NFL Picks: Sunday and Monday Night Fooball Games

Welcome Back, Cris and Al. Welcome Back, Faith. Welcome Back – Prime Time Football!

Dallas Cowboys at the New York Jets

S/U:  New York

ATS:  New York -4

O/U:  under 40.5 – it’s supposed to rain

The most blustery coach in the NFL versus the most blustery owner. America’s Team versus Gang Green. Cool! Let the entertainment begin. If you cannot enjoy this matchup, just don’t even bother to call yourself a football fan.

Storyline Alert

Tony Romo versus Mark Sanchez: a newlywed who can be a bit of a head case and a very young man with very high expectations and just a little pressure. I wouldn’t want to be either of them. On the other hand, the chance to be a hero is right at their fingertips. Literally. I never count on a newlywed, so this matchup is a draw. Especially since the Jets’ secondary is better than the Cowboys’ secondary (particularly with Newman hurt.)

Everything matches up evenly between these two teams except for the running game. If he stays healthy, Felix Jones is going to tear it up this season, whereas I don’t ever know what is going on with New York’s Shonn Greene. I’m starting to think that he has a touch of  “head case” too. But at least the team has four running backs with different running specialties, so there is recourse if Green hits a wall.

Special Teams might be a factor here. Dallas’ Buehler has struggled, while I think Folk is solid – although I don’t know about new punter Conley. However, Dallas has second-year phenom Dez Bryant seeing some return action and he scares me to death every time he gets anywhere  NEAR the football.  So don’t go to the fridge on kicks.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

S/U:  New England

ATS:  New England -7. I hate picking against a home underdog, but I’m sorry – Miami is a mess

O/U:  under 45.5 – Let’s see, it’s hurricane season in South Florida – think it might rain?

Storyline Alert!

I’ve worked on television shows where you knew you were stuck  in the artistic and ratings quicksand:  no matter what anyone tried, you just couldn’t save it. Don’t you think that’s how Sparano has to feel right about now? He knows that he only has a job because ownership didn’t want to contract a new coach before the Lockout. Speaking of presure. I hope he’s saving his sheckles.

The only thing on Miami’s offense that is working is RB Larry Johnson – with a little help from some talent on the Oline. Great.

Randy Moss’ return to the Pats would be great, but they don’t need him to win this one. It is beyond me how Brady can win games with a solid running game and two TE’s. But he does it. He did it all year last season. Now he has Chad OchoCinco. It doesn’t MATTER that Chad is having a very hard time picking up the rhythm. Someone still has to cover him. And someone still has to cover Branch. Just in case they catch it.

Incidentally, Belichick has managed to convince the football world that Green-Ellis is just an average back. Over one thousand yards last year, guys. And a bunch of TD’s. Don’t believe it.

The Patriots’ defense is still rocky and young. But, again, it won’t matter this week. I’m sorry, I wish I could say something nice about Miami. Ummm…..


Oakland Raiders at the Denver Broncos

S/U;  Denver

ATS:  Denver -3

O/U:  over 40

Those of you on the East Coast need to Tivo this game. It is going to be interesting. The Raiders’ secondary is still trying to find itself after Nnamdi, the Dline and linebackers are much better than they have played in August, all of the running backs look good and Jason Campbell is doing okay.

Storyline Alert!

Remember, this is a young man who has had a different offensive coordinator and scheme every year since his freshman year in college – except for twice. This is one of those two times as new Head Coach Jackson was the offensive coordinator last season. I wish Jason well. He has talent and I’d like to see it blossom.

Then you have the most unappreciated man in football, Kyle Orton, going quietly about throwing touchdown passes with about as much personality as a flounder. Read the stats, guys, not the vanilla press bytes. And aren’t Fox and Elway thankful that they couldn’t unload him for 9 million in August? They would be up you-know-what without a QB were it not for Orton.

Storyline Alert!

I feel so badly for Tebow. It is not his fault that the Broncos tried to believe he was something that he may, or may not, ever be – but certainly is not now:  a franchise QB. Tim is trying. You can tell. But he has a lot to overcome and now the team has all but thrown him on the rubbish heap. Poor guy.

Well, barring catastrophe, we will not see Mr. Tebow on the field any time soon.  For the Denver offense it will be Orton, WR Brandon Lloyd, RB Moreno (if he can focus) and RB McGahee (if he can’t.)

I think that the Silver and Black have the talent to stop that Denver offense – I’m simply not sure that they will. But a little voice inside me says that this Richard Seymour-led squad is the sleeping monster that will awaken at kickoff now that the games count. I’m thinking that the Denver Oline had better be ready.

The less said about the 2010 Bronco defense the better. We will learn Monday whether or not this 2011 version, coached by defensively focused Head Man Fox, can stop the run. Stopping the pass could go either way. They should undoubted be better. How much remains to be seen.

And they’re off!

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