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I guess as a lifelong SF Giants and Philly Eagles fan, I'm always looking for things to go wrong. No matter how good anything seems, whether it's about sports, my personal life, school, work, I'm just basically holding my breath for Murphy's Law to kick in. I realize that my negative energy and consistent "turd in the punchbowl" mentality will only bring about these bad things I'm worried about and turn them into self-fulfilling prophecies, but I don't know how to help it. I'm simply not used to good things happening for me. I'm not used to anybody caring about what I think.

It's all getting very weird.

I mean, I've trained myself for this. I've basically willed myself to shut down my emotions after so many disappointments. I just kind of stay on an even keel about everything; don't get too high, don't get too low. So whenever any opportunity comes my way, I don't spend time worrying about its implications. I never think anything is the real deal.

This guy drops me an e-mail and says how'd you like to be in a national magazine? Sure, great dude, whatever. Two months later, I'm in. Or my boss at this intern job I just got hired for asks me to prepare a report on which Hybrid car the Senator should buy. Two weeks later she buys the one I recommended. Who the hell am I for her to listen to?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I know I've done nothing yet. Not a god damn fucking thing. But even if in terms of prestige I've moved up from a "Z -" to just a regular old "Z" I'm telling you I can honestly feel the difference. It's not in my head.

So I think I'm starting to understand why somebody like The Sports Guy acts like a complete stuck-up asshole in interview or why T.O. can become such a sociopath. If even one person on the planet pays attention to your bullshit, it's a recipe for disaster.

So please, just tell me I suck. It'll make me feel normal.

Oh, and um... obligatory Spurs reference...they lost today to Orlando 92-87 and Manu Westbrook led them in scoring and assists with 14 and 5, respectively. Meanwhile Francisco Elson had as many rebounds in 17 minutes as me, you, and whoever else reads this combined. Get ready for a whole season of smurf-ball everybody.

Okay, onto the football.

You may have noticed that the favorites went 14-0 last week. Not vs. the spread mind you, but just overall. Still, I can't remember the last time, if ever, that happened. This dipshit friend of mine tells me, "I went 14-0 this week." You picked all the favorites you clown, where's the challenge in that? Do you want credit for making it to the bathroom without shitting yourself too?

Also, we had a spectacular gambling disaster in the Detroit-Minnesota game. The line was 6.5 for the Vikings and they were up two and it was Detroit's ball. Win or lose, anyone who had the Lions to cover figured it was money in the bank with a minute to go, right? Except Jon Kitna throws this horrendous shovel pass while he's being clobbered by two people and it gets returned all the way for a cheap cover. I'm sure there was a lot of swearing in Vegas on that one. The Vikes had 3 points through three quarters and then get 23 in the 4th, courtesy of two defensive touchdowns. Gotta love the Lions, they never let you down. Thank God I didn't bet on this.

The last time I remember a similar gambling ending was this Jax-Pit Monday night game a few years ago. This was back when they had Brunell and Coughlin and could handle everybody in the league but the Titans. So anyway, the Jags were favored by, coincidentally enough, 6.5. However the Steelers played them tough and were going for the game tying field goal on the final play of regulation. Obviously anyone who took the Steelers must have felt safe there. Field goal good, field goal miss, whatever happens in OT, it doesn't matter. So naturally the Jags block it and return it all the way on the final play to win by 10. I can still remember Al Michael's cackle. He understood the significance of what happened right away. Of course, Madden pretended to have no idea what he was talking about.

Anyhow, Peter King, the dummy who picked the Cowboys to win outright in Philly, (along with a lot of other dopes, you know who you are) had another typically crappy week, going 5-7-2 to drop to a miserable 31-37-6 for the year. But he went a whole week without picking a game to tie a spread outright and confusing me, so the next grande caramel macchiato's on me, Pete.

Meanwhile, the Sports Guy dropped another game in the standings to his better half, going 5-7-2 to her 6-6-2. At this rate, maybe next week's column will be about how she kicked his ass in video game golf too. He's 37-34-3, and she's 42-29-3.

All I could do was keep pace with the leader, so I'm 39-32-3 vs. the line, 55-19 picking winners. But I won a whopping $17 on the Eagles. And spent $25 on the bar tab. Draw your own conclusions.

This week's picks...

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay (+5) For some reason everybody and their mother is picking the Bucs to not only cover, but win outright. I guess all those closes losses impress some folks. Me, I think Marvin Lewis used the bye week to straighten some shit out with his crew, (notice how nobody on the team got arrested during that time) and a ballhawking secondary will be licking their chops against a rookie QB. Mainly I like them because I'm watching Chad Johnson openly stare at the chest of every cheerleader he's interviewing during the NFL Network's "Cheerleader Playoffs" and nobody seems to mind. Unless Cadillac goes nuts, Cincy will get this game, and rather easily. Bengals to win and cover.

Tennessee at Washington (-10.5) Great, the Diet Coke version of the Falcons' offense vs. Team Schizo. Don't think I'll be paying much attention to this one at the bar. Titans blew their wad last week methinks and Vince Young and co. will have a rough go of it against a run defense that's usually pretty stingy. Just a hunch Washington rights itself this week. Remember, when you think they'll zig, they'll zag. And when you think they'll zag, they'll zoog. Also, their cheerleader representatives in this competition are first rate. Some teams stupidly send their most athletic girls and not the prettiest ones. The Skins for once were ahead of the common sense bell curve here. Redskins to win and cover.

Houston at Dallas (-13) "T.O. is a major part of the gameplan this week." No it doesn't sound suspicious at all that a Bill Parcells team would announce that. Get outta here...I'm guessing we see plenty of Julius Jones and Marlon Barber tomorrow to keep the top rated QB in football, David Carr, off the field, especially after how Donovan torched their secondary last week. Cowboys to win, Texans to cover.

Buffalo at Detroit (+1.5) Another ugly match-up here. And another "upset special" I can't quite figure. I don't care how bad the Bills were last week, at least they have two wins. It doesn't strike me as particularly bright to pick the Lions to win a game `til they've won a couple already. Meanwhile, the current cheerleader race is Misty vs. Christy, I shit you not. Who the hell names their daughter Misty? You're like pretty much telling her she'll have to make a living off her looks from birth. If I have a daughter, I'm gonna name her after somebody successful in business. Like Martha. Or Oprah. Oprah Erler would be catchy, no? Bills to win and cover.

Seattle at St. Louis (+3) Screw you Simmons, screw you. Stupid Bulger cost me like 50 bucks last week. Couldn't get one lousy TD in three red zone trips in Lambeau. I don't care what anybody says, Marc Bulger looks like a serial killer. Have you seen his face up close? I just feel like one of his neighbors will be saying, "He was just so quiet, kept to himself..." Seahawks to win and cover.

NY Giants at Atlanta (-3) I am somewhat hopeful that last week's game was an indicator that the Giants' D figured some stuff out. I am also hopeful that Mike Vick used the off week to spread herpes from his backside to his backs. Giants to win and cover.

I may have to rethink the Bengals pick. They asked a couple of the Ben-GALs some football trivia just now and among the questions missed...

How many games are there in the regular season? "10."
Who's the all time leading rusher? "Shaun Alexander."
The only undefeated team in Super Bowl era? "Dallas"
What team did Barry Sanders play for? "Pittsburgh"
And this was the weird one...

Brian Urlacher has over or under... "Under"

Actually they got this question right, but the odd part was that it was answered before the guy even finished saying "20 career sacks." So either the ladies have been given these questions ahead of time to study for and still missed the majority of them, or they have no comprehension at all of the English language. More on this later.

Philadelphia at New Orleans (+3) I have a bad feeling about this game. I told you last week I had a bad feeling about this game. I'm anticipating a major league screw job from the refs. But I just can't bet against my guys. Not for three points. I hope I'm worried for nothing, but it'd be a first. Is the NFL as corrupt as the NBA? Let's find out. Eagles to win and cover. Now watch them announce that Brian Ginobili is a scratch two minutes before the game starts.

Carolina at Baltimore (-3) Nobody has a clue what's gonna happen here. Nobody.
So I'll just point out that in their interview the two Panthers cheerleaders sounded like they were very close friends. I mean VERY CLOSE. And later, when one of them tore an ACL on an obstacle course, she was screaming at her partner, while the trainers were working on her mind you, "You better kick their butt! You better kick their butt!" Frankly, I'm inspired. Panthers to win and cover.

Miami at NY Jets (-2.5) I picked Joey Harrington on the road last week and lived to tell about it, so let's keep it rolling here. I mean, aside from the QBs, the Dolphins have the much better roster here no? I'm not delusional am I? Dolphins to win and cover.

Anyway, here was a moment that made my jaw drop with the cheerleader trivia... once again the Skins girls were big winners, getting 7 right to prove they've got brains as well as looks (heh), but when asked which NY Giants defensive star was in the film "Any Given Sunday" one of them answered, "T-Formation."


Was this like some kind of football trivia strategy where if you don't know the answer you should just blurt out T-Formation, like how "Grover Cleveland" is always a good guess on Jeopardy? I mean, I think people assume you can figure out that the Grover Cleveland guess only applies to the U.S. Presidents category.

More and more I suspect that football knowledge isn't a big part of the interview process for NFL cheerleaders. I'm thinking it's more along these lines...

1.) Do you have any problem being hit on by wealthy football players?
2.) Can you shake your booty?
3.) Do you have any self-esteem?
4.) No seriously, do you have any problem being hit on by wealthy football players?

San Diego at San Francisco (+9.5) So I've seen this one NFL Network commercial starring the Chargers roughly 4,151 times so far tonight. In it Shawn Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, and Antonio Gates dance at the end and show off their moves. Meanwhile Philip Rivers just sorta shifts his weight stiffly from one foot to the other. As a white person I was incredibly offended by this before I realized if I was being filmed dancing, I'd be doing the exact same thing. Chargers to win and cover.

Kansas City at Pittsburgh (-6.5) Damon Huard is the 2nd highest ranked QB in football, Larry Johnson is playing, and the Steelers all kinds of suck. What am I missing here? Chiefs to win and cover. Losing steam here...

Oakland at Denver (-14.5) Wonder if Shanahan will put out all the stops to humiliate the Raiders on national television. If they're not covering by halftime, it's officially time to panic about Denver's offense. Broncos to win and cover.

Chicago at Arizona (+11) I don't think the fellahs at the Worldwide Leader figured the home team would be 11 point dogs when they scheduled this one. Remember the good old days when some actual thought went into the Monday Night schedule? I mean good God, this is putrid. I'm done picking against the Bears by the way. Chicago to win and cover.