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…but I am falling into all sorts of bad habits, including nearly missing my deadlines. Therefore:

Chiefs (+7.5) over CHARGERS: Most sane people would not go near this, and with good reason. Who do you trust less? Philip “Damn, He Fell the Fuck Off” Rivers or Matt “It Looks Even Worse Now That He Couldn’t Beat Out Matt Leinart” Cassel? Norv “How Does This Fool Have a Job” Turner or Romeo “How Did This Fool Get Another Job?” Crennel? Massive confusion here. I’ll just take the points since San Diego shouldn’t be favored by 7.5 over anybody, including the Chiefs. Maybe.

Well, 2-10-1 and 1-2 in the Best Bets is quite the disaster, isn’t it? That’s what happens when you rush through these things. And like Cam Newton still not learning to cut out the silly post-game press conference routine, I am rushing through again.

Patriots (-7) over RAMS
TITANS (-3.5) over Colts
PACKERS (-15) over Jaguars
BROWNS (+3) over Chargers
Falcons (+3) over EAGLES
Seahawks (+2.5) over LIONS
JETS (-2) over Dolphins
BEARS (-7.5) over Panthers
Redskins (+4) over STEELERS
Raiders (+1.5) over CHIEFS
COWBOYS (+2.5) over Giants
BRONCOS (-6.5) over Saints
49ERS (-7) over Cardinals

Best Bets: 49ers, Bears, Patriots
Season: 51-51-4, 11-11-2 Best Bets

Home team in caps! I’ll do may blathering during the picks. Whether this is helping my writing is debatable, but my mediocrity is not! 7-6-1 last week, and a big screw you to Jim Harbaugh for last night’s decision, getting me off to a 0-1 start.

BILLS (-3.5) over Titans: The comfortable victory for Chan Gailey and Co. will totally make up for repeated showings of the Music City Miracle.

Cardinals (+6.5) over VIKINGS: It’s nice to see Christian Ponder feeling good about his personal life these days, but he can’t be feeling good about facing a Cardinals defense that knows they have to carry John “Not-So-Red” Skelton.

COLTS (-2) over Browns: The Browns and Colts go wildly back and forth on a week-to-week basis between pundits saying “They are so awful” to “They are showing some signs of life and making this a season!” Therefore, going with the home team.

Ravens (+7) over TEXANS: Baltimore’s reliance on Joe Flacco and the offense to carry them to the Super Bowl is now complete, thanks to injury.

Packers (-5) over RAMS: a lot of people see good things from the Rams, especially on defense. That’s nice, but did you see Green Bay last week?

PANTHERS (+2) at Cowboys: Ron Rivera. Jason Garrett. Tony Romo. Cam Newton. Thus could be the ugliest, most inexplicable final four minutes of a game this year.

GIANTS (-6) over Redskins: Bob Griffin and the boys will give them a game, but Eli Manning will take full advantage of the Washington defense and pull away.

BUCCANEERS (+2) over Saints: You saw what Josh Freeman did to the Chiefs, who beat the Saints at home.

PATRIOTS (-10.5) over Jets: This will bait all gamblers into taking the Dolphins next week, and that’s where they’ll all get killed, as the Jets win in hideous fashion because they may be not good, but they’re not as hideously bad as they deserve to be. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Well, no one reads this, so you haven’t.

RAIDERS (-6) over Jaguars: So why didn’t Tebow want to go to Jacksonville instead? Blaine Gabbert doesn’t have playoff victories and a head coach in his hip pocket to protect him. When’s Henne time coming? Not that you people care.

BENGALS (+1) over Steelers: No way, Pittsburgh, you’re not getting me to pick you on tradition, QB, and coach recognition after last week’s debacle.

Lions (+6) over BEARS: I’m not betting on a Lions win as much as Lions late rally.

Best Bets: Colts, Ravens, Buccaneers

Last week : 7-6-1, 2-1-1 Best Bets
Season (including Thursday): 49-40-3, 10-9-2 Best Bets

49ERS (-8) over Seahawks: I have to see the Seahawks do it on the road first. I still can’t believe they won that Patriots game. I do like their general game plan of “hang around, keep it close, and hope Russell Wilson completes a couple of bombs downfield.” It’s the only way a defense/run-first type team
can actually compete in today’s passing NFL. Props to Pete Carroll to actually figuring that out–by stealing it from Jim Harbaugh!

No time for bloviation, home teams in caps.

Bengals (-2.5) over BROWNS
Colts (+3.5) over JETS
BUCCANEERS (-4) over Chiefs
FALCONS (-9.5) over Raiders
Cowboys (+3) over RAVENS
Lions (+3.5) over EAGLES
DOLPHINS (-4) over Rams
Patriots (-3.5) over Seahawks
Bills (+4.5) over CARDINALS
Giants (+6.5) over 49ERS
Vikings (+1.5) over REDSKINS
Packers (+4) over TEXANS
Broncos (-1) over CHARGERS

Best Bets: Broncos, Dolphins, Patriots, Buccaneers

Last week: 9-5, 1-2 Best Bets
Season: 42-34-2, 8-8-1 Best Bets

This smells like the Giants-Panthers game week 3. Of course, I probably have some sinus issues to deal with.

I am on vacation this week, so the picks will be quicker, lighter, and more and more instinctive this week. Like Ray Lewis claimed at the beginning of this training camp, and which may well be true, but may not be enough to stave off Father Time. Home teams in caps.

Falcons (-3) at REDSKINS: the Falcons had their loss last week, but Cam Newton’s fumble, along with dreadful secondary play on the final drive, allowed them to stay undefeated. Falcons will run with their gift.

Eagles (+3.5) over STEELERS: No, we don’t know how the Eagles are doing it either.

COLTS (+7) over Packers: Pack doesn’t seem to be getting the calls these days.

GIANTS (-8) over Browns: One never knows with the Giants, but the Browns on the road? Hell, no!

VIKINGS (-5.5) over Titans: Yeah, looks like Tennessee took a step back this year.

BENGALS (-3) over Dolphins: the Bengals might be the most reliable team to bet on or against this season.

Ravens (-6.5) over CHIEFS: Luckily no one reads this regularly, including my mild defense of Romeo Crennel Week 1.

Seahawks (+3) over PANTHERS: Let’s see how Ron Rivera and the defense blow this game as we focus solely on Cam Newton’s body language.

Bears (-5.5) over JAGUARS: Speaking of body language, Jay Cutler and friends seem to be getting on a little bit of a roll.

PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Broncos: No reason to pick the Broncos here, is there?

Bills (+10) over 49ERS: This just feels like too many points to give.

Chargers (+3.5) over SAINTS: Yeah, i’m not laying points with the 0-4 team that can’t stop anybody.

Texans (-8) over JETS: I’ll be shocked if Woody Johnson and ESPN don’t conspire to have a concussion happen to Mark Sanchez in the film room before the game Monday.

Best Bets: Bears, Ravens, Bengals

Last week: 5-9-1, 2-1 Best Bets
Season: 33-29-2, 7-6-1 Best Bets

A good week overall, but that 8-6-1 record was completely ruined by a 0-3-1 in the Best Bets. In the three resounding defeats, it was a classic case of underestimating the Vikings and Jaguars, while the Lions should have covered but shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.

Since I went over the lead story, the return of the real referees, yesterday in the process of detailing my incorrect pick. Let’s just get to, for entertainment purposes only, the picks. Home teams in caps.

Patriots (-4) at BILLS: If you think the Patriots are going to be just fine this season despite the 1-2 start it’s a pretty easy 4 points to give.

LIONS (-4) over Vikings: after the 49ers upset last week, “Hey, how ’bout that Christian Ponder?” was one of the weekend’s big stories. In other news, nobody seems too concerned about Matthew Stafford’s leg injury, a bit surprising considering his history. That said Shaun Hill can run the ship just fine if Stafford doesn’t play, 4th and 1 attempts to draw teams offside notwithstanding.

Falcons (-7) at PANTHERS: Cam Newton’s ability to a lightning rod knows no bounds. The defense gives up scores on their first four drives, and all we are talking about is Cam Newton’s leadership and losing record. Not saying those criticisms aren’t valid, but can we get some perspective here? The rest of this team sucks. If Ramses Barden can break out against this secondary, Julio Jones and Roddy White should be ready to embarrass them Sunday.

JETS (+4) at 49ers: Strictly a contrarian pick since it’s seems a 49ers cover, especially coming off a surprise loss to Minnesota, is so obvious. And that’s how Vegas gets rich. If the expected does happen, of course there will be the usual hype about the inevitability of Tebow Time. My thing is, Tebow Time’s already been here! In the less charismatic and appealing form of Mark Sanchez. Look at last week’s game. Sanchez stunk it up for the first 50 munutes or so, missed throws, rallied when it mattered, and got the missed field calls and bonehead moves from the Dolphins he needed to be gifted a win. If Tebow played the same game with the same stats, all we would be hearing about is miracles and moxie and determination and other hosannas about a garbage win in September over the Dolphins.

CHIEFS (+1) over Chargers: The Chargers may not be good. They’re definitely not good enough to be declared road favorites.

Titans (+12) over TEXANS: My long-documented apprehension about Gary Kubiak has not quite dissipated. Plus, the Texans have could fall asleep after taking a big lead.

Seahawks (-3) over RAMS: Seattle’s defense is no joke, people. It might be good enough to where all Russell Wilson has to do is make one or two big TD throws a game to lead Seattle to victory.

CARDINALS (-5) over Dolphins: the Cardinals defense should be enough here as unlike some other much-ballyhooed defenses, they will actually generate a pass rush and knock Ryan Tannehill down. Yes, Jets, I meant you.

Raiders (+7) at BRONCOS: yes, you should be concerned about Peyton Manning’s reduced arm talent. But right now you should really be concerned about Denver’s defense, which is not good right now.

Bengals (-1.5) over JAGUARS: the Jags haven’t been completely stinktastic, but the Bengals are resembling a solid team. It shouldn’t be a shocker considering they made the playoffs last year, but let’s face it. We have different expectations for the Bengals. And not in a good way.

Saints (+7.5) at PACKERS: Another contrarian pick here, mostly because the Saints smack of a little more desperation to me. Not enough to win outright, but enough desperation.

BUCCANEERS (-2.5) over Redskins: if Josh Freeman can’t light up this now-sorry Redskins defense, then it really is time to worry. And it’s nice that Greg Schiano is sticking by his guns on the victory formation thing, but isn’t he tired of lining up against victory formations?

EAGLES (-2) over Giants: Last Thursday’s impressive display totally sets them up to disappoint Sunday. Because that’s how the Giants roll.

Bears (+3.5) over COWBOYS: I think the writing off of the Bears as contenders is a bit soon. And while the Dallas defense is living up to the hype, the offense has been underwhelming. Also underwhelming, of course, will be Jay Cutler’s demeanor and body language.

Best Bets: Patriots, Cardinals, Bengals

Season: 28-20-1, 5-5-1 Best Bets

RAVENS (-12) over Browns: Woot! The real referees are back and there will be no mistakes of officiating ever again! (Not true.) The end of lame Foot Locker jokes emanating from the stands! (Nope.) Finally, a rousing victory for labor standing on principle in the face of arrogant greedy capitalists! (Sure, if you have a high-paying job as your primary income.) What a job by Roger Goodell, finally listening to the people and putting an end to this! (Breaking down to your bosses that this was not a battle worth fighting against a group that had the financial wherewithal to wait until the leverage swung in their favor would have taken some foresight and a willingness to take on your bosses in their own interest. Of course, who wants to fight their boss? It’s a pain.)

Anyway, now that America has a renewed appreciation for the rare and unique set of skills necessary to officiate NFL games, at least until the first time someone in the Ravens’ secondary bitches about a pass interference call, time to get to the matter at hand: the Ravens D is not what it once was, but as the immortal Steven Jackson once said to Robert Griffin III: this ain’t the Big 12, son.

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