Thanks to Alex Smith ruining a Cardinals win and salvaging a push in the final game of week 1, Durden took the early lead with an 8-6-2 record while I came in at 7-7-2. We both hit our two team parlays.
Now it’s time for a week 2 that features a lot of large spreads, our first animal style parlay (two underdogs to win outright), Packers starters being underdogs against the Giants backups, God's linebacker struggling with injuries, and Romeo Crennel finding a new way to determine a starter…
Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh McBeams -9.5
Durden: As predicted, the Steelers came out flying. It actually turns out it was Bill Cowher's spit that messed with Big Ben's vision last year, and not his motorcycle accident, which could really explain everything. I'll give the Bills some credit for hanging tight with Denver, but a few more injuries have left them even thinner and they'll stand no chance against a Pittsburgh team that may not really be tested until well into the season.
Pick: Steelers -9.5
Mazzone: The Bills weren’t a very good football team to begin with, and then they suffered a bunch of injuries last week. Even so, they still managed to play Denver close and it will be interesting to see if the positive news on Kevin Everett’s condition will provide a bit of a boost. The Steelers haven’t played an actual NFL team yet, but are the Bills really that much more talented than the Browns?
Pick: McBeams -9.5
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns +7
Durden: Romeo Crennel said he would have to watch game film before deciding on his starter against the Bengals. Translation: Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament! Last Crennel joke? Probably not. Cincinnati trounces the Clowns in a laugher, as they always do.
Pick: Bengals -7
Mazzone: “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”
Pick: Bengals -7
Indianapolis Colts @ Vince Young +7
Durden: I don't know what happened last week in Jacksonville, but I'm not buying it. The Colts must be tired of the Titans and Jags giving them fits by now, and they should be looking to avenge last year's loss. I know all you do is win games Vince, but the Colts have the speed on defense to match and plus, Peyton's king in Tennessee. He'll go off again in his annual return, and your team just plain sucks.
Pick: Colts -7
Mazzone: Well, I made two critical mistakes last week. I picked against the Super Bowl Champs and Peyton Manning, despite my better judgment. And I picked against the almighty Vince Young – who everyone said just…oh, you know by now. Well, I’ll try to atone for one of them this week. Despite the close games last year, I’m going with Peyton to make it rain on the Titans secondary…
Pick: Colts -7
Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers - 6.5
Durden: Mazzone may be ready to crown their asses, but the Texans just won't be able to match up with the Panthers on either side of the ball. After this game, people are going to start to fall in love with the Panthers again, but don't let my handsome smile fool you Carolina. You'll understand what I'm getting at when you read the note I'll be leaving you Monday morning.
Pick: Panthers -6.5
Mazzone: No respect for my sleeper team with that line. NO RESPECT! Well Texans, looks like it’s us against the world… Some things I learned from their week 1 win: Andre Johnson will lead the NFL in receptions for the second straight year. The Chiefs would be fortunate to win 4 games. The Texan defense will be better than people think. Once the Texans beat the Panthers this week and move to 2-0 go take a look at the schedule and tell me if you don’t see 7 winnable games. Actually, I’ll save you the trouble (Indy x2, Atlanta, Miami, Jacksonville x2, Tennessee x2, San Diego, Oakland, New Orleans, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Denver). If you listen closely, you might even hear some playoff talk heading into the final three weeks of the season (Denver, at Indy, Jacksonville).
Pick: Texans +6.5
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams -3
Durden: I was surprised that the 49ers struggled as much as they did vs. the Cardinals. I was not as surprised that the Rams struggled with the Panthers, and Steven Jackson may end up leaving his fantasy owners (ahem) wondering WHAT IS GOING ON, again. I'll even settle for a 100yds and a touch which won't matter on Sunday. The 49ers as a whole, will bounce back nicely this week. The Rams? Maybe next week.
Pick: 49ers +3
Mazzone: I mentioned last week that I liked the 49ers here and I’m sticking with that. The Rams don’t have an answer for Frank Gore (I’ve penciled in 150 total yards and 2 TDs). Meanwhile, I like the defense Mike Nolan and company are putting together.
Pick: 49ers +3
Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants -1
Durden: If you watch enough commercials during football season, you learn that some men suffer from priapism. After this game, John Madden will have priapism, but that man will not be suffering. His beloved gunslinger's going to just have some fun on Sunday, like the warrior that he is, as a frustrating season for Giants fans continues.
Pick: Packers +1
Mazzone: Hey, how ‘bout that Brett Favre?! His team doesn’t score an offensive touchdown (reaching the red zone only once), and yet he still finds a way to will his team to victory over the Eagles with his gunslinger mentality and child-like love for the game. Simply incredible.
Pick: New York Giants B Team -1
Atlanta Falcons @ Jacksonville Jaguars -10.5
Durden: I still haven't figured out what happened in Jacksonville, and that confusion's been compounded by this spread. I was stuck watching a lot of the Falcons last week and can confirm that they're an unmitigated disaster, but I'm taking the points until we know what's up with the Jags.
Pick: Falcons +10.5
Mazzone: The first of several double digit lines this week, and the most confusing. This is the same Jacksonville team that was favored by 6.5 at home against the Vince Youngs… and lost, right? Fortunately for the Jags, Joey Harrington is the anti Vince Young. He just loses football games. I like Jacksonville to commit to the run, get an early lead, and force Harrington to make some plays. Yea, I know there’s no record of Joey Harrington ever “making some plays”, but I can’t help but think this line is a little too high.
Pick: Falcons +10.5
New Orleans Saints @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5
Durden: It seems as if this is the only spread that was really impacted by last week's scores. The Bucs are another bad team hit with injuries, and they wouldn't have stood a chance even without the injuries. I know I should probably show a little bit more respect for the Kurse, but the Saints will be out to show they're better than what they showed in the season opener.
Pick: Saints -3.5
Mazzone: This is tough, because there’s very little excuse for the Saints to not bounce back and manhandle the Bucs. Under normal circumstances, I’d be willing to bet the house that USC bought Reggie Bush on the Saints winning easily, but Keith’s starting Drew Brees and the Kurse appears to be working its usual voodoo… Tough one, but I’m going to hope the Kurse finds a new target.
Pick: Saints -3.5
Minnesota @ Detroit -3
Durden: The Lions won't be able to run on the Vikings, so it's a good thing they probably weren't going to bother with that anyway. Detroit's going to air it out all day and Tarvaris Jackson doesn't have the ability, or the weapons, to keep up. Calvin for ROY!
Pick: Detroit -3
Mazzone: In a battle between the top ROY candidates, I expect Peterson to take the award, but Calvin to come out with the W. The Lions offense isn’t as inept as the Falcons, so at some point in this game Tarvaris Jackson will have to show us if he’s capable of keeping the Vikings in games with his arm. I’m not sure he is.
Pick: Detroit -3
Dallas @ Miami +4
Durden: I hear a ton about the Dolphins from Mazzone, and yet I still feel like I don't know anything about them. What I do know is that their offense probably won't be able to take advantage of the Cowboys' D, and their defense is in for a long day if it gave up 400 yards to the 'Skins.
Pick: Cowboys -4
Mazzone: I always pick the Dolphins to win/cover, but there’s usually one time each season where I get an inexplicable over confidence about a game the Dolphins probably shouldn’t win. Last season when week 9 rolled around I was adamant that the Dolphins would go into Chicago and take care of business. They did, 31-13. In 2005, the Dolphins opened as heavy underdogs against the Broncos. I was not only dead set on the Dolphins (with Gus Frerotte at the helm) winning the game outright, I even backed up the claim by picking them in our Survivor pool. They won, 34-10. In 2004, during a hopeless season, a fellow fin fan was resigned to a blow out against the Patsies in week 15, but I would have none of it. Sure the Patriots were 12-1 and Miami was 2-11, but it was Monday Night Football, in the Orange jersey’s, they couldn’t lose – and they didn’t. It ended with the memorable Jim Bates/Arturo Freeman chest bump. Maybe this game isn’t quite on the scale of lopsidedness as the previous 3 mentioned, but they are underdogs at home and don’t match up well at all on paper. But, what can I say, I feel like it’s already in the bag… (someday I might tell you all the stuff I've been wrong about, but don't hold your breath)
Pick: Dolphins +4
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals +3
Durden: I have to admit, I was excited about this being my Upset Special until I saw the spread was only 3. It pains me to go against The Kurse yet again, but Matt Leinart was not very convincing on Monday night. In typical Seahawk fashion, they'll keep this one closer than it should be, but they'll pull it out in the end.
Pick: Seahawks -3
Good Business: Trading for a Super Bowl MVP to be your #1 WR.
Bad Business: Throwing to him three times for zero completions in Week 1.
Good Business: Getting your MVP RB back healthy after an injury riddled ‘06
Bad Business: Said RB showing up to practice this week with a brace on his injured left hand.
Pick: Cardinals +3
New York Jets @ Baltimore Ravens - No Line (injuries)
Durden: I'm still not ready to talk about the *(&##?!& Ravens right now, but look for some Ravens features coming in the near future. Unless of course, they don't pound this Jets team like they should (despite Clemens in place of a one-legged Chad)…
Mazzone: Chad Pennington, Kellen Clemens, Roger Clemens – it doesn’t matter. There are too many injuries for there to be a line on this game right now, but I like the Ravens to win comfortably even if Homicidal Ray and Mcnair don't suit up. The Demetrius watch should start this week for the rest of the football world, so keep an eye out.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos -10
Durden: Travis Henry went OFF on Sunday. I heard he did well against the Bills too, but rumor has it that he made the Mile High Club look like a monastery on the flight back to Denver. Jay Cutler will outplay whoever his counterpart is this week, but hey, at least the Raiders finally found a 3rd string QB. It's a little late in the season to be touching up your roster though, isn't it?
Pick: Broncos -10
Mazzone: I’ve gone back and forth on this game all day. In the end, even though Cutler’s inconsistency and turnovers last week worry me, I’m still leaning toward the Broncos. The secondary is among the best and they have a lot of weapons on offense. So, as long as Cutler can hold onto the ball they should win comfortably. As a side note, I loved Tatum Bell telling the Black Hole to go home last week after his TD finished off a game that was already essentially over and Bell standing there as he got showered with beer, spit, and God knows what else from the Raider faithful.
Pick: Broncos -10
Kansas City Chiefs @ Chicago Bears - 12.5
Durden: This line may seem high, but the Chiefs are a joke. No punchline, they're just truly pathetic and they're going to have to accelerate LJ's workload if they want to stand a chance on Sunday.
Pick: Bears -12.5
Mazzone: This is the first of several times I plan on giving 10+ points to the Chiefs this year.
Pick: Bears -12.5
San Diego Chargers @ New England Patriots -3.5
(Sunday Night Football)
Durden: Has anyone seen Pink? Whether NBC smartened up, or Bill Belichick needed a new "secretary" and stole her away, it sure is nice to have Pink out of our lives, isn't it? Count on the Patriots coming out angry on SNF and robbing the Chargers of a win.
Pick: Pats -3.5 points and -1 cameraman
Mazzone: A lot going on here: Revenge game for the Bolts, LDT’s comments, Patriots trying to recover from cheatgate. New England always wins these types games, and it always pisses me off. I fully expect this week to be no different, but I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t alongside the rest of the nation rooting for the Chargers and their resident cheater (Shawn Merriman)...
Pick: Chargers +3.5
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles -7
(Monday Night Football)
Durden: I heard that part of the contest Mike Greenberg won to be in the MNF booth last week, was that he also got to set the spreads this week, which really explains why they make absolutely no sense. Maybe I'm just setting myself up with a good excuse for the lousy week I'm about to have, but I do feel good about this one and the Eagles offense showing up this game.
Pick: Eagles -7
Mazzone: Much to the city of Philadelphia’s dismay, the punishment levied to New England did not result in the Patriots forfeiting their Super Bowl win over the Iggles. On the bright side, they should get back on track to meeting their high expectations with McNabb and B-Rabbit having big games on Monday Night Football. The loudest cheer of the night will undoubtedly go to Reno Mahe. The loss of Jansen is a huge one for the Redskins. If you’re a Skins fan, or squeamish, you probably shouldn’t click here, but you will anyway.
Pick: E-A-G-L-E-S (- 7)
Durden: Patriots (-3.5), Packers (+1)
Mazzone: To quote Mike McDermott from Rounders, “You can’t lose what you don’t put in the middle… but you can’t win much either.” Sure you could play it safe and tease the Saints and Bengals for a few bucks, or you could go for it… Animal style - Texans/Dolphins, tell them to keep the points - you won’t need them. At least, those are the things I would say if I condoned gambling…
As always…believe in football.