Brien dropped the hammer with his "we don't know shit, so bet who has beaten the spread" strategy, going a strong 4-1. He has now taken the overall lead, where I will join him in the next couple weeks. He's up first.
I'm going to try to keep the momentum from last week going. This turns out to be a pretty scary week, though. We still don't know a whole lot about the teams, so we have to make picks based on experience. The way the games stack up this week, home teams are either huge favorites or underdogs to better teams. When in doubt, take the better team (Simmons says when in doubt, take the points. I disagree). That means I'm taking a bunch of road favorites, violating one of the cardinal rules of NFL gambling. No one ever said these picks had to make sense.
Houston (-3) over ATLANTA - The Texans (3-0 ATS) still aren't getting respect from Vegas. I'm a little concerned that this might be a WTF line.
Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - I'll keep riding teams who are undefeated ATS until it comes back to bite me. (You hear me? NO COMEUPPANCE!)
Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - The Seahawks should be able to handle the anemic 49ers offense, especially with Vernon Davis out indefinitely.
NY Jets (-4) over BUFFALO - The Bills average 200 yds of offense a game, give up 458 yds, and lose the time of possession battle by 10 minutes a game. They suck.
Baltimore (-4.5) over CLEVELAND - The Browns are still getting some love for that win against the Bengals, but the Ravens are finally starting to find a bit of a groove this season. Fair warning: Baltimore is 0-3 ATS. Like I said, consistency isn't my strong suit.
blahbhblahblahblah This man represents Brien and Jeremy
Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (both 7-5-3)
New England (-7) over CINCINNATI - Yeah, the Bengals defense isn't exactly going to contain the Pats enough to make it close... and check out the over/under!
SAN DIEGO (-11.5) over Kansas City - This is a HUGE spread that kind of scares me, but the Chiefs will be just the right medicine for an ailing Chargers offense (despite Norville).
Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - The Packers offense is on a roll and the Vikings D won't be able to make up for their deplorable offense.
DETROIT (+3) over Chicago - I'd like an extra point on this one, but I don't see Brian Griese making up that big of a difference on a Lions offense that ran into a buzzsaw in Philly last week.
Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - A line this small is like picking the Seahawks straight up, and even with a nicked up Alexander the Seahawks should get this win easily.
Magic 8 Ball Picks:
CINCINNATI (+7) over New England - "My sources say yes." [Bengals beating spread]
Kansas City (+11.5) over SAN DIEGO - "Don't count on it." [Chargers beating spread]
Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - "Don't count on it." [Vikings beating spread]
Chicago (-3) over DETROIT - "My answer is no." [Lions beating spread]
Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - "No." [49ers beating spread]
[Stop reading here if you are actually betting hard-earned money. Russell and I have proven that we have no clue this season.]
Pittsburgh (-6) over ARIZONA - Peter King is right. Kurt Warner looked so good against the Ravens because they went hurry-up (as every AFC North team knows to do. Thanks Whisenhunt, you ass). I am seriously concerned about a sympathy for the old coach - shut it down too early - back door cover.
DETROIT (+3) over Chicago - If you like a home underdog to win outright, ride it hard.
MINNESOTA (+2) over Green Bay - Vegas, why the hell would I take a Minnesota team that is devastated by injuries, shitty besides, and run by a shitty coach and a shitty owner? Because I'm on to your little WTF game.
INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5) over Denver - Jay Cutler in a shootout. Should be a fun day to play DB for Indy.
DALLAS (-12) over St. Louis - Wade Phillips is the most energetic coach in football. Read that again. He got his second (third, actually) shot at being a head coach and he's showing off what he learned. Translated, that means no mercy on a very bad St. Louis defense.
BONUS PICK - Bye 28, Redskins 24. The Skins will blow a 24-0 fourth quarter lead, even without that clutch comeback cowboy Eli Manning leading the charge.
blbljlahblahblahblah This man represents Russell and J-Red
After a miserable start, am I embarassed? Yes. Discouraged? Yes. Ready to give up? No.
CLEVELAND (+4.5) over Baltimore - Cleveland has covered two weeks in a row and played well.
Green Bay (-2) over MINNESOTA - This looks like a WTF line, but the Pack are much better.
Seattle (-2) over SAN FRANCISCO - The 49ers are still a year or two away from really competing for this division.
ARIZONA (+6) over Pittsburgh - The Cards have kept every game very close this year, and their two top coaches were snubbed by the Steelers front office. They'll have a little something extra waiting in the desert. Consider AZ to win.
Kansas City (+11.5) over SAN DIEGO - This spread only reflects respect for last year's SD team. We'll see if that team shows up for the first time this year.
Brien - BAL, GB, HOU, NYJ, SEA
Jeremy - DET, GB, NE, SD, SEA
Magic 8 Ball - CHI, CIN, GB, KC, SEA
J-Red - DAL, DET, IND, MIN, PIT
Russell - ARI, CLE, GB, KC, SEA
(Bolded picks are consensus picks. Italics indicate dissent.)