I had to take advantage of enjoying my Illini defeat then-#1 Ohio State last weekend, because I had a feeling I wouldn't get the opportunity to enjoy my picks the next day. And I was correct, which is something I couldn't say much last Sunday. I suffered a bit of a setback last week.
But now that we're back to a full slate of games, with bye weeks finally done, now is my chance to either create some distance between me and .500 or begin my inevitable decent back to statistical normalcy. So there's that to look forward too...
So while I watch my aforementioned Illini try to clinch a tie for 2nd in the Big Ten, here are my picks for the week. As always, spreads can be found here.
San Diego (+3.5) at Jacksonville - I don't get either of these teams. I should go with Jacksonville, but I've been screwed by them enough times. But the Chargers have not looked pretty lately, even in victory. I went with San Diego in confidence, so I guess I'll stick with them here.
Indianapolis (-14.5) vs Kansas City - After two straight losses, is there any doubt that the Colts are going to pull out all the stops to get back on track? I'm not a believer in Priest Holmes to control the clock and giving Peyton opportunities, he's not going to duplicate his performance from last week.
Minnesota (-5.5) vs Oakland - The Raiders lost at home. To the Bears. To Rex Grossman. I don't have much confidence with them heading to Minnesota, even without Purple Jesus. Chester Taylor is a solid back and I don't think Daunte Culpepper will handle his return to the Metrodome well.
Cleveland (-3) at Baltimore - This could be a letdown game for the Browns, after their emotional loss to the Steelers last week. But I have to think they'll still take care of the Ravens, who barely managed to score against the Cincy defense last week. And the Browns are good enough to turn what were FGs for Cincy into TDs for the Cleveland.
Pittsburgh (-9) at New York Jets - I don't like all of these large spreads but I haven't come across one yet that I can pick against. The Jets have been awful this season while the Steelers have been one of the best teams in all the NFL. Even coming off a bye, the Jets are still operating with a raw QB against a solid defense.
Tampa Bay (-3) at Atlanta - I was tempted to pick the Falcons here until I heard that Byron Leftwich was going to be involved in this game. That changes things. I don't necessarily like either of these teams, but I can't believe Warrick Dunn will continue his hot streak, leaving the offense in Leftwich's hands. That's not a good thing.
Cincinnati (-3) vs Arizona - I've been sticking with the Bengals this season and they showed some sort of life last week, although they couldn't find the endzone. The Cardinals are coming off a solid win against the Lions, and are capable of putting up points against this Bengals defense. But I'll take the Bengals at home. I'd also take the over...
Philadelphia (-10) vs Miami - I wouldn't pick the Eagles to beat anybody by double digits... except the winless Dolphins with a new quarterback and Ricky Williams drama. That's not a good combination for the 'Fins. The Eagles can just right Brian Westbrook all game... wait, Westbrook might not play? Well, I'll stick with my pick and hope Westbrook takes the field.
New England (-15.5) at Buffalo - The Patriots most likely used their bye week to determine what happened against the Colts, only managing to win by 4. Coming off their only loss against the spread, I feel the Patriots will go back to their high scoring ways. Without Marshawn Lynch, the Bills won't be able to keep up.
Washington (+11) at Dallas - Of all the double digit spreads, I'm going with this one to go against. The Redskins actually showed some semblance of a passing game last week against the Eagles and Clinton Portis has been solid of late. The Cowboys still win this game, but I'm seeing it by about a touchdown.
New Orleans (PK) at Houston - I'm looking at the Saints loss last week as a bump in the road, not a sign of things to come, even though it did eliminate me from every survivor pool I was in... The Texans get Andre Johnson back, but they still don't have a healthy running back and Schaub and Johnson have some rust to work off.
Green Bay (-10) vs Carolina - Brett Favre is feeling it, and my fantasy team is thankful. That's about the only thing my fantasy team is thankful for, but that's a different story altogether... Carolina is all sorts of messed up, and although they play better on the road, the Packers are rolling and will continue to do so.
New York Giants (-2.5) at Detroit - Neither of these teams, despite their records, really has a signature victory on the season. Mike Martz went pass-happy last week, and if they plan on doing that again, the Giants' defensive line is going to make it a long day for Jon Kitna.
St. Louis (-3) at San Francisco - I knew the Rams would break out at some point. Again, I'm disappointed it was against the Saints last week, but regardless, they have too much offensive firepower to suffer through the season they've had. The 49ers, however, have no offensive firepower. None. You usually don't win like that.
Chicago (+5) at Seattle - I've noticed that I'm picking a lot of road teams this week, which has me a bit worried. But I can't pick this Seahawks team to cover when they've been, shall we say, a mess so far this season. The Bears have Sexy Rexy back, which may or may not be a good thing. I'm hopeful that he'll be alright this week. As for the rest of the season...
Tennessee (+2.5) at Denver - Another road team here... I'm thinking that between Vince Young and Jay Cutler, Vince is the more likely to shine on national television. We saw Cutler stumble through that final drive against the Packers a few weeks ago. Anybody think he's magically gotten better these last few games?
Last Week: 5-8-1