You'd think that someone known as the Boy Genius and someone known as The Luckbox would be able to manage a better than .500 record picking NFL games. You'd think that... and you'd be wrong. We've picked 4 out of 7 weeks so far, and I'm sitting at 27-28-2 while my fearless compatriot is at 26-29-2. It has to get better, right?
So without further ado, I give you week 8 in the NFL:
CJ: Welcome to Week 8. What I've been able to demonstrate thus far is that I'm not very good at this. But I took a week off to study really, really hard, and now I'm ready to roll!!
Boy Genius: No, you took a week off to sit on a cold mountaintop and watch a bunch of hippies dance in circles.
CJ: Okay, that too, but nonetheless. I've been enlightened.
Ari at GB -4
CJ: Let's get started with a really, really easy one. It's the Cardinals at the Packers and the Packers are giving 4.
Boy Genius: This is at Lambeau, which I imagine explains this line. I mean, something's got to give here. Arizona gave Oakland their first win last week, and Green Bay let Joey Harrington (!) throw for 400 and two TDs. Here's the trick though... Green Bay got two of their three turnovers on badly played balls by Miami wideouts, and if Arizona can take care of the ball, they'll be fine. I don't know about a win, but let's say it's close. Green Bay 23 - Arizona 21.
CJ: Well, something has to explain the line. After watching the Packers stumble week after week, perhaps only a visit from the Arizona Cardinals can solve their woes. Here's the thing... the Cardinals are the better team. There's no reason why the lost to the Raiders, and there's no reason why they blew it against the Bears. They don't blow it this week and Leinart has a field day against the Packers terrible D. Arizona 27-Green Bay 20.
Boy Genius: I can see that. Maybe Edge gets a chance to pad his gaudy 2.7 yards per carry stat line too.
Atl at Cin -3.5
Boy Genius: Anyway, the next game on the schedule is one I was hoping against hope I'd get to see on TV this weekend - Atlanta at Cincy. Alas, no dice for me on that one, I get mired in NFC/AFC East football. What do you think about Cincy's chances?
CJ: This should be a hell of a game. The Bengals are favored by 3.5 at home meaning in the oddsmakers minds, this game is a bit of a toss up on a neutral field. Atlanta may have had their coming out last week in that OT win over the Steelers, but their D was exposed. And that's something Palmer, Johnson, and Housyomomma should be able to take advantage of. Bengals win 31-24.
Boy Genius: I love how Chad Johnson's trash talk is back. I was really hoping D'Angelo Hall would bite on the bait, but apparently Mora lobotomized him prior to Thursday's practice. I think this could be a great game, maybe the best one on tomorrow's card. I'll project Atlanta coming out on top though. They're playing good football, and their defensive strength plays well against Cincy's aerial attack. When will Carson and CJ get on track? Maybe next week. Atlanta 27 - Cincy 17.
Bal at NO -1.5
CJ: Speaking of good games. Before this season started, was there any chance the Saints would be favored by a point and a half at home against the Ravens? The Saints? When do they come back down to earth?
Boy Genius: This week, plain and simple. They may be at home and they may be giving points away, but the Ravens defense is well equipped to play sideline-to-sideline with the Saints. I think this week is the one where the Saints end up looking like... well, the Saints again. Baltimore gets one offensive TD and one defensive TD, and that's plenty. Ravens 20 - Saints 16.
CJ: I'd love to disagree with you here, and by the time I'm done typing, I just might. I was in the Dome a few weeks back when the Eagles blew a 4th quarter lead. There was just something about that place. I still can't get the "Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat saying they gonna beat dem Saints?" out of my head. Until someone proves to me the Saints aren't blessed at home, I'm not going to pick against them. There, I've decided. Saints 21-Ravens 16.
Boy Genius: Fair enough, you don't want to mess with karma anyway - especially with the week you've had already Luckbox.
Hou at Ten -3
Boy Genius: Moving on, we go from extreme to extreme this week. Games like Atlanta versus Cincy are juxtaposed right up against Houston at Tennessee. Tennessee is giving three, and the line hasn't budged all week. Is it because nobody outside Vince Young's immediate family gives a crap?
CJ: That's gotta be it, otherwise, I'd see this game being at least a 5 point game for the Texans. I think they finally showed last week that there is a bit of promise in that team. Stomping Jacksonville isn't easy, no matter how banged up they are. Plus, they're starting to finally develop a running game. Wali Lundy put up 93 tough yards and should be the guy. Texans roll 24-12.
Boy Genius: I'm thinking this game might be more fun than that. Remember week one's Titans/Jets tilt? Didn't that one end up something like 38-35 Jets? I think we're in for an ol' fashioned AFC South Shootout (TM). Let's assume they trade punches all day long, and if they do who's going to be best equipped to be the last one standing? Tennessee, featuring running back Travis "Earl Campbell Junior" Henry. What's in his Gatorade bottle? Titans 41 - Texans 35.
Boy Genius: Yes, I just said to play the OVER.
CJ: That would certainly be a coming out for Vince. I'm not sure they have the firepower, but I sure believe the Texans could.
Jac at Phi -7.5
CJ: So what about my game of the week, Jacksonville at Philly, the Eagles giving 7.5?
Boy Genius: I turned down an invite to watch this one at the Linc from a luxury box. You heard me. I would bet the network execs came into the season with high hopes for this matchup, but with Leftwich sitting, Mike Peterson hurt, and the Jags not exactly firing on all cylinders, we're not in for a battle here. Philly's dropped two in a row, one emotional game and one fluky kick. Screw it, they come out firing. Philly's favored by 7.5 and they obliterate the line. Eagles 27 - Jags 13.
CJ: Jacksonville is missing 5 key defenders, which I think is a lot more important than losing Leftwich. After all, Garrard was 5-1 as a starter last year. This line opened at around 4 points, so it's clear the betting public thinks the line is a joke. I tend to agree. Eagles have lost all three on the final play of the game. There won't be a chance for that this week. Eagles 38-Jags 17.
Boy Genius: Either way, we both say blowout.
Sea at KC -4.5
Boy Genius: One of the more interesting games on the card today is Seattle at KC, which features a who's who of injured skill players. SENECA WALLACE! BRODIE CROYLE! MAURICE MORRIS! IT'S THE NFL! ON FOX! Line opened up with KC giving six, now it's down to four-and-a-half. Is Brodie Croyle worth a point and a half to the Seahawk secondary?
CJ: Would anyone in their right mind bet this game? I mean, apart from Iowa State fans? The game plan for KC should be simple if Huard is definitely out. Snap. Turn. Handoff. If they do that enough, they'll win this game. I see a low scoring slugfest with the Chiefs winning, but not covering. KC 20-Seattle 17.
Boy Genius: I bet it's not even that much of an offensive showcase. Croyle throws for 168 on 48% passing, no TDs and two picks. Wallace throws for 220, one and one. LJ is the difference, but will be running against ten to fifteen in the box all day. I think Seattle can get this win - Hawks 13 - Chiefs 10.
SF at Chi -16
CJ: And we move to the biggest line of the week, Bears at home giving a whopping 16 to the Niners. Any chance of an upset here?
Boy Genius: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!11! Bears 44 - Niners 3. Next.
CJ: Have you forgotten the Cardinals already??? The Bears are exposed. It's all over for them! Aw, screw it. Bears 50 - Niners 6.
Boy Genius: Exactly. Which means you should play the Niners on the money line.
TB at NYG -9
Boy Genius: Exactly. Anyway, the Giants get to host the Bucs, who are one bogus roughing the passer call and one ridiculous field goal (sorry) from being 0-7. Giants are at home giving nine. Why do I think that's too light in this battle of the Barber brothers?
CJ: It's true, the Bucs have been rather fortunate, but... it's also clear they are playing much better. They were a playoff team last year, after all. I wasn't sure why they were as bad as they were to start the season. I don't think they have enough to win this game, but I think Gradkowski will keep it close again and the TB D forces Eli to make some mistakes. Giants 23-Bucs 16.
Boy Genius: Hmm... so the Bucs cover in your world? Is this just a feeble attempt to justify last week's Eagles loss? I just don't see it. The Giants are tough and are going to harass Gradkowski all day long. Barber gets 180 combined yards, Plax catches a TD, and the Bucs have a hard time getting anything going. It's all Giants, all day long. NYG 30 - Bucs 17.
CJ: Yes, Bucs cover. And not feebly!
StL at SD -9.5
CJ: Okay, let's move on to another big line. Chargers favored by 9.5 at home against the Rams.
Boy Genius: This line is wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Is someone on the Rams offense hurt that I haven't heard about? Is Ryan Fitzpatrick playing? Did Leonard Little get stopped for another DUI? No? Then what the hell is this all about? Rams aren't going to win, but they're not going down by two scores either. The Chargers can and will handle them - SD 27 - STL 23.
CJ: Maybe it's because Shawn Merriman will be off the 'roids this week. I'm puzzled by this line, too. The Rams have been a pretty solid team this year. They can put up points and their D isn't that bad. There's no reason they lose by 10 this week. Chargers 30 - Rams 21.
Ind at Den -3
Boy Genius: That's agreeable. Interestingly enough, we segway into another game where the line doesn't make a great deal of sense to me. Indy visits Denver and Denver's giving two-and-a-half away. Did I miss where Indy's dropped a game this year? I thought they were still undefeated. Help me out.
CJ: Clearly the bettors are giving the Denver defense waaaaaay too much credit. We're talking about a Broncos team that averages 3.467 points a game on offense. Or something like that. If they can't get in the end zone early and often, they won't stop Manning enough. Indy wins 28-10.
Boy Genius: I totally agree. The Broncos did shut down New England (winning 17-7), but their other victories were against KC, Baltimore, Oakland and Cleveland. So let's not get down on our knees and fumble for their zippers yet, alright? This game is either going to be the day the Bronco D gets taken seriously, or the day they state their case for a first round playoff exit. I bet the latter. Indy 24 - Broncos 9.
NYJ at Cle -2
CJ: And we're back to games I care absolutely nothing about. Could there be a more boring matchup than the Jets at the Browns? And on top of that, is there a good reason the Browns are giving two?
Boy Genius: No and no? Is the Browns defense appreciably better than the Lions D that couldn't stop the march of the Penningtons and the rise of Leon Freaking Washington last week?
Boy Genius: No and no.
Boy Genius: So let's just move on and say Jets 24 - Browns 17.
Boy Genius: Yawn
CJ: I won't waste twenty words on this game. Jets win and cover, 20-10.
Pit at Oak +9
Boy Genius: Last of the day games Sunday brings Pittsburgh to Oakland, which sounds like a great game... in 1978. It might be Batch versus Tuiasosopo if we get lucky, and you KNOW I'm praying for that kind of good luck. Jesus, has there been a year with more gawdawful backup QBs playing than this? Steelers giving nine in Oakland, what's your take?
CJ: My take? Maybe, just maybe, the Steelers are better off with Batch in there right now. I don't think Roethlisberger has been right since he was tackled by a Toyota Camry. The Raiders may have beaten the Cards, but they can't put up much of a fight here. Steelers 30-Raiders 12.
Boy Genius: Agreed, I can't see this one unfolding any other way either. Pittsburgh 27 - Oakland 10. Of course, this means you should jump all over the Raiders ("you" meaning everyone but me).
Boy Genius: By the way, here's a partial list of quarterbacks that could be playing this week: Batch, Walter, Croyle, Romo, Gradkowski, Wallace, Garrard
Boy Genius: Sickening
Dal at Car -5
CJ: Speaking of which, Sunday night is the official beginning of the Tony Romo experience. Could the Cowboys look any worse than they did last week?
Boy Genius: Gleefully, I say "YES." They're not that good, they just get the Ed Werder fellatio and the eternal blindness of optimism that befits Dallas "fans" coming into every week. It's emotionally satisfying to everyone else when they're looking for their QB of the Future by week eight, isn't it? Dallas getting five, Carolina at home, there's no way the Boys win and I'm betting no cover. Panthers 24 - NAMBLA's Team 13.
CJ: I hope you're right, I want the Cowboys to find new and interesting ways to suck. At least when my Eagles lose, it's heartbreaking. When the Cowboys lose, it make their fans sick with disgust. I think this week brings much of the same. If the Dallas O-line couldn't block the Giants, imagine what Julius Peppers will do. We might see Bledsoe back in the game yet! Panthers 21-Dallas 14.
Boy Genius: I'd like to see what happens if Parcells has a meltdown on the sideline mid-game. I know we've been waiting to see it from TO, but Billy's near the breaking point too.
NE at Min +1.5
Boy Genius: Anyway, last game of the week is the Pats visiting Minnesota on Monday night. I have some advice for my brother, who complains every week that his bets are always hinged around a single game that he manages to lose... Have this one be your game, that way you're live coming into Monday. Wouldn't that make sense? Minny giving anywhere from one to two-point-five depending on who you ask, so who are you asking?
CJ: This one confuses me, too. I guess being at home is what's got this line close for the Vikings. I just don't see it. The Patriots are rolling and shouldn't have much trouble with the offense of Brad Johnson and Chester Taylor. Give me the Pats as a road dog. New England wins 24-13.
Boy Genius: Hmm... I'm going to play the Vikes outright here. I think they're a jack-of-all-trades squad, just above-average at everything. I think they can take the Pats. Vikes 20 - Pats 17.
Locks of the Week
CJ: That's rather bold, especially once you hear my Lock of the Week (foreshadowing). But we'll start with yours. Where should we put our money?
Boy Genius: Hmm... I don't think the Chargers can cover. Play St. Louis as a road dog. You?
CJ: And I'm taking a road favorite. Give me the Pats all (Monday) night long. Not our usual great team versus terrible team "locks." Should be interesting.
Boy Genius: Absolutely, and as always, fade me immediately. Except Bob - listen when I tell you to key on the Minny game. That's that.
CJ: And good luck to anyone dumb enough to bet our picks, I know I won't!