NFL 2011 - Week 10
Ok folks, I'm kind of drunk right now and I'm on a flight to Jacksonville for the wedding of PoopReading.com's own Jameson Simmons – which, I think we can all agree, is the ideal circumstances to write anything – so I'm going to take one pass at this and then post it. Godspeed, y'all.
Last time: 6-7
Raiders @ CHARGERS -7 (Thursday)
I'll post this before the game is over but you'll read it afterwards, so, here's proof that I made my pick ahead of time.
Cardinals @ EAGLES
No line as of this writing because of the uncertainty of whether Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb will play. The way Kevin Kolb has been playing, I'm not sure it would matter. I'd pick the Eagles no matter what the line was.
TITANS @ Panthers -3.5
This is the last gasp for the Titans, who were my preseason pick to surprise everybody and win the AFC South. They still could, I suppose... in the sense that Rick Perry still technically could be the GOP nominee for president in 2012. But, in both cases, the damage has probably already been done. In any case, the Panthers aren't that good.
TEXANS @ Buccaneers +3.5
I keep waiting for the Texans to fall apart like they always do, but this might finally be the year that they don't. I mean, after all, the landscape of sports history is dotted with teams that overcame a reputation for being unable to win the big one and attained a level of great success. You've got your 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers, your 1970s Dallas Cowboys, your 2011 Dallas Mavericks, your 2004 Boston Red Sox... a team is basically a bunch of chokers only until they arent. And the Texans look like they aren't. I'm not saying they're going to win the Super Bowl, but neither am I saying that the very idea is completely ridiculous.
Redskins @ DOLPHINS -4
You'd have been mad to suggest that the Dolphins could possibly be favored by four points over anybody this season as recently as a week ago, before they went out and destroyed the playoff-contender Chiefs. Now, who knows? The one thing we do know is that the Redskins stink to high heaven.
RAMS @ Browns -2.5
After they quite literally gave up trying in the fourth quarter in their game against the Giants early this season, I vowed that I'd never pick the Rams again no matter what. But the past few weeks some of them have begun to give the impression that they actually care what happens (by all accounts, star running back Steven Jackson almost single-handedly led them to that shocking, dominating win against the Saints in Week 8). Whereas the Browns and running back Peyton Hillis seem determined to become the best ever example of the Madden cover curse. So not only do I pick the Rams, I do so rather easily. Certainly didn't see that coming.
Bills @ COWBOYS -5.5
Now that the Vikings stink and lose to everybody all the time, the Cowboys have sort of inherited the honor of being the good team that's always a threat to lose any game, to any opponent, at any time. Their last two outings (blown out by the Eagles, unimpressive win over the lowly Seahawks) weren't particularly impressive.
BUT... it seems like the fun is definitely over for the Buffalo Bills (yeah, I know they shut out the Redskins. Me and 10 toddlers could shut out the Redskins). As I've mentioned before, they're in the midst of a four-game stretch wherein they play three teams they've lost to in the Super Bowl (and due to the vagaries of NFL scheduling and Buffalo's tortured Super Bowl history, they're the only team that could even possibly do that). And we all got excited when they started out so strong and then beat the Patriots in that one game, but they've fallen back to Earth and appear destined to continue falling even farther. So, to the tiny, tiny extent that one can possibly feel good about picking the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, I feel pretty good about this pick.
STEELERS @ Bengals +3
This is most definitely a "Daddy Pants" game, i.e., a game in which an up-and-coming upstart team can prove once and for all that it's ready to wear the Daddy Pants in the league. In Daddy Pants games, I tend to favor the older, experienced team until the young guns can prove their mettle. And never you mind how successful that philosophy usually turns out to be.
JAGUARS @ Colts +3
Watch the Colts finally cover, now that I finally pick against them.
But really, though, don't the Colts have a responsibility to tank the rest of the season in an effort to get the first pick in the draft next year and take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck? As I've pointed out, you're not going to do any better than an NFL QB named "Luck" running around with a horseshoe on his helmet. You're just not.
BRONCOS @ Chiefs -3.5
In Tebow we trust.
Saints @ FALCONS -1
I'd call this a "Daddy Pants" game if the Falcons hadn't won the division and captured the #1 seed in the NFC last year. This one's for first place, and I feel like the Falcons have found their mojo after a rough start.
RAVENS @ Seahawks +6.5
Always a little dicey to give away this many points when the Seahawks are at home... but they're just really bad. So I'm OK with it.
Lions @ Bears -2.5
Suddenly this is a big, big game. It's extremely tough to imagine both these teams making the playoffs, and they both look like playoff caliber teams. I'll go with the Bears, if only because I think these two are very evenly matched and home field advantage is generally thought to be worth three points, not 2.5.
Giants @ 49ERS -3.5
I'm in on the 49ers. They couldn't look more like a #2 seed if they... um... I don't know; if they dressed up in a #2 seed costume. Look, that analogy sort of died on the table; let's move on.
And yeah, the Giants looked like contenders last week, going into New England and beating the Patriots. But I'd point out two things: 1) The Giants just have the key to New England's roller skates, somehow, and 2) The Giants lost to the Seahawks. At home. Badly. You never know what they'll do.
Patriots @ JETS -1
I don't really like the Jets and all of their loudmouth BS, but the Patriots aren't that great anymore and the Jets always come to pay. Especially in these big games. This should be a humdinger, whatever happens.
Vikings @ PACKERS -13
National TV, meet Christian Ponder. You're welcome, universe. #ImpossiblyDreamy