Mac's Picks - Week 6

I can't recall the last time I voluntarily chose to not watch a Monday Night Football game. No matter how poor the match-up was, I'd always watch. A long time ago, it reached the point for me where whenever NBC or CBS would put a show on opposite Monday Night Football, I'd always just assume that show was terrible because even its own network wasn't giving it a chance.

The notion of skipping an episode of Monday Night Football still didn't occur to me when the NFL sold the rights to broadcast the league's weekly marquee event to ESPN, and when I heard that Tony Kornheiser was going to be in the broadcast booth, I still dutifully tuned in each week.

But somewhere between the 8-hour pre-game show, the cast of hundreds covering the game, the non-stop commercials, the lack of any real football discussion and the ultra-lame intro (Doesn't the NFL know that of the three Hank Williams', they got the worst one?), I decided enough was enough, and I could, for the first time in my adult life, skip Monday Night Football.

And the one game I do decide to miss turns out to be one of the better games in recent MNF history.

With that sort of luck, is it any wonder I went 4-9-1 last week? Oh, between last week's Tennessee/Atlanta and NE/Cleveland games, I was 1 ½ points away from a pair of wins. Toss in the push from the late 2-point conversion in the Arizona/St. Louis game, and I would've been an even .500.

Last week: 4-9-1
2007 Record: 34-38-4

St. Louis at Baltimore (-9 ½) – Doesn't it seem odd that a team that scored 9 points a week ago is favored by 9 ½ points this week? Matt Stover will have to be a busy guy this week for the Ravens to have any chance at covering that spread. Pick: Ravens -9 ½

Washington at Green Bay (-3 ½) – I know I've been using the term "fraud" to describe the Washington Redskins, but I'm still picking them to upset the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. No, I haven't lost my mind. Hear me out on this one:

Green Bay has no running game, so they have to rely on the pass if they're going to win. The Chicago Bears provided the blueprint for shutting the Packers offense down in the 2nd half, and the Washington Redskins have the personnel to shut down Favre and the Packers wide receivers. Pick: Redskins +3 ½

Cincinnati (-3) at Kansas City – I guess the big question in this game is which unit is worse: The Chiefs offense or the Bengals defense? It's probably a toss-up, but I still think Kansas City is a tough place to play and Larry Johnson should be able to run against the Bengals front seven. Pick: Chiefs +3

Philadelphia (-3) at NY Jets – These two playoff teams from 2006 are a combined 2-7 entering Sunday, and things are getting pretty bad in both cities.

How bad? Well, Eagles head coach Andy Reid doesn't know what a blog is, but he has been denying blog reports that he will tender his resignation at the end of the season. In New York, Eric Mangini is trying to shed his "genius" label by ignoring the $20M running back his team acquired in the off-season.

So it's not exactly "Losing team's head coach has to resign and his replaced by Rich Kotite" bad, but it's getting awfully close. Pick: Eagles -3

Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-2 ½) – This has to be the week that losing their starting left tackle and the top two running backs on the depth chart catches up to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, right? (Laughs nervously) Right? Pick: Titans +2 ½

Miami at Cleveland (-4 ½) – After years of listening to his endless squawking, Cleveland Browns tight end (and self-described soldier) Kellen Winslow finally got to the root of what's been troubling Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter: He's just needed to be hugged. Haven't we all? Pick: Browns -4 ½

Houston at Jacksonville (-6 ½) – Thanks to another amazing demonstration of municipal solidarity, the televisions in the Jacksonville, Florida area will be a Jaguars-free zone. Can anyone explain why this city has a football team in the first place? Pick: Texans +6 ½

Minnesota at Chicago (-5 ½) – The Chicago Bears came alive in the 2nd half against Green Bay last Sunday night, which could mean that the Bears are ready to start the 2007 season. Speaking of starting, 2nd-year quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is back. Not sure if that is supposed to be good news or not. Pick: Bears -5 ½

Carolina at Arizona (-4) – In case you were wondering, Week 5 of the 2004 season was the last time Kurt Warner and Vinny Testaverde were starting quarterbacks in the same game. Yes, they were both over-the-hill back then, too.

David Carr will probably start, but I don't think it matters. The Cardinals are for real, and for once, I'm glad. You see, I have tickets to the Cardinals-Seahawks game in December, and I want NBC to scoop that up for the Sunday Night broadcast so I can hunt the thing that resides atop Al Michaels' head. Pick: Cardinals -4

New England (-5 ½) at Dallas – It's so good that these two teams are squaring up this weekend. I was getting afraid that the national media would forget that these two franchises still existed. I was prepared to end my blurb about this game there, but then I found out that Tony Romo's father was diagnosed last month with prostate cancer.

First off, I hope Ramiro Romo's surgery goes very well and he makes the full and speedy recovery his doctors expect him to make. Secondly, was it absolutely necessary that we be made aware of this?

I'm going to repeat this until everyone gets the message: Tony Romo is not Brett Favre, so can we can stop manufacturing drama and just let Romo make a full season's worth of starts before we put him in Canton?  Pick: Patriots -5 ½

Oakland at San Diego (-10) – Norv Turner is letting his players know that he doesn't like the Oakland Raiders, who fired him after he coached the Raiders to a 9-23 record from 2004-05. This would probably mean a lot more if Turner weren't the lone NFL head coach Raiders owner Al Davis could still beat up.

Fortunately for Norv, he'll be able put up dukes like Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson, which should be enough to beat the Raiders. Pick: Chargers -10

New Orleans at Seattle (-6 ½) – I'll admit that heading into the season I fully expected the Seattle Seahawks to be 3-2 heading into this weekend's game. What I didn't expect was that I'd have little-to-no confidence in the Seahawks ability to run the ball.

I don't want to put this entirely on Shaun Alexander, because the offensive line hasn't run-blocked particularly well, but Alexander is kind of validating the prediction some had that he would run "differently" after he got the big contract. How much of that is the broken foot in 2006 and the cracked wrist in 2007? I don't know, but I'd like to believe that is the bulk of it, because it's a lot more palatable than the alternative. Pick: Seahawks -6 ½

NY Giants (-3 ½) at Atlanta – Do you remember the scene in Oliver Stone's JFK where New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison describes how the triangulation of crossfire in Dealy Plaza would make the assassination of President Kennedy a "turkey shoot"?

Well, the Giants are coming off a night where they sacked Donovan McNabb twelve times and the Atlanta Falcons are missing both of their starting tackles. This doesn't bode well for Joey Harrington. Pick: Giants -3 ½


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