Kansas City Chiefs vs Oakland Raiders NFL Prediction

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Kansas City Chiefs (+2) @ Oakland Raiders NFL Prediction: Kudos to the oddsmakers, this line hasn’t changed a bit and 50% of the people rest on either side. Quite amazing, really. It’s games like this that make me stoked to have NFL Sunday Ticket, but it’s games like this that make my friends hate that I have Sunday Ticket. I’m telling you, in sports, I like car wrecks, this thing is a full blown opposite direction fast lanes merging into one bike lane – and I get to see it!

Okay, so I’m pretty sure this line is making the Raiders a solid value bet, if there ever is such a thing. The Chiefs getting 2 points in Oakland is basically calling KC the better team, which I honestly have a hard time accepting – and yes, I’m betting on KC this week. Maybe the line is the way it is because the road team has won the last 6 match-ups between these formerly proud franchises. Now you can walk up to a mime and say, “Chiefs-Raiders” and get a pretty good out loud chuckle. The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs in 3 of the last 4 contests, and I’m pretty sure the Chiefs are the only team in the NFL that Oakland can say that about. I’m not kidding.

But all pasts and records aside, the Chiefs, at least to me, are the better team. They are cleaning some things up, and have played close games (even winning one, if you count the Redskins) in 3 of their last 4. They lost to Dallas in overtime, beat Washington in D.C., and just lost by 3 to Jacksonville in Florida last week. The Chiefs are definitely playing their best football of the year. They lost last time they played the Raiders, 10-13, but I think they turn the tables this week. I’m pretty sure losing to Oakland 4 times in 5 games is physically impossible.

Oakland Raiders vs San Diego Chargers Prediction

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Oakland Raiders (+17.5) @ San Diego Chargers Prediction: The Chargers aren’t a great football team. They aren’t in the Patriots, Giants, Colts, Saints, Vikings, type group. That pretty much makes them a bad-value-bet as a double digit favorite. When that double digit favorite moves over 3 scores (a couple touchdowns and a field goal) they move even farther away from value and into a whole new category of auto-fade. Can the Chargers beat the Raiders by 3 touchdowns? You bet. It’s just not a great bet to happen. Oakland is bad, no doubt, but they aren’t the Rams. Defensively they have the talent to make some big plays, rush the passer, force the Chargers into some mistakes. San Diego doesn’t have a run-stuffing defensive front, so if Oakland can run the ball even a little bit (which I believe they can) they have a pretty good shot at keeping this one close. It’s never one of the safest bets in the world to take the Raiders, they’ve lost four games by 20 points or more so far this season. But they’ve also won twice, and kept their opening night game close against San Diego, despite terrible offensive play from their side. Defensively, they should keep this closer than 17. Any team (+17.5) against San Diego has solid value.

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.

Papas Picks for Week 6: Only Underdogs! Ravens, Buccaneers, Raiders

Papa’s Picks!

This is Papa Weimer, I usually leave making picks up to the intelligent youngster in the family, but this week I see a few underdogs that need to be mentioned. Now a couple of these are different from the wonder-kid, but I’m putting myself out on the line and saying even the guys who are always right give a wrong pick now and again. These are my Top 3 underdog pick:

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Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Minnesota Vikings: I don’t know about you guys, but there’s something about AP getting shut down by the Packers and Rams that get me shying away from the old man and his gang of purple clad cronies. The Vikings are solid, no doubts about that, but Ryan Grant and Steven Jackson had pretty solid numbers over the last two games, and even though the Vikings have won pretty easily, I’m not ready to turn my shoulder on that. The Ravens run the ball twice as well as the Rams and Packers, so unless the Vikings are ready to turn it up at home this Sunday, and play a completely different game, I think they’re going to get an upleasant surprise. The AFC’s big dogs are tough, and the Ravens won’t walk gingerly into Minnesota. Lucky’s with me on this one, we both like us some Ravens this Sunday!

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5): Lucky has given up on the Bucs, and that’s fair, but what’s to like about Carolina? At least there’s a group of guys playing hard in Tampa, not just Jake Delhome in Carolina. Yeah, that’s right, despite his troubles, Jake is playing hard for his team. But that’s about it. That offensive line isn’t blocking tough enough to get two good running backs going, and they sure as all hell aren’t protecting Jake. Tampa ditched their Gaines Adams project this week, and I think that gets people thinking in Tampa, they’re trimming fat now, and it’s time to step up. I think the Bucs get their first win, because sometime they’re going to have to, but even if they don’t a close game gets me a win anyway, that extra half point late makes me a happy bettor. Go Buccos!

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Oakland Raiders (+14.5): Hey, if Vegas is willing to give me a group of NFL football players and 14.5 points, I’m in. The Raiders are bad, sure, but only a couple McNabb interceptions need to happen for the Raiders to cover this spread. Maybe Al Davis is crazy, I wouldn’t doubt it, anybody that has combed his hair as much as that clown probably needs to be checked. But Tom Cable has fight, and there’s only so much time before the Raiders come out and show some. I think that’s this week at home against the Eagles. I think Michael Bush becomes a huge part of the Raiders game plan this week, and while nobody has mentioned him as a fantasy sleeper this week, I think his big plays, and a touchdown or two give the Raiders just enough to put some blankets on this large spread.

Philadelphia Eagles vs Oakland Raiders Football Pick

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Philadelphia Eagles (-14) @ Oakland Raiders: There’s no reason to take the Raiders here. They have no offense, their defense isn’t good enough to win games (circa Bears or Ravens of yester-year) and they have a clown owner and a head coach that likes to punch out assistant coaches when they even hint at how big of a circus he’s heading up in Oakland. These guys in the uniforms make the fans in Oak-town look normal. Have you seen that commercial where the guys are getting all dressed up for a KISS concert and when they pop out of their van in full KISS gear, it just happens that they read their tickets wrong and they were smack dab in the middle of Oakland tailgating? Well, the Oakland Raiders seem to play like a bunch of guys that did the same damn thing as the KISS guys. Sure, a new way is born, but that way is a joke. If JaMarcus Russell throws twenty feet short or thirty feet long on any more throws, I’m going to fall over laughing, and I thought he had a decent future. Lets face it, the Raiders are like the Clippers, they pay players lots of money in exchange for their souls. I feel bad for Richard Seymour, but I’m taking the Eagles favored by a couple touchdowns on the road. It’s a shame that Al Davis sold his soul in exchange for the Raiders franchise for eternity. I’m sure he’ll have roster moves and coaching changes written out for the next 20 years in his will. Philadelphia scores fast and often, they have a defense that takes advantage of mistakes, the Raiders make lots of mistakes, I think the defense might cover this spread all by themselves…

NFL Week 2 Expert Picks Review: Football Handicapping

It would be easy to say that I should have won 11 for my Week 2 football picks for week too, because, honestly, I have to feel I picked that Monday Night game right on the button. But that’s just looking at what went wrong. If I was doing the what if business, or the should have business, I would have to admit the Giants probably shouldn’t have won on Sunday Night either… But I won 10 more games this week, starting out with double digit douzies in each of the first two weeks. Can’t ask for much more than that. This is how the cookie crumbled…

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Carolina Panthers (+6) @ Atlanta Falcons: (LOSS) This game was very close. I’m not saying I should have won, but I’m not saying I look like a dope for making this pick either. The Panthers had their chances, that’s for sure, and were driving the ball late in this game, going for a tie. Two times in the red-zone with no points ended things for Carolina, a team that I think should be a nice underdog going forward.

St. Louis Rams @ Washington Redskins (-9.5): (LOSS)  “At first glance this one is tough for me to stomach. Take the Rams, a team I have claimed to be the worst in football, or the Redskins, a team favored by 10 that has shown very little ability to put the ball in the end zone with Jason Campbell at the point.” I followed this by saying some things that I wish I wouldn’t have. Things I may never say again like, “I believe in the Redskins’ offense”. Washington won, sure, but they didn’t even score enough to cover if they had shut out the Rams. The play calling in Washington is very dull, lacks any sort of creativity, and basically gives Jason Campbell no chance to succeed. I don’t know why coaches insist on doing this for quarterbacks that are struggling. Making a QB easier to defend is no way to help him out, to help him improve. Both of these teams were pathetic on Sunday, but the Rams are still the worst team in football.

Houston Texans (+8) @ Tennessee Titans: (WINNER) “From what I saw from the Titans last week, they have a very good run defense. But they have holes in that secondary if the offensive line withstands that immediate surge. I think the Texans were terrible last week, but not a terrible football team. So things have to even out. The Titans should have won against Pittsburgh, but some missed field goals kept the Steelers in the game. The Titans are solid, and should run the ball well against Houston, but the Texans are closer to the Titans than 8 points. This is a divisional game, and both teams should come in with a lot to prove. That usually keeps the outcome closer, I’ll take the points.” I’m glad I got this one. Lots of points early, and Chris Johnson’s very own highlight film had me on the ropes. But just like I expected, Houston’s offense came to play, and this game was tied late. With a certain cover in the cards, I loved seeing Houston come out and upset Tennessee at home. I think Houston has this kind of offense, and will continue to give good teams trouble all season long.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles (-1): (LOSS) “I don’t think this is a safe bet, but I’m taking the Eagles.” Hopefully you took my warning to heart, unlike myself, and didn’t wager on this game. I liked the Eagles, thought they’d be tougher defensively for Drew, but the 6 foot wonder kid torched his second straight opponent. It’s going to take a down game from Brees for his Saints to lose, and I’m not sure how easy that’s going to be to predict. The Eagles secondary is pretty solid, but Brees made them look like junior varsity most improved players… The Eagles put up lots of yards, but the Saints D made some big plays putting this one on the top shelf early.

New England Patriots @ New York Jets (+5): (WINNER)  “I don’t like taking a team that played poorly, should have lost, and won last week. So I’m not going to do it. The Jets do lots of little things right, and their defense is stout. I’m not sure the Patriots will be able to stop the run with Seymour stuffing the line of scrimmage in Oakland and Jarrod Mayo out for a few weeks. The Jets have a very solid offensive line, and I think they’ll be coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder.” You could see the chip on the Jets’ shoulders all game long. New York is too good defensively to be a 5 point dog, and their offensive line is too good for that as well. They do the little things right, they should have won this game, and they did.

Oakland Raiders (+4) @ Kansas City Chiefs: (WINNER) Well, JaMarcus Russell was brutal, the Raiders didn’t run all that well, but KC’s offense couldn’t put up points either, and the Raiders pulled out a win in KC. I liked the Raiders to win this one, and they did just enough to make that happen. I wouldn’t say the beat up on the Chiefs, but as a four point dog against a bad offense, you don’t need to kill to be an easy cover. I thought the Raiders were exactly that.

Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-3): (LOSS)  Kurt Warner was amazingly accurate, and the Cardinals, never a good team playing on the East Coast, got to 1-1 on the season by smashing a Jaguars team that doesn’t look that good. Jacksonville needs something, and I’m not sure it’s players… Just saying.

Cincinnati Bengals (+9) @ Green Bay Packers: (WINNER)  “I hate to do this, because I think the Packers are a lot better than they played last week, but I can’t take a team that played poorly last week, pulled out a win anyway, and is now favored by 9 over a defense that looks much improved. I think the Bengals offense will improve every week, and from Week 1 to Week 2 will be no difference. People will look at this game and say, the Bengals suck, they lost to the terrible Broncos, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t think the Broncos are bad, they just aren’t great. And it took a pretty big fluke for the Bengals to get ousted in Week 1. Nine is a lot of points, and an improved Bengals defense should keep it closer than that. A couple big plays from Palmer and Chad, and this could be a big upset in Week 1. Survivor players, steer clear!” Please tell me you listened up and didn’t go with the Packers in your survivor games… I know I stayed away, and for good reason. That first part of what I said, never take a team that played poorly and just slipped by and is now a big favorite – write that down, put it in a safe, and look in that safe every week before making your picks.

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Minnesota Vikings (-10) @ Detroit Lions: (WINNER) Like everyone else, I liked the Vikings here. For all the obvious reasons that made them one of the more popular picks in Week 2 – so I don’t need to go into much detail. All I know is that Stafford still isn’t ready as his two more interceptions in Week 2 show. If the Lions want to win, Culpepper is their guy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5) @ Buffalo Bills: (LOSS) This was a tough one. Buffalo jumped out early, and honestly if it weren’t for some big dropped passes by TO, this game would have been an even bigger blowout. I really expected good things from the Bucs run game in this one, but like many running teams, if you start off way behind it’s tough to get the run game started. A swing and a miss no doubt.

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers (-1.5): (WINNER)  “I think the 49ers just play a tougher brand of football that makes a tough match-up for the Hawks. Frank Gore’s running style seems to eat up the smallish Hawks front 7, and especially with Leroy Hill out, Seattle should have trouble preventing Gore from averaging less than 5 yards a carry. I think San Fran will feed the man the ball, and that should be enough to pull a home win in Week 2.” My buddy, and fantasy writer on my site, Red Red Ryan, told me that I was nuts for taking the 49ers here, and when I told him that Frank Gore would dominate the Hawks, he asked me when the last time he had 100 yards against the Hawks was…. Well, needless to say, when I got a text midway through the 1st quarter, I was happy to see a reply saying: “Well that didn’t take long.” Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re right and your friend is wrong. Like my buddy Josh says, anything worth playing is worth beating your friends at.

Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos (-3) : (WINNER) I liked the Broncos at home, but I didn’t expect them to blow Cleveland out. Now it was just 13-6 going into the 4th quarter, but Denver really ran this game. I liked them a lot more than most people did, coming into the season, but their defensive prowess has been even better than I expected.

Baltimore Ravens (+4) @ San Diego Chargers: (WINNER) This game was pretty interesting. A couple huge plays defensively got Baltimore the win, but contrary to what I expected, it was offense that dominated this box score, but it wasn’t the offensive numbers that won the game. Phillip Rivers put up 436 passing yards against the Ravens, that’s nuts. But SD couldn’t run the ball at all, and the Ravens ended up eating up the clock and being more physical up front. Willis McGahee had a big day, but it was Ray Lewis that shut the Chargers down on 4th down in the 4th quarter, ending the game. The Ravens were going to cover either way, but the win felt nice.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Chicago Bears (+3): (WINNER) “The Steelers’ offensive line is pretty bad, just ask Willie Parker and his 19 yards on 13 carries last week… They played a poor game and should have lost last week against the Titans, but Tennessee kept pooping the bed every time they got into the red-zone area. …Cutler also has the ability to make some big plays too, and a couple big plays could be enough points to beat the Steel City. There’s no doubt in my mind that Cutler will be better in his second outing, and while the Steelers are very tough defensively, their offense isn’t strong enough to blow a solid team out. Chicago is a good team. I think this one is close, but I’m going against the defending champs here.” There you go. The Steelers’ O-line wasn’t good enough to beat up the Bears defense as Pitt’s run game never got on track. Ben threw the ball all over the field again, but like I said, that’s no way to get a sure win. Chicago took advantage, hung in, and used some big throws to get the win in a game nobody thought they had a chance in. I like to win, don’t get me wrong, but I love to win when I have readers writing in and telling me how wrong I am about said pick. Guys, I’m not mailing you back and telling you I told you so, because you know what’s up.

New York Giants (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys: (WINNER) So, when I pick a game wrong I admit it. And I’ve always been one to tell you if I pick a game wrong, win or lose. This is one of those cases. If I had to do it again, I’d probably go with the Cowboys in this situation. They played better. They were the better team, and they smashed the Giants around. New York needed some freak stuff to happen and a terrible game from Mr. Romo to win this game – and that’s what they got. In most instances, Tony doesn’t throw the ball around like Ryan Leaf, but thank goodness for me, and all those other Giant backers, that’s exactly what he did on Sunday Night. Don’t worry though, I took some Karma on Monday Night.

Indianapolis Colts @ Miami Dolphins (+3): (LOSS) “I think they’ll run the ball very effectively, and upset Indy. The Colts had a lot of big numbers last week, but just barely snuck by the Jaguars. Now, that’s what the Colts do from time to time, but I think it’s because Indy just isn’t as powerful as they once were. Basically, I expect the same Colts I saw last week and a much better Dolphins team than the one that lost a pushover to the Falcons.” What more can I say? Did I or did I not have this game right on the freaking button? The Dolphins ran the show on Monday Night, and all signs point to them winning the game. However, some pretty poor coaching, some terrible calls on their last field goal drive and on the final drive of the game, Ted Ginn Jr. dropping the game winner in the end zone, and this guy name Peyton Manning and his Colts barely sneaking by just happened to do me in by a single point. You win most of these, you lose some. That’s just the way it goes.

When all is edited and rephrased, I took ten this week. I’ll take 10 Wins every week for the rest of my life and smile from ear to ear. Until next week!

Free Week 1 NFL Picks

I’m back in action. Fresh off one of my best seasons, I’m ready to deal out my absolutely, 100%, completely, with no small lettered catches at the bottom, Free NFL Football Picks. It’s not often that you get free like this, I know. Willy didn’t even get this free. Perfect. Well I guess you have that blasted internet bill, and you are likely paying for electricity, so it’s not completely free, but I’m not charging you anything. So, at least from me to you is free. Enough free talk. Lets talk football picks. I’ve busted out some previews and some fantasy football action and plenty of other football stuff. But now for the advice. Who do I think is going to take the cake in Week 1? The answers are below. Free. Ha – check them out!

Tennessee Titans (+6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: This isn’t the easiest pick for me, but in the end a hard nosed game, that promises to be an ugly smash mouth defensive battle, has me thinking 6 is just too much. I like the Steelers, don’t get me wrong, but the Titans didn’t get that much worse. Sure, they lost a lot with Albert Haynesworth (the Titans didn’t dominate without Haynesworth), and Pittsburgh’s defense is legit, but I’m not buying a repeat performance for the Steelers in 2009 – last year’s Super Bowl winners usually aren’t very good beginners – write that down. Their offensive line isn’t great, and that’s enough for me to take Tennessee on opening night.

Denver Broncos (+4) @ Cincinnati Bengals: I’m not sold on Carson Palmer’s health quite yet. Okay, I think he’s healthy enough to play, but I’m not sure he’ll come out firing on all cylinders to start the season. He’s been out for quite some time. The Broncos have at least one shut-down corner, and I like their defense a lot more than last season’s pathetic unit. I just think their game plan is better. I know they’ll be tougher against the run and put a little more pressure on the QB. Kyle Orton will be better than he showed early in the pre-season, Knowshon Moreno will be dynamic, because, well, he is dynamic. And the Broncos will be a little better than people thought they’d be. Josh McDaniels doesn’t have many fans as of now, but I’m one of them. There’s lots of big plays to be had on that offense, and Cinci isn’t really a machine on either side of the ball. I’ll take the points!

Minnesota Vikings (-4) @ Cleveland Browns: I may be riding with the public here (shoot 99% of sportsbook wagers are taking the Vikings against the spread… I hate picking Minnesota, but I don’t see it any other way. The Browns defense is better than advertised, but Minnesota will be able to gang up on the Browns rushing attack, and their two big guns up front are still in play after the court battle isn’t settled. The Vikings have a great offensive line and a QB, while quite long in the tooth, can make all the throws on the field, and has a tendency to start strong. I like Minnesota: me and everyone else.

New York Jets (+5) @ Houston Texans: This is a close one because the spread is 5, I like the Texans to win, but I like the Jets to cover. 28-24 maybe? Maybe less scoring? Here’s the deal, Mark Sanchez is the real deal. He has great feet, watch him, his confidence in the pocket is awesome. That offensive line is one of the top 5 units in football, and I haven’t even gotten to talking about the Jets defense yet. They may be missing Calvin Pace, but with David Harris and Bart Scott at linebacker, and Kris Jenkins protecting them, I think this team has plenty of playmakers and ball hawks to make some big plays happen. The Texans won’t be able to run, and the Jets will. That’s why I’m taking the points.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts (-7): I actually think this line is one of those that looks to good to be true. If Maurice Jones Drew, a guy that is obviously supposed to be the focal point of this offense in Jacksonville, was completely healthy, I would probably steer toward the Jaguars, but nothing about Jacksonville’s defense tells me that Peyton isn’t going to pick his way to score after score. The Colts might start off a little slow in their new schemes, but this is a veteran team with elite talent at very key positions. Bob Sanders out could hurt, but where are the Jaguars really going to pick apart the Colts? Indy looked better against the run in the pre-season. Like I said, that 7 points for the Colts originally made me think, great bet for the Jags, but after looking at it, the line seems about right. Indy at home against a team that can’t pressure Manning, nor can they guard all the offensive playmakers. So, after much deep though action, I’ll roll against the Jaguars, whom I think will turn it around this season.

Dallas Cowboys (-6) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I actually like the Bucs this season, I think they’ll be just fine as I noted in my Total Wins column. However, this is just a bad match-up for them. Despite having a plethora of backs, a trio I guess, and a pretty damn good offensive line, the Cowboys may just be too tough up front. The pre-season doesn’t always show it all, but last season it was real tough to run against the Boys, and this pre-season was no different. A couple solid run games did nothing against Dallas’s top unit. Many think they’ll lose a lot of punch without one of he league’s all time wide receivers, but I don’t see much drop off from this offense sans TO. They’ll run the ball more, which should bum Tampa Bay out, and check down more to guys like Felix Jones, Marion Barber, and Patrick Crayton – the first two are big time play makers that will make defenses pay all year. I like Dallas to win by double digits on the road in this one. Not because the Bucs are bad, but because it’s just a bad match-up for the home team.

Miami Dolphins (+4) @ Atlanta Falcons: I’m such a baby, the Dolphins make me cry… A little Hootie and the Blowfish for ya, you bet. Alright, so I’m taking the Dolphins because they only got better. They seem to struggle a lot with teams that light up the airways and teams with really stellar run defenses that force Pennington to beat them over the top. Atlanta has neither of those aspects on their squad. I know the Falcons are a lot to handle in the run-game, and the Dolphins don’t have the toughest run-stuffing crew in the league, but this group is talented, no doubt. I think Jason Taylor will be a great addition to this defense, and I see Matt Ryan having a lot of trouble every time he drops back. Joey Porter and Taylor are no joke coming off opposing edges. The Dolphins just seem to find a way to win in close games, and last year they played a lot of close games. They can run the ball really well, Pennington plays close to mistake free football, and Matt Ryan still has to stare down the sophomore slump. This game will be very close, and those 4 points could really come in handy.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens (-13): I think the Ravens run all over the Chiefs and that punch-less KC “offensive” attack has a lot of trouble doing diddly in Baltimore. Bo don’t know Diddly, but I do, and the Chiefs won’t be doing it. Got me? Nobody runs against the Ravens, and something tells me the Chiefs won’t change that history. Matt Cassel might be healthy enough to start, but I wouldn’t care if he got to borrow Randy Moss and Wes Welker for this one, he’s not going to light up the Ravens, even with a secondary that has become a little more unknown if not suspect over the years. This game has really shot up, from -7 to -13, and I still like the Ravens. It’s kind of gross, I know, to like a line after it’s almost doubled, but what can I say. I see Flacco being very accurate against a defensive secondary that recently cut their starting safety and is in the midst of changing defensive schemes under a new head coach. The Chiefs will win some games this year, just not these kind of games. 27-6 is a score I wouldn’t be surprised about.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Carolina Panthers (+1.5): I love the Eagles this season, really, I do. But I won’t love them against one of the best rushing attacks in the league until they do something or prove something with that front seven. They couldn’t stop the run this pre-season as I watched opponents run freely over the Eagles. Philly should put up a lot of points, and I fully understand that the Panthers have no interior defensive line either – but the Panthers will fully take advantage of that while the Eagles instead decide to throw the ball 4 out of every 5 downs… Just in this match-up, I like the underdog, hometown, returning best record in the NFC. Call me crazy. The Eagles just have too much hype for me.

Detroit Lions (+13) @ New Orleans Saints: What can I say? I’ve never liked the Saints as a huge favorite against anyone. While they have plenty of fire-power, this is a team that can lose to anybody. Kevin Smith’s running ability, and a couple big plays through the air between rookie signal caller Matthew Stafford and one of the best receiving prospects ever, Calvin Johnson, should be just enough to keep the Lions covering this spread in New Orleans. 5 of the Saints 8 wins were by 10 points or less, and while one of those was a 42-7 beating of Detroit, This line is moving on up, and is getting to 14 in some circles, so you might want to wait just to see – 14 obviously has more value that 13 for obvious scoring reasons. I like the Lions either way. One thing that really scares me is the fact that New Orleans was 7-1 ATS as a favorite last season, meaning they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. Still, 13 points in Week 1 is too much for me, despite those stats telling me otherwise. A stat on my side sees the Lions at 7-1 ATS last season as a double digit dog.

San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) @ Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have not impressed me. They have a couple talented backs, but no run blocking offensive linemen to spring them loose. They have Kurt Warner, Larry Fitz, Boldin, and Breaston – but they have no toughness, and they just played too well late last season to not come back to earth this time around. The 49ers may have not signed their top draft pick, a guy with the dynamic playmaking ability they desperately need, but I think they’ll be fine without him. Frank Gore is going to run the ball a lot, and Shaun Hill will use that to get some play action throws to open receivers down field. The Cardinals won’t be as tough against the run this season, and the 49ers will be better at everything in Mike’s first full year as head coach. Their offense may be simple, but that toughness will shine through early.

Washington Redskins (+6.5) @ New York Giants: I don’t think the Giants are scary enough offensively to bust the Skins through the air. Washington will get more pressure on opposing offenses this season as Haynesworth really is that good. Al will also help ease the pain against one of the best offensive lines in the league, and I think Washington stacks the line against the Giants in this game. I think 6.5 is too much in a game that looks to have very few scoring opportunities.

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-8.5): Its hard for me to be too excited about the Rams, I called them the worst team in football last season, and despite the Lions hideous record, I stand by that claim. There was no team that was more pathetic than this Rams team a year ago. They no longer have Orlando Pace, but Alex Barron and Adam Goldberg at the edges instead. They don’t have Torry Holt or Isaac Bruce, but Laurent Robinson and Donnie Avery. Steven Jackson is still there, but unfortunately still is Marc Bulger. The guy kills more drives by hanging onto the ball than any QB I know. The defense is aging and hurting (like Leonard Little) and failed draft picks over the last couple years are coming back to haunt the new regime. That being said, it’s still 8.5 in Week 1 against a Hawks team that hasn’t proven to be beastly quite yet. I’m going on record and saying this spread is too high. It’s bad value, and I don’t know what I’m thinking by taking the Hawks anyway. It’s one of those times where I just have that feeling…

Chicago Bears  @ Green Bay Packers (-3.5): The Bears have gained some momentum going into Week 1. Jay Cutler has looked good in a Bears uniform, and Matt Forte should get more room to run because of it – but can they hang with the Packers in Green Bay? I don’t think the Bears are healthy enough up front, to be honest. I know that sounds crazy, but Chicago will continue to hurt in the front 7 without a healthy Tommie Harris. His push, with quickness against the run and pass, really makes a difference for this defense, and I just haven’t seen that yet. The Packers were better than their record showed last season, and that usually starts to even out the season after some tough luck losses. I expect Ryan Grant to get off to a nice start while Aaron Rodgers gives the Bears secondary fits. A key factor that has me going away from Chicago here is the Packers corners. That group is very tough on the young Bears’ receivers – they’re just too physical and too crafty for those young pass catchers. I like Green Bay.

Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-10.5): I like the Patriots to dominate in this game. Call me crazy, but I’m not sold on the Buffalo Bills offense, defense, special teams, coaching staff, ownership, etc. They could come out and surprise me, but after spending all pre-season putting together a special offensive plan only to fire the coordinator and scrap it all for something else cries of a TO blow-up on the way. He’ll be asking to get traded to Philly after this year is over. The Bills don’t have a powerful offensive line anymore, and while they do have a couple big time playmakers lining up out wide, I’m not sure Trent is ready to fully take advantage of their talents. New England, on the other hand, should continue to be a beast offensively. I’m probably riding on the Patriot train with a bunch of other public chalk lovers, but I don’t see the Bills slapping enough points on the board to hang with Tom and company. Belichick has had his way with the Bills over the last few years – that trend continues as Dick Jauron’s job security loses some sway. In my happiest of dreams, the OC is brought back half way through the season to take Dick’s job, and he leads the Bills to one of the most stellar offensive outputs in the 2nd half… Dreams. I’ll take the Pats.

San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (+9): This line will likely move to 10 if you wait. I don’t have that options because I’m not allowed to wait. Schucks auto supply! Oh well, I still like the underdogs in this divisional match-up. I know, the Chargers get to show up and win, they can sleep through the season and easily take the division, and they have more talent in 5 positions than the Raiders have all over the field. I don’t care. What I care about is that the Raiders will be able to run enough to keep themselves in it. JaMarcus Russell has looked impressive enough to me, and he’s not a mistake prone guy. If a team can run, and they limit their mistakes, that’s good enough to walk with them and a nine point cushion. The Raiders won two straight to end last season, and those weren’t the Lions and Rams, those two wins were against the Texans and a Bucs team that only needed a win against the lowly Raiders in Week 17 to get a playoff birth. They didn’t get it, Gruden lost his job, the Raiders brass (AL freaking DAVIS) rejoiced. I hate the Raiders, let that be known, but I think their rushing attack and fewer mistakes keeps them close enough. If Richard Seymour wipes the sand out and gets to Oakland tomorrow, I like this bet even better.

NFL Free Picks: Week 14

My Week 14 sees a lot of covers from road teams – and I’m not too sure what to think about that after Week 13 was basically all road team. I do know that I didn’t plan it this way and it’s just the way my eyes see each individual game working out. After another winning week in Lucky Week 13, I’m on to some good things here as well. Don’t trick yourself, check out my free picks!

Oakland Raiders (+11) @ San Diego Chargers: The Chargers have 2 wins by 10 or more points, and last time they played the Raiders they needed 25 4th quarter points to win by 10. What else is that San Diego can’t seem to find a way to come to play against bad teams. The beat KC, sure, but it took a KC missed 2-point conversion to get that win, as they took the Chiefs by a score. It hasn’t been pretty for one of the more talented teams in the AFC, as seen by their 4-8 record after 13 weeks. The Raiders have just 3 wins, but they are playing close with opponents. They’ve finished within 11 points of their opponent in each of their last 4 games, including a big win over Denver in Denver. Should the Raiders be in this game? No, but this is the NFL and the Chargers defense hasn’t been good enough. The whole team hasn’t come to play against lesser opponents. The Raiders are terrible. Getting up for this game during a lost season seems unlikely. I’ll take Oakland on upset Thursday.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Chicago Bears (-3): The Jaguars have 4 wins this season, all coming against teams that can’t run the ball with consistency and power. They have been better on the road (3-3), but that might just be a coincidence based on the teams they’ve played on the road. Indy, Denver, and Detroit were 3 road wins. Indy was brutal early, and still can’t find a consistent rushing attack. Denver is a freaking yo-yo, and they haven’t been able to run the ball consistently all season long, and Detroit – well, they are freaking Detroit (and Kevin Smith still rushed over 100 yards against the Jags). The Bears can really run the ball. Matt Forte is a special big man. He does everything well and that’s everything bad for Jacksonville. I like the Bears to win this one by a touchdown (because, honestly, they haven’t played well over the last half of the season either). They’re still better than the Jags.

Minnesota Vikings (-9) @ Detroit Lions: (NOTE AT THE END OF THIS PARAGRAPH) I can’t bet on the Lions at home. I’m telling you, for a team like Detroit, playing at home isn’t a good thing. You have a stadium that is half empty if you know what I mean, and that empty half is hoping to watch a little piece of history – they are there at the expense of the winless team on the field. Minnesota has a rushing attack good enough to crush the Lions defensive front, and Gus, Bernard, and company do enough through the air to take advantage if Detroit lines up 15 in the box. This game still means a ton to the Vikings, and it’s not like playing in a dome is going to bother them all that much. Daunte Culpepper can’t feel good about going up against that defensive front. They cause lots of injuries and get after quarterbacks like it’s their job. And it is. I expect the Vikings to win by 21-28 points. It will be that bad. The Vikings only won by 2 last time out, and that game should have been the Lions only win, and I’m being dead honest. But this game will be different, you can bet on that. (Okay, here it goes, a few minutes after finishing my write-ups and publishing them, I saw that the defensive tackle Williams guys won’t be suiting up for the remainder of the season. Don’t worry, I’m not off of this game, I’ll hold true to my 9, because, well, that’s the way it goes. My advice is to wait on this game though. With those guys out it might come down to 7 points – and I like the Vikings even more at that price. Good luck, but remember, the Vikes just lost 2 All-Pro players, two of the best players on their team, and they play the same position. Somebody will step up for the Vikes, but it’s just a lucky week to have the Lions.)

Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers (-5.5): The Texans are 1-5 on the road, with their one win coming against a Cleveland Browns team that finds ways to lose football games. I like the Texans, I think they are a talented team with a bright future, and if they could just get over their road woes and turnover happy quarterbacking, they could be a pretty good team. But the Packers know how to make the most out of turnovers and special teams blunders, and that should be the difference on Sunday. I imagine it will be cold and miserable in Green Bay, and that doesn’t bode will for the Houston Texans chances on the road. The Texans will be coming of the high of a Monday Night Football win in front of everyone, and that, going along with the short week, will probably get them down a little bit. Green Bay is a pretty complete team (besides their rush defense) and I think they have a nice advantage over the Texans because Houston hasn’t beat a complete team all year long. Jacksonville, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami – the Dolphins are easily the best of those five, but not one of those teams strong on offense and defense. The Packers make big plays defensively, and while they give up a lot of yards, it will be those big plays that get them a double digit home win over Houston.

Cincinnati Bengals (+15) @ Indianapolis Colts: The Bengals are winless on the road this season, but then again they have one single win, so that’s almost a given. The Bengals have actually played some pretty tough games. They were outmatched by Baltimore’s defense, but all in all they played pretty well against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Jacksonville – and that’s three of the last four games. The Colts don’t have a stellar defense, and Indy has found ways to play tight with many teams this year, (they’ve won one single game by more than 6 points. I know the Bengals are bad, but it’s not like Indy has been at the top of their game either. Sure, they’ve won 5 straight, but in the last two they won by 3 and 4 disrespectively against teams like San Diego and Cleveland. Not only that, but they should have lost last week to the Browns – you know how I feel about taking teams that should have lost.

Atlanta Falcons (+3.5) @ New Orleans Saints: The Saints have given up 20 or more points in every single game they’ve played in this season. When the Falcons have scored at lest 20 points, they are 8-1 (they lost one game scoring 20 against Denver). I haven’t bought in to the Falcons much, and they’ve been killing me because of it. I’m still not completely sure about them, I’m a stubborn bastard, but if you know one thing, you know I don’t think too much of the Saints. Atlanta is the much tougher team and that keeps Drew Brees off the field. This game should be a tight one, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints pulled out with a split of this season series, but the side to play is Atlanta, especially with that extra half point.

Philadelphia Eagles (+9) @ New York Giants: I’d love to take the Giants again – they are a very good football team. But I found +9 on Monday Night, and the Eagles have too much talent to get killed in this game. They also consistently play tight with good football teams, and who knows, maybe they figured it out after Thanksgiving’s destruction of Arizona. I know the Giants don’t have those 3 days of extra rest like Philly, and I know they will be even more exhausted after the Plaxico fiasco. The Giants have been playing great football, but they should come down off their high horse a little against the Eagles. I’ll take the Eagles and 9.

Cleveland Browns (+15) @ Tennessee Titans: I like the Titans to win this game, but coming off a huge win against the worst team in the league, they might be a little bit full of themselves coming home to play a flailing Browns team. The Titans are the better team, no doubt, but they play a lot of close games, and the Browns run defense can be pretty good. Going up against one of the league’s best, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a spirited performance out of that group, and I doubt Cleveland will take a lot of chances with Ken Dorsey at the helm. Less chances means less mistakes, and that’s good when you’re playing the Titans. Tennessee grinds it out, and that means they need help to outscore their opponents by more than two touchdowns. Now I’ve seen some shady tackling out of the Browns this year, but I’ve also seen some well played football. They played well enough defensively to keep Peyton Manning struggling all game long, he looked as bad as I’ve seen him last week. Shaun Rodgers is a beast. I like the Browns and all those points.

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills (pk): After losing to the 49ers, I like the Bills to rebound. They sure haven’t played well lately, but neither have the Dolphins for that matter. For the same reason as those teams that play the Lions and then struggled, I think the Dolphins will hit the breaks after dabbling with the Rams. Miami couldn’t dominate a bad team once again, and their last 4 weeks have done more to make me question the Dolphins than to fall in love with them. 2 points wins at home against Seattle and Oakland are basically losses in my mind. Then they get crushed by Matt Cassel and the Patriots – and a 4 point win in St. Louis definitely puts up some red-flags. The Bills have really struggled, no doubt, but they played tight with the Jets, Patriots, Browns, killed the Chiefs, and pissed away their game against the Niners. Even if Edwards is out, I think Losman keeps the field open for their running game. Look for Lee Evans to get lost in the Dolphins secondary and end up in the end zone once or twice.

Kansas City Chiefs (+10) @ Denver Broncos: Unlike most teams, the Chiefs won’t abandon the run. And that factor will keep them in this game. The Broncos don’t like to play well against bad teams, that seems to be their season-long weakness, and I don’t think that changes in this game. The Chiefs have played good football over the last half of the season, losing big just once in their last 6 games. They only have 2 wins, I understand that, but their 6-6 ATS mark is an example of the way they’ve been playing. The Broncos are coming off a season high last week when they tortured the Jets secondary and won big in New York. Season highs are bound to be followed by less than stellar performances, look at the history of such outings. I’ll take the Chiefs.

New York Jets (-3.5) @ San Francisco 49ers: I don’t see the value in San Francisco here. I like the 49ers – heck, I like them a lot. They’ve played good football lately, and honestly, they have a chance to cover this spread. But the chance isn’t that good in my opinion, and just about 100% of the public agrees with me. I probably wouldn’t play this game for too much out of the wallet, it has the makings of a huge upset. However, I think the Jets can do enough defensively to stymie the 49ers rushing attack. And putting all that pressure on Shaun Hill seems like a losing battle from SF’s perspective. New York should play better after getting embarrassed by the Broncos. My side is on that happening.

St. Louis Rams (+14) @ Arizona Cardinals: I sure hate the Rams, and I like the Cardinals, but Arizona hasn’t shown me that they are a two touchdown favorite type team. Steven Jackson is back, and he gives the Rams a little bit more of an identity. Orlando Pace might return as well, and he could give Bulger just enough time to score a couple times. I think Arizona will run the ball a little more than usual against the Rams, because St. Louis’s run defense is brutal, and that should cause for longer drives and less points. I’ll take the HUGE dog here.

Dallas Cowboys @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5): A little too much Dallas love for me here. The Steelers are the better team. They aren’t as dinged, and if that’s not enough, they are just flat out better than the Cowboys. So, if a field goal wins it for me, I’ll take it with a smile.

New England Patriots (-4) @ Seattle Seahawks: The Patriots need to win to keep their playoff veins pumping blood. The Seahawks don’t need to do anything except continue to disappoint their lame-duck coach. I think Seattle is better than 2-9, but they aren’t as good as the Patriots – not at home, and certainly not when the prime time game was taken out of that National TV spotlight because they are so bad. If that’s not a confidence killer I don’t know what is. The Hawks got killed by Dallas, but prior to that they had played 3 straight solid games with close losses to Miami, Arizona, and Washington. I think New England will have the upper hand in this one, even with the extra rest for Seattle, the Patriots should win by a touchdown.

Washington Redskins @ Baltimore Ravens (-5): I don’t know how the Redskins are going to score against the Ravens. Clinton Portis is the walking wounded, he hasn’t practiced in weeks, and the Redskins haven’t been all that good with him on the field in the first place. I like the Skins, but they don’t take enough chances down field, and Santana Moss has been ignored lately. Baltimore’s defense is awesome, but it’s their offense doing enough that has me on their side. I don’t think the Redskins can hold Baltimore under 17 points, and I don’t see the Redskins scoring more than 10. That’s a cover in my book.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are a great team when they can run with ease. You can’t do that against the Bucs. Tampa Bay dominated the Panthers last time these two teams played, and while normally I’d like to look for the home and home split in this situation, I just don’t think this is a good match-up for the Panthers. Getting a half point more than a field goal makes me feel that much better, too. On Monday Night Football, I’m willing to bet the Bucs wily old vets do work and win this game on the road.

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