With Unsilent Majority off in Aruba on his honeymoon, I’m filling in for ABC duties this week. I only gamble on the NFL when I’m in Las Vegas, and I constantly get confused about whether the plus and minus signs mean “giving” or “getting” points, so it’s in your best interest not to put any money on my picks — I’m certainly not.

Anyway, before we get to the picks I just wanted to point to a section of the 2000 New Yorker profile on “Simpsons” writer George Meyer that Drew re-circulated on Twitter this morning:

Meyer’s interest in professional football is strictly pragmatic: unlike most vegetarian, yoga-practicing, Deadhead collectors of space-program memorabilia, he is a studious and enthusiastic gambler. He spent many hours at the dog track when we were in college, and during a period in the early eighties when he lived in New York, his single sartorial flourish was a three-piece suit, which he wore on days when there was a heavyweight title fight. He is well acquainted with the short flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

So, comedic geniuses CAN be good gamblers. You just won’t find either one here.

My picks in bold:

Pittsburgh at Miami (+3) — Ben Roethlisberger is WAYYYYYY better than the other chumps the Steelers had under center for the first four games.

Cincinnati at Atlanta (-3) — Fuck if I know. Both of these teams are inconsistent as all hell, and neither is above .500 against the spread.

Jacksonville at Kansas City (-9) — I can’t express how little I would want to bet on this game if I were in Vegas. If I were the sort of person who made half-ass rules about NFL gambling, my first two would be NEVER BET ON TODD HALEY and NEVER BET AGAINST TODD HALEY.

Philadelphia at Tennessee (-3) — Everyone on the Philly offense is dead or dying.

Washington at Chicago (-3) — I’d like to think that the Bears would come out with something to prove after last week’s embarrassing home loss to Seattle, but that would require the Bears to be coached by someone who isn’t Lovie Smith.

Cleveland at New Orleans (-13) — Here’s hoping last week’s version of the ass-kicking Saints is still in effect.

Buffalo at Baltimore (-13) — I have a friend who’s a Bills fan. He makes the depression and hopelessness of Seahawks fandom feel pretty great.

San Francisco at Carolina (+3) — Holy shit, these teams blow. Alex Smith on the road? How can I lose?!?!?

St. Louis at Tampa Bay (-3) — Guhhh, the Rams are downright plucky. As someone who delights in the Rams sucking, I’m greatly discouraged by Sam Bradford’s promise. Still, I’ll bet against a rookie QB on the road.

Arizona at Seattle (-6) — For the first time in three years, the Seahawks are playing well at home. But I’m picking Arizona to avoid any jinxing. Fuck you, I’m superstitious.

New England at San Diego (-3) — Malcom Floyd is out. Naanee-Naanee is less than 100%. Antonio Gates is going to get 30 passes thrown at him.

Oakland at Denver (-8.5) — I don’t like that line, but I don’t like any team visiting high altitude.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-2.5) — I can’t explain or justify this pick, I just think the Vikings are going to do better than their play has indicated so far this year. Whatever, I’m not putting money on it.

NY Giants at Dallas (-3) — Man, the Cowboys implosion has been fun to watch this season. However, I have anecdotal evidence of the Giants habitually laying giant eggs in big road games, so I’m betting against them. Anecdotal evidence is the best kind!