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Hurley's Picks: Patriots, Packers Head And Shoulders Better Than Entire NFL

BOSTON (CBS) -- Why are so many NFL teams so bad? Seriously.

This is no longer a minor issue. It's a full-blown epidemic. So much of the NFL just stinks. Out loud. Every week.

I can't be the only person noticing this.

I wrote it about last year in Week 12. Back then, I wrote this:

The thing is, it's legitimately difficult to make a case that any team in the NFL right now is exceptional. There are teams riding hot streaks — Green Bay, New England, even Arizona — that look pretty darned good right now, but they all have their warts.


Add it all up, and it kind of seems like everybody is lousy. So lousy.

Eleven months later, the picture has only gained more clarity.

We've got Green Bay and New England as the true top dogs in the league. Nobody else is really close. It's no coincidence that they employ the two best quarterbacks, and New England employs by far the best coach in the league.

Then you've got some teams that can definitely win some games but have some tremendous flaws. The Broncos (no offense), the Bengals (Marvin Lewis), the Cardinals (they're the Cardinals), the Falcons (they're the Falcons), the Seahawks (they're pretending that the Super Bowl loss didn't devastate them to their core), the Panthers (Ron Rivera) -- sure, these teams have a chance at winning a Super Bowl ... but would you put your rent money on any one of them? Would you put your lunch money on any of them?

And that only takes care of eight teams. Eight. The other 24 teams? Garbage.

Now, the Cowboys might be among that better group if their quarterback and star receiver didn't get hurt. But they did, so the Cowboys join the likes of the Jets and the Vikings and the Giants and the Chargers and the Redskins -- teams that are basically just treading water, generating billions of dollars of profits, and waiting for the season to end in January so they can do it all over again next fall.

How did this happen? How did so many teams get so bad?

The answer may be in the lack of great young quarterback talent and the lack of great coaching minds, but the finished product is a slate of Sunday games that is becoming increasingly difficult to watch.

That being said, we do still watch. But the more we have weekends like the one we had in Week 4, the more we'll start to question exactly why we're tuning in and dedicating our Sundays to watching so many bad football teams.

(Home team in CAPS; Wednesday lines)

HOUSTON (Pick 'em) over Indianapolis
This is the worst game ever! The worst game of all time! There has never been a worse game! This is the one, guys! This is the game that is the worst.

Here's why.

The Colts are absolutely rolling right now. They beat the Titans, a team that won two games all of last year and is on track to win about four this year. That win was so inspiring that head coach Chuck Pagano cried during his postgame speech. It provided such great inspiration that the Colts were able to gut out an overtime win last week against the juggernaut Jaguars, who missed about 45 kicks that would have won the game.

And then the Texans -- the Texans! Whoa, Nelly! Watch out for those Texans! Most teams would just roll over and quit when they fall behind 42-0. But the Texans aren't most teams! They rallied to score not once, not twice, but three times to eventually lose 48-21. That is a great team full of courage.

There's a chance this game features a quarterback matchup of Matt Hasselbeck vs. Bryan Hoylett (a combination of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett that happens to rhyme with "toilet"). But with Hasselbeck being sick and Andrew Luck fighting through a shoulder injury, there's a chance we get a Josh Johnson vs. Hoylett matchup!

And millions upon millions of people will dedicate their nights to watching it. That's where we are at as a society.

Ridiculous Quote From Last Week's Picks: "A 57-year-old Matt Hasselbeck against the Jags? I still think Indy wins."

Note: I was technically right, but I was slightly off on Hasselbeck's age. He's actually 61.

ATLANTA (-7) over Washington
I buy into neither of these teams but if you want me to pick the Redskins, they're going to first have to get a new quarterback and a new coach and a new owner and a new stadium and ...

RQFLWP: So yeah, the Falcons will beat the Texans. But they're not a touchdown favorite right now.

Note: 48-21. Lesson learned.

Seattle (-2.5) over CINCINNATI
If the Bengals start the year 5-0, I will eat my hat*.

*My hat is made out of tortilla chips, and I am allowed to dunk it in queso dip and salsa as I please.

GREEN BAY (-9) over St. Louis
The Rams have won by 3, lost by 14, lost by 6 and won by 2. They make no sense.

The Packers have won by 8, won by 10, won by 10 again, and won by 14. They make sense.

RQFLWP: "The field catching on fire will serve as the highlight of the 2015 Rams season."

Note: The Rams are on pace to be 2015's "Team That I Always Get Wrong, No Matter What." Just a warning.

Buffalo (-2.5) over TENNESSEE
It's tempting to take the Titans with some points at home, considering they're coming off a bye and the Bills are coming off a Yellow Flag Storm that we'll be telling our grandkids about some day.

It's tempting but ... it's the Titans. If Rex Ryan can kindly ask his players to stop committing personal fouls for just a few hours on Sunday, or even if he can ask them to commit just two or three personal fouls, the Bills should be OK.

Chicago (+9.5) over KANSAS CITY
If you're not out on the Chiefs yet, I don't know what to tell you. Bad coach. Bad quarterback. Bad team. Yet they're nine-and-a-half-point favorites. Easiest pick of the week right here.

(I will go back into this story and delete that line after Jay Cutler throws 45 interceptions.)

New Orleans (+4.5) over PHILADELPHIA
These used to be two of the NFC's premier teams. These are no longer two of the NFC's premiere teams.

I just hope that Reggie Bush isn't near a TV during this one. We don't need him to have any flashbacks. That wouldn't be good for anybody.

Reggie Bush Blown Up by nflmadness1976 on YouTube

TAMPA BAY (-3) over Jacksonville

BALTIMORE (-6.5) over Cleveland
This is a brilliant line, because the Ravens are going to win by seven. That's just how it's going to be.

What happened to the Ravens? It was just about nine months ago when they took leads of 14-0, 28-14, and 31-28 over the Patriots in Foxboro. Now they're 1-3, and they're not really good at anything, and their only win came because Josh Scobee couldn't kick. Is Marc Trestman such poison that he's turning a Super Bowl contender into a bottom-feeder?

I need answers, Baltimore. But I won't get them this week. Because ... Cleveland.

Arizona (-2.5) over DETROIT
Some teams in the NFL are capable of taking an adverse situation -- such as getting hosed by an idiot official to lose a game on Monday night -- and manage to channel the anger and frustration in a short week into executing well the following week and authoring a decisive victory that eliminates the foul taste left over from such an event.

These teams, however, are not coached by Jim Caldwell.

New England (-9) over DALLAS
Look, I think some people have gone off the rails around these parts when talking about the Patriots as if they are a juggernaut. They are no doubt very good, but only a fool would say they're going to win every week via blowout, or that they're going to score 90 points in the next two weeks.

The week-long layoff was the worst thing that could have happened to the Patriots, who were definitely flying high in Weeks 2 and 3. And with Greg Hardy returning, I anticipate a close first half. Dallas may even hold a lead at some point in the second quarter.

But the Patriots are the better, deeper team and should be able to pull away comfortably in the second half.

OAKLAND (+5) over Denver
I'm going to do it. I'm going to pick the Raiders over the Broncos.

I like the points, but I actually believe Oakland has a chance to win the game. The Broncos have to be flush out of lucky rabbit's feet at this point. They've already used two of them to beat the Ravens and Chiefs, and this may be the time for Oakland to get its first significant win in quite some time.

I find this pretty amazing:

Derek Carr: 62.6 percent, 922 yards,  7 TDs, 2 INTs
Peyton Manning:
63.6 percent, 968 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs

NEW YORK GIANTS (-7) over San Francisco
The highlight of the 49ers season will undoubtedly be the moment that Jim Tomsula farted at a press conference. Did Jim Harbaugh ever do that?! Didn't think so!

SAN DIEGO (-3) over Pittsburgh
I hate the Chargers this year and picking them is frightening (they're 1-3 ATS, while the Steelers are 3-0-1), but Pittsburgh's just going to have trouble scoring points. Todd Haley has shown zero ability to adapt his defense to Michael Vick, who's being asked to be Ben Roethlisberger. Only an esteemed football mind like Haley would send Vick rolling out to his right to throw across his 35-year-old body.

Last week: 8-7
Season: 30-32-1

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here. You can email him or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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