Friday, October 12, 2007

NFL picks, week 6

Cincinnati (-3) at Kansas City - The Bengals can't stop an NFL offense. Fortunately for them, this week they aren't facing one. A team in turmoil, fighting amongst themselves, down on the coach, finds solace in the welcoming arms of the Chiefs.

Houston at Jacksonville (-7) - There are two possible scenarios here. One is that the Jaguars think Houston's a good team, in which case they play over their heads, protect their home field, and cover. The other is that they think Houston is a weaker team, they look ahead to next week, and get beaten. Eeny-meeny-miny-mo... We get one of the good Jacksonville performances this week, and they win by 10+.

Miami at Cleveland (-5) - How many games did you think that the Browns would be legitimately favored in this year? Trent Green can try to defend his play last week all that he wants - he hurt himself, he hurt his team, and he was lucky that he didn't hurt Travis Johnson. If Miami thinks that they have their quarterback of the future, it's time to start playing him, because the only possible productive outcomes for the Dolphins in 2007 are grooming young talent and getting a high draft pick. Winning here would hurt the latter cause. They needn't worry, as they won't, and it won't be close.

Minnesota at Chicago (-5.5) - Two fraud teams meet. The Vikings are a bigger fraud than the Bears. The Bears are at home. The Bears win. The Bears cover.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets (+3) - I vowed to pick against the Eagles the rest of the year. But I didn't realize, at the time, that they were playing the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Ay caramba! Do I have to say something nice about one of these teams? (Checking the fine print in the standard pundit contract...No!) Good. I wish that they could both lose. Odds are, unfortunately, against that. New York's weak pass rush gets to immobile McNabb four times. Chad Pennington throws 3 20-yard outs that only go 18, one of which is picked, and the viewer is "treated" to a "scintillating" 13-6 win for the NYJ.

St. Louis (+10) at Baltimore - The Rams are one of the teams whose offense is bad enough to enable the Ravens to maintain the illusion that they have a dominant defense. But the Ravens offense is bad enough that they shouldn't be favored by 10 over Notre Dame, never mind an NFL team. Can St. Louis go into Baltimore and win? Probably not. Can Baltimore cover? Probably not. Is either of those possible? Well, under the old "anything's possible" rubric, yes, but it's not the way to bet...

Tennessee at Tampa Bay (-3) - I'm wrong, always wrong, about Tampa Bay. So, I've had to choose an objective method for picking this game, taking my subjective evaluation, which is bound to be wrong, out of it. Alphabetically, "Ta" comes before "Te." And "Buccaneers" comes before "Titans." I don't know how you'd pick against advantages like those. And giving only three!

Washington (+3) at Green Bay - This one is interesting. Green Bay's been very good, or at least they were until Brett Favre decided that throwing it to his own teammates was too boring. The Redskins have been up-and-down. I don't trust Jason Campbell, but, of course, I don't trust Brett Favre, either. I'm picking Joe Gibbs and the Washington defense to go up to Lambeau and win by a touchdown.

Carolina at Arizona (-4) - The Panthers were pre-season darlings. The Cardinals are actually developing into a real football team, and this week, they'll go 2 games over .500 for the first time since they won 4 of their first 6 in 2002. Hopefully this time they won't follow that 4-2 start by losing 6 straight and 9 of 10. Win and cover.

New England (-5) at Dallas - Dallas has played no one. New England has played no one. They've got identical 5-0 records and similar point differentials. So why are the Patriots decent favorites on the road? And why do I think that the spread is low? Can't give you a good answer on that, other than to say, I think that the Patriots are the better team, and not just by a little.

Oakland (+10) at San Diego - Which San Diego team shows up? The one that was humiliated by Kansas City at home two weeks ago, or the one which blew out the Broncos in Denver last week? If the latter, they cover easily. I'm guessing that it's somewhere in between. They win, but the Raiders keep it close.

New Orleans at Seattle (-7) - I see two choices here. One is to keep picking the Saints, so as to claim bragging rights when they finally win a game. The other is to pad the stats by picking against them until the give some actual sign that they might win a game again. For this week, at least, we'll follow the latter course...

N.Y. Giants (-3.5) at Atlanta - Could the Giants go down to Atlanta and lose to the Falcons? Absolutely. If there's a team more likely to play a bad game as a favorite than this version of the Giants, I don't know who it would be. But they won't. Not this week, anyway...

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