Last week: 11-5
Panthers at Falcons
Worst nickname in professional sports goes to Falcons running back Michael Turner. According to ajc.com, defensive end John Abraham has started calling him Michael "The MARTA" Turner. If you're confused right now, don't worry. You're not the only one. I had to look it up. MARTA stands for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. I couldn't make this up if I tried. So basically this would be the equivalent to Correll "The SEPTA" Buckhalter. Somehow I don't think that would catch on. I think The MARTA and the Falcons go down this week.
The pick: Panthers (-6.5)
Bills at Rams
Signs of an unstable franchise: You've been outscored 116-29 over the first three weeks of the season. You signed your quarterback to a five-year, $65M contract in the offseason and then benched him before Week 4. And you're running back, who was a holdout before the start of the season, blasts the decision. Yeah, I think I'm going to go with the Bills in this one.
The pick: Bills (-8)
Broncos at Chiefs
Denver has scored 41, 39 and 34 points respectively in their first three games. Defensively, the Broncos have given up 70 points in their past two games, and they only have five sacks on the season. With Damon Huard back in the driver's seat at QB for Kansas City, take the points at home. (Did I just write that?)
The pick: Chiefs (+10)
Browns at Bengals
Cincinnati finally showed signs of life in an overtime loss to the Giants in Week 3, but Carson Palmer is questionable for this one. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, things are falling apart. The calls for Brady Quinn to start and for Romeo Crennel to leave are getting louder. I'm sure the networks are pumped that they get the Browns on national TV four more times.
The pick: Browns (+3.5)
Texans at Jaguars
You know things are bad when fans are calling for Sage Rosenfels to save the season. The Texans will be sticking with Matt Schaub, however, as they look for their first win. Don't expect that to come this week though. The Jags build off last week's Indy win in a blowout.
The pick: Jaguars (-7)
49ers at Saints
Here's MC's pick of the week. By the way, to clarify, I give MC a game to pick each week. He doesn't get to choose. Last week he got off the schnide and is 1-2 on the season:
I'm not confident that JT O'Sullivan can do enough on the road to keep up with the Saints' offense. The Saints should take this one in a shootout.
The pick: Saints (-5)
Cardinals at Jets
Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was 8 when Brett Favre threw his first NFL pass. The starters at quarterback in this one are a combined 75 years old. The Jets are coming off a blowout loss to the Chargers on Sunday night, while the Cardinals went down against the Redskins. Meanwhile, Arizona stayed in the D.C. area this week to practice, rather than fly back to Arizona. That's gotta be annoying for players.
The pick: Jets (-1.5)
Vikings at Titans
Gus Frerotte and Kerry Collins in a meaningful game? What year is it -- 1995?
The pick: Titans (-3)
Packers at Bucs
New feature here at MTC. As many of you undoubtedly know, The Office returned last night for another season on NBC. And each week when I make these picks on Friday, there's at least one game that I don't have much to say about. Rather than bore you with a meaningless stat, we're going to give you an episode recap of The Office from my buddy C-Nast. If you don't care about The Office or have the episode DVR'd, scroll down to the next game. If you think this is a lame attempt for me to get my friends to write my blog for me, you're probably right. In any event, here is the episode recap:
What happened: The fifth season opened with questions surrounding Jan’s pregnancy, the Angela-Andy-Dwight love triangle and Jim and Pam’s engagement status. While there wasn’t much progress on the first two storylines (except for several warehouse rendezvous between Angela and Dwight), Jim dropped the bomb and finally proposed to Pam -- at a gas station somewhere between Scranton and New York City, of all places.
So Jim and Pam are engaged, and on top of that, Ryan is again a Dunder Mifflin temp, Michael rocked a goatee and stayed “friends” with new HR rep Holly, and Toby broke his neck in Costa Rica.
Packed with potential storyline threads, “The Office” season premiere didn’t disappoint. But I do think the hour-long episodes tend to include some pretty random clips (Examples: Michael and Holly rapping and Phyllis wondering what people think of her body).
Grade: B+ -- The humor wasn’t the best, but Jim’s proposal was a shocker.
Quote of the Week, from Dwight: “I’m going to randomly select three names, and these three people will get liposuction. Umm… Stanley, Phyllis, Kevin. And you will be responsible for your own medical bills.”
The pick: Packers (+1)
Redskins at Cowboys
I'm hearing nothing but great stories from Jeff Pearlman's book Boys Will Be Boys, which talks about the Aikman-Emmitt-Irvin teams. I don't know if I can really bring myself to read a book about the Cowboys, but this stuff sounds pretty intriguing. SI.com's Peter King notes that the book reports that Barry Switzer's liquor tab during the week leading up to the Super Bowl was $100,000. That's quite a few gin and tonics.
The pick: Redskins (+11)
Eagles at Bears
Blog reader Bob asks:
Could we see DeSean Jackson starting along with Kevin Curtis in later weeks? If anyone deserves critique, it's Reggie Brown.
I would think Jackson would have to remain a starter, given what he's shown in the first three weeks. Don't forget, Curtis and Brown have already been injured so the chances of having all three guys healthy for an extended period of time might not be that night. I did think it was interesting to hear WIP interview ex-Eagles receiver Fred Barnett earlier this week. Barnett said it if was him, he'd bring Jackson in as the third receiver when Curtis and Brown are both healthy.
The pick: Eagles (-3)
Chargers at Raiders
The YouTube clip of the week comes from insidebayarea.com. ProFootballTalk's explanation of the incident where Raiders executive John Herrera confronts reporter Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:
By way of background, someone from the Raiders distributed to members of the local media last week a hard copy of an ESPN.com article that was critical of Kiffin. It is widely believed that Herrera is the person who distributed the article, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday that the article was disseminated at the express direction of Al Davis.
And the video...
The pick: Chargers (-7.5)