It took four weeks, but I’m finally in first place. In all honesty, a coin flip with any talent whatsoever would be able to predict games with close to 50% accuracy. I am lucky that this particular coin flip has underachieved at 41%. As any math major or statistician will tell you, the coin flip will certainly undergo a progression to the mean the longer this preposterous challenge continues. The coin will undoubtedly climb towards the 50% correct level which means I need to be better than what I’ve been to win this thing. For better or worse, there are 9 of 14 games that differ this week. This is by far the biggest week in terms of pick differences. I’ve always said that the more picks that differ, the merrier. We’ll see. In fact, there has only been 22 differences in the first four weeks. Now, there are nine in week five alone. This is essentially two weeks wrapped in one. Can you feel the excitement?
DAL -3.5 ngy
I am not sold on Eli Manning or the New York Giants. The Giants have been abysmal over the last few years after making better than expected starts. I don’t see why this season would be any different. However, the odds of Drew Bledsoe having two magnificent games in a row seem worse than the odds of the NYG keeping this game close. So, I’m reluctantly taking Eli Manning on the road.
DET -1 car
Last week, in this same spot, I expressed disbelief that the Lions were favored over the Ravens. Apparently I didn’t realize that the Ravens were homicidal maniacs and terrible to boot. As far as I know, the Panthers are not homicidal maniacs and they are definitely not terrible. Remember how awful the Lions offense was when C-Rogers went down in his rookie year leaving Bill Schroeder and Az Akeem as the loan playmakers?
Joey Harrington + no receiving corps = disaster.
atl -5.5 NO
To my surprise, I nailed the GB/NO game right on last week. The Packers finally broke out against the hapless Saints. To make things worse for New Orleans, Deuce McCallister is out for the season. I really can’t imagine a worse season for an NFL franchise. 1). Their home stadium got destroyed by a hurricane. 2). Instead of playing all of their home games at LSU where they would be in front of Saints fans, they have to play home games in such places as New York and San Antonio. 3). They got lambasted by the Packers 52-3. 4). Their franchise running back tore his ACL and is out for the season. The odds-makers say that this line moves down to -3 if Vick doesn’t play. The way Matt Schaub looked last week against New England, I would still take Atlanta at -5.5 even if Vick doesn’t play. After last week’s performance, I can’t pick New Orleans.
CHI -3 minn
Chicago got smoked by Cleveland. The Vikings got smoked by.......(use your imagination). I don’t care how bad the Vikings have played; there is no way I’m picking a team that got blown out by Cleveland. Also, if the Vikings find themselves trailing in the second half, Fred Smoot could just pay some strippers to distract the Browns. I’ll take Minnesota.
KC -6 was
I took Denver at -7 over Washington last week and I would’ve won if it weren’t for some last second shenanigans by the Redskins. The fact of the matter is that Washington has a good defense which keeps them close. I don’t want to make the same mistake again but playing in KC can be a hostile environment. I don’t see the ‘Skins keeping up with KC’s potent offense. I’ll take KC but if Washington covers, I’m never picking against them in a big line again.
cin -3 TENN
Believe it or not, I think Tennessee might actually be turning into a decent team. The offense is moving along very well under first year offensive coordinator Norm Chow. These teams are almost mirror images of each other. The Bengals are just a year or two ahead of the Titans in terms of player development on the defensive side of the ball. I cringe at picking against the Titans because I know they can put points on the board but the Bengals defense will resist much more than the Titans defense thus I’m taking the Bengals to cover.
PITTS -3 jax
The Steelers will likely have to start Charlie Batch at quarterback against Jacksonville. Here’s a question, would you rather have Joey Harrington or Charlie Batch? The fact that I even need to ask that question shows just how terrible things are with the Lions offense. I might regret this pick because the Steelers are a good team from top to bottom, but I’m going with the Jags to keep this close. If Big Ben wasn’t hurt, I’d go with the Steelers.
BALT -5.5 cle
The NFL should put metal detectors on the sidelines and force the Ravens to go through them each time they enter the field. If the Ravens were that upset over getting blown out by the Lions, just imagine how livid they’d be if Cleveland beat them! Luckily for us, we should get to see it happen because Cleveland has a good chance of keeping this game close. I’ll take the Browns to score more points and the Ravens to beat up more refs.
TB -4.5 miami
I really don’t know what to say about this game. Tampa Bay inexplicably lost to the Vinny-led New York Jets last week. Cadillac Williams was on the sidelines which helps explain the loss at least somewhat. The Dolphins get Ricky Williams back which may or may not have a big impact. I don’t see Tampa Bay putting up big numbers on Miami so I’m taking the Dolphins.
DEN -3 ne
I said last week that I would never pick against New England as three point underdogs or more. That rule paid off against the Falcons last week and I hope it pays off against the Broncos this week.
BUFF -3 nyj
This should be a terrible game. Both of these teams stink. I have no idea who’s going to win. It’s Kelly Holcombe vs. Vinny. It’s Curtis Martin vs. Willis McGahee. It’s Ty Law vs. Lawyer Milloy. It’s a toss up wherever I look. In that case, I have to take the home team. I’m unenthusiastically taking the Bills at home.
sd -2 OAK
Oakland is a dangerous team. They’ve played close games against good teams. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they play in the strongest division in the NFL. This should be a great game to watch. I’ll take the Chargers to beat the Raiders by three points. One of these weeks, the Raiders will put it all together. I just hope it’s not this week.
SEA -9.5 hou
Seattle surprised me last week by taking down St. Louis on the road. However, the odds were that Seattle would beat the Rams sooner or later. I should’ve been wise to that. Houston has issues protecting the quarterback but they aren’t helpless. They covered the spread against Cincy earlier this year when I thought that they would get blown out. Picking Seattle to win by ten points is a lot to ask for so I’ll take Carr to get sacked ten times but lose by less than ten points.
INDY -13.5 stl.
I can’t believe the spread on this game is two touchdowns. That’s just ridiculous. St. Louis can score. Mike Martz will miss the next 4-6 weeks which could help the Rams if their interim coach has any affection for the running game. The Rams should run S. Jackson and M. Faulk 15-20 times each. I might be crazy but I have to take St. Louis. Fourteen points is a lot.
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