Mac's Picks - Week Three

It's hard for .NET's Prime Prognosticator Brian McIntyre to find anything to complain about after a 10-win week. Sure, Green Bay and Philadelphia choking away double-digit leads at home didn't help the cause, but those types of games don't happen very often.

Last Week: 10-6
2006 season: 16-16

Carolina (-3) at Tampa Bay – I am officially done with Tampa Bay. If I weren’t already painfully aware that I’m an idiot, I might be cursing myself for picking them to make the playoffs this year. Steve Smith is reportedly ready to start his season, which would be the first thing to go the Panthers way this month. Pick: Panthers –3

Chicago (-3) at Minnesota – Minnesota got a great win last week, but if John Fox doesn’t get cute, the Panthers probably win that game. I doubt Lovie Smith will make the same mistakes. One sub-plot here is whether or not Rex Grossman can make it through the game. He’s never started 3 games in any NFL season, and Minnesota has already served as a location for one of his season-ending injuries. Pick: Bears –3

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-1) – With the news that Joey Porter’s pit bulls escaped and killed a miniature horse, would anyone be surprised to see Chad Johnson impersonating a jockey during an end zone dance this Sunday? Pick: Bengals +1

Green Bay at Detroit (-6 ½) – Just so I’m clear on this: The Detroit Lions have scored 13 points this year, and are giving half of that total to the Packers this week? Pick: Packers +6 ½

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-7) – The Jaguars 2-0 record is impressive, especially when you consider they’ve two playoff-caliber teams. Both of those games have been at home, though, and I never like teams playing on the road on a shortened week. Pick: Colts -7

NY Jets at Buffalo (-5 ½) – The Bills expect to have Takeo Spikes back in the lineup this week, which will help them take down another overrated quarterback. Pick: Bills –5 ½

Tennessee at Miami (-10 ½) – Yes, Tennessee is this bad. Pick: Dolphins –10 ½

Washington (-4) at Houston – Washington gets Clinton Portis back, and Mark Brunell needs to start playing better to stave off a potential QB controversy. Is it possible the $62M Danny Snyder shelled out in the off-season to improve the offense finally pays off? Pick: Redskins -4

Baltimore (-6 ½) at Cleveland – Baltimore gets another warm-up game before they host the San Diego Chargers in Week 4. That’s when we’ll find out if the Ravens are the real deal. Pick: Ravens –6 ½

Philadelphia (-6) at San Francisco – The 49ers haven’t played like the doormats they were expected to be, but they haven’t faced a team as good as Philadelphia yet, either. After letting a win slip through their fingers last week, the Eagles will be focused on earning a convincing win this Sunday. Pick: Eagles -6

St. Louis at Arizona (-4 ½) – Funny how those who predicted a 1,500-yard season for Edgerrin James are tempering their lofty projections now that they’ve realized the Cardinals offensive line isn’t very good. (Some of us knew that back when he signed with Arizona.) The good news for James and the rest of the Cardinals is that you don’t need an All-Pro left guard to run on the Rams. Just follow the paths the Bells in Denver and Frank Gore have paved the last two weeks. Pick: Cardinals –4 ½

Denver at New England (-7) – The last time the Patriots and Broncos squared off before a national audience, the Patriots “dynasty” came to an end. Don’t think that isn’t the back of the Patriots minds, even if they don’t like the “D” word. On Sunday night, they’ll make a statement. Pick: Patriots -7

Atlanta (-3) at New Orleans –
The long accepted answer to the question “Why can’t an NFL team run the option” was that the defenses were simply too good in the NFL for it to work. Are we still sure about that? Pick: Falcons –3 (I wanted to pick New Orleans because I think it’s great that they’re 2-0 and have sold out the entire home season for the 1 st time in franchise history. In the end, I just couldn’t overlook that Atlanta is the better team.)

NY Giants at Seattle (-3 ½) – Harvey Keitel’s “Mr. Wolf” character in Pulp Fiction had one of the best lines in the entire movie. ESPN’s Bill Simmons often cleans it up and uses it to keep people from losing perspective about a subject. Simmons’ PG-13 version of that line goes a little something like this:

“Well, let's not start sucking each other's <Popsicle sticks> quite yet”

That line perfectly sums up how I feel about all the talk of how the Giants overtime win against Philadelphia last week was some sort of coming out party for Eli Manning and the Giants.

The bottom line is that without a fluky play (Tim Carter’s fumble recovery in the end zone), an untimely Philadelphia penalty (Trent Cole’s personal foul penalty that put New York in field goal position with 15 seconds left), and a replay official sucking down a cheesesteak instead of reviewing what looked like an interception by Brian Dawkins, the Giants don’t win that game.

Yes, Eli Manning played very well in the comeback win. So well that DJ Gallo thinks he’s adopted. Still, the Giants trailed by 17 points in the 4 th quarter because they’re still not a mentally tough, disciplined football team. They spent the first 45 minutes committing penalties, bickering on the sidelines, and nearly getting Eli Manning killed by allowing 8 sacks. If it weren’t for the Philly meltdown, the Giants would be 0-2 and in deep trouble.

This week, the Giants head into Seattle during a week in which this story hit the wire. At least one NFL team thinks the noise in Qwest Field is artificially enhanced, and voiced a complaint to the NFL about it. The first thought that comes to mind is that the Giants are the team who complained. I tend to doubt that. The last thing the Giants would want is to give Seattle fans another reason to be loud on Sunday.

The crowd noise is important, and could very well be the difference-making element to this game. The Giants struggled to protect Eli Manning last week, and the Seahawks led the NFL in sacks with 50. This year 7 different Seahawks have registered a sack, and the team is on pace for 64, so it’s not as though the Giants can key on one particular player to stop the rush. If they can’t hear the snap count or communicate along the offensive line, it could be a long day for the offensive line. A long day for them means a long day for Manning. A long day for Manning means a Seahawk victory. Pick: Seahawks –3 ½


Brian McIntyre refers to Shaun Alexander as "Seamus McTouchdown", and writes about football from all angles. You can contact him here.

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