Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Week 5 Lines: Please Stop Believing

It's easy to get caught up in the past. For most people, its unfathomable how bad the Chargers, Saints, Bears and Bengals are. On the same note, it's hard to believe how good the Browns, Packers, Raiders and Lions are. The first step of grief is denial, which seems to be the word of the day around the ESPN offices in Bristol. Looking at their latest power rankings, they have the Chargers (1-3) over the Chiefs (2-2), who just won in San Diego. The Griese-led Bears (1-3) are ranked at #20, and the defenseless Bengals (1-3) sit at #23, while the Raiders (2-2) and Browns (2-2) are at #24 and #25. The Lions (3-1) sit at #12, behind four teams with worse records. Fortunately, everybody loves Brett Favre, or else the Packers (4-0) would rank somewhere in the 10-20 range. Get over it, experts: it's a whole new year. Now, let's look at the 2007 - I said, 2007 - week 5 lines.

Carolina at New Orleans (New Orleans, -3)
Vegas knows what's up. The three points are for home field, so this line really means that it's a toss up. Going on the road might actually help the Panthers, who have two road wins and two home losses. The Saints, on the other hand, need to win this game. I'm sure everybody is picking New Orleans, because after all, they can't be this bad, can they? As far as this year is concerned they are, but with Carolina trotting out David Carr, not even being on the road can help them. New Orleans 28, Carolina 24.

Jacksonville at Kansas City (Jacksonville, -2 1/2)
The funny thing about ESPN's rankings is, they still view San Diego as a good, but struggling team. But somehow, beating the Chargers on the road doesn't mean anything. See the inconsistencies here? Add the Jaguars' 2 1/2 to the 3 for home field, then 1 more point for being at Arrowhead, and they are saying Jacksonville is 6 1/2 points better than the Chiefs. In what world? Kansas City has a top-3 defense, a Pro Bowl running back and a potential Rookie of the Year. Kansas City 17, Jacksonville 10

Detroit at Washington (Washington, -3 1/2)
With Santana Moss questionable, and the Redskins coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Giants, they are still favored over Detroit. This signifies that they don't believe Detroit is any good, though they just beat Chicago, a team already thought of as being better than they look. I'm getting a headache. Roy Williams currently ranks only behind Randy Moss and Chad Johnson in receiving yards. Detroit is a better team, on a better roll. Detroit 27, Washington 16

Atlanta at Tennessee (Tennessee, -8 1/2)
Atlanta isn't really all that bad. The only missing link is Michael Vick, and I'm not sold that Vick is five games better than Joey Harrington. I like Tennessee when it comes to winning games, but as far as covering an 8 1/2 point spread, no thank you. Vince Young is good, but he's yet to show he can dominate a lesser opponent. Tennessee 21, Atlanta 17

Miami at Houston (Houston, -5 1/2)
Nick Saban really did a number on those Dolphins. There actually is a really good chance that Cam Cameron goes back to San Diego by Week 8, and that Trent Green will go in hiding with Dave Chapelle by the year's end. I think the loss to Atlanta was good for Houston, because they needed to be knocked off the cloud the entire nation put them on. Houston 30, Miami 14

Seattle at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, -6 1/2)
This line looks way too high. I also think it's funny that these two teams are built up so much, but nobody realizes that they both have lost to Arizona this year. A lot of question marks for both teams, but the NFC West and AFC North stink. I think these two teams are even, but the experience at head coach trumps that of home field advantage. Seattle 20, Pittsburgh 17

Cleveland at New England (New England, -16)
I wouldn't bet on this game. The Patriots are going to win, obviously, but no team in the NFL should be given sixteen points. I'll give them fifteen, though. New England 35, Cleveland 20

Arizona at St. Louis (Arizona, -3 1/2)
Mark Bulger and Steven Jackson aren't playing in this one, which means neither are the Rams. Then again, it's the Cardinals as road favorites. It doesn't really matter though, because St. Louis is the worst team in football, and will be replacing Bulger in the 2008 draft. Arizona 28, St. Louis 10

NY Giants at NY Jets (Giants, - 3 1/2)
There is no better vindication than to have Eric Magini's squad be horrible this year. Serves ya right, rat. I feel the Giants sneaking up on people, especially after mutilating Donovan McNabb. This week is a great confidence builder, and Tom Coughlin might keep his job. Well, until they lose in the first round of the playoffs. Giants 24, Jets 17

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis (Indianapolis, -10)
Nobody believes in the Bucs, either. I like the match ups for Tampa Bay as far as covering the line is concerned, but the Colts are definitely the better team. I look for this to be a good, and surprisingly low scoring game. Chucky really has his guys going, and as we know, history sides with them to win the NFC South. Indianapolis 17, Tampa Bay 14

San Diego at Denver (Denver, -1)
This is the "who sucks the most in the worst division" game. While I do think the Chargers are no good, I have the same feelings about Denver. If you look at sheer talent, the Chargers would win easily. If you look at coaching, the Broncos should win easily. This is when the Chargers players should just stop listening to Norv Turner and play their game. San Diego 21, Denver 13

Baltimore at San Francisco (Baltimore, -3 1/2)
Are the Ravens really this bad? The line would say not, but I think that is more of a reflection of the Niners. Alex Smith is hurt, and the fact that he is seeking a second opinion on his injuries is a huge red flag. Still, Baltimore needs to find a way to score against a good Niners defense. Turnovers will be huge, so I like the Ravens. Baltimore 14, San Francisco 10

Chicago at Green Bay (Green Bay, - 3 1/2)
Why is Chicago seen as equals to the Packers? Do they even watch the games? Finally, the Bears can go 1-4 and everybody can start ranking them lower than 3-2 teams. Maybe. By next Monday, Chicago will be in full fledged Cubs mode, and we can stop giving precious air time to Bears games. On the other hand, Green Bay can go 5-0, so all of that air time will devoted to Favre and him acting like a schoolboy every time he throws a touchdown. Green Bay 27, Chicago 9

Dallas at Buffalo (Dallas, -10)
Yep, Dallas gets another cupcake to continue their surge towards the playoffs. Terrell Owens might get four scores in this game, and Tony Romo could run in another two. There are no more question marks for this team, despite what John Clayton might tell you. Their schedule is no worse than the Patriots'. They are dominating their games, which is what good teams do to the bad ones. Dallas 31, Buffalo 17


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