To no one’s surprise, the NFL continues to surprise, and last week was my worst performance of the season since Week 1. What did we see in Week 7? We saw a Colts team everyone thought was finally coming into form show that they should not longer be considered among the NFL elite. We saw the Rams move to 2-0 under Jim Haslett, which could be the worst indictment of Scott Linehan’s coaching ability ever. We saw that the Broncos from the first three weeks of the season have disappeared, and even if they did have their explosive offense, they would need to score about 74 points per game to make up for their putrid defense. We saw Kyle Orton and the Bears go off for 48 points. If these things all happened in one week, I think it is safe to say that absolutely anything can happen this season.
Predicting NFL games this season is officially harder than predicting which player will next get in legal trouble (I’ve got Marc Bulger or Steve Slaton, as they are about the only WVU alumni that have yet to get arrested). Just take a look at survivor leagues. And by that I mean, ‘Are any survivor leagues still going on at this point?’
I know both leagues I was in were over by Week 6. Part of the reason for this? Let’s take a quick look at some of the starting quarterbacks this weekend: Seneca Wallace, Tyler Thigpen, Brad Johnson, Dan Orlovsky, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ouch. Add-in Matt Cassel and Kerry Collins and you've got seven QBs who began the season as backups now starting for one reason or another. That’s 25% of the teams playing this weekend being led by a backup.
Last Week: 5-8
Lock of the week: 3-4
Picks below. Home team in CAPS.
RAVENS (-7) over Raiders Chargers (-3) over SaInTs JETS (-13.5) over Chiefs
The Ravens defense should be licking their lips all week waiting to get a piece of JaMarcus Russell, who has surprisingly only thrown two interceptions this year. I expect that number to double this week.
Saints is in half caps because they aren’t really the “home” team. Despite the NFL calling this a home game for the Saints, they are playing over 4,600 miles away from the Superdome, in London’s Wembley Stadium. It’s unfortunate that someone has to get screwed out of a home game to help the NFL try to broaden its overseas appeal, but how were the Saints decided upon? This is the same team that lost a home game in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina. Not to mention that the Saints are 3-1 at home and 0-3 on the road.
This is 100% a condemnation of the Chiefs and not in any way support for the Jets. The Chiefs backup QB is Ingle Martin IV. I thought about making a joke about how bad their quarterbacks are, but I really can’t do any better than the facts. And as the Jets are concerned, I love what Sal Pal had to say about the Brett Favre situation. From PFT:
RAVENS (-7) over Raiders
Chargers (-3) over SaInTs
JETS (-13.5) over Chiefs
“Favre has to be smarter than that, and he was never terribly smart,” Paolantonio said. “He feels like he can just lie . . . You can’t lie, because (a) you’re Brett Favre and (b) we’re gonna catch you on it. So you’re lying. That’s the biggest problem I have with this whole thing. Just own up to it . . .The whole thing is just implausible that he would not just come out and tell the truth. Just tell the truth . . . He gave the story legs.”
But what of the fact that the Lions still were blown out?
“So you weren’t very much help, and you aren’t very much help to the Jets,” Paolantonio said. “So go home.”
That may be the summation of Favre’s season.
Bills (-1.5) over DOLPHINS
The Wildcat offense was finally shut down last week and I don’t expect it to be revived this week. Plus Marshawn Lynch said ‘Dis week iz da time fo me to get n 2 dat beaasssst mooooode!’ or something to that effect.
Buccaneers (+2) over COWBOYS
The Cowboys are still one of the most talented teams in the league and can beat the Bucs this week without Romo if they put it together, but I’m banking they will not. Watching this team fall apart at the seams is one of the more enjoyable examples of failure I’ve seen in recent memory.
Falcons (+9) over EAGLES
The Eagles will win this game: Andy Reid is 9-0 after bye weeks (very impressive stat). But I think nine points may be too much. The Falcons are legit, beating Green Bay and Chicago in their last two games. It seems as if the trend of teams in the NFC South going from worst to first might yet continue. At this rate, I bet some other teams are hoping for their star players to be jailed for dog fighting related crimes and have their coach quit before the season is over.
PATRIOTS (-7) over Rams
I refuse to believe the Rams are any good…yet. But if Haslett and the Rams manage three straight, I won’t know what to think anymore.
PANTHERS (-4) over Cardinals
The Panthers are undefeated (4-0) at home this season while the Cardinals are 1-2 on the road. But, hopefully we can welcome back Anquan Boldin to fantasy relevance.
Redskins (-7.5) over LIONS
The away favorite has covered the spread in 58% of games so far this season. Also, the Lions have covered two weeks in a row. Detroit fans: enjoy it, that’s probably the most success you’ll see this season.
Browns (+7) over JAGUARS
The Jaguars are the most confusing team in the NFL. They might be one of the best teams in the AFC, or they could be headed to a 6-10 season, really nothing would surprise me about them at this point.
STEELERS (-3) over Giants
Something is not quite right with the Giants. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s about time for their mid-season breakdown.
49ERS (-5) over Seahawks
When the team that just fired its coach is the team that seems like it is much closer to having things move in the right direction, you know it’s not looking good for your team.
TEXANS (-9) over Bengals
It’s a battle of QBs who went to pretentious schools (UVA and Harvard)! It’s too bad for the Bengals, Harvard’s Ryan Fitzpatrick is 0-3 against the spread this season. You think when he gets sacked he tells the D-lineman, 'You, sir, have the boorish manners of a Yalie'?
TITANS (-4) over Colts
The Titans are still 5-0-1 against the spread this season. I'll ride that until it stops. LOCK OF THE WEEK.