Week 4 was all about rebounding, and I did, going 10-4 by alternating between the principles of taking home underdogs (Atlanta, NY Giants) and going with some road favorites who had key players with points to prove (Seattle's defense against the 49ers, Green Bay's Brett Favre going for the passing touchdown record, Oakland's Daunte Culpepper returning to face the Miami Dolphins, and New England's Bill Belichick going against everyone he's ever met in his entire life).
should have trusted my instincts and gone with the Cardinals at home, but
I'm really kicking myself for not taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the
Anyways, on with the picks!
Last week: 10-4
2007 Record: 30-29-3
Bon Jovi not getting enough support for their 2008 Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame bid? Oh yeah, that's right in Belichick's wheelhouse. Pick: Browns +16 ½ (Belichick won't embarrass Crennel.)
Did the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce lure them there with an offer of discount rates at local hotels for the dozen sideline reporters ESPN can't do without? Was it the promise of a bottomless bucket of wings for Mike Tirico? Or is it that Tony Kornheiser can no longer keep the lid on an Emmy-worthy intro he wrote ten years ago that references Scott Norwood, Marv Levy, Tim Russert and the Goo-Goo Dolls?
You know I'm picking the Seahawks, but allow me to clear up one thing about this game: This is not a rematch of Super Bowl XL. As just about everyone involved in this game has been quick to point out, a lot has changed for both teams since February 5th, 2006. And as a fan, I can say this: A Seattle win this Sunday will not erase what Bill Leavy and his crew of flunkies wrought 20 months ago. Pick: Seahawks +6
The Arizona Cardinals are road favorites in a divisional game in early October. Has this ever happened?
Arizona Cardinals have
blue and gold mousetraps hanging in their locker room this week, to remind
players that playing on the road against
You've got to go back to at least the Neil Lomax Era to find the last time this has happened, don't you?
Kurt Warner is trying to get to sleep on Saturday night, God will speak to
him. He'll tell him that
Jacksonville (-2 ½) at Kansas City – Even after going on the road and handing the San Diego Chargers their 3rd loss, the Kansas City Chiefs aren't getting any love from Vegas. I know Herm Edwards is their coach, but c'mon, winning in Arrowhead Stadium is a hard thing for any team to do. And doesn't the presence of Mike Tice on the Jaguars sideline cancel Edwards out? Pick: Chiefs +2 ½
Carolina at New Orleans (-3) – With Jake Delhomme missing practice this week, the Gloved Wonder (David Carr) is going to make his 2nd start for the Carolina Panthers when they travel on down to the bayou to face the 0-3 New Orleans Saints.
The part of me that is absolutely delighted that David Carr is once again starting a National Football League is tempered by the fact that I'm pretty sure I could throw multiple touchdown passes against the Saints secondary. And this same secondary is taking a major hit by having to play without starting cornerback Jason David, who you may know from multiple highlights of touchdown passes this season. (His IMDB.com page describes his role as "Guy Trailing Play by Five Yards")
The temptation to pick against David Carr on the road and Sean Payton having two weeks to fix what's broke on the New Orleans offense would prompt any rational person to pick the Saints this week. I, however, am not a rational man. The bottom line is this: The Carolina Panthers are, for some reason, a better team when they're on the road. Pick: Panthers +3
NY Jets at NY Giants (-3) – I always like it when the NFL puts this game on the schedule. I mean, some teams have to log serious air miles when they go into hostile territories they rarely, if ever, have to visit. All the while, they have to sleep in strange beds, in strange cities often in different time zones. The biggest obstacle the Jets face this week? They have to wear white.
the NFL would christen this battle of two
Miami at Houston (-5 ½) – I was going to regal you with commentary about how Cam Cameron has strapped the saddle on running back Ronnie Brown, how Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye has emerged as a force inside and how even without his top wide receivers, Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw for 300+ yards last week.
Then I realized that it's simpler to just say that this week, Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Dom Capers will once again be coaching in Reliant Stadium. Advantage: As always, his opponent. Pick: Texans -5 ½
Atlanta at Tennessee (-8) – Joey Harrington and rookie head
coach Bobby Petrino on the road against a healthy, well-rested, confident
team that also happens to be a legitimate playoff contender in the superior
conference? Is there any way
Baltimore (-3 ½) at San Francisco – As you may know, Trent Dilfer has spent much of this decade deeply resenting Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, who made the decision to not bring Dilfer back after he led the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XXXV.
Dilfer apologized this week, even calling himself "childish" and I thought
the timing of that was a bit strange. Could this apology have something to
do with Sunday's game against
San Diego at Denver (-1 ½) – Here's an idea that I'm sure someone much smarter than me has already thought of: The San Diego Chargers should trade Norv Turner to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for Mike Singletary?
Turner is great offensive coordinator, but he is a mediocre head coach. The
you imagine the affect Singletary would have on Shawne Merriman? Do you think
LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers would get into a squabble
on the sidelines if they knew they had to deal with Singletary's ice cold
stare afterwards? Look, I know this is a crazy idea that'll never, ever happen.
Still, can't you see Governor Schwarzenegger brokering this deal for the betterment
Chicago at Green Bay (-3 ½) – I was going to count how many times John Madden mentions Brett Favre's name on Sunday night, but I can't find a device that can count that high. Clearly, this is a task only NASA should attempt to tackle.
That aside, did anyone think that on October 7th, the Packers would have a 3-game lead over the Bears with a chance to drive the proverbial final nail in the Bear's coffin in front of a nationally-televised audience? Pick: Packers -3 ½