Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tha... Yankeees Lose... Thaaaaa... Yankeeeees Lose... (and Week 5 picks)

See that man over there to your left? The old guy with the Yankees hat on? He's wicked pissed off right now. His band of bazillionaires just went down feebly to the Detroit Tigers, 8-3, and will go another year this decade without winning a title. How sweeet it is. Jeremy Bonderman made sawdust out of the impotent Yankees' bats all day long, and the evening ended with geriatric manager Jim Leyland being carried off the field by his exuberant young team. What's even better? Brian Cashman, sitting with Reggie Jackson and Rudy Giuliani (what a trio - only missing Spike Lee and Billy Ass Crystal) had a great view of the proceedings as they sat in their front row box seats. A-Rod was terrible in this series, and could be on his way out of town. And Jeter? Give him the MVP - who gives a crap? The Yanks are vanquished yet again.

There will be plenty of time to dissect and analyze the offseason maneuverings of the Red Sox and Yankees, but for now let's get back to football. I didn't do so hot with my Week 4 picks, but I'll take my above-.500 mark with the way this crazy season has started. The final tally was 6-7-1, with the season mark standing at 32-26-2. Let's make that gap a little wider.

@Chicago (-10) vs. Buffalo: The Bears have been on a roll, punctuated by their dominating win over a Seattle team last week that most think will again contend for a Super Bowl. Chicago's always had the D, but now they seem to have a few more productive pieces on offense. No letdown here - Chicago wins this one handily.

@Carolina (-8.5) vs. Cleveland: May not look like it on the surface but this could be an interesting game. After a slow start, Carolina has all-world WR Steve Smith back and has eked out a couple wins. The Browns, on the other hand, have gotten better each week under Romeo Crennel. They gave the Ravens all they could handle a couple weeks back, and pulled one out against a desperate Raiders team last week. I'll go with the Browns and the points.

@Minnesota (-6.5) vs. Detroit: After their nice win to start the season on the road against the Redskins, Minnesota has been one big heap of disappointment. Look for lots of points to be scored in this one, something like a 31-27 game. Vikes win, but Detroit covers the six and a half.

@New England (-10) vs. Miami: These two teams couldn't be going in more different directions. The Pats finally beat up on a quality team last week, winning easily at Cincinnatica, while the Dolphins continued to circle the drain, losing by two to Houston. Miami has good skill players (Chambers, Brown, McMichael) and a tough defense, but they're missing the most important skill player of all: a good QB. Daunte's all done, and there's word that Nick Saban may tap Joey Harrington to start (shouldn't he be called Joe at this point?) Either way, the Dolphins QB is going to get plenty of looks at the cloud formations over Gillette Stadium. Pats are the pick.

St. Louis (-3) @ Green Bay: The bullets are few and far between in Brett Favre's gun these days. He'll have his moments, but he's mostly going to look like he did last Monday night in Philly - tired, old, and confused. The Rams have always been known for their aerial attack, but they've also improved on the defensive side of the ball. Rams in this one.

@New Orleans (-7) vs. Tampa Bay: I'm not ready to jump off the Saints bandwagon, as they played Carolina pretty tough last week. But Reggie Bush has to do more. Tampa Bay was off last week, so this will be our first glimpse of Bruce Gradkowski as the starter. Sounds more like the guy sitting next to you at the bar. What the hell - I'll go with the Bucs to cover.

@Indianapolis (-18.5) vs. Tennessee: Well, the Titans won't have Albert Haynseworth stomping around for this one. The Titans are a terrible team this year and the Colts - looking ahead to their bye week - should shred them with ease. This one - like Haynesworth's despicable act last Sunday - could get ugly. Colts win, 77-7.

@NY Giants (-4.5) vs. Washington: When last we left the Giants, they were a team in turmoil. Jeremy Shockey openly questioned Tom Coughlin's coaching prowess after being drubbed by the Seahawks, and the New York tabloids were having a field day. The bye week couldn't have come at a better time. Washington won a spirited game against the Jaguars last weekend (I hate the NFL overtime process, by the way - it should be closer to what college does - shouldn't come down to heads or tails) but they will bow to the revitalized Giants. Lay the points.

Kansas City (-3.5) @ Arizona: The outlook seemed dire for the Chiefs after Trent Green was almost beheaded by the Bengals, but former Pats backup Damon Huard has actually done a pretty nice job. Of course, it's always a bit easier when you have Larry Johnson in your backfield. All signs indicate that Matt Leinart will start this game for the Cardinals. KC should take this one with relative ease.

@Jacksonville (-6.5) vs. NY Jets: Jacksonville always seems like they should be better than they are; the Jets, meanwhile, aren't as good as they appear. The one concern with the Jags this week is the injury list, which is longer than usual and includes several good skill players. For the Jets, Chad Pennington has been their early-season MVP, establishing a nice rapport with Jerricho Cotchery and others. Still no real running game, though. Go with Jacksonville.

@San Francisco (-3.5) vs. Oakland: The battle for the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, whoever that may be (Garret Wolfe?) I thought the Niners showed promise in the first couple weeks, backed by RB Frank Gore, WR Antonio Bryant and top pick Alex Smith at QB. The shine has faded from the apple, though. The Raiders, on the other hand, are an absolute train wreck and Randy Moss couldn't care less. The Niners should win and cover.

@Philadelphia (-1.5) vs. Dallas: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. The return of T.O. to Philadelphia is must-see TV (It's like a baby New York...) ESPN reports that the Eagles will increase the security presence big-time tomorrow and will utilize undercover police to control the legendary hooligans. Can't wait for this one. Oh yeah, the game - I think Philly takes it, and maybe even knocks Bledsoe out. If the defense doesn't, maybe an errant Bud bottle will. (Will anyone be brave enough to stand next to T.O. on the sidelines?)

@San Diego (-3) vs. Pittsburgh: Another good Sunday night game, at least on paper. The Ravens took care of rookie QB Phil Rivers last week and neutralized LT. Coming off a bye, look for the Steelers to do much of the same. Plus, Big Ben's had some time to let that appendix heal. Steelers are the pick.

@Denver (-4) vs. Baltimore: And finally, the Monday nighter. Two tough defenses here. Jake the Snake will need to be mobile in this one, to avoid Ray Lewis and Co. I'll take the Broncos, the altitude and the home field edge.

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