No column last week, as we were traveling and too busy, and for that we apologize. Despite the lack of blogged evidence, we went 10-6, with no Best Bets chosen. Not bad, considering.
Week 4 is upon us, and there are a couple of very interesting match-ups this week, including the ESPN-led, sure to induce vomit by kickoff due to Favre overload Vikes/Packers clash. More intriguing, at least from here, is the Saints/Jets battle of the unbeatens. It's also must win time for several teams, most notably the 0-3 Titans and the 1-2 Steelers. Losses here for either team will put them into deep divisional holes from which climbing out will be a huge challenge. On to the picks:
CHICAGO (-10.5) over Detroit
Bears are due to unload on somebody, and Lions are giddy over snapping long losing streak. Detroit might be able to hang around for awhile, but look for the Bears to pull away late and cover this double digit number.
Bears 27 Lions 13
Cincinnati (-5.5) over CLEVELAND
Bengals laying this much on the road is always a risky proposition, but the Browns are an absolute train wreck which has already quit on Eric Mangini. Throw in a decided lack of any offensive threat with a fan base that is out of patience and you've got a recipe for a blowout.
Bengals 30 Browns 10
INDIANAPOLIS (-8.5) over Seattle
Colts juist keep taking care of business, winning two big prime time games the last two weeks, now return home to face Seneca Wallace led Hawks. Too much Peyton, plus a dash of Joseph Addai/Donald Brown combo spell doom for Seattle.
Colts 27 Seahawks 13
NY Giants (-9.5) over KANSAS CITY
Arrowhead mystique really not in play these days, and Jints are way too solid away from Jersey for it to make any difference. Clearly emerging as the class of the NFC, don't look for the G-Men to slip up here.
Giants 31 Chiefs 13
WASHINGTON (-7.5) over Tampa Bay
Can't imagine the 'Skins being 8 points better than anybody right now, but the Bucs are in a state of disarray matched only by perhaps the Browns. This is a chance for the Washington fans and media to feel good about this team again, if only for a week.
Redskins 24 Buccaneers 14
Tennessee (-2.5) over JACKSONVILLE
Do or die for Titans, no doubt. Still holding to our assertion that the Jags are an awful squad, despite win last week. Look for Jeff Fisher's boys, who dominated in stretched at the Jets last week, to put together a full 60 minutes here.
Titans 30 Jaguars 10
HOUSTON (-9.5) over Oakland
Two words: JaMarcus Russel. Raiders defense is okay, and running game isn't bad, but the complete ineffectiveness at QB will continue to doom this team. Texans on a bit of a rollercoaster thus far, and this is an "up" week according to the pattern.
Texans 23 Raiders 10
NEW ENGLAND (-2.5) over Baltimore
Seems like a pretty stupid choice on the surface. Ravens are perhaps the best team in the AFC, showing a potent offense to go along with the stout defense, while Tom Brady has clearly not been the Brady of old thus far. Just a hunch that the Pats find a way to scratch out a tough win with a late FG at home, and that assumption is based on nothing factual.
Patriots 23 Ravens 20
NEW ORLEANS (-6.5) over NY Jets
Ahhh, here's the Game of the Week. High flying Saints matching up with the ball hawking, multiple looks, blitz crazy Jets defense. As is usually the case in game like these, we like to look at the other match-up, namely the New Orleans defense vs. Mark Sanchez and Co. The rookie QB has been an effective game manager so far, but at some point will be asked to take over and win a game by himself. Nawlins has some playmajers on defense which could give the Jets trouble, and the choice here is for an entertaining game ultimately going to the dome dwellers.
Saints 27 Jets 20
Buffalo (-1.5) over MIAMI
As we predicted, remember, this would be a very rough year for the Dolphins. Losing Chad Pennington just makes it tougher, and the Bills have played better than the 1-2 mark indicates (save for those disastrous 2 minutes against the Pats in week 1). Bills extend the Miami Misery another week..
Bills 27 Dolphins 16
DENVER (+3.5) over Dallas
Really not sold on the Broncos yet, mostly due to the opponents faced, but when you can grab a good defensive team getting points at home, you grab 'em. Cowboys have shown to still manage to come up small in big games, and we're betting this trend continues.
Broncos 20 Cowboys 17
SAN FRANCISCO (-10.5) over St. Louis
We believe in the Niners now, though one would be hard pressed to pick the Rams, well, ever. Even if Frank Gore sits, Frisco should roll.
49ers 31 Rams 10
San Diego (+6.5) over PITTSBURGH
Really tough to go against the Steelers at home coming off a loss, but this team is in trouble. The running game is a shambles, and the loss of Troy Polomalu seems to have rendered the defense toothless and passive. Can't see the Bolts not managing to stay close, if not winning outright.
Chargers 24 Steelers 22
Green Bay (+3.5) over MINNESOTA
Vikes escaped ugly loss with last second heroics last week thanks to Favre's heave. Never mind all of the hype surrounding #4 in purple, the real story here will be how Aaron Rogers manages to maintain his poise in a noisy house with the QB Who Wouldn't Leave standing on the otehr sideline. The play here is that the Pack will stick around, and maybe steal one here.
Packers 23 Vikings 21
Best Bets: San Fran, Buffalo, Cincinnati
Last Week: 10-6
Overall Record: 28-20