by Justin Cherot
Any how, I decided to be like the Oakland Raiders’ secondary (no words…) and take the week off from making picks on the site, although if you are one of my two friends on Facebook, you’d know that I did drop a little bit of knowledge on there an hour before mass kick-off last Sunday.
So, with that in mind, let’s hope I can improve upon my 21-12-3 mark this season.
(Note: lines from ESPN.com as of 8:24 am 9/23/11)
PATRIOTS (-9) at Bills
If my Raiders can hang 35 on the road while missing their top three receivers, what do you think Tom Brady is going to do? I guess the only question in this one is whether or not the Pats’ defense will give up 30+ points to Ryan Fitzpatrick and his offense. I think that Bill Belichick will have his defense ready to go after a couple of subpar performances. 42-28, New England.
49ers (+3) at BENGALS
I’m taking a team with Alex Smith at quarterback playing on the road. Maybe I really am losing my mind. It’ll be close, but I still think there’s too much inexperience on the offensive side of the ball for the Bengals. 21-17, Niners.
Dolphins (+3) at BROWNS
Sure, Miami looked outclassed against New England and Houston, but I think they’ll be able to move the ball well against Cleveland. However, I have to admit that it’s slightly alarming that Chad Henne has more rushing yards than Reggie Bush. An interesting subplot to this game will be Daniel Thomas’ debut for the Las Vegas Spread in the Lowe’s Football League. Miami, 24-20.
Broncos at TITANS (-7)
Is Tennessee for real? Obviously, this week they won’t definitively answer that question against Denver, but if they blow them away–like I think they will–people might not be so quick to crown the Houston Texans as division champs. 31-14, Tennessee (and more Tim Tebow supporters calling sports radio stations).
LIONS at Vikings (+4)
Detroit is looking like an early season feel-good story, but I’m not ready to buy the Lions as legitimate contenders quite yet. On the other side of the coin, everybody is talking about how bad the Vikings are, and yet if Donovan McNabb throws for over 100 yards in Week 1 and they hold onto a 17-0 first half lead in Week 2, the Vikings could just as easily be 2-0. Also, the Lions haven’t seen an elite running back for a full game (in Week 1 LaGarrette Blount touched the ball five more times than I did, and unfortunately you saw what happened to Jamal Charles in Week 2), and that’s what they’re going to get with Adrian Peterson. 27-24, Vikings.
Texans at SAINTS (-4)
One of those weird fantasy football weeks: I’m starting Drew Brees against Darrien Gill’s DMV Triumph, and I’m playing against my future brother-in-law–Todd Mueller–who just happens to start Brees for Prestige Worldwide. A little bit later on you’ll see why I’m not as scared about playing against him, but concerning the game itself, I don’t know if Houston will be able to get enough pressure on Brees to make a difference. 35-24 Saints.
Giants at Eagles (even)
If Michael Vick plays, and it looks like he will, there’s no way this game should have an even line. Not with New York’s patchwork secondary. Eagles, 32-23.
Jaguars at PANTHERS (-4)
Breaking news: Cam Newton gets his first fantasy start of the season for “Pryor’s on Fire!!!!!”. Sure, he hasn’t been perfect to start the season, but I don’t think he’ll have to be to beat the Jags’ defense. 24-10, Carolina.
JETS (-4) at Raiders (!!!!)
My reverse psychology pick of the week. Even though the Raiders’ back-up receivers–especially Denarius Moore, who at this point should no longer be considered a back-up–played extremely well last week, the Jets’ defense is less forgiving than the Bills’. I’m hoping for big things from Darren McFadden, but realistically I’m thinking it’ll be a difficult weekend for him: not only do his Raiders more than likely lose, but his Arkansas Razorbacks are going to get rocked, too. Jets, 24-17.
RAVENS (-4) at Rams
Starting to think I gave Baltimore the kiss of death by picking them as Super Bowl champions, but thankfully champions aren’t crowned in mid-September. Meanwhile, St. Louis has to be careful: if they lose this game, they could come out of the weekend two games back of the ‘Niners and Cards in the race to eight wins, AKA the NFC West title. Ravens, 31-20.
Chiefs (+15) at Chargers
San Diego has been getting massive spreads to start the season, and although the Chiefs have shown no signs of being able lose by less than three scores, this is a divisional rivalry game, and you know what they say: weird crap happens in divisional rivalry games, to put it eloquently. Chargers, 35-27.
Bears (+4) at PACKERS
Aaron Rodgers is a stud quarterback in this league, but for whatever reason he struggles against Chicago. Meanwhile, Bears’ faithful are clamoring for their team to play more ground-and-pound football, but this is the week they want to go out and test a Packer secondary that has given up back-to-back 400 yard performances. It’ll be a good one, but I think the Packers still win, 27-24.
CARDINALS (-4) at Seahawks
Kevin Kolb has looked pretty good in his first two starts with Arizona, which I think will be more than enough against a Seattle defense which will offer little resistance. Ugh, can we just get rid of the NFC West altogether?
Falcons (+1) at BUCCANEERS
Love the +1 or -1 spreads, because it simplifies things. Either you think Team “A” is going to win or you think Team “B” is going to win. In this case, the Falcons are a little bit better at this point in the season, particularly offensively. Then again, the Bucs swag may be sky-high after overcoming a big halftime deficit…but if I had money on it I’m shoving my chips towards the Falcons, 27-21.
STEELERS (-11) at Colts
Do we even need to do lines for Indy anymore? How about this: anytime you see them opposite another team, pick WHATEVER the spread is. Chances are that out of the 16 games they play, you’ll end up a winner in at least 14. Book it!
Cowboys at Redskins (even)
If I’m a Washington fan, I don’t know how excited I would be knowing that Vegas thinks your team is even with a Dallas team that has a banged-up No.1 quarterback, wide receiver (who is listed as doubtful) and running back. So, Redskins’ fans (cough, Colin): while your team is highly likely to start the season 3-0, it remains to be seen if the ‘Skins are playing meaningful football in December. Still… ‘Skins, 31-28.
(Redskins fans: this is the time when you say to me, “How many 17-point leads have WE blown this year?”)