Mac's Picks - 10/6/07

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).

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).

I 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 points against Carolina last week. The Panthers are a terrible home team, which I knew when making my picks, but I still thought David Carr could pull it out. It's precisely that kind of thinking that'll get you in trouble when you visit Haiti.

Anyways, on with the picks!

Last week: 10-4

2007 Record: 30-29-3

Detroit at Washington (-3 ½) – This is the prototypical "I have no idea" game. I still don't trust the Detroit Lions on the road, and I've seen enough of the Washington Redskins to feel comfortable placing them in the "probably fraudulent" category. I'm going with the Lions for two reasons: I'm getting points and the Roy Williams/tipping the pizza guy story, which is hilarious beyond belief. Pick: Lions +3 ½

Cleveland at New England (-16 ½) – So what perceived slight will Bill Belichick use to get his team psyched up to play Cleveland this week? Romeo Crennel leaving his staff to be the Browns head coach? Willie McGinest not taking a pay cut to remain in New England two years ago? No, and no.

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.)

Seattle at Pittsburgh (-6) – Why isn't this match-up of the two franchises who played in Super Bowl XL a nationally televised affair? I understand why NBC wasn't interested (You didn't think Madden would pass up an opportunity to spend the weekend with Brett Favre, did you?), but why wasn't ESPN interested in this game for MNF?

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

Arizona (-3) at St. Louis – There are two things about this game that I honestly thought I'd never see, even if I lived to be 100.

The Arizona Cardinals are road favorites in a divisional game in early October. Has this ever happened?

The Arizona Cardinals have blue and gold mousetraps hanging in their locker room this week, to remind players that playing on the road against St. Louis is a "trap game".

You've got to go back to at least the Neil Lomax Era to find the last time this has happened, don't you?

When Kurt Warner is trying to get to sleep on Saturday night, God will speak to him. He'll tell him that St. Louis is where he got his start and that he should show mercy on a crippled Rams team that can barely find 45 players to dress on Sundays. Warner will rise to his feet so that he may follow the voice. When he reaches the window, the voice will be at its loudest. As he thrusts the curtain open, he'll be greeted by a disheveled Scott Linehan, who will immediately begin asking for a 10-second runoff. Pick: Cardinals -3

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 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.

If the NFL would christen this battle of two New York teams in New Jersey the "Gold Chain Bowl", my life would be complete. Pick: Giants -3

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 Tennessee doesn't cover the spread this week? Pick: Titans -8

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis (-10) – I know that Buccaneers fans will point to the performances by Ernest Graham and Michael Pittman as a reason to not lose hope on the season, but c'mon, be realistic. If the Buccaneers thought they could get by with Graham and Pittman for the rest of the season, and post-season, they wouldn't have attempted to gauge retired running back Corey Dillon's interest in returning to the NFL. Pick: Colts -10

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.

Well, 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 Baltimore being Dilfer's 1st NFL start since November 27th, 2005, when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns? And was the apology partly inspired by the last time he faced the Ravens, where they sacked him four times and forced him to commit three turnovers? I like Dilfer and all, but it just seemed like an odd time for him to drop the chip on his shoulder. Pick: Ravens +3 ½

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?

Norv Turner is great offensive coordinator, but he is a mediocre head coach. The San Francisco 49ers have been struggling without Turner's play-calling abilities and since Mike Singletary is going to be a head coach some day, why not make this fairly obvious trade that helps both underachieving teams?

Could 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 of California? Pick: Chargers +1 ½

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

Dallas (-10) at Buffalo – When you're watching this thoroughly uninteresting match-up, I want you to remember that ESPN paid $1.1 billion dollars for the right to broadcast Monday Night Football. As for me, I'll be in Boston watching The Cave Singers that night. Pick: Cowboys -10 Top Stories