A late night and long drive back to San Diego from the Home Depot Center last night is responsible for the picks being late, so let's cut right to the chase.
Last week, Durden reclaimed the three games I had stolen from him and upped his lead back to six. Onto this weeks picks.
Arizona @ Washington -8
Mazzone: Durden always jokes about Leinart and Warner being held together by paper clips and rubber bands. Now it's true. "Cardinals QB Kurt Warner has settled on a combination of tape and a brace to hold his injured elbow in place and says he's feeling good about being able to play Sunday at Washington." I think the ‘Skins win, but with both teams trying to run out the clock from the opening kickoff I think the Cards could keep it close.
Pick: Cardinals +8
Durden: You know the saying about how DBs would be WRs, if only they could catch? Well that would’ve applied to the Redskins last week, except their WRs weren’t much better. Those that watched know that Washington should’ve beaten the Packers. Will they bounce back? Will they overlook the Cards in anticipation of the Pats next week? These questions, an offensive line decimated by injuries, no Shawn Springs, and God giving Arizona back both Warner and Boldin, make me think the win won’t come so easy for Washington on Sunday.
Pick: Cardinals +8
Atlanta @ New Orleans -8.5
Mazzone: You can’t feel good about either pick here. Each team has only put together one good game. But of the Falcons 5 losses, only two have been by more than 7 and one of those was to a significantly better Giants team last week. Falcons tend to play bad teams close, Saints haven’t proven they don’t completely suck yet. So, give me the points.
Pick: Falcons +8.5
Durden: I was all set to take the points, but the Falcons had to go and start Byron Fatwich. Between that, and the Dolphins trading Chris Chambers, it appears the race for the #1 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft is officially on (leave it to the Rams to rush Bulger back). Anyway, I’ll pick the Saints coming back against the Fatwiches on short rest, especially since they helped make me look good last week.
Pick: Saints -8.5
Baltimore @ Buffalo +3
Mazzone: Trent Edwards for starting quarterback! Even with him at the helm, Matt Stover’s Ravens should win this one comfortably behind 8 field goals.
Pick: Ravens -3
Durden: It would appear that Willis is a prophet and DID know what he was talkin’ bout! As reviled as he is in Buffalo for those dickish comments (among others), it appears the Bills are now looking into his suggestion. Too bad they never looked into actually getting the man some help, but unfortunately for him, his current offense isn’t much better. I made it a point to detail the Ravens’ problems on their offensive line, and if you watched Sunday, you saw why. Boller and McGahee took the beating of their lives against the Rams, and there’s no reason to expect much better on Sunday.
Injuries are really piling up for Baltimore, and we’ll find out how they handle it on Sunday. All signs are pointing towards them being without the following players on Sunday: the entire OL, Pryce, Ray, McAlister, Heap & McNair. While they’re trying to dance around the issue, it’s pretty clear they’re hoping to get past Buffalo and get these guys three weeks of rest in time for the Pittsburgh game, as well as a brutal remaining schedule in general. I do think the Ravens can leave Buffalo a win, but these type of strategies have a way of biting teams in the ass. I’ll take the good guys with fingers crossed.
Pick: Ravens -3
Minnesota @ Dallas -9.5
Mazzone: TPS has been talking up Purple Jesus since the getgo. After last week, that won't be necessary anymore. Unfortunately, we don't know if it's enough for Major Dad to force feed him the ball or continue to give the chairman, Chester Taylor, the bulk of the touches. Regardless, there's no way Dallas lets Adrian Peterson do what he did to the Bears last week, and Tarvaris Jackson is still pathetic.
Pick: Cowboys -9.5
Durden: I gotta stick with what we’ve been preaching as far as Dallas is concerned, which is: if you can’t beat them through the air, you’re d-u-n. Props to AD for his historic game last week, but it’ll be interesting to see how he follows that up against a Cowboy team who should come back strong after losing to New England. Of course, given the Vikings’ awful pass “attack,” he may not get a chance to do much. Dallas may not get much out of MBIII this game, but look for AT LEAST 3 Romo TDs, 2 TO TDs and 2 Tarvaris INTs.
Pick: Cowboys -9.5
New England @ Miami +17
Mazzone: I've spent all week trying to talk myself into this one. I'm not quite there yet, but by Sunday I should be able to convince myself that the Dolphins will pull off the upset of the century, of the week.
Pick: Ronnie Brown +17
Durden: Here are a couple of quotes that help to explain why/how dismal this season has been for the Dolphins.
- "The season is not half over," first-year coach Cam Cameron said. "My experience is that when you get completely sick and tired of the feeling we have right now, then things will change." (just let us know when you guys are COMPLETELY sick and tired, Cam Cam)
- "It's another step in the right direction, to be able to beat a team that everybody says you're supposed to beat," Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel said. "I talked to the guys all during the week about not underestimating these guys or taking them lightly. To be able to come out and get this win against a team that you're supposed to beat, that's a plus. You've got to be able to do that in this league." (when Romeo Crennel doesn’t need a coin flip to figure out that the Browns are SUPPOSED to beat you, something’s going horribly wrong)
Back to this game though, I’m not picking against the Patriots until they slip up. You were warned that last week’s Patriots game was overhyped, and sure enough, it was. Remember, it’s only a big game in October if Derek Jeter’s hitting into double plays.
Pick: Patriots -17
San Francisco @ Giants -9
Mazzone: San Francisco gives up a lot of sacks. The Giants sack the quarterback a lot. I may not be a football expert, but I know that means Trent Dilfer is in for a long day. I said 6-2 before the bye wasn't out of the question after the slow start by the Giants. It's looking likely, and by season's end they'll be one of the top two teams in the NFC, the media will catch on and we'll hear some Super Bowl contender talk for Eli and company. And it won't be unrealistic.
Pick: Giants -9
Durden: Anyone else tired of this season’s Willis Reed? Plaxico Burress said after Monday night's game that his ankle was so sore on Sunday that he feared he might sit out against Atlanta. It’s been the same story for weeks now, yet he’s still OK to high step his way into the endzone when given the chance. Either Plax is fibbing, or his will alone at this point is good enough to cover the spread. Fortunately for the Giants, it won’t matter with Dilfer behind center for the 49ers.
Pick: Giants -9
Tampa Bay @ Detroit -2.5
Mazzone: I've given zero respect to the Bucs all season, and I can't think of a good reason to start now. Roy Williams should find the end zone twice this week.
Pick: Lions -2.5
Durden: "I learned from Bud Grant that every coach needs three things -- a loyal dog, a faithful wife and a heck of a quarterback. Finally, I've got a guy giving me good, consistent play.'' -Jon Gruden, apparently with a loose interpretation of the word “wife”
Look, I love red-headed QBs as much as the next guy, but come on. The Bucs aren’t that good and we know this. Mike Martz off the bye and at home, should lead to a nice day for the Lions’ offense, as well as Calvin hopefully reminding us that there’s another stud offensive rookie.
Pick: Lions -2.5
Tennessee @ Houston +1.5
Mazzone: Slowly, Houston is slowly getting its offense back from injury. Meanwhile, Vince Young may be out and the Titans have never won a game without Vince Young.
Pick: Texans +1.5
Durden: Not much to say about this game, and hopefully I’ll see even less of it on Sunday. The Titans D is for real, and it’s hard to take the Texans too seriously without Andre, not to mention they made the Jags’ offense look like New England’s last week. Houston’s going to have to do a better job of getting to the QB than they’ve been doing recently to have a shot.
Pick: Titans -1.5
Kansas City @ Oakland -3
Mazzone: If Herman Edwards keeps this up, we may have to start giving him credit for being more than just a motivator and time management specialist. Since I’m not ready to do that…
Pick: Raiders -3
Durden: If the Chargers were in any other AFC Division, there probably would’ve been reason for concern at some point. Luckily for them they’re the Seahawks of the AFC, which means they can (and probably will) all but beg a division rival to take the division, to no avail. Are you excited for this matchup yet? I think I’m going with the team who has the better offense and defense, but I know I’m definitely going with the points.
Pick: Chiefs +3
New York Jets @ Cincy -6
Mazzone: Even if I didn't loathe the Jets, I can't pick them to cover with Pennington bear being prominently involved. Big day in store for Chad Johnson – the second best receiver…on his own team.
Pick: Bengals -6
Durden: Teams must be dying to play the Jets at this point. If there was somehow any doubt that their trip to the playoffs last year was a joke, it’s certainly been removed by now. You guys still aren’t looking to bench or trade Pennington, really??
I’m taking the Bengals, and want to take this opportunity to recommend this article. Definitely check it out.
Pick: Bengals -6
Chicago @ Philly -5
Mazzone: Talk about two unimpressive teams. The Eagles did not look good against the lowly Jets last week, and the Bears couldn’t figure out how to contain the Vikings only weapon – even choosing to kick off to him with the game on the line. East coast bias has me inclined to believe the Eagles are the more likely of the two to “still be good”.
Pick: Eagles -5
Durden: Was anyone else surprised by Philly not putting a beating on the Jets last week? There’s no shame in a 9 point win on the road, and Akers did miss 2 FGs, but I really thought the Eagles’ offense would be good for more than just one TD. I suppose it also helped that Thomas Jones was able to single-handedly keep the Time of Possession close. Whatever it was, I’m going to go with Philly again and continue picking against the Bears. Hopefully we’ll hear some good O-VER-RA-TED chants coming out of the Linc, because people need to stop slurping on Chicago.
Pick: Eagles -5
St. Louis @ Seatlle -9
Mazzone: So far, I’ve had a hard time figuring out when the good Seattle team is going to show up instead of the bad one. Last week, I realized it’s quite possible the good one has been a figment of my imagination this whole time.
Pick: Rams +9
Durden: I’ve made it well known that I hate the Seahawks. They’re impossible to figure out, and insist on underachieving. I was all set to pick against them for the rest of the season until last Sunday afternoon, when I saw the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in a long time. Losing 22-3 late in the 4th quarter to the Ravens, and with Marc Bulger warming up, Gus Frerotte throws yet another incomplete pass on first down. Frerotte starts to come off, but instead of putting in Bulger, St. Louis opts to put in a WR under center. As I’m getting excited to see what kind of trick play they have in store, the Rams kneel out the clock. What?!?!
Scott Linehan, you are a female dog.
Pick: Seahawks -9
Pittsburgh @ Denver +3.5
Mazzone: The Broncos have no business keeping this one close, but there’s only one ROCKtober! Catch the fever!
Pick: Denver +3.5
Durden: Easy money. There’s just very little to like about this Denver team, and I’m more inclined to respect the Steelers off the bye than the Broncos. I expect Above-Average Speed Willie Parker to run wild for 150+ yards, but struggle to score a TD, as per usual. No worries for Pittsburgh though, there are plenty of vultures on that offense.
Pick: Steelers -3.5
Indy @ Jax +3
Mazzone: This is a much bigger game for the Jags than the Colts and there should be some extra energy on prime time. David Garrard is being called a great "game manager", which is one of the most retarded phrases in football, but I'll rant about that some other time. Truth is, he's just been a solid quarterback. MJD finally has the running game going a bit, and the Jags are looking legit. If Peyton and the Colts didn't have two weeks to prepare for this one I'd like the Jags a lot more, but even with a loss here I don't think this is the last you'll hear from them.
Pick: Colts -3
Durden: This week, on “Everyone Forgets This But…,” it’s time to remind readers that everyone forgets this but, the Colts are a different animal at home. To be fair though, while it hasn’t been easy, Indy’s already beaten divisional rivals on the road twice which is something they didn’t do once last season. However, Jacksonville is looking legit and forget about Marvin Harrison being iffy, Tony Ugoh is the real X-factor. If he’s banged up, it could be just enough to slow down the Colts and give the Jags a serious shot to win. Maybe I’m just excited to be excited about a MNF game again, but give me the points.
Pick: Jaguars +3