Monday, November 29, 2010

TCU is East of...something

TCU today announced they would join the Big East in 2012. That's right, a team deep in the heart of Texas will now play every year against the likes of UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Louisville, etc. I can feel the excitement already. Really, what TCU decided to do here was simple; if you can't beat 'em, join em. Though the Big East is hardly a respected football conference (No. 24 is their highest rank), they, being a big name conference, have an automatic bid. As long as the Big East stays crappy, and TCU stays good, TCU will be punching their tickets to a BCS game every year, along with making a lot more money. It's a brilliant move, but it's also a capitulation. The BCS has won, pretty much. Boise State, unless it joins a power conference (which would be awesome), will be the only team left to challenge the system, to maybe inspire some real changes to the post season system. It just got lonelier in non-AQ land.

Also, it's frustrating that the BCS had to create a failsafe system where high ranked non AQs automatically get put into one of the BCS bowls (this year its the Rose Bowl), preventing an awesome Wisconsin-Stanford matchup. TCU-Wisconsin might be fun, but, to be honest, now I'm rooting for plum match ups (having given up on BCS anarchy). Whatever. I'll be watching the Championship and the Rose Bowl, but you won't suck me in with anything else, BCS! And really, wouldn't you watch every game of a BCS playoff? AHHHH the potential awesomeness makes it so much worse that something so crappy exists in its place.

I don't just want this to be a football blog; or a BCS hate blog. So here are some quick other thoughts.

-I have something of a soft spot for Real Madrid this year (because Mesuit Ozil is on the team, making the roster even awesome-r), but the highlights of Barcelona's 5-0 win over Real are still fun to watch. Good luck to the rest of the Champions League.

- The Bulls without Carlos Boozer are actually really good. Derrick Rose is playing on another level right now. When Boozer returns (soon!), I think the team will be among the elite. The Heat have dropped out of that level, so the Bulls will be happy to take that spot.

-Speaking of the Heat (if that hasn't been done enough), I think the fans in Cleveland have it all wrong. The way to really affect LeBron is if no one went to the game Thursday. That would show LeBron that he isn't the center of the Earth, as opposed to booing him, which would only fuel his ego. "I'm so good, I turned a whole city on me by leaving". So if no one made any big deal about it, he would seem meaningless. Some humble pie. But really, that's not going to happen, so I just hope that the Cavaliers beat up on the heat. With Mo Williams having a huge game or something.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NFL Week 12 Picks, RIP BCS Turmoil

Last night was the BCS version of The Empire Strikes Back. With Alabama up 24-7 at half, the Death Star, as it seemed, had been destroyed, and the stage was set to see Boise or TCU (but at that point, probably Boise if they won) in the national championship. But then Alabama squandered their lead in historic fashion, Auburn came back and took the game 28-27. That was Hoth, to continue this strained Star Wars analogy. There was a chance for real change, but it was lost. The night continued with #1 Oregon handling their business impressively against a game Arizona team. Then came Boise St.-Nevada. Nevada fell behind early, and then burst back in the fourth quarter to tie the game with :13 seconds left. Kellen Moore made an amazing throw, a miracle as it seemed, to set Boise up for a win that would propel them to at least #3, to at least the Rose Bowl. Here's your Lando Carlissian moment, though. (You know, the guy who betrays Han Solo, Luke and Leia, and gives them to Vader?). Boise's kicker misses the kick. And then misses again in overtime. Nevada wins. Boise, you ain't a going nowhere (here's your Luke, I am your father moment. NO! THAT CAN'T BE TRUE!). So all that remains is TCU, who have to hope that Arkansas beats LSU this week AND that South Carolina beats Auburn next week/ Oregon loses to Oregon State to get to the championship game, but, barring a loss to UNM (1-10), they'll be in the Rose Bowl, at least. Does TCU have a Death Star run in them? The Force isn't so strong with this one.

To put it simply, I'm fine with an Oregon-Auburn Championship. It would be a great game. Both teams have great offenses that would make for a compelling game. But what really annoys me is that an undefeated TCU won't be given a chance to prove if they're among the best. They'll get a Rose Bowl birth. Who remembers the Rose Bowl winner? Besides fans of the team, they are usually forgotten after a couple of years. The other BCS bowls may be the best teams, but they mean less than a championship. Why not turn them into playoff games, and watch the money roll in?

And for all those who say that this proved Boise wasn't a top flight team, that is ridiculous. They barely lost to a RANKED team in overtime. If they were in the Big East, they would have won pretty handily. They could compete in the Big Ten (Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, even Penn St. this year have been wholly decent. Not exactly a murderers row). This is a good team, and non AQ programs can't be further degraded. A playoff would prove it once and for all.

Onto the professionals. I went 2-1 in my Thanksgiving Picks, just barely missing out on the Saints pick. So hooray me.

Minnesota (-1) at Washington

An interim coach's first game? Yes, please. The Vikings hated Childress, so I'm sure they'll be excited to play under anyone else. And play well. If it worked for the Cowboys, masking their deficiencies for a couple of weeks, it can work for a talented Vikings team. Look for a lot of Adrian Peterson (probably to keep the ball out of Favre's hands) and the defense to handle the Redskins. Vikings win and cover.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Buffalo

I thought this spread would be much higher. Buffalo's been hanging around with teams all season- but worse teams than this. Even when they kept it close against the Patriots, that was against a team with a worse defense than the Steelers. The Steelers will be able to run all over the Bills, and be able to stop most of what the Bills throw at them. Maybe Fitzpatrick will get some good plays off, but it won't be as easy as it recently has been. Steelers win and cover. On the subject, Fitzpatrick has been good, but I don't see him as the QB of the future (Tyler Thigpen did similarly well under Chan Gailey, and he's not so good now), so please Bills, if you have the opportunity, TAKE ANDREW LUCK. And here's my naive self thinking that Chan Gailey saying that Fitzpatrick will be the QB next year is just to keep his confidence up. Please be just that. And go Jimmy Clausen! MAKE SOME MIRACLES FOR CAROLINA!

Tennessee at Houston (-6)

Oy. If I had money to bet on this game, I wouldn't touch this with any amount. Can Rusty Smith, new QB for the Titans (and winner of the Best QB Name Ever) carve up the terrible Texans pass defense? I'm thinking that Chris Johnson will more likely tear up their bad run defense. So yeah, I think the Titans win, or at least cover, and Gary Kubiak moves closer and closer to the unemployment line. Texans are on a sliiiiiiiiide.

Jacksonville at NY Giants (-7)

Both teams are hanging around in their divisions next to seemingly superior teams (the Eagles and the Colts). The Giants haven't even been playing that well lately, whereas the Jaguars are finding ways to win. I think their luck stops here, though, and they lose to the Giants, BUT the Jaguars cover.

Carolina at Cleveland (-9.5)

With Colt McCoy playing, I would've called this an easy Cleveland win, but, instead, it's Jake Delhomme, who epitomizes shaky Quarterback play. The Panthers have been bad, but I think they have it in them to keep this one close with Jimmy Clausen back (Right? RIGHT? RIGHT?!?!?). Browns win and Panthers cover. Look for the Great White Hope Peyton Hillis to keep his good season going.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore (-7.5)

Ok, so the Buccaneers only beat bad teams. Do I think they can stay with a team that almost lose to the Bills? Yes. Bucs cover, Ravens win.

Philadelphia (-3) at Chicago

It seems like its high time for the Bears to start disappointing their melodramatic fan base, and what better way than to lay an egg against a quality opponent? Mike Vick is on fire at the moment (IF you haven't noticed), and I don't see the Bears doing anything about it. I'm sure Asante Samuel is licking his chops at the prospect of playing Jay Cutler. Eagles win and cover.

Green Bay at Atlanta (-2)

This is the best game of the weekend. Both teams have been playing at a very high level for the past few weeks. I can't figure out any way to separate these two teams talent wise, offense or defense wise, so I'll take the Falcons at home, where they are almost unbeatable under Matt Ryan. But its gonna be close. Falcons win, Green Bay covers.

Miami at Oakland(-2.5)

Yeuch. I couldn't be less interested in this game, unless it was Arizona-San Francisco. Ba dum pshhhhh! Anyway, Miami has no QB and no offense. The Raiders have a semblance of a running game, so I'm looking for them to take this one. Raiders win and cover.

Kansas City (-2.5) at Seattle

Seattle's home field advantage allows them to stay in the game against a team that doesn't play well on the road. Chiefs can still win though, behind a strong running game and Dwayne Bowe. Chiefs win, cover, but it won't be easy.

St. Louis at Denver (-3.5)

NFC West vs. AFC West? Snooze. Denver wins and covers, I guess? It's hard to care. I bet Denver puts up a lot of points and St. Louis can't keep up. So yeah, Denver wins and covers.

San Diego at Indianapolis (-2.5)

Who have the Chargers beat this year? No one really that good. Peyton Manning's gonna be pissed after last weeks game against the Patriots, and take it out on the bad Chargers pass defense, even with all of his players injured. Philip Rivers will continue to be a whiny little jerk, with great stats, who also fails in the clutch. Indy wins and covers.

San Francisco (-1) at Arizona

Monday Night Football is dead. Who at ESPN POSSIBLY thought that this could be a good game. It's this weeks hell game, thats for sure. Down there, Jon Gruden is announcing the game with two clones of himself. "THISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUY" is all you can hear. God save us all. I guess I'll take the point and say Arizona covers, and SF wins.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day Picks + College Football Armageddon

Thanksgiving Football! As always, these games are pretty terrible. Even the addition of an NFL network game hasn't come through. This season has been so wacky, basically, that almost everyone's predictions are way off, so we get nationally televised stinkers like Bengals-Jets. Plus, the NFL has to shoehorn the Lions and the Cowboys into every Thanksgiving, even though I stretch to imagine many people would be so offended if those games were replaced with GOOD games, besides some self righteous Cowboys fans. Still, most people will end up watching them. It's football, it's thanksgiving, and thats how it works.

New England (-6.5) at Detroit

New England is on a roll, having beat Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in successive weeks. Tom Brady has looked very impressive in spreading the ball around, the offense is back to it's old devilishly good ways, and the defense is steadily improving. Meanwhile, the Lions can't beat the Bills. So I'll give the edge to the Patriots, who should take this one easily. Pats win and cover.

New Orleans (-3.5) at Dallas

Why is the spread so low? Sorry that I'm not quite buying into the Dallas revival at this point-2 games does not make a brand new team. The Saints seem to have gotten back on track after a rough start to the season, and I foresee them ripping up Dallas' terrible pass defense. Saints win and cover.

Cincinnati at NY Jets (-9)

I watched Cincinnati last week, and any team that gives up 35 unanswered to the Bills stands no chance of staying with the Jets. The Jets have been playing close games lately, but I can't see this one being close with the total ineptitude of the Bengals. Jets win and cover.

Onto College Football. With 2 weeks remaining in the season, (one of which is conference championships), the BCS has reached a critical point. A loss by Auburn this week (against Alabama, so it is very possible) or Oregon (less likely) would vault one of the non-AQs into the championship game. A loss by LSU in the next two weeks would virtually guarantee that a non-AQ (Boise or TCU) would play for the final. This is so exciting. Money is what keeps the ridiculous BCS system in place. A championship game involving one or TWO (dream situation) non-AQs would likely draw the least amount of money in the history of the BCS. And that might be the catalyst for playoffs in college football. If you want that at all to happen, Auburn or Oregon AND LSU must lose. (I say LSU because I'm sure if Auburn/Oregon lost that LSU might vault Boise/TCU...never doubt the BCS in being able to get a big name team in the finals). The fan side of me, though, is rooting for Oregon to stay in, because Oregon is the most exciting team in football. So, a Boise-Oregon showdown would a) be a great game and b) not draw much money. Perfect. As long as the BCS's pocketbook is hit, real change is possible.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ultimate Dilemma

Well, the Bills surprised me and actually won another game. Or, more realistically, the Bengals surprised me by showing how inept and fatalist they are in giving up a 28-7 lead after the first quarter. Unbelievable how fast they folded and how resigned they were to losing. Still, awesome to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick, he of the Civil War General beard, and Steve Johnson light up the Bengals secondary. Johnson's "Joker" persona was also awesome. He was pretty committed to the act, as he had 'Why so Serious?" written on his undershirt (hello, fine), and had eye black around his mouth like the Joker. T.O and Ochocinco, Batman and Robin, were really shut down by the Joker and the Bills. But the win was unsettling. Or, my response was unsettling. I was happy that the Bills had won, yet... I want Andrew Luck. I want the Bills to have the first pick in the draft. But how do you root for your own team to lose? It is so intrinsically wrong. Its impossible to watch the game and NOT want them to win, even if it ruins their draft stock. So I face a dilemma every time I watch; I want them to lose in my head, but I want them to win in my heart. With our next six games being very lose-able (Steelers, Vikings, Browns, once more through the division), it may be easier. But that internal conflict will still churn within me.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back on Board with Week 11 NFL Picks

So sorry I missed last week, to my loyal readers (if they exist). I was in Jacksonville last weekend, and actually got to see the ridiculous hail mary game winner LIVE. I think I heard Gus Johnson's head explode. Anyway, lost in all that was my NFL picks, and it probably is better that they're not published because I got wrecked. Also, I picked the Dolphins Thursday. I'm an idiot.

Week 11! No Byes!

Oakland at Pittsburgh (-7.5)

Pittsburgh, from what I saw of their game last Sunday (was flying during most of it), was getting ripped up through the air, especially through the middle with Tight Ends. Oakland has been wholly decent this year, but I don't know if they have the talent the Patriots have. Pittsburgh, if they are really an elite team, will win this game. I think Oakland, though, covers the spread.

Houston at NY Jets (-6.5)

After seeing Houston last week, I have no confidence left in them. They looked sluggish to start the game, were terrible against the run, couldn't run the ball themselves, and just looked resigned to losing. The last play was fluky, but they really didn't deserve to win anyway. The Jest should be able to run all over them and defend the passing attack. Jets win and cover.

Baltimore(-11) at Carolina

Carolina is terrible. Terrible terrible terrible, as Charles Barkley would say. And now they're starting Brian St. Pierre at Quarterback. That's how desperate they are. The Ravens have had 10 days off to recover from their heartbreaking loss to the Falcons and will probably take it out on the Panthers. Baltimore wins and covers.

Washington at Tennessee (-7)

Still perplexed as to how the Titans lost to the Dolphins playing against the terrible Tyler Thigpen. That makes me scared to pick them with much confidence, but then again, they're playing the Redskins, who the Eagles just desecrated. I think Washington will bounce back to be their decent selves, and Tennessee will do enough to win, but not cover.

Detroit at Dallas (-6)

Can Jason Garret's boys keep it up? For some reason, I think that they're gonna have to come down to Earth eventually. How long can you mask terrible fundamentals? I think they can win this one, but I think Detroit can cover, because their offense is pretty high powered, and Dallas can't stop anyone. So Boys win, Lions cover.

Green Bay (-3) at Minnesota

Green Bay seems to be over their early season troubles and rounding into form, whereas the Vikings keep slipping up. Brett Favre is back into 'vintage' form with his back breaking interceptions, and the defense isn't doing them any favors. Green Bay will win and cover.

Buffalo at Cincinnati(-5)

BILLIEVE!!! BILLIEVE! That's right, the Buffalo Bills have one victory. Now begins the hand wringing in my household on whether a) The Bills will have the first pick and b) whether Andrew Luck will come out or not. Luck has to choose between possibly going to Buffalo or Carolina (please be Buffalo) or going back to school and possibly hurting his draft status. So there's that to worry about, which has caused some to hope that the Bills...lose out. Terrible, terrible ethical quandary. Anyway, on to this game. The Bengals are pretty bad, but I think they can manage to beat the Bills. But the Bills will stay feisty and stay in the game, so they'll cover. Also, this is your hell game. In hell, the game is running with T.O talking about his boring life over the footage.

Cleveland at Jacksonville (-2.5)

I watched Jacksonville last week, and I left feeling 'meh' about the team. Sure, they have some talent, but I don't think they can play with the best. Cleveland took the Jets to OT and beat the Patriots, so I'm leaning towards them. They have a great run game and Colt McCoy can make plays when needed. Cleveland wins outright.

Arizona at Kansas City (-8)

I didn't see it coming when Kansas City got stomped on by Denver. Arizona is no Denver, though. The passing game is just not as good as Denver's, so I think KC will take this one, and cover. Look for Jamaal Charles to do something awesome. No reason for saying that except for the fact that Jamaal Charles is so awesome and so underutilized.

Seattle at New Orleans (-11.5)

New Orleans, off a bye, against a terrible pass defense? Please and thank you, Saints win and cover.

Atlanta (-3) at St. Louis

Atlanta was pretty impressive in beating the Ravens, and now they have 10 days of rest. St. Louis is better than expected, but I still think Atlanta wins and covers. If they really are the NFC's best, they should at least be able to put away the Rams comfortably.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (-3.5)

I have no confidence in the Troy Smith led 49ers, and I have a fair amount in the Josh Freeman led Buccaneers. So I'm looking for Tampa Bay to win this one outright. The Buccaneers- PURE EXCITEMENT.

Indianapolis at New England (-4)

Ah, finally, the best regular season game of the last 10 years returns. Watching these two all time greats at Quarterback is just awesome. Last year's Fourth and Two Game will be tough to top, but it still should be a great game. New England has looked very impressive as of late, whereas the Colts have been semi-coasting. I know Peyton Manning will get up for this game, so I can't say I see New England winning by more than 4, so the Colts will cover and the Pats will win. Either way, I can't wait.

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-3)

This is also a great game. The Eagles and Giants have been lighting it up recently, and not against shoddy opposition. This week, though, both teams have to face decent/good defenses on the other side. I foresee Michael Vick continuing to light it up, while the Giants will keep it close behind Eli. The Eagles, though, are more 'explosive', and I think they'll take this one at home, while the Giants cover.

Denver at San Diego (-9.5)

Snoooooooooooze. San Diego will probably keep their little streak going and end up winning this divison. Denver will probably keep scoring a lot of points but not being really all that good. So San Diego wins, but Denver covers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ravens-Falcons Thursday Night Pick

So begins Thursday Night Football, and they actually picked a good game! Thursday Night football is always good, though, because it spreads out the total amount of football you watch over one week. Instead of it being crammed into a Sunday, and maybe not seeing it, you get to watch one more game per week (unless you are blessed with the RedZone). Also, it screws up fantasy matchups. You can have a big Thursday Night and feel oh so excited for your week, or get hosed on Thursday and suddenly your team isn't looking so hot. But anyways, on to the game.

Baltimore at Atlanta (-1)

I can see why Atlanta's favored, seeing how good they usually play at the Georgia Dome. The overall quality of the AFC compared to the NFC, though, sways me to take the Ravens to cover and win. Baltimore's got a stingy defense and plenty of weapons on offense, and I don't think Atlanta can say they have an advantage on either side of the ball. I think it will still be close, but the Ravens cement their status as one of the NFL's best with a road win.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Sports Thoughts

Well this sucks. The Bills once again choked away a perfectly winnable game. In fact, it might have been the last winnable game of the schedule. Up next on the schedule- Detroit, at Cinci, Pittsburgh, at Minnesota, Cleveland, at Miami, New England and the Jets. Honestly, after this week, I can't see us winning any of those games. Detroit can put up points (though they might be without Matthew Stafford next week, which is a plus for the Bills. But Calvin Johnson will probably still dominate them). Cleveland looks to be a matchup nightmare for the Bills, as they are really good at running the football. Cinci may be overrated, but they still have a good enough defense and running game to beat the Bills. Maybe the Patriots and Jets will be resting their starters the last two weeks, and the Bills MIGHT be able to eek out a win against the backups. But that's a big if, because those two teams could be playing for playoff positioning. The futures pretty bleak.

What else did I learn? Despite some gaudy stats, Ryan Fitzpatrick is NOT the quarterback of the future. He can occasionally make good throws, but too often he loses his accuracy and makes bad choices. His ineffectiveness on the drives that counted really killed the Bills today. Also, can we get CJ Spiller more involved? He had a nice 17 yard run in the second half and ended up leading the team in rushing despite getting less carries. What do the Bills have to lose in playing their first round draft pick in more game situations? He needs carries to make plays, clear and simple.

-On to the rest of the NFL. Once again, nothing was cleared up. Everyone who thought the Patriots and Colts were the cream of the AFC (or near it) were given a huge shock when both teams lost winnable games, especially the Patriots. The Browns bulldozed the Patriots today, putting a pretty serious dent in their 'best team in the NFL' status. Meanwhile, The Eagles showed how good they can be (or how comparatively mediocre the Colts are this year) with Mike Vick, winning a close one against the Colts. The Giants staked a claim to being the best team in the NFC, but it was pretty hollow, as they beat an overrated Seahawks team. Wherever you look, its muddled in the NFL. Should be great to see who makes the playoffs, and who plays consistenly enough to make the Super Bowl.

-Got into another LeBron argument this weekend. The main point of the pro-LeBron side was that LeBron is physically the best NBA player of all time, a new type of player unlike Jordan or Kobe. He also claimed that LeBron wanted to go to South Beach, win a championship, and have a good time. But, the fact is, no one is going to remember LeBron as the greatest of all time if he won 7 championships in Miami. He's playing on a super team (so his wins seem less impressive), becoming more of a distributor and letting Wade dominate for some games, and overall just not being 'The Guy'. Jordan wouldn't have accepted being anything but the number one option on his team. LeBron ruined his legacy, plain and simple. He could win championships, but he'll never be known as the best of all time unless he carries his team. Thats what we expect in the post-Jordan era. (Despite the fact Jordan played with Pippen. Still, Pippen never was the option over Jordan, Jordan didn't play a 'distributor' role for a majority of his career, '91 finals against the Lakers notwithstanding, and no one ever questioned his drive).

-That Zenyatta race was awesome, but that's probably the last time I'll care about Horse Racing for a while. The Derby is kind of cool, but once the Triple Crown is unattainable (usually after the second race), I lose interest. Horse Racing is dead besides the Derby and the Breeders Cup (and only sometimes the Breeders Cup).

-The Bulls are going to be good once Boozer gets back, but right now the team is playing bad defense and allowing themselves to go down a ton early in games, digging themselves into a hole they can never get out of. Once Boozer gets back, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will hopefully not take as many shots, the offense will be more balanced, and maybe the defense can be more focused for 48 minutes. I'm also excited to see Derrick Rose against the Heat, because the Heat have been victimized by good PG play (Rondo and Paul). Don't sleep on the Bulls.

-The Sabres are still doing woefully bad. They need a kick in the butt if they hope to contend for anything this season.

All I want for Christmas, or earlier, is ONE Bills win. Come on God, you're overdue on this one.

Week 9 NFL Picks- My Super Bowl

Yes, this is the most important week of the NFL Season for me. This week, The Cheecago Bears take on the Buffalo Bills, while I reside in the heart of Bears country. If the Bills lose, I face a week (or more) of ridicule from pretty much everyone I know. If they win, I will be giving a personal middle finger to all of Chicago by wearing my Bills gears ALL WEEK. So its a big Sunday, to be sure.

Speaking of which...

Chicago (-3) "at" Buffalo (in Toronto)

I have to Bill-ieve. I have to. They've come close the last two weeks against teams better than the Bears (and also kept it close against the Patriots). The offense is moving the ball effectively,and the defense is kind of improving. Jay Cutler seems primed to give the Buffalo secondary their first interceptions of the season. The Bears offensive line is so bad that even though Buffalo can't stop the run or rush the passer, the Bears won't be able to get a good ground game going and the Bills will get some sacks. I have to Bill-ieve. I have to Bill-ieve. Bills win outright, covering the spread. Full disclosure: I would not be surprised at all if the Bills lost horribly, condemning me to weeks of hell. But they have to. For my sake. Just this one time.

Note: If I were an impartial observer, this would be your hell game. In hell, it'll be shown with Canadian announcers to match the setting. DON'T YA KNOW DER, THAT WAS A GOOD PLAY, EH? (Canadian stereotypes...gotta love 'em.)

San Diego (-3) at Houston

San Diego finally looked to be (a little) on track in beating the Titans last week, whereas the Texans looked pretty flat in a big game against the Colts. The Chargers look primed for another late season run, so I'll take them to cover on the road against the fading Texans.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina

New Orleans woke up last week and delivered an impressive win over the Steelers, who some thought to be the best team in the NFL. Carolina, meanwhile, might be the least interesting team of this season. They can't decide whether to start Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen, which is like deciding between Nickelback and Kid Rock. Anyway, the Saints cover this pretty easily.

Arizona at Minnesota (-7.5)

Minnesota seems to be in turmoil, with a decrepit quarterback, a coach on the scalding hot seat, an owner with a hilarious stereotypical Tycoon moustache who hates his coach, and having just cut the mercurial Randy Moss. It shows how bad Arizona is that Minnesota is still favored by seven and a half. I think, just like last week against the Bucs, Arizona keeps it close and covers, but Minnesota wins, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Or, if they lose, maybe beginning the T-Jax era. MEDIOCRITY: GET USED TO IT.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-9)

I like Tampa Bay too much to think they won't cover. They're fun to watch, with Josh Freeman slinging it to Mike Williams and a turnover oriented defense. Atlanta has been inconsistent all year, but mostly good. I don't think, though, that they're good enough to win by 2+ scores against a Bucs team hungry to prove they're legit. So the Bucs cover but Atlanta wins.

NY Jets (-5) at Detroit

The New York Jets were shut up this week after they came out flat after their bye week and crapped the bed against the Packers. They should do better this week, but I see the Lions covering because they put up points no matter what, especially in garbage time. Lions keep it close and cover, Jets win and keep talking. Ugh.

Miami at Baltimore (-5.5)

Miami is tough to figure, but they do play well on the road. Last week they barely got by Cinci, a not great team. Now they face the Ravens, who are coming off the bye. I'll believe in the Dolphins if they can win this game, but I think they'll only cover while the Ravens win. Flacco and the offense always find a way to score when they need to, and the defense is capable of bottling up the Miami offense.

New England (-4) at Cleveland

The Patriots are BACK, according to Bill Simmons, and nothing could be more annoying. Because now Patriots fans are BACK to being even bigger jerks who love the way the "old Patriots teams" played, before they got Moss. Now they're back to being annoyingly good without the talent, using their "superior intellect" or whatever. So much arrogance coming from the Massholes, and I'm having trouble dealing with it. The Patriots will probably win this one by 10, because they'll make less mistakes than the Browns and have one big play. The Browns will try to keep pace, but Peyton Hillis can only do so much, and the defense will be overmatched. Patriots cover.

NY Giants (-7) at Seattle

The Giants have a good team with a healthy offense and a stingy defense. I strongly believe in Seattles home field advantage, though, and their propensity to stay in games they shouldn't, so I say the Seahawks cover but the Giants win. Hope it's low scoring. Fantasy wise.

Kansas City at Oakland (PK)

PICK EM! I watched the Chiefs backslide into a victory last week, so I'm going with the team with all the momentum. THE OAKLAND RAIDERS JUST WIN FOOTBALL GAMES! Watch for Darren McFadden to light it up, and for Matt Cassel to still be an ineffective NFL Quarterback.

Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-3)

Philly is always great off the bye week. That is completely clouding my judgement here, but I think the Eagles win a close win, as the always good Colts keep it close, but Mike Vick is able to make it happen against a weak Colts D.

Dallas at Green Bay (-7)

Dallas is "playing for pride" (as NBC is putting it), but I really think they've just given up. The Packers played one of the most impressive games of the season last week in shutting out the Jets in Jersey, so I see no reason why they can't light up a Cowboys team that gave up 35 to the Jaguars. Packers win and cover.
Also, one solace to this winless Bills season is that the Cowboys suck as well.

Pittsburgh (-5) at Cincinnati

I think the Steelers are going to be very angry at the fact that they lost last week, and will take it out on the woefully overrated Bengals. Carson Palmer, as stated before, is not really a good QB and the Steelers D will feast on him. Roethlisberger and the Steelers O should be able to move the ball vs. a decent Bengals defense. Pittsburgh wins and covers.