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The Profit

First off, I'd like to apologize. I want to apologize for the horrid job I've done this season, but also for trying to factor in some superstition last week with my whole 'not playing the weekly pool' bit. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and I was willing to resort to tomfoolery to get myself straightened out. People will do strange things sometimes. Like wear their gray underwear rather than navy simply because the Yankees are on the road and wearing their road grays and you figure every little bit helps. Not that I ever did anything like that, I'm just saying - some people might.

Maybe I should go the Costanza route. I should write my article, pick my games, edit everything…then go back and change every single one of my picks. After all, if my first instinct is always wrong, then the complete opposite of everything I do will be right.

My main problem this year (outside of all the many many losses) has been that I haven't got a "feel" for the games on a consistent weekly basis. Perhaps it's because I'm no longer a Blogger goon. After all, scouring the web for news stories on a daily basis from late April throughout the remainder of the season gives you sort of an 'ear to the street' kind of feel. Still, it's a bit confusing as to why I'm struggling so badly. It's not as if my prognosticating for the season has been abundantly poor. After all, I'm a combined 14-6 in my four main fantasy leagues, and in two of those leagues I'm 3-2 with the highest point total in the league -- so it's not as if I'm having trouble there.

No, my big problem has been with picking these damn games. Therefore, like I said above, I owe everyone an apology. But here's the thing. I can't apologize. Not when I have people thanking me. Read on for an e-mail I received last week…

Mike, you really suck at picking games. Thankfully, I realized that about two weeks ago and basically picked the opposite of what you recommend (except for those few "no brainers"). It's worked pretty well. I've won the office pool two weeks in a row now. Keep up the good work!

Anything for my readers. You're very welcome.

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ATLANTA (-5.5) at NEW ORLEANS
Everybody and their mother will want to take Atlanta in this game, after how solid Matt Schaub looked last week and how utterly atrocious New Orleans looked. I've said it many times before, that every time you count out the Saints they come through with a big win. And every time you think you can rely on them, they look like the worst team on earth. This week is one of those weeks where you're almost scared to bet against the Saints, because no one would be shocked if they rebounded from a 49-point loss with a 20-point win. But I can't expect that. I wouldn't be shocked, but I can't expect it. PICK: Falcons

BALTIMORE (-5.5) vs. CLEVELAND
One of these weeks, people are going to realize that Baltimore is not only bad, but they're AWFUL. They are disgustingly awful in fact. The Browns, meanwhile, are pretty underrated. You can say Baltimore should be favored. You might be able to say they'll win the game. But I can't lay more than a point or two with this group. PICK: Browns

BUFFALO (-3) vs. NEW YORK JETS
The Bills are not suddenly good simply because they beat Miami. I know Kelly Holcomb is an immediate improvement over J.P. Losman, but it's not as if the Bills have resurrected Jim Kelly over here. It's an improvement, but nothing otherworldly. The Jets have shown continued defensive improvement thus far, and really must get this game if they are to have any chance at a playoff berth. Call me crazy, but I'm expecting Vinny and the Jets (or more accurately, CURTIS and the Jets) to put on a good show. PICK: Jets

CHICAGO (-3) vs. MINNESOTA
No truth to the rumor that the Bears are holding a tryout between pitchers Mark Buehrle and Jose Contreras of the White Sox in an effort to find the next Bears QB. Speaking of Buehrle, does anyone else think he looks like the Mona Lisa with a beard?

Anyway, as for this week, I have this sickness. It's called being unable to stop believing in the Vikings' offense. At this point, the Vikes clearly are a sucky bunch and that much is obvious. My preseason expectations for them are completely flushed. But I think coming off the bye week, they'll be able to put up a game. It's not going to be easy, because A) The Bears defense is still solid, and B) It's never easy for the Vikings. In the back of my mind, I keep telling myself that this is not the same Vikings team. Still, I'm dying to pick them in this game. Thing is, I've already taken too many dogs. I want to type the word 'Vikings' in my selection space. I really do. But I won't. I'm picking the Bears. I don't believe in them, and I don't want to pick them. It's just a numbers game, and the Vikings are my most logical bump. PICK: Bears

DALLAS (-3.5) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
Dallas and New York have played some doozies recently, and this one should be no different. Dallas is coming off a big divisional victory over the Eagles, while the Giants have had a couple of weeks to prepare for this fight. Dallas' passing defense has improved the past few weeks, and has done so without costing themselves against the run. Offensively, they're playing about as well as anyone in the league right now. The Giants, meanwhile, are an up-and-down team and definitely are tough to get a read on. My first inclination was to take the Giants in the game, so I'm going with the Cowboys in my lone Costanza move of the week. PICK: Cowboys

PITTSBURGH (Off) vs. JACKSONVILLE
Regardless of whether Roethlisberger plays, I like Jacksonville to win the game outright. They've always given Pittsburgh trouble, and the style of both teams plays right into the hands of the Jags. With several Steelers a bit banged-up and the Jags relatively healthy coming out of the Sunday night game (not to mention Pittsburgh coming off a short week after the MNF game), I think the Jaguars will have enough. Now, don't go taking the Jaguars if they are favored anywhere, but I like them as an underdog no matter what the line on the game eventually is. PICK: Jaguars

SAN DIEGO (-2) at OAKLAND
This is an absolutely frightening game. If there's one weakness to the Chargers, it's pass defense. They haven't been lit up statistically as much in recent weeks, but the problem has been allowing the big plays at the very wrong times. If there's one thing Oakland is capable of, it's the big plays. And with another week of rest for Jerry Porter, that makes Oakland's WR tag-team duo that much scarier. The Chargers' wins this year have been blowouts, while each loss has been a tough heartbreaker. So basically, if you think the Chargers will win this game, go with San Diego. If you expect them to lose, go Oakland. Because the -2 will likely have no bearing on the game. For all of the reasons mentioned above, I want to pick Oakland. Add in that Drew Brees is suddenly questionable, and you have all the reason in the world to go with the Raiders. So why am I not going with them? I'm not sure. I just have a 'feeling'. It's one of the first times this year I've actually had a feeling on a game, and I think San Diego needs to win this game to remain legitimately in the playoff hunt. I think they'll pull it off. PICK: Chargers

SEATTLE (-9.5) vs. HOUSTON
Listen, I'm either going to look like a genius or an idiot here no matter who I pick. Conventional wisdom would say to take Seattle. They are nearly a 10-point favorite against the worst team in the league. But in hindsight, would I be happy to have put any faith in the Seahawks, recently one of the least reliable teams in the league? Just as certain, I don't want to put faith in the worst team in the league, either. I can't imagine the e-mails I'd get if I go out on a limb and suggest Houston will come to play this week and then they lose by 40. There are just so many reasons to pick against Houston, I almost feel like they're going to cover simply because of that. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…alright, I suppose I have to make a pick here. PICK: Texhawks

TAMPA BAY (-5.5) vs. MIAMI
Both of these teams have gotten off to fast starts, and both fast starts are somewhat misleading because neither team is as good as its record indicates. Both are coming off losses to middling teams. Both have solid defenses. Both have QB issues and first-round draft pick running backs from Auburn. Both have veteran receivers, and ball hawk secondaries. So why do I like Miami so much more? Because Tampa is a hollow 4-1, and will be exposed as such this weekend. PICK: Dolphins

INDIANAPOLIS (-13.5) vs. SAINT LOUIS
I'm going against my own philosophy here and picking against the Colts. I know the offense is back on track, and the defense has been much-improved. And it's not as if they CAN'T blow out Saint Louis. The Rams have lost by two touchdowns or more a whopping seven times in the past two years (including once already this year to the Giants), so it's not as if they can't be blown out despite their own explosive offense. But I think this game will be played contrary to the way many expect it. With Mike Martz sitting out for some time, I expect the Rams' aerial show to be a bit tempered. That's not to say it'll go away, or that it'll even be less productive. I just think they'll try to keep the game close, run the ball, and hope for a big play or two late in the game. The Colts, meanwhile, have shown that they can win several different ways. Whether it's the offensive juggernaut, defensive dominance, the close ones, whatever. I think their style will be more along the lines of trying to wait out the Rams. All that spells a late, close affair. PICK: Rams

BEST BETS

CINCINNATI (-3) at TENNESSEE
I don't care if the game is on the road, in a barn, on the moon, whatever. I am never taking the Titans to cover a three point spread against a great offense. Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer owners should have a good time watching this one. PICK: Bengals

DENVER (-3) vs. NEW ENGLAND
Let's see, do I trust Jake Plummer or Tom Brady more? That's like comparing Alex Rodriguez to Derek Jeter…I mean give me a break! PICK: Patriots

DETROIT (-1) vs. CAROLINA
I know they're playing better, I know they blew out the Ravens, and I know Kevin Jones finally came alive. And yes, I know Carolina's defense is struggling, I know the RB situation is murky at best, and I know they haven't dominated a game in some time. But I keep coming back to a Joey Harrington-led team being favored over anyone, and I can't bring myself to do it. PICK: Panthers

KANSAS CITY (-6) vs. WASHINGTON
Willie Roaf is back. The Chiefs offense will follow. I hope you were able to acquire as many KC skill-position guys as possible this past week, because they're now ready to roll. PICK: Chiefs


LOCK OF THE WEEK: Cincinnati Bengals


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: 5-9
  • BEST BETS: 2-2
  • PICK OF WEEK: 0-1

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 33-40-1 (45.2%)
  • BEST BETS: 7-12-1 (36.8%)
  • PICK OF WEEK: 1-4 (20.0%)

Oh, and I'm picking the Seahawks. Because who cares.

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