Congrats, Irish, on beating the heretical sect of D1 football. But you need to get a whole lot better at covering those middle routes, and someone needs to give the corners a primer on man coverage. That was not comforting. Thank you Golden Tate, for making up for everyone else's errors.
Anyway, after last week's repeat mediocrity (57.9% rate of prediction) I'm going for something better. I mean, 57.9% isn't even enough to pass one of my tests. After two, I'd advise myself to drop my own class, so now you know how impressed I am with myself. But Jamie Dukes was 8-6 and Mike Mayock was 7-7. And those guys have jobs on NFL Total Access, so I'm at least keeping up with the industry standard.
So, in my quest towards Eisendom, here goes.
Chicago @ Cincy: Chicago just isn't good enough, and even though I mistakenly drank the Cincinnati Kool-Aid last week, I still think that the Bengals are too broadly talented and, more importantly, clicking in a way that the Bears are not. Sorry Jay, but you're still overrated and underwhelming. Cincy, by 7. Notice how conservative my lines have become? That's cause I don't know what I'm doing.
GB @ Cleveland: Zzzzzz. Cleveland has become such a bore, so depressing. I read somewhere that anybody could go out on the field (that's the pitch, for you Euros) and throw the ball directly into the ground and earn a better passer rating than Cleveland's QBs. And Donald Driver wears green. We've lost track of the Pack amidst the Favrexcitement in Hot Dish. Curly's boys by 14.
Minnesota @ Pittsburgh: Ooooh, girl, this is gonna be grrrrr-eat. I'm already on the couch, facing the TV, sort of drooling on myself a bit. This could go either way. Two greats, with great offenses, stellar defenses. Can I just call this Super Bowl XLIII.5? Pittsburgh by 3 for two reasons. They're at home. They're the defending champs. Even if I thought the Vikings could win, which they could, you've got to bet on the Champs, if only for ideological reasons.
SF @ Houston: You know, I want Houston to do well this year. They've been the afterthought of the AFC South for a while, and now that the Titans have been sucking like a vacuum cleaner, I'm all in for the Texans to improve. Whether or not they show up today is the mystery. They're terribly inconsistent, despite their huge lineup of power: Schaub, Johnson, Slaton, Jacoby Jones is a secret weapon, even Owen Daniels is capable of big stuff. And their defense is more than capable. SF has a shot here, especially if Houston blows it, which they've done before. But I'm going with Houston, by 10, at home, which explains why.
SD @ KC: I am so damn sick of San Diego being the team that I have to pay attention to because they have all the weapons. And then they never get anywhere. When was the last time they were in the Super Bowl? When was the last time they even got into the Conference Championship Game? I'm done with them until they do something that actually counts. That being said, the Chiefs stink like stank. Chargers by 14, but the only reason that I care is named Coryell.
Indy @ The Lou: How boring. Peyton Manning is a robot. I've got Donald Brown and their Defense on my fantasy team, which I hope, with Lawrence Maroney, will bring me an upset of our league leader. Let me say this again, Peyton Manning is dull. Dullsville. Dullicity. Dullacious. All he does is post numbers and win games. Many would say that's about all you can ask. Not me. I want drama, history, compelling stressful hair-pulling tension. All this idiot does is pass for 300 yards a game. If I want that, I'll play Tecmo. By the way, St. Louis should give the Rams to LA. They should also ask for a refund. Manning-tron 2009 by 28.
NE @ TB, in UK: Can I say this out loud? Americans, American football media, National Football League...the British don't give a rat's ass about our game. Deal with it. I don't see anyone broadcasting cricket over here, which is a remarkably cool game once you learn the rules, like football, and, like football, looks a lot like a bunch of dudes standing around waiting for the second fractions when important things happen. Interviewing Angles in front of Big Ben so that we can laugh at them when they don't know who Tom Brady is is like going to Nebraska and asking whether Wayne Rooney scores on goals or WAGs. And, after last week, Mr. Bundchen is so high up on my list that I don't even want to talk about him until he can sit around a table with Terry Bradshaw and wear the same number of rings. Nueva Inghilterra by 21. I hope Michael Strahan was sent over with his video camera again.
Buffalo @ Carolina: God, talk about boring. One team can't get their act together. The other one is playing them in this battle of the teams that won't make the playoffs. I still think Carolina's experience is the key here, as is Buffalo's lack of damn near everything, to say nothing of an injured QB. That Jets game was Sanchez getting himself beat, not Buffalo beating them. Panthers by 7.
Jets @ Oakland: Ok, everyone. Don't watch the game. Watch the headlines in the Daily News and the Post tomorrow. If the Jets win, it'll be all sorts of We Love You Mark Sanchez, We Love Rex Ryan's Defense, We Love the Jets. If not, it'll be like Torquemada's back in town. But, after last week's debacle, I think that the Raiders are too one-dimensional (throw to the Tight End) and really didn't do as much good as the Eagles O-line did bad. Jets by 10, though Marky Mark might end up riding the pine if he keeps throwing the ball away.
New Orleans @ Miami: Forget it. Nobody can keep up with Drew Brees. He's been scary since college, Reggie's actually scoring now, and the defense is being consistent. The Wildcat is going to look like a gimmick more than ever this week. It'll be cute for a few yards, but ugly when the Saints are up by 24 or so. New Orleans by 24 or so.
ATL @ Dallas: This is what I have to watch this weekend, because Fox stinks and apparently Western Tennessee and Dallas are related. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll play the New Orleans game. Maybe I'll just run a wire from my neighbor's DirecTV dish. Good thing for Matt Ryan and that ATL offense. At least I'll have something fun to watch. ATL by 14.
Arizona @ NY Giants: Somebody, during yesterday's Notre Dame game, called the Cardinals offense high-powered. They have 112 points for vs. the Giants 178. They do, however, have fewer points against. I don't care. Larry Fitzgerald's on my fantasy team, and he's not been doing biblity-squat all year. The Giants are at home, the winds are swirling, the weather is filthy. I hope Larry's got a big game in him, but I just don't see the Giants losing under these circumstances. Let's not forget that they were undefeated until Mr. Brees invited them over, which means that they're still undefeated by normal NFL teams. Football Giants by 17.
Philly @ Redskins: If the Eagles can't win this, I'm going to die. I do, however, recognize that this game is like a mimeographed version of last week's. Hey, kids, remember mimeographs? Mmm, analog copy technology. 90 minute Maxell tapes, anyone? Anyway, the Redskins have QB concerns, front office woes, an underperforming set of offensive weapons. Oh, no. Someone tell the O-line that this is on them. Don't ruin my Monday night gentlemen. Eagles by 7.