I have laughed — as I’m sure many others have as well — at the Giants’ lines for the past three weeks. And they’ve just about burned me three times.
Only minus-1 in Arizona? That’s a gimme, right? Instead, the G-Men needed an insane call to go in Victor Cruz‘s favor to pull off the victory.
Minus-10 against an awful Seattle team that has won something like six percent of its games on the East Coast at 1 p.m.? Should be a slam dunk, right? Wrong.
And then last week — when we all abandoned hope on the Giants and picked the Bills plus-3. The Giants won by three, thereby bringing the push, but they’ve officially become the trickiest team to pick this season.
(Side note: There is no worse feeling than a push. When the final whistle blows, you can’t help but inexplicably feel like you could have won if you picked the other team. It goes against all logic and explanation, but feelings are feelings.)
Fortunately, they can’t burn me this week. Let’s see who can — and who did with Ridiculous Quotes From Last Week’s Picks (RQFLWP).
(Home team in caps.)
TENNESSEE (-3) over Houston
The Texans finally felt the sting of Andre Johnson‘s absence last week, gaining just 293 yards of total offense against Baltimore. Until he returns, I expect a lot of inconsistency out of Houston, enough so that I’ll take a chance on the Titans. They’re not exactly as bad as they looked last week.
TAMPA BAY (pick ’em) over Chicago
Come on, the Bears play one good game against one of the worst teams in the NFL, and they’re getting this kind of respect? And the Bucs are getting this kind of disrespect?
RQFLWP: Take into consideration [that the Bears’ offensive line is horrible], add in that Jared Allen (and his NFL-leading 8.5 sacks) plays for Minnesota, and go ahead and pick the Vikes here.”
Note: One player does not a football team make. One strip sack does not a football game decide.
DETROIT (-3) over Atlanta
The Falcons won a game. Big whoop.
They still rank 20th in passing and 27th in pass defense. The Lions look like they needed a wake-up loss. I like them to win big this week.
(Admittedly, if Jahvid Best doesn’t play, I’m a little hesitant, but I still don’t like Atlanta all that much.)
Denver (+1) over MIAMI
Say it with me now, kids.
Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, Tebow.
Look, I’ve watched ex-NFL quarterbacks break down how awful Tim Tebow looks on film, I’ve watched him myself and wondered what in the name of the good Tebow that kid is doing out there, but if you’re going to bet against Tebow, in his first start of the year, on a day that he will be honored on the road for his achievements in college, where he was revered as some sort of saint/divine being … then I don’t know what to say to you.
Oh. That, and the Dolphins are terrible.
CAROLINA (-1.5) over Washington
I’ll be honest with you. I’m taking the Panthers almost entirely because Cam Newton‘s Superman celebration was fantastic last week. But because you might want more substance than that, I’ll oblige.
This line is only as close as it is because Washington got off to a fluky 3-1 start. Then, they couldn’t beat the Eagles, despite forcing four turnovers, and now, John Beck is going to start at the most important position in football for them. The same John Beck who did not play in the NFL in 2008. Or 2009. Or 2010. But hey, he went 8-for-15 last week, let’s throw him into a game and see what happens!
Seattle (+3) over CLEVELAND
I just … I … OK. If I could take any game on the NFL docket and make it go away, it would be this one. I’ll take the PeteHawks on the sole hope that the bye week helped prepare them for the Browns. I know Tarvaris Jackson is questionable, but that’s not exactly like losing Joe Montana. And Peyton Hillis might not play. Is that enough? I hope so. I feel gross. Let’s move on and pretend this never happened.
San Diego (-1.5) over NEW YORK JETS
So Rex Ryan is perplexed as to why his team is an underdog this week, saying, “Seems kind of odd to me.”
Rex, let me help you out. Your team can’t pass. Your team can’t run. You also can’t stop the run. You lost three straight to Oakland, Baltimore and New England and you’re about to lose three more to San Diego, Buffalo and New England. This pie-in-the-sky concept of your team being a Super Bowl contender is thoroughly insane, and you said this week that one of your brilliant plans is to utlize your fullback more. Are you even watching the NFL, Rex? A fullback? A fullback! Why don’t you just get rid of wide receivers and go with extra tight ends and backs while you’re at it? It’s not like the NFL has turned into a pass-happy haven or anything. Maybe you can start wearing leather helmets and condemning the forward pass while you’re at it.
Then again, I suppose having Mark Sanchez line up under center, in a way, is doing that.
Nothing seems “odd” about the 4-1 Chargers being favored against an inferior Jets team. Yes, the Chargers are questionable on the road, and Norv Turner is questionable in general, but when the Jets go three-and-out four times to start the game and the home crowd is booing unrelelentlessly, it’ll hardly be to San Diego’s disadvantage.
OAKLAND (-4) over Kansas City
Here’s what went through my head when seeing this one:
This line is way too low. Oh wait, the Raiders don’t have a quarterback. Oh wait, neither do the Chiefs. Oh wait, Jason Campbell was 18th in the league in passer rating so the Raiders will somehow persevere.
Of course, when I read that Carson Palmer is going to start Sunday, I became more than a little worried. The guy’s been drinking Slurpees and eating taquitos at 7-11 for all I know, so I don’t know if he’ll be throwing up in the huddle by the end of the third quarter.
But whenever there’s a question, you just go against Todd Haley. I’ll take a potentially out-of-shape Palmer going up against the 22nd-ranked team in yards per pass attempt any day of the week.
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over ARIZONA
The Cardinals have lost four straight to juggernauts like the Redskins, Seahawks and Vikings. They lost by 24 last time they played to one of the worst teams in the NFL (Minnesota). Yet they’re only giving 3.5 points to the Steelers, who look to have figured out most of their problems. Sure, they took the second half off last week and couldn’t cover their massive spread, but 3.5? Piece of cake.
St. Louis (+12.5) over DALLAS
Oh, just come on. Who is making these lines?
This one, I feel, is one that is based on the fact that more Cowboys fans bet than any other fan base, and probably 10 times more than Rams fans. So it has to be skewed. Any other explanation is sheer lunacy.
I understand the Rams are horrible, but the Cowboys are 2-3, may be without their top running back and have won their two games by a combined five points. You understand why this line is crazy, yes? Good.
RQFLWP: “I know the Boys are coming off a bye week, but I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I went with Tony Romo over Tom Brady if it comes down to the fourth quarter. I’d legitimitely stop making picks if I picked Romo’s Cowboys, only to watch Brady lead a game-winning drive right in front of my face. I just can’t do it.”
Note: Go figure. Went with this reasoning and still missed on the Pats minus-7. I’m still happy with myself for not going with Romo.
MINNESOTA (+9) over Green Bay
This is the classic “best team in the NFL against a rookie quarterback making his first start” game that makes you laugh at the line. But I think the Packers might get lazy and let this one stay within seven, maybe in the 24-17 range. They’re good enough to win by sleepwalking, but with the bye week coming up, they may be looking past Christian Ponder and Co.
At the same time, a big part of me is ready to call this one the “Overthinking It Pick of the Week.”
NEW ORLEANS (-14) over Indianapolis
Last week, we were subjected to Vikings-Bears on Sunday night and Dolphins-Jets on Monday night. This week, we get the Colts in prime time.
What did we football fans do to deserve this?
As is always the case with the two-touchdown lines, you have to be careful, but the Colts are really, really, absolutely, without question, indisputably, disgustingly terrible. They actually haven’t been blown out since Week 1, but the Saints are coming off a loss and will have some frustrations to take out.
Baltimore (-8) over JACKSONVILLE
The national television slate continues to just dominate. Who doesn’t want to watch the 1-5 Jaguars host the Ravens? Who wouldn’t get excited to watch the 32nd-best passing attack air it out to see if it can reach its weekly average of 138 yards? Against an always-weak defense like Baltimore’s, I’m sure Blaine Gabbert‘s spirals will be flying left and right in an old-fashioned shootout.
In all seriousness — Gabbert and Joe Flacco on a Monday night. The promotional line for this game should be: “Prepare to fall asleep early.”
Last week: 8-3-2