This week in sports: The Bye weeks start

The Chargers have the best offense in the NFL after three weeks (as measured by the always dubious total yards metric), which surprises no one. This is a pretty boring observation because the Chargers have had a top five offense (measured by either yards or points) for the previous six seasons. What is a little surprising is that the Chargers currently have a top five defense as well. The Chargers have had a top five defense (again by yards OR points allowed) only once in the past six seasons. In fact, this year, in games where they don't allow a special teams touchdown, the Chargers are scoring an average of 38 points and only allowing an average of 13 points. So that should be the Chargers focus this week. Don't allow a special teams touchdown to the other team and everything else will fall in place. I say the Chargers follow this advice and beat the Cardinals handily. This week there are four teams on bye's so this column should be 12.5% shorter than last week.

San Francisco looked good against the Saints, but the Saints really haven't looked good against anyone. Even when looking good, the 49ers looked bad in giving up the ball four times. I think the 49ers are below average at best (don't worry Scott and MP...below average could still win the NFC West) The Falcons have looked good against the Saints and the Cardinals and took the Steelers to overtime. I think the Falcons are good, they're playing at home and they run away with this game. The Jets could could score 40 on the Bills. They could also score two TD's early, go into halftime 14-3 and then run the entire second half for a final score of 21-10. Either way, I think the Jets win by at least a touchdown. I hope Sanchez (who is filling in for Tony Romo this week) throws a couple TDs, including one to LaDainian Tomlinson. Carson Palmer looks bad. Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens talk a lot. Cedric Benson and the Bengals running game has looked significantly less effective than last year. The Browns live in Cleveland. [Shortcut] I'll take the Browns and the points. If the Packers win 34-20 in a blowout, they wouldn't cover the spread. Games like this feel like trying to pick a college game where one team is favored by 50. Green Bay is great on offense and on defense. The Lions defense is about where we expected (young and bad) but the offense is much worse than expected, even with Jahvid Best's amazing start to his young career. The Packers put the game away in the third quarter, but I have a lot of trouble giving 14.5 points. I say the Packers win by 14 and the Lions cover. Tennessee has a good defense, but Chris Johnson is below pace to get 2,000 total yards. Denver is throwing the ball as well as any team in the NFL, but they lost their best defender in the preseason and it is showing. The Titans aren't as good as you think and the Broncos aren't as bad as you think. I'll take the Broncos and the points. Seattle returned two kickoffs for TDs last week and won by 7. St. Louis showed come cajones and won for the second time in their last 19 games. Are the Rams bad the the Redskins really bad? Or are the Rams ok, the Redskins ok, the Cowboys ok, the Raiders ok and the Cardinals ok? The only teams I'm ready to call bad are the Jaguars, the Bills and the Panthers (although the 49ers and the Lions are close). So even though the spread is 1, I'll take the Rams at home plus the point. And here we are at one of those bad teams...the Carolina Panthers going to New Orleans and getting 13.5 points from the Saints. While I do think Carolina is one of the worst teams in the NFL, I haven yet to be convinced that the Saints are a dominant team. And only dominant teams should be covering spreads that big. The Saints have won by 5 and 3 and lost by 3. I don't think they cover 13.5 so I'll take whoever plus 13.5. Pittsburgh looks really good even with a revolving door* at QB (*and this satisfies my requirement to use one standardized phrase each week that every NFL writer must meet. Last week it was "the Saints team that has gutted* its way to two wins.") Baltimore has shown glimpses of being a great team, but more often shows signs of being an inconsistent team. I would not be surprised by any result in this game (either team could win in a blowout or a close game), but I am now in don't-pick-against-the-Steelers-until-they-give-you-reason-otherwise mode. The aforementioned mode feels a lot like trying to pick against the Colts. Last week Dallas was desperate and the Texans weren't. I still think they are a better team than the Raiders. The Texans have one of the best offenses in the league and possibly the worst defense. The Raiders are below average on defense, but have one of the worst offenses. So this is a classic resistable force meets movable object contests. Since I think this will be a high scoring game, covering the three points shouldn't be a problem for the Texans. Indianapolis is only favored by seven? The Colts opened as an 8.5 point favorite and it's down to 7. I understand the Jaguars lost by a total of six points in their two games against Indy last year, but I think that Jaguars team was better. I say the Colts cover easily in a don't-bet-against-the-Colts-until-they-give-you-reason-otherwise kind of way. Donovan, after beating the Cowboys without scoring an offensive touchdown, then losing to the Texans and the Rams, welcome back to Philly where the Eagles are looking pretty good with Michael Vick at QB. I can't think of a single good thing to say about the Redskins, so I'm going to have trouble picking them to even cover. The Chargers better beat the Cardinals easily. I don't even care about the spread. I'm a bitter homer right now. But I'm already moving on to the next game. I understand the Giants are at home, but I don't understand how they can be giving 4 points to the 3-0 Bears. I wanted to say that Chicago has a better offense and a better defense, but in reality, it is the complete opposite, which caught me off guard. Crazy things happen at the night games and the Giants are at home, but I'll take the Bears and the points. The Patriots at Miami game should be interesting for Monday Night and by interesting I mean entertaining because it should be close and either team could win. By interesting, I do not mean that I care about either team or this game. I think that New England's offense is good enough to win in a shootout, because there's no way the Patriot's defense is going to win this game for them.

I meant to talk about the Bye weeks and how that affects fantasy sports, but I just now realized the only reason I mentioned the Bye weeks in the title was that it meant this post was going to be slightly shorter.


  1. Turns out I was over 400 words shorter than last week. So even though there are only 12.5% fewer games, I was actually 25% more concise. Remember, the key to communication is brevity.

    I'm taking Atlanta -7, NYJ -5.5, Cleveland +3, Philly -6, Chicago +4, Houston -3, and San Diego -8. I'm taking a few extra games so that I can catch up.

  2. Have I mentioned how much I dislike your super-de-duper-long-run-on-sentences-that-might-as-well-be-connected-with-all-hyphens-as-that-is-what-it-looks-like-to-me?

    Here are my picks this week, and I don't like a single one of them (other than the 9ers getting run over by the Falcons):

    Titans -7
    Chargers -9
    Falcons -7

  3. PS - if anyone is confused by the difference in lines you'll see, I get my lines from Bodog.

  4. I would be happy to edit my format. Do you have any suggestions? Or are you criticizing my style? Because I don't know how readily I can change that.

    And more accurately, my sentences aren't run-on, my thoughts are. I use periods all the time.

  5. Ugh so I forgot to write down my picks on this post before games started. Most of them were right. Can I get a ruling? If all Sun day game picks are ineligible for me then I'll just pick the night games.

    My picks are on our pick em site, but I hadn't posted my "gambling picks".

  6. I like paragraphs. :)

    List your picks - I trust you...

    MP is now beating me :(

  7. I had these games:

    NYJ -5.5, Detroit +14.5, St Louis +1, New Orleans -13.5, and Indy -7

  8. I will only accept those because you went 3-2.

  9. In games the Chargers do not allow a special teams touchdown to the other team, the Chargers are scoring an average of 39.5 points and allowing 11.5 points per game.

  10. And MP has officially taken the lead at 0! Updated standings:

    1) MP (0)
    2) Scott (-1)
    3) Royce (-3)
    4) Aaron (-4)

  11. Um...the Jets won 38-14. I'm pretty sure they covered the -5.5. Royce is 7-9 and I am 7-9-2.

  12. Good call. You're still in last.

  13. Umm - Royce moves to 7-8 with the change. Sorry boss.