September 29th, 2006
Last week: 7-5-2, Season: 27-17-2
Cardinals @ Atlanta(-7)
As usual, I can’t get a handle on the Cardinals. Oh, wait, I think I have it—they blow. I’ll give the points.
Saints @ Carolina(-7)
Err, look, the Saints are on a roll and the Panthers didn’t exactly make a believer out of me by barely squeaking by the Bucs last week. Maybe Carolina wins, but that’s too many points.
Vikings @ Buffalo(-1)
The Bills are not nearly as bad as I thought they’d be this year, but the Vikings are also better than I expected. Vikings win this one.
Chargers @ Baltimore(+2.5)
Mmm, I’d really like to see this game, becuase I’m not quite sure how good both of these teams are, but I’m beginning to think the Bolts might really have something this year, so I’ll take them.
Dolphins @ Houston(+3.5)
Even the Texans can’t lose all of them, and this seems like a good time to pick ‘em, so I will.
Cowboys @ Tennessee(+9)
Oh, yeah, the Cowboys actually play football, too, don’t they? In my dream world, when I turn on ESPN, they’re not talking about “that player.” Ahh, a fantasy. Oh, and the Titans toally bite, give the points.
Niners @ Kansas City(-7)
Uhh, Huard is still starting for KC, right? Take the Niners and the points.
Colts @ New Jersey Jest(+9)
Indy is clearly the better team, but the Jets actually have some life this year and I wonder about Indy’s ability to really blow people out with no running game to eat up the clock late. My god, I’m actually picking the Jets!
Lions @ St. Louis(-5.5)
Good seats still available on the Rams’ bandwagon, sheesh. However, the Lions continue to be a walking disaster. Rams. Probably 9-0 or 9-3.
Jaguars @ Washington(+3)
How is this only three points? Look, the Skins offense only finally appeared vs. the Texans. That hardly counts. Jacksonville all the way.
Patriots @ Cinci(-6)
The Pats’ mystique is just gone, and the Bengals are a machine this year. Bengals!
Browns @ Oakland(+3)
Seriously, the Raiders might go 0-16 this season. Well, no, probably not, but I can’t see picking them at any point.
Seahawks @ Chicago(-3)
I see this as a battle of field goals, since I don’t see either team moving the ball much. I expect a one-point game, so I’ll go with Seattle.
Packers @ Philly(-11)
Beating the Lions by seven doesn’t really count for much. Favre will get picked thee times and they’ll lose by like 14.
September 23rd, 2006
Last week: 13-3. Season: 20-12.
Bears @ Minnesota(+3)
Hard to know how good the Bears really are—beating the snot out of the Packers and Lions isn’t especially diagnostic. The good news is the spread is only 3. I believe in the Bears a little more, so I’ll go with them.
Bengals @ Pittsburgh(-1.5)
Also hard to tell how good these two teams are yet, either. Small sample size, of course. I’m slightly happier with the Bengals, but only slightly. However, I get points if I take Cinci, so that’s the plan.
Jest @ Buffalo(-5.5)
I’ll take the Bills only to riverside Al, who will almost certainly take Gang Green. Right, Al?
Panthers @ Tampa(+3)
Yes, they’re both 0-2. But Tampa has looked completely and utterly awful, while the Panthers have looked merely bad. I’ll give the figgie.
Packers @ Detroit(-7)
Tough spread. Are the Lions really seven points better than anybody? I mean, they’ve scored only 6.5 points on average so far, so now they have to lay a full seven? Too rich for my blood.
Redskins @ Houston(+4)
Well, if Portis really is healthy, then they shouldn’t have too much trouble covering this. But is he healthy? Well, they say he’s OK to go. Portis at 70% is probably enough, so I’ll give the points.
Jaguars @ Indy(-7)
Jags look great right now, and Indy has no running game, not that they need one. The key here is that the Indy D is nicked up so I think the Jags might be able to keep it close.
Titans @ Miami(-11)
The Titans are a total disaster, yes. But can Miami even put 11 on the board at all, much less win by 11? I’m not so sure right now, so I’ll take the big pile of points.
Ravens @ Cleveland(+6.5)
Baltimore appears to be for real, and I have no reason to expect the Browns will score much here. Ravens.
Rams @ Arizona(-4.5)
So far I’ve been entirely underwhelmed by both of these teams. Seems like too many points to me, so I’ll go with St. Louis.
Eagles @ San Francisco(-6)
You know, the Niners might not actually be entirely awful this year. That said, I’d imagine the Iggles would be out for blood this week, and the Niners won’t be able to stop them.
Giants @ Seattle(-3.5)
You have to think the G-Men now really believe in themselves. I think they’re better than last year and the Seabags are worse, and this was an OT game last year, so I’m going with the Giants here, plus I get points!
Broncos @ New England(-7)
Bleah, yuck, horrible. The Pats have been living on borrowed time, but the Broncos have been dreadful. Lately New England has been hideous against the Broncos, but something is clearly wrong with Denver right now. Too many points in a game with so many question marks.
Falcons @ New Orleans(+3.5)
Big story, the Saints back in the SuperDome and all. However, the Falcons’ 2-0 is a lot more impressive than the Saints 2-0, so I’m taking the Huske…err, the Falcons.
September 15th, 2006
Raiders @ Baltimore(-12)
If it’s possible to look much worse than Oakland did last week, I’m not sure how. The only reason it was watchable at all is that I hate the Raiders and so got some kind of perverse pleasure out of watching them suck. Oh, and the Ravens looked great last week. Overall, it’s pretty scary when 12 doesn’t even seem like that much in week 2. I wonder if the Ravens’ defense alone can cover the spread. Ouch.
Saints @ Green Bay(+2)
I think the Packers are going to be a raging disaster all season. Favre gets so much slack from all the fawning media, and I can’t figure out why. Yeah, sure, he was great once, but he’s horrible now. Packers should have unloaded him.
Texans @ Indy(-13.5)
I really wonder about the Colts’ ability to run the ball. I think the lack of ground game will hurt them this year at some point. The Texans, however, are not that point. I’ve been trying very hard to drink the Mario Williams Kool-Aid but I just can’t seem to quite swallow it down. sigh. On the other hand, it’s not like I expect anyone else will beat the Colts in Indy, at least not until the (choke!) playoffs. Oh, yeah, give the points.
Bills @ Miami(-6.5)
I was completely underwhelmed with the Dolphins last week, and the Bills might have some life. Probably not really, but they might at least stay in a few games this year. I’ll take the points.
Panthers @ Minnesota(+1.5)
Even if Steve Smith plays, he’s not going to be 100%. Look for the Vikings to run 40 times, mostly on the left side behind Hutchinson. I can’t believe I’m actually picking the Vikings. <ducks lightning bolt>
Bucs @ Atlanta(-5.5)
Dang, is there space on the Falcons bandwagon? Yes? One more? Thanks, guys, I’ll take that last seat.
Giants @ Philly(-3)
Yes, the Eagles looked a lot better with McNabb healthy and with Stallworth and all that. People seem to forget that they played the NFL equivalent of a 1AA team last week. Sure, the G-Men didn’t exactly look like worldbeaters against the Colts, but that was the Colts, who are a heck of a lot better than Houston (see above). I will happily take the points.
Lions @ Chicago(-8.5)
Did you hear the nonsense from the Lions’ WR guaranteeing a victory? WTF? I expect the Bears to simply pummel Detroit here. I’d give 10, 12, easy.
Browns @ Cinci(-10)
The Bengals are good. The Browns… aren’t. Seems straightforward, although ten is kind of a lot, I think the Bengals should be able to do it.
Rams @ San Francisco(+3)
I’m somewhat surprised that the spread isn’t more, but then again, the Rams didn’t get in the end zone at all last week. I guess I’ll take St. Louis.
Cardinals @ Seattle(-7)
Look, if you need a last-second field goal to beat the Lions and don’t break double digits, there’s a problem. I’m taking the points.
Chiefs @ Denver(-10.5)
Yes, Trent Green is out. But that’s a boatload of points to be giving for a team lead by Jake the Mistake. If I were Plummer’s insurance agent, I’d double his rates—I mean really, how long until some rabid Broncos fan tries to take him out to get Cutler the job? I’ll take the points.
Patriots @ New Jersey Jets(+6)
Yes, they get to be the “Jets” this week because they won last week. I’m picking them to go back to being the Jest next week, though.
Titans @ San Diego(-11.5)
Methinks the Chargers might be miffed at missing the playoffs last year. I thought they did a good job of not asking Rivers to do too much, and I don’t see the Titans as being radically better than the Raiders, so I think the Bolts can cover this.
Redskins @ Dallas(-6)
Wheee, the finger-pointing has already started, and people are already calling for Bledsoe’s head. What’s the over/under on T.O. throwing Bledsoe under the bus? And the Skins looked kind of discombobulated last week, too. So much for the NFC East being all that. I hear Portis is supposed to be out, though, so I believe I have to give the points.
Steelers @ Jax(+1.5)
Good matchup. I wish I knew if Big Ben or Batch were starting. Yes, Batch looked good last week, but this is Charlie Batch we’re talking about here. If I knew Big Ben were starting, I’d take the Stillers for sure. Grr, OK, I’ll take ‘em anyway.
Last week’s record: 7-9. Like anyone picked the Lions, though, sheesh, you can’t blame me for that.
September 14th, 2006
Or, as Daring Fireball put it, “Where by ‘launch’ the mean ‘pre-announce with no estimated ship date or pricing.’”
However, the best comment on this that I saw was on Engadget from user General Public: “[J]ust curirous. Does Zune come preloaded with virii, or do we have to wait a while for them to be written??”
Gotta love it…
September 13th, 2006
Just watch the video:
Do you vote on a Diebold machine?
September 9th, 2006
Ravens @ Tampa Bay(3)
I’ll believe in the Ravens’ offense when I see it. This should generally be low-scoring but I like the Bucs here.
Saints @ Cleveland(3)
I see in my Yahoo! group that I picked New Orleans, but I can’t remember why…
Falcons @ Carolina(5)
I’m a little sour on the Falcons this year. I think teams will play eight or nine in the box all the time, spy Vick, and try to make him beat them with his arm–the formula the Panthers used on them last year with great effect. So I’ll give the points.
Seahawks(6) @ Detroit
Detroit is going to suck again this year. Even if the offense gets better, which won’t happen overnight, their defense is still pathetic. Seattle all the way.
Eagles(4.5) @ Houston
I think the Texans will be better this year, though that’s not saying a lot. However, I also think the Eagles will be better, and there’s no way the Texans keep this within a TD.
Jest @ Tennessee(3)
I have no reason to think these won’t be two of the worst teams in the NFL this year. That said, I see the Jest as possibly the worst. Give the points.
Broncos(3.5) @ St. Louis
Everything new for the Rams, and this is the Broncos team which ran up that gaudy record and knocked off the champs in the playoffs last year. That’s enough for me, I’ll take Denver.
Bengals @ Kansas City(2.5)
I don’t get this spread at all. KC lost two of the best O-line guys in the league, still have no defense, and the Bengals return basically everyone, including Palmer, who looked awesome in his return. I love getting points here.
Bills @ New England(9)
Man, that’s a truckload of points. That’s just waaaay too many… oh, right, it’s the Bills. Yeah, I’m taking New England.
Cowboys @ Jax(2.5)
Some people seem to like the Cowboys this year because of T.O. Whatever, Mr. Distraction has already messed up the team. I like the Jags at home.
Bears(3.5) @ Green Bay
I would be unsurprised if the Packers never got past midfield in this game. Bears win 6-0 on two field goals, unless Jones just happens to break one off.
Niners @ Arizona(7.5)
The Cards are the glamour pick right now with Edge and the new stadium and all, and the Niners ache. However, that’s too rich for my blood this early.
Colts(3.5) @ New Jersey Giants
The Manning Bowl, of course. The difference? Sign me up for Team Tiki!
Vikings @ Washington(4.5)
Again, the Vikings may not cross midfield in this game. Not that I’m enthralled with the Redskins offense, especially with Portis dinged up, but the Vikings on the road is just not my cup of tea.
Chargers(3) @ Oakland
Let the Rivers Era begin. Look, the Raiders will just plain suck. Even if the Chargers aren’t quite as good because of Rivers, IIRC, they completely decimated the Raiders twice last year, and I’m not convinced the Raiders will be any better. Go Bolts!
September 6th, 2006
Dolphins @ Pittsburgh, pick
I assume this is a “pick” because Charlie Batch is starting for the Stillers. I have to go with that logic; the Steelers seem to need Big Ben to win (and wow, has he won). I mean, Charlie Batch?
September 1st, 2006
So, most pro sports contracts come with incentives in them, like bonus money if a running back reaches 1500 yards, stuff like that. I guess this makes some sense in baseball, since baseball is only sort of a team sport, but I just don’t get these kind of incentives in sports like football and basketball. At least, not from the owner’s perspective.
Frankly, if the team you own wins the Super Bowl, the individual stats are irrelevant. Conversely, if you finish 2-14, they’re irrelevant then, too. In fact, one could make an argument that individual stats are almost completely irrelevant to owners. What owners want, and should reward, is winning. Players should be rewarded for individual sacrifices which help the team win, not accumulating personal stats. There’s enough reward in prospects for later contracts that players should be motivated to generate individual stats–what many of them need more motivation for is helping the team win. Block. Dive for loose balls. That kind of thing. Owners should put incentives on winning, because that’s what matters.
So, why don’t they do this? Anyone?