Well I'm gonna be out of town this weekend so I don't know how much football I'll get to watch...but I figured since I'm bored at work I'd do a writeup on each game and post my picks (and the spread because I do dabble in the sports betting arena):
Home Team in CAPS
Ravens (+1.5) over STEELERS - It's really hard picking any team over the Steelers, and at home no less. These two teams are eerily similar - BIG time defense, smash-mouth run game, physical style football. If Cleveland's Peyton Hillis didn't rip off 144 yards (5.4 ypc) and a TD against the Ravens' Defense, then I'd say the line on this game would have flip-flopped. Add in that Palumalu and the rest off that D is looking a lot like their Super Bowl form and this is maybe the toughest call of the weekend. The reason I'm taking The Raven is a simple one - No Ben. And their pool of QBs seems to be dwindling. Don't bet on this game...for the love of the gambler's gods (they have more than one). Having said that I still feel that Pitt is the best team in football right now. That defense is scary-good! Oh yea and apparently the Steelers have some dude named Mendenhall that only has 332 rushing yards and 2 TD so far (at 5.2 ypc)...I'm sure he's nothing to really worry about.....
TITANS (-6.5) over Broncos - Kind of a no brainier for me here. The Titans played the Steeler really close, and embarrassed the Raiders and Giants. While Denver's win over the Seahawks was impressive, they just don't have what it takes to counter the talent and style of play that the Titans have. And yes, I'd take the Titans with the 6.5 points.
BROWNS (+3) over Bengals - Of course I wasn't going to star just picking obvious favorites, right? Cincy has let teams run all over them and in contrast, their run game just seems sluggish (clipping along at 3.1 ypc and only 2 Rushing TDs in 3 Games), ranked 18th in the league! They've played sloppy football and now they head over to Cleveland to face a ground efficient team, with a GREAT return game and believe it or not - a good pass defense! I see Cincy's slow start biting them in the ass this Sunday. Maybe it'll be a wakeup call and they can bounce back and go into the bye week with confidence. I just don't know about Cincy right now. Oh yea and Carson needs to get out of his funk. I wonder how long TO and Ochocinco stay quiet with all the miscues from Palmer....
PACKERS (-14.5) over Lions - Yes, it's a division ***** (if you can call them that). But the Pack should be out for blood after last Monday's loss and the last thing the Lions could afford was injuries. Take the over-2-touchdowns-spread if you want...I'm staying away from that though. I hate lines that high in the NFL.
SAINTS (-13.5) over Panthers - Another no brainier for me...but I'm also staying away from the line. This is a division ***** game, so any line that high when 2 division *****s face off (especially the underdog having a good defense) is a gambler's nightmare. Hopefully it doesn't come down to a field goal, just sayin'...
FALCONS (-7) over 49ers - The Falcons are clipping right along doing what they do...excellent run game (#2 in the NFL), efficient through the air, solid run D and 6th in the NFL in points scored against them. They seem to be coming into their own and spoke loudly last Sunday, beating the Saints IN New Orleans. They may have been luckily with missed field goal in OT...but hey at least they were in the game with the Saints in overtime and prevailed! They also went into OT with the Steelers and couldn't get the job done. They've shown improvement in just 3 weeks and that says a lot about their staff. Meanwhile the 49ers just fired their offensive coordinator after bean embarrassed by the Seahawks and Chiefs. They're gonna have a lot to prove REAL soon, or Singletary could be on the hot seat. Weird to think about.
RAMS (+1) over Seahawks - After a horrible showing against San Diego, where Leon Washington bailed them out with a kickoff-TD TWICE, and getting crushed by the Broncos, the Seahawks look like the week 1 mirage. Teams have TORCHED them through the air. You know...when they aren't shooting themselves in the foot. Meanwhile The Rams are coming off of an impressive win over the Redskins where Jackson got injured in the first half. If/when the Rams win, they will be ahead of the Seahawks in that miserable division, so rest assured they'll be hungry coming off their second win in 29 games. Seattle will slump into their BYE.
Jets (-5.5) over BILLS - Jets' football seems to be coming together with Sanchez on the rise. Unfortunately their glaring weakness is stupid penalties, and more often than not a team with this much talent can end up beating themselves. However, the Bills are coming off of a GREAT offensive display against New England and their Defense is still stout. Don't be fooled by the high-powered offenses of Green Bay and New England. I wouldn't bet on this game because it is an AFC East *****ry game and those are generally great (close) games.
Colts (-7) over JAGUARS - Look for MJD to have a BIG day against this Indy Run D. Other than that? Peyton's going to torch this secondary and it SHOULD be a blowout. However...they are division *****s. I'd still take the Colts with 7 points.
RAIDERS (+3) over Texans - Hmmm...Andre Johnson vs Nnamdi Asomugha. Interesting matchup. Would you believe the Raiders Rushing attack is 4th in the league? Or that their Pass D is 2nd in the League? In general Raiders' fashion, they snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory with JaniRAPEski missing a chip-shot 32 yarder. It's hard to tell...and I'm not betting on this game. I'll pick the Raiders to win in Oakland hopefully riding their defense and run game to a close victory.
CHARGERS (-8) over Cardinals - The Cards run the ball mediocre...and that's the best you can say about their Offense. Their Rush D is almost the worst in the league, and they are in the bottom 1/3 of every other category in the league, offense AND defense!!! Look like the Cards of old yet? Hmmm...meanwhile the Chargers are at the top of the league in every category. Rivers may top last week's numbers. This line is too low...take the points. The Chargers are at home and hungry after the ridiculous loss last weekend.
EAGLES (-5.5) over Redskins YAY! The HYPE BOWL!!! McNabb's return! Vick's resurgence! THE HYPERBOLE!!!!! Anywho.....yes...Vick has been amazing. He has made difficult throw BEFORE he decided to take off and run. I think McNabb actually is the one that helped mentor him and for that Vick owes him a huge debt of gratitude. I encourage you guys to check out the interview coming out on NFL Network with Vick...just the previews are riveting. He really seemed to have turned a corner. What a story THAT would be, huh? That Offense really gelled under Vick, in all facets, and I hope to see it continue to do so. Having said that they've really only beaten the Jags and the Lions. So let's not give Vick the MVP Trophy yet. Also the Eagles' D has been great on Pass D, and they will surely test McNabb and the rest of the Redskins' offense. Their aerial attack is in the top 1/3 of the league...but their rush attack is among the worst. And that's AFTER letting Willie Parker and Larry Johnson go! And in contrast to the Eagles - the Redskins' Pass Defense is 31st in the NFL!!! Vick may have a field day against the team that just let the Rams put 30 on the scoreboard.
Bears (+4) over Giants - You can't tell me you weren't impressed with the Bears this last weekend! And Cutler is thriving under Martz system leading the NFL's 5th best pass attack. But they're 29 in rushing. Urlacher is back to his old form leading the NFL's BEST rush defense...but they're 28th in pass D! Believe it or not, the Giants are just under them in the Passing Offense, but are much better pounding the rock! Also in contract their pass D is 4th in the League and their Rush D is 26th! I think the Bears want more, they are 10x more disciplined, and are on a roll. I'm taking the Bears with the upset.
DOLPHINS (+1) over Patriots - Pats typically have issues traveling to Miami for some reason, Brady in particular. The Fins have a mediocre offense and a lights-out defense (just ask A.P.). The Pats have one of the best offenses in the league, but a mediocre-at-best defense. Hmmmm....home field may have been what shifted this line lower. Hell if the Bills can put up 30 points (only 10 against the Fins) why can't the fins? I'll take the Fins' D over the Pats' O...but maybe I'm just biased.