Week Seven Advice for Suicide Pools
by Drew Mangione - 10/19/2006
Monday night was pure insanity. Why did I take the Bears? WHY! I can't count high enough to tell you how many times I said those words. It didn't look good and in a week when almost everyone else in the pool took the Broncos and advanced, my frustration was close to tearing apart my recliner, shattering a glass door, and severing the lining of my stomach as I crammed chips, pasta and beer down my gullet.
I watched the game with a Bears fan so true to the Windy City that he was a beer vendor at Wrigley. But the by the middle of the third quarter this Clark and Addison kid was already crying for any possession to be four-down territory. But then it happened. Just minutes after he asked why he hadn't heard Mike Brown's name lately, the first touchdown was scored. Then I began my tirade on how much I hate Edgerrin James and Urlacher made him fumble. Then I said the Bears should punt on first down, to which another buddy responded "Well, they could return this."
So, if you don't know how I got redeemed, then I'm not sure why you're reading this piece. The two defensive touchdowns, punt return and a missed FG saved my ass by a point. I'm back. I feel like Lazarus, with a new lease on my gambling life. The problem is that I was the only one in jeopardy. Seven of the 12 remaining pool participants picked Denver, who I'll note did not cover. Two picked the Chargers and one followed my lead by picking the Cowboys.
With that said, I'm ready to pick apart this week's list of big time favorites, but oh, how times have changed. After three weeks of having six teams favored by a touchdown or more, we have just two, according to Pinnacle Sportsbook. So I'll just have to look at the seven 5-point favorites:
Jacksonville Jaguars (-10) at Houston Texans, 1 p.m., Sunday: I like Jacksonville a lot this year and they drubbed my Jets by 400 before their bye. Now they're coming off their bye to face a Texans team that got crushed last week. Now, I realize it's foolish to think the NFL teams are linked to my pool, but I've seen a lot of people go down picking against Houston in this pool over the past six years. MLB Mike Peterson is out, but if there was ever a good time to lose your middle linebacker, it's before a bye when you have two weeks to train his replacement.
Washington Redskins at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5), 4:15 p.m., Sunday: The Redskins are bad. Really bad. But the Colts are overrated and giving up 166.8 yards on the ground each game at 5.2 yards per rush. Sure they picked up Booger McFarland for a second round pick from the Buccaneers, but can that move help immediately? The Redskins are 7th in the league in rushing, getting 130.8 yards per game at a clip of 4.6 per rush. Brunell looks ancient, but Clinton Portis got 112 yards on 27 carries against a healthy Jacksonville defense. Imagine what he'll do to the Colts.
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5), 4:15 p.m. Sunday: The Seahawks looked lethargic off their bye, letting Bulger go off, before coming back to win. The Vikings just aren't that good. Coach Brad Childress has the team on the right track, but they're still far away from being a contender. Running back Chester Taylor (421 yards in five games) may be the brightest spot for the Vikings, but the Seattle comeback was possible because they put the kibosh on then-league leading rusher Stephen Jackson (56 yards on 20 carries). Minnesota has only given up three TDs in the air and coming off a bye, may be prepared. Childress worked for Andy Reid, who has been automatic after byes.
San Diego Chargers (-5) at Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m., Sunday: The Chargers crushed the 49ers and the Chiefs rolled over for the Steelers last week, making this tempting. However, it's hard to think seriously about road favorites, even if four of the seven games I'm looking at have road favorites. The Chiefs are a good team and both running backs are surely going to be motivated to win the crown of best in the NFL. It's close right now: LT has 581 total yards and 7 TDs, compared to LJ's 631 yards, 4 TDs and one hair tackle.
New England Patriots (-5) at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., Sunday: Divisional game and a road favorite. Two no-no's. What could possibly make me feel good about this game? Perhaps the fact that the Patriots know they can win their division and become Super Bowl contenders easily by cleaning up on the bottom feeders in the AFC East, along with the ones in the NFC and AFC central. I can't see Brady and Belichick letting this team lose to a bad team.
Green Bay Packers at Miami Dolphins (-5), 1 p.m., Sunday: Do I need to even write anything here? How are the Dolphins favored for anything? Oh, they're playing Green Bay. Shit, I think the Packers might win, but I'm not wagering my toenail clippings on this game.
Philadelphia Eagles (-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Sunday: This one is tempting. I might feel less comfortable had Tampa Bay lost and the Eagles won. But Andy Reid knows his team can't lose this one and the Bucs may be riding high with their rookie QB and now have one less defensive tackle. I may regret this later, but this one feels good.
So that settles it. I'm taking the Jaguars because they're coming off a bye and the Eagles on a hunch and a belief that they are a good team and won't lose a second consecutive game, at least not to a dreadful team like the Buccaneers. Oh, boy. Here we go. If we have all 12 players advance again, I may just have to take things into my own hands. My good friend Carl Spackler gave me some advice about handling starting QBs: right behind the ankle, and then slice. If I lose, well, it's been fun.
Slot one: Patriots, Ravens, Dolphins, Eagles, Panthers, Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars
Slot two: Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens, Falcons, Colts, Bears, Philadelphia Eagles