Well, I’ve decided that I’m not satisfied with the level of participation and smack talk over the last three weeks, so I’m starting the thread earlier. Part of the issue is that I tend to get drunk on Friday and Saturday like any self-respecting 20-something which cuts into most of my online time. I may even start this on Tuesdays in the future. The catch however is that for my Pick 5 pool, i.e. OMNI picks, we must use the Thursday spreads. They usually only shift by a point at most, so I figure its quite all right. I’ll be checking back in Thursday to finalize my picks based on any revised spreads. Hopefully this will give everyone closer to 2 full workdays to blow off while talking football.
Houston (1-2) AT Philadelphia (2-1) 1:00 p.m. ET (Iggles by 20½!!!)
OK, Philly is going to kill them no doubt about it, but 20½ points on an NFL game?!?! They’ll probably cover, but I’m not going to bet on it. I don’t even know how to cap this game, the Texans don’t match up in any phase of the game. Carr will take alot of hits behind that line, and that’ll probably cause quite a few INTs. McNabb will have no trouble running, but perhaps Houston’s corners can at least slow down those long passes. My fear would be that the Eagles rest their studs when they are up 20, and play conservative. Granted they got burned in that Tennessee game, but this is an expansion team. I’m taking to Eagles to win and cover, but I won’t be the least bit surprised if they hold it to two touchdowns.
Dallas (1-2) AT St. Louis (0-3) 1:00 p.m. ET (No Line)
The Rams are going to win this game. There’s no line because of Faulk’s uncertain condition, but even if he sits, the Rams will win this game. It won’t be a blowout. Warner isn’t the player he was, I don’t know why. I’ve seen two of their games, and its not the lack of touches for Marshall which is causing the problems. Marshall was always big because they would throw on first down and he’d break big gains on 2nd and 3. The passing game would put the defense on their heels and Faulk would break a draw for 35 yards. The core of their problem is Warner. They say his thumb is 100%, and I can see no reason why they’d lie about it. Nevertheless his passes are ugly and way off. Even his completions are poorly thrown. He used to throw the tightest, quickest, most accurate ball. Now he does none of those. Some of his passes weren’t within 5 yards of their target. To be honest, he’s looking more like Quincy Carter in week one, than Kurt Warner. Rams win.
**Carolina (3-0) AT Green Bay (2-1) ** 1:00 p.m. ET (Pack by 7)
Yes, a win is a win. But lets face it, the Panthers are not a good team. The Sports Guy took shit for calling them the worst 2-0 team ever, well guess what. They were, and they continue to be the worst 3-0 team ever. They’ve not played a team which has a win yet. A whopping 0-8 their opponents are, and it’d be 0-9 if Baltimore hadn’t had a bye no matter who they played. But in all fairness, the Packers aren’t a very good 2-1 either. No defense, erratic passing game (as usual) and a dinged up and unreliable running game. However, at Lambeau they’ll quiet the Panthers. It won’t be pretty, the Panthers will make a game of it with their defense and just enough ball control. However Favre will make enough plays to win this one. Tough call on the spread. Packers win, Panthers cover, but I’m not staking anything on it…could be a push.
Chicago (2-1) AT Buffalo (1-2) 1:00 p.m. ET (Bills by 3)
These are the games I hate. My hometown team against my key fantasy player. I think the Bears should be favored here, but not by much. Their defense will make life tough on the Bills, and they should be able to score on the Bills defense without much trouble. Drew is a wild card and could continue putting up big numbers, but I have a feeling the Bears are pulling all the stops and blizting like crazy. Plus they’ll use the running game to keep him off the field. So far they’ve played 3 very mobile QBs, they’ll be really nasty playing a stationary guy like Drew. I hope they don’t hurt him. Bears win and cover.
**New York (1-2) AT Jacksonville (1-1) ** 1:00 p.m. ET (Jags by 3½)
This game seems too obvious. I hate games like this. The Jags have played well, and seem to be clicking on offense. They’ve had a bye week to prepare and the Jets are struggling and banged up, they’re talking about sitting CuMar so he can heal. The game is in Jacksonville and Fred Taylor is actually healthy and should shred that Jets run defense. Before I talk myself out of it I’m gonna pick the Jags to win and cover, it’ll probably be an OMNI pick.
Cleveland (2-1) AT Pittsburgh (0-2) 1:00 p.m. ET (Steelers by 6½)
I can’t believe the Stihlers are nearly a TD fave. Granted they are at home against a division rival, but the Brownies should be 3-0 against a couple good teams. The Steelers are different than what the Browns have seen, but what’s given the Browns trouble has been the big passing game and spread offense. The Steelers certainly don’t have that, and seriously, how different offensively are they than the Bengals? I’m taking the Browns to win the upset and cover, making alot of pundits look real stupid.
**Miami (3-0) AT Kansas City (1-2) ** 1:00 p.m. ET (Fish by 3)
This could be a tough game. The Fish will probably win and cover, but there’s something happening in KC this season. I was dead wrong about Priest Holmes, and I’d say he looks even better this year than last. Miami will probably trump the offense with their D though, and there’s little hope the Chiefs will stop Miami on offense. Big plays could keep KC in it, and that’s probably why its only a 3 point spread. I’m taking the ‘Phins to win and cover, but I won’t be surprised by anything here.
New Orleans (3-0) AT Detroit (0-3) 1:00 p.m. ET (Aints by 7)
Another tricky 7 pt spread. I don’t know what to make of that Detroit-GB game. the Lions can make games of it with big days from Stewart and a strong defensive front, but I can’t imagine them doing against a balanced team like New Orleans. The Saints haven’t exactly dominated anyone yet this year, they’ve won close games that could have gone either way against good teams. It’s a credit to them, but not exactly a signal of dominance. Remember though that this is the Lions. Brooks should have a big day, and Deuce will run wild. Detroit will probably move the ball some, and it won’t be a blow out, but they’ll cover 7. Saints win and cover.
**Tampa Bay (2-1) AT Cincinnati (0-3) ** 4:05 p.m. ET (Bucs by 7)
What are they doing with all these 7 point spreads?!?! Gah!!! I’m not quite sure why this is only 3 points though. TB is the kind of team that has always played to its competition, and Gruden was even guilty of it in Oakland. Doesn’t bode well for the bettors if it happens this week. Everyone knows how bad the Bungles have been, and Dillon is the only weapon. He’s not likely to break out against the likes of Sapp and Brooks, assuming they get healthy. One warning is the banged up offensive front of the Bucs, could give a potentially effective Cincy front opportunities. Bucs win and cover.
New York (2-1) AT Arizona (1-2) 4:05 p.m. ET (G’ints by 3)
OK, so I guess every spread is gonna be 3 or 7. Bastards. One of these weeks there’s gonna be like 3 pushes. I don’t trust the Giants, I’m not sure why, they just make me nervous. This is the kind of game they could lose. The Giants secondary is their main weakness, and Boston is due for a 2 TD game. The Giants haven’t exactly lit it up offensively, and they should be ashamed of that 9-point performance against Seattle. I might get burned on this, but I’m gonna take a stab at the upset. Cards win this one.
**New England (3-0) AT San Diego (3-0) ** 4:15 p.m. ET (Pats by 3)
I really hope this game is televised in Chicago. I think its going to be a great one to watch. I can pull for Branch and LT to have big days, good times. Had the Pats not let the Browns scramble back in the fourth quarter last week, I’d feel alot safer picking them in this game. Don’t know that the home field means much, but I suppose that dirt cut out could benefit the Chargers. The Charges are a weak 3-0 with that light schedule, and Belichick might really baffle a young QB like Brees. Pats win and cover, in a surprisingly low scoring game. Might avoid using it as an Omni pick for fear of a 20-17 final.
**Tennessee (1-2) AT Oakland (2-0) ** 4:15 p.m. ET (Raiders by 6½)
The Titans big weakness is the pass defense, they’ve allowed alot of wide-open receivers, and they seem to be playing a really soft zone scheme. That’s the kind of idea that Brown and Rice and Gannon will get giddy about. I’d guess that Eddie will have his biggest day of the year this week, and if they stand a chance he’ll need to. Ball control is Fishers only hope to stay in this game. In the end though, it won’t matter. The Raiders offense is going to really open it up this week and run away form the Titans, especially after having a bye week to prepare. Raiders win and cover.
Minnesota (0-3) AT Seattle (0-3) 8:30 p.m. ET ('Hawks by 3)
Hmm, this is odd. I’m not sure I’d have made Seattle a fave before the whole Moss debacle. Could this guy be any more of a shitbag? Its funny how I’ve gotten a few trade requests for him in fantasy football. Needless to say I’m investigating all of them. I’ve got to imagine that Moss will be playing this week. Assuming he does, I think the Vikings will get off the snide this week and upset the queerly favored Seahawks. But then I’m reminded of a guy named Alexander who’s lining up against a curiously solid run defense. The Vikings have slowed the Bills and Bears run games, but gave up a shocking number of yards to Lamar Smith…which team will show up this week? In any case, its gonna be another ugly Sunday night game. I’m taking the Vikes to win the upset, but I won’t be bragging if I’m right.
Monday Night Football
Denver (3-0) AT Baltimore (0-2) 9:00 p.m. ET (Broncos by 7½)
Seems like a low spread, I guess folks are really high that Ravens D still. The catch however is that they’ll be playing a team which also has a good D and will kill them on field position. Might be a really big night for Elam. In any case, I don’t see any way the Ravens can keep this game close as long as Greise doesn’t completely melt down. The Broncos will run the ball enough to keep the Ravens D honest and move the chains, and the Ravens are a nice team to be able to change up against. Broncos win and cover.