Brandon Lang's Picks: Jets, Vikings, Chargers

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Brandon Lang, whose life as a professional sports handicapper was depicted in the 2005 movie Two For The Money, offers picks that he says can turn a profit over the long-term for his clients. His full picks are available exclusively at his web site,, and he's also offered us three picks for free here at FanHouse.

N.Y. Jets (-1.5) vs. Patriots
Don't know about you, but I'm convinced that if you sifted through the desk of Jets coach Eric Mangini, you'd find a contract with the devil. Think about it: Two months ago, he was the coach of a team coming off a 4-12 season facing the Tums-inducing dilemma of whether to choose the limp-noodle-armed Chad Pennington or the scrambled-brains Kellen Clemens as his starting quarterback.

Then Brett Favre fell smack onto Mangini's oversized lap, and as Favre was leading his Jets to a season-opening road win against Pennington and the Dolphins in Week 1, word comes down that Mangini's arch-enemy - Patriots coach Bill Belichick - lost his meal ticket, QB Tom Brady, to a season-ending knee injury just six days before Belichick was bringing the Patriots to the Meadowlands!

So to review: The Jets have gone from the Pennington/Clemens conundrum to one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, while New England has gone from one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history to Matt Cassell, making his first start anywhere since high school. Uh, yeah, I feel quite confident in predicting that you're going to see a changing of the guard in the AFC East take place in this game, and I don't think it's going to be close (I mean, did you watch how the Patriots barely got by the pathetic Chiefs at home last week?). I gave you the Jets as a free pick in this space last week and I'm riding them again.

Vikings (+2) vs. Colts
What? You're taking Tavaris Jackson over Peyton Manning? That's like taking Jessica Lange over Jessica Alba! Have you been partying all week with Charlie Sheen, Amy Winehouse or both?

Hey, I can see how you would think that I was under the influence of a controlled substance or four, but I assure you this pick was made of sound mind and body. Look, this isn't about which team has the edge at quarterback; this is about which team has the advantage in the trenches, and that team, without question, is the Vikings. Minnesota has one of the best offensive and defensive lines in the game, certainly much better than the Bears, and we saw how Chicago beat the snot out of the Colts in Indianapolis on Sunday night. Heck, Bears rookie running back Matt Forte, in his first NFL game, ran over Indy for 123 yards.

Well, this week, the Colts' chore is to slow down Adrian Peterson; good luck with that. They'd have a better chance of slowing down Sarah Palin Fever! At the same time, Minnesota's ferocious defensive front four figures to, like Chicago, exploit the loss of Colts Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday and set up camp in the Indianapolis backfield all day. I went against the Vikings on Monday night to cap a 4-0 week one sweep with premium plays, but I'm jumping on Minnesota's bandwagon for this one as Indy goes down.

Chargers (-1.5) at Broncos
This just in: The NFL has invalidated the Broncos' 41-14 victory over the Raiders on Monday night after determining that it didn't come against a real NFL team. My goodness, Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave. (Wait, what's that? He's not in a grave? Well, his team sure is trying to drive him into one!)

Anyway, in case you couldn't tell, I blame Oakland more than I credit Denver for the result of that game, which is why I'm not ready to anoint the Broncos as a playoff contender as so many media types out there are doing. At the same time, I'm not about to slap the overrated tag on the Chargers after their heartbreaking, final-play 26-24 home loss to the Panthers last week.

For one thing, I think the Panthers - whom I had last Sunday as a premium release on my website - are going to be a serious threat to win the NFC now that they have their starting quarterback healthy. If nothing else, I definitely believe Carolina is more talented and a lot deeper than Denver.

Finally, the Chargers have treated the Broncos like a punching bag the last two years, going 4-0 straight-up and against the spread, including holding Denver to two field goals in two meetings in 2007, winning those contests by a combined score of 64-6. You think the Broncos have closed the gap that much? Based on one win over the Raiders? Much like O.J.'s latest alibis, I ain't buying it. San Diego bounces back with a comfortable win.

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