Six division clashes headline the week eight schedule, including Brett Favre’s return to Green Bay. A battle in Baltimore will lead to the Broncos first defeat, Jake Delhomme undergoes a miraculous transformation, and New York and Philadelphia battle on multiple fronts on Sunday. Don’t worry, I’ll pull Pedro Martinez before the 7th inning.
Last Week: 10 – 3 – 0
Season: 65 – 38 – 0
Petitioning the closest NBA team to acquire LeBron in 2010 (Byes)
The Bengals are loving life right now. They’re the best team in Ohio, really. They’re even better than the Cleveland StanarndnwatcLeBrons. Maybe LeBron should ask the Bengals if they’d be interested in giving up an athletic WR for an O-lineman. Apparently Shaq thought he would be serviceable showing up at 8,000 pounds. I even tweeted the following earlier in the week: “Job Opportunity!! Cleveland Cavs are looking for 4 bodies to stand around & watch LeBron. Ability to contribute 1 or 2 plays per game a must.” The Bengals better rest up because right out of the bye they host the Ravens and visit Pittsburgh. It’s possible that they’re in third place two weeks from today.
Never liked Larry Johnson. Never will. He grew up in State College, PA, in an upper middle class home, and yet he’s always pretended he’s from the hard knock life. He’s nothing more than a spoiled wannabe. And now, he’s probably out of the NFL for good. Maybe he should ask Dick Vermeil for those diapers back.
I’m not totally convinced the Pats are fixed because they haven’t played a team with a heartbeat since their loss to Denver in week five. Coming out of the bye, they have Miami, New York (Jets), Indy, and Nawlins. That should give us a pretty good idea of where their progress is at.
I really don’t like the Pittsburgh Penguins, and I mean REALLY. One of my top five most hated teams in sports right now. Oh right, the Steelers, well, I think they’re defense is mean and their offense is ehhh (shrugging my shoulders).
Tony Dungy doesn’t just win games, he builds a franchise. The Buccaneers fired Dungy after the 2001 season. Based on the seven seasons since Dungy was booted, it doesn’t look like the right move. Take a look at Gruden’s tenure: 57-55 regular season record, 3 playoff seasons (3-2 record), one Super Bowl Championship (won with Dungy’s team), and a 0-7 record after departure. Not very impressive, especially when compared to Dungy’s work during that time: 85-27 regular season record, 7 playoff seasons (7-6 record), Super Bowl championship, and a 6-0 record after departure. Again, Dungy does more than win games, he builds a franchise. The Buccaneers have no franchise right now.
You know your season is a disaster when… ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown does a feature on your offensive play-caller, Sherman Lewis, calling bingo numbers just three weeks prior (one lady thought his name was Sherman Williams). …Your head coach could be reading “Teen Vogue” on the sidelines and it wouldn’t make a difference because he has nothing else to do. …The owner of the team banishes signs from the stadium. It’s one thing to suck, but to not take the abuse that comes with sucking is cowardly. Happy bye week, Redskins!
Early Games (1:00PM ET)
Texans at Bills
If the Bills had anything that resembled an offense, they would be a playoff contender because their defense is solid. Unfortunately, Harvard produces better economists than quarterbacks. There’s good news though, Terrell Owens is sending apology cards to Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo, and his old driveway in Moorestown, New Jersey. Like I said last week, the Texans need this win to stay in the race for the AFC South. As long as it’s not windy, Matt Schaub and the Texans’ offense should rule the day. TEXANS.
Browns at Bears
The NFL schedule is a crazy thing. Sometimes it will kick you while you’re down and other times it will deliver exactly what you need. In this case, the schedule delivered exactly what the Bears needed. After two bad losses, Chicago can see their playoff hopes slipping away. The lifeless Browns should ease those fears. On the other hand, things are getting worse in Cleveland. Whenever your fans declare a late arrival for a Monday night game (week 10) to embarrass the organization, you know the season is a waste. An empty stadium for a Monday Night kickoff would certainly be embarrassing. I am absolutely hoping the Browns’ fans pull it off. However, if management wants those people in their seats for kickoff, there is a solution. The Cleveland StanarndnwatcLeBrons are home and idle that night. Simply pay LeBron James a million or so to catch passes from the quarterbacks in warm ups. Sounds stupid, but Cleveland fans will show up to support LeBron doing anything, especially now that his departure appears imminent. BEARS.
Seahawks at Cowboys
Picking games can get bland. Every now and then you’ve gotta spice it up and put yourself out there to look like an idiot. Here’s my idiot pick of the week. The Cowboys are loving themselves this week after their impressive victory over Atlanta. The Seahawks are coming off a bye week and are essentially facing a must win game here. They won’t qualify for a wild card, and a 2-5 record would put them out of contention for the NFC Worst. Matt Hasselbeck won’t let me down here. SEAHAWKS.
Rams at Lions
“I did not see that coming” alert number one: this game is blacked out in Detroit. I can’t say I blame the fans there. This is our first nomination for the 2009 Toilet Bowl. “I did not see that coming” alert number two: November will be a big month. I will be adding content to the site every single day. Please, please, please hold your applause. Allow me to finish. If you see me around Thanksgiving and I look like Al Davis, please take comfort, I’m not on drugs, and no, I haven’t begun delivering newspapers again. Ok, now you can celebrate (crowd goes wild, clapping, much rejoicing ensues, you can’t hear it?). LIONS.
Broncos at Ravens
Denver got three feet of snow over the past few days. I’m jealous. The Ravens will put a blizzard of their own on Kyle Orton this weekend (yes!! The corny line worked!!). Seriously though, this is the week Kyle Orton reminds us all that, well, he’s Kyle Orton. The only snag in this scenario is the Ravens secondary. If they’re unable to cover Brandon Marshall for the 3 seconds it takes the front seven to get to Orton, then the upset is off, way off. It all depends on that Baltimore secondary. RAVENS.
49ers at Colts
I am tempted to take another idiot pick here, but I can’t, not when Peyton Manning is at home. What happened to all the hilarious Manning commercials? “Cut that meat, cut that meat!” Those things were classics. I need more. I’m genuinely interested in seeing how well Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree perform again this week. They were on fire in the second half of last week’s loss to the Texans. Was it a fluke or was it the start of a great offensive trio? I’m anxious to find out. COLTS.
Dolphins at Jets
Did you hear that? That was Dolphins WR, Ted Ginn Jr. dropping the jar of jelly his roommate just threw him. The Dolphins have grown so disgusted with Ginn’s play that he was forced to watch practice from the sidelines…with the practice squad. Ouch. The Dolphins are a good team. Better than the Jets. However, a loss like the Dolphins loss to the Saints last week usually lingers. I can’t imagine them going into New York and beating a defense that is out for revenge. Real quick, what will Mark Sanchez eat on the sideline this week: A. another hot dog, B. a power bar, C. pizza, or D. a cheeseburger stolen from Rex Ryan’s back pocket? JETS.
Giants at Eagles
How ‘bout that MNF game last week? Huh? Yeah? Wasn’t it great? I kept laughing because you could clearly tell that all three commentators were doing everything they could not to blurt out, “Good gracious!!! This is the worst game we’ve done this year! Is anyone still watching?” Yes, fellas, we were watching. I’ve dreaded all week about making this pick. Of course, it’s my natural instinct to pick the Eagles every week. If the Eagles were going up against the 85 Bears or Stalin’s Russia, I would still pick them to win. Unfortunately, everything is pointing against the Eagles this week. Here’s the list. The last time Philadelphia beat the Giants at home in the regular season was in 2004. Terrell Owens led the attack with three TDs. The offensive line stinks right now. Our quarterback throws like the Yankee bullpen (minus Rivera of course). We continually run the Wildcat as effectively as a tortoise. Combine all that with the likelihood of the Giants losing three in a row and Brian Westbrook’s injury status; yeah, my confidence is rattled. I’m gonna give the Eagles their best shot at winning by resorting to the reverse jinx. Take that, Giants. GIANTS.
Game I’ll Watch: Giants at Eagles
Game I’ll DVR: Broncos at Ravens
Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)
Jaguars at Titans
Gus Johnson ladies and gentlemen, Gus Johnson. That’s about the most positive thing I can say about this matchup. I think the Jaguars are a decent team and could make some noise as the season continues. The Titans will only make noise if they move Vince Young to tight end…or special teams. It’s a division battle and Gus is calling it, so yeah, I’ll watch. JAGUARS.
Raiders at Chargers
Of the six division contests this week, this is the most underwhelming. The one right above this is a close second, but Gus gives it the edge. The Charges can’t afford to blow this game. With the Broncos losing this week, San Diego must make up ground. They need to string together some victories, and this is a perfect opponent to start. After predicting the Raiders would make the playoffs last week, DE Richard Seymour finally returned to his senses this week. “I don’t think we could’ve beat an Oakland high school team,” he said. While they clearly stink, they’re not delusional any longer. CHARGERS.
Panthers at Cardinals
I would like to publicly apologize to the Arizona Cardinals. Even without a running game, they’re winning, and in impressive fashion nonetheless. The title to the AFC West still goes through Arizona, and it appears it will again next year also. Here’s an entertaining scenario… Jake Delhomme’s career began its downward spiral last January against the Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if Delhomme found his touch and regained his form, all while leading the Panthers to an upset of the Cardinals? While you shake your head and deny it, it could happen. Remember, sports always provide athletes with second chances. This is Jake’s. I’ve got myself so excited about this that I think it’s actually gonna happen. Julius Peppers terrorizes Warner all day, Carolina rushes for 200+ yards, and Steve Smith finally finds the end zone. What a great day for the Panthers! I think I just fell victim to “group think,” even though I’m the only one involved. Is this even possible? PANTHERS.
Vikings at Packers
I struggled to decide my game of the week. Here’s how I decided. Eeany, meany, miney mo. Catch a tiger by the… just kidding. Falcons vs. Saints was my choice after initially reviewing the schedule. You’ll learn why I chose against that game below. The Giants vs. Eagles got the nod because NFC East hatred is better than NFC North hatred. NY/PHI matchups are also closely contested games, and the nightcap of Phillies-Yankees will only increase the intensity and animosity. I also picked the Vikings vs. Packers matchup as my week four game of the week and was let down, so I moved on. As for this game, I think/hope/pray that Aaron Rodgers can make some plays. While his stats weren’t bad, he was overwhelmed and outplayed in their last meeting. The Packers must, must, must establish a running game. If they don’t, Jared Allen will be whispering sweet nothings into Rodger’s ear all game long. A Vikings win here would essentially eliminate Green Bay from contention for the NFC North title. PACKERS.
Game I’ll Watch: Vikings at Packers
Game I’ll DVR: Panthers at Cardinals
Sunday Night (8:20PM ET)
New York Yankees visit Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in game 4 of the World Series. There is no football game. (I might actually get to sleep before 4AM.) Fox gave New York the opportunity to flaunt it’s music before game two. They should give this Philly guy the same opportunity. Same song, different lyrics. Better overall.
Monday Night (8:30PM ET)
Falcons at Saints
I’ve taken some heat for my lack of belief in the Falcons. After being vindicated last week, I will take the Falcons, on the road, against a division rival, and facing the best team in the NFC. How do I justify this pick? Well, I really can’t, but if I had to, it would go something like this. The Saints defense isn’t as good as everyone believes. They give up a ton of points and thrive on turnovers. The Falcons offense will therefore need to protect the ball and expose the Saint’s mediocre secondary by getting the ball to Roddy White, who is the best receiver the Saints have seen since week one (Calvin Johnson). On defense, the Falcons will obviously need to pressure Drew Brees. The Falcons’ defense has been riddled with injuries and was torched last week by Tony Romo. Wait, what? Tony Romo? Really? Ok, forget it. I still don’t believe in the Falcons. SAINTS.
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. Taking the time to study and review my selections paid off big time last week. Hopefully, I can continue that trend. 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).
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (-14)
Houston Texans (-3.5) at Buffalo Bills
San Francisco 49ers (+13) at Indianapolis Colts
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-3.5)
St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions (-4)
Seattle Seahawks (+10) at Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants (-1) at Philadelphia Eagles
Oakland Raiders (+17) at San Diego Chargers
Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) at Tennessee Titans
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-3)
Carolina Panthers (+10.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons (+11) at New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 8 – 4 – 1
Season: 43 – 44 – 1
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals Over 41
Last Week: 0 – 1 – 0
Season: 3 – 4 – 0
(Lines as of 10/30, 11:04PM ET, from bodog)