First, some random thoughts on last week and recent NFL news.
* DirecTV Sunday Ticket is freakin’ awesome. All the games, and most of them in hi def? Wow. The schedule on Sunday was a little heavy on early games, though–it’s really hard to see a lot when you’re trying to follow nine games at once.
* Worst call of Week 1: The offensive pass interference call on Todd Heap. Yes, the Ravens deserved to lose that game, but that call… WTF? The defender was clearly holding Heap, he had a big hadnful of jersey. Heap nudges off the hold, and Heap got flagged? What?
* There was a Mario Williams sighting! 4 tackles, 2 sacks, a fumble recovery for a TD.
* I guess Randy Moss doesn’t actually need to practice.
* The Broncos were horrible in the red zone, but that was one of the most exciting finishes you could ask for in Week 1. I’ve never seen a FG unit get a kick off that fast.
* The Rams defense was bad, but the KC offense was even worse. You often see that kind of ugliness in Reliant Stadium, but usually it’s from the home team.
* I’m a little perplexed about why the Pats thing is such a freaking big deal. Teams are always looking at the other sideline and trying to interpret signs. So… the difference between a guy with binocs writing all this down and having it on videotape is what, exactly? Well, OK, it’s against the rules, so I guess there has to be something, but what I can’t figure out is why this rule exists in the first place. I have a hard time seeing how the competitive advantage here is a big deal. The Broncos cheated on the salary cap for their two Super Bowl seasons, and that’s one hell of lot more of a competitive advantage. I don’t seem to recall anybody calling seriously for the heads of the Broncos like they’re calling for Bill’s head. A suspension? Forefiting games? For that? Get over it.
Last week I went 8-6-2, and Al, you went 10-4-2. Nice start!
Anyway, on to this week’s picks…
Bills @ Pittsburgh(-10)
Hunh, I was thinking more like 6 or 7 for this spread. I guess it’s in Pittsburgh; give the points.
Atlanta @ Jacksonville(-10)
Wow, ten again? That seems like too much; it’s not like Jacksonville exactly lit it up last week. I have a bad feeling about the Jags.
Colts @ Titans(+7.5)
Sure, yeah, give the points. I’ll probably keep picking the Colts until I see a good reason not to, and the Titans aren’t it, at least not yet.
Packers @ Giants(-2)
Do we know if Eli is playing? If so, I’d give the two. If not, I’d take the two. I guess they’re saying he’ll probably play, so I’ll give the two.
Texans @ Carolina(-6.5)
OK, beating a really crappy KC team at home is one thing. The Texans have no answer for Steve Smith, and on the road, I don’t see them keeping it close.
Niners @ St. Louis(-3)
Neither team looked good last week, that’s for sure. Huge game in some sense; the Niners could be 2-0 in the division and the Rams could be 0-2. That sounds wrong, but I’m going to take the points anyway.
Bengals @ Browns(+7)
See, now this one should be ten points, probably more. Bengals in a rout. Countdown for Romeo’s job being available starts soon.
Saints @ Tampa Bay(+3)
I had guessed New Orleans by 4, so I guess I’ll give the points.
Cowboys @ Miami(+3.5)
Only 3.5? Really? Cowboys.
Vikings @ Detroit(-3)
I… can’t believe this, but I’m going to pick the Lions two weeks in a row. Err, no, wait, I can’t make myself do it, I have to take the points.
Seahawks @ Arizona(+3)
I wasn’t especially impressed with either of these teams last week, either—the entire NFC West looked pretty mediocre. I guess I’ll go with Seattle, but as far as I’m concerned, this one is a coin flip.
Chefs @ Chicago(-13)
I guess this spread makes some sense. I mean, the Bears are certainly a lot better than the Texans, and KC looked awful against Houston last week. The one thing the Bears really did well last year was beat the snot out of bad teams, and I think KC is a bad team. I hate giving 13, but I’m going to do it.
Jets @ Ravens(-10)
No team QB’d by Kyle Boller should ever be 10-point favorites, no matter who’s playing QB for Gang Green. Baltimore has a lot of other key injuries, too, so 10 seems a reach. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!
Raiders @ Denver(-10.5)
Wow, five double-digit spreads in week 2? Yikes. Anyway, the Lions absolutely lit up Oakland in Oakland last week. Is there a reason to think the Raiders will play better in Denver? Not really. Broncos.
Chargers @ New England(-3.5)
Look, the Pats will be really motivated to win to show they can win big games without any funny stuff. The Pats won the last time these teams met, and if anything, the Pats are better than they were last year. If it comes down to a coaching decision, you know how this will turn out.
Redskins @ Philly(-7)
The Iggles didn’t show me very much last week. McNabb looked out of sync and the Eagles still have no receivers. Westbrook looked good, but he can’t do it all himself. Of course, the Redskins also didn’t look very good, but that was less of a surprise.Still, recent history suggests that the Eagles should win this handily, and I’ll go with that. Go Iggles!