Friday, October 19, 2007

NFL picks, week 7

Arizona at Washington (-8) - Two weeks ago, this looked like a good game. Then Arizona lost QB1, Matt Leinart, to a broken collarbone. Then Arizona lost QB1A, Kurt Warner, to a strained tricep. Then Vinnie Testaverde decided to play for the Panthers instead of the Cardinals. No word on whether they've tried to lure Neil Lomax out of retirement.

Atlanta (+9) at New Orleans - Two bad teams. Too bad teams. Too bad, teams. The Falcons won't win, the Saints won't cover.

Baltimore (-3) at Buffalo - Baltimore can't score. Neither can the Bills. Buffalo will play tough, and it will be close, because Baltimore will kick a few field goals. This is the one game most likely to be a push when the final horn sounds. We'll take the Ravens to cover, but expect them to actually win by three.

New England (-16.5) at Miami - The Patriots always have trouble in Miami. When they went 14-2 in 2004, one of the losses was in Miami. Last year, they lost 21-0 down there. But Miami's got no offense, their defense is gone, and the Patriots have not yet had a game that was closer than 17. This one won't be, either.

San Francisco at N.Y. Giants (-9.5) - San Francisco's 2-3 record may be as big a fluke as there is in the NFL right now. This is a very bad team, and they're flying cross-country to play one that is significantly better. Now, there isn't anyone, other than maybe the Lions, likelier to lose to an inferior team than the Giants, I don't see it happening. Giants cover, Patriots remaining first round pick gets better.

Tampa Bay (+2) at Detroit - If they play this game 10 times, the Lions win 3 of them in blowouts, the Buccaneers win 7 close. This is one of the seven.

Tennessee at Houston (+1) - I don't know what to do with this one. Does Vince Young play? Does it matter? Are these two good teams, or two middle of the pack teams? If either of these were in, for example, the NFC West, it would be a likely division winner. In the AFC South, they're battling for the second wild card spot. I've been rambling, trying to come up with any interest in this game. I've failed. Houston, playing at home, coming off an embarrassing road defeat, steps up and wins against a Tennessee team without its biggest weapon, because even if he plays, he won't be able to play the way he needs to play to be more effective than Kerry Collins.

Kansas City at Oakland (-3) - If I looked at this dispassionately, if I looked at the way both teams have played, I'd be picking Kansas City here. I just cannot do it. I decided before the season started that the Chiefs would be woeful, and I'm apparently sticking to it. When they face the Colts in the playoffs, I'll be mocking their offensive ineptitude. When they meet the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, I'll chortle about the scale of the mismatch. When they take the field in Arizona against the Packers for the Super Bowl, I'll be deriding Brett Favre for his interceptions, and claiming that the Packers will win in spite of him, because Kansas City's just a joke...

N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati (-6) - How can the Bengals be a 6 point favorite over anyone? Oh, it's the Jets. I see. Cincinnati inspires absolutely no confidence right now. But if both teams play badly, as I expect, they've got enough talent to accidentally score enough points to cover. The Jets don't. I wouldn't put a nickel on this game, but I expect Cincinnati covers in a game that's painful to watch.

Minnesota at Dallas (-9.5) - Among the teams I don't have a handle on are the Minnesota Vikings. But I think that I know this - when the Vikings win, they're doing it by running the ball. They are not putting up big numbers in the passing game. The Cowboys cannot stop a big passing game, but the Vikings don't have one. The real question here is whether the Cowboys have Patriots hangover. It wouldn't be shocking, and they wouldn't be the first team to struggle after being taken apart by New England. I think that they get it together, though, and pull away in the second half.

Chicago at Philadelphia (-5) - I know that I swore I wouldn't pick the Eagles again, but the Bears lost at home to Minnesota last week - I'm supposed to pick them to go to Philadelphia and win? I'd love to, but I won't.

St. Louis at Seattle (-9) - The Seattle Seahawks hold the imposing position of biggest midget in the NFC West. The biggest fish in the smallest pond. 9 is a big number, but they've probably only got to score 10 to cover it.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Denver - Unless the Broncos can find another gear, a significantly better one, and quickly, they'll spend the last month of the season trying to prevent other teams from making the playoffs. The Steelers are just a better team.

Indianapolis (-3) at Jacksonville - This actually is a threatening matchup for the Colts - the Jaguars have played them very well for the past couple of years. But we need the Colts to win to keep the lustre on that November 4 matchup with the Patriots.

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