Breaking up with the Giants is hard to do. I deleted their number, unfriended them on Facebook, put all the memories they gave me in a box that I then labeled “JOKE” and have even avoided using the word “giant” in any context, choosing to go with “huge,” “enormous” and “mammoth” among others. But guess what? I let them back in my life! I know, I know! I’m an idiot and at midnight on Thursday night when they’re 0-6 and Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin and Justin Tuck are making excuses like a sophomore in high school whose English midterm is late again (no, that wasn’t me…) you can all tell me “I told you so.” But this morning, with the thought of being still in the division thanks to the Cowboys, it was the equivalent of seeing a few late-night texts from the Giants or seeing a request that “New York Giants wants to be your friend” waiting for me on Facebook and I couldn’t help but give them what is now their third chance this season. I know I’m stupid, but just shut up for a minute and let me explain.
The difference this time is I’m fully prepared for the Giants to get beat up by the Bears and run out of Soldier Field like a drunk Packers fan wearing a foam cheesehead with his entire body painted green screaming “Bears suck!” during a Bears-Packers game. I’m not going into this game thinking the Giants are going to win or that they even have a real chance to win. I’m going into the game hoping that they have a Lloyd Christmas-Mary Swanson-like small chance or even smaller to stay in the game until the fourth quarter and then maybe Eli Manning will find his missing fourth-quarter magic or maybe Jay Cutler will hand the Giants a win the way he has handed so many other teams wins in his career. You’re still not sold? Neither am I really.
Apparently as the Giants season goes, my picks go. Week 5 was another train wreck that proved that logic and reasoning is pointless when it comes to the 2013 NFL. On top of it all, anything you have seen or learned or figured out is worthless at the end of each week and completely irrelevant in picking the following week. It’s almost as if the movie 50 First Dates has become me making my NFL picks. And for as bad as that movie was, my picks have been worse.
Week 6 … let’s go!
(Home team in caps)
New York Giants +7.5 over CHICAGO
This is the last time I will be picking the Giants. The absolute last time. This is it. It’s really it.
KANSAS CITY -8 over Oakland
Picking an Andy Reid-led team with Alex Smith as the starting quarterback (even if they are undefeated) this many times is sure to backfire at some point. But the Chiefs have won four of their five games by at least nine points and that’s good enough for me to pick against the Raiders on the road.
Philadelphia -1.5 over TAMPA BAY
It doesn’t matter if Michael Vick starts or Nick Foles starts or Nick Vick (the combination of the two that we saw against the Giants) starts against the Buccaneers. Any of those three options is better than Mike Glennon, who will be making his second career start following Josh Freeman’s release and the circus Greg Schiano created down in Tampa Bay. And if Glennon for some reason can’t play or is removed from the game, you know who his backup is? Dan Orlovsky, that’s who. The future is bright in Tampa Bay.
BALTIMORE +3 over Green Bay
I originally had Green Bay -3 in this game and because I switched it Green Bay is 100 percent going to cover. I have been down on the Ravens through five weeks, but their 26-23 win in Miami last week has made me a believer for at least Week 6 in the Ravens. And I don’t really trust the Packers away from home.
MINNESOTA -2.5 over Carolina
Need a good laugh? Here’s what I said about the Panthers last week:
I know Bill Parcells said, “You are what your record says you are,” and the Panthers are 1-2, but they are good.
The Panthers repaid my praise for them by getting embarrassed by the Cardinals. (The Cardinals!) A 22-6 loss in a game that featured seven combined turnovers (Carolina had four and Arizona had three), including three picks for both Cam Newton and Carson Palmer.
Meanwhile the Vikings are coming off their bye and their first and season-saving win against the Steelers in London.
HOUSTON -7.5 over St. Louis
The Rams did manage to beat the Jaguars by two touchdowns to cover their 11.5-point spread, but the Jaguars were in the game for far too long and did lead for enough time that it made me think the Jaguars wouldn’t finish the season 0-16 and made me realize just how bad the 2008 Lions were to finish that season 0-16.
NEW YORK JETS -2.5 over Pittsburgh
I expected the J-E-T-S to get blown out of the Georgia Dome on Monday Night Football and instead they put together a 2011 Giants-esque game-winning drive to improve to 3-2 on the season. The Giants are 0-5 on the year, the Yankees’ season ended 11 days ago and in the Rangers’ most recent game they were run out of San Jose in a 9-2 loss. Maybe me picking the Jets this week will restore some order in the New York sports world.
Cincinnati -7.5 over BUFFALO
Last week someone named Jeff Tuel took over for an injured E.J. Manuel in the Bills’ 37-24 home loss to the Browns (who also lost their starter Brian Hoyer to a torn ACL and had to replace him with former start Brandon Weeden) on Thursday Night Football. (How great has Thursday Night Football for 17 weeks worked out?) How bad was Tuel? Bad enough that the Bills have signed someone named Thad Lewis off their practice squad to start over Tuel this week. Bills head coach Doug Marrone said, “Thad gives us the best chance to win,” but he’s wrong. He’s not wrong that Lewis is better than Tuel because he might be, though that’s not saying much. He’s wrong that the Bills have a chance to win this game. They don’t. Now we just need Lewis to be bad enough that the Bengals can cover.
SEATTLE -13.5 over Tennessee
Ryan Fitzpatrick finally gets a chance to start for the Titans and he gets the then-5-0 Chiefs (now 6-0) and the 4-1 Seahawks (soon to be 5-1). Sometimes things aren’t fair for Harvard graduates who get $59 million contracts with $24 million of guaranteed money.
DENVER -27 over Jacksonville
At no point would I feel nervous about taking the Broncos in this game. The Broncos beat the defending Super Bowl champions by 22 points in Week 1 and beat the Eagles by 32 points in Week 4. You don’t think they can beat the winless Jaguars by four touchdowns? The Rams managed to beat the Jaguars by two touchdowns last week.
SAN FRANCISCO -11.5 over Arizona
The Cardinals are on a mission to destroy my picks as best they can this season and so far they are succeeding. I can’t help that I want to pick against Carson Palmer every possible chance I get. Is that so wrong?
Since the 49ers were embarrassed in Seattle and Indianapolis in back-to-back weeks in Weeks 2 and 3, they are 2-0 and have outscored their opponents (St. Louis and Houston) 69-14. The NFC favorite that was supposed to go back to the Super Bowl this season is back after their two-week hiatus and now they need to put an end to the pesky, pick-destroying Cardinals.
New Orleans +1.5 over NEW ENGLAND
The Saints proved my whole theory about them being a different team outside the Superdome wrong with a win on the road at Soldier Field. But maybe that theory was only good for Saints teams of the past? Maybe the 2013 Saints are capable of winning road games against worthy opponents? Their two-point win over the Buccaneers said they weren’t, but now their eight-point win over the Bears says they are.
The difference in New Orleans is with Rob Ryan’s defense, which hasn’t allowed more than 18 points in a game this season (17, 14, 7, 17 and 18). In the past the Saints weren’t worried about giving up points knowing they could outscore any team in the league, especially at home, but now the Saints (at least through five games) appear to be a well-balanced team and that’s bad news for the rest of the NFC.
Washington +6.5 over DALLAS
I was nervous that the Cowboys were going to stop the 2013 Broncos train in the final minutes on Sunday, but Tony Romo put to rest my fears with a Tony Romo game-ending interception to keep the Giants mathematically involved in the NFC East despite having no wins. Now the Redskins are coming to the Big D with a chance to take over the division lead with a win and an Eagles loss. Everyone keeps talking about how the NFC East will be won by an 8-8 team or possibly even a 7-9 team. If it’s possible I’m pulling for a 6-10 team to come out of the East. The scary thing is the Giants would have to play .545 football the rest of the way and go 6-5 just to finish 6-10 at this point. Has anyone told Antrel Rolle this?
Indianapolis -2.5 over SAN DIEGO
I keep picking against the Colts and they keep making me pay. Thankfully, I jumped off the Chargers undefeated covering streak in time for their 10-point loss to the Raiders last week.
Last week: 5-9-0