Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pigskin Heaven

Well, we didn't install this feature in time for the first week of NFL action, so let's say we split at 8-8 for recordkeeping purposes. Pro football is by far the most popular sport in America today, and I'm not even going to listen to the rednecks who think NASCAR should be one of the four major sports in our land. Shut up, put your wife-beater t-shirt on, and go shoot some beer cans in your backyard. Football is the sport of choice because it's got it all -- strategy, vicious hits, hot cheerleaders, and of course, gambling -- not necessarily in that order. Has any sport ever been so wedded to the wiseguys in the desert? Boxing, sure, but football reigns supreme in the hearts of America's gamblers, from making actual wagers to participating in office knockout pools. My Dad was in Vegas for the opening week of NFL action, and he said the tables at the Mirage were all filled at 6 a.m. for the 10 a.m. start times. Breakfast and football. When the first game started, he said, the ovation was deafening.

Without further ado, onto the Week 2 picks. The selections are made against the lines published in my local Sunday sports page:

@Baltimore (-12.5) vs. Oakland: Tough call on this one. The Raiders played like they were blind last week against the Chargers, and logic says they won't lay two absolute eggs in a row. You'd think that Aaron Brooks could connect with Randy Moss a couple of times, and Lamont Jordan's no stiff at RB. But then you think about that terrifying Ravens defense - playing at home - and an offense that's been revived with Steve McNair at the helm, and you realize that two eggs is very, very possible. Take the Ravens laying the points.

@Indianapolis (-13.5) vs. Houston: Easy call on this one. Peyton is just happy to have the Manning Bowl over with, and his relief will show with several touchdown passes against the Texans. Houston doesn't know who their starting RB will be from week to week. Go with the Colts.

@Cincinnati (-10) vs. Cleveland: The Bengals' firepower is just too much for the Brownies, who are led by quarterback Charlie Frye. Carson Palmer didn't have to light it up last week, and they still cruised by the Chiefs in Kansas City. Memo to Frye - don't go into a slide with Robert Geathers lurking around. Cincy wins big on their home turf.

@Miami vs. Buffalo (+6.5): Miami wins this game, with Ronnie Brown running like a madman, but Buffalo covers. As a Patriots fan, I think I speak for all my fellow fans when I say that we're very pleased that Daunte Culpepper is the starting QB of the Dolphins.

@Chicago vs. Detroit (+8.5): Similar result here. Bears won't lose to the Lions at Soldier Field, but Detroit will keep it somewhat close. We're still waiting to see Mike Martz' fingerprints on the offense. Take the Lions and the points.

@Minnesota vs. Carolina (+1.5): This could be a pretty entertaining game. The Vikings are riding high after beating a pretty good Redskins team on the road, and Brad Johnson looks like he's in a groove. On the other hand, Panthers coach John Fox won't let his team fall to 0-2 out of the gates. Carolina was the trendy pick to go to the Super Bowl this year, and while the loss of All-World WR Steve Smith hurts, they'll find a way to win this one. Carolina in a tight one.

@Philadelphia vs. NY Giants (+3): All the makings of a great game. Both teams are talented on each side of the ball. The T.O.-less Eagles look refreshed under Donovan McNabb, and the Jints have something to prove after losing to the Colts in the national spotlight last week. Look for the Giants' two-headed RB monster of Barber and Jacobs to make big contributions. Giants take this one by a field goal.

@Atlanta (-5.5) vs. Tampa Bay: Mike Vick versus Chris Simms. 'Nuf said. Falcons and their underrated D win easily.

New Orleans (-2.5) @ Green Bay: Unbelievable how quickly the wheels have fallen off in Cheesehead Land. Who would have thought that the Saints would ever be favored on the frozen tundra? But Drew Brees and Reggie Bush are providing some much-needed entertainment for the hurting Crescent City. Take the Saints.

St. Louis @ San Francisco (+3): Minor upset here. The Niners are better than people think, and QB Alex Smith is a big reason why. With him connecting with Antonio Bryant, and Frank Gore making a name for himself at RB, things are looking up in San Fran. For the hell of it, I'm going with 'em.

@Seattle vs. Arizona (+7): Things are looking up in Arizona, too, thanks to Kurt Warner and Edgerrin James. Seattle's a damn good team, for sure, and Deion Branch will make them better - but the Cards will keep it close. Take the points.

New England (-6) @ NY Jets: The big story line here is the protege (the HC of the NYJ, Eric Mangini) vs. the mentor (BB), but I think it comes down to the two quarterbacks. Chad Pennington looked pretty damn good last week, but I'll take a focused Tom Brady and the Dillon/Maroney 1-2 punch. Should be interesting to see who lines up at WR for the Pats. Doug Gabriel will most likely play, but will we see Chad Jackson? Pats win by 10.

@San Diego (-11.5) vs. Tennesee: The NFL schedule-makers were awfully kind to the Chargers. After annihilating the woeful Raiders last week, they'll lay the hammer on the equally woeful Titans. Give the points.

@Denver (-10.5) vs. Kansas City: A bounceback game for the Broncos if there ever was one. Denver did not look good last week against the Rams, and Mike Shanahan will have his troops revved up for the home opener. Plus, Damon Huard is playing QB in Trent Green's place. Think the Broncos will know where Larry Johnson is on every down?

@Dallas (-6.5) vs. Washington: A week of practices with a very unhappy Bill Parcells has the Cowboys ready to play, Drew Bledsoe notwithstanding. Dallas will ride their much-hyped defense to victory in this one, but Drew's play will make the QB controversy talk heat up. I can't wait for the Tony Romo Era.

Pittsburgh (-3) @ Jacksonville: A pretty attractive Monday Night matchup, and we should see some smashmouth football. Big Ben plays and the Steelers win by 6.

Any thoughts?

Last week's record: 8-8 :)

Not bad picks Kampy. You done good. Obviously all that displaced time previously spent on the track has been spent breaking down x's and o's of the young football season.
I don't know - I thought it was pretty easy pickings this week. If I had some serious cash to blow, I'd have hit it big this weekend. What do you think of this week's slate?
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