PITTSBURGH PA - JANUARY 15: Linebacker Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens reacts after sacking quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Heinz Field on January 15 2011 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Jets vs. Bills and Ravens vs. Steelers highlight an impressive slate of Week 9 games on Sunday, but best of all? Picks and lines in Week 9 will help us forget about all the disasters in Week 8.
Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. What an absolutely terrible week last week.
Not only were the games genuinely awful, but the underdogs played just well enough to destroy teasers all over the country, the Rams quite possibly knocked you out of your suicide pool, and to top it all off, the one game of the week that actually looked interesting (Eagles-Cowboys) turned into a blowout by the end of the first quarter. Which I live-blogged, of course.
Just an all-around atrocity of an NFL weekend.
Some weeks it makes sense to go back and analyze what happened to try and learn from your mistakes, but then other times it's best to just leave the past in the past. You know? Being a hardcore NFL fan is an emotionally abusive relationship, anyway, so there's no reason to dwell on the time the league got drunk and started hitting us.
So let's get to the picks. We went 5-8 last week, but considering the general insanity around the league and two losses by less than a point (ATS), there's really not that much to be embarrassed about. Plus, 5-8 one week just means 8-5 the next. RIGHT?!
And there's your reminder not to take these picks seriously. All picks in BOLD.
San Francisco at Washington (+3.5) ... The Skins really are the best. Three quick points.
- John Beck is terrible. Like, Nickleback-terrible. The Redskins may win a few games with him, and might even win this weekend, but any win will come in spite of his phenomenal impotence as a quarterback.
- Rex Grossman is a lot of things, but he's not impotent. He's the guy who will single-handedly lose two or three games for whichever team rolls the dice with him, but beyond that? He's quietly competent, especially with a good defense like Washington's.
- The Redskins are choosing to play Beck over Grossman, which almost feels like tanking. Except it happens after Rex helped them win three games at the beginning of the year, almost certainly costing them a chance at Andrew Luck, and possibly another potential star QB.
So they decide to tank with one quarterback, but only after trying to win this year with another, and costing themselves a shot at the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning.
And that's why they're the Redskins.
Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-10) ... This line feels waaaaay too big for a divisional game, and every time we write off the Bucs in 2011, they have a week where they come out and look great.
But still: Drew Brees and Sean Payton, at home, after getting embarrassed in St. Louis. Also, I can't bet against New Orleans after seeing that the Times-Picayune listed Popeyes as a Top 5 restaurant in any category. Really, Popeyes is a Top 5 restaurant in every category, and anyone telling different is a snob who hasn't tried the red beans and rice. (via)
Atlanta at Indianapolis (+8) ... The best part about the internet is that, if not for blogs, a moment like this becomes a forgettable footnote in a newspaper column. Instead, we have a place where Peyton Manning's quiet ownage of Phil Simms can live on forever:
"Yeah, I don’t talk to Phil. Phil doesn’t talk to me," Manning said. "He did text me after that, saying ‘Hey, sorry to drag your name into this.’ I wrote back, ‘Phil I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He said, ‘Well on my show, Inside the NFL, I made this statement.’ I said, ‘Phil, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t watch your show, along with a lot of other people that I don’t think watch that show.’ Giving himself a little more credit than probably was merited."
Miami at Kansas City (-4) ... Tony Sparano should really take a page from Todd Haley's playbook and just stop shaving, wear Salvation Army sweatshirts, a hat he found on the street... Haley's doing it as some sort of weird, superstitious thing, but if there's any coach that should be the first to wear stained sweatpants on an NFL sideline, it's Tony F'ing Sparano.
Cleveland at Houston (-12) ... The Browns may not win outright, but Houston seems due for one of those games where afterward everyone is like, "Wait, how has Gary Kubiak not gotten fired yet?"
Seattle at Dallas (-12.5) ... Are you f**king kidding me, Jerry Jones? From ESPN:
"I like the way our guys competed ... In my perspective, when we have a quarterback that’s healthy -- Romo -- that can play at the level that I believe he can play at, then I don’t think you ought to lower your expectations. Philadelphia is a good team. They are a good team right now. It was maybe an aberration that they started off like they did. But good teams don’t always win the Super Bowl."
If there's one thing you can't say about the Cowboys Sunday night, it's that they competed. Like, technically the players played a sport and competed for victory, but it was a complete joke. So when he starts off his little schpiel talking about how hard they competed, it sorta undermines all the other opinions, too. Not that they weren't just as idiotic.
God I hate being a Cowboys fan.
New York Jets at Buffalo (-1) ... This game hits on two of my EXPERT GAMBLING RULES.
- Never bet against Rex in a toss-up game.
- Never bet on the Bills. Just because.
Jets it is!
Denver at Oakland (-9) ... Okay but why can't we just have this guy announce NFL games?
Green Bay at San Diego (+5.5) ... Oh man. The Packers are due to blow a game one of these weeks, and favored six points on the road against a (kinda) playoff team seems like a pretty serious red flag. But it's just impossible for me to bet on Phillip Rivers after the past two weeks.
New York Giants at New England (-10.5) ... Can you shave points in football? Cause it really seems like both these secondaries have been shaving points all year long. Now? SHOWDOWN TIME.
Cincinnati at Tennessee (-2) ... How weird is it that this is a big game with playoff implications? Andy Dalton vs. Matt Hasselbeck? Good defense against... Good defense? Kinda like how you call a bad quarterback a "game manager", I feel like teams like the Bengals and Titans have their defenses praised almost by default.
Anyway, don't think of it as betting on the Bengals, think of it as betting on A.J. Green.
And remember when used to say that about the Titans and Chris Johnson? :-(
And that was before they beat the Saints!
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (-3.5) ... Joe Flacco isn't quite Nickleback-bad, but he's kind of like 50 Cent. So bad now that he makes you wonder whether he was ever really good. Was it all a mirage? Either way, we're betting against the Steelers because rooting for Ben Roethlisberger always feels gross.
Chicago at Philadelphia (-9) ... Finally, this is a few weeks old, but still. "As long as I'm getting paid, I'm going to do my job," Asante Samuel said of the trade rumors. "I come out there on Sundays and do my job, then every Tuesday I get paid. I look at my check and say, 'Hey, this is what I'm here for - to make these checks and support my family. They can do all the talking they want.
"Asante Samuel is a business entity first, so I make sure I handle my business accordingly."
Hey, any team that consistently feels like it belongs on an episode of Arli$$ is cool with me.
OVERALL RECORD: 60-53-2