Obviously a big factor in this game is the still uncertain status of Brian Urlacher, but it’s nice to see that even with such a big question mark hanging over their heads, the Bears have gotten some respect as the week has gone along. The line opened earlier this week with New Orleans as a 7-point favorite and right now, it is down to 6.5. I can easily see the Bears’ gameplan that worked to perfection Sunday against the Falcons being the model of how they want to handle another explosive, skilled offense. This is not to say I think the Bears will win, but I think the game will be much closer than people are giving them credit, and hey, if Urlacher plays his heart out and the defense can force some mistakes from a Saints team that didn’t exactly look sharp all night in Green Bay last week, maybe they can pull a rabbit out of their hat.
Pick: Bears (+6.5) over SAINTS
Rest of the League
JETS (-9) over Jaguars
This line has dropped almost two points during the week, and I don’t blame people for not being impressed with the Jets’ opening season win that couldn’t have been more gift wrapped for them if Romo and the Cowboys tried. Still, at home, hosting a listless Jaguars team, I will take the favorite.
BILLS (-3) over Raiders
Cardinals (+3.5) over REDSKINS
I’m sorry, I am still having problems adjusting to a world where Rex Grossman is a starting NFL quarterback again. The last Census put the U.S.’s population at 308,745,538. Are you really telling me Rex is better than 308,745,507 people as a quarterback? I can’t believe that.
Ravens (-5.5) over TITANS
This line has dropped almost two points over the week, as well, which kind of surprises me. Does anybody see Tennessee hanging with Baltimore this week? I don’t.
STEELERS (-14) over Seahawks
I picked the Steelers earlier in the week when the line was almost 16 points, I certainly am going to stick with them now. I’m sorry, after getting humiliated by Baltimore in Week 1, I have a feeling Pittsburgh is going to simply crush an overmatched Seahawks team. Tarvaris Jackson is their start QB. Insert my comment about Rex Grossman here.
Packers (-9.5) over PANTHERS
I know Cam Newton torched a Cardinals defense that is arguably worse than several he saw in the SEC last year, but this is the big leagues now. After getting diced by the Saints in Week 1 and coming about 1 yard short of potentially blowing a 15-point 2nd half lead and walking into the throngs of Cam-mania, you really think Dom Capers isn’t going to have his defense ready to shred this team?
Bucs (+3) over VIKINGS
I have no idea how the Bucs are the dogs in this one. Did anyone not see McNabb’s 39-yard clunker in San Diego? In a game the Chargers, per their usual September M.O., were desperately trying to lose? 39 yards, in a week where QB combined to throw for over 8,000 yards in 16 games, McNabb accounted for just 39, ahead of only Tampa Bay’s Josh Johnson and St. Louis’ Jay Feeley, back-ups who saw only limited time.
Browns (-2) over COLTS
Very rare line this week that has widened for the favorite. Quote of the week from Frank Caliendo’s segment on Fox’s pregame show, “the big news this week is that Peyton Manning is out. Don’t worry, the Colts have a back-up plan. It’s called losing.”
That made me laugh out loud.
Chiefs (+7.5) over LIONS
After opening as 9-point favorites, it looks like some semblance of sanity has returned to oddsmakers. I know the Lions are the team du jour of the moment, but come on, people. Its the Lions.
Cowboys (-3) over 49ERS
You really have to suck to be ‘dogs to the Cowboys right now.
DOLPHINS (+3) over Texans
This week in “Which One Was the Fluke?”… Chad Henne’s 416-yard shredding of the Patriots or the Texans’ holding Indianapolis to 236 yards of offense? Tune in and find out!
PATRIOTS (-6.5) over Chargers
It’s only one week in the season, but this Patriots team kind of has the look of that 16-0 team… Not that I think they will go undefeated again, but I do think the games they win (and really, against San Diego in the 1st half of the season should be a slam dunk unless your starting QB is Donovan McNabb) they will rout.
BRONCOS (-3.5) over Bengals
Eagles (-1.5) over FALCONS
The Eagles beat up on St. Louis without all cylinders clicking and Atlanta is still overrated from last season. This is an easy one. They could have stacked on a full touchdowon the Eagles’ line and I’d still take it. Smooth Jimmy’s Lock of the Week.
Rams (+6) over GIANTS
Simple fact of life in the NFL, if you lose to the Redskins by 14 points, I am not going to give you six points*.
*This may change if Sam Bradford doesn’t play.