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October 16, 2009
by Jeff Briggs
Is parity in the NFL dead? In past years, double-digit spreads were a rare occurrence. Only when the best of the best played the bottom feeders would Vegas throw up spreads of 10, 12, or15 points. This season we see those spreads three to five times every week, and for good reason: eight teams are averaging double-digit losses each week.
The Bucs lose by 14.4 points per game, the Browns lose by 13.2, the Lions by 11.8, the Panthers by 11.75, Titans by 11, and the Chiefs by 10.8. And the Browns, Lions, and Panthers have all won a game.
The lowly Raiders lose by an average of 16.2 points per game, and they also have a win -- take that out and they are losing by an average of 21 points per game. But that still wouldn’t be the worst in the league. The Rams are losing by an average of 22.4 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Saints are winning games by an average of 20.25 points. These are college numbers, these are not supposed to be occurring in the NFL. Yes, I’m sure these numbers will balance out a little bit as the season goes on and more horrible teams play each other and the Saints find a team that can challenge them (like this week with the Giants).
Last week: 8-6
Lock of the week: 4-1
Home team in CAPS
Chiefs (+6.5) over REDSKINS
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Redskins don’t win games by large margins. It doesn’t happen. Those Rams that lose by 22ppg – they lost by just two points to the Redskins. Kudos to Skins CB Carlos Rogers for calling out ownership in D.C.; I expect the fans at FedEx to cheer at first mention of his name this week.
BENGALS (-5) over Texans
Expect the Bengals to finally get a win that doesn’t come in the last minute of the game.
STEELERS (-14) over Browns
The Steelers look to get Troy Polamalu back and stop giving up 4th quarter comeback runs by their opponents. Something else that might help that: playing the Browns. Sure, the Browns won last week, but if any win ever should not go in the W column, it was that game against Buffalo. They completed two passes! TWO! This is a crazy thing to say, but the Browns and Raiders might be two of the worst one-win teams in the history of football.
Ravens (+3) over VIKINGS
I don’t see the Ravens losing three straight games, and we are still waiting on a Brett Favre interception explosion.
JAGUARS (-9.5) over Rams
Do you like excitement?!?!
… Oh, you do? Then you might want to skip this game.
SAINTS (-3) over Giants
I feel sorry for the areas in the country that will not be getting this game (Houston, D.C., and Minneapolis). Instead, Fox will show you nothing at 1:00 p.m., then give you the exciting Eagles-Raiders game. I hope you people have the NFL RedZone channel, or a favorite bar to watch the games.
Panthers (-3) over BUCCANEERS
Note to the people of Charlotte: uou are going to beat Tampa Bay and then beat Buffalo, at which point you will have won three straight games. Do not be fooled, alarmed, or excited: your team is still bad. Jake Delhomme is still your quarterback. LOCK OF THE WEEK
PACKERS (-13.5) over Lions
Likely no Calvin Johnson for the Lions this week. With Megatron they might have covered the spread, but without him, no chance.
Eagles (-14) over RAIDERS
The Raiders are achieving new historical lows. Last week they only had 124 total net yards, 165 the week before, only 95 the week before that, and only 166 total yards in their lone win of the season. The Raiders average 191 yards/game thanks to a “good” Week One. For reference, here are some players who average more yards than the Raiders – Kerry Collins, Jason Campbell, Matthew Stafford, and Jake Delhomme.
SEAHAWKS (-3) over Cardinals
Stat courtesy of Matt Hasselbeck – The Seahawks are 16-0 at Qwest field with Matt Hasselbeck’s mom in the stands. Book it!
JETS (-10) over Bills
Last week the Bills had false start penalties nine times. Nine times? Nine times. But in their defense, when you see that fearsome Browns line across from you, it can make ya jumpy.
PATRIOTS (-9.5) over Titans
Last year no one believed the Titans were any good at the beginning of the season despite winning game after game. This year everyone is hesitant to say they are bad, despite losing five straight to start the season. The Titans are bad.
FALCONS (-3) over Bears
I still need convincing that this Bears team is any good.
Broncos (+3.5) over CHARGERS
I do think the Chargers will win this game, but I also think it’s a toss-up, so I’m going to take the points. It’s also possible that San Diego is just not very good.