We'r'e back for NFL Week 5, and the third week of picks for Boy Genius and I. Last week, BG finished 4-10 and I did only slightly better at 6-8. It was ugly. For the year, BG is 13-17 and I'm 16-14. Not exactly gonna get rich betting with those records!
Undaunted, we go once more into the breech! There are some big games on the schedule and we are confident this week will be better. (It almost has to be, right? If it's not, I'm going to let Swirl pick for me next week).
Anyway, here they are:
Boy Genius: Good morning CJ. You know, I had a rough week last week and I'd like to open up with an apology and a disclaimer. The apology? To anyone who followed my picks, as I may have hit three for fourteen last week. The disclaimer? I always always advise fading me on sports bets.
CJ: We're all allowed a mulligan. And you're right, you warned them. Not that I was much better.
Buf at Chi -9.5
Boy Genius: We're going to set it right this week though, and we'll open up with one of the biggest spreads of the week - the invincible Bears against the Losman-led Buffalo Bills - Bears at home giving ten. What's your thoughts?
CJ: This is an easy one, right? The Bears are the best team in the NFC with the best defense, perhaps, in all of football. Grossman is playing like an MVP and the Bears' running game hasn't even gotten rolling. The Bills? J.P. Losman-led. I'll take Chicago 24-9.
Boy Genius: Big day for Rian Lindell (or whoever's kicking for the Bills then)? I'm with you. The Bears can shut down McGahee, and if the Bills can't set up the pass with the run, the Bears will be able to tee off on Losman all day. I think the Bears win and cover, but Grossman comes back to earth a bit. 21-10 Bears, with the Bears D getting one score.
Cle at Car -7.5
CJ: Big lines seem to be all over the place today, with the Cleveland Browns getting 7.5 in Carolina. Are the Panthers back?
Boy Genius: I couldn't possibly tell you. I can figure that with a banged up Cleveland secondary that Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson are poised for big games, but the Panthers D has been under-performing their pedigree all season so far. I hope they shake the cobwebs out, and I think they can give the Browns more trouble than the Raiders did last week. Carolina covers, 31-20.
CJ: Michael Irvin, who's a world-reknowned idiot, suggested Steve Smith is the league MVP because the Panthers are 0-2 without him and 2-0 with him. Of course, the world isn't as simple as it is in Irvin's head, but he's got a bit of a point. Carolina is a different team with Smith in there and better on both sides of the ball than the Browns. I'm not worried about the fact the line moved from -9 to -7.5, that just means it's easier to cover, Carolina 27-13.
Det at Min -6.5
Boy Genius: Irvin is a retard, but at least you're still in my good graces by agreeing with me yet again. Now, I'm sorry to have to bring the conversation to a screeching halt, but it's time to talk about the Lions. This is the time of year that Lions fans either have to start calling for the coach's head or praying openly for the first pick in the draft. We always have problems in the Metrodome and the Vikes are giving us 6.5. Do we have a shot at #1 overall? Can we run the table? Do we keep it going here?
CJ: Wow, that's a tall order. If you think the Lions have a shot at being as bad as the Raiders or Titans, you're sorely mistaken. I'm torn on this game. The Vikings started out great, but have come up short the last two weeks. In fact, they've been outscored this year overall. The Vikings do enough, but they fail to cover 24-20.
Boy Genius: I think the Lions have found their offense, and they'll find that maddening pattern of win some / lose some that has kept them picking outside the top five more often than they've deserved in recent times. I'm going Lions outright today, 31-28.
Mia at NE -10
Boy Genius: But you want to hear something funnier? I just picked up Joey Harrington in my fantasy league. He's STARTING for the Dolphins against the Pats. The line's NE -10 in Foxboro, isn't Harrington good for -16.5 at least?
Boy Genius: I can't imagine this game falling right for the Dolphins. Take it from a guy who watched Harrington's every snap for five years (or four, felt like longer). New England 27 - Miami 10.
CJ: This might be early favorite for pick of the week. The Patriots ripped up a hell of a Bengals team last weeek. They'll do the same and worse to the Dolphins, 30-7.
Stl at GB +3
CJ: It looks like the NFL was nice enough to match up the two teams our favorite teams played last week.
Boy Genius: Green Bay looked pretty bad in their loss, St. Louis barely held off a charging Lions team. Pack and Rams appear to be moving in opposite directions and Green Bay's getting three at Lambeau. What about Packer Pride?
CJ: I wonder how much Packer's fans care right now. This season is all about Favre's swan song. There's no way in hell he comes back next year. The fans actually seem willing to accept a season of lowered expectations, and the Rams will oblige. St. Louis 23-Green Bay 17.
Boy Genius: Nothing like a home dog to try and make some cash. I'm totally onboard with the Brett Favre fall from grace theory, but even an old magician still knows a few tricks. He's got enough talent to keep them in the game, and you know he doesn't want to look bad in front of his home crowd. Is it enough for a Packer win? Well, no. But could they get themselves in a shootout just like the Lions did? Absolutely. I kinda like the over (46.5) here, but can't see the Pack covering. STL 34 - GB 27.
TB at NO -6.5
CJ: The Saints came back down to earth a bit last week, but can you blame them? Who really could have been up for a game following that Monday Night game in the Superdome. And, really, it's not like the Panthers blew them out. Now the JV Bucs come to town.
Boy Genius: In a million years could you have predicted this line three weeks ago? New Orleans giving a touchdown to the Bucs? Even in the Superdome? Maybe this kid Gradkowski's got something to do with that, maybe Caddy Williams' back spasms are worse than we thought, maybe the Saints really are on a roll here. But I'm floored by this line. Have to take it with a grain of salt, and I'm thinking Gruden knows what he's doing with QBs. Play not to lose. Saints get the win, will have a hard time covering. NO 27 - TB 24.
CJ: It's about time we disagreed. Maybe you have to be down here to feel the spirit. Whatever it is, the Saints have it this year. They've outscored their opponents by 29 points in 4 games, an average of about a TD. The average goes up against a really bad Tampa Bay team. Saints win and cover, 30-10.
Ten at Ind -18
Boy Genius: Wow, an offensive explosion in the Bayou... I'll be impressed. Moving on, how bad are the Titans? Start two of the Vince Young era, and every gambler on the planet seems to think he's a three-score dog. Indy's at home and giving 18 points to Tennessee, and somehow I see this line and think it's pretty fair. Do you think Vince might actually thrive if they put him in a shootout?
CJ: Good question, I'm just not sure a game in the Dome is a good spot for him. Remember, the Colts are notorious for pumping in artificial sound and Vince had enough trouble without having a hearing problem. I think the line seems fair, just not sure I want to bet it. I could easily see it being Colts 41-Titans 17, but what if the Colts don't get that last TD? If you're betting it, take Indy.
Boy Genius: I'm thinking 17 points is the number here. The Titans will put a couple touchdowns up, but they won't keep Manning out of the endzone. Addai will get a ton of clock-chomping carries in the second half, and this will be a nip and tuck battle to see if there's a cover as the game winds down. Indy gets the win 34-17.
CJ: We're on the same page there, and if you're betting it, keep an eye out for Indy giving 17, the line is on the move.
Was at NYG -5.5
CJ: Now to the BIG, BIG, BIG NFC East matchup! The Skins at the Giants! [/sarcasm]
Boy Genius: This Giants/Skins line confuses me. Giants are giving 5.5 as a home favorite to the Skins, and while I think they'll get the win, this is the type of confounding line that would have me walking right by to find some easier money. Call this my DARTBOARD PLAY OF THE DAY, take the Giants and the points as they come out with a win 24-18.
CJ: I'm confused by this game all the way around. The Skins aren't nearly as good as they looked last week against the Jags, and the Giants are team turmoil, getting their bye week after a brutal loss to Seattle. None of that helps me make this pick. Something tellsme we've got a road dog that's going to pull out a win. Skins 20-Giants 17.
KC at Ari +3.5
Boy Genius: Very interesting... I hate these could-go-either-way NFC East slugfests. Let's go on to something easier. KC heads to Arizona, and is actually a road favorite giving 3.5 to the Cards. Kansas City comes off a huge shutout of an upstart Niners team that did nothing right last week, and Arizona continues to wallow in mediocrity. Huard! Leinart! It's the NFL on CBS! Christ almighty, I feel sorry for anyone in the hinterlands who has to watch this tripe on TV, but I think this is a very bettable game. Leinart couldn't ask for a softer spot (um, maybe Oakland) to make his first start, as KC's D isn't all that tough. What say you?
CJ: As Lee Corso would say... not so fast my friend! KC has the third ranked defense in all of football! Is this really a good spot? The good news is that Leinart doesn't have to play at Arrowhead. Now THAT would be a tall orrder. Either way, 3.5 isn't going to be enough. Huard won't put up 40+ again, but it won't be close, KC 33-Arizona 16.
Boy Genius: I totally agree. There's no way Leinart notches a win here, and I think even asking for a cover might be out of his reach. KC won't have to come after him, they'll get two picks and a fumble recovery out of base defensive sets. I wouldn't want to see Kurt Warner's smug I-Told-You-So face after this one. KC will win big, 27-10.
NYJ at Jax -6.5
CJ: Jacksonville is looking for a bounce back game after their disappointing play against Washington. Do they get it at home against the Jets?
Boy Genius: Jets and Jags, not exactly the glamorous national TV matchup CBS hoped for this week (we're actually getting Buffalo/Chicago here). I think the Jets are worse than they look, and the Jags a hell of a lot better than their 2-2 record indicates. Pennington faces a real pass rush today and there's no way he stays clean today. Jax will pick a couple of his wobblers, Mo-Jo-Dru lights 'em up in spot duty, and the Jags D brutalizes the Jets all day. Jags giving 6.5 at home, and they'll cover that easily. Jags 27 - Jets 13.
CJ: I always worry about any prediction that involves the Jags covering easily. They're a team that always seems to be one 4th quarter play from winning or losing. If this were in New York, I might suggest the Jets could win outright. All that said, I do think we'll have a cover here. Jax 20-Jets 13.
Oak at SF -3.5
Boy Genius: Speaking of glamorous national TV matchups, Oakland heads across the bay to San Francisco. This should be fun, kinda like watching someone slowly drown in quicksand. Is that giant sucking sound I hear coming from the West Coast? Can the home Niners cover the three they're giving Oakland as easily as I think they can?
CJ: Tell me there's a West Coast MLB playoff game today! California should really have something else to think about. On days like this, they should schedule a USC game on Sunday. But back to the game. 3.5 points!?!?!? Haven't we established that the Raiders must get at least a TD from every team in football? Niners cover 24-10.
Boy Genius: I wouldn't take Oakland as a one TD favorite against Ohio State. That's a push. This here's my LOCK OF THE DAY, and I'll stand by picking against Oakland until Andrew Walter magically turns into Kenny Stabler. Niners win 17-10. I'll let you set the stage for your boys, have at it.
Dal at Phi -1.5
CJ: Well, if you haven't heard, there's a game in Philly this week. I'm not sure it's been mentioned on any of them sports shows this week. Dallas comes to town, and, apparently, there's some subplot involving a wide receiver? Care to fill me in?
Boy Genius: Supposedly there's some author of children's books who's about to be pelted by 9 volt batteries.
CJ: The line is just 1.5. That suggests that if the game were played somewhere else, the Cowboys would be favored instead. I can't be trusted to be impartial on this game, but the Eagles will be the better team on the field today. It won't be a blowout, but Philly will be in control. Your final: Philly 24-Dallas 20.
Boy Genius: Hmm... So many other lines to play on this one, why do we care about point spreads and over/unders? What's the line on the league-mandated network delay on the profanity dump button? Over/under on the number of prescription pill bottles (filled with batteries, naturally) that land within three feet of TO on the sideline? I love the pick 'em nature of this one, and every fiber of my being says to pick the Eagles to cover. Naturally, I'm going with the Cowboys then. I'll take Dallas to win outright 24-20, with TO actually landing one of those TDs and breaking into tears in the post-game press conference.
CJ: The subplots should be fun, never underestimate the wit and ferocity of an Eagles crowd.
Pit at SD -3
CJ: There's a pretty good game on Sunday night, too, Pittsburgh getting 3 in San Diego.
Boy Genius: This one has a lot of potential to be the best game on today's card. Gotta like the matchups here. Roethlisberger vs. Rivers, Merriman vs. Polamalu, Gates vs. Miller. I'll be watching. Am I on the right track to think this line is wrong?
CJ: Are you suggesting the Steelers should be favored on the road? Or that the Chargers aren't giving enough?
Boy Genius: Chargers aren't giving enough. This is probably the best team in the league, the Steelers are riding on reputation, and I smell a statement game brewing. Rivers has a monster game and San Diego wins 27-13.
CJ: Good, I was worried you were completely off this game. The Steelers reputation has affected every line this year. San Diego is the superior team and LT, as usual, will be the best player on the field. Rotheliesberger hasn't been the same since his wreck, and he doesn't get healthy this week. San Diego 30-10.
Bal at Den -4
Boy Genius: Last one is the Monday night tilt with Baltimore heading in to Denver. Overrated versus Underrated. Denver's a four point favorite, which sounds like a fair price to me. Do you think Plummer puts the Denver offense back on the rails?
CJ: Against Ray Lewis and company? Not a chance. The ESPN crew shatters the O/U on number of shots of Jay Cutler standing on the sidelines after Plummer mistakes. Baltimore is my second road dog pick of the week, winning 20-9.
Boy Genius: Hmm... Yeah, we're going opposite directions on this one too. I think Baltimore's got a lot of momentum, but Denver's got something to prove. Denver always plays well in the spotlight, and I think Denver gets the win, if not the cover, in an awfully close game - 24-23 Broncos.
Locks of the week
Boy Genius: So who's your lock of the week?
CJ: There are a couple of choices out there. I'm going to stick with my gut reaction to the schedule and say New England giving 10 to the Joey Harrington-led Dolphins.
Boy Genius: You're way off. It's Oakland only getting 3.5 from San Fran. They'd need two TDs for me to feel comfortable giving them a chance to cover. Niners Niners Niners.
CJ: Can't argue with that.
Boy Genius: By the way? I couldn't do worse than I did last week, so I'm figuring on at least .500 on my picks this week.
Boy Genius: It's just up to you to figure out where I'm wrong, and good luck with that.
CJ: I'll refrain from actually betting our picks this week to give us a better chance of winning. Good luck at the windows!
Boy Genius: Fade me immediately, and good luck!