The pro’s take the field once again, and our lives have meaning through January once again, as well. No witty comments, no useless jabber, just the matchups.
Titans at Steelers (Thursday): Man, can the defending champs get any respect? Only a 6 point favorite against Tennessee in their own stadium is sad. Didn’t the Titans do enough at the end of last year to prove they’re not as “for real” as we all thought they were? Apparently not. Look at the Steelers, even with a running back that gets no respect (Parker), a No. 1 receiver who slides to the sixth round of fantasy drafts (Ward) and an immobile QB (with two Super Bowl rings), they find a way to keep making believers out of everyone. We’ll see how they stack up against a healthy Patriots team, but until then, bet the Steelers to cover this one. The defenses are comparable and Pittsburgh knows how to score. Let’s just hope it’s with 10 field goals, since I’m starting Jeff Reed and my opponent has both Hines and Big Ben. Kerry Collins might be able to “manage” a game and squeak by some of the lower-end clubs out there, but it takes more than a satisfactory arm on an old veteran (Brett Favre notwithstanding) to get it done against the Steelers. Plus Chris Johnson and LenDale White will have to do it again to make a true believer out of me.
Bears at Packers: I’m going down the schedule trying to find another game that won’t be a bloodbath (New Orleans at home against Detroit anyone?) and landed on this one. Catch it Sunday night, I know I will. Da Bears are 3 ½ underdogs against the Pack, and I honestly think that’s generous. It will take a regular season game or two for two things to happen. 1) For Cutler to realize who he’s throwing to and figure out how to get more short tosses to Forte and Olsen, and 2) For the defense to decide whether it’s still good. Neither of those will happen in the hostile (if not yet freezing) Green Bay, Wisc. While I think the Rodgers/Jennings tandem might be a tad overrated, they’re certainly going to be the bulk of the offense if Ryan Grant doesn’t return to his 2007 form. It pains me to say it, but my hometown boys will be staring at an 0-1 hole, and it’ll be by more than 3 ½ points. If you’re playing straight up against the -115 money line of the Packers, that’s an even better bet. Either one should notch you a win, though.