I was feeling really good about myself last week around 3:30 p.m. Then San Diego blew up at the end, Indy choked against Chicago, TJ threw that late interception and Oakland reminded us why they've been so bad for so many years. Ten and six isn't terrible for Week One, but I have higher standards than that. Let's see if last week's performances are actually indicative of this week's results. On with the picks!
Tennessee at Cincinnati
I honestly think that the Bengals team has completely checked out on Marvin Lewis. This is a team that, like St. Louis, needs a clean sweep from the president's office to the janitor's closet. In the meantime, the AFC's meanest defense should pick up where Baltimore left off last week. Kerry Collins is more than capable as Vince Young's stand-in; he could end up just being his replacement.
Titans 24, Bengals 7 [TEN 24 CIN 7]
Perfect! As I expected, Collins has been named QB from here on out.
New Orleans at Washington
The Saints are once again finding their rhythm on offense, while Jason Campbell struggles to learn another system. Someone needs to tell Dan Snyder that turning over a pro staff every two or three years is a sure-fire recipe for the kind of mediocre football we expect from D.C., where mediocre means you get to serve as leader of the free world.
Saints 30, Skins 20 [WAS 29 NO 24]
Saints have no defense, and Jason Campbell looked much better this week.
Chicago at Carolina
I don't think the Sunday night game was a fluke. I've always though Orton was a better choice at QB than Grossman. Factor in Forte as the featured running back and a healthy Brian Urlacher--my choice right now for defense player of this century--and the Bears are lurking as a potential NFC power again. I don't believe in Carolina, despite what they did in San Diego, because it's clear San Diego was a one-year wonder. That's Norv Turner for you.
Bears 27, Panthers 23 [CAR 20 CHI 17]
How in the world does the Bears defense blow a 17-3 lead. Guh!
Buffalo at Jacksonville
The Bills are a team with no expectations on the rise; the Jaguars are a team with high expectations but not enough talent to fulfill them. Everyone thought bringing Marv Levy back to the front office was a huge mistake, but he's been the architect of successful football in Buffalo before. Besides, I hate Jacksonville. They're my anti-Vikings; I always pick against them.
Bills 21, Jags 17 [BUF 20 JAX 16]
I hate being right all the time, but I said Buffalo would be up and Jax would be down this year.
Green Bay at Detroit
Okay, so Aaron Rodgers played well. Did anyone think he wouldn't? He's been studying under Brett Farve for three years, he was a highly skilled and successful D1 college QB, and the Packers staff gave him a game plan that George W. Bush couldn't screw up. Expect more of the same this week against one of the five worst organizations in the NFL.
Packers 38, Lions 10 [GB 48 DET 25]
Anyone can rock Detroit; let's see how they look next week against Dallas.
Oakland at Kansas City
I'm so old, I remember when this game used to matter.
Chiefs 24, Raiders 7 [OAK 23 KC 8]
Why is Lane Kiffin about to be fired while Herm Edwards is secure?
New York Giants at St. Louis
If the G-Men throw a shutout, can we expect Linehan's resignation next week? No, that would make too much sense. Like Cincinnati, every executive and coach on this team needs to be fired. I'm beginning to wonder if the Rams are doing to St. Louis what they did to Anaheim--suck on purpose to the point where what's left of the fan base doesn't care when they leave. I'm just about there with this perpetually inept regime. This team is just embarrassing.
Giants 41, Rams 0 [NYG 41 STL 13]
A big loss at Seattle will be the end of this inept team. Let's hope so.
Indianapolis at Minnesota
This is like two of my kids coming to me and asking which one I love the best. "Gosh, Minny, I've loved you for almost 30 years, but you've disappointed me so many times. Even so, I've never given up hope for you. And Indy, you've only been with me for a decade, but you've made me so proud with your success. But it seems like you're getting older, and you don't have the same drive to succeed you once did. Aw shucks, it doesn't matter that neither of you will win it all this year. I still love you both. It's just that this week, I love Minny a little bit more."
Vikings 28, Colts 17 [IND 18 MIN 15]
This just in: Gus Frerotte replaces Tarvaris Jackson at QB for rest of season. Hey Vikes: give Daunte Culpepper a call, wouldja?
San Francisco at Seattle
The "I HATE YOUR FREAKING GUTS" bowl. Nice.
Seahawks 17, 49ers 7 [SF 33 SEA 30]
Guess Mike Martz still has some genius in him, eh?
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Tampa's another misfire on my preseason radar. I forgot to read the carbon-14 dating tests on prehistoric QB Jeff Garcia. Now the Bucs' season is in the hands of Brian Griese, a QB so inept that the Chicago Bears released him. That's right--he's not good enough to play QB for Chicago. This game's all about the running backs, so I'm going with the guy who gained an eighth of a mile last week.
Falcons 31, Bucs 19 [TB 24 ATL 9]
I'm so stupid; rookie QBs never have two good games in a row. Dur!
New England at New York Jets
J-E-T-SPYGATE! J-E-T-SPYGATE! J-E-T-SPYGATE! J-E-T-SPYGATE! J-E-T-SPYGATE!
Hey, remember that scene in the classic Prince movie "Purple Rain" where Prince's dad shoots himself in the head, then the next night in the club, Morris Day walks up to Prince and says, "How's the family"? Think Mangini walks up to Belichick and asks, "How's your QB?" ROTFLMFAO!!!
Jets 27, Patriots 13 [NE 19 NYJ 10]
Oh, that Bill Belichick. Sorry, my bad.
Miami at Arizona
I'm feeling it's Kurt Warner's year, y'all. I'm feelin' it big time.
Cardinals 34, Dolphins 16 [ARI 31 MIA 10]
Kurt Warner, MVP 2008; is he legit Hall of Fame candidate if that happens?
San Diego at Denver
Okay, okay, Cutler's the real deal. Even the Eastcoast Sports Promotion Network gets one right every once in awhile. I think Norv Turner loses his job if the Chargers miss the playoffs this year. I also think Mike Shanahan is the most overlooked coach in the league. Did you know he's been in Denver for 14 years? Amazing! That's like 50 years for a normal job.
Broncos 38, Chargers 20 [DEN 39 SD 38]
Stay whiny, San Diego. If you could play "D" the ref wouldn't be an issue.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2008 Superbowl Champions!
Steelers 41, Browns 16 [PIT 10 CLE 6]
What a boring game this was. I fell asleep...literally.
Baltimore at Houston
Bill "Sports Guy" Simmons wants to nickname Joe Flacco "The Chef." I'm good with that. "The Chef is really cookin' tonight in Houston!"
Ravens 24, Texans 14 [game postponed]
Philadelphia at Dallas
Something very strange has happened to me--I like the Dallas Cowboys. No, seriously, I like watching this team. I like Romo, I like T.O. (loved the sprint start celebration), I really like Marion "the Barbarian" Barber, I like Wade Phillips, I even like Jerry Jones and his freaky E.T. facelift. I like Donovan McNabb too, but I don't like Philadelphia. With a fan base that surly and miserable, it's just hard to be on their side. They're like Chicago Cubs fans--you just want to keep them miserable because they'd never really enjoy success; they'd just compare it to their previous lifetime of misery. And yes, I know from experience, Vikings fans are the same way. So, in case you missed it, I've fastened my seat belt on the Dallas bandwagon this year.
Cowboys 31, Eagles 27 [DAL 41 PHI 37]
Best Monday night game I've seen in years. This is why the NFL is the greatest sport on earth.
This week: 8-7
Last week: 10-6
Season: 18-13 (.580)