Week 2 picks: It’s the Jersey!

Jim Vallet and Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

I have a hard time believing that what I do has any bearing on any NFL game. Does my choice of seat while watching football have any effect on the outcome of the game? What I wear on my gray head, what I eat during the game, whom I talk to, and if my phone is on my left or right armrest obviously have no relation to what happens in the game. I know that.

But, my Lions’ jersey is different, clearly.

My parents bought me a Lions Barry Sanders #20 blue home jersey back when Sanders was playing for the Lions. Since then, my jersey has been an important part of my life. 


I wore my jersey to, and was laughed out of, the Virgin River sportsbook in Mesquite when the Lions were throttled in the NFL playoffs by first the (then) Washington Redskins and later, by the Philadelphia Eagles. No more wearing my jersey to the sportsbook.

I started a tradition when I was teaching where anybody could wear the jersey of his or her favorite team to school on the first school day after their team’s win. Sadly, in 2008, I didn’t get to wear my jersey to school even one time because the Lions went 0-16. In 2009, I finally, on September 28, 2009, got to wear my Lions jersey for the first time in nearly two full years the day after the Lions beat the (then) Washington Redskins by five points. On November 23, I got to wear my precious but little used Barry Sanders jersey again after the Lions beat the Cleveland Browns.

The abuse I took! One very funny 6th grader said that I should wear my jersey if the Lions won even a preseason game, correctly pointing out that the Lions had gone undefeated in the 2008 preseason only to go winless in the 16 game regular season. Sadly, that 6th grader did not pass my class (just kidding). Another pre-pubescent opined that I should wear my jersey if the Lions should come within 14 points. Yet another wag came up with the great idea that I should wear my jersey on Fridays, before the Lions could lose yet again. Another teacher, with my wife’s help, broke into my closet and stole my Lions jersey to make an anti-me and anti-Lions video.

So, I turned to wearing my jersey in private, whenever we got the Lions on TV (which wasn’t often, due to their record). That didn’t work, either, and most times, I ended up Lion jerseyless by halftime due to lopsided scores against the Lions.

As the “experts” debate just how and why the Lions beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday, I did not hear one of them hit on the real reason – I wore my Lions’ jersey for the entire game!

Stupid superstitions like what I eat, where I sit, and what hat I wear obviously do not affect any NFL game, and anyone who thinks that has serious issues. But, me wearing my Lions’ jersey AND not taking it off at halftime, that was the key. Forget Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jahmyr Gibbs and anyone else who was wearing white in Kansas City that night. The difference was the old guy wearing blue in Nevada for the whole game.

Don’t you see?

Maybe I should have worn my Lions’ jersey last week when I made my picks. Here are my picks for Week #2, against the spread. Odds are from on Wednesday, September 13.

Philadelphia Eagles (-6 ½) vs Minnesota Vikings: Before you are tempted to bet on the Vikings, as I was, check out what happened when these two teams played last year.

Green Bay Packers (-1) at Atlanta Falcons: The Packers are hurting, but they are undervalued for the second straight week.

Chicago Bears (+2 ½) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bears struggle to stop the run, and played miserably on offense last week. The Bucs do not have the running game nor the defense that the Packers do.

Buffalo Bills (-8 ½) vs The Las Vegas Raiders: I think the Raiders will score around 20 points, but the Bills will score more than 30.

NY Giants (-5 ½) at Arizona Cardinals: The Giants can’t be that bad again, can they?

SF 49ers (-8) at LA Rams: Look at how  the 49ers have done against the Rams recently.

NY Jets (+9 ½) at Dallas Cowboys: The best matchup of the week comes at a bad time for the Jets after their Monday night win. The Cowboys seem to play a “let’s make the dam break” style of defense, where they pile up the points once they have the other team on the run. In my opinion, if the 49ers don’t have the best defense in the NFL, the Jets do. I’m thinking Zach Wilson does not let the Jets’ dam break, and the Jets defense makes Dak Prescott do his best Phillip (Interception!) Rivers imitation.

New England Patriots (+3) vs. the Miami Dolphins To whomever you give the credit, the Pats’ defense has made its mark by taking the other team’s best offensive player out of the game. It’s easy to identify the Dolphins’ best offensive player, and I think the Pats will limit Tyreek Hill to less than 210 yards receiving. Seriously, how many times have the Pats won games just like this at home?

Last week: 2-4

Season: 2-4

Robert’s picks

Kansas St. (-4) at Missouri: Missouri has run the ball twice as often as they’ve thrown it through the first two games, but for only 3.8 yards per carry. That isn’t going to get it done against Kansas St., whose quarterback, Will Howard, has already accounted for eight touchdowns in two games.

New Mexico (-1) vs New Mexico St.: I watched intently as New Mexico opened the season two weeks ago with a 52-10 loss at Texas A&M, but I came away even more confident than I was before the season that the Lobos can win four or five games this season. After two years of nonexistent quarterbacking, the Lobos have a good one this season in UAB transfer Dylan Hopkins, and more importantly, they have his offensive coordinator from UAB as well. This is the first time since Bob Davie was fired that New Mexico has an identity and a clear and identifiable plan on offense. They also have motivation from being beaten by little brother last year. The Aggies are a little overrated by the markets because of making and winning a bowl game last year, but coach Jerry Kill has been away from the team this week because of an illness, and given his medical history, that has to be worrisome. I think the Lobos are the better team playing at home, but the price doesn’t reflect that.

East Carolina (+8 ½) at Appalachian St.: I really wish I had gotten this line at 9 ½, but I misread the market, thinking that with East Carolina’s offensive struggles and the Mountaineers overtime loss to North Carolina, bettors would move the line up to 10. But East Carolina is a proud program with a history of success as an underdog, and a Mike Houston team is always going to play with toughness. With an 0-2 start, they’ll fight and claw here, and find a way to take this game to the wire.

Seahawks (+4 ½) at Lions: All offseason I’ve heard questions about whether last year was a fluke for Geno Smith, and after the egg the Seahawks laid last week against the Rams, maybe that’s the case. But as far as a regression from Smith, I didn’t think so then, and don’t think so now. I will go against the overreactions from week 1, however. I just hope Jim’s Barry Sanders jersey doesn’t do me in.

Bengals (-3) vs Ravens: Likewise, I’ll take the Bengals to bounce back from an ugly opener at Cleveland. Burrows and his weapons will put up a stiffer challenge than the Texans and overmatched rookie C.J. Stroud did, and the Ravens are already dealing with major injury problems.

Falcons (-1 ½) vs Packers: It’s one thing to go on the road and take care of the Bears, but I don’t see the Packers starting 2-0 with consecutive road wins. The Falcons are the polar opposite of the Bears in terms of organization and structure, meaning they actually have some.

Giants (-4) at Cardinals: That was one of the ugliest Week 1 performances I’ve ever seen Sunday night by the Giants. I’ll count on them to bounce back.

Last week

College: 3-2

NFL: 3-0


College: 5-5

NFL: 3-0

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