Friday, October 2, 2009

Degenerate Friday - Week 4

Another week, another 8-8 record, so at least I’m consistently mediocre. I guess there is this fairly big game in Minnesota on Monday night when some old guy is playing against his old team. The hype is already coming fast and furious from the worldwide leader, and it’s only going to get worse. I hope Tirico brings a sponge to the booth to soak up the slurping mess as Gruden fawns all over Favre.

A couple quick links before getting to the picks……

Great anti-player gear for 49ers fans or and another one for Packer fans.

And a couple of good time-wasting websites using people’s real pictures and good captions: or some great jerseys at

And is anyone else kind of freaked out by the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are? I get it’s a kids movie, and I vaguely remember the story from when I was a kid. But I guess maybe because I grew up playing sports and not dungeons and dragons (thanks Mom & Dad – you have no idea how much I appreciate that) I just don’t remember it being so strange. Are kids on psychedelic drugs now? Watching that trailer makes me feel like I should be high to truly understand the movie.

Talking to my brother the other day and got to talking about movies that every business major or finance guy has seen – Wall Street, Boiler Room, and Glengarry Glen Ross. And of those movies, as much as I enjoy all of them, Alec Baldwin’s role in Glengarry Glen Ross tops them all. So this week the games are broken out by quotes from Baldwin in his role as Blake.

Same disclosures every week…….for recreational purposes, home team in CAPS, etc.

“We're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired.”

This week, there are multiple games where the coaches are on the hot seat, just 3 weeks into the season. Another loss here could really turn up the heat. Also making this group even though they’re on bye is the Carolina Panthers, where John Fox and Jake Delhomme can probably get a two-fer deal on moving out of Charlotte after the season.

Buccaneers (+7) over REDSKINS
This is the Toilet Bowl game of the week. Washington coach Zorn is simply counting the days until Snyder lures the Human Walrus (Holmgren) or Shannahan to town. Their offense is putrid, so while you’d like to think they’ll rally after letting Detroit break their 19 game losing streak, they can’t score enough points to cover 7 against anyone (remember they beat the Rams 9-7). Oh and Portis is banged up, meaning they’ll have to rely even more on the inconsistent Jason Campbell. Even with Josh Johnson starting his first NFL game on the road, the Skins fans may have turned on the team enough to start cheering for the Bucs. Skins don’t win again until Portis gets back to costumes… Southeast Jerome.

TEXANS (-9) over Raiders
The Texans burned me on my lock of the week by losing to the Jags last week, yet I’m going back for more. The Texans are 0-2 at home thus far, and the Raiders defense has actually been respectable, but I just can’t back a QB with a 41% completion percentage who resembles Refrigerator Perry more than Jim McMahon.

Titans (-3) over JAGUARS
Despite their 0-3 record, the Titans have allowed the 2nd fewest rush yards per game in the league (behind only Baltimore) at 60.7 ypg. That spells trouble for the Jags, who are in the top 10 rushing offenses and win solely on the legs of MJD. Jeff Fisher’s job is safe and the Jags have bigger issues than firing their coach, like trying to sell tickets, but if they have a disappointing season, Del Rio may have to face the music.

Bengals (-5.5) over BROWNS (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
The Browns are an ATM. Just take whomever they are playing and lay whatever points you have to, and BAM – you get money. This team is terrible and Mangini resembles Hussein Bolt. Not in appearance or personality, but in that they have both done things in record time: Bolt runs the 100m, and Mangini has lost his team in less than ¼ of the season. Maybe too easy of a Lock of the Week, but it is the Bengals.

DOLPHINS (+2) over Bills
Having Chad Henne starting may actually allow the Dolphins to open up a downfield passing game more than they could with Pennington, and the Bills have allowed the 3rd most passing yards per game in the AFC. This is another game that really has no bearing on the rest of the NFL season, as both teams will not be a factor in the playoff hunt. Dick Jauron could start to feel the pressure after taking over the offense and not using his weapons – TO, Edwards, Evans, Fred Jackson & Marshawn Lynch – effectively.

“You know why, mister? 'Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an eighty thousand dollar BMW. *That's* my name.”

These games, much like a match-up of a Hyundai and a BMW, are complete mismatches. Big spreads in all of these games, and while big spreads can scare me more than Lady GaGa, Courtney Love or Carnival workers, it seems like there are many really, really bad teams in the league this year.

Giants (-8.5) over CHIEFS
Giants third straight road game, and no team in the NFL of the 106 times it has happened since 1990 has won all three games of a road trip. The Giants won’t have a let-down because last year they bombed against a bad Browns team in Cleveland after starting 3-0. They’ll remember that on Sunday as they blow out the Chiefs.

BEARS (-10) over Lions
While I’ve heard the arguments that the Lions can finally relax after breaking the losing streak and just play football, the truth is they are still less talented than the Bears, and Kevin Smith is likely not going to play. As much as I’ve banged on Cutler – this is a week for him to pad his stats against the Lions defense that has given up the 3rd most passing yards per game in the league. And maybe if Obama doesn’t have any other pressing issues to attend to (health care, Afghanistan, Iraq, the economy, etc.), he can go to Atlanta next week to campaign for another Bears win against the Falcons.

COLTS (-10.5) over Seahawks
Again, that’s a lot of points to give up, but the Colts offense seems to be getting better each week. Seattle will be without Hasselbeck again, and Julius Jones is strangely effective at Qwest Field in Seattle and pedestrian everywhere else. That adds up to a blow out on the arm of Peyton Manning.

49ERS (-9.5) over Rams
Rams offense doesn’t have the firepower to put up enough points to get the cover, and the Niners are proving that they are one of the better teams in the league. I resisted the urge to put this game in the next quote based on Glenn Coffee starting at RB…………..

“Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee's for closers only.”

These are the most competitive games of the week – all teams have playoff aspirations, and these should be close games. These matchups should give us a pretty good idea of which teams in the league deserve coffee, and which teams will have to go get some 5-Hour Energy for a boost.

Jets (+7) over SAINTS
Yeah, they’ve screwed me the first 3 weeks, so maybe I’m starting to buy into the hype machine. But I think the Rex Ryan defense can keep it close. I actually still expect the Saints to win, but not to cover, I see a 28-24 or 27-21 win for the Saints. Jets have allowed the 2nd fewest passing yards per game in the AFC, and while I expect Brees to find guys for a couple big plays, I don’t expect it to happen enough to blow out the Jets.

PATRIOTS (-2) over Ravens
Patriots welcome another 2nd year stud QB to town in Joe Flacco along with the tough Ravens defense. However, the Ravens have fattened up on the Chiefs and Browns sandwiched around a strong win at SD (granted w/o LT). I expect the Pats to find a way to squeak out a closer game than last week, and Wes Welker will be a big part of that.

Cowboys (-3) over BRONCOS
Given how the Cowboys haven’t been impressive yet this year, and the Broncos defense has allowed 6 points per game, I thought long and hard about taking the Broncos to extend their run to 4-0. But in the end, I’m just not buying into Denver, though I do appreciate that Josh McDaniel seems to have found a way to control the firestorm he started before the season. Unlike Mangini in Cleveland, McDaniels seems to have realized that he is dealing with grown-ups and you have to pick your battles and pick the right time to be an a-hole. I picture McDaniels first team meeting much like Blake’s entrance in Glengarry Glenn Ross – fire and brimstone. Yet, he seems to have settled into a comfort zone which has the team behind him. But it won't be enough this week against the Cowboys.

Chargers (+6.5) over STEELERS
This line is too big for a team with a shaky offensive line, a RB with turf toe, and a QB still dealing with a civil suit after hooking up with a Harrah’s employee. The Chargers have put up the 2nd most passing yards per game, and the Steelers have struggled against the pass without Polamalu.

“F--k you. That's my name.”

Not like it needs any explanation as to why this is the best quote for the Packers at Vikings this week. It’s a chance for Favre to show he still has it (though he proved it pretty well last week), and for the Packers to show that they don’t need him.

Packers (-3.5) over VIKINGS
More important than the whole Brett Favre/Ted Thompson battle, the Packers need this game to keep from falling 2 games behind the Vikings. And the real keys to the game are Adrian Peterson and the Packers offensive line. If the line can give Rodgers time, he has the weapons to put points on the board against the Vikings. The Packers 3-4 defense is still developing, so they look great for stretches, and then can be gashed at other times. The question is whether Brett will resort to his old ways of being too hyped to start the game and make a dumb mistake early. The Packers defense has been opportunistic, but also has the potential to give up big plays (to Peterson or Harvin). I’m banking on the defense being able to slow Peterson down and force Favre to throw under pressure, which means there will be opportunities to get turnovers and steal a divisional game on the road.

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