Week 4 NFL picks

I fell off a bit on my picks against the spread, but actually finished above .500 when it came to straight-up picks. I guess you have to take every little victory.

Denver (-9.5) at Kansas City
What’s worse? The Kansas City offense or the Denver defense? It’s hard to say, but the Denver offense doesn’t have to apologize. And if Kansas City can’t be competitive against the Raiders or Falcons, they won’t show up against the Broncos.
Denver 35, Kansas City 20

Cleveland (+3) at Cincinnati
Games between bad teams are always tough. Unlike the Missouri teams, which were supposed to stink, the Ohio teams were supposed to be decent. But they aren’t. I’ll go with the home team grudgingly here.
Cincinnati 26, Cleveland 21

Houston (+7) at Jacksonville
The Jags are coming off a pretty huge victory at Indianapolis, while the Texans are still a little frazzled with all of the outside Hurricane Ike influences. Houston typically plays the Jags tough, but I don’t see it this time.
Jacksonville 23, Houston 14

Arizona (+1) at N.Y. Jets
You have the NFC West there for the taking Cardinals. So take it. The Jets have had two tough losses since the opener, but they were playing some pretty darn good teams. I don’t know how good Arizona is, but I’m thinking a Cards win.
Arizona 23, N.Y. Jets 20

San Francisco (+4) at New Orleans
Dare I say it, but J.T. O’Sullivan kind of looked like a 49ers quarterback of yore last week. Then again, they were playing the Lions and I was sunburned. Either way, SF is showing a pulse, making this matchup a good one.
New Orleans 28, San Francisco 23

Atlanta (+6.5) at Carolina
This seems like really easy money. Yes, the Falcons are 2-1, but those two wins came against the Chiefs and Lions. The Panthers are a significant step up – a step the Falcons aren’t ready to make.
Carolina 28, Atlanta 9

Minnesota (+3) at Tennessee
This should be a good one. The Vikings are 1-2, but the one win (Carolina) was quality and the two losses (Green Bay and Indianapolis) weren’t to slouches. The Titans are 3-0, but its not a sound 3-0. I’ll take the upset.
Minnesota 21, Tennessee 17

Green Bay (+1.5) at Tampa Bay
Chris Berman always dubs this game “The Bay of Pigs”. Chris Berman is also highly annoying. This should be another good game to watch, as the Pack has looked pretty good and Brian Griese is coming off a 67-pass performance for the Bucs. I don’t see that happening again. Wow, what a limb I just went out on.
Green Bay 20, Tampa Bay 17

Buffalo (-8.5) at St. Louis
The Bills are a surprising 3-0 with Trent Edwards quarterbacking, but the Rams are terrible. And now apparently, they are a team divided between Marc Bulger and Trent Green. This game could be bad.
Buffalo 27, St. Louis 12

San Diego (-7.5) at Oakland
I think the Chargers have finally awoken, although their defense still is a concern. I think Lane Kiffin has done a wonderful job considering all the bull he has to put up with in Oakland, but the Raiders don’t have enough to hang in this game.
San Diego 34, Oakland 14

Washington (+10.5) at Dallas
The Cowboys are friggin good. No real way to say anything otherwise. They have the most talented roster in the NFL and they look like a force. However, their series with the Redskins always takes weird turns. No, Washington won’t win, but don’t be surprised if the Cowboys break a sweat.
Dallas 28, Washington 20

Philadelphia (-3) at Chicago
This is a tricky game for the Eagles, as the Bears might have the second-best 1-2 team out there besides San Diego. However, the Eagles are probably the second or third best team in the league right now. In fact, the NFC East has the three best teams, which is crazy. I’m tempted to pick the Bears, but I can’t.
Philadelphia 24, Chicago 19

Baltimore (+5) at Pittsburgh
The Steelers embarrassed the Ravens on Monday Night Football in Pittsburgh last November, pretty much sealing the fate of Redlands native Brian Billick as the coach of the Ravens. This Baltimore team is 2-0 and won’t be embarrassed, but I can’t see them winning at Heinz.
Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 10

Straight up: 22-24. Against the spread: 21-24-1.

Burnard update

I just got off the phone with Dave Griffiths, who filled me in on some details about the timeline between Burnard’s injury and the emergency surgery he faced last night.

As he was being taken in an ambulance to the trauma center in Moreno Valley by the on-site EMS personnel at San Jacinto High School, Burnard was awake and aware, talking to his parents. He continued to talk with Griffiths and the Big Bear coaching staff and administration, which quickly made the trip to the trauma center at the conculsion of the game. At that point, Burnard was awake and conversing, asking the coaches about how the rest of the game went.

“He wanted to know how it ended,” Griffiths said. “We were talking about the game and things in general when his status went downward. We thought he was taken in for observation for a possible concussion and were shocked to see his condition go in that direction.”

Burnard lost consciousness and went into surgery, which took what Griffiths said was a few hours. The Big Bear contigent accompanied the Burnard family throughout the night, staying with the family until the neurologists came out of surgery.

“This is such a tough thing for everyone in the Big Bear community,” Griffiths said. “Sutton is one of the best young men I’ve ever come in contact with and you never want to see something like that happen to anyone, much less a great kid like him. I’ve never heard anyone say a critical thing about Sutton.”

Burnard made it through the surgery and is resting in ICU, where he has been all day today and where he will be for an undetermined amount of time as he undergoes further testing. According to Griffiths, Burnard has shown signs of improvement and has squeezed his father’s hand.

Griffiths returned to Big Bear Saturday to meet with his players and give them a status report on Burnard. He is planning on going back down to the trauma center Sunday to stay with the Burnard family and relay updates to a concerned Big Bear High School community, who is rallying behind Burnard with get-well cards and posters.

“You just want to make sure he’s OK and he makes it,” Griffiths said. “All you can do is sit and wait and hope for the best. Everyone is praying for Sutton right now.”

As far as the injury itself, the Big Bear coaching staff has gone over the film and still hasn’t positively identified which play it happened and how it might have been caused.

Big Bear linebacker in intensive care

Big Bear senior linebacker Sutton Burnard was in intensive care Saturday night at the Riverside Community Medical Center in Moreno Valley after suffering a severe head injury late in the Bears’ 14-14 tie at San Jacinto Friday night.

“He’s resting right now and from what I heard, he was improving,” Big Bear coach Dave Griffiths said. “It’s an extremely tough thing for him to go through and my heart is out to him and his family.”

After San Jacinto scored the tying touchdown, Burnard came over to the sideline and seemed off, according to what the Big Bear trainers told Griffiths. The EMS was called and Burnard was taken off in an ambulance and transferred to the medical center, which specializes in neurological treatment. He underwent surgery late Friday night.

“It’s a very scary situation,” Griffiths said. “I don’t even know what play it happened, but my trainers noticed something was wrong and called the EMS.

“He’s in intensive care, but he has passed a share of obstacles. I’m just praying that he makes it out of this all right.”