Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the most overrated team in the NFL? I submit to you that they are.
MINNESOTA (-5 1/2) over Green Bay
They say to throw out the record books when these two teams get together. I will leave them in. Favre sucks in a dome, Vikings have beat the Pack three straight times (including twice last year when they sucked even more). But even though I'm predicting a runaway victory for purple and gold, I'm going to make the bold prediction that this is the week we see Tarvaris Jackson take some snaps. It probably won't actually happpen, but if I really hope hard enough and believe with all my heart, there might be enough magic in the air in the North Star State to muster this "National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day" miracle.
I have to say, though, that I'm not nearly as worked up about this game as I should be. Packers in the Dome is usually the biggest non-playoff game of the year for Vikings fans. I just can't get excited coming off such an embarrasing loss.
Kansas City (-1 1/2) over MIAMI
There are a lot of snoozers this week, so many that picking five interesting games becomes a chore. Enter this one. Let's all admit to ourselves that the Dolphins played way beyond themselves last week against a team that finally got bit phoning it in. Their record still stinks, the still have Joey Harrington at the helm, and they're still facing (arguably) the most dominant running back in the game this week. No choice.
CINCINNATI (+1 1/2) over San Diego
I wouldn't care about this game at all except it's my fantasy starting quarterback (Palmer) versus my fantasy backup quarterback (Rivers). Here's some rationale for you: 1. San Diego is not nearly as good on the road. 2. Merriman is out, so look for a lot of touches for Rudi Johnson. 3. The pressure is on for a team that suddenly has expectations on it. 4. There's been news of Carson Palmer's mechanics problems. This means he's definitely going to have a big game. I don't know if this one will be close or not, but it should be fun to watch at the very least.
Denver (-8 1/2) over OAKLAND
Last week I joked to DJam, "You should pick Miami over Chicago, you'd look like a genius if they win." I, however, didn't pull the trigger on that call and can't actually make the claim that I'm a genius. But I have the same feeling this week. I won't actually pick Oakland over Denver, just keep in mind that the Broncos are coming off two big weeks, and they might be too tired to get worked up for the Raiders (odd as that sounds). And despite what happened last Monday night, Oakland is better than what they let on. They're capable of putting together a big game, especially against a division rival at home. So while it can't be said that I'm a football genius, it can at least be said that I don't have the cajones to own up to an upset pick.
New Orleans (+4 1/2) over PITTSBURGH
There are three teams with 2-6 records who are hosting teams with 6-2 records this week. Tennessee is hosting Baltimore, Oakland is hosting Denver, and Pittsburgh is hosting New Orleans. Only one of these 2-6 teams is favored, however. I really can't, for the life of me, understand why the line on this game is the way it is. Let me make this perfectly clear:
AIN'T NO WAY THE STEELERS ARE COVERING.
Watching last year's Super Bowl, I sat there saying to myself, "The bias towards this team is ridiculous." I chocked it up to a "somebody's gotta get the hype, and it sure won't be Seattle" theory. But this whole stinkin' year, Pittsburgh has had overly kind lines. Bet against them with everything you have. I mean it. The bias has reached surreal proportions.
Baltimore (-7 1/2) over TENNESSEE
JACKSONVILLE (-10 1/2) over Houston
NEW ENGLAND (-10 1/2) over New York Jets
San Francisco (+6 1/2) over DETROIT
PHILADELPHIA (-6 1/2) over Washington
INDIANAPOLIS (-12 1/2) over Buffalo
ATLANTA (-7 1/2) over Cleveland
SEATTLE (-4 1/2) over St. Louis
Dallas (-6 1/2) over ARIZONA
Chicago (+2 1/2) over NEW YORK GIANTS
CAROLINA (-9 1/2) over Tampa Bay