It's not enough to say you're an enormous football fan and then just watch the games or play Fantasy Football every week. You've got to put a little skin in the game, dear readers, and make picks in public that open you up to being ridiculed if things don't go your way. Don't think about the downside, though. Think about the benefits you shall receive when your pigskin prognostications become the stuff of legend! Or just do it because all these other guys are doing it and you've got just as much chance of being right as they do.
Peter King (SI.com) - Bengals 27, Cowboys 20. Peter wants to pick the Cowboys because he thinks Dez Bryant will have a huge game, but he picks the Bengals because their defense will shut the Cowboys down. No, we don't really get it either.
ESPN - Eric Allen and Adam Schefter are the only two ESPNers who do what Peter King wanted to do. Everyone else is transfixed with Andy Dalton's red hair.
Mike Florio and Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk - Both guys picked the Bengals and they did it by the same score, so you can be ready for some smug PFT posts should be Bengals win 24-20.
Yahoo! Sports - It's a clean sweep for the Bengals.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com - Bengals 27, Cowboys 21. Another believer in the Bengals defense, although there's no bet hedging going on with Dez Bryant's presence.
The rest of CBSSports.com - The Bengals are the pick here as well, although two of the peacock's finest do like the Cowboys. If the 'Boys do pull it out, be sure to include Mike Freeman and Ryan Wilson on your Christmas list.
Coin Flip (Home Team is Heads) - Bengals (Coin's record: 5-7)
My Four-Year Old Son - "What's a Bengals?" "It's kinda like another word for Tigers. (Calls up picture of Bengals helmet online.) See? It's like tiger stripes on the helmet." "So cool, I want them."
Me - You hear a lot about the Bengals surging right now, but their last three wins have come against the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers, who they struggled to beat last weekend. That's sort of like a heavyweight contender being considered a rising contender after beating up five featherweights. This feels less like a surge than a moment primed for a letdown when they return to actual NFL-level opposition. Cowboys 23, Bengals 20 (My record: 7-5)