are good, and they're 6-1. I do know that Brett Favre is a threat to lose any game he plays. He and the Pack are due for an off week, no?

CHARGERS @ Vikings +7

Man, the Vikings stink. I was thinking of having some folks over to watch Colts-Patriots this weekend, and a friend of mine wrote an e-mail saying that he was going to be out of town, but he'd love to get together at some point in the future for a less important football game, "possibly one involving Brooks Bollinger."

I was then forced, as a Vikings fan, to admit that, with Kelly Holcomb and Tarvaris Jackson as my other choices, it is my wildest dream that all Vikings games of the immediate future involve Brooks Bollinger. That's how bad it's gotten.

JAGUARS @ Saints -3

What do the Jaguars have to do, go around shaking the shoulders of random people they meet on the street and screaming, "Hey! We're good!" The Saints have built a three-game winning streak against two teams who are very bad (Falcons and 49ers) and one team that somehow has a winning record despite being pretty lousy (Seahawks). The Jaguars, on the other hand, are good.

Redskins @ JETS +3.5

The Jets have been in almost every game, and things can only go so bad for an NFL team. What if new starting quarterback Kellen Clemens has a good day? Could happen, right? And the Redskins don't blow anybody out. Except for that one week when they did.

I don't know. I don't know or care about the Redskins or the Jets, which maybe I shouldn't be admitting in a column devoted to the NFL. But I just don't care.

Cardinals @ BUCCANEERS -3.5

The Buccaneers are weird; just when you think they're good, they go out and be bad. Looking at their schedule, though, I don't see where they've lost to a bad team yet (ignoring for a moment that they lost to Seattle, who I called "lousy" just a few paragraphs back). Do they lose two winnable home games in a row? I say no. And if they win, do they do it by more than 3.5 points? I say yes.

PANTHERS @ Titans -4

The Panthers are 4-0 on the road and 0-3 at home; I'm done fighting that (besides, the Titans haven't won by more than four in a while). Plus, as I've now turned 30, Panthers quarterback Vinny Testaverde gives me hope. Playing quarterback in the NFL at 43, Testaverde lets me know that I could stay in optimum physical condition for at least the next decade-and-a-half. I mean, I'm sure I won't, but, I could.

Seahawks @ BROWNS -1.5

Who saw the Browns coming?

TEXANS @ Raiders -3

Nobody's going to be watching this game so I won't waste too much time on it, other than to say that Sage Rosefels is starting at quarterback for the Texans, and I think a guy who almost completed the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history against a solid Tennessee team can probably handle the Raiders.

COWBOYS @ Eagles +3.5

I wish I didn't have to pick this one, since I feel like the Eagles could give the Cowboys a game. Still, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was seen with Britney Spears in L.A. during Dallas's bye week, and you can call me crazy but that still means something to me, dammit. Sure, if he'd somehow managed to hook up with the 1999 version of Britney Spears last weekend, I'd really have no choice to predict that the Cowboys would somehow manage to win the Super Bowl this Sunday. As it is, I have to believe they'll beat the Eagles by at least four.

Ravens @ STEELERS -9

Almost there...

PATRIOTS @ Colts +5

Woo hoo! The greatest regular season NFL game in the history of the universe! No undefeated teams have ever met this late in the season! Manning and Brady! Dungy and Belichick! Woo hoo!

I think the Patriots will take it, but I'll be rooting for the Colts. I don't regard the Pats as the Evil Empire that lots of NFL fans do these days, but I really like the Colts.

And I'll say this about Patriots coach Bill Belichick: it sure does take enormous balls to continue to blatantly cheat while you're in the process of deliberately running up the score against your opponents to try and get back at the league for punishing you for blatantly cheating. Enormous balls. Well played, sir.

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

Bengals @ BILLS +1

CHARGERS @ Vikings +7

Seahawks @ BROWNS -1.5

Ravens @ STEELERS -9

PATRIOTS @ Colts +5

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