Last week we learned that both Vince Young (6/14 42 yards, 7 rushes - 11 yards, 1 fumble) AND Quinn Gray (7/16 100 yards, TD, 3 rushes - 0 yards, 1 fumble) just win football games! We also saw both of your TPS writers come in above .500 for the second consecutive week.
Unfortunately, my 7-6 wasn’t even close to enough to keep pace with Durden’s 10-3. His season record is now at a very respectable 60-49-7 and he has a comfortable 10 cheeseburger lead over me.
The good news for me: The Dolphins can’t lose this week and since it’s the biggest event in the history of the entire world, *the Patriots/Colts game will be worth 10 games in the win column
*Note – only applicable if the Colts cover.
Someone told Bill Cowher about the bounty that the guys at KSK put on Tom Brady, hopefully defenders were listening too.
With Miami on a bye, in honor of Durden coming off a 10-3 week, and Baltimore in an important prime time matchup, we're donning Raven purple and black this week.
Alright, let's do it.
WAS @ NYJ +3.5
Mazzone: Not only did the Jets lose Vilma, but last week we saw why it took so long for the Mangina to give up on Pennington. Kellen Clemens against the Bills: 5/12, 67 yards, 2 INTs. It’s not getting any easier.
Pick: Redskins -3.5
Durden: I was appalled that the Patriots would pull Brady from last week’s game, so they could insert Cassel and further embarrass Washington. I really think it’s time to question New England’s sportsmanship if they’re going to continue with those kind of antics. As for the Redskins, I still don’t think they’re a bad football team. I’m willing to forget last week, and while it’s possible that they’re not very good, we KNOW the Jets are awful.
Pick: Redskins -3.5
SF @ ATL -3
Mazzone: Week 8 I mentioned how the Niners should be winless and then went ahead and picked them anyway. What kind of role model would I be to all the kids coming to TPS for gambling advice if I didn’t teach them to learn from their mistakes?
Pick: Falcons -3
Durden: The Falcons seem to be awfully shocked that Grady Jackson was released. Really though? If I worked with a guy who was fat, lazy and suing our company, I don’t know that I’d be very shocked if he got fired. However, while there are obvious concerns that the team may have quit on Joey and Petrino, I’m still going to go with the Falcons. They’re coming off a bye, and more importantly, the 49ers have been that bad.
Pick: Falcons -3
ARI @ TB -3.5
Mazzone: If I wasn’t starting Earnest Graham and Anquan Boldin on my fantasy team this week I’d be perfectly ok with this game not happening. Tampa’s been winning at home, the Cards usually lose on the road, it’s not rocket science but I’m ready to be done with this game so it works for me. In unrelated news, Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen?! What?! Doesn’t he get depressed when he sees the twins together? Oh right, like you weren’t thinking of your own one testicle joke.
Pick: Bucs -3.5
Durden: I will not pretend to have either of these teams figured out. It’s hard not to like the Cards though, fresh and healthier off the bye, while the Bucs continue to crash back down to Earth. I think these are two teams at/around .500, heading in opposite directions, that will both end up at .500 Told you I haven’t figured them out.
Pick: Cardinals +3.5
GB @ KC -2.5
Mazzone: What the hell is this? I hate when I see a line like this, I feel like Vegas knows the game is fixed. The 6-1 Packers are underdogs against the 4-3 Chiefs that have allowed more points than they scored and have one mildly impressive win to their resume (the Chargers were a different team back then, but I'll count it anyway). I’m going to be so annoyed when the Chiefs win.
Pick: Packers +2.5
Durden: Good news Packer haters! I’ve been pretty accurate about GB this season, even predicting the spin on last week’s victory, with ESPN literally praising Favre’s “magic” in their Tuesday morning headline. After all, his 82yd throw-and-catch to himself for the game-winning TD in OT was mighty impressive. However, this week I actually feel good about the Packers slipping up. The Chiefs are at home, off the bye, and the Pack is simply due to not get all the breaks in a game.
Finally, the winner of this week’s Worst Brett Favre Slurping Award goes to ESPN’s John Clayton. It was a tough week with the Packers being on MNF, and the award would have gone to Tony Kornheiser for his pre-game introduction, but he was disqualified because it was so long that it wouldn’t fit on this site. Therefore, Clayton prevailed over his media brethren with the following: “For those wondering about Favre, the gunslinger is still packing.” Um, thanks John. Pick: Chiefs -2.5
CIN @ BUF PK
Mazzone: As excited as I was that the Bills finally completed their go-to play that I outlined earlier in the year (Losman blind heave to Lee Evans, hope he comes down with it and out runs everyone), I still can’t back J.P. Losman’s impeachment of Trent Edwards.
Pick: Bengals PK
Durden: I can’t believe it’s come to this for the Bengals. The only thing that surprised me more than this game being a pick’em, was that I then started to give it thought, before actually settling on the Bills. TJ Houshmandzadeh sums it up pretty well:
Trailing 14-3 to the Steelers last week, the Bengals drove to a 4th and 1 from just inside the 2yd line with 2:16 left in the first half. They needed about 2 feet. They looked like they were going to go for it and then Lewis called time-out to talk about it. Then he sent in the field goal unit. The players were understandably shocked. "It's like telling a kid he can have some candy and then saying, 'Um, not right now,' " wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. “That's why they're 5-2 and we're 2-5. Good teams put it in the end zone. Teams like us kick field goals."
Meanwhile, the Bills players are getting what they want, which is Losman back in at QB. Ordinarily, I could care less, but I’m excited that he’s back after they tried to bench him to avoid paying him bonuses. It has all the makings of something Buffalo will rally around, for the win.
Pick: Bills PK
SD @ MIN +7
Mazzone: America’s Team is on fire right now and not even Major Dad benching Tarvaris Jackson, feeding the ball to Purple Jesus, or signing Jeff George could stop them.
Pick: Chargers -7
Durden: We’ve told you the Vikings can’t stop the pass. You really think they’re going to stop Vincent Jackson and company from coming into town and doing some serious damage? Let’s be serious. Plus, Minnesota still hasn’t convinced people they can score, or even utilize AD properly. This spread should be higher.
Pick: Chargers -7
DEN @ DET -3
Mazzone: A heartbreaker on Monday Night Favre for the Broncos, but they shouldn’t have expected anything less. Cutler makes just enough plays each game to make you think he could be really good. That should be no different against a Lions pass defense giving up roughly 260 yards a game in the air. Of course, the flip side is that Jay The Snake makes his fair share of awful decisions/passes that leave you shaking your head. I was all set to pick the Lions thanks to winning the turnover battle, at least until Kitna APOLOGIZED for being funny and having a hilarious Halloween costume. I bet Jay Cutler has balls, at least.
Pick: Broncos +3
Durden: I’ve liked this Lions team, and that was before I found out they had a sense of humor. No, I’m not referring to them pouring Gatorade on Rod Marinelli after they beat the Bucs last week (true story, by the way). I’m talking about Jon Kitna’s Halloween costume this year. All jokes aside, I made up my mind a few weeks ago and decided I wouldn’t be fooled by the Broncos any longer. In fact, I’d even recommend the Lions to those of you still alive in Survivor/Survival pools, as most of you have probably burned the Chargers by now.
Pick: Lions -3
CAR @ TEN -4
Mazzone: The Panthers haven’t lost on the road this season. Vince Young hasn’t lost…ever.
Pick: Vince Young -4
Durden: This one’s a no-brainer, and it has nothing to do with Vince Young. Not only are the Panthers unsettled on who their QB is, but once they make up their mind, it’s either going to be David Carr or Vinny Testaverde. Making matters worse, if Carolina decides to force the run, they’ll be doing so against the league’s top-rated run defense. Somehow, the Panthers have lost every game at home, and are undefeated on the road. I can’t imagine that disturbing truth will continue to hold true after Sunday.
Pick: Titans -4
JAC @ NO -3.5
Mazzone: This’ll be a good test for the Saints offense to see if they are actually back or were just preying on weak teams. I mentioned how the Jags D was playing well, but hadn’t been forcing turnovers. Last week, they were able to intercept Jeff Garcia three times at critical moments to fend off the Bucs and overcome the handicap that is Quinn Gray. Should be a nice little game, and I’m excited for the continued re-emergence of Hofstra, even though he annihilated my fantasy team last week.
Pick: Saints -3.5
Durden: We let you down picking against the Jags in week 8, but the Saints came through as they continued to look good against bad teams. I maintain that they’ll trick people into getting excited, and this could actually be their most difficult game left on the schedule seriously, look. I really don’t know what to make of this game, so I’m going to pick against Quinn Gray on the road again. I also don’t think Brees will give Jacksonville the game this week, as Jeff Garcia did last week. Beware of the Saints though, any success this season will be more a function of their schedule than anything else.
Pick: Saints -3.5
SEA @ CLE -1
Mazzone: I can’t believe the NFL scheduled so many other games the same day as the Super Bowl. Seahawks get their starting receivers back and I think that, combined with the Browns lousy defense will be enough to jump start the offense.
Pick: Seahawks +1
Durden: I was initially inclined to pick the Browns here, but a couple of things swayed me. First, the Browns haven’t beaten a truly talented team yet. Also, an already bad Browns defense will be without Ted Washington and D’Qwell Jackson, two of their better defenders. Finally, and most importantly, the Seahawks always seem to perform opposite how I expect them to. Let’s face it, Seattle is going to back into the playoffs again, but they still need a few more wins before they can do so. This will be one of them.
Pick: Seahawks +1
HOU @ OAK -3
Mazzone: Even the “fans” of these teams are trying to get the game blacked out so they can watch Pats/Colts. Schaub is still woozy from last week, but Sage Rosenfels is actually the perfect fit for the Texans right now. Since the offense is made up of 2nd and 3rd stringers he should have great chemistry with them. There’s not really a convincing argument for either team, so two things swayed me. One, last week two bad teams played and I took the home team and the three points, and lost. Two, the Texans have the Nigerian Jedi - Adimchinobe Wan Kenobi Echemandu.
Pick: Texans +3
Durden: The game that no one wants to watch! In Houston, people are writing and pleading that the Patriots/Colts game be shown. In Oakland, people are hoping enough people don’t go to the game, so that it will be blacked out locally and they can watch the Game of the Century as well. What? No one wants to watch Sage Rosenfels vs Josh McCown?! I bet that would change if they advertised it as the Gus Johnson game. Anyways, I want to get to that Patriots game, so give me the Raiders game.
Pick: Raiders -3
NE @ IND +6
Mazzone: You’ve heard all there is to hear about this game by now. Maybe I’m being stubborn, or letting my hatred for the Pats get the best of me, but I’m going with the undefeated, defending Super Bowl Champions… at home…plus 6 points.
Pick: Colts +6
Durden: Here it is, The Game of the Millennium of the Week AKA The Apocalypse. Funny thing is, I’ve been saying for weeks that the Patriots will beat everyone by at least 10 points, yet I’m still eagerly anticipating this game. As a Brady fantasy owner, I really can’t complain that they’re blatantly disrespecting each of their opponents, but I did tell Mazzone last week that it was a matter of time before someone went after Brady. Fortunately for the Patriots, they have 3 of the league’s dirtiest players on their roster, in Rodney Harrison, Mike Vrabel and Vincent Wilfork. Back to this game, I have to admit that I actually underestimated the Colts coming into this season, but I still don’t think they’re in the same class as the 2007 Patriots. As Coach Reilly once said: "It's not worth winning, if you can't win BIG." So…
Pick: Patriots -6
DAL @ PHI +3
Mazzone: While we all certainly wish flex scheduling was in effect and the NE/Indy game was moved to this slot, at least we still get a fun matchup on Sunday night. These games are always entertaining, especially in front of the raucous Philly crowd. It’d be nice to see the McNabb from early last season show up for this one in prime time, but nothing suggests he will so I’ve gotta go with the better team.
Pick: Cowboys -3
Durden: A judge who sentenced Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid's sons to jail on Thursday likened the coach's home to "a drug emporium" and questioned whether his adult sons should live there. I know Reid isn’t around a lot, but do you really need your parents to tell you not to smuggle drugs up your butt into jail? I don’t even know what the thought process could’ve been like, but it should’ve ended immediately upon introducing his anus into the equation. Speaking of assholes, you just know TO is looking to go off on Sunday Night Football, and I fully expect him to break out the Eagle in the endzone.
Pick: Cowboys -3
BAL @ PIT -9
Mazzone: I’m gonna step aside for Durden on this one as I'm sure he'll have plenty to say…
Pick: Ravens +9
Durden: As you should know by now, I don’t shy away from being objective about the Ravens. I’ve readily admitted when I’ve thought they’ve been too strongly favored, but this is one of those rare times, when I actually think they’re not being given enough credit. I know they’re only 4-3 and not better than their record, but this is the game they’ve had circled on their calendar since the season began. They went as far as to rest multiple players vs Buffalo before the Bye Week (which backfired as I feared), so that they would be as fresh as possible.
Basically, this game is the season if the Ravens are going to even pretend they have a shot at making some noise this season. I know it’s only Week 9, but their remaining schedule is absolutely brutal, and they’ve all rallied around this game. I have no idea where the points are going to come from since Stevie Wonder will be back under center, but I do have faith that they can contain Pittsburgh’s offense. In case you’ve forgotten, this is what happened the last time the Ravens went to Heinz Field .
Do the Steelers deserve to be favored? Absolutely. But the Steelers are also in for a fight, and unless they completely blow the Ravens out, they’re not covering. I guarantee that Little Ben hasn’t forgotten what the Ravens did to him last year (as you’ll see below), but who knows, maybe he’ll play an entire game against Baltimore for the first time in his career. It’s only his 7th career game vs the Ravens, but it’s about time he stick around to complete a losing effort.
Pick: Ravens +9