You know why they call me TheSportsGuru, don't ya? Yea, that's right, my dominance when it comes to raking it in with the sports books. The NFL, while not my favorite choice to wager on, is still a solid winner for me, if done in moderation and wisely. This is the part of the show each week where I give you my winners, both straight up and against the spread. Follow the leader, baby, follow the leader!!!
Now, to give you some background, I'll pick every game versus the number, but by no means do I actually make a play on every game. I'll go ahead and rate each game, based on confidence -- the more "stars(*)" the more confident I am in the pick against the spread. Remember, of course, this is for recreational purposes ONLY!
LAST WEEK - Straight 12-4
OVERALL - Straight 12-4(.750)
Houston @ Carolina -6.5 - Sure, my overall record against the spread might look poor, but I was 2-0 in actual plays, with Carolina being one of my winners. The Panthers come home off a nice road win, welcoming old friend Gary Kubiak to town along with his band of merry Texans. There is little doubt that the Texans are a team on the rise, but beating the Panthers on the road is a much bigger test than beating the Chiefs in Houston. If this were an even number year, I would consider the Texans, but it's 2007, and the Panthers are money in odd number years. By the time the Broncos visit the Texans they will be a team no one wants to play, but for now they'll be the second win of the season for Carolina
Panthers 24 - 13 -- 5 Stars(out of 10)
Cincinnati -6.5 @ Cleveland - What the hell has happened to the Cleveland Browns. Maybe I was drinking a little too much of the vodka-laced kool-aid, but I really thought the Browns would show up last weekend against the Steelers. Looking completely unprepared and disinterested, the Browns ended up getting flattened by Pittsburgh, proceeded to traded away their starting quarterback, and their reward is another divisional home game against the Bengals, who have owned the Browns in Cleveland since the team returned in 1999. The Bengals did the Browns to the tune of 30-0, which started, ironically, when the Browns ran the opening kick-off back for a TD, only to have it nullified by a penalty. It goes to show exactly how fragile the Browns confidence is. Look for the Bengals to do it like the British, "Oneith by air, Twoith by sea", and add another nail to the big-ass coffin that Romeo Crennel finds himself in. It's sad, frankly, Browns fans deserve better.
Bengals 31 - 10 (8 Stars)
Atlanta @ Jacksonville -10.5 - Last week I made the mistake of taking a flyer on Joey Harrington and the Falcons in Minnesota. I won't make the same mistake twice. While I am not a big fan of Byron Leftwich, you have to wonder why the Falcons haven't at least made a phone call. The Jags, whom I refer to as the Sybil of the NFL, had a down week last week in a loss to the Titans. That means they should look like Super Bowl contenders this week and Atlanta is the perfect feast for the Jags defense to get fat on. Give, give, give the points....
Jaguars 27 - 13 (7 Stars)
Indianapolis @ Tennessee +7.5 - The early game of choice for me, this AFC South brawl has certainly gotten entertaining as of late. After Rob Bironas beat the Colts with a 60-yard field goal in last season's meeting in Nashville the Titans, and especially QB Vince Young, have a new found confidence against the defending World Champs. Jeff Fisher hasn't stayed employed by lying down against anyone and always manages to have his team ready to play regardless of the talent disparity on the field. There is, of course, the matter of Peyton Manning being as focused as I have ever seen him. Sure, it might be hard for a team coming off a World Title to find motivation, but the Colts need to look no further than the three divisional games they lost on the road last season for a bit of a spark. I think the giving is a bit too much, but a late Manning to Wayne TD will put the Colts over the top. I'll take the points, but the Colts get revenge for last season's defeat.
Colts 34 - 31 (7 Stars)
Green Bay -3.5 @ NY Giants - Anyone out there who has been a part of this blog from the beginning knows I am not a big Brett Favre fan. I see him as a compiler, and to be honest, I don't think he could hold John Elway's dirty jock strap. Be that as it may, Favre stands one win away from overtaking Elway for most wins by an NFL QB. His chance comes at the same place another record "was broken" in a game involving the Pack and the G-Men. You remember, Strahan'd "sack" on Favre that gave Stra the All-Time Single-Season Sack record. The Giants are a complete mess, and now Eli looks to be injured. If he was smart he would simply sit out and get healthy. Tom Coughlin is on thin ice and there is no need for Eli to risk his long-term future for a bunch of stiffs. That might be a bit harsh, but did you see the Giants defense last week??? Enough said.
Packers 24 - 20 (6 stars)
Buffalo @ Pittsburgh -9.5 - Combine a devastating loss with a catastrophic injry and you have a recipe for big-time problems in Buffalo. Alas, the winds of change blew through late in the week when it was reported that Kevin Everett voluntarily moved three fingers on his right hand. The positive news on Everett will undoubtedly give the Bills an emotional life, but that won't help out all the other injuries that ravaged the defense. As for the Steelers, everyone knew there was talent on the roster, and now we now they needed, and wanted, a breath of fresh air. There is no doubt they are responding to Mike Tomlin. Give the points, the Steelers will just make more.
Steelers 27 - 10 (9 Stars)
San Francisco @ St. Louis -3.5 - Have I mentioned that I hate the Pre-Season? It is the lack of playing time for superstars in August that creates fumbles in September. Stephen Jackson looked like a player that touched the ball about a dozen times in four pre-season games. He still is a guy, however, that will end up somewhere around 2400 all-purpose yards. Remember when his name was attached to the Broncos the year jackson was drafted? How good would he look in blue and orange? As for the team from the Bay, the Niners, like the Texans, are a team on the rise. Both won big games at home last week which is the first step in becoming a serious playoff contender. The next, bigger, step is to win on the road. Neither team is ready to do that consistently. I look for Jackson to have a big day and get the Rams back on track, give the points.
Rams 24 - 17 (4 Stars)
New Orleans -3.5@ Tampa Bay - My pick of the week, and what a slam dunk it is. The Buccaneers are not a good football team, period. The offense just isn't effective, and with Jeff Garcia and Cadillac Williams already banged up it isn't going to improve anytime soon. The defense has some talent, but is living off the reputation of its past. New Orleans ran into a buzz-saw on opening night and proved they weren't quite ready for Primetime. Lucky for them they don't have to be until late January. I look for the Saints to bounce back in a big way, even if the game is on the road, and turn the screws to "Chucky" Gruden a bit more.
Saints 30 - 13 (10 Stars)
Seattle -2.5 @ Arizona - This is the toughest game on the schedule to pick in my humble...err...expert opinion. Arizona was beating the 49'ers, on the road, for 59 minutes last Monday until they remembered they were, in fact, Arizona. It is always amusing to me when an offensive coach gets a new head coaching gig, and in his regular season debut the offense looks like a train-wreck. Hell, Brian Billick is still trying to prove he is an offensive "genius". With all those weapons at his disposal the questions have to start creeping up and around Matt Leinart. Boldin and Fitzgerald are just too damn good for this offense to put up the kind of numbers we saw last week. The Seahawks are a big enigma to me. Unimpressive once again last week, all they do is continue to win. Sure, this game is on the road, but is Arizona really a road game for anyone? I only need to win by a field goal, and the 'Hawks are three points better than the Cardinals right now.
Seahawks 20 - 17 (3 Stars)
Minnesota @ Detroit -3.5 - Call me crazy, but I really like the Lions...on offense anyway. Think about it. The Raiders were a Top 3 defense last season and the Lions went on the road, to Oakland, and threw 36 on the board. John Kitna can flat out play quarterback in the NFL, and while I would prefer Roy Williams shut the hell up, there is no doubt the dude can play. Even old buddy Tatum Bell got in on the act last week, running hard, and more importantly, holding on to the football. I completely disregarded the Vikings last week by taking the Falcons that I will disregard them again this week. I just don't trust that offense to keep up with the Lions. Adrian Peterson is the real-deal, however, and is going to have a monster year on the fast track in the Homer-Dome. Another small spread makes for a tough decision, but I'll take the Lions to score just enough.
Lions 24 - 16 (3 Stars)
Dallas -3.5 @ Miami - Where the hell did all that offense in Dallas come from?? Now I know why Jarah Jones is so high on Jason Garrett. Too bad for Wade Phillips, a defensive coach, that his defense got shredded by the Giants. Hell, if you are going to give up 35 make it on a night that you score 45, that's my motto. I was impressed with how tough the Dolphins played last week on the road, but they just don't have the horses to keep up with Romo, T.O. and the rest of the Cowboys offense. Another number that seems waaaaay too low.
Cowboys 23 - 17 (6 Stars)
NY Jets @ Baltimore -7.5 - Did anyone ever think the Patriots were simply filing the Jets in hopes of finding their offense? There are two teams that I was big-time down on coming into this year and the Jets are one of them -- the other is coming up next -- and this is a match-up that just doesn't favor them. The Ravens played about as bad as they can play - 6 turnovers - and still should have at least tied the game had it not been for a total screw-job by the officials. Both quarterbacks are dinged, but it is more likely that Steve McNair will play, while Chad Pennington will not. Even with the rubber-arm in the lineup the Jets would be hard pressed to stay close against Ray-Ray and company. Give the big number, Ravens win big.
Ravens 20 - 3 (9 Stars)
Kansas City @ Chicago -12.5 - Remember when I said I was down on two teams coming into this season? If not, look about 30 words ago and you'll find it. The Jets were one of those teams....the other is the Chiefs, who might be the worst offensive team in the League. Even with Larry Johnson in the lineup they are going to find things like positive yardage tough to come by. Problem is, Carl Peterson has become senile and doesn't realize that the Chiefs should go into full rebuilding mode before they dig themselves a hile it will take a decade, and another GM, to get out of. The Bears played galliantly for 3 quarters in San Diego last week before once again losing the heart and soul of there defense, safety Mike Brown, to a season-ending knee injury. While his loss is tough to swallow, he won't be missed this weekend, with Tommy Harris stuffing the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage. Have the Chiefs scored more than 11 points at all this year?? They won't this week either. Give all 12, the Bears in a romp.
Bears 24 - 3 (10 Stars)
Oakland @ Denver -9.5 - You can read my pre-view of our battle with the Raiders HERE, but I will say this...I never, ever, make a play on the Broncos. Just too much emotion invested to make sound decisions. If I did, however, this would be a game where I feel pretty confident about oour chances to put up some points. Jay Cutler and this offense is a lot more consistent than that of his predecessor and I expect the points to come.
Broncos 28 - 10 (5 Stars)
San Diego @ New England -3.5 -- If we have learned anything about the Patriots, it's that they have an uncanny ability to know what the other team is trying to do...Oops, that's not what I meant. What I meant to say was that the Patriots have an uncanny knack to drown out any off the field distractions and focus on the task at hand. Oh, and this offense is really, really good. I was right on the money with Randy Moss, and Tom Brady, now with weapons not named Reche, is primed to have the best season of his career. Who's the best QB in the League? Doesn't matter, Tommy has the hardware, and in 50 years that is all people will care about. As for our friends from Southern California, for a team that has won exactly zero playoff games in damn near 15 years, they sure do run their mouths a lot. I mean ALOT! This is the team that was crying about the way the Patriots were celebrating on their home field after choking away a playoff game. Want to stop teams from celebrating on your home field?? BEAT THEM!!! Until then, have a Coke and a smile and shut the hell up! Give the points, I'll take my chances with the BetaMax.
Patriots 31 - 27 (4 Stars)
Washington +6.5 @ Philadelphia -- Monday Night Football travels to the City of Brotherly Love, where neither is in much display after an Eagles loss. Just how healthy is the knee of Donovan McNabb? He wasn't particularly sharp last week in Green Bay, but he had the Eagles in a position to win the game until they forgot how to field a punt....twice. The 'Skins survived to win a tough game over the Dolphins, but have had little, if any, luck against the Eagles recently, especially in Philly. NFC East games are rarely decided by more than a TD, and the Eagles aren't dominating enough to win by that much. The Eagles will win, but the 'Skins will make it tough.
Eagles 20 - 16 (3 Stars)
There you have it...Daddy needs a new pair of shoes, and I plan on picking them up on Tuesday....