From about 10am on Thursday morning until 12 midnight on Thanksgiving my entire day was consumed by football. Started out with the inaugural CJSA Turkey Bowl in which the teams were simply 'old heads' vs. 'young heads'. For those keeping track at home I was on the 'young heads' team aka players born in 1985 or later. We won the game thanks to some late game magic from yours truly and "No. 1 Pick" Sunny Randhawa. Physically brutal game - 32 hours later and I'm still having trouble putting my boxers on - ladies? Anyways, we got three gems from the NFL - with hopefully some more great games to follow this weekend. I'll make some picks and hope to get a majority of them right...
Sunday, November 27th (1:00 ET Kickoffs)
Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons (-9.5)
Unfortunately for the Vikings Adrian Peterson will not be playing in this game. That's really all I need to know about this game. I watched the end of that Vikings / Raiders game and without AP in the offense the Vikings really struggle to do anything offensively. It probably didn't help that Christian Ponder threw the ball to the other team in the red zone on two occasions but if AP was in the game he wouldn't be throwing the ball at all. That's why I'll take the Falcons at home.
Carolina Panthers (-3.5) vs. Indianapolis Colts
If the Colts want to avoid 0-16 - this is the game that they will need to win. They won't. The Colts will get a glimpse of what it's like to draft a quarterback nowadays as the No. 1 overall pick when they face Cam Newton. That should be just enough inspiration for the Colts to get back to their losing ways even after the bye week. As bad as the Panthers have been on defense (I still cannot believe they blew that lead to Detroit and lost by 14) - the Colts will be even worse on offense. I'll take the Panthers to win on the road.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Tennessee Titans (-3.5)
The Buccaneers haven't won a football game since Oct. 16th when they beat New Orleans 26-20 to take a share of the NFC South. Four losses later they come in at 4-6 and have not shot at the playoffs. Solid coaching job by Raheem Morris. When I think about backing the Titans in this game I think about Chris Johnson. Once, I'm done laughing - I look at his game log for the year and laugh some more. I just don't trust the Titans, their run game, or anything else about them. I'll take the Bucs to keep this one close - maybe even snap that 4 game losing streak.
Houston Texans (-6.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Welcome back to the spotlight Mr. Leinart. Fortunately the Texans get the Jaguars whose offense has been pretty anemic (lacking force, interest, or spirit). The Texans also get All Pro WR Andre Johnson back in the lineup which will gave Leinart a bailout play no matter what's happening. I doubt the Texans will deviate from their plan of beating teams on the ground with Arian Foster and Ben Tate so I really don't see the change at QB affecting the outcome of this game. I'll take the Texans to roll in this one.
Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams (-1.5)
Here it is - This one takes the award for game that I will avoid watching at all costs. I'll take the Rams because Steven Jackson looks like he would be tough to tackle.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets (-9.5)
No Fred Jackson - for the rest of the year. Just when things looked like they couldn't get any worse the Bills lose their offensive MVP for the year. The playoffs are absolutely out of the question, I just hope they don't give up - especially to the Jets. I hate losing to the Jets and Mark Sanchez. I don't care if the Bills win one more game for the rest of the season - so long as they help to derail the Jets playoff hopes as well. Yes, I'm biased so I'll back the Bills to keep it closer than their previous meeting.
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5)
The last time these two met it was the opening week of the season and the Browns were favored by 6 points. 11 Weeks later and here's what we've learned: the Browns just aren't a good football team. Yet somehow they've put together 4 wins this year. Not sure how that's happened. The Bengals are an up and coming squad and QB Andy Dalton has continued to be impressive on his way to Rookie of the Year. The Bengals are simply a better football team than the Browns. Plus now that Bengals CB Leon Hall is out for the season - Adam "Pacman" Jones gets the opportunity to make it rain on the Browns. Count me in. I'll take the Bengals in this Ohio rivalry.
Sunday, November 27th (4:00 ET Kickoffs)
Washington Redskins vs. Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
Oh man this one is a close second for games to avoid watching this week. The Redskins did give the Cowboys a good run for their money last week and were a missed OT field goal away from upsetting Tony Romo & Co. The Seahawks have been absolutely on fire lately after two consecutive wins against the Ravens and the Rams. Looks like the Seahawks have a thing for beating teams with mascots starting with the letter "R". I look for the Seahawks to defeat the Redskins and coast to a three game winning streak.
Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders (-3.5)
Jay Cutler is out for the year. Doesn't he know the Bears are in the middle of the NFC Wild Card hunt? Just Jay being selfish again. Never puts the team above himself. In all seriousness - breaking a thumb on a play that saved a touchdown and potentially saved the game is a pretty commendable thing for a QB that I usually call out for being soft and self-centered. I still don't like him. The Bears will need to rely more on Matt Forte more than they have in recent games but I don't think it will be enough. The Raiders have been playing solid football lately behind Michael Bush and (gulp) Carson Palmer. At home, the Raiders fans will likely be crazy making the atmosphere for Caleb Hanie's first start an unmemorable one. I'll take Oakland in this one.
New England Patriots (-3.5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Interesting line here. The news is out that Michael Vick isn't starting - Vince Young will get his second straight start but for some reason the Patriots only give 3.5 points to an Eagles team that has been more inconsistent than my luck with Women. The Patriots are coming off a short week after their dismantling of Kansas City on Monday Night - however, there were certainly stretches at the beginning of the game that the Patriots looked like a subpar offense. The Eagles pass rush led by Jason Babin and Trent Cole will need to get pressure on Tom Brady to throw off his rhythm. I'll (probably foolishly) back the Eagles to give their fans one more week of hope.
Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers (-6)
I honestly have no idea what to do at this point with Timothy Tebow. I'm absolutely on board with him as a human being and a gritty football player. I just don't want to find myself in another situation where I back the Broncos and they go and get blown out by the Lions by 45. But this game comes down to who do I trust more... Tebow or Phillip Rivers? So far this season - there's no way I can in good faith go against Tebow. Plus Rivers blows. I'll take the Broncos plus the points and hope they win on a Hail Mary.
Sunday, November 27th (8:20 ET Kickoff)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off of a bye, the Steelers are usually pretty good - In the past three season they have put up 94 points in weeks coming off a bye and have only allowed 30 points. I doubt the injury-riddled Kansas City Chiefs will have much to say about that. But this looks like it might be a trap game. I'll roll with Tyler Palko to make his Pittsburgh homecoming a good one. I'll take the Chiefs to cover at Arrowhead.
Monday, November 28th (8:30 ET Kickoff)
New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints (-7)
Drew Brees is really good. Through 10 games he's thrown for 3,326 yards which is currently the most for any QB to start the season. He's also thrown a TD in 37 straight games and has completed at least 20 passes in an NFL record 30 games. So basically we know that the Saints will be scoring points and moving the ball. It comes down to will the Giants be able to keep pace without RB Ahmad Bradshaw? I say nope. I'll roll with the Saints to slay the Giants on Monday Night.
This Week: 2-1
Season Record: 78-77-7