Saturday, September 24, 2005

Week 3 picks and a little TV 

Really quick, I just want to throw out there how happy I am about the return of Lost. The 2nd season premiere this past week was awesome. Walt's brief appearance practically scared the living piss out of me. Great stuff. Looking forward to Wednesdays again. With Battlestar Galactica's finale airing last night (sappy, sluggish start with a cracking finish!) there are only three shows on TV right now that I deem appointment-worthy: Arrested Development, Lost, and Rome.

Okay, on to football. Last week I went a mediocre 8-8, but was 2-1 in best bets, upping the season total to 14-18 (2-4). Still shocked that Washington overcame a two touchdown deficit with only four minutes to play on Monday night. But then, that might just be what Dallas is all about this year. Very interesting slate this week, where we (meaning "I") get over the .500 mark.

Home team in caps, (BB) = best bet

Atlanta over BUFFALO - One of many tricky matchups this week. Two things are working against Atlanta. 1) They're on the road against a cold weather team and, more importantly, 2) Michael Vick's health status is up in the air. Vick's presence transforms and elevates his offense like no other player in the NFL. The latest reports say that he'll be suiting up against the Bills. I think the Falcons' defense comes to play this Sunday and attacks young JP Losman like nobody's business, putting all the work on Willis McGahee. Falcons in a close one.

Carolina over MIAMI - This game could very well be an upset and take Miami if you're betting the spread. Carolina's confidence may be riding a little too high after their win over New England last week. But like last week, it's the Panthers' running attack that will get them past a revitalized Miami team that is sporting a very stingy defense.

Cincinnati over CHICAGO - Did you know that Chicago has the top-ranked defense in the league after the first two weeks? It's true! And after smashing Detroit last week, they showed they can put up some points. However, many of the Bears' scores last week came as a result of Joey Harrington interceptions, leaving the Bears with a short field to drive to the end zone. They won't have that kind of luck against the Bengals who are clicking on all cylinders on the offensive side of the ball. The key will be if Bears running back Thomas Jones can have any success against the Bengals unproven run defense. Shutting down the Cleveland and Minnesota rushing attacks does not make you prime time. Still, Cincy improves to 3-0 for the first time in a million years. (BB)

MINNESOTA over New Orleans - There is absolutely no reason I should be picking the Vikings this weekend. I have no business doing this. I'd be a fool to do so. But I'm counting on the fact that America's Team is getting a bit road-wary right now, playing their third straight away game (last week's home game in NY was anything but) and are on little rest having played on Monday night. Culpepper finally throws a touchdown this week.

INDIANAPOLIS over Cleveland - This is a no-brainer. Lock of the week, right here. This could be an outrageous blowout. Colts playing at home against a poor team after having been stifled on offense the week before? Yeah, that just means Peyton Manning is going to throw five touchdowns. Colts in a landslide. (BB)

NEW YORK JETS over Jacksonville - This is sure to be an excellent game and on paper it looks like the second best matchup of the week. Both teams have definite playoff aspirations and it'll probably come down to these two for the final wild card spot in the AFC. I tend to favor Jacksonville in the long run. However, for Sunday, the Jets have the advantage. Byron Leftwich is dinged up for the Jags and he's the key to the team. The man's a gamer, though, so expect a good effort from him despite his ailments. But the Jets defense at home spells bad news for Leftwich who hasn't shown that he can put up numbers on the road. Jets win a tough one.

PHILADELPHIA over Oakland - Here's the thing, this game will be spectacular to watch, but it won't be much of a contest. By that, I mean that the Eagles win by double digits. I love my Raiders, but they're overmatched on the road against perhaps the best team in the league. The Raider D won't be able to keep up. This game will be spectacular, however, because it features the two best wide receivers in the game: Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Expect both of them to be on their top game, trying to out-perform the other. This will be one hell of a treat for fans. Sit back and enjoy.

ST. LOUIS over Tennessee - The Rams are finally at home where they are a force to be reckoned with. Expect the offense to open up in a big way and pick apart the young Titans on the turf. Speed kills. The Rams have it. I'm just not sold on their defense though. Will Tennessee's offense show us something?

GREEN BAY over Tampa Bay - Hard to thing of this as an upset, but hey, that's what it is. The sluggish, uninspired Packers are my upset pick of the week over rising Tampa Bay. This is it for the Pack. Much like Minnesota, I probably have no business picking them to win after losing at home to Cleveland thanks to costly errors by Favre and their wretched defense. The mystique of Lambeau Field is all but gone and Cadillac Williams looks like the real deal for Tampa. But the Bucs haven't won in Green Bay for something like eleven years. That's a trend worth taking note of if you're betting on Tampa in a suicide pool.

SEATTLE over Arizona - We're revisiting a painful memory, right here. It was Arizona beating Seattle last season that knocked me out of a suicide pool. Bitter, I was. However, the Seahawks, pretenders that they are, are worth revisiting. There's probably never been a team who has looked worse when in the lead, but there are two reasons to like Seattle this week. 1) They're at home. 2) The Cardinals are on the road. Arizona is absolutely terrible on the road. I think they've won away once in the last two seasons. Seahawks are a pretty tough host, to boot. Shaun Alexander runs through the many holes in the Arizona team and, in a week where there is only one clear best bet (Indy), Seattle is my reluctant third. (BB)

Dallas over San Francisco - Unless you're a Cowboy fan or a 49er fan, you're only watching this game if it involves players on your fantasy team. In other words, it's going to be a stinker, but expect San Fran to put up a game effort in defeat. Take Dallas to win, but the Niners to beat the spread.

PITTSBURGH over New England - Here it is, folks. The BEST GAME OF THE REGULAR SEASON. At least on paper, of course. Much like last year, this one will determine who is in the driver's seat for home field in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots haven't lost back to back games since 2002. They're the defending Superbowl champs. It is incredibly hard to pick against them. But the adjustments in personell on defense on Tom Brady's job getting tougher without Charlie Weiss calling plays offer two chinks in the armor. Add that they're playing at Pittsburgh against the best team in the first two weeks (granted, the Steelers have beaten on scrubs so far) and it looks grim for the Steelers. In this game, at this time, I believe that the home team will win. The Steelers are at home. They're going to win. Big Ben is looking sharp and "Fast" Willie Parker is taking full advantage of his opportunity as starting running back. But the Patriots know how to deal with Roethlisberger as they showed in the playoffs last year. Drop back in pass coverage and force him to make plays. It's Parker, though, that could be the difference. Thing is, the Pats have the best coach in the game and he knows how to motivate. You better believe the Patriots won't be blind-sided like last year's regular season contest and that they'll be playing with a chip on their shoulder as underdogs. But Corey Dillon's slow start and the changes on the offensive line may hinder the Patriots' spirit just a little too much to get out of Pittsburgh with a win.

Sunday Night
SAN DIEGO over New York Giants - Great matchup. Throw out the records in this one. The Chargers get their first win and hand the Giants their first loss by finally getting LaDanian Tomlinson involved in the short passing game. Tomlinson is the best running back in the game and excels in receiving. The Chargers are 0-2 because Tomlinson has 0 catches this season. Plain and simple. Get him involved and you stratch the Giants' defense to the point where it almost breaks. Wait a second... that's exactly why they made the playoffs last season!! Imagine that! Oh by the way, Eli Manning is at the helm for the New York. You don't think that's any incentive for the Chargers defense to bring their A-game? After his public bashing of the Chargers organization before last year's draft, Manning is a marked man.

Monday Night
DENVER over Kansas City - I still think Kansas City is going to win this division and that they're actually a better team than the iffy Broncos, but KC just can't seem to get the job done when they play in Denver. Jake Plummer won't win this game, the homefield will. Should be a battle. Ideally, I'd like to see some sort of scenarios where both teams not only lose, but are all injured for the season. Go Raiders!

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