Last Week: 8-4-1
Two random observations before I unveil my picks.
1. Last year Brett Favre had a career-best season. His 33 TDs and 7 INTs contrasted his normal TD/INT ratio and led us to unequivocally praise him and strengthen his status as one of the greatest QBs ever.
Thus far this season, Peyton Manning has 15 TDs and 2 INTs with a 65.9 completion percentage. Keep in mind his lack of running game, injured receivers, TEs, and offensive lineman. So how do we separate Manning and Favre to determine who is better? When you looked at Brett Favre’s ’09 stat line, were you surprised? Probably. Now think about your reaction to Peyton Manning’s 15 TDs and 2 INTs through 9 weeks of the NFL season. Are you surprised? Probably not.
This, to me, is the only way to separate QBs. Despite the injuries that would affect most other QBs, we simply expect Peyton to perform, regardless of the circumstances. Brett, on the other hand, has turned into a surprise. In Favre’s 14th season (this is Manning’s 14th), he had already backed himself into his interception-filled corner. It was an expectation that he would give away the ball at least 15 times during a single season. For Manning, success is not a surprise. Any semblance of failure, on the other hand, is. Is this not the definition of greatness? This is why Favre should never even sniff Manning’s category of quarterbacking excellence.
2. Since you probably did not notice, I will let you in on a tiny little secret that the media has hidden from view:
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series.
But what was the biggest story of the week? Randy Moss’ disapproval of barbecue food. (One thing no one has mentioned about the Randy Moss issue: he never even ate the food. He looked at it and determined it to be unworthy of his holy lips. How bad does food have to be for someone to refuse it on sight? Was it green? Did it have a repugnant odor? This is an issue that needs to be explored.)
So what does this say about today’s sports fan that we are more intrigued by Randy Moss’ adolescent behavior than the World Series? Nothing, frankly. The problem has nothing to do with the fans, nor does it the pace of the game or the teams that play on the biggest stage. The problem is the discrepancy between the length of the regular season and length of the playoffs.
In such a short series, anyone can win. This, in my opinion, is fantastic. But the regular season needs to match this mentality. Everyone is so worn out by the end of the regular season that the culmination becomes more of a relief than a moment of joy.
Anyway, back to the NFL.
(Home team in caps, picks in bold)
BUFFALO BILLS (+3) over Chicago Bears
Buffalo is not as bad as their record indicates. Only if that could console Bills’ fans.
San Diego Chargers (-3) over HOUSTON TEXANS
The turning around of San Diego’s season has officially begun.
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) over CAROLINA PANTHERS
People are betting heavily on the Saints to cover, so I will apologize in advance when I get this pick wrong.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-8) over Arizona Cardinals
Addition by subtraction.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+9) over ATLANTA FALCONS
Tom Brady is the 5.0 version of Josh Freeman (both thrive in the 4th quarter).
New York Jets (-5) over DETROIT LIONS
The Lions have two outstanding rookies named Jahvid and Ndamukong. They should probably draft more oddly named guys.
Miami Dolphins (+5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
Miami’s road strategy is to keep the game close by running the ball, then win it in the 4th quarter. They are 4-0 on the road.
New England Patriots (-4) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
New England is only giving 4 points? I am definitely missing something here.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+7) over New York Giants
Seattle obviously uses voodoo curses at home. It’s the only explanation for their home success.
Kansas City Chiefs (+1) over OAKLAND RAIDERS
Oakland’s two consecutive blowout wins came against Seattle (they were on the road, and therefore equivalent to a Division III college team) and Denver (they are miserably awful). True colors will be shown.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-3) over Indianapolis Colts
The difference between pre and post-jail Mike Vick is that he’s become a QB that runs as opposed as an RB that plays QB. No one has figured out how to stop the first one.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-7) over Dallas Cowboys
Am I the only one totally surprised by Jerry Jones’ patience? This has to be a façade.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+3.5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
Carson Palmer is quietly one of the worst QBs in the NFL. Take away his garbage time statistics and get back to me.