If the Redskins won, the incumbent party would retain the Oval Office.
If the visitors won, the challenging party would win.
This has held true for 17 of the last 18 elections, with the lone exception being 2004, when the Green Bay Packers beat the Washington Redskins on Sunday, and George W. Bush winning a second term two days later.
Adding to the Presidential feel of Monday night's game, both John McCain and Barack Obama will tape segments to air at halftime of ESPN's broadcast. Welcome to politics in the year 2008, where on the eve of one of the biggest elections in our nation's history, one of the last people to interview both candidates will be Chris Berman. Pick: Steelers +2
Green Bay at Tennessee (-5) – Has anyone else noticed that with despite a formula consisting of a game manager at quarterback, a solid defense and a two-pronged ground game, the Tennessee Titans have scored 30+ points in 4 of their last 5 games? Pick: Titans -5
Tampa Bay (-9) at Kansas City – When was the last time a 5-3 road team was giving as many as points it scored the week before? Pick: Buccaneers -9
Jacksonville (-8) at Cincinnati – Can't the Bengals just go ahead and put Marvin Lewis out of his misery? Pick: Jaguars -8
NY Jets at Buffalo (-5 ½) – Brett Favre reminded me last week of why I would never draft him for my fantasy team. Facing a terrible pass defense, with a pair of rookie cornerbacks, Favre throws three picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown. They should've destroyed the Chiefs, but instead, they barely squeaked a win out of it. I simply don't trust him or the Jets at this point. Pick: Bills -5 ½ (And yes, Favre is on my fantasy team)
Arizona (-3) at St. Louis – The Cardinals haven't shown they can win on the road and the Rams are rejuvenated now that "The Haz" is running the show. Pick: Rams +3
Houston at Minnesota (-4 ½) – Matt Schaub is terrible on the road and the Minnesota Vikings need to get some wins before they lose both Williams' to suspensions. Pick: Vikings -4 ½
Baltimore at Cleveland (-1 ½) – With their physical defense and ground game, and an increasingly creative offense under Cam Cameron (anyone see rookie quarterback Joe Flacco's 43-yard reception last week?), the Ravens are legitimate playoff contenders in the AFC. Pick: Ravens +1 ½
Detroit at Chicago (-12 ½) – I know the Lions are a potentially historically bad football team, but I don't trust the Bears' "Smoke & Mirrors" offense enough to lay down 12 ½ points. Pick: Lions +12 ½
Miami at Denver (-3 ½) – The Broncos are usually very good after the bye (15-4), but they also usually have a defense. Without Champ Bailey, Chad Pennington could post back-to-back 300-yard games. Pick: Dolphins +3 ½
Atlanta (-3) at Oakland – If I had to put money on either Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan or Jim Johnson's Philadelphia Eagles' defense with less than two minutes on the clock, I'd take Johnson's defense every time. That said, we all know that the Falcons were robbed of the opportunity to get a huge win on the road last week. Pick: Falcons -3
Philadelphia (-6 ½) at Seattle – The Philadelphia Eagles are a better team, but I'll give you three reasons for why I'm picking the Seahawk this week, provided you understand that I'm well aware that they may not be very good reasons to do so.
#1 – Philadelphia is allowing 30.3 points per game on the road this season.
#2 – Before last week's game against Atlanta, the Eagles have struggled to cover their opponents' tight ends. Seattle's leading receiver is rookie tight end John Carlson.
#3 – Seneca Wallace is a mobile quarterback that Mike Holmgren can move around to neutralize the Eagles blitzes.
Pick: Seahawks +6 ½
Dallas at NY Giants (-8 ½) – Between all the money Jerry Jones spent this off-season, the "Hard Knocks" show on HBO during training camp, and every talking head picking them to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIII, does anyone feel badly that the big question in Dallas this week was how quickly Wade Phillips would replace Brad Johnson with Brooks Bollinger on Sunday? Pick: Giants -8 ½
New England at Indianapolis (-6) – If Indianapolis didn't stumble out the gate, and Tom Brady has an intact and non-infected left knee, we're giddily humming the NBC "Sunday Night Football in America" theme music all weekend in anticipation of the annual regular season "Game of the Year" that everyone always calls the AFC Championship game preview.
There's still quite a bit of star power here, with Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Randy Moss, as well as Al Michaels and John Madden, but without Brady and the Colts being their usual "dominate the regular season" selves, it's just not the same. Pick: Patriots +6
Last week: 4-10
2008 Season: 53-62-1
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.