Another week, another Banner decision (you see what I did there?).
Beloved former Browns exec Mike Lombardi was snatched away from the NFL Network this week to become Cleveland's new de facto GM.
For a moment, set aside the cronyism and the mediocre-to-poor draft record, and look at what you gain by hiring a veteran personnel man like Lombardi.
See anything yet?
If you do, can you tell me what it is?
I'm fairly neutral on the Chud hire and I like the Norv Turner and Ray Horton additions. But Jim Bob's biggest decision was to hire Joe Banner (whose petty in-fighting and power struggles and media slap-fests with Jeff Lurie I could do without) who in turn hired Mike Lombardi to be his Yes Man/Vice President of Saying Yes.
It reeks. And it was probably in place since the very beginning.
Regardless, even if the fans and media loved the hire the guy would have no honeymoon. Everyone's too sick of losing. Five year plans aren't gonna cut it. So no matter if it's Michael Lombardi or Vince Lombardi, the team needs to win now to keep a general riot from burning Waning Energy Stadium from burning to the ground.
Now, to the picks, where I scored an impeccable 4-0 last week (maybe I should be Vice President of Saying Yes). BT came with a solid 3-1, putting the two of us in a dead tie with only three games to go. DJC's 2-2 assured him of a third place finish - he's likely sitting in Vegas right now crying in his gin. Or not caring at all. Too close to call, really.
BT: 135.5-120.5, Me: 135.5-120.5, DJC: 128.5-127.5
The lines this week are surprising to me. Almost a 10 point spread in NE, where these same two teams played an incredibly close AFCCG just a year ago, and the #1 seed Falcons coming in as a 4-freaking-point home dog.
All odds are from VegasInsider.com:
BAL at NE -9
Me - My Line: NE by 8. I would love to be wrong on this. I would love for Tom Brady & Co. to blow the stupid Raisins away and end this pitiful God-is-helping-me-win Ray Lewis saga. But I just don't see the Pats putting them away the way they should, and can even see the Purple pulling this game out at the end (Sheba forbid). My actual thought is that New England will win, but not cover such a heavy spread. About 6 points is more likely. Pick: Ravens
DJC - Pick: Ravens
BT - This Baltimore team never says die. My hatred for them is over. Pats will advance, but Baltimore will keep it close, quoth the Raven nevermore. Pick: Ravens
SF at ATL +4
Me - My Line: Pick 'em. That Colin Kaepernick bandwagon is filling up quick, and it will be overflowing should the Niners actually win this game. And I think that San Fran is truly the better team. But Colin is due for a clunker, and this could very well be the one. I can see the Niners winning by just 3 and not covering, and I can certainly see them losing outright. Ugh. There's something about Atlanta I just really don't like. Pick: Falcons
DJC - Pick: Falcons
BT - San Fran looked good in dismantling the Pack. Although the monkey is sort of off Atlanta now with last weekâ€™s win, after some deliberation, SF will cover. Throw the ball to V Davis. Pick: 49ers