Friday, October 28, 2011

The Last of My Penance

Standing on top of my soapbox…

Week 7’s early games were snooze fests until US Ivan Drago, himself, saved us from the depths of boredom, with his come-from-behind win against the Dolphins. The Patriots, Eagles, Giants, 49ers, and Bengals were all on byes but it seemed like all the teams, with the exception of the Saints and the Texans, were also on byes. I also noticed a trend after Week 7.  Teams coming off a bye, have a losing record.  How’s that possible, you may ask? One of the major changes after the lockout was that teams on a bye, needed to give their players 4 consecutive days off starting Thursday-Sunday.   I’m all for it as this is good for the players overall health.

Coming into Week 8, I’m 2 games over the dreaded Mendoza line! Yippee!! I want urge you to use caution this week as some of the lines are double-digit lines.  I’m staying away from those lines like I stay away from a $0.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Nugget in Vegas!  It’s just no bueno!  And with that in mind, here are the picks for Week 8:

Last week: 4-2
Overall: 15-11

JACKSONVILLE at HOUSTON (-9.5): On Monday night, Jacksonville’s audition to be LA’s next football team could not have gone any better.   They held Ray Rice to a paltry 28 rushing yards and disrupted Joe Flacco’s flow all night, thus preventing them from finding the endzone.  In fact, the Jacksonville D has not allowed a touchdown in 6 quarters!  They held the Ravens to zero touchdown on Monday night and did not allow a Pittsburgh to find the end zone in the second half of their game two weeks ago.  Will the Jags get-up for this division game?  Houston proved me wrong last week as they dismantled my pick to win the AFC South, the Tennessee Titans.  The unstoppable Arian Foster ran wild all over the Titans, while Matt Schaub was able to find open receivers to win the battle of the Bald Matt’s.  Houston has always plagued me.  One week, they appear to be a top-10 team but then the following week they fizzle out and leave everyone scratching their head.  If you’re a bandwagon fan, stay away from Houston until they prove it over a stretch of 8 games.  I’m pretty certain Andre Johnson return from a hamstring injury, but will they be able to string together a back-to-back win? Maybe they will, maybe they won’t BUT they won’t cover.  Thanks for the points, Vegas!  TSS UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: JACKSONVILLE

NEW ENGLAND (-3) at PITTSBURGH: The Man loves playing Pittsburgh!! In fact, he’s 6-1 all-time against the Steelers.  It’s no wonder Vegas has the Patriots as a 3-point favorite on the road.  Pittsburgh is transitioning from a bruising “wear you down” offense to a pass-first offense. These guys aren’t our parent’s Steelers anymore.  Last week against Arizona, they threw the ball at will.  They won but were unable to cover but I think, it was due to a lack of a running game.  Watching the game with my buddies, I hadn’t realized how slow Rashard Mendenhall has been lately.  It was really evident when my friend, Dan Everakes, aka the Heebs, kept yelling at his laptop every time Mendenhall was stopped for little to no gain. For all you Fantasy Football owners, I suggest you pick up Isaac Redman soon because I think he’ll start in the next few weeks.  Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s Defensive Coordinator, will definitively have his defense prepared for The Man.  Which New England D will show up?  Will it be the D who played well enough to contain Dallas’ offense or will it be the D who seemingly got torched every time against Buffalo.   I’ve read multiple stories this week on how Albert Haynesworth’s attitude has changed for the better.  Apparently, he’s being a model citizen and though he hasn’t filled the stat line with impressive numbers, he’s bringing good morale to the NE Defense. Oh sweet irony!!!  What do I think the outcome will be? I think anytime you give Bill Bellichick two weeks to prepare for a team coupled with the fact that Brady seldom loses to Pittsburgh, Yeah, NE will buck the current trend of teams losing after their bye-week.  TSS PICKS: NEW ENGLAND

CINCINNATI (-3) at SEATTLE: Before I delve into this game, I want to a minute to thank whoever invented HDTV.  Nothing is more immaculate on a Sunday afternoon than watching a Seattle home game on HDTV when the blue Seattle sky is cloudless and the sun shines at its brightest.  HDTV captures the Seattle autumn weather like no one else.  I’m hoping the weather for this game is sunny without any chance of rain.  If you’re able to watch this game, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I’m serving the last of my penance this week from betting against Seattle a couple of weeks ago.  Last week’s Seattle/Cleveland game rounded out the last of the early game snooze fests.  Seattle’s offense just couldn’t find its rhythm all day.  Maybe it was the fact that Charlie Whitehurst was the QB or maybe it was the last minute scratch of Marshawn Lynch that prevented Seattle from getting its back-to-back road win.  At press time, Tavaris Jackson is questionable so I’m going under the assumption that he won’t be playing this week.  Food for thought, Seattle has covered or tied in the last 4 games!! This is a testament to its Defense which has exceeded expectations.  Can their D neutralize the overachieving Bengals?  The Bengals will be coming off a bye week and without the services of Cedric Benson, who is suspended for this game.  The Bengals are riding a 4 game West Coast losing streak and are currently 1-11 over the past 12 games played on the West Coast.  Also, take into account that the 12th Man is HUGE, I repeat, HUGE for Seattle!! Vegas, tell me again why you think the Bengals are favorite by 3? It’s going to be too much noise for the red-headed wonder known as Andy Dalton to overcome.  My buddy, Seth, the life-long Seattle fan, is cringing right now that I’m doing this but I like Seattle!! TSS: SEATTLE

Note: Halloween will be this Monday so do yourself a favor and rent Die-ner (Get it?)!  It’s the zombie movie of the decade!!

SAN DIEGO (-3.5) at KANSAS CITY: I can’t make heads or tails of San Diego.  They remind me so much of Houston and that’s the reason why I can’t fully commit to them.  Last week, they were 3-pt favorites against the NY Jets, they were leading 21-17 and were seemingly on their way to adding to their lead when Phillip Rivers’ pass was intercepted.  The Jets capitalized on the turnover when Plaxico Buress scored his game high 3rd touchdown reception of the game.  San Diego’s 2-minute offense was absolutely atrocious! Most their pass attempts were to the middle of the field, which ate away at the clock and more importantly ate away any hope of a comeback.

Kansas City, on the other hand, deflated the Raider Nation’s balloon last week with an old-school thumping in Oakland.  I’ve noticed that after Kansas City lost both Eric Berry, a defensive stud, and Jamal Charles, their prized-RB, in the first two weeks, they’ve slowly started putting together a string of 3 straight victories.  Add to the fact that KC always plays San Diego tough at home; I’m surprised the Chiefs are not favorites.  Does Vegas think San Diego will bounce back from their last game?  Am I the only one who’s tired of Rivers always blaming everyone else around him for all his stupendous errors?!  I know you’ve got to work the ref, Rivers, but come on! Stop your bitchin’!! TSS PICKS: KANSAS CITY

In closing, many injured players have blamed the lockout for their injuries, in particular, Chris Cooley, of the Redskins.  Funny how stuff happens, this was the same Chris Cooley, who blasted Tony Romo on the airwaves after the Cowboys lost to the Lions.  Now to at him! What a turdbucket!!  Note to all you NFL players, don’t blame the lockout for your injuries, look in the mirror and blame yourself! Your asses should have been preparing for the season!! It won’t surprise me when the over-paid basketball players eventually get back on the court and blame the lock-out as well for their imminent injuries.

Stepping down my soapbox…

Friday, October 21, 2011

Living on the Mendoza line

Standing on my soapbox…

Waitress: Welcome to “House of Pies”! What can get for you, hun?
TSS: I’ll take some of your freshly baked humble pie.
Waitress: Sure, sweetie! A slice of humble pie coming up! Wait a minute, humble pie?!
TSS: Yes, maam.  Humble pie! But I don’t a slice, I want the whole pie!

And that pretty much sums up last week’s picks.  My 4-team $10 parlay didn’t even make it out the morning game and I made my Prodigal Son return to the Mendoza line.  Even worse, I was running a gambit of emotions that Sunday morning, all thanks in part to my beloved Eagles.  It started when Vick went to the bench after what seemed liked the 9800 hit that he’s endured.  In came Vince Young, that idiot who proclaimed this year’s Iggles as the Dream Team.  What does he do on his second pass attempt?!  You guessed it- he throws a pick!  Thank goodness the ‘Skins had Rex Grossman under center because a couple of plays later, he threw a pick!   I don’t know if my emotions can endure this year’s Eagles team. It’s a good thing I don’t bet on them.  The Eagles are my NFL family and like Notorious B.IG. said, “Keep your family and business, completely separated”. 

On to Week 7, which has a bevy of goodness.  We’ve got a game in London, Tebow’s return to the state of Florida, Carson Palmer’s first game as a Raider, aka the NFL Trojans, and the “Suck for Luck” campaign goes Primetime.  As always, know that this line is from Wednesday’s site:

Last Week: 1-3
Overall: 11-11

CHICAGO(-1) at TB in London- A couple of hours before this game kicksoff, the English Premier League (EPL) will display its biggest rivalry game this year between Manchester United and Manchester City.  If you are able to wake up early on Sunday morning, I highly recommend you watch this match.  I know soccer isn’t big here in the States but a match between two balanced teams with world-class talent on both ends calls for its attention.  Hell-wake up, have a pint of Boddington’s at your local pub, and start your Sunday morning off right!  Back to the Bears/Bucs game, which will essentially be a home game for da Bears. 

Last week, the Bears proved me wrong as they annihilated the Viking’s spirits of an upset win.  It got so bad that Donovan McNabb was finally benched for Christian Ponder.  The Vikings didn’t do themselves any favors by kicking the ball to Devon Hester. Really?! Who still does that?! You don’t kick to Hester under any circumstances!!!  Matt Forte had a business-like game and Cutler had enough time to complete some great passes.  I also didn’t think the Bucs could beat the Saints last week.  Josh Freeman was able to pick up the pieces from the prior week’s grudging at the hand of the Niners.  The Bucs D was able to stop the Saints high-powered offense but it does have kinks in its armor.  I think Forte will be able to run through the Bucs D and on the opposite side, Earnest Graham, filling in for an injured Blount, will be able to muscle his way to establish the run.  If the Bucs don’t kick it to Hester, then I like them.  My buddy, Jimmy, must feel like I’ve got a vendetta against him and the Bears.  I don’t Jimmy, I’m not Mr. Jimenez (rightly pronounced He-men-s).  TSS PICKS: TAMPA BAY

WASHINGTON at CAROLINA (-3):  The King of the Backdoor Covers, Cam Newton, couldn’t help me get out of Game 1 of my 4-team parlay with a win last week.  Cam looked like a rookie which leads me to believe that Defensive Coordinators are catching up to him.  It also doesn’t help Cam and the rest of the team when the Panthers’ Defense can’t stop the run.  Will the three-headed monster of Torain, Helu, and Hightower, run wild on Carolina?  Will the John Beck era start garner a W?  Look for Santa Moss to have a HUGE game statistically. For the love of my Fantasy Football team, Cam, throw it to either Steve Smith and/or Ben Olsen!  Cam scores the game-winning TD and covers by 1.  FYI…I’m selling my Week 2 Washington stock as that ship is slowly sinking. TSS PICKS:  CAROLINA

HOUSTON at TENNESSEE (-3):  The Paul Giamatti’s (Tennessee) are coming off their bye week, which they needed after their loss to Pittsburgh, two weeks ago.  Against Pittsburgh, they looked more like Paul Giamatti in Big Fat Liar than Giamatti in Sideways. The critics are saying Oven-roasted Chicken (Matt Hasselbeck) will not be able to put up big numbers against a stout Houston D.  I beg to differ; the week off will do wonders for this wily veteran.  Expect a big game from Oven-roasted!  I love this game because it features 2 of the best RB’s in the game today in Arian Foster and Chris Johnson.  Plus, this is a division game and whoever wins this game, will surely be setting the pace for the AFC South.  In the Week 2 blog, I made the prediction that Tennessee will win the division and I’m sticking to it.  Tennessee covers inside of the 2-minute mark in the 4th quarter!! BOOM!!!  TSS PICKS: TENNESSEE

DENVER at MIAMI (-2.5): Did anyone see the Monday Night Game this week?  Good Lord was that a bad game to watch!  Miami plays host to Denver and the start of the Tim Tebow era has officially started.  On Tuesday night, I watched a documentary on ESPN about Tebow and his preparation for the 2010 Draft.  The doc showed Tebow interacting with fans, his vast improvement with his mechanics and his delivery, and it showcased his workout regimen.  Believe me when I tell you this-the man is the modern day Ivan Drago but with charisma!  Tebow’s workouts were intense and freakenly scary.  Sure he hammed it up for the camera, and the kid sounded like a hokey but watching him on the documentary made me want to be his teammate.  That’s the “IT’ factor that this guy brings to the table every game!  He has the “ganas” that Jaime Escalante in Stand and Deliver preached to his students.  All his teammates step their game up when he’s on the field.  Let’s hope it translates to a couple of victories for Tebow because I’ve never seen anyone scrutinized the way he’s been scrutinized the past year and a half.  It doesn’t help Miami’s case that their PR Department is honoring the 2008 College Football National Champions, the Florida Gators, led none other than Tim Tebow, himself! To say the crowd will be pro-Tebow is an understatement.  Tebow, aka US Drago, wins in Miami.  Note: I’m biting the hands that have fed me the last couple of weeks as I’ve watched the games at my buddy, Andy’s place and he’s been a gracious host. Andy, I promise to take Miami before the season ends. TSS’ UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: DENVER

ST. LOUIS at DALLAS (-13): I cautiously took Dallas last week against The Man and lo and behold-they covered!  In fact, they were my only win in my 4-team parlay. Dallas lost the game which makes them hungrier for a win to quiet their critics. They play the St. Louis Rams, this Sunday, who will probably be without QB Sam Bradford.  This week, the Rams traded for Brandon Lloyd, formerly of the Broncos and it sets up a reunion between Lloyd and Josh Daniels, the one-time Broncos head coach turned Rams Offensive Coordinator.  Had Bradford been 100%, I’d give this another thought but my gut is telling me that A.J Feely, of Miami Dolphin fame, will be taking the hikes.  Too much offensive weapons for Dallas mixed with an angry Dallas D who’s desperate for a win equals a big-margin victory.  TSS PICKS: DALLAS

INDIANAPOLIS at NEW ORLEANS (-14): Another team that is looking to take their frustrations out is New Orleans.  Last week, not only did they lose against the Bucs but they lost their play caller, head coach Sean Payton, to a sideline injury.  If you think that didn’t affect the Saints’ game, then I’ve got some magic beans to sell you.  With a week to prepare for life with Payton calling the plays from up above (aka the press box), the Saints will be firing on all cylinders.  Greg Williams, Defensive Coordinator for the Saints, will be blitzing all game to disrupt whatever passing attack the Colts can muster.  The Indy “Suck for Luck” campaign will be competitive against NO but at the end another disheartening loss for the Colts awaits them. TSS PICKS: NEW ORLEANS

In closing, keep in mind, all you NFL teams that are in the “Suck for Luck” sweepstakes, just because you might land with the #1 Pick for next year’s Draft, don’t automatically think that Andrew Luck will agree to go to your team.  If you recall, Eli Manning refused to go to San Diego, who had the #1 Pick that year.  Another example, John Elway was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts, but he also refused to play for them.  Put that in the backburner, folks.

Stepping down my soapbox…

Friday, October 14, 2011

This time it's for real

“Put that in your tail pipe blog and smoke it! Seahawks!”

Yep, this was the text that I got last Sunday following the Seahawks win against the Giants from my buddy, Seth, a lifelong Seahawks fan.  Last week, I wrote how the Giants were going to cover handsomely over those Seahawks.  I, along with many people who are in suicide pools, didn’t think the Seahawks would cover let alone beat them straight up.  Congrats on the win, Seth!  Yours truly is eating a generous portion of humble pie.

Seth’s text got me thinking this week.  Is there anything more exciting in sports than the last hour of the early games? Whether you’re at a sports bar with a mouthful of buffalo wings or at home with a breakfast burrito and mimosa in hand, the last hour is alwaus riveting entertainment.  Emotions can go from euphoria over a game-winning TD to frustration over a last-second FG- sometimes all in a matter of seconds.

This week besides giving you the 4 picks, I’m going to do one better.  I’m going to put my money where my mouth is, thanks to Seth.  With the picks that I give you, I will place a 4-team $10 parlay.  Coming off a 4-2 week, I feel momentum is coming on my side now.  Let’s ride that wave, baby!

Last week: 4-2
Overall: 10-8

CAROLINA at ATLANTA (-4): The King of the Back-Door Covers, Cam Newton, almost pulled-off an upset win against the Saints last Sunday.  I was hoping the Panthers would win because they’re an exciting bunch.  They never seem to be out of a game and you never what might happen with Cam under center.  The Falcons are in a tail-spin right now.  Prior to last week’s  loss against the Packers, Matt Ryan had only lost 2 games at home.  The Falcons didn’t score in the second half and subsequently lost the game.  Julio Jones will be out for the game which means that the Carolina D can focus more of their pass defense attention to Roddy White. In the preseason, everyone was in love with Atlanta as a Super Bowl contender but I didn’t buy it. I don’t see that “it’ factor.  I’m going out on a limb and predicting Carolina wins the game and I’ll take those 4 points.  TSS PICKS: CAROLINA

SAN FRANCISCO at DETROIT (-4.5): My ugly ducklings, the Lions, covered last week over the Bears.  Was anyone yelling at the TV screen during the last play of that game?  The Lions won by 9 but had the Bears scored a TD, the Lions would not have covered.  I don’t expect the Lions to put up huge scoring numbers because the Niner D is a much-improved squad.  They have definitely earned my respect as a top 10 Defense.  I’m not quite sold on Alex Smith, given his history, but I am believer in Jim Harbaugh.  The plays that were going against the Niners last year are now going for them this year. He brings in a tough blue collar mentality and a structured discipline.  Expect this game to be close and pray that our boy, Gus Johnson, calls this game.  Can you imagine a Gus calling a Calvin Johnson TD catch? I can and I hope it happens.  TSS PICKS: DETROIT  

DALLAS vs. NEW ENGLAND (-7): Do you remember last year’s Patriots/Browns game? I do.  I was on an impromptu Vegas trip when I decided to lay a 3-team parlay with one of the games being the Patriots/Browns.  The Browns were getting 5 points so I thought there was no way that The Man (Brady) couldn’t cover those points. Maybe it was a combination of Old-Fashions, Gin & Tonics, Johnnie Walker Black Label and beer over a 12-hour plus “excursion” to The Palms, The Paris, and Planet Hollywood mixed with a Sonic grilled cheese and cheesy tots at 4:30am, but I had made up my mind that I was taking the Patriots.  What happened?  The Browns pounded the Patriots to the ground and I was one and done in my 3 team parlay.  Do you know who the D-Coordinator was for the Browns?  It was Rob Ryan, current D-Coordinator for the Cowboys.  The Cowboys have had 2 weeks to pick up the pieces from their last heart-breaking defeat.  Logic says to go with Dallas but have you notice that Bellichik and Brady always seem to correct their mistakes?  I think they’ve corrected the mistakes from Ryan’s schemes from a year ago to beat the Cowboys.  My cousin, Alex, loves the game while my buddy, Ef, will be torn.  Does he want Brady, his fantasy football QB, to light up his beloved Cowboys? I’m learning from my mistake from a year ago and cautiously taking the Cowboys. TSS PICKS: DALLAS

 MINNESOTA at CHICAGO (-3): Much respect Jay Cutler for being a professional.  I don’t know how he does it week after week after week getting pounded to the ground.  If I was in Cutler’s shoes, I would blame the O-line and the receivers every time the Bears lost. It would go something like this:

Reporter: Jay, why did you throw the ball into double-coverage?
Cutler: I didn’t have time to throw the ball to the open receiver because these so-called offensive linemen can’t fuckin’ block. If I throw it to an open receiver, the idiot drops the ball too.  I can’t win with these bums.  Everybody blames me because I’m the QB but shit, man, try playing with these guys. The only football player I trust on offense is Forte.  He and I can’t do it alone.

Adrian Peterson will lead Minnesota into Soldier Field for TSS’ Upset Pick of the Week.  TSS PICKS: MINNESOTA

In closing, many of you heard that the NBA canceled the first 2 weeks of their season. I’m a huge basketball fan but I don’t care if the NBA doesn’t come back this year.  In this economy, I have no sympathy for these over-paid players who still seem to be living paycheck to paycheck.  Their lockout has forced many behind-the-scenes people to make ends meet which is unfortuntate.  The NBA quality as a whole has been less than stellar the last five years partly due to players jumping college or attending college for less than four years.  The NFL gets it. It mandates that a player enter the NFL only after being in college for 3 years.  The quality in the NFL has always been top-notch.  NBA, do everyone a favor and just stay away everyone.

Stepping down form my soapbox…

Friday, October 7, 2011

Appreciate those around You

Standing on my soapbox…

We’re back to the Mendoza line, folks!  After going 3-1 last week, I’ve got momentum heading to this week’s game.  I woke-up Sunday morning with a hunch about certain teams and therefore made myself a 3-team parlay Sunday Fun Day Bet.  I took Carolina, the NY Giants, and Tampa Bay.  Unfortunately Tampa couldn’t cover but it made for an exciting Sunday.  I’d like to thank, Kara, for getting me off the ledge last Sunday as I felt the Eagles were going downhill.  She quickly reminded me that the season is way too early and there’s a lot of football to be played. 

I’m feeling good about this weekend.  We had a day of rain, which was a good segway to  brisk fall weather in sunny Los Angeles.  Columbus Day is Monday so yours truly will be on the golf course working on his swing. Residents of Tulsa, celebrate my friend’s birthday, by getting out of her way when she’s on the road.  She’s got a new car and the road is her oyster.  Happy birthday, Molly!

This is the first week with Bye’s so I’m going to do 6 games this week:

NEW ORLEANS (-6) at CAROLINA- Cam Newton is quickly becoming the King of the Back-Door Covers!  In Game 1 of my 3-team parlay Sunday Fun Bet, I took the Panthers on a hunch that they would cover against the Bears.  I was fuming when ther Bears scored on a Marion Barber run inside of 2 minutes with the Bears having the game already in hand.   Cam saved the morning by somehow willing the team to score a TD with 10 seconds left.  What a way to cover!!!  This Sunday, he faces the explosive offense of the Saints, who I figure will blitz the hell out of Cam.  Look for a high-scoring game and I think New Orleans will win but Cam covers.  I figure defenses have not caught up to him yet so I’m riding the Panthers for a couple of weeks.  TSS PICKS: CAROLINA

TENNESSEE at PITTSBURGH (-3.5)- The Paul Giamatti’s did it again! They easily took care of the Browns last Sunday and are starting to turn heads.  I still like them coming out of the AFC South even with Kenny Britt out for the year.  While watching last week's game with my buds, Jimmy and Goldenberg, we realize how under-rated Matt Hasselbeck is.  We’ve now dubbed him Oven-Roasted Chicken and here’s why.  Oven-Roasted Chicken is a staple in all American cuisine restaurants, but you never order it because it’s not exciting.  It’s not until you actually order the chicken or you order something else (which wasn't very good) that you realize how good chicken is and that’s what you get out of Hasselbeck. You don’t know how good he is until you watch him play.  Pittsburgh is coming off a bad loss to Houston last week.  Big Ben, or as Jimmy calls him, W.C. Fields, is playing with an injury, Harrison is out with a broken orbital and Troy Polamalu is not the Troy of years ago.  Oven-Roasted Chicken and the Giamatti’s win  again!   LOCK OF THE WEEK TSS PICKS: TENNESSEE

SEATTLE at NY GIANTS (-10)- The Giants helped secure Win 2 of 3 in my aforementioned Sunday Fun Bet with a come-from behind win against the Cardinals.  I didn’t think the Giants would have beaten the spread so stoppe watching the game.  Yes, I know, I foolish.  Has anyone noticed how quitely Eli Manning is putting together a solid 1st half of the season?  Everyone was counting out the Giant’s D for being dissemated with injuries but in traditional G-Men fashoin, they are winning.  It seems as though they can line-up any WR and they’ll get the job done.  The Seahawks come to the Big Apple on Sunday looking for a win.  Tavaris Jackson almost led Seattle to an improbable come-from behind victory over Atlanta last week.  That was last week in Seattle and this is this week and the Seahawks are without their 12th man.  Without the 12th man, the Seahawks are like the hamburger at a Mexican restaurant- it’s just not any good. Sorry to say this, Seth, but the Giants will cover handsomely.  By the way folks, get Die-ner (Get It?) ,a great movie for your Halloween festivites,  Nothing says Halloween like watching a good zombie movie- Highly recommended!!  TSS PICKS: NY GIANTS

PHILADELPHIA (-3) at BUFFALO- The Bills came back down to reality last week with a sub-par performance from everyone.  It was the trademark trap game as Buffalo was coming off the emotional win against New England.  I am, however, noticing a trend with Buffalo.  It seems that when they’re the dogs, they seem to cover (i.e. wins vs. KC and NE) and when they’re the favorites, they don’t cover (i.e a win vs Oakland and a loss vs. Cincy).  They’re the dogs this week against the Eagles, which I don’t understand how (this line might move to Philly -1  towards kickoff).  My Iggles are having an identity crisis.  They’re resembling the Red Hot Chilli Peppers era with Dave Navarro- a lot of talent but can’t seem to mesh. That era didn’t bode well for the Peppers but let’s hope it’s not the same for the Eagles.  They’re 17-18-1 when DeSean Jackson doesn’t score,  He scores this weekend, the Eagles win but they don’t cover. TSS PICKS: BUFFALO

OAKLAND at HOUSTON (-6)- Oakland was not able to go mano-a-mano against New England.  If you recall, I told you to take the Patriots since their average margin of victory following a loss is 17 points. Oakland gets another strong test this weekend as they travel to Houston.  I’m still not sold on Houston and it doesn’t help that Andre Johnson will be out for this game.  This has the making of an old-school grind it out game- Oakland’s specialty.  I look for the Raiders to pound the ball with McFadden leading the way.  Eric LaSalle (Jason Campbell) needs to avoid making costly errors as do all the Raiders, who seemed to always be their own worst enemy,  In wacthing last Sunday’s games with my friends, I realized everyone has a city that they don’t care for. Maybe they’ve never been or maybe they have, but ask yourself what city makes your skin curl?  There really is no rhyme or reason for the dislike.  For me it’s Houston. I ‘ve never been to Houston but I don’t care for the city.  Maybe because the Astros were always defeating the Dodgers when I was a boy, maybe it was the Rockets winning back-to-back championships in the 90’s, I don’t know- I don’t care for them.  The only good thing I can say about Houston is that their Children’s Hospital is one of the best. I’ll tip my hat to the fine folks there. I’m digressing so let’s get back to the game.  JUST COVER BABY!! TSS PICKS: OAKLAND 

CHICAGO at DETROIT (-6): The Davis-Guidish residence will be rocking and rolling this Monday night as this household is split down the middle in a battle of NFC North foes.  I kept telling Jimmy to wait for Detroit’s comeback after trailing at halftime against the Cowboys and wouldn’t you know, those cracy Lions won the game!!  This week, the Lions are going for blood against Jimmy’s Bears.  You think the Lions have forgotten about the botched call in Week 1 of last year?! Oh no my friend, they haven’t!  The Bears will counter will the versatile but never appreciated Matt Forte.  Forte is like that great girlfirend you once dated,  You know the one I’m talking about,  The girl was always there for you, she listened enthusiactially to your never-ending stories about sports, she killed her Sundays to watch football with you, hell, she even cared for your ass when you were sick.  When you broke up, you realized how good she was and you couldn’t do anything about it.  The never-appreciated Forte will do everythng in his power to beat the Lions.  Can anyone stop Calvin Johnson? The guy is in beast-mode right now!! How can I go against the Lions?! They’re my ugly ducklings from last year and I’m still reaping the rewards! Fun side bet: How many texts will Jimmy get from his future step-dad-in law during the game? The over/under is 50! TSS PICKS: DETROIT

In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank all the teachers out there who help shape our future scientists, doctors, lawyers, poets, writers etc.  Wednesday was Teacher Appreciation Day but I’m am advocate for everyday being Teacher Appreciation Day.  While we have athletes bitching about money, teachers are taking pay cuts or taking money out of their own pockets to pay for supplies for your kids.  You think it’s hard dealing with your kids- try dealing with 25 other kids!  Teachers have a passion for helping kids. I tip my hat to you, teachers, Life’s Oven-Roasted Chicken!!

Stepping down from my soapbox…