Couple things I want to point out this week. Cam Newton led the Panthers down the field Sunday afternoon through a 2-minute drive for over 70 yards that included a 4th & 15. With 30 seconds left to go on the clock, the kicking team comes out onto the field, and Orlando Mare whiffed a 31-yard chip shot and the Panthers lose the game.
No one is talking about this because let’s face it, who wants to talk about about an almost game-winning 2 minute drive? Well, I do. Briefly. I think it’s fair to say that Cam Newton has exceeded everyone’s expectations. If you told me in the beginning of the year that Cam Newton would rank in the top 5 quarterbacks regarding total yards, completion percentage, and touchdowns, I would have ran out and bought his jersey sooner. It’s on it’s way.
Point is, this may be one of the most excruciating seasons to be a Panthers fan simply because of how close we get to the finish line every game only to fall short. The 1-15 seasons I could handle. We were bums and everyone knew it. Now, we have a star QB who ranks in the top 5, a receiver having a revival-esque season, and we’ve got a 2-6 record to show for it. All of our losses have come by 7 points or less (except for Atlanta) and a missed chip-shot by a kicker certainly doesn’t smooth things over.
Woe is me right?
Now before you jump down my throat, let me just make one thing clear.
I grew up in a household of Redskins and Eagles fans. They didn’t like each other much, but the one thing we could all agree on is that the Cowboys fucking suck. We hated Jimmy Johnson. We hated Troy Aikman. We hate Tony Romo. Nothing could bring me more joy than Sunday night.
There isn’t much to talk about this week. Rather, there isn’t much I want to talk about this week. Tony LaRussa retired because he clearly just wants to smoke weed all day (hense the lack of memory during his interview post-World Series.) Chris Johnson is a total bum that is getting shown up by a second-stringer (which is why you never give a RB a long-term deal, Peyton Hillis, cough, cough.) We already knew this though, right? That’s why Javon Ringer is on my fantasy team. Isn’t he on yours?
You know it’s a slow day when ESPN keeps going over snap-analysis for Phillip Rivers’ fumble. I’m pretty sure it was just a mistake, ok? He takes 100+ snaps a game. He fucked up one. It was big, but please stop showing me Tim Hasselbeck’s hands under Tedy Bruschi’s gooch, alright? It’s gross.
Let’s just look forward to the picks! (I’m currently 26-28.)
Atlanta -7 @ Indianapolis
Falcons. It’s a bigger spread than I’d like, but I’m gonna go with Atlanta. The NFC South is such a strong division. The Saints came into Indy and absolutely destroyed the Colts. I don’t expect Matt Ryan to necessarily light them up in the same fashion, but they’re a high powered offense that’s liable to put up some points.
Tampa Bay +9 @ New Orleans
Tampa Bay. I get in trouble every time I pick the Bucs, but I’m going to. The division rivalry makes the spread even more daunting to pick against, so I’ll take the points. The Saints got super upset by the Rams (go figure) and the Bucs are coming off a bye week. The Buccaneers are also 2-0 in the NFC South.
Cleveland +11 @ Houston
Houston. Ugh, I don’t like this game at all. You never really know what you’re going to get with Houston. The spread is so friggin’ huge I would steer clear. That is my official recommendation. Peyton Hillis is apparently “more motivated” than ever which bodes will for Cleveland’s clock management to keep that score down. How come no one ever talks about Colt McCoy either? Even Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder are getting some TV love. At least break down a drive or something.
New York Jets +1 @ Buffalo
Buffalo. The Jets snuck that game out from the Chargers before going into their bye, but if San Diego wasn’t so fundamentally bad, they would have been going into that bye with a loss. The Bills crushed the Redskins 23-0 and they’re playing at home. I’d like to think the Bills are the real deal now. Week 9 is good enough right?
Miami +5 @ Kansas City
Miami. Call me crazy, but Kansas City ain’t all that good. Without a Phillip Rivers fumble, Kansas City would be coming off a loss and their rookies are just too careless with the football. Miami, to their credit, still fight pretty hard in every game. Everyone was going crazy when they were up 14-3 on the Giants except me. I said they’d blow it. They did. No surprise there. I just have an inkling that Miami will squeeze one out.
San Francisco -3.5 @ Washington
San Fran. I don’t really need to break this down. If I had to pick a game I felt most comfortable with, it’d probably be this. How can this line be so small? Give Rex Grossman the ball!
Seattle +12 @ Dallas
Dallas. This is super weird. Dallas sucks, then they’re good, then they suck, then they’re ok. Seattle on the other hand has been consistently bad. I look back to Week 8 and the Bengals destroying the Hawks 34-12. I can’t help but think that if a young, reckless Bengals team can do it, so can Dallas. They have enough offense. The question is really if they can execute it or not.
Denver +7.5 @ Oakland
Denver. This game could go one of two ways : 1) The Raiders destroy Tim Tebow and the Broncos, making them look foolish as Darren McFadden runs all over their defense. They go up by a quick 30 points in the first half and the Tim Tebow legacy is destroyed forever. 2) It’s a close game, but just like Miami, Tebow manages to upset a team once more after being fueled by recent criticism and mocking. God literally instills a career’s worth of talent into one 2-minute drive that leads Tebow and the Broncos to a stunning victory and perpetuates the Tebow hype for another week. The whole team “Tebows” on the field after the clock runs out. The president of the United States “Tebows” at his next public address. For shits’n’giggles I’m going with the second option. It’s not very likely, but I’m pretty sure God wants to piss off Al Davis, even in Heaven.
Cincinnati +3 @ Tennessee
Cincinnati. It just makes sense. Chris Johnson certainly isn’t going to “prove all the haters wrong” by lighting up the Bengals defense. They’re the best in the league, strangely enough, and I think that’s enough to get them past the Titans. Tennessee only put up 27 points against the Colts. The standard should now be 62, set by the Saints.
St. Louis +1 @ Arizona
Arizona. We’re looking at two teams with a combined 2-12 record. Let the snooze fest begin! Arizona’s run defense is sub-par which makes great room for Steven Jackson, but that guy only shows up when he wants to. He isn’t consistent. Arizona is liable to light it up in the first half (like they did against the Ravens) but I don’t think the Rams have enough offense to keep them in the game. If Arizona gets up early, the Rams will abandon the run, anyway.
New York Giants +9 @ New England
New York. I certainly think the Patriots are going to win this game, but not by more than 9. The Giants are the only team in the NFC East with a positive record now and that doesn’t say much, but they’re 4-1 in their last 5 and 2-0 on the road. They also have a pretty close margin between points scored and point allowed, leading me to believe the game will be close. Patriots are 3-0 at home.
Green Bay -6 @ San Diego
Green Bay. The Packers look all but perfect, the Chargers look all but messy. Fundamentals will play a huge part in this game, and the Chargers will probably end up digging themselves a hole they can’t get out of. Only thing that worries me is the Chargers 3-0 home record, and the whole NFC/AFC matchup differential. The Packers, on the other hand, have a 4-0 away record to help comfort me a bit.
Baltimore +3.5 @ Pittsburgh
Ravens. Baltimore gave Pittsburgh a drubbing earlier this season and I’d like to think that it means something going into this week. Pittsburgh, however, is coming off a huge win over the Patriots and Baltimore is coming off a close call against Arizona. They haven’t looked good the past couple weeks, but they’re a resilient team and I’ve seen them stumble and recover before.
Chicago +7 @ Philadelphia
Bears. For the points. I don’t expect the Eagles to have the same efficiency against Chicago like they did against Dallas. The Bears are coming off of a much needed bye-week, and as weird as this sounds, Jay Cutler is a better quarterback for your team than Tony Romo. I also want to add that the Eagles are 1-2 at home (yep, that Dallas win was their first) and weird things happen on Monday Night Football. I base this off of nothing. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
*Lines taken from SportsBetting.com on November 1st, 2011.