Last week: 7-7-1
Chiefs at Falcons
Where to begin with the Chiefs? After carrying 12 times for 22 yards last week, running back Larry Johnson thought it was a good time to whine about not getting enough touches. Meanwhile, Tyler Thigpen wins the award for most unrecognizable NFL quarterback of my lifetime. I mean it. I write an NFL blog and I wouldn't know Thigpen if he walked into my living room with a Chiefs jersey on. And finally, to see just how bad things have gotten for Kansas City, check out the poll on The Kansas City Star's Web site. It asks Which Chiefs game do you believe will get the first TV blackout? Not good.
The pick: Falcons (-6.5)
Raiders at Bills
Let's continue with our theme of franchises in shambles. I understand Oakland defensive lineman Tommy Kelly wanting to celebrate after the Raiders' win last week. After all, he may only get another three or four chances to do so all season. I don't understand him getting a DUI. The guy's offseason contract included over $18 million in guaranteed money. I know cabs aren't cheap Tommy, but I think you could have splurged, just this once. Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin is still the coach as of this posting. But that could change at any minute here.
The pick: Raiders (+9.5)
Bengals at Giants
The Bengals are not your usual terrible team. They have a quarterback in Carson Palmer, who as recently as 2005, threw 32 touchdowns. They have receivers in Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who are as good as any duo in the league on paper. And they have a coach in Marvin Lewis who was the defensive coordinator for the 2000 Ravens, one of the best defenses of this era. For those reasons, I don't think teams take them as lightly as they usually would. And for those reasons, the Giants will cover the huge line.
The pick: Giants (-13.5)
Texans at Titans
Time for MC's pick of the week.
Tennessee should shred Houston on the ground on their way to an easy home win.
There you have it.
The pick: Titans (-5)
Cardinals at Redskins
Between what I've heard about the Charles Haley anecdotes in the Cowboys book Boys will be Boys and Chris Cooley's blogging mistake, I wonder if we'd be better off not knowing our athletes so, ahem, intimately. I'll just leave it at that.
The pick: Redskins (-3)
Dolphins at Patriots
The Patriots have won 18 straight regular-season games, but Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter is predicting a Miami victory. Smart move. If last week is any indication, the Patriots are going to rely on their defense and put Matt Cassel in manageable situations. That means this is too many points.
The pick: Dolphins (+12.5)
Bucs at Bears
For all you Eagles fans who complain about Donovan McNabb, take a look at this game. Both Tampa and Chicago are potential playoff teams, and their starting quarterbacks are Brian Griese and Kyle Orton, respectively. Things could be much worse.
The pick: Bears (-3)
Panthers at Vikings
You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a more disastrous start for the Vikings. After first telling us how much Tarvaris Jackson had improved, they then made a play for Brett Favre in the offseason. After coming up short, they went with Jackson to start Week 1. Now it's Week 3 and Gus Frerotte gets the call. Oh, and by the way, Adrian Peterson is nursing an injured hamstring.
The pick: Panthers (+3.5)
Rams at Seahawks
Will this finally be the year the Seahawks don't win the NFC West? I'm not convinced just yet, but maybe I should be. Not a good sign when you blow a two-touchdown lead at home to J.T. O'Sullivan. Luckily for the Seahawks, the Rams, who have allowed 79 points in two weeks, are coming to town.
The pick: Seahawks (-9.5)
Lions at 49ers
Because of this gig as an NFL blogger, I sometimes get friends and family asking me for fantasy football advice. However, two weeks in, I'm a combined 2-4 in my three leagues and am starting the aformentioned O'Sullivan at quarterback this week. It's fair to say I've reached a new low.
The pick: 49ers (-4)
Saints at Broncos
I loved how everyone gushed over Mike Shanahan's decision to go for two and get the win last week against the Chargers. How many of these people would have ripped him had the Broncos come up short? I just want consistency here, people. And one thing no one has mentioned when discussing that decision -- the Denver 'D' was atrocious. The Chargers scored on six straight drives from the end of the second quarter to the end of the fourth. If the Broncos lost the coin toss in OT, the game was over.
The pick: Saints (+5.5)
Steelers at Eagles
As Bob Brookover noted in Birds' Eye View yesterday, the Eagles have lost 14 straight games against AFC playoff teams. Pretty incredible stat. But keep in mind that the Steelers were not a great road team last season, going 3-5 away from Heinz Field, including losses to Arizona, the Jets and Baltimore. It feels like we're still talking Eagles-Cowboys, and it's Friday with a possible Super Bowl team coming to town. That doesn't seem right.
The pick: Steelers (+3)
Jaguars at Colts
This stat has been repeated a hundred times, but I like it anyway. Quarterback David Garrard has thrown three interceptions in two games. He threw three interceptions all of last season (325 attempts). And Jacksonville's rushing attack? It's averaging 3.0 yards per carry after averaging an AFC-best 4.6 a year ago. As for the Colts, Peyton Manning led a rally last weekend against the Vikings, but if I'm an Indy fan, I'm more concerned about the rushing attack. 78 yards and 2.3 yards per carry through two games. Not good.
The pick: Colts (-5.5)
Browns at Ravens
I think I'd like to start a new feature with the weekly picks: The Rip of the Week. I'll look for a columnist around the country who rips into a team, player, owner, etc. This week's award goes to Bill Livingston of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland who slams receiver Braylon Edwards. Here's an excerpt:
One week, he's ready for bronzing in Canton. The next, he's Quincy Morgan. Outwardly confident, Edwards shuns interviews when in a slump. It's not a good sign when a player leaves it up to his teammates to defend him. Yet there was quarterback Derek Anderson in midweek, talking about how a "wind shift" caused his interception in the second quarter against Pittsburgh on a long pass. But Edwards didn't make much of an effort to knock the ball down.
There's more. I suggest reading the whole column. As for the game, the Ravens have been off for two weeks. Look for special teams to make the difference in this one -- either John Harbaugh's unit comes up with a big play or Browns return man Joshua Cribbs (if healthy) takes one back. He's killed the Ravens in the past.
The pick: Ravens (-2)
Cowboys at Packers
Remember how Jason Witten killed the Birds in the second half Monday night? He did so with a slightly separated left shoulder. Is it just me, or did they completely miss this on the broadcast? Didn't ESPN have like eight reporters covering the game? I don't get it. By the way, the Philadelphia media always gets a bad rap for being too tough on its athletes. How about this blog entry on the Dallas Morning News' Web site that wonders whether the Cowboys are better off with Roy Williams being injured? Ouch.
The pick: Cowboys (-3)
Note: The Monday night pick will come Monday. Lines used are from sportsbook.com.