If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? That’s one hell of a deep question. But if you really want to spark a philosophical debate, I’ve got an even better query for you: If the Texans go on their bye week, does anybody care? Judging from the blasé reaction to their performance last Sunday, I’m not so sure.
But while most Houstonians can only muster a yawn on behalf of their loveable losers, the Texans seem to be thriving overseas. I mean, check out this photo. The good people of the Republic of Georgia are so loving Bob McNair’s boys. Is it because they — like the Texans — believe in mediocrity? Are they smitten by 6’ 7’’, 290 pound, underachieving defensive ends? Or perhaps the Georgians are simply long-term visionaries who stand beside the Steel Blue Crew because both parties are gunning for world domination in the year 2020. I think that must be it.
Speaking of world domination, my NFL picks continue to take the planet by storm. Since openly defying the gods two weeks ago, I’ve compiled a ridiculous 18-9 record. For the year, I’m now a whopping 21 games over .500. So hopefully you’re making money off these free picks, because I’m pretty sure the Vegas sports book guys are going to hire me away any minute. Or I’m about to be smote. Take your pick.
On to the Week Ten picks (home team in caps):
Jacksonville (+4) over TENNESSEE
No, I’m not comfortable taking the David Garrard/Quinn Gray combo platter on the road against Tennessee. But both teams love nothing more than winning ugly. And uglyball generally lends itself to close games. Yes, it’s that kind of logic which makes me a great NFL prognosticator. Hey, whatever works.
Titans 20 – Jaguars 17
KANSAS CITY (-3) over Denver
Just how crappy is the NFL this year? A bad Chiefs team (remember the opening week spanking they received at the hands of the Texans?) leads its division. Meanwhile, the gawd-awful Broncos are just one game behind. Can’t we just start the playoffs now and be done with this excrement once and for all?
Chiefs 21 – Broncos 17
MIAMI (+3) over Buffalo
I’m crazy. I admit it. The thing is, I wimped out the last time I wanted to take the Dolphins (against the Giants), and it cost me. So even though they’re playing a fast-improving Buffalo team, I gotta go with the Fish. Hey, they have to win sometime, right?
Dolphins 23 – Bills 21
PITTSBURGH (-9 ½) over Cleveland
I just have a feeling the clock is about to strike midnight and Derek Anderson is going to revert back to pumpkin form.
Steelers 30 – Browns 20
St. Louis (+11 ½) over NEW ORLEANS
You have to believe that this Reggie Bush mess is going to start impacting his performance on the field at some point, don’t you? Besides, I’m sure the Saints will be looking past the winless Rams because they’re already eying their monumental week 11 showdown with Houston. Yeah, that’s it.
Saints 34 – Rams 30
CAROLINA (-4) over Atlanta
Looks like Vinny Testaverde will be starting in place of the injured David Carr this week. That’s good enough for me.
Panthers 24 – Falcons 13
WASHINGTON (-3) over Philadelphia
It’s about time for teams to start secretly making their pitch for embattled Philly QB Donovan McNabb. There’s just no way he’ll be in an Eagle uniform next year. So where will he end up? Chicago? Baltimore? Minnesota? Tampa? Atlanta? It’s likely to be the story of the NFL offseason. Meanwhile, the Kevin Kolb watch begins in the city of brotherly love. Let’s hope the UH product has what it takes to thrive beneath the white-hot Philly sports spotlight.
Redskins 24 – Eagles 20
GREEN BAY (-4) over Minnesota
Hey, I love Adrian Peterson as much as anybody, but how on earth did the Chargers allow him to run for nearly 300 yards last week? This just in: The Vikings have no passing game! Put all 11 people in the box if you have to. Poor Norv Turner. It’s not his fault the Chargers were dumb enough to hire him.
Anyway, the Packers defense won’t allow Peterson to beat them. And on the other side of the ball, Minny’s stellar run-stopping ability won’t really matter against a team which does nothing but chuck the ball all over the field. This seems like the lock of the week.
Packers 28 – Vikings 13
Cincinnati (+4) over BALTIMORE
A battle of two horrifically overrated, under-achieving teams. The Bengals need a defense (and a parole officer). The Ravens require a quarterback. And both teams need new head coaches.
Bengals 28 – Ravens 27
Chicago (-3 ½) over OAKLAND
I’ll be honest with you: I’ve gone back and forth on this game too many times to count. I don’t trust the Bears. Their defense is a shadow of what it used to be, and Brian Griese is capable of throwing a back-breaking pick anytime. But an injury-riddled Houston squad dispatched Oakland with relative ease last week. And that about trumps everything else in my book.
Bears 24 – Raiders 17
Dallas (-1) over NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants have played only three games against teams with records of .500 or better. They won only one of those. I’ve got news for you: That number won’t be changing this week. I’ve been saying for weeks that I believe the wheels are going to fall off the Giants bandwagon. I think the wobble begins on Sunday.
Cowboys 34 – Giants 24
ARIZONA (-1) over Detroit
Do you think Jon Kitna and Kurt Warner will engage in a battle of “Who’s the better Christian?” the night before the game? Umm, me neither.
Cardinals 27 – Lions 24
SAN DIEGO (+3 ½) over Indianapolis
My upset special of the week. Trust me, it hurts my brain to take Norv Turner and Phillip Rivers over Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. But the Colts are beat up and the Chargers have the look of a team which is going to tease (and disappoint) you with their talent and potential all season long.
Chargers 28 – Colts 27
SEATTLE (-10) over San Francisco
The Seahawks shouldn’t be favored by ten points over anyone. They are the very embodiment of mediocrity. Then again, San Francisco has only scored 20 points in a game once, and that occurred in week one. They’ve lost 6 games in a row. And their quarterback is David Carr version 2.0. Rather reluctantly, I’m siding with Seattle.
Seahawks 24 – 49ers 10
Last week against the spread: 10-4 (72-51-7 in ’07) Last week straight-up: 9-5 (77-53 in ’07)
-- Jason Friedman