We're back, and it's juuuuuust starting to get cold outside and half the league has a bye this week, so we must be in Week 7. Or maybe Week 8. Or 9 or 10. Whatever. The middle of the season blends together.
But before we get to this week's games, let's revisit last week. I was at the Eagles-Redskins game this past Sunday, and all things considered it was pretty fantastic.
The weather was perfect, we got to watch Rex Grossman set himself on fire in front of 82,000 people, and likewise, we got to watch a classic Skins fan meltdown. And we even got to see Vince Young! On the whole, you couldn't have asked for a whole lot more. There was just one problem.
You don't realize how dependent you are on the RedZone channel until you're sitting in a stadium and all you have to update you on the rest of the NFL is an analog scoreboard straight outta the 1970s. Yeah, yeah, yeah--if you go to an NFL game you should be focused on the game you're attending. But it still sucks. Doubly so if you happen to be gambling on the other games.
See, no matter what happens with your picks, if you're watching on TV, you can always find some way to rationalize what's going on around the NFL. You can blame a stupid head coach, or a team that got lucky, or a player that dropped a touchdown, or, or...
Yes, that's why you're losing all your money.
There are enough variables in any NFL game that you can always find a way to explain away a few failures, thereby restoring faith in your own expertise.
But in a stadium? All you have is that stupid scoreboard to remind you how stupid you are. And that's how I wound up sitting at FedEx Field feeling like a complete idiot watching my Week 6 picks slowly fall apart this past Sunday without anyone to blame but myself. Watching team after team lose a lead and/or cost you a cover just amounts to a browbeating if you don't at least have someone to blame it on.
In the end it felt like a huge victory to escape the week at 6-6-1. Sure, George Brett said a tie is like kissing your sister. But hey, that's still a kiss. Maybe mediocrity's not so bad, you know? 50 percent of the time, we were dead-on! And yes, "maybe mediocrity isn't so bad" is the new motto of this picks column. Without further ado, this week's games...
As usual, all picks in BOLD.
Chicago at Tampa Bay (PK) ... Every single year we joke about how horrid the London NFL game is, and yet... Somehow it keeps getting worse. Look at the series history in London.
- 2007: Giants 13, Dolphins 10
- 2008: Saints 38, Chargers 32
- 2009: Patriots 35, Bucs 7
- 2010: Broncos 24, 49ers 16
British must think that 75 percent the NFL's the most depressing, mind-numbing shit on earth. Which... You know, if you didn't have Sunday Ticket and/or RedZone, that might not be far off. Did you happen to watch Monday Night Football this past week? I mean, good God.
(BTW: If the UK wants an NFL team, we damn well better get a Premier League team over here.)
Houston at Tennesse (-3) ... If I were going to an NFL game this weekend, I would almost certainly be beating myself up for picking the Texans. By like, the second quarter. Instead we can all just blame the whole thing on Matt Schaub.
Denver at Miami (PK) ... Karlos Dansby on the "Suck For Luck" campaign:
"It’s not right, bro. It’s not right. We put too much into this, man, to have the fans say that – period, point blank — or even promote that campaign. It’s kind of sad."
"It pisses me off. I don’t understand nothing about that. I put too many hours into this, man, put too many years into this, sacrificed too much to ask somebody to put that stipulation on me and my teammates. Because I know how much we put into this."
Oh man. Come on, Karlos.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: Karlos Dansby could kick all our asses.)
San Diego at New York Jets (-1) ... First there was Rex:
"Well, I think I would have had a couple rings. I'm telling you, those teams were loaded. There's no question about it. But things happen for a reason. Obviously, Norv Turner has done a great job there. And A.J. (Smith) and everybody. That's a great franchise. He was probably the best guy for the job at that time."
Of course I woulda won. But yeah, Norv's done a great job there not winning all this time.
And then there's Norv:
"I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed the last couple of years."
Ohhhhh! That hurts. Norv raises an important point, which is that Rex Ryan is generally full of crap. But the fact remains, Rex is only full of crap because he's constantly screwing with everyone just for the hell of it (or possibly because he's a coaching genius). So maybe Norv won the battle this week, but something tells me Rex will win the war. Mostly because he's not Norv Turner.
Atlanta at Detroit (-3.5) ... All in favor of Megatron playing running back say AYE!
Seattle at Cleveland (-2.5) ... Pretty surprised this wasn't the London game.
Pittsburgh at Arizona (+3.5) ... LATE EDIT: Whoops! We forgot this game earlier. As much as I'd like to pick against the Steelers here, backing Kevin Kolb is just a little bit too terrifying.
Kansas City at Oakland (-7) ... Was there a double-standard in the way the media covered Carson Palmer's trade demand? Would the media have treated Randy Moss differently?
Of course. In case you forgot, America's kinda racist, so people like to get mad at selfish-seeming black athletes. But in fairness to the media, most of the reason that story got underplayed is because nobody really gives a s**t about Carson Palmer anymore.
(And yet, it just seems like he's being underestimated this week...)
Washington at Carolina (-1) ... The best part will be afterward, when a hard-fought Skins win leads to Washington fans talking themselves into John Beck. The SH*T ROMNEY ERA BEGINS!
Green Bay at Minnesota (+10) ... At some point, Green Bay's going to play a close game. On the road against a rookie quarterback before a bye week? Seems like an easy game to overlook.
(That is EXPERT analysis, goddamnit.)
St. Louis at Dallas (-14.5) ... It's not just that the Cowboys lose. I'm a Wizards fan, too. I'm used to losing. But it's how they lose that drives me completely insane every single week. They're clearly a pretty good team, too. But Jason Garrett just keeps finding new ways to overthink everything and stab fans in the heart.
Remember that shovel pass in the red zone last week? Because that's when I knew that they were going to lose the game. This is what the 2011 Cowboys season has come to.
Speaking of the red zone... Hey, Jason:
THROW THE BALL TO DEZ OHMYGOD OHMYGOD OHMYGOD JUST THROW IT TO DEZ.
Indianapolis at New Orleans (-15.5) ... Can't believe I picked the Colts to cover last week. The first rule of fight club is never better on the motherf***ing Colts, ever. (And now watch them cover.)
Baltimore at Jacksonville (+9) ... Gruden. Jaws. Tirico. It's Monday Night Football!
OVERALL RECORD: 47-40-2