Who knew that Flash could be so devious? Employing a scheme that can only be described as "Rovian," Flash managed to orchestrate (of course, I'm only hypothesizing here) a media frenzy involving the local professional football team to distract from the drubbing he has been taking in this little contest.
Unfortunately for Flash, he miscalculated just a tad, so that now his handle has itself become a Vikingboatorgygate double entendre.
Onward. The Good Professor offers up three hanging curveballs (at least for me) from a thin board this week:
1. NYJets @ Buffalo (-3). Speaking of fantasy QBs, which one of you drafted Kelly Holcomb and Vinny Testaverde? It's a division that everyone is still in for now, and the Jets rebounded from the loss of Chad Pennington by taking the ageless Testaverde to a tough win against the Bucs last week. Buffalo has been terrible on the road but pretty darn good at home. The FG indicates the teams are probably about even.
Conventional wisdom says that in the NFL, home field advantage accounts for about 6 points for the home team. That means that a lot of folks out there think that the Jets would win this one on a neutral field, or be favored by NINE at home.
With an aging running back and a Methuselean quarterback?
I don't care if the Jets beat the 1967 Packers last week. This week they crash.
San Diego (-2) @ Oakland. The Bolts lose a tough game against the Steelers on Monday night and now have to go up the coast to play a team coming off the bye. (Indeed, they get a bunch of teams off byes on their schedule. Can I still get $10 on the under for the Bolts' season wins? Oakland needs this game to have any hope of contending this year, and a loss might push Norv Turner ahead of Mike Tice in the First Off the Plank Party.
OK, more of a hard slider, this one is a gut pick. I think the Bolts are one tier beneath the AFC elite and will get better as the season wears on. The Raiders are, like, 15 tiers beneath the AFC elite, and their best player only plays when he wants to.
3. Minnesota @ Chicago (-3). Oh c'mon, if we can put any Viking game on the schedule, this is the one. With a week off for practicing pillaging, the Vikings come in with a 1-3 record, good enough to be only one back in the NFC Worthless. The Bears sport the same record, and their defense looked only so-so against the Browns. Bears have won three of last four at home vs. the Vikings, but they haven't covered the number the last two weeks.
WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP!
Yes! This is the Arturo Fuente Sometimes-a-Cigar-is-Just-a-Cigar-Phallic-Imagery Line o' the Week!!!
Well, er, first of all, I must say that I am surprised that this line has not swelled to at least -5 since it opened (indeed, Nihilist is reporting that it has actually moved to -2). Apparently there are an equal number of bettors who see this week's news as a motivating factor for our favorite Johns as there are those who feel that a distracted Vikings team will come out flacid.
Well, you do have two teams that have gone down in the estimation of many since the preseason. These two teams both suck. And Sunday, both will be groping for a victory - a foundation upon which they can erect a successful season. Can the Vikings strip away the bad vibes and mount a challenge to the Bears in Soldier Field? Or will a confident Chicago team swallow a supine Viking franchise?
Personally, I think the best outcome would be if the Goodyear Blimp crashed into the field some time during 3rd quarter. But failing that, I'll just penetrate right to the heart of the matter and...
Pick: The Bears cruise to an easy