Congratulations to Brooke, who correctly called Kansas City and Arizona upsets; a stellar job of sniffing the unlikely. Me, I went with the likely all the way to the bank, with the Colts and Pats doing their part to keep Papa in beer and vindaloo.
Atlanta at Tennesee (-8.5, 40.5)
Atlanta comes into Tennessee having won against Houston at home. Tennessee comes in having beaten the pants off New Orleans in the Superdome. Tennessee is the better team and Joey Harrington doesn’t usually put two good games together in a row. He likes turf, this is grass. He likes home games, this is away. Tennessee is the straight pick, with the tease of Tenn and Over in New England looking good to me, since it moves Vinny and the boys to a measly 2.5 points and the Pats Over to a manageable 42. It’s got a pretty mouth.
Surprise-of-the-season, destined-for-greatness teams coming off Nashville bye weeks full of drinking binges and hot tub orgies do not generally cover 8 point spreads. It’s true and ironic that many of the Titans are Xtian, but God digs underwater BJs and beer bongs as much as the next guy, and after a whole week of fluid loss and weight gain I predict cramps-a-plenty and that the Titans eek out a 3 point win in the waning moments. I’ll be putting my money back on them after this bull market corrects itself.
Cleveland at New England (-16.5, 48)
Safe pick time. Take Cleveland and the Over as separate bets. If Cleveland scores 17 points, you’ve got to win one side or the other of this wager. Granted 17 may seem like a stretch for the Browns in New England, but here’s a mediocre team coming in between a big road win and a trip to Dallas, a potential Super Bowl matchup and the perfect time for the Pats to let off a bit. If New England really does bring the wood, you’ve got a good shot at the over.
17 Points!!!!!!! In the words of Paul Zimmerman, “This is the ultimate trap game.” Don’t get enticed by the over. It looks like Cleveland can score, but they scored against Cinci, and a fading Baltimore D. NE’s D is the best in the game right now, and they keep getting better, and I feel three field goals that have been TD’s in their earlier games keeps NE at 23 and Cleveland manages between 10 and 14. Betting NE at any point in the season is not a bad bet, and even if you lose the bet it still wasn’t a bad bet, but Cleveland is the pick on this shore.
Jacksonville (-1) at KC (36)
Two weeks ago KC beat Minnesota by 3 at home. That seems like a better proxy than the bizarre debacle in San Diego. KC and the Under seem plausible, if you can stay awake long enough at the prospect of this game to place your bets.
I love this game for it’s pure idiocy. There is no there there if you know what I mean. But since I’ll probably bet on it: I remember when very good Bills teams (we used to have them!!!) used to go down to KC and lose and lose and lose. I’ll say it again and keep saying it until after the 16th pick of the draft, KC has a bottom 3 roster, but Herm and the gang are strivers and at the Arrow they will get enough errant Garrard passes thrown into their chests to catch a couple and they win a nail-biter no one watches.
Jets “at” Giants (-3, 41)
There’s an element of emotion to how the Giants are playing that I believe will carry them through games against mediocre teams, and ‘mediocre’ is being kind to the Jets. If the Giants can play with half the intensity they brought on defense last week, you’ve got to fear for Pennington. Giants.
Everyone is thinking poor Chad because that fearsome Giant pass rush is going turn him into goo. I think poor Chad because his name is Chad for X’s sake. The Giants are going to make us sweat before winning this by 7, but Chad will be just fine once he changes his name (Brandt anyone???). I wouldn’t goof with the O/U.
TB at Indy (-9.5, 45.5)
I’m usually loathe to over-emphasize injuries in picking games, but the loss of Cadillac Williams may really hurt the Bucs, who don’t have a strong replacement, at least if local media is to be believed. Without that element, it’s tough to slow down Indy’s defense and Jeff Garcia’s in for a long day, although it may surprise you to learn that there are only 7 minutes of action in the average NFL game, so how long could a long day be, anyway? Nine minutes? I don’t like the 9.5, but am partial to any tease that includes Indy. I’m also feeling the Under. Smooth and warm.
It’s nice to see Chucky’s team playing with some bite. They are my official pick to run away with the NFC South, but Indy is the only 4-0 team that bettors will like after week five. I’m not saying it will be easy, but close games away from home and eventual 14 point spreads in house are the call here.
San Diego/Denver (-1, 42)
You would think that San Diego was a more powerful version of Jacksonville, who beat the Bronco’s soundly at home two weeks ago. But I’ve been thinking that about the Chargers since week one and getting killed. Nonetheless, I think San Diego finds the end zone a few times in this one, mirroring their performance in Green Bay, enough to get the Over with Denver’s help.
In 12 years, after 12 more seasons of leading the league in rushing and missing the playoffs or getting knocked out early, experts and fans alike will still be talking about what a good coach Mr. Shanahan is. In 12 games, after the most talented team not to make the playoffs in recent memory fails to make the playoffs, nobody will be saying that Norv Turner is a good coach. In a perfect world the players would switch jerseys before the start of this one and LT would run for 3000 yards through the next 12 games on his way to a championship. Making Mr. S look like a genius and me look like an idiot. But that will not happen. Instead Phillip Rivers throws 3 picks and Cutler throws 3 TD’s. Poor San Diego. Where do they go from here? Take the Broncs.
Chicago at GBay (-3, 40.5)
To bet on Chicago is to bet that evil, 5 pick Fahv-re shows up this week, and ignoring the play of these two teams. Batshit Brett won’t show up until the night game in Dallas at the end of November. It’s not going to happen at Lambeau against a division rival. Especially one that sucks.
Green Bay cannot run the ball. At all. Worst in the league after 4 games. Chicago still has a solid D and when they can concentrate on stopping THE GUY, a guy they have played twice a year for 17 years, they should be able to get it done. This one is 17-14 either way. I think Chicago gets back into the NFC Central race (at least for a week) and pulls off the big upset. But my advice is to take the under and stay away from the guesswork.
Monday Night Football
Dallas (-10) at Buffalo (45)
Buffalo played a solid, composed game last week, beating the Jets and giving the new guy confidence. Dallas is a powerhouse, but they’ve got to be looking ahead to New England next week. Gotta like Buffalo as a ten point home dog.
Stefan’s Tease suggestions
It’s Tease week here at the Modern Spectator, where those extra 6 points seem to be just what the doctor ordered in some of these games. Normally we stay away from teases since it’s hard enough picking one thing that’s going to happen. But, at this point in the season, a number of teams are getting their spreads boosted to the stratosphere and even though you can reckon on them winning, the points are a deterrent. That’s where the Tease comes in.
This fever hasn’t peaked since we’ve even been mulling a dreaded three-team tease, where 9 points are applied to each side of the bet, but you have to correctly predict 3 specific outcomes. Some options:
- Cleveland, 25.5 points
- Titans, brings the spread to zero
- Arizona, could lose by 5
- Bring NE down to a manageable 5.5 points
- Titans again (remember the Titans?)
- Give Tampa 18.5 points to play with (or conversely, bring Indy down to half a point)
Or…focus on low scoring teams where 9 points means a lot
- Chiefs, 11 point underdogs at home
- Dolphins, 14 point underdogs to a team that isn’t scoring
- Cardinals, 5.5 point underdogs at home to a Rams team that’s still in preseason