I can’t help but feel a small connection between myself and Jason Campbell.
Maybe it’s because I always thought that I’d look badass if I grew a Lando Calrissian-style mustache like the one the Washington Redskins quarterback sports.
Or maybe it’s because this is the first time this column (NFL Underdogs) is fielding the same writer since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were just super-good buddies.
Yes, we all know that Campbell’s long list of past offensive coordinators has slowed his development in the NFL. Four different play-callers in his years at Auburn and three various systems while in Washington… that’s a lot to digest for a young QB.
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Washington management flirted with acquiring Jay Cutler before the Bears snatched him, and there were whispers of the Skins possibly trading up in the draft to secure USC sophomore Mark Sanchez.
Campbell has to live with the fact that his owner would have traded him for a box of florescent-colored post-it notes if he had been able to land either Cutler or Sanchez. I share a similar pain. There were rumors that the higher-ups considered replacing me with literary expert and former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith.
I’ve got a tough road ahead of me if the past few seasons are any indication. Favorites are 19-12-1 against the spread in Week 1 the past two campaigns.
I better hope Emmitt Smith finds more work besides those Just for Men commercials, otherwise it’s going to be no work for Mr. Guesswork.
I finished a game short of .500 (26-27-2) last year, thanks to the Cardinals’ (+4) straight-up playoff win over the Eagles. Hopefully that modest record lowers any expectations from my readers and we’ll all be pleasantly surprised when I finish the season in the black.
Now, down to bidness.
Washington Redskins (+6.5) at New York Giants
Well, I can’t write that lead about the parallels between Jason Campbell and myself and not pick the Skins. There wasn’t much to like about Campbell and his teammates’ performance in the preseason. But the group comes into its second year under head coach Jim Zorn’s offense and we’re sure to see better execution than what we witnessed during last season’s 16-7 loss to the G-Men.
The glut of unproven players at the wide receiver position isn’t what Giants backers should be concerned about. New York’s offense feeds off its running game, not Eli’s arm.
Steve Spagnuolo’s departure is the biggest issue for the Giants. Will the defense be as aggressive and unpredictable as it was under its former coordinator?
Guesswork Grewal says no.
Pick: Skins +6.5
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (+1)
The public is eating up the Iggles after Andy Reid finally added some weapons to the offense. And yes, there are some sexy options for Donovan McNabb to use on passing downs, but I still worry about Philly’s inability to run in short yardage situations.
Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley’s loss for the year isn’t getting the attention it deserves. You can’t just put any Joey in the middle of that defense.
I love the Panthers in this spot too. It’s their first chance to make up for that embarrassing playoff beating at the hands of the Cardinals. You don’t think Jake Delhomme wasn’t thinking about this game every time he stared at himself in the mirror at the barbershop, while getting that same bad haircut?
Pick: Panthers +1
San Francisco 49ers (+6.5) at Arizona Cardinals
Okay, this is my prejudice pick of the week. I’m a lifelong Niners fan, so take this selection for what it’s worth.
There are still reasons to like my boys this weekend. Several Arizona reporters are raising warning flags about Kurt Warner’s health. He’s looked bad throughout August and some are wondering if he’s completely recovered from last spring’s hip surgery.
Arizona’s offense doesn’t go without Warner’s quick release. If his timing is off, even by a half second, he could return to the turnover machine he was before his renaissance a year ago.
Pick: 49ers +6.5