This weekend marks one of my favorite weekends of the fall. It has nothing to do with the end of the PGA Tour playoffs, the beginning of the NASCAR playoffs, or breaking a religious fast with a thin crust with bacon from Dominos. This weekend marks the annual college football road trip that three college friends and I take every year. This year we’re heading to College Station and only 95 percent of the reason is because Drake’s performing a concert there on Friday night.
It’s the game we’ve all been waiting for as Alabama gets their revenge against Johnny Football in his hometown. (Do they really need that much revenge if they won the national championship last year anyway?) We knew this was the game to hit this year because how can you miss with the reigning Heisman trophy winner taking on last year’s champions? I’m hoping this game lives up to the hype and is slightly more entertaining than the 9-6 shootout we witnessed between LSU and Alabama a couple years ago.
Ticket prices are through the roof, but we made sure to send some “hostesses” to the dorm rooms of a few college students to lock in our tickets. Just don’t expect to see us in the background of the TV coverage looking like these guys.
By the way, there are some NFL games this weekend too.
Locks of the Week:
PHILADELPHIA -7.5 over San Diego
The Eagles' offense looked good on Monday and the scary things are: 1) Michael Vick didn't even throw the ball that well (although that may never change) 2) The Eagles would've scored on their first drive had they not had that somewhat weird lateral that led to a fumble 3) they only used 60 percent of the offense, and 4) everyone on the team says they can work quicker than they did. It's going to take a while for the league to catch up. Chip Kelly’s already trying to make sure this kid is playing for him in 10 years. Meanwhile the Chargers blew a 21-point lead as if they've been doing it for years. (No wait...They have!) You can take Norv Turner out of San Diego, but you can't take Norv Turner out of San Diego...
Reggie’s pick: Philadelphia
BUFFALO +3.5 over Carolina
ESPN insider pointed out an interesting historic Week 2 trend on home underdogs who lost in Week 1. Basically, teams that lose in Week 1 become undervalued as everyone overreacts and those teams playing at home in Week 2 tend to cover the spread. This is one of those situations. (Somehow I picked all four teams that apply -- Buffalo, Arizona, Tampa Bay, and the Giants -- and didn't see this until afterwards. It was nice confirmation.) Everyone loved Seattle before the season and Carolina hung with them last week, but do we really think Carolina is that good? The Bills hung with the Patriots after all. This line is based on Carolina's ability to stop the run, but they have plenty of holes on both sides of the ball themselves.
Reggie’s pick: Buffalo
ATLANTA -6.5 over St. Louis
I'm not sure if the Rams' defense is worse than I expected or the Cardinals' offense is better than I expected after what I witnessed last week. I'll go with a little bit of both and expect a strong home team in Atlanta to bring the hammer on Sunday.
Reggie’s pick: Atlanta
Trap Game of the Week:
GREEN BAY -7.5 over Washington
It was inevitable that it took RG3 a while to shake off the rust. He looked somewhat better at the end of the Eagles’ game, but that was partially due to the Eagles playing prevent defense. I don’t want to overreact on what we saw last week, but there are two major concerns: 1) The fact that RG3 isn’t running the ball as he did last year allows defenses to contain the rest of the offense better 2) Ron Jaworski sees that RG3’s mechanics look off from last year because he was compensating for his knee as he prepared for the season. Originally I wanted to take the Redskins, but those two things are alarming enough for me to switch sides.
Reggie’s pick: Green Bay
Rest of the Picks:
Cleveland +6.5 over BALTIMORE
I’m giving the Browns one more week to show me they don’t suck. The defense played reasonably well, but Brandon Weeden throwing three picks in the first half won’t help anybody’s cause.
Reggie’s pick: Baltimore
INDIANAPOLIS -3.5 over Miami
The Raiders hung in with the Colts better than originally expected because the Colts definitely have their flaws. Miami only played as well as they did last week because of all of Weeden’s gifted interceptions, so I expect Indianapolis to clear this margin. I do, however, love those Dolphin’ cheerleaders!
Reggie’s pick: Indianapolis
Tennessee +8.5 over HOUSTON
The Titans are frisky. Pittsburgh isn’t as good as they’ve been in previous years, but the Titans showed up very well in their first game of the season. With the Texans coming off a short week, I’ll take a shot with Tennessee again. How can you back a team, the Texans, whose fans drink their own piss?
Reggie’s pick: Tennessee
CHICAGO -6.5 over Minnesota
That’s one win down for the Marc Trestman era. I’m not sure I noticed too much different, but a win is a win. The Lions showed the blueprint for stopping the Vikings last week (put eight guys in the box and force Christian Ponder to beat you), so I expect the Bears to try the same thing.
Reggie’s pick: Chicago
Dallas +2.5 over KANSAS CITY
I can’t handle all this love for the Chiefs. Usually Dallas is a public team, so this line is hard to swallow. Part of the reason the Chiefs looked so good last week was because Blaine Gabbert is quite terrible, so I’m backing America’s team. Dallas played reasonably well against the Giants until they took the foot off the gas, plus I like the new-look defense.
Reggie’s pick: Dallas
ARIZONA +1.5 over Detroit
The Lions are another team taking on a lot of publicity after Week 1. The Cardinals’ defense will rebound from a mediocre effort last week and their offense showed it can do something through the air these days. This is also another one of those home underdogs off a loss in Week 1. This is more sorrow for the Lions fans who just found out they’re paying more for beer than any other fanbase in the country.
Reggie’s pick: Detroit
TAMPA BAY +3.5 over New Orleans
And here’s one more. The Saints weren’t great against Atlanta. The Falcons had a chance to win the game. The Saints only scored 23 points against a questionable defense. I know things might be close to combusting in Tampa, but does this really need to be a national story? It’s certainly not worth the time spent on PTI and Around the Horn today. It’s the Bucs after all! Give me the points.
Reggie’s pick: New Orleans
N.Y. GIANTS +5.5 over Denver
Here’s our final home underdog off a loss. I know Peyton Manning threw for seven touchdowns last week, but the Giants are seriously being disrespected with this thread. Maybe this is because Vegas thinks the public will be all over the Broncos. The Giants won’t turn the ball over six times every week.
Reggie’s pick: Giants
Jacksonville +5.5 over OAKLAND
Chad Henne replacing Blaine Gabbert definitely helps the Jaguars’ offense. The Raiders aren’t good enough to be favored by more than a field goal against anybody.
Reggie’s pick: Oakland
San Francisco +3.5 over SEATLLE
Home-field advantage is usually three points, but I know that home-field advantage in Seattle is something else and Vegas must think the same. I just think San Francisco is the better team. Either way this should be one hell of a game that I would hope you’re not betting.
Reggie’s pick: San Francisco
CINCINNATI -6.5 over Pittsburgh
The Steelers might as well tank the season to get better draft picks in May. Their offensive line is a disaster and that plays into one of Cincinnati’s strengths. Big Ben will have a good idea of what Geno Atkins’ deodorant smells like by the time this game is over.
Reggie’s pick: Cincy
Last Week: 7-8-1
This week: 0-1