Remember when the Dallas Cowboys were the near-unanimous choice to win the NFC? Yeah, October. Memories.
The Cowboys are in danger of falling to .500 in NFL Week 8. Either that or they're undefeated. I've been watching baseball. But since this column's central thesis is that expert picks aren't any better than random, uninformed ones, here are the Week 8 picks, accompanied as always by the random, uninformed picks of my game-pickin' 5-year-old son Ray and my coin-flippin' 3-year-old daughter Phillie.
Accompanied by the equally random, uninformed picks, that should say.
Sunday early games
Oakland (2-4) at BALTIMORE (3-3)
Here's a crazy prediction: The Raiders will be competitive, but lose.
Kids: Baltimore (6.5-point favorite)
Arizona (4-2) at CAROLINA (5-2)
The home team wins a sort-em-out game in the NFC. My trick knee is starting to tell me that the Cardinals could be on their way to a 7-9 record and a division championship. Either that or I should stop trying to tango while I type.
TAMPA BAY (5-2) at Dallas (4-3)
With head coach Wade Phillips now calling the defensive signals and quarterback Tony Romo sidelined, the schedule isn't doing the Cowboys any favors with this tough home game, followed by road games against the Giants and Washington, though there's a bye between those two. The Cowboys won't be embarrassed again like they were last week in St. Louis, but I don't like backup Brad Johnson against the Bucs defense.
Washington (5-2) at DETROIT (0-6)
What the Heck™ Pick of the Week.
Kids: Washington (7.5-point favorite)
BUFFALO (5-1) at Miami (2-4)
The Dolphins have come back to earth since their twin upsets over the Pats and Chargers, and the solid Bills defense won't be fooled by any of that Polecat formation stuff.
St. Louis (2-4) at NEW ENGLAND (4-2)
Now that new coach Jim Haslett has informed the Rams that there's a season going on, they make a mildly intriguing matchup for the hobbled Patriots, though after blasting the Broncos last week, maybe the Patriots aren't so hobbled after all. Famous last words.
Kids: New England (7.5-point favorite)
San Diego (3-4) vs. NEW ORLEANS (3-4) in London
The Saints lose a home game but the good news is the rabid American-football fans of London gain one. So, rabid American-football fans of London, are you going to rent a van to go to the game or will you just take two cars?
Daisy: San Diego
Buster: New Orleans
Kansas City (1-5) at N.Y. JETS (3-3)
Seeing how lackluster this matchup is made me realize that the '60s are really over. Perhaps the Jets should realize that and knock it off with those Titans throwback uniforms.
Kids: New York (12.5-point favorite)
Atlanta (4-2) at PHILADELPHIA (3-3)
I'm not quite ready to buy the Falcons, and I think the attacking Eagles defense will make rookie quarterback Matt Ryan actually look like a rookie.
Kids: Philadelphia (8.5-point favorite)
Sunday late games
Cincinnati (0-7) at HOUSTON (2-4)
I had the craziest dream. Bear with me for a second. I was walking around, and you were there, and then it got cloudy, and then I was in the house I grew up in, but it was in Pittsburgh, only I've never been to Pittsburgh, but I knew my way around, and then it changed and I was on the 51 bus in Oakland, only it was going down San Pablo Avenue. Isn't that weird? So anyway, in this dream, the Cincinnati Bengals were good for a couple of years. Like: Whoa. Right?
Kids: Houston (10-point favorite)
Cleveland (2-4) at JACKSONVILLE (3-3)
I was going to write something critical of the Browns before the team suspended tight end Kellen Winslow for criticizing the way the team has handled a rash of staph infections. I don't want that to happen to me so I'll just say that I've never had a problem with the way Salon handles staph infections.
Kids: Jacksonville (6.5-point favorite)
N.Y. GIANTS (5-1) at Pittsburgh (5-1)
Much is being made of the Eli Manning-Ben Roethlisberger matchup, a battle of 2004 first-rounders. It'd be cool if they could play behind the same offensive line, though, because Big Ben's been letting him down. Letting him get knocked down, to put it another way. The Giants pass rush, protection and running game should be the difference in a bruiser that marks the beginning of a rough stretch of schedule for New York.
Kids: New York
Seattle (1-5) at SAN FRANCISCO (2-5)
How ridiculous is it that the Rams could be alone in second place in the NFC West after this weekend? But I'll take the 49ers for a Rams-like post-firing rally. Sorry to see Mike Nolan go, though. Hate to lose a guy who fits the suit.
Buster: San Francisco
Monday night game
Indianapolis (3-3) at TENNESSEE (6-0)
With Joseph Addai and Bob Sanders out, the Colts are in pretty bad shape when either team wants to run. The Titans will run to shorten the game, and then they'll tee off on Peyton Manning. I think it'll work.
Season record: 60-42
Last week: 7-7
What the Heck™ Picks: 2-5
Actual dreams I've ever had remotely involving the NFL, lifetime: 0