I won the A League last week - my fourth straight win - thanks to Randy Moss's Monday night heroics. I have scored 50 points more than anyone else and that $300 dollar prize is looking pretty attainable.
I went a whopping 9-1 in the Yahoo/ESPN leagues, thanks to a heavy dose of Matt Forte, Malcolm Floyd, and the Lions defense. (I drafted the Steelers in almost every league, and picked up Detroit as a bye replacement in 6 leagues. They scored between 27-47 points, depending on the scoring system). I lost the dumb B League and am now 2-3.
Now... the bad news. I was 6-8 on my picks against the spread. And I might have the flu.
But I'm not beating myself up too much about the picks. I mean, the Cardinals beat the Saints outright thanks to 3 defensive touchdowns, the Raiders beat San Diego outright thanks to two blocked punts, and the Bears beat Carolina despite Todd Collins throwing 4 interceptions and just 6 completions. The Packers lost to Washington in OT because everyone wearing green got hurt, the Bengals lost because Ochocinco let a perfect pass bounce of his hands which would have put Cincinnati in field goal range in a tied game but instead was picked off and run back 40 yards to set up a winning field goal for Tampa instead, and Buffalo lost to Jacksonville despite going up 10-0 in the first 4 minutes.
Lots of stupid, fluky games.
San Fran lost again, thanks to 5 turnovers and 10 penalties. And the Vikings (as well as the Cowboys) fell to 1-3. Considering those three teams are LOADED with talent on BOTH sides of the ball and are a combined 2-11, I'd say this season is pretty dang bizarre.
Season: 42-34 against the spread
Lock of the Week: 3-2
Upset of the Week: 3-2
Lions Picks: 3-2
Let's jump into the week 6 picks, shall we?
Seahawks @ Bears
Predicted Line: Chicago by 4
Actual Line: Chicago by 7
Don't really want to pick either team. Seattle is terrible on the road (11-25 ATS since 2006) but Jay Cutler has been terrible when he's favored by 7 or more (he's 3-7 ATS). Come to think of it, when has Jay Cutler not been terrible?
Both of these teams have similar weaknesses - bad offensive lines, bad secondaries. Both teams are solid against the run though (Seattle ranks 2nd, Chicago is 4th), which should make this an aeiral affair. And in that case, I gotta take the Bears +7; remarkably, Chicago will be 5-1.
Ravens @ Patriots
Predicted Line: NE by 3
Actual Line: NE by 3
It will probably be said often on Sunday that Bill Belichick has not lost following a bye week since 2002. But it should be noted that 4 of those 7 games were against Buffalo. And this year's Pats simply aren't as good as Patriots teams from the past decade, especially with the swap of Randy Moss for Deion Branch.
Baltimore is simply a better team than New England right now. They can run the ball, stop the run, and rush the passer. New England can't do any of those three things. That might have something to do with why Baltimore beat the snot out of New England in the 2009 playoffs.
I know New England has a certain Hall of Fame quarterback and is playing at home, but Tom Brady isn't the same QB he was 2 years ago. I will take the Ravens -3. Call it a gut feeling.
Lions @ Giants
Predicted Line: NY by 6.5
Actual Line: NY by 10
This line seems a little high considering Detroit has been competitive in every game this season. Of course, Vegas realizes that it's only a matter of time before the Lions lose by 4 touchdowns, and a road game against the NFC East seems appropriate.
Here are some matchups to keep an eye on:
Justin Tuck vs. Jeff Backus - huge advantage for the Giants. Hill will be running for his life all day.
Corey Webster/Antrel Rolle vs. Calvin Johnson (who might not play anyway) - Webster is secretly a good shutdown corner and Rolle is one of the league's best coverage safeties. They'll double team Calvin together and force Hill to check down to Best and the tight ends. Which is okay with me.
Ndamukong Suh vs. Chris Snee - A few years ago, Snee was named the strongest player in the NFL. He's been an elite offensive guard, particularly in run blocking, for about a decade. This is Suh's toughest challenge of the season. And the first time he won't be double teamed.
Eli Manning vs. Lions secondary - This is an awful matchup because Eli has THREE talented, young receivers. Our only hope at stopping Eli is the pass rush.
Obviously New York has loads more talent than the Lions, is better coached, and is at home. They'll win this game, and Eli and Bradshaw will both have huge games. I want to think Detroit can keep it within 10, but if I had to bet, I'd go with New York.
Falcons @ Eagles
Predicted Line: Philly by 2
Actual Line: Philly by 2.5
Atlanta is simply a better team, especially on defense. Should be a big day for Michael Turner. I like the Falcons.
Browns @ Steelers
Predicted Line: Pittsburgh by 13
Actual Line: Pittsburgh by 13.5
With noodle-armed Colt McCoy starting his first career game at Heinz Field against a defense with no less than 7 Pro Bowl players, there's no reason to think the Browns offense will gain more than 50 yards in this contest.
Maybe Josh Cribbs will do something and keep it close? I don't know. It's not a question of whether or not McCoy will throw a pick-six, it's a question of how many? I'll guess three.
Dolphins @ Packers
Predicted Line: Pack by 6
Actual Line: Pack by 3
Breaking news: Aaron Rodgers is playing! So ... why is Green Bay only favored by 3 at home? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I know they were hit with some big injuries, but they still have Charles Woodson who can clamp down on Marshall in this game, and Rodgers still has his top two receivers. I'm just not quite understanding this line. I'll go with the Packers.
Chargers @ Rams
Predicted Line: SD by 7
Actual Line: SD by 8
The line seems a little high considering how much San Diego stinks on the road, but Rivers is playing just too well right now to even think about this game being close. Especially considering that holdout left tackle Marcus McNeil makes his return, and sends the LT Brandyn Dombroswki over to RT, and makes the Chargers offensive line just that much better.
Steven Jackson is the best thing St. Louis has going for them, but if this game gets out of hand early, and it might, then Jackson's role will be reduced. I'll go with the Bolts.
Saints @ Bucs
Predicted Line: NO by 4
Actual line: NO by 4
This line is too low considering the differential in talent. I know Tampa is playing surprisingly better than expected, and New Orleans is playing surprisingly worse than expected, but come on. 4 points? This is Drew Brees we're talking about. I'll take the Saints and make it the Lock of the Week.
Chiefs @ Texans
Predicted Line: HOU by 4.5
Actual Line: HOU by 4.5
Toughest game to call. I still have no idea if KC is for real. I'm gonna go with my gut and say Houston wins big.
Raiders @ 49ers
Predicted Line: SF by 3
Actual Line: SF by 6.5
Shoot. What kind of 0-5 team gets favored by a touchdown? It's unbelievable how San Fran is still riding the wave of overratedness from the preseason.
That said, I am quite certain the 49ers will finally get their first win. It's sheer desperation time. Mike Singletary and Alex Smith will both lose their jobs if they start out 0-6. But for San Fran to win in blowout fashion would surprise me, and thus I hate the line; so I'll take Oakland -6.5.
Jets @ Broncos
Predicted Line: NYJ by 3
Actual Line: NYJ by 3
For some reason, I think this matchup really suits the Broncos.
Firstly, New York played a Monday nighter in the rain last week, so they're coming off a short week of practice and an emotional national TV game.
Secondly, I'm always wary of East Coast teams flying to the West, and I'm especially wary when people start calling Mark Sanchez an MVP candidate.
Thirdly, this matchup stinks for the Jets because they can't lock Revis on Denver's top WR, because Denver truly has no top receiver. Orton will throw to everybody. That's why he's having such a magical season.
Fourthly, I just think all this 'LaDanian Tomlinson has found the fountain of youth' talk is a bunch of bull.
I'll pick the Broncos and call it the Upset of the Week.
Cowboys @ Vikings
Predicted Line: Minn by 3
Actual Line: Minn by 1.5
Definite game of the week. Neither team can afford to lose. I wish I had time to break this game down like crazy, but it's already Saturday (I was out of commission most of the week with flu-like symptoms).
I want to just take Minnesota because they're at home and that's the safe pick, but I don't think homefield advantage means much in this game. Brett Favre doesn't really believe in loyalty so I don't think the fans really matter to him. I think this game comes down to nothing less than determination, will to win, and grinding it out. If either team had a great coach that would factor into the decision, but both coaches are uber-goobers.
There's so much freaking talent involved in this game I don't even know where to start. Both teams have top 3 players at defensive tackle (Williams, Ratliff); both teams have top 3 pass rushers in the NFL (Ware, Allen); both teams have top 5 overall offensive lines in the NFL; both teams have top 5 receivers (Moss, Austin); both teams have great tight ends; both teams have great receiver depth; both teams have great running games; both teams have Pro Bowlers in the secondary; both teams have solid linebackers.
I mean honestly, why aren't both of these teams 4-0? It's truly perplexing. I guess it just goes to show the negative affect of drama and distraction.
So which team is less drama-distracted right now? That's got to be Dallas. I'll take Dallas.
Colts @ Redskins
Predicted Line: Indy by 5.5
Actual Line: Indy by 3
This line is psycHotic. Does Vegas just want to give money away?!? All Peyton Manning has to do is win by 3? Isn't his career record something like 180-15? Isn't he 35-0 all time on night games? What am I missing here? Isn't this the easiest pick of the month? I am changing my Lock of the Week to Colts +3.
Titans @ Jags
Predicted Line: Titans by 2
Actual Line: Titans by 2
It's hard to believe that both teams are 3-2 considering how much better the Titans are than the Jaguars. But this is Monday night, and the Jaguars only play hard when people are watching. Which means divisional games and night games. And this is both.
So ... it might be a fun game and more competitive than people expect. But I'll still take the Titans.Enjoy week 6 folks. Go Lions.