Guys, I know this is supposed to be an NFL column, but the WNBA playoffs are underway, who can focus on anything else? They’ve got next! (I think that slogan is like six years old, but I don’t know what they would have replaced it with. Maybe ‘High off the Glass!’)
Back to things that matter – football. We’re only one week into the season and I’m already frustrated with my team and with the powers that be in the NFL. For some reason, CBS has made their number one game this week Pittsburgh @ Chicago, NOT Baltimore @ San Diego. Why would I possibly want to watch two playoff teams play each other when I can watch Jay Cutler and the Bears for the second week in a row? Oh right, because I enjoy good football (not that I think either game will be good, but isn’t Ravens-Chargers clearly the better choice here, or am I some sort of glue-sniffing moron?)
Week 2 might be the single most confusing week in the NFL season. Which is really just a way of saying, we don’t really know who is better; there are seven games with a 3-point spread. Clearly, Vegas doesn’t know which teams are for real and which teams suck. On to the picks.
Last week: 8-8
Season: 8-8 (obviously, idiot)
Home team in CAPS
Raiders (+3) over CHIEFS
I don’t have any idea what to expect here. The Raiders in some way resembled a real football team last week. When JaMarcus Russell threw that 57-yard bomb TD to Louis Murphy did anyone else cover their heads expecting the sun to come crashing into the earth or anything equally improbable? At the same time, the Chiefs hung 24 points on the supposedly great Ravens D without their starting QB, who they might not have again this week. This game could end up with almost any score imaginable and I wouldn’t be too surprised. The Chiefs have a serviceable offense and no defense; the Raiders have a serviceable defense and no offense.
TITANS (-6.5) over Texans
Week 16 last year I wrote that the Texans had ended ’06 and ’07 strong, giving fans hope to start the next season of them being the ‘surprise’ team and that it would happen again, ending out 2008 strong, with high hopes for 2009. Somehow I forgot this fact in Week 1. The Texans, as always, are a first-half disappointment and a second-half surprise.
Patriots (-3.5) over JETS
I know, the Patriots didn’t look great in Week 1. They probably should have lost. I know, Rex Ryan called up the Jets season ticket holders urging them to come to the game and be loud. I know, the Jets looked solid in Week 1. BUT, I also know the Patriots are a better team than the Jets and if this line came out in Week 1 it would have been 7 points.
PACKERS (-9) over Bengals
I still think the Packers are probably good, despite a lackluster offense last week. And one would think if Cincy can’t score on Denver, then they would have problems with Green Bay’s physical corners. But of course, it’s also assumptions like these that cause people to lose money. In the end it all falls back to the fact that the Bengals are just plain bad. Watch out Bengals, if the Raiders are improved you could be the #1 joke in football.
LIONS (+10) over Vikings
The Lions have to play their first home game kinda close, right?
Saints (even) over EAGLES
There is NO WAY the Eagles QB situation doesn’t get messy. Kevin Kolb can’t play, Jeff Garcia is old and was just signed, Vick can’t play yet and is self-admittedly weeks away, and McNabb has broken ribs and is so concerned about losing his grip on the team or the city turning on him he’ll try to push through his injury too soon and play below 100% all season. Don’t let Week 1 fool you, the Eagles are going to crash. It’ll also be trouble for their defense this week when the opposing QB is not throwing balls directly to them.
FALCONS (-6) over Panthers
In the time it took me to write this sentence Jake Delhomme threw 11 interceptions.
Rams (+10) over REDSKINS
I know the Rams were unquestionably the worst team of W eek 1, but I don’t care who it is, you don’t favor the Redskins by 10 points (well, unless it’s the Lions, the only team the Skins beat by double digits).
JAGUARS (-3) over Cardinals
After Kurt Warner’s last Super Bowl loss he started the next season 0-3 throwing seven interceptions to one touchdown. He is now seven years older. I don’t understand why Super Bowl hangovers happen, but there is certainly no denying that they do.
49ERS (-1.5) over Seahawks
Even when Seattle was good, they sucked on the road. They probably just miss the coffee, rain, grunge music, and Space Needle. Worth noting, whoever wins this division will not be a good football team.
BILLS (-5) over Buccaneers
Last week both teams managed to move the ball from time to time, despite having just canned their offense coordinators. But the Bills also seemed to have players that knew how to play defense. Advantage Buffalo.
BRONCOS (-3) over Browns
If you have to watch this game I feel sorry for you. Two awful football teams. And somehow, the awful Broncos will be 2-0.
Ravens (+3) over CHARGERS
The Chargers are favored here. Did anyone watch their game last week? Does anyone remember last season? Or the season before? Or, and this can’t be ignored, that Norv Turner is their coach? The Ravens will win the game straight up. LOCK OF THE WEEK.
Steelers (-3) over BEARS
Jay Cutler and his receivers don’t seem to have the same idea on what patterns are being run. It seemed time and time again that Cutler would throw one way just as his inexperienced WRs would break another way. Do that against Pittsburgh, even without Polamalu, and they will destroy you.
Giants (+3) over COWBOYS
The Cowboys could not stop the Bucs rushing attack. Expect a big game from Brandon Jacobs and the Giants to take this game. Also, it’s the first regular season game in the Cowboys new stadium and it’s on Sunday Night Football, the over/under for number of times the scoreboard and punts are mentioned is set at 22.
Colts (-3) over DOLPHINS
This line is just low enough to take. The Dolphins will keep it close, but not quite this close.