What a difference a year makes – at this point last September, I had visions of a Bears team on the ascent to another Super Bowl run while hoping for a Motor City Bowl appearance for Illinois. It turned out that I got a listless Bears team but an Illini trip to the Rose Bowl. For the 30th season out of my 30 years on this Earth, the football gods refused to allow me to enjoy both my Saturdays and Sundays in a single year. With the expectations for my respective football teams suddenly reversed along with a stellar baseball pennant race on both sides of Chicago, it has honestly been tough for me to get geared up for the Bears. Kyle Orton is the starting quarterback by default, the running back situation is a complete unknown and the offensive line probably can’t open up holes anyway, the defense could be still solid yet Tommie Harris and other starters are either banged up or aging quickly, I’m horrified that Ron Turner is going to have Devin Hester run a slant pattern in the middle of the field that results in our one true scoring threat getting his legs crushed by some random safety looking to make a name for himself… these are issues that are just off the top of my head at this point. Like the Chicago sucker that I always am, though, I’ll put on my Walter Payton jersey on Sunday and watch every moment of what will likely be a mashing at the hands of the Colts. Well, at least I’m running three separate fantasy teams this season (yes, I have a gambling problem). Following the form of the college football parlay, here are my three picks (including the Bears game) on the NFL side this week (home teams in CAPS):
(1) GREEN BAY PACKERS (-2 1/2) over Minnesota Vikings – I saw this line and quite honestly was perplexed with the love that the Vikings seem to be receiving from the football pundit class. Granted, Adrian Peterson could have a breakout session on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field the same way Randy Moss did many moons ago (no pun intended). Still, the Vikings have Tavaris Jackson at quarterback – ’nuff said. I’ll take the potential suckitude that I don’t know in Aaron Rodgers than the absolute suckitude that I do know on the purple side of the ball, especially when the game is in Green Bay.
(2) PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-6 1/2) over Houston Texans – The Rashard Mendenhall Era begins in the Steel City. I don’t really care that the Texans are the sexy turnaround pick of the year (I seem to recall that the recent trendy picks of the ’06 Cardinals and ’07 49ers didn’t make anyone forget ’85 Bears). The Steelers have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL, so my rule is if they are anything less than a touchdown favorite at home (unless they’re playing New England), I’ll give the points all day.
(3) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-9 1/2) over Chicago Bears – I hate this, but what can I reasonably do? Even if Peyton Manning comes out there with a cast set in concrete, the sheer emotion of the Colts opening up a new stadium combined with the general ineptitude of the Bears in nearly all facets of the game of football leads me to no other choice. I hope that I’m very wrong here, but this feels like a two touchdown loss for the Bears to me.
So, it looks like I’m taking all the points for college football on Saturday and giving all the points for the NFL on Sunday. Be sure to enjoy a plethora of sports this weekend and especially all of the football. Go White Sox! Go Illini! Go Bears!
(Image from Chicago Tribune)