Week 8 Advice for NFL Suicide Pools
by Drew Mangione - 10/25/2006
A good friend of mine reminded me on Sunday evening that a wise man once said "Never take road favorites in a divisional game." That wise man was, of course, me. Did I listen? No. Another wise man told me last Wednesday to stay away, far away, from the Jacksonville at Houston game. That man was Doc's Sports writer and handicapper Robert Ferringo. I should have listened to him. I should have listened to myself.
I got my wish this week. The field of 12 in my suicide pool was pared down to just two. Unfortunately, I was not one of the two. Jacksonville was supposed to be a good team. They were supposed to be a dominating defense. They were supposed to beat the lowly Houston Texans. I learned another rule this week: middle linebacker actually is the quarterback of a good defense. If the QB goes down, only a very capable backup can carry his team.
My other pick was the Philadelphia Eagles. Oh, how I had high hopes for the Eagles this year, but now they have the same record as my Jets-a team with the inexperienced talent of a five-win team and a schedule that could double that total. Thank you schedule for this year and hello next year when the team matures. But back to the Eagles, I was jumping up and down like a mad man on a pogo stick when Brian Westbrook scored. A rookie quarterback can't lead a game-winning drive, can he? Matt Bryant's long was 50 yards, nowhere near 62. It had to be a fake, right? Nope. He kicked it true and in doing so, kicked me out of the suicide pool.
Alas, it wasn't the Jaguars or the Eagles that cost me my chance at big gains. It was me. Hence the reason they call it a suicide pool. The Jaguars were without MLB Mike Peterson and the Eagles were on the road against a team brimming with newfound confidence. Oh, that's a lie. I do blame the Eagles. Donovan McNabb is a top three quarterback, but he threw two interceptions for touchdowns to the only decent defender left on the Buccaneers. I shouldn't have taken Jacksonville, but Philly screwed me.
With that said, I'll offer advice to those who may still be alive in their pools and get excited about one thing: I already handed in my $5 for a slot in the Second-Half Bounce-Back Pool! Once again, the lines are courtesy of Pinnacle Sportsbook. I would like to point out though that five of the seven biggest spreads last week were won by the underdog, meaning that in retrospect, I should have taken the Colts and Patriots.
San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears (-16), 1 p.m., Sunday: The Bears. The Bears. And in case you were wondering who I thought would win this game, it's the Bears. Expect Urlacher to be a beast off the bye and Grossman to rebound against a pass defense that is third to last in the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants (-9.5), 1 p.m., Sunday: Matt Bryant should have victimized his old team this week, instead of Philly last week. The Giants are at home and have too much to play for, what with first place in the cards again.
St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers (-9), 4:05 p.m., Sunday: The Chargers are overrated and the Rams might actually be a wee bit underrated here. There's no way I would touch this game in a suicide pool situation. Marty's team is beset on all sides by controversy and a Rams team that actually runs the ball may avenge their home loss to Seattle with a road win this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-9) at Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m., Sunday: Seriously, do the Steelers deserve all this respect? Their quarterback has been through the ringer this year and now an underrated Oakland defense is again a major dog this week. The Raiders will definitely cover and if I feel that safe about it being close, I wouldn't pick the Steelers to win outright.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5), 1 p.m., Sunday: One of these teams has to win this week. They both irritate me. It's a must win for both teams, but the Eagles have more going for them, including health and home field advantage. I'm taking the Eagles, but this should be another barnburner.
Seattle Seahawks at Kansas City Chiefs (-6), 1 p.m., Sunday: From Super Bowl runner up to a team without its quarterback, running back and will to win. It looked like Seattle would turn the Super Bowl loser curse upside down, but both it and the Madden cover jinx live on. Alexander better come back quickly and Walter Jones had better play better if this team wants to make the playoffs. I don't care who the coach is or who is on the roster, the Chiefs are always tough at Arrowhead.
Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (-5.5), 4:15 p.m., Sunday: This one will either be a blowout for Dallas as Tony Romo comes into his own or vice versa. Either way, it'll be a 10-point difference one way or the other. I think Carolina holds on for two reasons: The Panthers are at home and haven't given up on the season.
The Bears and Giants appear to be the safest picks this week, followed in the distance by the Eagles, Chiefs and the Panthers. I hope that helps you and maybe now I'll relax. No pressure. I've already lost. I'm dead.