Friday, October 28, 2005

The cold reality of a job that I actually enjoy and that keeps me busy is that I have less time in my life for such things as Jets blogs...especially when the Jets are on their way to a sub-.500 record (to put it mildly). But I'm working on getting this thing updated more - whether or not that happens, you'll soon see. But at least I'm getting the Friday picks in. There's no Jets game this week (it's a bye week - back to the old Jets' standby line, back when they weren't any good - "at least they can't lose this week!!!"), so I'll start with an e-mail from an old friend:

"Wow. It is truly bizarre and completely jolting to realize that one of the most mind-bogglingly over-the-top optimistic people in the world has seemingly lost all hope for his team. It is most likely warranted, but still... I feel like I should stock up on bottled water and canned goods because the apocalypse cannot be far behind if John is no longer picking the Jets to win the Super Bowl. *SIGH*

Love Always,

Joe Beningo

P.S. Until I just looked it up, I always thought my name was spelled with a "d" instead of that first "n" (Bedingo). Who knew?"

"Joe Beningo" here is the same guy who used to write as "Al Montoya", and who obviously is too ashamed to admit that he reads my blog to give his real I'll continue to protect his identity. But as I told him earlier this week - I'm pretty sure he's used the Beningo alias before, and I'm pretty sure in that previous e-mail he also mentioned that he wasn't sure how to spell his name. I guess that A-material never gets old.

But yes, I'm not an idiot here. I'm even taking this dismay to the next step, thinking that Chad Pennington's career may very well be over. It's sad. I don't want to talk/write about it. A quick stray from the e-mail/picks, which is very related:

I'm reading a pretty good book about the history of the AFL, told in quotes from players from the AFL and the NFL of that era. It's very good, and pretty informative. Anyway, I just read about when the Bengals started, and they had a great young quarterback out of the University of Cincinnati named Greg Cook. From all accounts, he was a steal how they got him, because he wasn't very highly touted, and he could throw the ball from one end of the field to the other, they say. (I know these things tend to get exaggerated over time, but it seems like this guy was the real deal, and could at least throw the ball 70 or so yards in the air.) Cook (I had never heard of him, by the way) worked with Bill Walsh, then an assistant with the Bengals, and he had an awesome rookie season, winning AFL Rookie of the Year. But during the year, he suffered a shoulder injury, and played through a lot of pain...and of course, medicine not being then what it is now, they couldn't scope the shoulder and see what was wrong. During a pickup basketball game over the off-season, someone touched Cook's shoulder, and he was done. Just like that, done. Turns out it was a rotator cuff. Now, Pennington's got the benefit of modern medicine, but it's a very similar story - and Pennington tried to come back and play football too soon. I just feel like he's in big trouble. That's all I'll say about it for now.

Now the picks - and the standings. Dave from Brighton is the only one who had a week over .500 - going 7-6-1, upping his record to 38-45-3. The wife went 5-8-1, dropping to 51-48-3, and with a 6-7-1 week, I pull to within a game of the lead, at 50-49-3. But I need to pick it up - for crying out loud. This has been pathetic so far - I need a big week. So here it is:

NYG -2 Was: The Giants are playing pretty good football. The Redskins are winning games...but not playing great football. Santana Moss is having a great season, and I'm not sure how, because Mark Brunell is throwing him the football. There must be a lot of yards after the catch going on there. This one's at the Meadowlands, and the Giants should win by 10...let alone 2. I take the Giants. (Dave - Giants, Wife - Redskins +2)

CIN -9 GB: This game's in Cincinnati, and the Bengals should win easy, with all of the injuries the Packers are going through. But the Bengals have had trouble putting teams away, so I think the Packers keep it close enough. I take Green Bay +9. (Dave - Bengals -9, Wife - Bengals -9)

DET -3 Chi: Detroit seems to be better than Chicago, but it's so hard to tell. I take them because they're at home. Det - 3. (Dave - Detroit, Wife - Chicago +3)

CAR -8 Min: Minnesota might not win another game all year. They sure won't win in Carolina -and they won't get within 8 points. I take Carolina -8. (Dave - Carolina, Wife - Carolina)

TEN N/L Oak: Last week I said if Oakland didn't beat the Bills, in Oakland, I wouldn't pick them again the rest of the season. Well, they won, and now they go to Tennessee coming off a confidence-builder. They're good enough, I think, to beat Tennesse. I take Oakland. (Dave - Oakland, Wife - Tennessee)

DAL -9 Ari: Drew Bledsoe is awful. If I had written a recap of last week's games, I would have ripped him apart for throwing that interception, allowing the Seahawks to win that game. But I didn't, so I won't dwell on that now. He's awful, but the Cowboys as a whole should be enough to beat Arizona handily. I take Dallas -9. (Dave - Dallas, Wife - Dallas)

HOU -2 Cle: How bad is Cleveland to be an underdog against the winless Texans?? I don't think they're that bad. I take Cleveland, plus 2. (Dave, Cleveland, Wife - Houston: "They have to get a win sometime.")

NO -2 Mia: This is a Baton Rouge home game for the Saints - it's close enough to being home. I take New Orleans...also, Miami's bad. (Dave - New Orleans, Wife - New Orleans)

STL N/L Jax: The Rams are still going with Jamie Martin. The Jaguars are pretty good. They'll beat the Rams, even in Saint Louis. (Dave - Jacksonville, Wife - Jacksonville)

SD -6 KC: I'm still not getting on the Chargers bandwagon. I know they're better than their 3-4 record indicates, but maybe this is when their season starts to take a dive. They've played better than I've expected, I'll admit that - but I'm picking the Chiefs to beat them this week. I take Kansas City +6. (Dave - San Diego -6, Wife - Kansas City)

TB -11 SF: Tampa Bay has had a bye week to prepare for the 49ers. Sorry, San Fran. TB -11. (Dave - TB, Wife - SF +11)

DEN -3.5 Phi: Dave in Brighton's pick for Game of the Week. Understandably. Denver is a different team at home, and I think they'll beat Philadelphia, who have been playing pretty poorly. But, I think they'll show up for this game, and keep it close. I say it's a 3-point Denver win, so I take Phi +3.5. (Dave - late change to Phi +3.5, Wife - Phi)

NE -9 Buf: Everyone's lauding the Krafts for not putting Tedy Bruschi on IR, instead putting him on the PUP, meaning he could be activated for Sunday night's game. I say (and I said this in August, I wish I had written it here as proof), put him on IR, and probably save his life - don't even give him the option to come back this year. It's just not right that he's coming back so soon. I hope he doesn't get hurt. The Patriots should win this one easy. I take NE -9. (Dave - NE, Wife - NE)

PIT -9.5 Bal: Baltimore flat-out stinks. And on Monday night, they'll be without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Pittsburgh might win by 90.5. Actually, I predict, 27-10. Steelers, -9.5. (Dave - Pittsburgh, Wife - Pittsburgh)

It seems like a lot of similar picks this week, as I wrote that. We'll see. Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm on my way out the door for a quick trip to NYC, so I only have time to list the picks - Atlanta 63, Jets 10. No, seriously, one thing the Jets do is show up when they play to a national TV audience...and when they play games like this. So it won't be a blowout, I'm sure. At least the defense will try to keep it close. I say Atlanta 27, Jets 21. Or something to that effect. But the Jets cover the 7-point spread. (Wow. I just picked the Jets to lose. Perhaps the first time on the site. How far we've fallen.) Dave in Brighton picks Atlanta, the wife takes the Jets.

The overall standings in our picks race are tightening up. Dave from Brighton still brings up the rear, but an 8-6 week has him at 31-39-2. I also went 8-6, moving two games over at 44-42-2. The wife had a 6-8 week, dropping to 46-40-2. I'm only two games my wife. Ugh.

Here are the rest of the picks - starting with KC-Miami, kickoff just 40 minutes away this Friday night:

Me: KC +2 Dave: Miami -2 Wife: KC +2

STL - 3 NO - Me, Wife: NO +3 Dave: STL -3

GB -1.5 MIN - Me, Dave: GB - 1.5 Wife: Min +1.5

IND - 15 HOU - Me, Dave: Ind -15 Wife: HOU +15

CIN PK PIT - Me: CIN Dave, Wife: PIT

PHI -4 SD - Me: PHI -4 Dave, Wife: SD +4

CLE -3 DET - Me: Det +3 Dave, Wife: CLE -3

WAS -13 SF - Me, Dave: WAS -13 Wife: SF +13

SEA -3 DAL - Me, Wife: SEA -3 Dave: Dal +3

OAK -3 BUF - Me: OAK -3 (Last time I'll pick Oak if they lose) Dave, Wife: BUF +3

CHI -1 BAL - Me: CHI -1 Dave, Wife: Bal +1

ARI -3 TEN - Me, Wife: TEN +3 Dave: ARI -3

NYG -1.5 DEN - Me, Dave: NYG -1.5 Wife: Den +1.5

Dave says he wonders if this is the week he picks the Jets correctly. The wife was amazed how many underdogs she picked.

Enjoy the week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I never got around to the Mets season summary (perhaps that will come), but I had to put in my two cents about last night's NLCS Game 5 between the Cardinals and the Astros.

Due to my current teaching life, I no longer stay up to all hours of the night playing video games and watching whatever sporting event that is on TV (like the old days of Arena Football, on the crappy ESPN2). Therefore, I went to bed last night with the Cardinals still winning in the seventh inning, 2-1. That's when the Astros came back, on a Lance Berkman homer, I hear, to take a 4-2 lead.

They took that lead into the ninth, with their invincible closer on the hill, Brad Lidge. All we've heard about this post-season is how Lidge didn't blow a lead for the Astros all season until the final Friday of the regular season. He looked a little shaky on Sunday, but got one of the best-turned double plays of all-time to end the game with the tying run on third, so that had to make him feel only more invincible.

So Lidge strikes out the first two batters of the ninth, then goes to 3-2 on David Eckstein. Eckstein rolls a single into left field. Then Lidge walks Jim Edmonds. Then Albert Pujols launches a bomb to left field, the Cardinals take a 5-4 lead, and go on to win. Now the series shifts to Saint Louis Wednesday and Thursday (if necessary), and everyone thinks the Astros are dead and buried.

I hate to promote the guy, but Bill Simmons wrote a very good article about how the Astros and their fans must feel right now on (I don't like Simmons because I'm jealous - there, I've said it, OK. I'm jealous at what he does for a living.) Simmons knows the pain, because he is a Red Sox fan, and his comparisons between this game and Game 6 of the 1986 World Series are dead-on.

I'm not so sure that the Astros will collapse, though. I still am not totally sold on the Cardinals - I don't know that they'll be able to close this out. But they really have a home field working for them - the Cardinals fans are going to be nuts about having at least one more, and possibly two more, home games this post-season, and the Astros are facing a very tough go the next one (or two) nights. I do feel, though, that they're capable of putting Monday night's game behind them and closing out the series on Wednesday. We'll see.

I worry, though, about Brad Lidge. His situation too closely resembles Donnie Moore, and we all know what happened to him. I don't think Lidge will do anything drastic personally, but I wonder how this will affect him professionally. He was so dominant this season (and even last year) - I wonder how he handles this type of adversity, on such a big stage. I don't know anything about him, so I don't know his makeup - but I want to root for him to come back and pitch well.

So I should talk about the way I found out about this, just so I can answer those "Where were you when....?" questions. I was sleeping. We talked about that already. But when I woke up, and turned on ESPNEWS, the bottom right corner didn't say "Astros advance to first ever World Series", so I figured the Cardinals won. I was more surprised when I saw the Indianapolis Colts' score. But I waited for the NL spot on the crawl, and saw the final score was 5-4. Still didn't think much of it, other than the fact that it didn't end 2-1. Then it says, "Pujols GW 3-run HR", and I'm doing the math, and thinking "Wow." Then they show the highlights, and the situation was just - and I'm going to use a word here that is so overused today that it has lost some meaning, but here it is applicable - UNBELIEVABLE. This is unbelievable, people. Other stuff that gets tagged "Unbelievable" is really quite believable. It needs to be used less.

Anyway, I love hearing stuff about the 1986 World Series and how the champagne was all ready to go and the podium for the trophy presentation was all set up for the Red Sox in Game 6, and then it had to be all torn down. I'd like to hear about the stuff that went on at Minute Maid Park on Monday night - at least they had another half-inning to get things done, since the Astros had to hit in the bottom half.

At the very least, this NLCS just went from insignificant to somewhat exciting. I'll try to write about it on Thursday.
Surprise!! A mid-week writing on the page. I'm going to try to be better at this...we'll see how that turns out.

As though it didn't already seem that the Jets were headed in this direction with the whole Vinny Testaverde Kevin Mawae is out for the rest of the season (and the Jets couldn't even make the center-quarterback exchange with the Pro Bowler at center), and Ty Law looks like he might not play in Monday night's game versus the Atlanta. This season is now headed in the same direction as....well, it's easier to list the seasons that this season is NOT headed in the same direction as - 1968, 1998, 2002, and 2004. Yup, such is the sad life of a Jets fan. You could toss 1986 in there too...but it only makes it sound like they're a better franchise than they are.

With all that said, this blog will become more of an NFL recapper, instead of focusing on the depressing, slowly maddening Jets. And this was some weekend for us DirecTV Sunday Ticket subscribers (especially those with TiVo - well, not really, but I had to work TiVo in). I'll start with the Monday nighter, because I didn't stay up to see how the Colts came back - but you just had a feeling the Rams weren't exactly going to blow the doors off of Indy, in Indy. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, Saint Louis lost Marc Bulger, and things just weren't the same. They also couldn't stop Edgerrin James, apparently, because he ran for 143 yards and 3 TD's. The Colts are 6-0 - the only undefeated team left in the NFL. The way the rest of the "favorites" are playing right now, they should win the Super Bowl. I think the next best team out there is the Falcons, and I don't think the Falcons could beat the Colts in the Super Bowl. I wouldn't mind seeing the Colts win it. I like Peyton Manning a lot - I only hate him when he's playing the Jets. And I only wouldn't want to see the Colts win if they had to go through the Jets in the playoffs - but since that's NOT going to happen, "Go, Indy!"

The Giants blew a great chance to win in Dallas, but that game was still pretty exciting for a Giants game. Actually, only the final minutes were exciting, but that's all I watched, so it's all good. The Giants had a chance to tie late, needing a touchdown. And after Tiki Barber got them to the three, Brandon Jacobs fumbled on the 1, and the Cowboys recover, and it looks like it's over. But remember, the Cowboys' QB is Drew Bledsoe, one of the dumbest men alive, so you always have a chance in this situation. Two handoffs got stuffed by the Giants, then Time Outs, and then Bledsoe threw an incomplete pass out of his own end zone, stopping the clock. The Cowboys punted, and Eli Manning proceeded to throw two great passes and got the Giants into the end zone in the final minute to tie it. Unfortunately for the Giants, they blew a bunch of chances to blow this one open early and lost on a field goal in overtime. The Cowboys had been driving on the Giants all day - they just couldn't get into the end zone - that didn't matter in OT.

Atlanta and New Orleans was sort of an unexciting exciting game. It ended anticlimactically, with a Falcons good field goal after the bad field goal was taken back by a bad Saints penalty. I don't know how Jim Haslett still has a job - he's as bad a coach as Mike Tice.

Pittsburgh was brutal this week, led by Tommy Maddox. Maddox threw three picks, the last coming in overtime, and returned for the game-winning touchdown by the Jaguars. That came after the Steelers took the overtime-opening kickoff (or a punt, I forget), into field goal range, only to fumble it away. Then the pick on their next possession. Is it any wonder that the Steelers will start Roethlisberger next Sunday?

The Jets game I won't dwell on, I will just say that I logged my first-ever correct prediction this week - Curtis Martin ran right through the Bills defense. They stink against the run. And the Jets stink, period. Willis McGahee is the worst thing ever to happen to them in the division. He owns them...every time they play him, he has a big game. He's like Michael Jordan was to the Knicks back when I gave a crap about the NBA.

Here's my favorite game of the weekend - Carolina at Detroit. I don't know, first of all, how Detroit was favored in this game (by a point), and I don't know how they almost won. But they led the Panthers by 6 late, late, late in the game, and Jake Delhomme is driving the Panthers down the field. He takes off on a run, slides feet first, and gets laid out on the field...15-yard penalty, and in comes Chris Weinke. I don't like Weinke, but I enjoyed seeing him lead the Panthers to the win - a touchdown with about a minute left. Maybe it's because I picked the Panthers...I can't say. But it was exciting.

My final thoughts - Dom Capers is going to get fired. The Texans stink, and who else can be more responsible than him?...Shaun Alexander is a touchdown machine - it's ridiculous - but he's still the guy who put himself before the team in last season's final game, and that's just bush league....LaDanian Tomlinson is definitely the best player in the NFL right now...I wonder if my jersey jinx would work on other teams - like if I bought a Tomlinson jersey, would he start to be brutal?...Tampa Bay is done - Chris Simms isn't a winner, and Tim Rattay isn't good...I was actually right on another prediction - the Broncos are a different team at home. They have an almost unfair home-field advantage.

It was a very exciting Sunday in the NFL, and it was a very exciting Saturday in college football - but I won't get into all that. Monday night was also a very exciting night for the NLCS - for more on that, check out

Saturday, October 15, 2005

So, I'm going to hop onto this Vinny Testaverde train for a couple of stops. It helps that the Jets are playing Buffalo Sunday, and week one was a huge aberration for the Bills. I have no idea how they won that game at all - they actually looked OK. Last week, they beat the Dolphins. Even Chad Pennington's one arm beat the Dolphins. I think this is a great opportunity for the Jets to get some confidence back and beat a team soundly.

The game is in Buffalo, so that's a slight drawback - but it's only October - the Jets have struggled in Buffalo in much colder weather - I don't remember the last time they went to Buffalo in the early part of the season - actually, yes I do. Chad Morton returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and the Jets won in overtime in the first week of the season a few years ago. I think that was one of Vinny's last starts - I think that was the year Pennington took over in Week 4. So the timing here is right for the Jets.

This week will also be a test for the Jets' running game. If they can't run on Sunday, they're not going to run all year. The Bills' run defense is one of the worst in the league. I'm banking on them getting the running game going, because I think Curtis Martin will somehow get to 1,000 yards again this year, and this is where it starts.

I think Vinny will again be OK, but not spectacular. The big difference right now between Vinny and Brooks Bollinger is that last week, receivers caught the ball for Vinny. If they can do that again, the Jets win again. The Jets are also getting three points. I say they win outright. Jets, 27-17. (Dave in Brighton and the wife also both pick the Jets.)

The standings in our picks league here thus far are:
Wife: 40-32-2 (10-3-1 last week)
Me: 36-36-2 (9-4-1 last week)
Dave: 23-33-2 (7-6-1 last week)

We all improved a lot last year (Despite being one game over .500 last week, Dave did improve a lot - it was his first week being over-.500).
The rest of our NFL picks for Week 6:

In Dallas, the Cowboys are three-and-a-half-point favorites over the Giants. I don't know how the Cowboys did what they did to Philadelphia last week, but I think with the extra week to prepare, the Giants come on strong and beat the 'Boys. I take the Giants getting the points. (Dave takes the Cowboys, wife takes the Giants.)

In Detroit, the Lions are one-point favorites over the Panthers. Are you kidding me? Are the Panthers that bad on the road? This is a steal - the Panthers win big. (All three of us take Carolina.)

The Falcons are 5-point favorites over the Saints, at the Saints (which I believe is San Antonio). I take the Falcons to win by at least a do the other two.

The Bears are 3-point favorites over the Vikings in Chicago. It's rough to look at the Bears being a favorite...but the Vikings are in rocky waters - no pun intended. Mike Tice is not a good coach - and I don't think he unites his team in the wake (again no pun intended) of this scandal. I take the Bears giving the points. (Dave takes the Bears, wife takes the Vikes.)

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are five-and-a-half point favorites over the Redskins. I just can't buy into the Redskins being good. It's in Kansas City, too, so despite the fact that Washington has a good run defense, I'm going with the Chiefs...but in the back of my mind I feel like Washington can win this game and prove to all the naysayers (like me) that they are actually good. (The wife is buying into the Redskins - she takes them and the points...Dave takes the Chiefs.)

In Tennessee, it's the Bengals giving 3 to the Titans. I think the Bengals bounce back from their loss last Sunday night to the Jaguars. Another tight loss for the Titans - I say about 24-20 Bengals. Dave and the wife also take Cincinnati.

Tommy Maddox will start for Ben Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh hosts Jacksonville. The Steelers are favored by three. I don't think the quarterback change makes much of a difference. I take the Steelers, as do the other two.

In Baltimore, the Ravens are five-and-a-half point favorites over the Browns. I don't see this one. I'm not sure how the Ravens can be favored, let alone by more than a field goal. They'll probably be lucky to score 5-and-a-half points. I take the Browns, getting the points. (Dave takes Cleveland as well, the wife takes Baltimore.)

Tampa Bay is a four-and-a-half-point favorite over the Dolphins in Tampa. I feel like the Dolphins are going to have a rough go the rest of the year, especially trying to balance their running attack between Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Tampa is going to pounce on them, as revenge for last week's loss to the Jets. I take Tampa giving the points, as do the other two.

Denver is a three-point favorite over the Patriots. It's in Denver, and that's the only reason I'm picking the Broncos. I don't think the Broncos are very good, I don't like picking against the Patriots....but the Broncos have some kind of home field advantage out in Denver, and I have to take them. The other two homers take the Patriots.

In Oakland, it's the Chargers favored by two over the Raiders. Oakland is a home dog against the Chargers. I'm all over the Raiders in this one. The Chargers came close to beating the Steelers last Monday night - I actually didn't see the end of that game. I saw most of the game, though, and found myself not hating the Chargers as much as it seems like I would, based on the fact that I don't think they're going to be very good this year, and they're still playing O.K. But I'm picking the Raiders to beat up on the Chargers and prove me right. (Dave and the wife take the Chargers.)

Seattle, in Seattle, is giving nine-and-a-half to the Texans. The Texans are brutal, but the Seahawks aren't that great. It's tough to take the Seahawks giving nine-and-a-half, but I will, only because they're home. Dave also takes Seattle, not tempted by the big spread, but the wife takes Houston.

On Monday night, Indianapolis is giving 13-and-a-half to the Rams in Indy. The spread is a lot, especially considering who the Colts are playing. I'm taking the Rams, because even without Mike Martz, and probably Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, they're capable of scoring a lot of points. This will be a big test for the Indy Defense, and if I'm wrong, more power to the Colts. But I take the Rams getting the big points. Dave takes Indy, the wife takes the Rams.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Just a reminder - this is not the place to come for a sensible pick. I'm here to give Jets fans a reason to believe their team might win on Sunday, every Sunday. This task is getting tougher and tougher. The running game looks brutal. The passing game is non-existent. Vinny Testaverde is the quarterback. All signs that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should crush the Jets on Sunday. But no. The Jets will ride the momentum of Vinny's return to a 7-3 victory! (Jets, plus 3-and-a-half at home). (Dave in Brighton takes Tampa Bay, the wife takes the Jets.)

The wife says she will no longer trash talk. This after saying rubbing in her recent success over Dave and myself...then pulling out a 3-11 with her picks last week. Dave was 6-8, I went 7-7 (also my birthday). Overall, it's the wife at 30-29-1, then me, 27-32-1, then Dave, 16-27-1.

The rest of the picks:

Cleveland, at home, is favored by three over the Bears. Across the board, we take Cleveland. They should easily beat the Bears, I say.

Green Bay, 0-4, is a three-point favorite at home against the Saints. Again, this is the Saints. They only show up to play once in a while. I take Green Bay, -3. Dave takes the Saints, wife takes Green Bay.

Saint Louis is at home to the Seahawaks, and the Rams are -3. I take the Rams, because they're home, and the Seahawks lost last week on the road to the friggin' Redskins. Come on. Dave and the wife both take Seattle.

Atlanta is home to New England, and the Pats are 3-point underdogs. You think they'd respond pretty well to last week's drubbing. But I think the Falcons are legitimately very good. I take the Falcons, the other two take the Pats.

Buffalo is a 3-point favorite at home against Miami. Buffalo's in big trouble. J.P. Losman is benched, at 1-3, and Kelly Holcombe is starting. All three of us take the Dolphins, probably thinking like me, that the Bills are that bad.

Detroit hosts Baltimore, and gives a point. Baltimore's not good...Detroit is about a point better. I take Detroit, so does Dave, wife takes Baltimore.

Houston is home to Tennessee, and the Texans are -3. Houston's a tough place to win, but Houston's not good either (despite last week's showing vs. Cincinnati), and Tennessee's playing pretty well this year. All three of us take Tennessee.

The Colts are -14 in San Francisco, for Alex Smith's first NFL start. The Colts' D + NFL debut = more than 14 points win. I take Indy -14. So does the wife. Dave takes San Fran - maybe it's the lure of the big spread.

Carolina is on the road, favored by two-and-a-half in Arizona. I can't believe Arizona beat San Francisco last week...there's no way they'll beat the Panthers. I take Carolina. Dave and the wife seem to agree with my reasoning - they both take Carolina.

Philadelphia is favored by three in Dallas. Tough call here - I actually think Philly wins by 3, so it'll be a push. But I'll take Dallas, plus-3, because they're home. Dave and the wife take Philly.

Denver, in Denver, gives Washington six-and-a-half. A couple of factors at work here - the Broncos have played well at home, and the Redskins are somehow 3-0 despite the fact that they stink. I take Denver, winning big. So does Dave. The wife takes the crappy Redskins.

Jacksonville is home to Cincinnati, giving three. I can't pass up Cincy as an underdog - they're the new New England. They're going undefeated. I take Cincinnati plus the points. So does Dave. The wife takes Jacksonville.

Monday night, San Diego is giving three in San Diego, to Pittsburgh. We all three take Pittsburgh - my reasoning being I don't buy into the Chargers this year - despite back-to-back big wins. Pittsburgh will bring them back to earth. Dave says "it'll be nice to root for Pittsburgh for once."

I must admit - I'm into hockey right now. It helps that the Rangers are off to a 1-0 start, and as my friend Steve in New York says, it's also going to be a long winter - they're all we have. But I still pick the 1-3 Jets over the 4-0 Bucs this weekend.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I know, I's very, very, very unlikely that the Jets will win this weekend. A number of factors are working against them - Baltimore is a very tough place to win, their defense is very tough, and...I feel like there was one more thing...I forget...oh, no wait, that's right: the Jets are starting Brooks Bollinger.

But remember what I've told you - if you want a legit pick, read me, and then go somewhere else to see people pick the Ravens. I pick with my heart, not with my head, and looking at this game with my heart, I can figure out a way the Jets will win (or at the very least, cover the spread).

The backup for Bollinger this weekend will be Vinny Testaverde. I don't think Vinny's appeared on the blog before - I think the blog was born in the post-Testaverde Jets era. He says he wants Herman Edwards to stay with Bollinger the entire game, or something to that effect, so Bollinger's not worried about Testaverde breathing down his back. That's a good thing, because the entire Ravens defense will be breathing down his back - he doesn't need that extra breath. I will say this, though - Testaverde had one of the greatest games in his career against the Ravens. I believe it was in 2000 - and the Jets played the Ravens with a chance to make the playoffs (like their entire December schedule that year - Al Groh's year, when they lost to the crappy Lions, et al., and missed their chance), in Baltimore, and they lost, on Christmas Eve, 34-20. Testaverde passed for 481 yards - and that was the year the Ravens won the Super Bowl, so racking up some yards against the Ravens isn't impossible...especially this year.

However, the key to victory for the Jets this week will be in the running game. Both running games. Curtis Martin versus Jamal Lewis. Lewis has been absolutely awful this year - but the Ravens have had a week to figure things out after a bye. Martin hasn't been good, but the Jets' offensive line has been brutal - I don't know if it's Jamal Lewis, honestly, or if it's the Ravens' O-line...but these two teams have sort of mirrored each other early on. Both teams have had quarterback problems, and running problems, and offensive problems in general. Both teams are supposed to have good defenses, and both haven't played to their potential thus far.

It's going to come down to defenses, I think, on Sunday. Neither team will find the end zone, I predict. The Jets' defense will step up big time for the next couple of weeks, before they get tired from carrying the team. The Ravens defense will keep Bollinger from doing anything big, but I expect him to play smart, to throw short passes that will open up a little room for Curtis Martin to run, and I think the Jets will out-field-goal the Ravens, and win, 9-3. With the Jets 7-point underdogs, I pick them to win outright (here, anyway - in another pool I picked the Ravens to win...and I'm starting to regret that - I just convinced myself the Jets can win).

As for the rest of the NFL - last week was a bad week - the wife was 9-5 - she had a good week, and overall, she is 27-18-1. Dave from Brighton had a brutal week, at one point standing at 1-8, finishing at 4-10, and he's 10-19-1 overall. What's worse? Not only did the Jets lose both of their quarterbacks...but I went 3-11!! Yikes. I'm at 20-25-1 overall. The wife likes to point out she has almost as many wins as Dave and I combined. I need to tell her that Dave didn't play week one. Anyway, for this week, both Dave and the wife also pick the Jets - I'm not sure why. Oh, and Brooks Bollinger sent in an e-mail with his picks - but he only gets to make his pick if both the wife and Dave go down with season-ending injuries.

So, away we go:

The Patriots are five-point favorites over the Chargers at home. All three of us pick the Pats - me, because I'm not buying into the Chargers' hype this year, the other two because they like the Pats.

The Jaguars are three-and-a-half point favorites over the Broncos, in Jacksonville...I think the Jags carry the momentum from last week's overtime win in New York into this week, and bring the Broncos back to earth after their big Monday Night win. Dave and the wife agree.

The Bengals look to go 4-0 as 9-and-a-half point favorites over the Texans, in Cincinnati. I'll pick the Texans when they show up one it's Cincy giving the points for me. Dave also takes Cincy, the wife takes Houston.

The Colts are giving 7 in Tennessee. It's a tough place to win, but the Colts are a well-rounded team now with a good defense, and they can beat the Titans. I take Indy -7. So does Dave. The wife takes the Titans.

The Chiefs are two-point favorites at home against the Eagles. I can't pick against Philly - they should win outright. Both Dave and the wife also take the Eagles.

In Tampa Bay, the Bucs try to go to 4-0 against the Lions. They are favored by six-and-a-half. I take Detroit getting the points. They probably won't win, but I feel like they can keep it close. I don't want Tampa to be maybe that's motivating my pick too. Both Dave and the wife take Tampa.

The Giants are giving three at home against the Rams. I take the Giants, because I've been impressed by them so far (last week notwithstanding). Dave takes the Giants, the wife takes the Rams.

New Orleans hosting Buffalo is a pick-'em. All three of us take Buffalo. The Saints are still the Saints (not to say Buffalo is much better...but they're a little better).

Washington is a 2-point favorite at home against Seattle. Seattle wins outright, ruining the Redskins' hopes of an undefeated season. Dave and the wife agree.

The Falcons host the Vikings, as five-and-a-half point favorites. Back down to earth for Culpepper after crushing the Saints last week - Falcons win, big. The wife and Dave agree.

The Raiders are three-point favorites over Dallas. Another trip out west for the Cowboys? They can't win...and the Raiders are dying for a win - they'll get it this time at home. Dave also takes Oakland...the wife takes Dallas.

In Mexico, it's 49ers versus Cardinals. Arizona's the home team, favored by 3. The 49ers should win this game. All three of us take San Fran.

Monday night, Carolina is at home, 7-and-a-half point favorites over the Packers. I take Green Bay to cover, but not win. I say Carolina, 27-20. Dave takes Green Bay, the wife takes Carolina.

A lot of similar picks for Dave and I. That means we can pick up lots of ground on the wife with a good week....or else hand the season over to her as she runs away with it.