The Sports Guy's Week 2 picks
• For Part One of Bill Simmons' Week 2 NFL column, CLICK HERE.
PACKERS (-13) over Bills
Super Bowl contenders blow out crummy teams at home. Especially crummy teams with quarterbacks that generate e-mails like this (from Jack in New York): "Did you see Trent Edwards during that final drive? I've never seen someone look that terrified of having to lead their team. He's the perfect QB for the Bills. He crushes their hearts on the first game of the season so that their fans don't get their hopes up for the rest of the season." You could say he's their Dr. Kevorkian. Which brings me to another rule: Anytime a team is laying 13 at home to a quarterback who can be successfully compared to Jack Kevorkian, you lay the 13.
MILLER LITE MAN UP
Hey, Calvin Johnson, why didn't you take the blame for stupidly banging the football on the ground to lose what should have been a game-winning catch against the Bears? Every other good receiver knows to cradle the ball and roll over to protect it; you banged it off the ground like you were trying to smash a cell phone. It's your fault the refs got involved in the first place.
Is the touchdown possession rule stupid? Of course. It gets more complex every year. I watch football for 12 hours a day, 17 weeks a year, and have no idea what the rule actually is at this point. If it looks like a catch, why can't it be a catch? I liked this solution from Jason in Delaware: "My wife, who doesn't watch football at all, asked during the Johnson replay, 'Why in the world wasn't that a catch?' If a female non-football fan can see something should or should not be, then her ruling prevails, no matter what ridiculousness the rulebook says. We need a Wife/Girlfriend Rule implemented."
I tested out Jason's idea with the Sports Gal. Her take on Johnson's catch: "So what? He caught it. Did I miss something?" When I told her it was ruled incomplete, she made me rewind it, watched it again, then said, "That's dumb, he caught it" and walked away. The point is, I shouldn't have to call my wife over -- someone who knows NOTHING about sports -- to confirm the idiocy of a football ruling. But that doesn't excuse Johnson from opening the door for that idiocy. Next time, man up and admit you blew it.
(Random thought: How much will you enjoy the Brandon Jackson Fantasy Free Agency Stampede careening into a guardrail if the Packers trade for Marshawn Lynch next week? And has any random running back ever had more pressure on him than Jackson in Week 2? Not only is Jackson being asked to save Green Bay's running game but something like 550,000 fantasy teams that sucked in Week 1. My take: I don't think he's up for it.)
Dolphins (+5.5) over VIKINGS
A textbook undervalued/overvalued early-season play. I don't think Brett Favre fully wants to be there. He's carrying himself like William Petersen did during the last two "CSI" seasons. Fine, fine ... I'll come back. Just make sure I'm done filming by 5 every day. And only two takes per scene! I'm not kidding! And I get to direct two episodes! Not one, two!
FALCONS (-6.5) over Cards
I'm losing faith in Matty Ice. He's dripping all over my keyboard. As for the Cardinals, this e-mail summed it up (from Chris in Rockville, Md.): "Have Ken Whisenhunt and most of the sports media ignored the past two seasons of schizophrenic Derek Anderson games? There is only one way your season ends with Derek Anderson: with your face in your hands, weeping."
(Note: Please include Larry Fitzgerald as one of the people weeping. By the third quarter in St. Louis last week, he was performing Steve Smith's "I Hate Jake Delhomme" body language routine right down to the part where he'd stop abruptly as a ball sailed 10 feet over his head, then freeze for a second in disbelief, as if he was thinking to himself, "I kinda don't want to run back to the huddle, what would happen if I just kept running into the tunnel?")
BENGALS (+2.5) over Ravens
Only because of the "Monday night road team playing again on the road six days later" thing. By the way, I went to a New York City wedding last Saturday and flew back Sunday morning on United, which had wireless, allowing me to watch the first half of the early games on DirecTV.com. Sounds awesome on paper, right? Too bad the Internet stream was juuuuuuuuuuuuuust slow enough that the feed kept freezing for a few seconds, then jumping forward to live action again. So this kept happening ...
Jim Nantz: "Big third down for the Patriots. Here's Brady back to pa-."
(Six seconds of dead time as 22 frozen NFL players stare at me.)
(Fast-forward to live action ... we see Welker celebrating in the end zone.)
Phil Simms: "-hrow by Tom Brady!"
(On the one hand, torture. On the other hand, how amazing is it that we can watch eight football games at once on an airplane? 1990 Me would have gone into a coma if you told me about this.)
Chiefs (+2) over BROWNS
Dennis in Youngstown, Ohio, asks, "What did we do to deserve Jake Delhomme?" God hates Cleveland! I keep telling you.
Meanwhile, the elements are breaking Kansas City's way in 2010: a monsoon at home in Week 1, then Seneca Wallace in Week 2, then San Fran's screwed up coaching staff that can't hear each other in loud stadiums coming to Arrowhead in Week 3. That's three natural disasters in a row! The Chiefs are starting to look a little sleepery. Bryce from North Dakota explains that Monday's Arrowhead crowd rocked because "the game didn't start until 9:15 pm local time, so there were no young kids or old people in the stadium, only dedicated fans. Also, the late start allowed a lot more time to tailgate and drink, so it was rowdier because of that too. Should we just have more Monday Night Football doubleheaders?"
(The short answer: YES! The long answer: I'd rather have Monday night doubleheaders and rowdy crowds than those stupid Thursday games that screw up our fantasy leagues and gambling pools because we have to get everything in three days early. Or, why not both?)
Bears (+7.5) over COWBOYS
The Bears were my "Hmmmmmmmmm" team from Week 1. Cutler was flinging the ball and their defense looked lively. Now here's where you say, "Yeah, but they were playing the Lions." Exactly. That's why I only said "hmmmmmmmmm." Still, they're undervalued and the Cowboys are woefully overvalued. You really want me laying seven and a half for a team that prompted Markley in Buffalo to send me this joke?
"Q: What's the difference between Tony Romo and Lindsay Lohan?
"A: Only Lohan has a decent line in front of her right now."
(Important note: In last week's column, I wrote an extended analogy comparing the Kardashians and Cowboys without mentioning the smoking gun ... Kim Kardashian dates Miles Austin! I'm an idiot.)
TITANS (-5) over Steelers
I mean ... are we sure it's a good idea for Dennis Dixon to wear Kordell Stewart's old number? You're telling me Steelers fans aren't having Nam-like flashbacks every time he does something dumb?
PANTHERS (-3.5) over Bucs
Whatever. And now, a new feature I'd like to call "My Favorite Reader of the Week." (I don't have a sponsor for it yet. If you want to sponsor it, make me an offer. I'd like to have a different sponsor every week. This week's sponsor is Nick Aieta, my one college buddy who does things like enter "Mad Men" cameo contests. Our winner of the I Can't Believe Nick Aieta Is My Friend Reader Of the Week? Ben in Washington, D.C.:
"I was watching 'Mad Men' in bed with my girlfriend after ... you know. When Joan and her husband were in a scene together in their apartment and she said something to him like, "When you leave, I won't have anyone to talk to," and I just blurted out, in a whisper, "You can talk to me, Joan ... you can talk to me." My girlfriend was not impressed that I showed more affection towards Joan. I don't think we will be watching 'Mad Men' together again ... or anything else together for that matter."
LIONS (+6.5) over Eagles
A sympathy pick after Detroit fans were Joyce'd for the second time in three months ... and also because the Eagles stink. James P. in San Antonio summed it up: "So with the game on the line, fourth-and-1, the Eagles ran the most predictable play ever. To prove it's the most predictable play ever: When watching the highlights, I paused the TV and asked my wife, 'What happens next?' She said, 'Vick runs it.' I say, 'OK, where?' She thinks for a nanteenth of a second and points out the exact line where Vick will run. Andy Reid, when my wife can predict your play, you have been outcoached."
BRONCOS (-3.5) over Seahawks
Congrats to Pete Carroll for getting his first Seahawks win last week despite being covered in USC's blood. Congrats to the Heisman committee for giving Reggie Bush's Heisman the Heisman. Congrats to Mike Williams for making a dramatic comeback and raising Matt Millen's overall GM grade with the Lions from an F-quintuple-minus to an F-triple-minus. Congrats to Josh McDaniels for turning three No. 1 picks in 2009 and 2010 into a third-string tight end, backup QB and fourth-string receiver; I don't even think David Kahn could have pulled that off. Congrats to the NFC West, because if the Seahawks cool off after a promising Week 1, we might see a 6-10 team win that division. And congrats to Seattle for taking home another WNBA title. This totally makes up for losing the 1979 NBA champs and Kevin Durant.
RAIDERS (-3.5) over Rams
I wouldn't take the Rams getting less than four points on the road against any NFL team and about 20 Division I teams, not even when I have to pick a team that elicited this tweet (from @crkstr_defi) last weekend: "What's it like being a Raiders fan? I got sympathy texts today from another man's girlfriend. That's what it's like."
Some other weekend tweets I enjoyed ...
@robertalvis: "Who had half a quarter in the Bob Sanders pool?"
@drewbur425: "Do you think David Kahn had anything to do with J Lo's 1 year $12 Mil deal with American Idol?"
@trizztroll: "Don't we all know Dr. James Andrews well enough to start calling him 'Jim'?"
@gorkamurga: "Foster's parents named him Arian? Was Adolf Foster already taken?"
Jaguars (+7) over CHARGERS
Under Norv Turner, the Chargers are 5-10 to start the last four seasons: 1-3 in 2007; 2-3 in 2008 and 2009; and 0-1 this year. Meanwhile, the Jags lost both of their West Coast games last year by a combined score of 61-3. When in doubt, take the points. The bigger question (courtesy of reader Tim Gardena): "Do you think Philip Rivers yelled at his butlers and maids growing up?"
Texans (-3) over REDSKINS
Giants (+5) over COLTS
And now, there's no going back.
(Hey, remember in Part One when I vowed to show up at Tuesday's Colts practice dressed like Ines Sainz if the Colts covered? I'm not really doing that. I had my fingers crossed.)
Pats (-3) over JETS
Dave W. in Rapid City made me feel better about Tom Brady's hair: "My theory is that Gisele has been watching 'True Blood,' loves vampire Bill and wants her husband to look just like him." I like it! Vampires are in right now.
Unrelated: Wes Welker's dramatic comeback from an ACL tear, followed by two touchdown catches in Week 1, got me more choked up than the "It's real to me dammit" guy. I love that guy. I thought about buying a Rob Gronkowski jersey because I'm a sucker for tight ends and he's potentially the best Pats tight end since Ben Coates -- they even gave him No. 87 -- but I couldn't cheat on the Welker jersey. Not after that comeback. So I settled on making the Gronk my Twitter avatar. By the way, I turn 41 in a week.
Saints (-5) over NINERS
If my column was the Niners' offense ...
(I need something funny for this section before I hand the column in. I have plenty of time though.)
(What? I only have 15 seconds? Dammit!)
(Ten seconds to go, I still don't have anything.)
(Should I just audible something? What should I do?)
(I'M RUNNING OUT OF TIME!)
(Wait a second, wait a seco-.)
Last Week: 7-7-2
Bill Simmons is a columnist for ESPN.com and the author of the recent New York Times best-seller "The Book of Basketball." For every Simmons column and podcast, check out Sports Guy's World. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sportsguy33.
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