As Brett Favre's screen pass slipped through the hands of Chester Taylor — a running back who had come in to replace Adrian Peterson after he had just charged through William Gay with the impact of a Mack truck combined with a comet — and was subsequently intercepted and returned ever so slowly for a touchdown, the natural thing to do would have been to complain.
Not only was the play horrendous to watch (unless you enjoy seeing humongous men waddle for 82 yards), but it prevented the Vikings from covering the spread.
On any other week, maybe I'd be upset, but in a week that was entirely too predictable, it turned out to be a very small deal.
Last week was so bad that Las Vegas nearly had to ask for some bailout money. Varying reports have last weekend as "the worst day in memory at Las Vegas sports books" and "the best Sunday to be a bettor, and the worst Sunday to be a bookmaker."
Let's hope the trend continues for at least one more week.
(Home team in caps.)
Houston (-3.5) over BUFFALO
I'm not really sure what to make of this Buffalo team with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, and I like Houston's momentum after holding on for a big road win in San Francisco. At 4-3, the Texans still have hope, and Matt Schaub has been deadly effective.
CHICAGO (-13) over Cleveland
Is there one reason to ever pick Cleveland? Is there a spread large enough to allow anyone to pick them with confidence? Is it 20? Thirty? Whatever it is, it isn't 13.
DALLAS (-9.5) over Seattle
I'm hesitant to pick the Cowboys any week, but last week's beatdown of Atlanta was so thorough that you have to think the Cowboys are hitting that midseason stride they seem to hit every year. The period in which Tony Romo looks like a Pro Bowler, Marion Barber runs like some Emmitt Smith–Tony Dorsett combination and the Cowboys' arrogance ascends to never-before-fathomed heights.
You know, the period right before the postseason collapse.
DETROIT (-4) over St. Louis
Welcome to the 2009 Disaster Bowl. A combined 12 losses and one win will be on display at Ford Field, though the residents of Detroit will be spared from having to watch (that joke will get old when it's no longer true). Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson practiced this week, which might be enough to beat the mighty Rams.
The only suggestion here is to close your eyes and take the Lions coming off a bye week. I guess.
San Francisco (+12) over INDIANAPOLIS
I remember back in Week 1 or 2, I wrote the eulogy to the great Colts teams of this decade. Of course, after six consecutive victories and yet another amusing commercial starring Peyton Manning, it's pretty obvious I couldn't have been any more wrong.
But the Colts have had it a little too easy lately, while the Niners are still playing tough football. I think the Niners have enough to keep this one respectable, and I'm still keeping the upset window open just a crack.
The Colts have to lose at some point, don't they?
NEW YORK JETS (-3) over Miami
This one's dangerous because it's essentially a do-or-die game for both teams. A Miami win gets the Dolphins back into the AFC East discussion. A Jets win keeps the Jets on the Patriots' tail.
These two teams met just a couple of weeks ago — you might remember the best Monday night game ever. Since then, players have exchanged verbal barbs through the media, and there will some serious hatred on display in New Jersey.
The home crowd has proven to be a factor already this year, forcing a Tom Brady-led team to make uncharacteristic mistakes and ultimately lose to the Jets. I'll take my chances with the locals getting into the helmet of Chad Henne.
New York Giants (pick 'em) over PHILADELPHIA
I'm still not off the Giants' express yet. Sure, they looked genuinely awful against the Cardinals last week, and they're struggling to figure out a solid game plan, but the Eagles have played against the Bucs, Raiders and Redskins in the past three weeks. And they lost the game in the middle. To the Raiders.
Playing the Giants will be a major wake-up call for the Eagles.
Denver (+3.5) over BALTIMORE
Both teams are coming off their byes, and both were trending in very different directions before the hiatus.
They both have top-10 defenses, but the Broncos hold a clear advantage on defense with the second-fewest yards allowed per game (262.5). Baltimore ranks 19th (332.7). Advantage: Josh McDaniels.
Jacksonville (+3) over TENNESSEE
Do you want to put your money on Vince Young's first start since Sept. 7, 2008?
Granted, you probably don't want to put your money on any start of David Garrard, but Maurice Jones-Drew will be unstoppable for a Titans defense (you might remember) that gave up 59 points against the Patriots last time out. Tennessee surrenders the second-most yards per game in the NFL (405.7) and the most points per game (33).
To put it simply, you might not want to pick the Titans giving points to anyone.
Oakland (+16.5) over SAN DIEGO
Maybe I'm overthinking this one, but the Raiders played the Chargers extraordinarily tough in Week 1, eventually losing 24-20.
The Chargers crushed the Chiefs 37-7 last week, but San Diego's other two wins have been by an average of seven points.
Of course, the Raiders were blown out by the Jets (38-0), Giants (44-7), Texans (29-6) and Broncos (23-3), but Oakland has kept its other three games within four points and won two of them.
GREEN BAY (-3) over Minnesota
Forget Brett Favre. The star of this one will be Green Bay's defense.
Minnesota's defense — specifically, Jared Allen — stole the spotlight last time these teams met, but the Packers rank sixth in the NFL in passing defense and fifth in rushing defense. Adrian Peterson will have a tough time getting going, and I'd expect at least one of those seemingly impossible Favre interceptions to make its grand return at Lambeau.
ARIZONA (-10) over Carolina
Carolina is terrible. Thanks for playing.
NEW ORLEANS (-10) over Atlanta
I don't think the Falcons are as bad a team as they were last week in Dallas. But the Saints are winning by an average score of 40-21 every week. That average will fall eventually, but a Falcons team that gave up 299 passing yards and 115 rushing yards last week won't have enough time to get itself together before Monday night.
If the Falcons do pull off the upset though, all fingers can be pointed at Reggie Bush.
Last week: 8-4-1
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