Saturday convenient weekend morning during the NFL season, we’ll wake up early, take a hearty cut at predicting the unpredictable league, wince at how it went the week before and ponder the definition of insanity.
I don’t know why people are so put off by the 6-6 tie between the Seahawks and Cardinals. I, for one, had no issues with it.
A, Defensive NFL games will always trump Baylor beating East Texas Secretarial Typing Institute 609-602 in 43 overtimes. (Full disclosure: Old guy who doesn’t play Fantasy Football in da house).
B, I didn’t watch it cuz I think the kickers were spraying the crowd with missed field goals about the time my flight from Philadelphia left Monday morning.
And, C, As I was doing triage on my Week 7 picks, the first game that wasn’t a loss was that glorious 1940s-era 6-6 tie. Now, I don’t know how a bookmaker handles a 6-6 tie, and, for now, I’m smart and/or poor enough not to find out. But for purposes here, the tie was celebrated the way the football gods intended them to be: Not a loss.
I went 5-8-1 straight-up and against-the-spread. And if you think that’s bad, I remember my headline a week ago trumpeting something about the Vikings and Browns charging forth to victory against the Eagles and Bengals, respectively. Two double-digit losses later, the headline didn’t look so convincing.
But we march on.
No, I’m not going to extend my research time beyond what it takes Google to do your search. That would be, you know, time-consuming. This is — all together, you analysts out there — a “crazy league.” I personally think it’s also a “coin flip” league.
The best strategy is to put the Patriots at the top of your power rankings, the Browns at the bottom of your power rankings, and then play pin-the-tail-on-the-other-30-similar-looking-donkeys.
This week, the Patriots are back at No. 1. They travel to Buffalo, where they are the week’s biggest favorite (6 1/2 points).
The last time these teams met, the Patriots didn’t have Tom Brady. Something about deflated footballs. I think it was in the news.
The Bills won 16-0 at New England. Brady is back and Bill Belichick’s genius is just evil enough to hold the score down so that his team wins 16-0 on the nose.
Meanwhile, the Browns continue to defy outside optimism in this corner with a Just Be Pathetic and Get Your QB Hurt in the Process, Baby! mantra. They’ll play a game today. Someone will play quarterback. But, really, does it matter when the Indians are one game from the media never inviting them back to Chicago for another Cubs World Series Coronation?
WEEK 8 PICKS
Vikings minus-5 1/2 at Bears: The pick: Vikings 28, Bears 16
Why?: Last week, I went against the gut instinct that it was time for an NFL-type adjustment in which all things going up (Vikings) and all things going down (Eagles) meet somewhere in the middle of the parity pile. Naturally, the Eagles played nothing like they did while losing the previous two weeks, while the Vikings played absolutely nothing like they had while winning their first five games. This week, I sense an angry, determined team that’s primed for an NFL-type bounce back. They’ll play with a faster rhythm in the passing game and continue to dominate defensively. Jay Cutler returns for the Bears, but considering he knows his days in Chicago are numbered, the carefree QB might not care less which team catches his passes.
LAST WEEK: Vikings minus-2 1/2 at Eagles. The pick: Vikings 23, Eagles 20. The result: Eagles 21, Vikings 10. Record: 4-2.
Eagles plus-4 1/2 at Cowboys: The pick: Eagles 24, Cowboys 17
Why?: Do you honestly think the Cowboys are going to continue skipping through their newfound fantasy land with Dak Prescott making the Dak Prescott-or-Tony Romo decision a no-brainer in favor of Dak? This is the NFL. This is Dallas. These are quarterbacks. There’s a whopper of a QB controversy approaching fast off the starboard bow, folks. Brace for impact. At this point, there’s nary a seed of doubt — or there shouldn’t be — that Prescott is The Man in Dallas. The Eagles have the defense to do some planting of doubt when it comes to the other team’s offense.
LAST WEEK: Browns plus-10 1/2 at Cincinnati. The pick: Browns 31, Bengals 30. The result: Bengals 31, Browns 17. Record: 2-4.
Redskins plus-2 1/2 at Bengals: Bengals by 3
Cardinals plus-2 1/2 at Panthers: Panthers by 7
Patriots minus-6 1/2 at Bills: Patriots by 17
Jets minus-3 1/2 at Browns: Jets by 7
Chiefs minus-2 1/2 at Colts: Chiefs by 7
Raiders plus-1 1/2 at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 7
Seahawks minus-2 1/2 at Saints: Seahawks by 3
Lions plus-2 1/2 at Texans: Texans by 10
Chargers plus-5 1/2 at Broncos: Broncos by 7
Packers plus-2 1/2 at Falcons: Falcons by 7
Record (Last week/Season): 5-8-1/49-35-1
Vs. spread (Last week/Season): 5-8-1/40-44-1
CRAIG’S LIST: NFL Power Rankings
1, Patriots (6-1)
2, Cowboys (5-1)
3, Eagles (4-2)
4, Vikings (5-1)
5, Chiefs (4-2)
6, Raiders (5-2)
7, Seahawks (4-1-1)
8, Cardinals (3-3-1)
9, Broncos (5-2)
10, Packers (4-2)
11, Lions (4-3)
12, Chargers (3-4)
13, Falcons (4-3)
14, Dolphins (3-4)
15, Bills (4-3)
16, Redskins (4-3)
17, Giants (4-3)
18, Texans (4-3)
19, Colts (3-4)
20, Steelers (4-3)
21, Buccaneers (3-3)
22, Bengals (3-4)
23, Rams (3-4)
24, Titans (4-4)
25, Jets (2-5)
26, Ravens (3-4)
27, Saints (2-4)
28, Jaguars (2-5)
29, Panthers (1-5)
30, Bears (1-6)
31, 49ers (1-6)
32, Browns (0-7)