I'm one loss away from changing this site's name to AtrociousNFL. I simply couldn't pick my way out of a paper bag right now. What's weird is that, like I pointed out last week, I'm actually feeling pretty in tune with the NFL right now, given that of the 5 lines I circled to potentially pick (Titans +3, Cowboys +3, Falcons +3.5, Colts -5.5, and Lions +11.5), only 1 failed to cover. Of course, that one pick was the one I wrote up, and now I have to figure out what happened. Again.
As you know, the Vikings got their first win of the season at the Lions' expense, and the 14-point margin of victory was enough to cover the 11.5 spread. The game was frustrating because, in large part, the premise of the prediction looked accurate. Brett Favre again looked terrible -- he threw 2 more INTs, and almost as importantly had 2 more negated by stupid Lions' penalties. The Lions' defensive line played well, and they beat up on Favre. But the story of the game was simply Lions' mistakes. They botched a punt, blew a coverage (even Favre and the dysfunctional Vikings' offense can hit this), and threw some backbreaking interceptions. In other words, they played like the Lions' usually do on the road.
Not much. I knew that the Lions' were a risk, and were likely to implode and lose the game. But they should have covered this spread. They missed an easily makeable low-pressure FG that would have caused them to cover, and even more brutally, Shawn Hill threw not one, but two backbreaking goalline interceptions in the final 4 minutes -- either of which would have easily been enough to cover. Their phenom running back, Jahvid Best, was injured midway through the 2nd quarter. Adrian Peterson, whom Brad Childress usually has trouble sticking with, broke off an 80 yard run and singlehandedly willed the Vikings' offense to respectability.
In other words, this game really should have been closer. I guess the lesson is to beware betting on teams that are really bad. But that's obvious. It looked for most of this game like the Lions were going to cover, and they didn't, because of a combination of bad luck and idiotic mistakes. While I'm kicking myself for not picking the Colts -5.5 instead -- Peyton Manning is just so much less risky than the Lions -- I still like this bet and am rueful at my bad luck that it didn't cover. But there's no huge lesson learned here, I don't think: the Vikings still look bad and Detroit should have kept it close enough to cover.