I'm back. Out of retirement, wearin' the 4-5 like MJ in Madison Square Garden, and I'm ready to help out with everyone's pocketbook.
The decision to take the first two weeks off was done partially out of necessity due to a schedule that has seen the Red Rocket (see above) take more trips up and down I80 than your typical drug mule, but also to sift through the roller-coaster that the NFL can be through the first two weeks of the season.
That's not to say that I haven't found the time to make football wagers, or that the season hasn't been profitable to this point. But a slow immersion seems to be the best approach. Tread lightly. Don't get yourself in a hole when you really get a handle on things.
In many ways, the first two weeks have been like the red rocket. Primarily, they both suck if you're a Cleveland Browns fan. Tip your waitresses.
My divorce letter to Romeo Crennel:
This isn't working anymore. You and me, I mean. Things started off rough, to be sure, with two mediocre seasons. Just when I thought it wasn't going to work out, you swept me off my feet with a 10-6 season and a contract extension. I saw the future, with your talented offense, competent GM and coordinators, and agreed to spend our futures together.
Sure, some of it was physical. With your comedic mustache and bowling ball physique, you quickly won me over. When people would say things like: "Oh my god, Carl Winslow from Family Matters coaches the Browns?" I was there for you.
Now, things can never be the same. Your clock management has never been my favorite attribute of yours, but it's just gotten to the point that you never spend time productively. When you kicked a field-goal down by 21 in the 4th quarter against the Cowboys, I knew things would never change. The very next week, down by 7 with five minutes left, you did the very same thing. You always seem to trust your defense, and you never learn. I don't know if your feelings for Phil Dawson have gotten in the way, and I guess I'll never know. To make things worse, you used all of your timeouts to leave the offense with a mere 26 seconds to get to the end zone. I can't take it anymore.
I'm done, Romeo. I'm leaving. I'm leaving you for the prospects of getting your old enemy, Coach Bill Cowher and his slobbering jaw, to be coach. I wish you all the best as a coordinator somewhere else.
Let's recap what we think we know:
1. Sunday's Dallas-Green Bay game will decide who is the alpha dog in the NFC for the rest of the season.
2. Every team in the NFC East is better than any team in the NFC West.
3. Buffalo and Denver both look like the AFC upstarts, but one of them will likely fall off.
4. New England, San Diego, Pittsburgh and Indy are all playoff-caliber teams, but the separation from the rest of the league is non-existent unlike past years.
5. Tennessee with Vince Young? 8-8. With Kerry Collins? 10-6.
6. The Vikings were all hype, and the Cardinals finally didn't get much and it looks like they deserved more. When you're Super Bowl hopes were riding on a guy that would eventually be replaced with Gus Frerotte after two weeks, you should be fired.
There's probably more, but let's just get on with the picks:
WASHINGTON -3 over Arizona (game of the week)
I'm sure everyone in Arizona is feeling pretty good right now, given the way things are going. What they don't realize is that the Skins rebounded nicely over their opening week disaster and got a solid W over New Orleans last week. Like their namesake, they are leaving Valley Forge and ready to go to war. I always like to look at a team that has played two late games on the West Coast traveling East for an early road game against a good team. I get the feeling that Arizona will look like another team wearing red at the end of this one: the British.
Speaking of George Washington, did you know he was 6'4 and 250 lbs at a time when the average male was like 5 foot, 100? This guy was basically Shaq back then. He is bigger than most NFL linebackers now. Crazy.
Cleveland +1 over BALTIMORE
It might be a homer pick, but this is an absolute must win for the beleaguered Brownies. And let's not kid ourselves, two weeks ago Cleveland would have been favored by 4-7 points. Unlike the previous two games, Joe Flacco isn't going to torch the Browns defense, he can't. But if he does, then fuck me. Seriously.
Cincinnati +13.5 over NY GIANTS
I'm not predicting an upset here, because Cincinnati is fucking terrible, but I refuse to believe that the Giants are going to be really excited for this one and I'm giving Cincy one more chance to put points on the board. I think this number should be in the 7-10 range and I'm gonna roll with it, like Steve Winwood.
GREEN BAY +3 over Dallas
This looks like a trap game, big time. Everyone has seen Dallas in two TV games look amazing, while Green Bay has quietly been doing the same things they did last year. Did you hear they have a new quarterback?
To be sure, this is a premium matchup and the best game of the early season. I can't wait to watch it, and Dallas could win by 20. However, Green Bay has a good secondary and does the things well on offense to beat up on Dallas' defense: zone blocking, pulling linemen, short passing. If you like Green Bay, take a looksy at the under 51 as well, I think they go hand in hand for the check here. And since we have no Tunnel Walk, how about some quick college plays:
AUBURN +3 over Lsu (weird line, Steven J. Public will love LSU and get burned)