Brett Favre will share the field with the Green Bay Packers yet again. Only this time, he’ll be in purple. Also this week: The Jaguars get help acquiring fans, AFC heavyweights do battle, and the Lions take us back to 2007. The fun’s inside…
Last Week: 11 – 5 – 0
Season: 32 – 16 – 0
The Lazy Ones (Byes)
Implement my offensive strategy already, would ya? I’ll give it to you again, with a few adjustments. 42% of offensive plays go to DeAngelo Williams, 35% to Steve Smith, and the remaining 23% should be divided between Jonathon Stewart, Dante Rosario, and Muhsin Muhammad. Do it now, finish 10-6, thank me later.
Poor Michael Vick. He’s now been dropped as an endorser for Nike TWICE. The Eagles have used their bye week wisely. Bringing back 32 year-old linebackers is what all championship contenders look to accomplish. I really like Jeremiah Trotter. However, I am skeptical about his ability in pass defense. Yes, you’ll tell me he’s only in on running downs. Remember a few years back? Teams began passing on running downs to exploit Trotter in favorable matchups. Having him on the field allows the offense to dictate the game. If he returns and is able to cover effectively, then great. I’ll need to see it before I’m a believer though.
The falcons bore me. No rhyme or reason, they just bore me. Watching their secondary whine consistently on Sunday may be a significant reason, but there is nothing about them that excites me. Dear Falcons, use the bye week to add four bombs to Roddy White per game and put Tony Gonzalez under center in the Wildcat (for laughing purposes only). Here’s what I think would qualify as the most outrageous and hilarious Wildcat backfield ever; Craig “Ironhead” Heyward (RIP) and Jerome Bettis. Now that’s funny.
Poor Kurt and his comrades are still hungover from their Super Bowl run. The great thing about the NFC West is you can still win the division if you play like garbage through November. I’m not sure if this is public knowledge, but I think Anquan Boldin doesn’t want to be in Arizona anymore. His expressions are less encouraging than Simon Cowell’s.
Early Games (1PM ET)
Lions at Bears
Tigers are the only thing missing from this NFC North dual. (To confirm; yes, I just referenced a movie from 1939.) Jay Cutler is steadily improving and the Lions defense should provide plenty of opportunities to air it out. Before I make my pick, allow me to put into perspective how long it’s been since the Lions entered a Sunday coming off a victory. The last time the Lions won…Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for running a dog fighting ring…People had jobs…Sarah Palin was trying to speak Russian to her neighbors and didn’t understand why they couldn’t comprehend…Nobody knew who Sarah Palin was…Joe Paterno was alive….what?!?! He’s still alive? BEARS
Bengals at Browns
Big game for the Hard Knock Bengals. You laugh, but a game like this says a lot about your team. Coming off their biggest win since December 2005, the Bengals cannot allow themselves to look past the Browns. Inexperienced “winners” do it all the time. Win a big game, get complacent, lose to a bad team, and ultimately fail to maintain a high level of play throughout the year. Com’on Bengals, prove to us you’re a legit playoff contender. Remember when Browns head coach, Eric Mangini, was referred to as “ManGenius?” Neither does he. BENGALS.
Seahawks at Colts
The Seahawks are crossing their fingers that the Colts choose to dress in white on Sunday. Wearing those radioactive “retina-burn” colored jerseys is the Seahawks only hope of containing Peyton Manning. Go ahead, try it for yourself. Turn on a light in your room; stare at it from two inches away for 50 seconds. Now, throw a football at the blurry dot that you feel is wide open. Not so easy is it? (It’s 12:43 AM and I just conducted this experiment. Seriously.) COLTS.
Giants at Chiefs
The G-Men are a perfect example of a championship caliber team that understands how to win games. See their victory against the Buccaneers in week three. Business as usually this week for the Giants. Sign that things are starting to turn around in KC: Head coach Todd Haley ditched the visor for a full baseball cap last week. Baby steps, Chiefs fans, baby steps. Remember when Chiefs RB Larry Johnson took offense to then head coach, Dick Vermeil, telling the media that Johnson needed to, “take the diapers off”? Well Johnson is in the “Depend” stage of his career now. 2.5 YDS per carry thus far. Ouch. Age finds us all. GIANTS.
Ravens at Patriots
The Ravens have steamrolled their three opponents thus far. Beating the Chiefs and Browns isn’t sexy but you can only beat the teams you play. A victory this week in New England, combined with their win over the Chargers, would entrench the Ravens as the team to beat in the AFC. Sorry, Ravens, you’ve got some more work to do. The Patriots get another huge win at home and move closer to trading Joey Galloway for a box of popsicle sticks. PATRIOTS.
Buccaneers at Redskins
Normally I would offer something along the lines of, “the Buccaneers are the perfect opponent for a team coming off a loss.” Unfortunately, after a loss to the Detroit Lions, not even the Washington Nationals are a guaranteed victory. Following the abovementioned loss, head coach Jim Zorn argued that the team was “progressing.” Can someone take Jim to the doctor? It gets worse. This past week there were reports that Zorn was visiting job fairs in the region and handing out resumes. His resume read: -Great at hip-hip hooray cheer, -Uncanny ability to make bad defenses look good, -Delusional, -Available immediately. Such is life for the 2009 Redskins. (Ok, I made the resume thing up.) Life for the Bucs isn’t much better, but there were zero expectations for this season anyway. Can someone please pay attention to the state of the teams that Jon Gruden abandoned? It’s not pretty. REDSKINS.
Titans at Jaguars
If the Titans season continues like this we’re going to need a support group for Kerry Collins. There’s no way he doesn’t start drinking again. Hopefully, Jeff Fisher and the gang get that elusive first victory this week. Not surprisingly, the Jaguars have been blacked-out again (2/2 for those counting). Due to my concern for the situation, I sent an email to Commissioner Goodell this past week about an “Adopt-A-Fan” program I developed for the Jaguars. Here’s how it works. The NFL subsidizes these fan adoptions by offering adopted fans one of three opportunities: 1. A slingshot, 3 stones, and a clear shot at Jerry Jones’ new HDTV 2. Tickets to a forty yard dash involving the following coaches: Andy Reid, Rex Ryan, Tony Sparano, Wade Phillips, and special guest; Charlie Manuel. 3. Retrieve the kicking tee after kickoffs for Super Bowl XLIV, but must spin around on baseball bat for 60 seconds immediately before kickoff (this guarantees an entertaining event). To be eligible, fans must meet one of the following qualifications; refer to a “chop block” as a utensil used on Top Chef; think that when a team enters the “red zone” it is because their chances of being attacked by terrorists increased; utterly disappointed that Peyton Manning is a famous NFL quarterback, not a professional Oreo-licker; live in the Washington D.C., Oakland, or Cleveland areas. This just in: Madonna is on board. She’s offered to match every fan adoption by adopting another child. This is huge. TITANS.
Raiders at Texans
Poor JaMarcus Russell. Young fella throws the football around as if every pass is a Hail Mary. Throw it to the black and silver! I tune into every Raiders game for a few moments just to remind myself that my teams aren’t that bad and things could certainly be worse. Remember Raider fans, the Jaguars are excepting adoption applications. Sign up before Tom Cable punches YOU in the face. It’s very early but the Texans are projecting to miss the playoffs yet again. That defense has been torched by three mediocre offenses, at best. Need better coaching? Need a stout defense? Need overall consistency? There’s an app for that. TEXANS.
Game I’ll Watch: Ravens at Patriots
Game I’ll DVR: Red Zone Channel
Afternoon Games (4PM ET)
Jets at Saints
The Jets bandwagon blew right by me. Didn’t stop or anything. I should have jumped aboard while I had the chance. Now I’m reverting to reverse psychology to bring down the Saints. If this game were at the Meadowlands I would love the Jets. That Saints offense on turf is too tough to contain, and I can’t see young Mark Sanchez keeping pace with Drew Brees. I’ve picked against the Jets every week now and they’re 3-0. Let’s hope that trend continues. SAINTS.
Bills at Dolphins
What happened? Both teams entered the season with high hopes. At 7:30PM ET on Sunday, the fan base of one of these teams is going to exit stage left faster than the New York Mets bailed on the 2009 season. All is not lost for the Bills. They hung in there with the Saints and should have knocked off the Patriots. The Dolphins on the other hand? It would best for fans to remember the excitement of the 2008 season and hope Michael Beasley is sober enough to get D-Wade back into the playoffs. Lesson 629 on being a football fan; writing off your team before the first October game makes for a very long winter. BILLS
Rams at 49ers
I’m very interested in how well the Niners scrape themselves off the mat after last week’s disaster in Minnesota. Week four should produce a more favorable outcome (insert Rams are a great opponent after a loss quote here). I will also be tuning into this game to get my first extended look at the 2009 Rams. I’ll be sure to report back how long it took until tears flowed. I would have made St. Louis fans eligible for Jacksonville adoption, but Spags (the head coach) will have that defense creating some buzz in the next year. Just give him some time. By the way, has a dome team ever had a dominant, scary defense? I don’t think it’s possible. A significant part of being a terrifying defense is the climate. What’s more intimidating than, on a 12 degree day, a defense walking around like it is 95 outside while an offense tries to combat frost bite with 14 layers of Under Armour? Think of the perennial defenses: Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago; all reside in cold, tough, outdoor climates. Aaannnnddddd we’re back. Sorry. 49ERS.
Cowboys at Broncos
Speaking of defenses, is the Broncos D for real? Controlling the Bengals, Browns, and Raiders isn’t enough to convince me. If there is one team I have watched less than the Rams, Buccaneers, Lions, and Raiders, it is the Broncos. The pain is just too real. Watching Brian Dawkins playing outside of Eagles green is like watching The Godfather Part III. Every time you turn it on you think of how amazing Parts I and II were, and you just can’t figure out where it all went wrong after that. Maybe someday I’ll be able to watch Dawk play again. Someday. I think the Cowboys are worse than I thought. Their passing attack is putrid and if Carolina would have stayed committed to the run, the outcome may have been different. (I even gave them the winning formula. All they had to do was follow it.) Regardless, I don’t think the Broncos are as good as their record. COWBOYS.
Game I’ll Watch: Jets at Saints
Game I’ll DVR: Cowboys at Broncos
Sunday Night (8PM ET)
Chargers at Steelers
It’s always an entertaining battle when these two teams meet. At first glance, I wanted to pick the Chargers. However, I am not convinced that a team like the Steelers will lose three in a row, especially a game at home. The Chargers are a lot less fun to watch than I expected, but Philip Rivers heaving bombs to Vincent Jackson is still a sight to see. Riddle me this, what other NFL city, with a team in contention for the Super Bowl, would struggle to sell out at home? This baffles me. I know the economy is poor and all, but I thought southern California was where all the rich folk live. Memo to all hotel employees hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers this season: If Ben Roethlisberger calls about a broken TV, just say no. Don’t ask questions, don’t engage in small talk, just hang up the phone. If you’re sincerely concerned, send up the cable guy from the Verizon FIOS commercials. STEELERS.
Monday Night (8:30PM ET)
Packers at Vikings *Game of the Week
While watching “Sportscenter” with my dad this week, Brad Childress appeared on the screen. Papa Doc smiled and said, “Childress looks like grandpa Smurf.” How does that relate to Monday night’s game? Not sure. This is the best Monday night matchup yet. Although, I can’t believe it took four weeks to get a division battle. Division battles are the best the NFL has to offer. I don’t understand some of the games they broadcast on Monday Night Football. It’s baffling. After last week’s miracle, the public has fallen in love with the Vikings. Beating the Browns, Lions, and needing the miracle finish to top the 49ers doesn’t prove much. The Packers have a physical defense that will certainly force Favre to beat them by attempting to keep Adrian Peterson in check. I sincerely hope that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t deliver a pu-pu platter on national television with Favre in the front row. Winning this game would put the Packers in the driver seat in the NFC North. I think Mr. Rodgers and his neighborhood friends deliver under the bright lights. Also, what a great gesture this week by NFL players to wear pink cleats, patches, etc… to support the fight against breast cancer. PACKERS.
If I were Charles Barkley…
Weekly Reminder: I pick every game so I don’t look like a pansy and only pick the easy ones. My goal is to be around 60% at season’s end (unlikely). As is the weekly custom, there is one over/under as well (because they’re too much fun not to have at least one).
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-9)
Tennessee Titans (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-2)
Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) at Cleveland Browns
New York Giants (-9) at Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-10)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins (-7.5)
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts (-10.5)
New York Jets (+7) at New Orleans Saints
Buffalo Bills (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins
St. Louis Rams (+10) at San Francisco 49ers
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos (+3)
San Diego Chargers (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 8 – 7 – 0 (No Line on Chiefs/Eagles)
Season: 17 – 17 – 0
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Over 39
Last Week: 0 – 1 – 0 **Two Red Zone turnovers and a missed field goal did me in.
Season: 1 – 2 – 0
(Lines as of 10/02, 4:15PM ET, from bodog)