Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 8 - NFL picks

Cleveland (-3) at St. Louis - So it's come to this. The Rams are underdogs. At home. To the Cleveland Browns. And I think that the spread is low.

Detroit (+5) at Chicago - I don't know what to make of the Bears. They sandwiched a loss to the Vikings at home between wins at Green Bay and Philadelphia. I think that those teams are all part of the middle of the NFC pack, and the Lions are there, too. But I got each of those games wrong. Do I flip a coin? Roll a die? Eeny-meeny-miny-mo? And which is fiercer, a lion or a bear? Hmm... OK, the Lions are getting points, Chicago's at home. Therefore the Lions win. ("Therefore? THEREFORE? Shouldn't that follow, oh, LOGIC or something?" "Shut up. The pick is made.")

Indianapolis (-6.5) at Carolina - Peyton Manning becomes the first QB ever to have wins over 31 different NFL teams. He's joined 3 hours later by Tom Brady, as each of the two dominant quarterbacks of the day spends Sunday beating the only team that he's never beaten, other than his own. The Colts win this with a final score that covers the spread while appearing that it resulted from a competitive game. That appearance is incorrect.

NYGiants (-9.5) at Miami in London - Miami linebacker Channing Crowder, a former "scholar-athlete" at the University of Florida, discovered this week that his trip to London won't require a translator. This speaks poorly for someone, but whether its the educational system that produced Crowder, or the media that bought this joke is not immediately clear. What is clear is that the best offensive player the Dolphins have isn't playing, and their best hope for keeping this close is the Giants missing their flight, and the NFL putting the Scottish Claymores on the field against them instead.

Oakland at Tennessee (-7) - Even in a week without a great NFL game, this stands out as a potential viewing disaster. If close and competitive is the criteria, I suppose this might be good. If good, interesting, exciting football is what you're looking for, look elsewhere. Oakland's been better than I expected, but they aren't good. I'm going with Tennessee at home, but have absolutely no confidence in them. If you're reading this for informational purposes, well, that sounds like a problem. For you.

Philadelphia (-1) at Minnesota - There are a couple of good teams in the NFC. There are a couple of bad teams in the NFC. And then there is the great seething middle, the "any given Sunday" crowd. These two are in that mix. Competitive for playoff spots, but no threat to do anything if they actually make it there. I'm taking the Eagles (Philadelphia), because the Eagles (Boston College) won on Thursday, and that must be an omen.

Pittsburgh (-3) at Cincinnati - Occasionally spectacular offensively, defensively inept, undisciplined, chaotic. I think that the Bengals may actually have more talent than the Steelers, but they're nowhere near as good a team.

Buffalo at N.Y. Jets (-3) - This is the old Pete Axthelm "broken windshield" special. (If you leave two tickets to this game on the dashboard of your car, when you come back you'll find that someone's broken the windshield and left two more.) The Bills are actually ahead of the Jets right now, at least developmentally, because Trent Edwards is gaining experience and they're learning what he can do, while Kellen Clemens and the Jets organization are watching Chad Pennington play well enough to lose. But the Jets manage to pull this one out at home, gaining revenge for Buffalo's win in week 4.

Houston at San Diego (-11) - It is the coin of the fan/fanatic/fantasy realm to talk about how much money these guys are getting paid, and assume that they're automatons, unaffected by external circumstance. What the Chargers are going through this week is very hard, and it is understandable if some of them are distracted. But this can also be a team-building experience, where they focus on football and each other as a means of escape, and rise above the external circumstances. If they do, this could be a blowout, as the Chargers are the more talented team. That's the way I'm going. Whereever the game ends up being played.

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay (-3.5) - Two teams that I'm always wrong on. Two teams that I consistently believe are far less impressive than the professional punditry does. And then, when I start to think that maybe the pros are right and I'm wrong, they go somewhere and stink, and convince me that I'm right. I've got these two teams in the same cell in my brain. Since I can't find any reason to pick one over the other, I'll go with the home team, and if Garrard's out, I feel good about the pick. (Which means that it will inevitably be wrong.)

New Orleans (-3) at San Francisco - Sunday ticket this weekend, with Satan holding the remote - Bills at Jets, followed by Saints at 49ers. There are "broken windshield" specials on both coasts. While the 49ers have won two games, they may actually be one of the two worst teams in football (with the Rams being the other.) I've got a rooting interest here, of course, but even looking past that, I think that the Saints are a (was going to say "better," but that really doesn't fit) "less bad" team than the 49ers.

Washington at New England (-16.5) - Sherman's march to the sea continues, as I try to come to grips with the realization that I am now rooting for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees. Not literally - figuratively, as that's what my teams have turned into.

Green Bay at Denver (-3) - The Bronco's defeat of the Steelers last week allows them to extend the illusion that they're relevant in the AFC competition this season. By default, anyone one the fringes of AFC contention is better than an NFC team.

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