Friday, September 14, 2007

Week 2 - NFL picks

Atlanta (+11) at Jacksonville - This week, we start by recycling last week's commentary on both of these teams. There is no reason to pick Atlanta here. None. Jacksonville's not good enough to be a 7 point favorite over anyone. That said, they're probably good enough to beat Atlanta. Atlanta covers, Jacksonville wins.

Buffalo (+10) at Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh looked like world-beaters last week. It was an illusion, as they were playing a Cleveland team that promptly traded its starting QB - for a 6th round draft pick! So we don't know how good the Steelers are. The Bills are a fairly tough, fairly physical, fairly well-coached team. If only the Tin Man had a heart, if only the Scarecrow had a brain, if only the Bills had a quarterback. I don't think that Buffalo goes into Pittsburgh and wins. But I think that they play the Steelers tough, and lose close.

Cincinnati (-7) at Cleveland - The lock of the week. Cleveland spent 7 weeks of training camp choosing the quarterback who gave them the best chance to win. And then benched him after 1 half and traded him after one game. Cincinnati covers this if they score 8 or more. I vote "more."

Green Bay at New York Giants (pick 'em) - Is Eli actually developing into a real NFL QB? Or is the Dallas defense just a lost cause? Of course, the Giant defense is nothing to write home about, either. I know that this is heresy, but I think that Bret Favre was overrated even when he was great, and that he's declined more than his reputation has. I'm going with the home team here, because, while the Giants can't stop a real offense, I don't believe that the Packers have one.

Houston (+7) at Carolina - AFC 98-pound weakling kicks sand in the face of NFC bully. Carolina played a good game in St. Louis last week - I'm betting that they can't do it two weeks in a row. Houston with the upset.

Indianapolis at Tennessee (+8) - I was all set here to start with "Tennessee is the last team to beat the Colts." Research, unfortunately, reveals that both Jacksonville and Houston beat them after the Titans, rendering that fantastic beginning, well, somewhat less than fantastic. I'd love to pick the Titans here, with their pounding running game against the Colts undersized defense, with the home-field advantage, but I just can't quite bring myself to do it. The game's outside, on real turf, but Colts are 15-1 in September in the last four years and ... Oh, what the hell - Tennessee 27, Colts 24.

New Orleans (-3) at Tampa Bay - New Orleans played ... poorly last week. They're unlikely to play that poorly again. Even if they do, it's probably enough to beat (and cover against) the Buccaneers...

San Francisco at St. Louis (-3) - The 1-0 team is not quite as good as the 0-1 team. The 1-0 team is on the road. The 0-1 team wins (and covers). Leaving us with two 1-1 teams. Which is about what these two teams are...

Dallas (-3) at Miami - As long as Terence Newman is out, the Cowboys have got a real defensive problem. They can't stop a good offense. You can see where I'm going with this... Miami holds Dallas to 21, but they can't score 14 themselves.

Minnesota at Detroit (-3) - Detroit wins big. Or loses. It depends. (How's that for useful commentary?) Kitna can throw the ball, Martz is still an offensive genius, they've got receivers. I can see this team, several times this year, putting up a lot of points. I can also see them throwing a lot of picks and losing painfully. I'm guessing that this week, it's the former.

Seattle (-3) at Arizona - I'd love to pick the Cardinals here. I don't like Mike Holmgren, and any residual affection that I had for the Seahawks back in the days of Zorn and Largent seems to have dissipated. I'd love to see Leinart succeed, and I think he could in the right place. But I can't go against Seattle here - they win by a touchdown or more.

Kansas City at Chicago (-13) - I don't know whether good Rex or bad Rex shows up. I don't care. I don't think it matters. Chicago's defense and special teams outscores KC by 14. Or more.

New York Jets at Baltimore (-11) - Many Jets fans have been eager and anxious for Kellen Clemens to replace Chad Pennington. They're going to get their wish. How cliche would it be, right now, to say "be careful what you wish for?" Very. I'm going to say it anyway. Going to Baltimore, to face a Ravens team that got jobbed by the officials on Monday night, is not the scenario under which you'd prefer your maybe/possibly/could be/hope-he-is QB of the future to be making his first NFL start. Obviously, Baltimore wins and covers. Not because the Ravens' offense will do much, but they'll do enough. The real question is, what's the over/under on negative pass plays (interceptions & sacks) for the Jets? I'm saying 7, and betting the over...

Oakland (+10) at Denver - The Broncos put up big yardage against the Bills, but had to kick a 42-yard field goal as time expired to win a close, low-scoring game. Oakland lost at home to Detroit, but the offense scored. I'm not yet sold on Cutler, Oakland's defense is good - I don't think that the Raiders can win, but they'll keep it close. Denver wins, Oakland beats the spread.

San Diego at New England (-4) - I'll have more on this one later. For now, let me keep this short and simple - the Patriots are a better team, they have better players, they have better coaching, and they'll win this one by a touchdown or more.

Washington (+7) at Philadelphia - The Redskins were life and death to beat Miami, in overtime, at home. The Eagles were life and death to lose to Green Bay on the road. Seven points is too big for any games between these two teams, both of which are pretty well coached, have decent defenses, and aren't offensive powerhouses. Philadelphia wins but doesn't cover, and neither team gets out of the mid-teens.

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