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Week Two Picks

September 17th, 2004

How many times do I have to warn you not to listen to me? People who listen to me lose money. Of course, people who don’t listen to me also lose money. Wanna know why? ‘Cause no one who’s listening to me or not listening to me is a bookie or a casino operator. Gambling is losing. Still, if you must, here’s how I see ’em.

Carolina (+6) at Kansas City
If there were any chance Carolina would avoid the post-Super Bowl season swoon, it went away in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game, when Steve Smith was lost for six to eight (if not the whole season). Then Stephen Davis went down for a two to five. Color the Panthers done. Take the Chiefs and give the points without worrying about it for a second.

Chicago (+8.5) at Green Bay
Detroit may well be a better team than anyone thought. So maybe the Bears didn’t lose their home opener because they’re bad, but because the Lions are good. And Green Bay is working on a short week. So, you know, maybe think about taking the … oh, come on. I can’t do this with a straight face. Ahman Green is gonna rush for about 180 yards in the first half. Chicago’s gonna cough the ball up multiple times yet again. And the Pack is gonna win by a score of 24-3.

Denver (-3) at Jacksonville
Would it be possible, he asks as a dedicated hater of the Broncos and Mike Shanahan, for this Denver team to get a running back who doesn’t turn out to be a fucking stud? Maybe just once. The Broncos bury the Jags. (Yes, that means give the damned points.)

Houston (+3) at Detroit
You win the battle of turnovers, you win football games. That’s what they say, anyhow. And if you ask either of these teams about it today, they’ll tell you they’ve just learned how true that saying is. They’ll tell you about it some more after this game, in which Detroit will stick with taking the ball away and Houston will stick with giving it away. Take the Lions and give the points.

Indianapolis (+1) at Tennessee
Will the best team on the field win this game? Without question. Will the loser be able to admit that they weren’t the best team? Nope. Why? Because the Titans are gonna hand the Colts their second consecutive three-point loss. And the Colts, once again, are gonna whine about it instead of trying to figure out how to improve, thus setting up a third straight loss in their home opener against Green Bay next week. I’d call the Colts a bunch of babies, but that would be an insult to a bunch of actual babies I know.

Pittsburgh (+3.5) at Baltimore
If you’re smart, you’ll keep your money as far away from this game as possible. The Ravens have to be better than they looked last week. And the Steelers have to be worse. But who really knows? Take the Ravens straight up, if for no other reason than that they’re the home team. But don’t count on anything.

San Francisco (+7.5) at New Orleans
Deuce has one of those major days. Three TDs all by himself. Saints 31, Niners 10.

Seattle (-3) at Tampa Bay
What the hell happened to the offensive genius of Jon Gruden? These guys are starting to look like the Bucs of years gone by. Oh, well. Stop worrying about Alexander unless he’s on your fantasy roster. The Seahawks win this one by five or six.

St. Louis (+2) at Atlanta
It’s not that I have a lot of faith in Atlanta. It’s that I have a ton of faith in St. Louis. I believe they’re horribly overrated. Atlanta by three.

Washington (-3) at NY Giants
I’m going against conventional wisdom and picking the Giants here. Why? Because they’ll be halfway through their first drive before the Skins even show up at the stadium. That’s the genius of Tom Coughlin, ladies and gentleman. When early is on time and on time is late, you can win games without even trying. If you’re betting real money on this game, on the other hand, assume the league still thinks on time is on time and bet on the team with the better offense (hint: it’s the visitors).

Buffalo (+3) at Oakland
This has nothing to do with football, but here’s a thought. You buy seats specifically so you can heckle players from the opposing team, you’ve got a chair to the head coming. And then some. Buffalo can’t get it’s offense going. The Raiders’ can. Take Oakland and give the points. The Raiders win this one by 10.

Cleveland (+4.5) at Dallas
I think the Browns could win this. I’d like very much to see the Browns win this (fuck the Tuna and all). But they won’t. Vinny throws just one pick (a career day for him) and Dallas wins by three.

New England (-8) at Arizona
You never want to have your bye week come up early in the season, unless you’re the Pats and it’s this season. If New England were facing Buffalo next week instead of two weeks from now, they might have ended up looking right past this game and getting caught off guard. But the bye prevents that and the Pats sail past the Cards. That said, you can’t go giving eight points, because the Pats don’t win games by eight points. They win games by three points, mostly. And you can’t go taking the eight either, because the Cards mostly lose by, like, 20. Find a prop bet on how many different receivers Tom Brady will find during this game, or just leave it alone.

NY Jets (-3) at San Diego
Nothing in the world pains me like having to pick the Jets, but let’s face it. LaDainian Tomlinson may be the most talented RB in this matchup, but it’ll be Curtis Martin who has the biggest day. Look for Curtis to top 150, Chad Pennington to have a great day statistically if not in raw numbers, and the Jets to win by no less than a touchdown.

Miami (+5.5) at Cincinnati
A month or so ago, this looked like a matchup of great running backs. One team still has one of those, and that’s the one that’ll win, by at least six. So give the damned points.

Minnesota (+3) at Philadelphia
This much is certain: no one’s fantasy league results are gonna be anywhere near final until this one’s over. It’s gonna be a lot of fun watching Terrell Owens and Randy Moss tear up the field trying to one-up each other. And not so much fun watching their antics after every five-yard catch. In the end, though, the running game will make the difference. And I like Minnesota there. Take the Vikes with the points, because they’re gonna win straight up. Oh, and, um, in case you were on the fence, go right ahead and bet the over. The total on this thing’s gonna be in the low 60s.

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