Last week, I managed an 11-5 record (23-9 now overall).
Not bad, but again, I don’t expect this string of luck to continue.
• Cleve @ Balt (-10.5). A couple ugly performances from both teams last week. I do wonder how long Mangenious stays on as coach if he can’t turn things around soon. Mike Holmgren is definitely the type of guy who wants his own coach in there and Mangini was not his choice. Balt 30, Cleve 13.
• Tenn @ NYG (-2.5). Getting a little tired of this whole forced apology thing. Whenever someone does something dumb (or even in some cases, not so dumb), he or she has to offer up an insincere, forced apology. Brandon Jacobs was forced to do this recently after weirdly chucking his helmet into the crowd at last Sunday’s “game”. Who are these ridiculous apologies for anyway? Are there really people out there saying “I won’t support the Giants until Brandon Jacobs apologies for throwing his helmet…(tears…)…I just can’t move forward without an apology.” (Actually that made up quote right there reminded me of social work school…) NYG 23, Tenn 17.
• Cincy @ Car (-3.5). Lost in the chaos of wild T.O./OchoCinco antics, is the fact that Cincy actually has a quality defense. Two forces will collide in this game – the very strong defense of Cincy and the very powerful “it’s my first start in the NFL and the fans and I have so much adrenaline that I’m hoping my adrenaline alone can will us to victory” scenario for Carolina’s new starting QB Jimmy Clausen. I think the adrenaline wins out. Car 24, Cincy 20.
• Atl @ NO (-5.5). I like Garrett Hartley – seems like a nice guy. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player less prepared mentally to carry out a task than Hartley was lining up for the game-winning field goal against SF on Monday night. He looked TERRIFIED. He made that field goal in spite of himself – one of the uglier field goals I’ve seen in a while. You could say he hartley made it, if you wanted to be lame. (By the way, I think kickers should have to call ugly field goals just like basketball players should call “backboard”.) I like Atlanta here – they may simply be the better team this year. Atl 31, NO 27.
• Dal @ Hou (-2.5). I have to admit, it’s fun to read Dallas papers and general NFL websites where Cowboys fans go to whine. I enjoy doing this. But the fact is, Cowboy fans have plenty to whine about right now. I think some blame is appropriately being directed at the lifeless Wade Phillips and the tough-to-figure-out Jason Garrett (weird playcalling). But I think Jerry Jones and the extra pressure his over-the-topness (if you will) puts on his team is also to blame. The billion dollar stadium, the look-at-me personality, his walking-on-the-sidelines-annoying-the-crap-out-of-the-whole-team-during-games habit – no wonder Romo would rather be golfing. Dal 34, Hou 30.
• SF @ KC (+1.5). Gotta wonder what the offseason conversations were like between Todd Haley and his two RBs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles. When courting Thomas Jones, did Haley promise him the starting role? If so, what did he say to Charles about his role? Charles, remember, was one of the NFL’s leading RBs last year as a starter (he started the second half of the season)? Before I accuse Haley of lying to one or both of these guys, to be fair, I do have to say that Thomas Jones has been listed as the #1 RB on the depth chart all off season through to today. So, it is possible that Haley has maintained Jones is #1 from the start. But then I wonder how he spun the acquisition of Jones in the off-season to Charles – a back no doubt thinking he’d be the featured back after dominating last year? Watch for a poor game from Thomas Jones, a KC loss at home and a brewing controversy about who should get the most carries in KC. SF 27, KC 21.
• Det @ MN (-10.5). I really want to believe Detroit can pull an upset here, especially after 2 down-to-the-wire, emotionally difficult losses. This game will be different than the first two – it won’t be close. MN 33, Det 13.
• Buff @ NE (-13.5). You know you’re in trouble when your coach (Buff’s Chan Gailey) tries to put a positive spin on a 34-7 loss by pointing out that it was still sort of a game after the first half (even though Buff was still losing – then Buff went on to let the Packers score 21 unanswered points in the second half). For some reason this reminds me of the North Korea/Portugal World Cup soccer game a few months ago that Portugal won 7-0. I think the North Korea head coach offered up some Chan Gailey-type comments about an OK first half upon returning home. Then he was shot. Look for the Buff offense to show signs of life with Ryan Fitzpatrick in at QB. NE 38, Buff 23.
• Pitt @ TB (+2.5). Charlie Batch is still alive? Josh Freeman, meet Troy Polamalu. Pitt 24, TB 13.
• Wash @ StL (+3.5). Don’t like the timing of this game for Wash. Lots of trouble picking this game. So I flipped a coin. Wash 23, StL 19. (The coin had the score on it too, somehow.)