Let's take a look at the other games this week and figure out where our rooting interest falls. My "picks" are more a "want to win" than any sort of serious attempt to predict what will happen. Games are in no particular order. I also use this time to throw out my "quick thoughts" about teams that I usually don't get to talk about on the site.
First off, a couple of College Picks, just cause I have a reason to care.
Florida Gators v. Florida State Seminoles: I've grown up a die hard Seminole fan. 1992/93 were the first years I started to follow a football team with any sort of real attention and it's never stopped since. Sure, there has been some rough times over the last few seasons, but I'll still bleed garnet and gold. My mother, who's a Gator bought me a UF shirt yesterday and was surprised that I reacted so poorly toward it. I don't care that the Gators are going to blow out the Seminoles, I'm not going to sacrifice years of loyalty to have any sort of positive regard toward the University of Florida. That said, I do admire the Gators offense under Teabow. Just not nearly enough to go all Dan Shanoff on you
The Pick: Florida State
Kansas Jayhawks v. Missouri Tigers: I'm new here, so I can't claim any long time tradition with this one. But the Border war is facinating to me. You know a rivalry is intense when people cite John Brown and abolitionists, and there are references to Bloody Kansas. The state is teeming with excitement. I've only lived here a few months and I'm stoked for it. I've been singing the praises of Chase Daniel since the start of the Summer and with a kick ass performance by the Tigers today, I could be proved right in my months old prediction that Chase would win the Heisman. So yeah, It's gonna be a hell of a game. Both schools claim to hold the series lead, and both have legitimate reasons to think they're the superior one. Hell, they've been playing this game since before the Spanish American war! I'm half tempted to join the 20,000 or so fans that are going to the game just to hang out in the parking lot. Cause there's no way you can get a ticket to this one. Imagine being the guy who said "Hey, we should play this game at Arrowhead", and then have the season play out so that they'd be playing for a possible national title. This is insane. Kansas City might not survive the night.
The Pick: Missouri!
Indianapolis Colts v. Atlanta Falcons: Obviously we need the Falcons to win. What's that? The game already happened? Atlanta lost? Right. Ok, so this is a bit late, but I've got a couple of quick thoughts about the Colts.
- Hitting Manning can frustrate his game a bit, but you can still get burnt. Bad. The best sort of pressure to bring is to collapse the pocket up the middle.
- Edge rushes, even with the injures at left tackle, are not enough to stop the passing game.
- I like Atlanta's "live by the blitz die by the blitz" approach to defending the Colts, rather than the "sit in a zone and get picked apart" that other teams have tried. The end result is often the same, but I think it's a way to go down fighting.
Ok, enough looking backwards...
New Orleans Saints v. Carolina Panthers: I've always had a soft spot for Carolina. Maybe it's the whole "expansion team brotherhood", or perhaps the Steve Beuerlein connection. Anyhow, to say that the Panthers are playing poorly is an understatement. Still, the NFC South is a tight race of mediocrity, so both teams could use the win. I'm gonna hope that Carolina comes out on top, though I'm thinking that a loss puts John Fox closer to being fired, allowing a team with a decent roster (San Diego) to pick up a coach who can, well, coach.
The Pick: Carolina
Washington Redskins v. Tampa Bay: I have a lot of very "irrational" resentments toward a few teams. Two of them are playing today. You see, living in Florida I saw Jon Gruden come in and steal the Super Bowl that belonged to Tony Dungy. That was Tony's team that won the ring that season. Had Dungy not been fired, he would still be in Tampa, and the Colts might not be the dominant team in the AFC South. I also loathe the Redskins, simply because Dan Snyder is making it hard to be a small market team in the NFL. His stupid huge contracts for bad players screws up the whole market, which makes it harder for smaller teams to spend the big bucks. He's even exploded the market for assistant coaches, paying them like head coaches. In a situation like this, I root for who hurts Jacksonville the least, and therefore I throw my very important "rooting interest" behind Tampa Bay.
The Pick: Tampa Bay
Seattle Seahawks v. St.Louis Rams: Geography wins me over on this one. That and the death of Shaun Alexander as a legitimate running back. It's funny though, where I'm at in Missouri it feels like there are no Rams fans. You see plenty of Chiefs swag, but rarely anything from St. Louis. So the Rams get my sympathy support.
Minnesota Vikings v. New York Giants: Even though it's sure to melt down in the rest of the season, I like what Coughlin has done with this team. Maybe he's softened with a little experence, but considering the hate-fest that the New York media had for the guy last season, It's nice to see the pressure transfered to Eli. Oh yeah, another rule I have, "When in doubt, root against a Manning". I'd root against Archie Manning in a retirement contest, and I'll root against Eli today and every day. Even though he looks like Jim Halpert.
Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs: No weird "rules" or anything here, the only thing I'm rooting for is that the Chiefs fans leave me a table at the sports bar so that I can see the Jags game. That said, there is something really depressing about Chiefs fans. For example, this is an actual conversation with a Chiefs fan
Me: "Why did Herm Edwards call a 3 yard out route on a 3rd ad 15? His play calling is so tight that if you filled him with coal he'd crap diamonds."
Chiefs Fan: "You need to shut up, you don't even know that Herm doesn't call the plays."
Me: "Yeah, cause not knowing who the offensive coordinator off the top of my head for a team I don't follow completely invalidates my point."
Chiefs Fan: "Damn right"
And then the Chiefs run an inside run on 3rd and long.
The Pick: Kansas City
The Pick: Cincinnati
Houston Texans v. Cleveland Browns:* Uh oh. I'm having an existencial crisis here. Lets break this down logically. If we accept that Houston is well behind in the playoff picture. If we accept that the Browns are very much competing for the Wild Card berth.Assuming that the best outcome for Jacksonville is as much distance as possible from any other Wild Card Contenders, then therefore Jacksonville needs Houston to beat the Browns. But that upsets my world because I can't stand to see the Texans win. Oh the woes of the NFL fan...
The Pick: Houston...barely.
San Francisco 49'ers v. Arizona Cardinals: Last season I was all about Alex Smith finally turning into a real NFL quarterback. I even though that he'd be my "Secret Sleeper Quarterback" in my fantasy league. Now I have nothing but broken dreams...
The Pick: Arizona
Baltimore Ravens v. San Diego Chargers: This one is easy, we want the Chargers to win so that they can stay alive in the AFC West, so they can force Denver into the Wild Card hunt, where the Jaguars have the tiebreaker. But Norv Turner is involved, so I'll probably just end up as dissiponted as...Wait...It's the Ravens? The battle of underperforming coaches? If any game had the potential for a 0-0 tie, it's this one. Each coach will try to out do the other with bad playcalls. Billick will see Norv do something like a half back pass on 3rd and 20 and one up him with a punt on 3rd down. Then Norv will substitute LT at linebacker and let him blow his knee playing defense. Then Ray Lewis stabs someone. That's a rule when you talk about the Ravens, you have to make a terrible reference to Ray Lewis stabbing someone.
Denver Broncos v. Chicago Bears: I have a good friend who is a die heard Bears fan. I'd like to say I have a funny quote from him about this current incarnation of the Bears, but all I have is his constant sadness about Rex Grossman. It's OK Ryan, you'll get a win this week.
The Pick: Chicago
Philadelphia Eagles v. New England: What a terrible game for the Eagles. Not that I care about point spreads, but I'm seeing 24.5. I don't think that's nearly big enough. I see the Patriots beating the Eagles by at least 30. Just think, if the spread is this wide for the Eagles, what will it be like for the Dolphins? That said, I'll still cheer my head off for the Eagles, just because the Patriots are killing football.
The Pick: Eagles, by the grace of god.
The Pick: Pittsburgh