Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Jets NFL Prediction

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Jets (-6.5) NFL Prediction: Jacksonville might be one of the toughest teams in the NFL to gauge – they can play so terribly against just about anyone, yet they’ve had a couple good games that remind you how good some of their players are. Starting out the season, they fought the Colts until the end, losing by 2. They also upset Houston on the road and smoked Tennessee. Yet they got killed at home by Arizona, straight pooped on by Seattle, they were taken to overtime by the physical powerhouse that is St. Louis, then they gave Tennessee their first win of the season right before allowing KC to come back late and take them the distance, as the Jags barely won by 3 at home to the Chiefs. Gross. One of the reasons they are so hard to predict is you never know what kind of stunt Jack Del Rio is going to pull. I’m sure there are 10 coaches fired in the last couple years that wake up every day wondering how in the hell this guy still has a job.

These teams may be 4-4, and I guess you have to give some credit where it’s due, because your record truly is the ultimate judge of your ability, but in my not so humble opinion, these two .500 teams couldn’t be more different. The only reason the Jaguars even have a chance in this game is that Kris Jenkins is out for the count. But then again, that who bye week, 2 weeks off to prepare for the Jaguars thing kind of counters that.

I like the Jets to win this one by a couple touchdowns. I don’t expect them to let Maurice Jones-Drew do much. Without MoJo, the Jaguars have nothing, especially when you consider the fact that Revis is going to shut Sims-Walker down.

Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets Free NFL Pick

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Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (-3) Free NFL Pick: Let me say this, the Dolphins straight kicked around the Jets last time these two teams went at it, and the Jets have only gotten bad news in terms of their run defense since then, Kris Jenkins is out for the season. But the Jets aren’t as bad as they played a few weeks ago, and they won’t be that bad this Sunday. It’s very hard to beat a good team twice, especially in such a short period of time. You think the Jets will walk into this game like they deserve to win? After the beatdown the Wildcat put on them last time around? I don’t think so. If I know what the Jets are looking at, and how they are preparing, I don’t think there will be another defense more prepared for what the Dolphins are going to run this time out. The Dolphins have won 2 straight games dating back to last season, but the Jets have won 7 of the last 10 meetings between the two. They have also have a 7-2-1 ATS record in those last 10 games. Giving the ball to Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene is the answer for the Jets, they’ll commit to that this week.

New York Jets V Oakland Raiders Free Football Pick

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New York Jets (-5.5) @ Oakland Raiders Football Pick: The Oakland Raiders threw a wrench into everybody’s well laid out plans boasting them as one of the NFL’s worst teams when they upset the heavily favored Philadelphia Eagles last week. Now it was nearly as much the Eagles’ fault as it was the Raiders, but when a team wins they need to get some credit. The Eagles decision to forget the run and rely almost exclusively on the pass got in their way of victory last Sunday, and needless to say, that wasn’t the first time. But who benefitted? The Raiders. They brought lots of pressure defensively, and despite good yard per carry averages from Brian Westbrook, the limited number of carries limited the damage. But now Oakland comes off that huge high to play a Jets team coming off their 3rd straight loss. Yeah, I like the Jets chances. Unlike the Eagles, the Jets won’t forget the run, in fact, I think they’ll rely more heavily on it than any game this season. The pressure won’t be on Mark Sanchez’s arm, but the offensive line and a talented running back group. That should spell certain doom for a Raiders team looking to make it two wins in a row. The line coming down from 7.5 to 5.5 has me going with the Jets with some good confidence.

Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets Week 6 Free Pick

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Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets (-9): It’s very rare that when you look at tales of the tape and one side wins at every statistic – welcome to the Bills and Jets tale of the tape. Points, Yards Gained, Yards Allowed, Red Zone Efficiency, Time of Possession, Kicking, Penalties, Turnovers, hot wives, confidence – I mean shoot, the only thing these two teams are even close in is New receivers that were consistent problems for their former teams, and that’s a freaking tie, no winner there. The Bills have a solid rushing attack, and usually that would give them a shot in the dark, running clock, keeping it close, keeping their defense off the field – but not these Bills, no way, they run the hurry up. The hurry up was never designed to hurry up and get your defense back on the field. Only, that’s the only kind of hurry up Buffalo runs. I don’t see the Jets losing three straight. I do see the Jets running the ball 60% of the time. With three good running backs, New York will finally realize their strength and stick to it. The Bills will fall, again.

NFL Free Picks: Week 11

9 in 9, 10 in 10, does that make 11 in Week 11 a lock? Hardly. However, I’m on to something here and we’ll see if I can’t make it work three weeks in a row. Here goes something big…

New York Jets (+3.5) @ New England Patriots: New England has lost just once to the Jets since 2004 – that’s 9 wins and 1 loss. New England has taken the last four contests, and the games haven’t been closer than 9 points. That being said, I don’t think the Patriots have been this decimated by injuries since, well, forever. The Jets come in 2-2 on the road, a beatdown at the hands of San Diego and a pathetic loss to the Raiders, but a couple solid wins over Miami and Buffalo. They are winners of 3 straight, and they seem to have their running attack going pretty good lately. I don’t think the Patriots will be able to run against Kris Jenkins and his marry men. I also know that the Patriots can’t gang up to stop just one part of the Jets offense, as the run and the pass are both options for Brett and the Jets. This is a tough one for me, that’s right folks, I’m not beaming with confidence on my side here, but I’ll take the healthy road team in this one. That extra half a point will make me a winner in case of a field goal loss, and that’s enough for me in this even battle. I also like the thought of New York splitting this series. I don’t think this game will have many fireworks, so don’t expect a repeat of the Browns/Broncos from last Thursday night. Both of these teams play defense.

Denver Broncos @ Atlanta Falcons (-5.5): Once again, if the Falcons can run, they’ve shown they can win. They have just three losses on the season, and those games were against Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Carolina – three very good run defenses. The Broncos can’t bring pressure, they definitely can’t stop the run, and the can’t run the ball either. Don’t sleep on the Falcons just because they are the Falcons – this is one of the better stories in football, and a Mike Smith team will always take advantage of turnovers. The Broncos are bound to give the ball away a few times. Also – the Falcons are undefeated at home – lots working in their favor here.

Oakland Raiders @ Miami Dolphins (-10): Like the Falcons and the Panthers, the Dolphins have shown that if they can run on you, they will beat you. But by 10? 11? 12? That makes it a little tougher – so while I’m surely on the Dolphins to oust the Raiders for a surefire Survivor pool pick here, I need more reasons to bet on them as a big favorite. I know that the Raiders are 1-3 as an underdog of 9 points or more. Their losses come to San Diego (lost by 10 in a 9 point spread, but it was a late LT touchdown that did it, a TD that was unneeded really), Baltimore (beat 29-10, easily), and Carolina last week in a game they had covered until a late field goal put the Panthers up 11. So, overall, they’ve actually played well as a big dog this year. The Dolphins have been a favorite in 3 games, they are 2-1 but 1-2 ATS. Last week they barely beat the Seahawks, they lost to Baltimore 4 weeks ago, and they beat Buffalo at home as a 1 point favorite 3 weeks ago. The Dolphins do play well against bad rushing defenses, though, upsetting the broncos by 9 in Denver and taking down the Chargers by a touchdown in Miami. Still, the Fins have won by 10 or more just once all season long, and while the Raiders are indeed bad, they have played better defense lately and haven’t played that bad on the road this season. I also don’t think the Dolphins should be a double digit point favorite against anyone in the league, besides maybe the Rams. I hate taking the Raiders, they have so many things going wrong that they are never a safe bet. After nearly losing last week, I think the Dolphins come out with a sense of urgency, and having the Raiders fly across the country to play them in the morning doesn’t hurt either – Oakland hasn’t been so hot crossing the midwest and they’ve lost 6 of their 9 games by 10 or more points. Take Miami. One more thing, Al Davis just took play calling away from the offensive coordinator – what a joke – who is he giving it to then? Wow.

Houston Texans (+10) @ Indianapolis Colts: When Houston can run, they’ll be alright. Sure, the Colts came back late in the game against the Steelers, and beat a very good PIttsburgh team on the road – they also got a couple gimmies and managed a 3 point win at home against the Patriots two weeks ago. That’s two wins in a row – and now everyone and their ESPN analyst wants to announce that the Colts are back. Please. They still look sloppy and not as confident as they’ve been. That worries me against a Texans team coming off a really bad game, a Texans team that is pretty decent and in big trouble. What does that mean? That means they’ll fight. The Texans do alright against teams that don’t stop the run really well. They barely lost to Jacksonville, they barely lost to Indy (by 3 and 4 points respectively), and their 4 other losses come against very good defensive fronts. The Colts will need to play very well to cover a 10 point spread against the Texans, and I don’t see that happening. They’ve played 2 good games all season long, last week against PIttsburgh and 5 weeks ago against Baltimore. 2 good games. That’s it. I’ll take the Texans and 10, thank you very much.

Chicago Bears (+5) @ Green Bay Packers: The Bears have won three straight games in Green Bay, and have taken 5 of the last 6 against the Packers. Interesting. All of those games were against Brett Favre and the Packers, though. Aaron Rodgers will be happy to get out of that Dome – not only was the pass rush from Minnesota causing him to run for his life, but it looked like the lights in that Dome were playing evil tricks on his perception as well. Green Bay has lost 5 of their last 7 games, including two home losses (24-27 to Atlanta; and 16-27 to the Cowboys). However, Green Bay has played well enough to win in all four of their most recent games, losing their last two contests by a total of 4 points. If they would have pulled their offensive coordinator’s head out of his own ace, they probably would have beaten the Vikings last week. However, they seemed happy with a 50+ yard field goal to win it. How happy are they now? Taking all things into account, I have to go with the Bears, despite the fact that I really liked the Packers coming into the season. Chicago may have 4 losses, but all 4 came to good teams, and 3 of those losses were by a field goal or less (Atlanta by 2, Tampa by 3, and Carolina by 3). Their only “big loss” came last week to Tennessee by 7, and it was closer than that. I see Chicago taking full advantage of the Packers weak run defense, and while I hope Green Bay gets to 5-5, I like the Bears and 5 points.

New Orleans Saints @ Kansas City Chiefs (+5.5): This is an interesting one, because there are some conflicting numbers – but I’ll get to the bottom of it. Here goes what I see: The Chiefs have played good football lately. Say what you will about this 1-8 team, they’ve taking the Jets, Bucs, and Chargers to the limit over the past three weeks, and all of it has been done without the guy everyone said was their best player to start the year. They did get killed by Carolina and Tennessee just before that, but these New Orleans Saints are a lot less like the Titans and Panthers, and a lot more like the Denver Broncos. They aren’t that bad defensively, but they are a team that can’t really run the rock, depend solely on Drew Brees’ arm, and have a secondary that has the stamina and staying power of the first guy you fight on Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. That said, whenever they’ve been dogs of 9 points or less, they’ve gotten hammered. Basically, they haven’t thrived when given a shot in hell to win the game. Then you have New Orleans, a team that has absolutely taken advantage of the leagues “not so elite” teams. They beat Oakland 34-3 and smoked San Francisco in a game they ended up winning by 14. I think KC would fit into that group of the “not so elite”. But Tyler Thigpen has been so good, the Saints have been bad, even worse on the road, and despite all the injuries and the losing, Herman Edwards has the Chiefs playing as good a football as they’ve played this year. They also have played pretty well against Pass-heavy teams this year. Ah, forget it, I’ll take the Chiefs in this one +5.5, but I bet if YOU wait long enough you can get 6.

Baltimore Ravens (+7.5) @ New York Giants: I’m all for taking the Giants, I’ve done my fair share of it and reaped the benefits this season. However, I see this game being within a touchdown, so I have to take the Ravens with that nice 7.5 line I got. Despite winning against Pittsburgh earlier in the season, the Giants didn’t play very well against that stellar defense. I think that the Ravens will be the second team to shut down the Giants rushing attack, and while Baltimore will have their fair share of trouble trying to score against New York, their running game will give them enough balance and short yardage conversions to keep this game close. Baltimore has played 1 bad game so far this year, a 31-3 drubbing at the hands of the Colts. Their other two losses were to Pittsburgh by an overtime field goal, and the Titans by a regulation field goal. Those last two teams are on the same level as the Giants, this game should be close as well.

Detroit Lions (+15) @ Carolina Panthers: An interesting match-up here. The Panthers have dominated as a big favorite this season, (which is rare for them), covering spreads of 10 (Oakland), 9.5 (Kansas City), and 7 (Atlanta). However, look at these tricky Lions for a second and you’ll see that in every game that they’ve been dogged by double digits, they’ve covered easily. What else? Everyone of those “big dog” ATS wins have come on the road. At Chicago they almost pulled one off and ended up losing by 4 (they were 12.5 point dogs), at Houston they were 11 point dogs and lost by a touchdown, and in Minnesota they were 13 point dogs and they lost by 2 and only because of a phantom pass interference penalty. I’ve said all year long that if the Panthers can run they they are one of the best teams in football. Conflicting stats? You bet. But I’m going to forget stats this week and just take the team that is winless thus far against a team that historically struggles at home as a big favorite. Plus, the Lions are getting 15 freaking points here – that’s a good thing if you’re betting the dog. Go Daunte, go!!!

Minnesota Vikings @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3): Boy, the Vikings sure are tempting fate this year. four of their five wins have come by a touchdown or less and they’ve only lost one game by more than a touchdown (against Tennessee, weird). But away from Minnesota, the Vikes are just 1-3. Playing in Tampa Bay where the Bucs are 4-0, I have to say I like the home team. Tampa Bay’s defense may not be big, but they are playing very well against the run,  and have beaten every run-heavy team they’ve faced. (They did lose to Dallas without Tony Romo, but that game was so flukey and weird, I don’t know what to call it). Both teams are coming off of wins in which they didn’t play very well, but Tampa is coming off a bye. Minnesota should have lost to Green Bay last week, and you all know how I feel about teams that should have lost but won – bet against them in a hurry. I’m taking the Bucs.

Philadelphia Eagles (-9) @ Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have lost 8 games this year (1 win), and in 7 of those 8 losses, they’ve been outscored by a touchdown or more. The Eagles are really good, good enough to be a 3 point favorite against the Giants last week and play pretty well down the stretch. They’ve lost 4 games this year, all to pretty good teams. Washington, Chicago, Dallas, and last week New York (Giants). The Eagles have been favored by a touchdown or more 3 times, they are 3-0 in those games. The Eagles dominate teams that don’t have good run defenses – like, fore arguments sake, the Bengals. This is a HUGE spread for a 5-4 road team to cover, but I like my chances with Philly this week. What’s a bye week going to do for the Bengals besides make them realize how pathetic they really are? No longer winless, I don’t think they have a chance to do anything worthwhile against the Eagles.

St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (-5.5): The Rams beat the Redskins and then the Cowboys (or the shell of the Cowboys without Tony Romo). That’s it. Over the last two games they’ve been absolutely embarrassed by the Cardinals and then the Jets. The 49ers also have 2 wins, but I like the way they played on Monday Night. Despite all the penalties and the turnovers, they fought until the last second and finished 2 yards shy of a huge upset. The Rams don’t pass well, and thus they won’t be able to take advantage of the Niners shaky secondary. I actually like San Francisco’s run defense enough to take them in a game where they are as big a favorite as they’ve been all season long. Go Samari Mike!

Arizona Cardinals (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck is back this week, or so the fortune teller says. Regardless, my magical bald brother Matt or not, I don’t think the Hawks match up well against the Cardinals. Arizona is coming off a game that should have snapped them back to reality, and they have a passing attack that should pay dividends, even against a solid Hawks secondary. Too much size for the little Hawk corners. The Cardinals have been favored in 5 games this season – they are undefeated in those contests. That’s just a stat, and honestly, it means nothing to me except it helps me argue my point. Which is this – to start the season I didn’t expect the Seahawks to win the West- I thought there was a Cardinal team that was better than them. That was when the Hawks were relatively healthy. Right now, they are still beat up, and while they have some players coming back, they still aren’t as good as the Cards. The Cardinals may be 2-3 on the road, but they’ve played well away from home. They lost to Carolina by just 4 points, and while they took 6 touchdowns from Brett Favre right on the chin, they played within a touchdown of a tough Redskin team in Washington. I know Seattle is historically solid at home in that rainy and unbelievably loud stadium, but throw history out the door and while you’re at it, look at how much better the Cards are than the Hawks. They’ll stuff the Hawks rushing attack and make plays against a stagnant Hawks offense. I’ll take the Cards – even with 70% of the public following me here.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: I would love to take the Jaguars here. The Titans can’t win them all, and despite the Titans defensive presence, they can be run on. But, that doesn’t mean the Jaguars can run on them. Jacksonville is still missing offensive linemen, and 4 wins against bad rushing defenses doesn’t a win against the Titans make… errr.. something like that. Basically, here it is. The Titans have struggled a little bit against legit passing attacks, Indy, Green Bay – they won, but they struggled. They also struggled against a couple very good run defenses in Chicago and Baltimore. THey won, but they struggled. The Jaguars happen to be nothing that the Titans struggle with. Jacksonville has a reputation of being a good run defense, but that’s just not true this season. Look for Tennessee to keep on winning this week in Jacksonville – that’s the only bet that makes sense.

San Diego Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-4): I wrote a nice write-up about why I was taking the Chargers, and then I did a little bit more research and realized that San Diego’s defense isn’t good enough to upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers lost last week to Indy, but they played awesome defensively. They should be too much for the Chargers offense, especially against the run. I like Pittsburgh here. I’m trying real hard not to think too far into this one.

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (+2): The Redskins haven’t played well over their last 4 games. They are 2-2, but their wins come against Cleveland by 3 and Detroit by 8. They lost to St. Louis and then to PIttsburgh two weeks ago. They looked lost against the Steelers defense. Tony Romo comes back this week, and you can bet the Cowboys are ready to make a playoff push after struggling without their signal caller. I even like the Cowboys talent level. But I can’t even think about taking the Cowboys as a favorite in Washington. The Redskins have done enough to show me that they can pick apart a bad secondary, and there has to be some rust on Tony’s Cowboy machine. Look for the Redskins to come back with a huge win that should cripple the Boys in Week 11.

Cleveland Browns (+5.5) @ Buffalo Bills: I like the Browns in this one. I think the Bills will have a hard time rushing against the Browns front line, and I think Brady Quinn gives the Browns enough accuracy to stay on the field that much longer. He didn’t look as great as everyone likes to say he did, last week against a bad Broncos defense, but he is accurate enough – and that’s huge for the Browns. This should be a close one, like most Brown and Bill games, so those 5.5 points should come in handy on Monday Night.

One For Wednesday

If you think Thomas Jones’ recent yardage outputs are ridiculous and not an indication of the rest of his season, think again. The muscle man is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and his schedule over the rest of the season is generous. This week he plays the Kansas City Chiefs. Joke. He also plays (over the last 10 weeks) the Rams, the Patriots, the Broncos, the 49ers, and the Seahawks. Having their NFC games against the West is definitely beneficial for Thomas. What else? Well, the man has gotten at least 19 touches in all but one game this season. The Jets do their best to establish him on the ground. WIth only 3 touchdowns so far, he hasn’t become a great goal line threat, but he is still a ncie match-up against mediocre defenses. With good match-ups down the line, he’ll be a nice guy to keep around.

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 3

It wasn’t beautiful, that’s for sure, I lost some close ones and killed it on most of the beatdowns – I say most, because lord knows I didn’t expect the Patriots to get whacked by the Dolphins. Anyway, I was 8-7 headed into Monday Night Football – and since I felt like sharing this is the review.

Kansas City ChiefsAtlanta Falcons (-4): (WINNER) Turner went for over 100 yards with 3 touchdowns to his name. The kid is for real. If you still don’t believe you must be drunk. The Chiefs couldn’t stay up with the Falcons offensive attack, even thought Larry Johnson put up some nice numbers of his own. Falcons at 2-1… Nice.

Oakland Raiders (+10.5)Buffalo Bills: (WINNER) “I think Oakland is better than many give them credit for, and the Bills aren’t quite the 10.5 point powerhouse at home. Take the points and the Raiders here. Expect JaMarcus Russell to have a two touchdown game, and the Raiders to stay close in Buffalo.” Well, the Raiders didn’t run it that well, but JaMarcus did have his two touchdown game, one rushing – one passing, and the Raiders were a last second field goal away from ruining my survivor pool after just 3 weeks. But, the Bills pulled it out, and while my survivor streak lives on, I also get a nice win here.

Houston TexansTennessee Titans (-5): (WINNER) “I don’t think Houston’s run defense can slow down the Titans rushing attack enough to cover in Tennessee.” Honestly, Houston’s run defense was decent. They allowed two rushing touchdowns, but holding the Titans to 150 yards on 36 carries isn’t that bad. But Matt Schaub didn’t have his A game going. He threw 3 interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and the Texans didn’t stand a chance against a very good Titans defense. When will Houston get an offensive line that can protect a quarterback?

Cincinnati BengalsNew York Giants (-13): (LOSS) “Until the Bengals show me that they are more together than a bucket of busted Legos, I’m not even considering taking them at anything less than +17.” Alright, now that the Bengals have showed me something (though they are still 0-3 because of some stone cold heroic throws from Eli Manning) I will start considering them against the spread. The Giants pulled out an overtime victory (thought I was rooting hard against them because of survivor pool purposes) but the Bengals covered easily. This is the Bengals team everyone expected. They might have thrown up a fluke good game against a good team, but I have a feeling they’ll get it together now and be competitive. Still, I lost.

Arizona Cardinals (+3.5)Washington Redskins: (LOSS) “I understand that the NFC East hasn’t lost a game out of their own conference this season. It’s only been two weeks, but it is definitely the scariest conference in football.” Well, the NFC East still hasn’t lost a game out of their conference so far this season. The Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, and Redskins all did damage against their respective opponents. The Cardinals were just another team in the NFC East warpath. Washington won by a touchdown and gave me another L.

Miami DolphinsNew England Patriots (-12.5): (LOSSSSS!!!!) “This is going to be one of those Patriotic blowouts. Miami is still one of the worst teams in football and despite Tom Brady’s absence, the Patriots are still one of the best.” Hmmmm…. Have I been tricked? Have we been absolutely April fooled? I’d like to think not. In fact, all teams are subject to a bad game. The Patriots just happened to have one of their worst games ever and Ronnie Brown was a man possessed on Sunday (the cat was responsible for 5 touchdowns – dirty). I lost this one, sure, but I have to think this loss gives the Patriots some nice value down next week – unless of course the Jets are much worse than we all thought (we’ll see Monday Night).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) Chicago Bears: (WINNER) “I know the Bears are 2-0, but I still don’t see them as a good team. Maybe that changes this week if they can fend off the Bucs, a solid team all around, but my bet is that doesn’t happen.” A couple things happened in this contest: 1, The Bears did prove to me that they are a solid team – a group I have greatly underrated to this point, their defense is good enough to allow their offense to keep running the ball, and Matt Forte is a beast – they’ll be in almost every game they play. 2, the Bucs couldn’t run the ball, but they were good enough to realize that and take what the Bears gave them. Brian Griese should never have 400+ passing yards, heck, 300 is a stretch – but the Bears wouldn’t let the Bucs run and so Griese just passed – that shows me that they will be a force in the NFC South. They aren’t one dimensional anymore.

Carolina PanthersMinnesota Vikings (-3): (WINNER) “I don’t see Carolina’s rushing attack working too well in Minnesota, and I do think their offensive attack and winning chances depend on that. Gus Frerotte starts this week in Minnesota, so the Panthers will have more to worry about through the air. We’ll see, but I have to believe that the Vikings don’t start the season 0-3. Take the Vikes to get their first win and by just enough to cover at home.” The Vikings won by 10, and most of that W was because the Panthers couldn’t run the ball. It didn’t matter who was toting the rock for the Panthers, they couldn’t do anything against that ferocious defensive line in Minnesota. 1-2 is much better than 0-3, just ask the Browns.

St. Louis Rams (+11) @ Seattle Seahawks: (LOSS) Alright, I’m off the Rams. Right now, this team has to be one of the worst professional football teams I’ve seen in a long time. The Dolphins last season? No way – they were decent. Everyone aside from Tory Holt looks terrible in St. Louis. That Steven Jackson cat that just pulled in all that dough? He skips around in the backfield like a damn jumping jack, never attacking the line with any force whatsoever. Killing me. Bulger? Please. The offensive line – they are probably most of the reason for Bulger and Jackson playing like scared mice. I was DEAD wrong about this one, and I apologize completely.

Detroit Lions (+4)San Francisco 49ers: (LOSS) Boy, if there wasn’t a team from St. Louis I would absolutely hammer the Lions right now. Detroit plays like every opponent is tougher than they are. They can’t stop anyone – just like Mike Ditka said on Sunday morning. Ditka was right, the Lions defense is abysmal… Someone give Matt Millen another year at the helm of this beast!

New Orleans Saints @ Denver Broncos (-4.5): (LOSS) Absolutely screwed! That’s right, you can see this game a couple ways – either the Denver Broncos should have lost against a last second field goal, or the way I see it. If Denver just runs the ball and the clock goes down, then they kick a field goal to go up 5. But no… Splinter has to get cute with his little Ninja Horsies, and Scheffler fumbles the ball, and now New Orleans has a chance. I should have covered here – that was a load of BS. Not only that but Splinter still gets the win for his Broncos and everyone isn’t killing him all over national TV. Last week he pulls a stunt and gets a win for it, this week his dumb play backfires and he still gets a win. Oh, and I lose! DAMN IT! (Sorry, I’m a little frustrated with this outcome)

Pittsburgh SteelersPhiladelphia Eagles (-3): (WINNER) Let me say that I am stunned the Eagles iced the Steelers like this without Westy for most of the game. The best player on the field goes down early, after just 5 carries for 12 yards, and the Eagles D up tough, sacking Big Ben like it was their job, even knocking the big cat out of the game late. The Eagles didn’t put up a gaggle of yards or touchdowns, but they did what they needed to do and got a big win against a tough AFC team.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6)Indianapolis Colts: (WINNER) “Bob Sanders’ injury wins me over to the dogs in this one. I think the Jaguars will run all over the Colts on Sunday. This is a pretty big game for both teams, and Jacksonville has looked anything but solid thus far, but my instinct is to trust my gut, and my gut tells me that Jacksonville has been playing well below their talent level, and that will stop now. At 0-2 there’s not much room to mess around, and I don’t imagine they’ll come out throwing all over Indy. Maurice Jones Drew should get 15-20 carries and Fred Taylor will get his touches as well. If that happens, and I believe it will, the Jaguars and Colts will both be sitting at 1-2 after Week 3.” I just quoted everything I said in my picks column because it worked perfectly in this game.

Cleveland Browns (+2.5)Baltimore Ravens: (LOSS) (LOSS) (LOSS) I’ll take the hit for this one. Up at half I thought the Browns would come out and shut down the Ravens. I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot in this game. I would like to say this once again, in case everyone is missing the link, this Browns team is EXACTLY like the Saints from last year. Right?

Dallas Cowboys (-3)Green Bay Packers: (WINNER)  The best team in football beat a very good team in Green Bay on Sunday Night. Unless the Cowboys really stumble, they look like one hell of a team to beat.

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 1

It all started very nicely with a Giants cover at home against the Skins – faltered a little in the morning games and then shot back up in the afternoon/night games to finish off the week. Overall the record looks decent after picking every game in Week 1 I finished at 10-6… People in “the business” might say that I’m riding a 6 game winning streak headed into Week 2 – I think that term is ridiculous, but check it out for yourself!

Washington RedskinsNew York Giants (-3): (7-16: WINNER!) “The Redskins could become a solid unit later in the season, but early on I still expect them to make mistakes with their new systems. Jim Zorn is a good coach, and Jason Campbell should flourish under his tutelage, but Zorn is no miracle worker and the Skins should still struggle to find consistency. Expect the Giants to grind one out to open the season,” – There were a couple things that I got right, surely, one being the game – which is nice, and the other being the plethora of mistakes the Redskins would make in their opening game under Jim Zorn. But I also said, “Jim Zorn is a good coach,” which is probably a stretch. What I should have said was, I think Zorn will be a very good coach. Because right now, he’s just a rookie, and he’s calling plays – so he’s really putting himself in a tough spot. But they’ll get better – I’m just happy I took the Giants in this one, and am even happier that James Thrash let a last minute touchdown slip through his fingers. Yhatzee!

Cincinnati Bengals (pk)Baltimore Ravens: (10-17: LOSS) “I really dislike both of these teams. I didn’t like either much to start with, but then I was basically forced to watch a couple of each team’s pre-season games. Gross. I would say that no team played worse than the Bengals during the pre-season, but I don’t think I could back that up if someone brought up the Ravens.” This one was pretty ugly, but that was because we had to watch the Bengals on offense and defense. I’ve never seen Carson Palmer look so bad in my entire life. I’ve seen that defense look this bad, however. I was wrong about the Bengals putting some points on the board, and I probably didn’t give the Ravens defense enough credit. Either that or the Bengals are really, really bad. I’ll decide which one later in the week. Remember, I warned you, I really didn’t like this game. If I’m not feeling good about a game, I will let you know in my picks section.

New York Jets (-3) Miami Dolphins: (20-14: WINNER!) Miami played better than I expected, and really had a chance down the stretch to tie it up, but only because the Jets squandered some opportunities. I’ll tell you what, I’m not believing the Jets as a top AFC team quite yet, even with a narrow week 1 win over the powerhouse Dolphins. I’ll take my win here, that’s for sure – because in any game a win is a win. Thomas Jones rushed for 100+ and scored a touchdown, showing me the improvement on New York’s offensive line.

Kansas City Chiefs (+17)New England Patriots: (10-17: WINNER!) The Chiefs ran the ball a lot and took a lot of time off the clock – but I must say that Tom Brady’s injury had to help the cause in this one. I may have been a loser if Tom stayed in, and I may have still lost had the Patriots not fumbled the ball all over the field. But my point is this, I won. Despite anything that happened, you have to look at the win-loss column when the games are done being played. The Patriots still won this game but I covered with ease. I’ll take a win however I can get it, right, have I made that clear enough? However, this game gives the Patriots great value down the stretch, in my humble opinion, so keep that in mind as the season moves on. I also like the Chiefs under Huard – I think he makes them a better bet when he’s under center.

Houston Texans (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: (38-17: LOSS) “Maybe it’s because I’m an old offensive guard, but I have a feeling that Alan Fanneca’s absence will hurt the Steelers just as much as his place in New York will help the Jets. The one thing that has me questioning myself is the Texans on the road versus the Steelers at home. The Steelers only lost to the Jaguars in Pittsburgh last season, having their way with most other opponents. The Texans won just two games on the road, versus a bad Panthers team and an even worse Raiders team. They didn’t lose by less than 8 in any of their road losses. I’m not a lover of last years’ numbers, so I’m not changing my pick here – I’m just warning you readers.” Okay, a couple things about capping games. Really, you can find reasons to take either side of any game, it’s the side that makes the most sense to you that is important. Well, in most cases. In this case, I thought Fanneca’s absence would hurt the Steelers rushing attack – I was dead wrong about that because Willie Parker hasn’t looked better than he did on Sunday and Big Ben only had to throw 11 times all day. Also, I was right about the road woes the Texans go through and the confidence the Steelers have at home. I probably was excited about the Texans this season, and put too much weight in the absence of one guy in Pittsburgh. The Steelers sure looked good on opening night. And by the way, 38-17 and it wasn’t that close.

Jacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans (+3): (7-16: WINNER!) “The Titans are a very tough defense that plays inspired at home. I know the Jaguars are solid, and they’ve looked very good in the pre-season compared to the Titans who have looked absent, but Tennessee as a 3 point dog at home against a beat up Jaguars offense? I can’t find any value in the Jaguars here, so the bet has to go with Tennessee.” What can I say, this game was close just like I knew it would be. And what else do you know, the Titans defense played out of their minds and looked brilliant against a beat up Jaguars offense. From time to time I like my style enough to give myself a back pat, this is one of those times.

Detroit Lions (-3) @ Atlanta Falcons: (21-34: LOSS) “This game isn’t going to be a blowout, but I don’t see the Falcons having enough secondary talent to keep the Lions receiving corps out of the end-zone. I like the Falcons more than most, and am not crazy about the Lions – I just don’t think this is a good match-up for Atlanta. The Falcons will find success on the ground, but Detroit will eventually realize that they can pick on the rookie quarterback a little bit – stack the box a lot – and end up winning this game by a touchdown or more.” Oh Detroit! The Lions probably would have got smoked either way, and maybe 9 Lions in the box doesn’t mean they can stop Michael Turner – I don’t even know if 11 would do it. The Falcons ran all over the Lions, and while the Falcons secondary wasn’t good enough to completely keep the Lions receivers out of the end-zone, they sure did a good enough job while getting 34 points from their offense. I liked the Falcons more than most, and I still do, I just dislike the Lions more than I did in the first place.

Seattle Seahawks (+1) Buffalo Bills: (10-17: LOSS) I expected the Seahawks to fly to Buffalo, play an entire football game, and possibly walk away with a win. Instead, the Husky’s got in Hawk uniforms, flew to Buffalo, were obviously frightened of the physicality involved, looked like a poor college team playing against a decent NFL team and the score reflects that. I’m not positive that’s what happened, but it’s my best guess. I watched most of this game and it didn’t look good for Hawk fans. This, and the upcoming Colts game, made me think – is it just me or do teams with retiring coaches struggle to find somebody to play for? Hmmm… It’s something to think about. Holmgren and Dungy are both most likely to coach for one more season –  both teams played terrible – coincidence?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ New Orleans Saints: (20-24: LOSS) The Bucs missed some key opportunities and still had a chance late in this game. The score went back and forth and this one was very close. I still like the Bucs to be the better of the two teams, and I think play calling hurt the Bucs chances a bit in this one. Anytime you have a running back that carries the ball 10 times for 90+ yards in a close game, you should have probably given him the ball a few more times. I took a half point loss, but it didn’t feel quite so bad because I still finished strong in Week 1.

St. Louis Rams (+8.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (3-38: LOSS) “What can I say? I really like the Rams as a huge dog in Philly.”  What can I say? I watched this game a little and immediately felt like an idiot. The Rams hurt my feelings and I will forever use voodoo and witch doctor magic spells to torment coaches and players from now until my dying day. No, but honestly, the Rams looked worse than any other team in the league. I can’t imagine they are this bad, nor do I believe that the Eagles are this good – but the Eagles are better than I gave them credit for, and the Rams don’t look like a team, they look like Dorothy’s worse nightmare – the Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow all mashed into one mindless, heartless, courageless unit. Discouraging to say the least.

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (28-10: WINNER!) “I don’t know if I’m willing to buy the Cowboys as this season’s Super Bowl favorite, but I will tell you that I’m ready to purchase the Browns as this year’s big disappointment. I liken the Browns to New Orleans last year – and this game is going to be a tough one for them.” I’m not sure if the Browns will lose four straight to start the year or continue to look as dejected as New Orleans was to start their 2007 campaign – but this was a very similar start for the Browns. I’m not fortune teller, but I can see a comparison when it jumps out in front of me – this one looks obvious. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Carolina Panthers (+10)San Diego Chargers: (26-24: WINNER!) “I kind of like Carolina to put up a battle in this one. The Panthers defense is the unit that looks good to me. Peppers will be better after a down season and Jon Beason is going to be one heck of a linebacker in this league. Look for the Panthers to stay within single digits and give an overhyped Chargers team a run for their money on opening day. Plus, the Panthers are always solid value as a dog,” History was on my side in this one. The Panthers may have been pretty lucky to get the win (I liken Rosario’s catch to Dwight Clark’s catch, he just pulled it out of the sky) but this cover was never in doubt. The tandem of Williams and Stewart looked and played more efficient than LT and the Charger’s rushing attack, and Jake Delhomme was the old, accurate quarterback that he always is when healthy. The Panthers won a big one as a road dog – weird.

Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)San Francisco 49ers: (23-13: WINNER!) This game was pretty ugly, but one things stuck out to me – Frank Gore is really good. The Cardinals were all over this guy and he still had one hell of a game. He should be something in this offense, because he just had a very nice game against an underrated Cardinals defense. Still, the 49ers couldn’t pull off the upset, and Arizona managed the game will without forcing anything. That’s a good way to win against a bad team. I didn’t expect Kurt and company to play so smart – but I’ll take it.

Chicago Bears (+10.5)Indianapolis Colts: (7-16: WINNER!) “The Colts defense looked bad during the pre-season, really bad, and while that doesn’t always mean the world is falling, I can’t see it as a good sign of things to come. I think Kyle Orton is a relatively mistake free quarterback and that bodes well for the Bears covering as big dogs. I think Chicago will actually run the ball pretty effectively against the Colts, even though the Bears don’t have a stellar offensive line. Manning will be slow to come back, and despite what he wants you to believe, he’s not 100%.” Well alright! Some times you cap a game, garner some nice predictions, and look like you’ve done this before (See Titans/Jaguars). And other times you look like a complete moron (see Eagles/Rams). But this isn’t either of those times, this is one of those times where you look like a damned fortune teller. Believe it or not I don’t time travel and I know nothing sure about the future. But I did drop a dime deep pass on this game. I may have been the only one expecting the Bears to run all over the Colts and have Indy look silly. But sometimes it’s nice to be different, and when you call it you call it. I take the bumps, lumps, and bruises – so now I’ll take the cake and eat it. All of it.

Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers (-2):(7-16: WINNER!) “Aaron Rodgers is better than anyone is giving him credit for, but on this team he won’t have to be. Aaron won’t take all the big chances that Brett took, and while he won’t be as flashy or tally up the numbers like #4, he will give the Packers a great chance to win each time he takes the field. Don’t give up on the Packers just because Brett is wearing a different color green.” You have to admit, I am right about Rodgers. He was 18-22 on the night and looks like a kid that really knows the game. He’ll throw a minimal amount of interceptions and keep his team in the game. He can make all the throws – don’t confuse him for Chad Pennington or Kyle Orton. He’s got something, and I like it. The Vikings didn’t game plan very well for this one. If they run the ball more, the might have won this game. Still, they had a chance. But it wasn’t as close as the score. The Packers left a lot of points on the field, so feel free to ride them early. They’ll probably be a good bet in the beginning of the season here.

Denver Broncos (-1)Oakland Raiders: (7-16: WINNER!) This was easier than I thought. The Broncos dominated this game like the Eagles dominated the Rams, like the Cowboys smashed the Browns. Denver looked good and the only guy looking better than Jay Cutler last night was his starting rookie receiver, Eddie Royal. This kid is my new favorite player. He’s as quick as any receiver in the league and he’s fearless. Virginia Tech didn’t use him because they didn’t have the quarterback – but Denver does, and watch him blow this league up from the get go.

10-6 – Not a bad start for the good guys!

Three for Thursday

I’ve got three more tidbits for you valued readers… Who else would give you this kind of love?

Chris Perry… Ravens – Ravens… Chris Perry: Poor guy. Chris Perry gets his first start in the NFL after being injured for what has seemed like his entire pro existence, and who does he get to try and stay healthy against? Oh, just the Baltimore Ravens. Hopefully he can catch the ball, because running it didn’t really pan out for opposing offenses last season. How many yards per rush do you think the Ravens gave up last year? 4? 3? Nope, try 2.8. Yes sir, 2.8 whole freaking yards. That’s the lowest in the league. Many would think that the Vikings were the best run defense last season because of all the hype that goes with their monstrous defensive line, and they did allow the least amount of total rushing yards, but no matter how hard opposing offenses tried, the Ravens wouldn’t budge. They were the only defense to keep opposing rushers under 3 yards per carry in ’07. I’m guessing Perry doesn’t look like a million bucks his first time out. You have to go back to 2000 to find a defense that bettered the Ravens in ’07, and what do you know, that was the Ravens. 

Shaven, no Bush: Reggie hasn’t had a stellar start to his young career, but the Bucs really seem to cut him down to size. In two contests against the Bucs in ’07, Reggie rushed 23 times for 81 yards, 9 catches for 56 yards, zero touchdowns and 4 fumbles. In ’06, during his rookie year, Reggie had 20 carries for 18 yards, 15 grabs for 85 yards, and no scores. In one game he had 11 carries for -5 yards with a long of 3. I like Reggie. I think he’ll be a good player in this league, and he’ll figure out how to hit a hole during his third season. But, he won’t do it on opening day – don’t put all your eggs in this Bush.

Racking up the Yards: I know I talked about McFadden, Selvin Young, Thomas Jones, and the Ricky Williams/Ronnie Brown duo headed into this weekend’s games – but I found some more stuff that I just had to share. Only 3 teams gave up more rushing yards than the Jets. Only two teams gave up more rushing yards than the Broncos. Only one team gave up more on the ground than Oakland. And nobody allowed more rushing yards than the Dolphins. Lucky for you fan of the ground game, the Dolphins take on the Jets while the Raiders host the Broncos on Monday Night. This is what I call a tournament. The seedings would look like this… 4 @ 1 and 3 @ 2. I hope the winner gets to go to the Super Bowl – but that probably won’t happen. It’s a good week to own this group of fantasy backs. 

Get back here at the end of the work week to read Five for Friday