I'm not a big Bill Simmons fan. I prefer sports writers write about sports and keep pop cultural references to a minimum. He does make a solid point about Jay Cutler in his first picks column:
Chicago fans have been wondering why I dumped them and adopted the Packers as my NFC North team and Super Bowl pick du jour. It came down to one thing: I didn't want to root for Jay Cutler. Has he had a likable moment yet? This year will be his coming-out party as the most despised player in football. Every time they show him on the sidelines, he looks like a pissed-off trust-fund kid who can't believe the valet scratched his Escalade hybrid. And you know what? He makes the league more fun. I like rooting against him the same way I liked rooting against Rick Barry, Bill Laimbeer and the Iron Sheik. We need more Jay Cutlers in sports. Not everyone was meant to be liked.
I absolutely agree with him (for once). What's great about Cutler is his complete willingness to be disliked. I'd take honest over nice every day of the week. Nice is boring. Nice is Kyle Orton. Honest is downright noble.
Now my three picks for the week...
Houston -4 over the Jets - Pass rush, plain and simple. The Jets enter the game with their two best rushers (Calvin Pace and Shaun Ellis) suspended against one of the league's most effective passing attacks. I think Houston scores early and the Jets fall way behind as they subject a rookie quarterback to Mario Williams. Houston 34, New York 13
Atlanta - 4 over Miami - I cornered myself here. I think very highly of the Falcons and I'll lose all that momentum if they lose to a boring, beatable Dolphins team. Matt Ryan and Michael Turner keep the 'fins off balance all afternoon, leading to an easy victory. Atlanta 27, Miami 16
Cleveland +4 over Minnesota - Because nothing is going to go right in Minnesota this season, that's why. Brett Favre, having no chemistry with Bernard Berrian or Greg Lewis, continually dumps the ball off to Shiancoe and Taylor. It leads to many first downs and few points. Phil Dawson nails a 51 yarder at the whistle. Cleveland 19, Minnesota 16