I’m late.  I’ve been in Corning, California for a week on the set of a movie shoot wherein the septic tank overflowed creating splotchy sinkholes of cesspool filth all over the place, a man nearly died from an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and I tore two ligaments in my left ankle rendering me a cripple.  There were good things about it too, but it isn’t as fun writing about sunshiny happy moments like the times we all got along.

Needless to say I have been out of the loop.  I’ve been “round the clock” busy with no connection to the world of sports whatsoever.  We had to listen to games on the radio for god’s sake.  The RADIO!

Even though I felt like a dad from the 70s tuning into my AM Gold I was happy to hear that most of the games this week made sense.  The teams that were supposed to win won, and the teams that were supposed to get whipped got whupped for the most part.  For example, Carolina beat New Orleans as though they were some sort of refugees from a hurricane or something.  Pittsburgh (who is looking like a solid contender for the Super Bowl this year) kept Cincinnati in its wretched place at the bottom of the league with a solid thumping.  Baltimore’s #2 ranked defense in the league stopped Miami dead in their tracks.  The still undefeated Tennessee Titans leveled Kansas City like they were a team of retarded children.  The New York Giants crushed San Francisco like the great earthquake of ’89 that leveled the whole area almost 19 years ago today.

But there were a few surprises too.  Buffalo proved their worth Sunday with the solid thrashing of the overrated San Diego Chargers.  The St. Louis Rams, once considered the worst team in the NFL this season not only defeated, but embarrassed the Dallas Cowboys, once considered the best team in the NFL.  Oakland poked its head out of the sand to squeeze past the Jets by a field goal.  And the New England Patriots reclaimed some honor by obliterating the Denver Broncos with the gross and lopsided score of 41 to 7.

If this had been just any other week I would have been upset by the Cowboys’ loss to the Rams, but last week’s shenanegans left me so jaded and frustrated that I made all my bets based on the flip of a coin.  My coin was surprisingly accurate.  I trusted the quarter with all of my heart and I went 9-5 this week.  Not bad.  The quarter even gave me the Rams over the Cowboys which I bet with trepidation taking odds over the spread.  It was beautiful.  I got 5 to 1 and it payed off in cold hard cash.  That’s good because my foot is busted and I can’t work for a week.

Are things truly back to normal in the NFL?  Will the rest of the season be reasonably predictable?  I still can’t tell.  My early season Super Bowl picks are all shot to hell.  Judging by the league standings I’d have to pick Tennessee over the Giants, but I just don’t buy it.  I don’t think the Titans have what it takes to make the long run to the Super Bowl.  They’re a great team with a great defense having a great season, but there’s something missing.  When I watch them play I can see a speck of trepidation in their eyes as though they themselves are surprised that they keep winning.  They seemingly lack the confidence of a champion.  You can smell their fear as easily as you can smell the Pomade wafting from the heads at the Grand Ole Opry.  Even thought they’re undefeated I don’t think they have what it takes to go the distance.  I think they’ll be a contender… they may even go to the Bowl, but I don’t think they’ll hold it together.  There’s just some vital part of their team that is missing.

The Giants, on the other hand, are almost just the opposite.  They proved they have what it takes last February when they upset the heavily favored Patriots in the Super Bowl.  They started slow last year, losing their first three games, but once they got going they finished the season at 11-5 almost beating the Patriots in the last meaningless game of the season.  Those that were paying attention got a glimpse of what was to come, but most of us, includng myself, didn’t take them seriously.

Well it’s hard not to take them seriously now.  This is largely the same team that provided the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.  The only difference is they aren’t a surprise anymore.  They are a powerhouse and a threat and they prove it week after week.  Their only loss is a strange and mysterious Monday night loss to the Cleveland Browns in a maddening week where the Rams beat the Redskins, Houston beat Miami, and Jacksonville beat the Broncos.  We gamblers lost our minds and our money that week and the Giants’ loss to the Browns was like the fetid and rancid icing on a cake made of roadkill.

Week 7 was different though.  The Panthers, the Bears, the Steelers, the Titans, the Ravens, the Giants, the Packers, the Redskins, and the Buccaneers all beat teams they were supposed to beat.  Week 7 was money in the bank for a blue chip investor such as myself and that’s good because week 6 turned me into a drooling maniac and made getting a job working in an office look like it might not be such a bad idea.

Week 8 pics

There will be no coin toss this week.  I’m back from the brink of insanity and I’m confident that I know what’s going on.  There are a lot of tough calls this week like Arizona @ Carolina, Atlanta @ Philly, and the Giants @ Pittsburgh.  This is a milestone week in football.  We’re approaching the halfway mark of the season and things are serious.  The standings after week 8 will accurately represent each team’s worth.  Any team that has any hope of being a contender MUST WIN THIS WEEK.  This week, if things don’t go batshit crazy, will prove who the real gamblers are.  Whoever comes out ahead with a solid winning record after week 8 will have not only my respect, but the respect of the gambling world.  This week is paramount in all respects.  It’s time to get serious.

Oakland @ Baltimore

No more funny business.  No more betting on longshots.  No more throwing my hands up in the air.  This week is a Blue Chip week.  It’s time to hunker down and get conservative.  It’s time to get serious.  The Oakland Raiders are a shabby rag-tag bunch of losers with an egomaniacal bat-shit crazy machiavellian owner in a stupid busted city where the residents have their priorities so out of whack that they spend thousands of dollars on shiny rims for their cars while they live in pure squalor.  The Raiders are terrible and they will get shut down by the Ravens.  Ravens by 7

Arizona @ Carolina

Kurt Warner and his Cardinals are having a tremendous year.  They are solidly leading their division (not saying a lot) and have been putting up tremendous points in almost every game.  Still, they are the Arizona Cardinals and no matter what they do I am skeptical.  I don’t think they are as good as their record reflects, and even though they have been winning crucial games I think they are mediocre.  Carolina, on the other hand, have proven themselves as a steady and solid team that consistently wins.  They are a stronger franchise.  Panthers by 2

Tampa Bay @ Dallas

No one I know besides myself seems to take Tampa Bay seriously this year.  I have consistently bet on them and they have consistently paid off.  Dallas is broken and disheveled, but even at their lowest they have the potential to beat any team in the league.  The Cowboys are coming off an embarrasing defeat by the Rams and are playing at home.  They will go all out in this game, but they still have to beat the healthy and strong Buccaneers.  My money’s on Tampa.  Buccaneers by 3

Washington @ Detroit

The Detroit Lions are as bad as they’ve ever been, and they’ve been a bad franchise since the 1940s.  Washington will crush them like bugs.  Redskins by 5

Buffalo @ Miami

The Bills keep winning.  The Dolphins pulled a few games out of their ass, but they still suck.  Bills by 6

St. Louis @ New England

Two big wins in a row for the Rams probably means their confidence is at an all-time high.  Still, the Patriots are a mighty force that proved it Monday with a rout of the Broncos.  Can the Rams win three big games in a row?  Don’t bet on it.  Patriots by 7

San Diego @ New Orleans

The Chargers are a good team, but they lack consistency.  The Saints seem to have a solid footing in the league, but they keep falling short.  Going with the blue chip.  Chargers by 2

Kansas City @ New York Jets

The Chiefs are terrible.  Their 1 win was a fluke in a crazy week.  The Jets lost to the Raiders, but they’re still an offensive scoring machine when they want to be.  The Chiefs will fold like an old newspaper left behind on the bus.  Jets by 6

Atlanta @ Philadelphia

Both teams are somewhat of a surprise this year, but on opposite ends of the spectrum.  Atlanta has surprised us all by winning crucial games.  They are performing better than anyone expected them to.  The Eagles are just the opposite.  They have been losing more than they should and have not been the powerhouse they were expected to be.  We’re following trends this week.  Falcons by 2

Cleveland @ Jacksonville

This one seems obvious on the surface, but Cleveland has surprised the world with a couple of upset wins.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are the exact middle of the league.  They will win some and lose some.  This is a game they will win.  Jaguars by 3

Cincinnati @ Houston

Will Houston win three in a row?  With the 5th ranked offense in the league against the Bengals?  You bet they will.  Texans by 5

New York Giants @ Pittsburgh

This very well may be a preview of the Super Bowl.  Both of these teams look tremendously tough and capable of taking the whole thing.  This is the game of the week.  Most of the gamblers in the world will put their money on the Giants, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Pittsburgh is going to crack them like an egg.  Steelers by 1

Seattle @ San Francsico

Neither of these teams are very good, but Seattle is so bad this year that only a fool would put money on them.  49ers by 3

Indianapolis @ Tennessee

This should be another great game.  Indianapolis has been inconsistent this year, but when Peyton Manning decides to come out and play they are unstoppable.  The Titans haven’t lost a game yet.  There hasn’t even been a close one.  There are a few teams in the league that can beat the Titans, and the Colts might be one of them.  This is a good game to bet on the underdogs and take the odds, but I’m playing it safe and betting on the Titans.  Titans by 3

And that is it.  After this week we will see who is still in it and who is not.  All fads and flashes in the pan are over.  It is time for serious football.  Let’s gamble.

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