Mac's Picks - Week Four

How did I do last week? Put it this way: If Brian Griese was the back-up for this column, he'd be writing it this week. In my defense: Who thought the Philadelphia Eagles would hang 42 first half points on the Detroit Lions? Who thought the Washington Redskins would give up 21 unanswered second-half points at home to the New York Giants?

Add in the safety the Seattle Seahawks gave up (which was the difference between a Seahawks cover and the push), the two 4th quarter touchdowns the Houston Texans scored (which killed the Colts' cover), the fifteen 4th quarter points the New York Jets gave up (turned a win into a push), and you've got a pretty bad prognosticating week.

Last Week: 4-10-2

2007 Season: 20-25-3

St. Louis at Dallas (-11 ½) – Brett Romberg is the only St. Louis Rams offensive linemen to still be in the same position he was when the season started on September 9th. That should explain why Steven Jackson is out with a partially torn groin and Marc Bulger is playing with broken ribs. Pick: Cowboys -11 ½

Houston (-3) at Atlanta – Unless he's still the Houston Texans' starting quarterback in 2016, this is going be the only chance Matt Schaub will ever have to show the Georgia Dome fans what they're missing when the Falcons traded him to Houston in the off-season. The good news for the Falcons front office is that Schaub will be without his best weapons (Andre Johnson, Ahman Green, Jacoby Jones) this week. Pick: Falcons +3

Baltimore (-4 ½) at Cleveland – I'm sure you're thinking "Hey, Jamal Lewis is 3rd in the AFC in rushing with 307 yards" as a solid reason to believe that the Browns can somehow control the clock and wear down the Ravens defense.

However, it has to be noted that 70% of Lewis' rushing total came against the Cincinnati Bengals, and over 20% of his rushing total came on one run. Pick: Ravens -4 ½

Oakland at Miami (-4) – Daunte Culpepper could not only get his 1st start for the Oakland Raiders this Sunday, he also has a chance to get some revenge against the team that held him hostage in the off-season.

Unfortunately for Culpepper, Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter guaranteed a win this week. I don't know about you, but when the almighty Joey Porter speaks, I listen. Miami did give him $20 million in guaranteed money to assure victory in games just like this, right? Pick: Raiders +4

Chicago (-3) at Detroit – The Chicago Bears have swapped quarterbacks and are missing up to seven opening day starters on defense. One could say that the Detroit Lions are getting the Chicago Bears at a "miraculous" time. Pick: Lions +3

NY Jets (-4 ½) at Buffalo – I'm sorry, but I just feel bad for the Buffalo Bills. They have been decimated by injuries and appear destined to hold the 1st pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Arkansas running back Darren McFadden will probably be the consensus #1 pick once the season is over, but with Marshawn Lynch already in Buffalo, the guy they should be keeping an eye on is LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.

Oh, and in case you couldn't tell…Pick: Jets -4 ½

Green Bay (-2) at Minnesota – Here's a fun fact you can impress your friends with this weekend:

Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton is 3rd on the NFL's all-time passing touchdown list. If you took the number of touchdowns he threw during his 18-year career, and added those thrown by the three quarterbacks currently on the Vikings active roster, you'd still be 31 touchdown passes shy of how many Brett Favre has right now. 31 touchdown passes is the exact number Peyton Manning led the NFL with in 2006. Pick: Packers -2 (And congratulations to Brett Favre.)

Seattle (-2) at San Francisco – I know, I know. The 49ers swept Seattle a year ago thanks to Frank Gore re-inventing the running back position while the Seahawks put on a clinic on how not to tackle your opponent. However, Seattle showed last week that they could not only effectively game-plan for an opposing team's offense they could execute that game plan. This week, that means putting 9 guys in the box and forcing Alex "Carnie Hands" Smith and his 67.4 passer rating to beat them. Pick: Seahawks -2 (and this is the 100th consecutive week I've picked the Seahawks to win/cover. E-mail me if you're interested in a commemorative patch.)

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-3) – The Buccaneers are just plain bad on the road. The Panthers, surprisingly, are just plain bad at home. Something's gotta's give in this battle for NFC South supremacy, and to me, the x-factor is Jake Delhomme's elbow. I'm not at all confident in David "The Glove" Carr, who could get the start if Delhomme can't play, but I think the Panthers will stick to the ground game and play solid defense. I just wish I knew that would happen. Pick: Panthers -3

Denver at Indianapolis (-9 ½) – I don't really trust the Denver Broncos right now. Yeah, they're 2-1, but they needed a hurry-up last second field goal to beat the Buffalo Bills and overtime (and a shady timeout to ice Sebastian Janikowski) to beat the Oakland Raiders before getting smoked at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars. I need to see a lot more out of this squad before I board their bandwagon. Pick: Colts -9 ½

Pittsburgh (-6) at Arizona – Few people are as equipped to beat a Dick LeBeau defense like Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is. Add in the revenge factor (Whisenhunt and Cards' offensive line coach Russ Grimm were passed over for the then-vacant Steelers head coaching job) and you have a perfect recipe for an "Upset Special" in the desert, right? It's not going to happen, folks. Pittsburgh is the real deal and the Cardinals are one bad play away from having a full-blown quarterback controversy. Pick: Steelers -6

Kansas City at San Diego (-12) – Have the San Diego Chargers showed that they are deserving of being favored by 12 points? I don't think so. These AFC West battles are always close, San Diego's offense is stuck in neutral, and Kansas City has some emerging playmakers on defense. Pick: Chiefs +12

Philadelphia (-3) at NY Giants – Since when does beating the Detroit Lions at home make you 3 point favorites on the road the following week? Does anyone realize that the Giants just beat a pretty surprising Washington Redskins on the road last week? The wrong team is favored here. Pick: Giants +3

New England (-7 ½) at Cincinnati – Tom Brady can become the 3rd quarterback in NFL history to throw 3 or more touchdown passes in each of the first four games of a season. The Patriots are notorious for going for milestones like this, and with the Patriots facing a Bengals secondary that has given up 8 touchdown passes in the last two weeks, I'm not betting against "Dreamboat" and the Pats in this one. Pick: Patriots -7 ½


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